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Walk out over bigoted comments at antisemitism conference

It has recently been reported that some delegates walked out of a conference on antisemitism in London due to perceived bigotry against Islam/Muslims by some speakers.  One of these speakers was Bat Ye’or, who is much preoccupied by Eurabia and dhimmitude.  Those objecting included David Hirsh from Engage, who explained:

“I am as appalled by the Islamophobia which creeps into some opposition to antisemitism as I am by the way antisemitism also creeps into ostensibly anti-racist spaces.”

Mark Gardner and Dave Rich from the excellent (though often maligned) CST also raised concerns.  The CST has cooperated with the (also excellent) TellMama, a parallel organization set up to monitor and combat anti-Muslim bigotry.

I assume that a nuanced acknowledgement of an intersection between Islam and antisemitism would not have sparked such a strong reaction – indeed one might find such a point being made by those behind TellMama – just as a measured acknowledgement of some intersection between anti-Muslim bigotry and Zionism need not reflect bigotry or antisemitism.

Alan A adds:

Dave Rich, of the CST, was one of the attendees at this event. He adds the following in the comments below:

For the record, Yeor’s comment about the OIC is just about the only thing she said that I didn’t object to! I do think the OIC is a problematic organisation.

On the other hand, her comments that (I paraphrase) ‘Europe has been Palestinianised like it was Nazified decades ago’; ‘The Western mind has been impregnated with Islamic culture and concepts’; ‘the peace process is part of a European final solution for Israel’; etc etc were deeply objectionable.

Then there was Richard Landes describing British Muslims as “resident aliens” and implying (in answer to my question) that every mosque and halal butcher is part of a global Islamist conspiracy to enslave mankind.

We at CST have been raising concerns about Islamist antisemitism for longer than anyone else in this country
but we do it without demonising Islam and without treating British Muslims as hostile “aliens”. It’s not a difficult distinction to make.

You can read Richard Landes’ own take here.

I would like to return to this subject later, when I have a bit more time. I think that what he has to say is largely bollocks. However, for now I’d like to say the following.

Palestinian solidarity has traded on, and benefited from, antisemitism. That is because both Hamas and the Palestinian Authority define their own public message in terms of often genocidal antisemitism. If you’re a solidarity campaign, and the political organisations of those with whom you show solidarity repeatedly state their desire to kill Jews, at best you end up pretending that this is not so; at worse you promote that same message of hatred and racism. Although some attempts are made by some Palestinian solidarity organisations to oppose European-style Nazi antisemitism (Holocaust denial by white people, for example, and the rejection of Atzmon), the sad fact is that antisemitism pushes the right buttons of many supporters of the Palestinian cause. It brings them success.

By contrast, British campaigners against antisemitism and anti-Zionism have worked hard not to draw on broad hostility to Muslims, of the rise in terrorism, militancy and separatism in order to promote that cause. We’re viscerally opposed to doing so. I don’t think that encouraging hatred of Muslims would diminish hatred of Jews, in any case. Moreover, our closest allies are often Muslims – liberals, often religious – who put themselves in real personal danger to defend Jews from danger.

The sort of future I’m fighting for is one where hatred is not enlisted to fight hatred.