The fact that an obnoxious, racist and sexist columnist wrote something for the Sunday Times is not exactly news. Last month, though, one of them, Kevin Myers, came out with something that caused such an online backlash that he ended up losing his cushy little gig there.
In a column for the paper’s Irish edition, Myers wrote a boring screed against women’s equality in pay. In the course of that article, he wrote that “Jews are not generally noted for their insistence on selling their talent for the lowest possible price.” He noted that two of the best paid women presenters at the BBC, Claudia Winkelman and Vanessa Feltz, “are Jewish. Good for them.”
In doing so, Myers invoked – no doubt deliberately, in order to stoke that most tedious form of unit-shifting, “controversy” – one of the oldest anti-Semitic stereotypes of all: that of the money-grabbing Jew.
Myers no doubt saw no problem in such a disgustingly dehumanising statement, having being enabled over the years by his editors at various papers, who have allowed him to publish articles with such charming titles as “There was no holocaust” and “Africa is giving nothing to anyone – apart from AIDS”.
As I say, Myers ended up losing his column with the Sunday Times. The paper’s editors said he would never write for them again. Enquiring minds might ask which of those editors approved the column in the first place.
However, Myers did have a few people springing to his defence, despite his anti-Semitism. With a predictability that has become routine for those of us who follow these things, he was defended by some Zionists on the perverse basis that he could not be anti-Semitic because he is a supporter of Israel. This is a complete fallacy, but still common.
Myers himself “denied he was motivated by anti-Semitism and said he was a friend of the Jewish people and of Israel,” despite the blatantly anti-Semitic nature of his statement. The Jewish Council of Ireland defended him, saying that “his previous record showed great support for Jews and Israel.”
Support also came from Jonathan Hoffman, a blogger for the Times of Israel and serial Zionist-fanatic heckler who regularly turns up at pro-Palestinian events in London to disrupt, intimidate and harangue critics of Israeli policies. Hoffman claimed that Myers was “paying the two presenters a compliment… there is evidence that Jews are good negotiators. So how can it be anti-Semitic to say so?”
To be fair, not all Zionists (#NotAllZionists) defended Myers, although the general trend among partisans of Israel is very much to excuse, ignore, elide or even exacerbate the anti-Semitism on their own side. Indeed, as I have written before, Zionism is, at its core, a fundamentally anti-Semitic ideology. Both neo-Nazis and Zionists agree: Jews should leave their home countries and become settlers in Palestine. As supporters of Palestinian rights, of course, we should oppose both. As Yasser Arafat once famously put it, Zionism is “united with anti-Semitism in its retrograde tenets and is, when all is said and done, another side of the same base coin.”
Jews who support Palestinian rights, and are active in the solidarity movement, are routinely abused in the most appallingly anti-Semitic terms, by Zionists. They are called “court Jews” and “Kapos” (rather like saying that they are “Uncle Toms”); or even wished “back into the ovens”, or that “Hitler had finished you off.” All this disgusting stuff is fairly routine from Zionists. And it goes right to the top too.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently appeared via video link at the conference of Christians United for Israel. There, he preened over its leader and founder Pastor John Hagee, one of America’s most vile anti-Semites. However, because of Hagee’s role in rallying the US evangelical right-wing’s support for Israel, Netanyahu called him his “long-standing friend… through thick or thin” and hailed the role of CUFI.
Hagee once preached in a sermon that “Hitler was a hunter” sent by God, and that the Holocaust was divinely ordained to chase the Jews “back to the land of Israel.” Vicious stuff, but perfectly in tune with Zionism.
For too long Zionists have been able to get away with this kind of poison, even while having the chutzpah to accuse all critics of Israeli war crimes and apartheid of anti-Semitism at every turn. It’s time to start pushing back.