Note this tweet from Mehdi Hasan where he takes an argument about Muslims in the media and drags the Jews into it:
Imagine if a BBC presenter asked a Jewish guest after the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, ‘Do you thank your community does enough to condemn Israel’s occupation?’
FFS. This is the insidious liberal Islamophobia that is as damaging in its own way as the brazen right wing variety https://t.co/I82FroCkLv
— Mehdi Hasan (@mehdirhasan) 16 March 2019
Note this back and forth response pointing out that he’s wrong while he argues Jews still have it better:
This happens to Jews all the time in the wake of anti-Semitic attacks, including on the BBC: https://t.co/vBTRGvlzIc
It’s wrong when done to Muslims, and wrong when done to Jews. I hope we can start to call it out no matter who it’s targeting.
— (((Yair Rosenberg))) (@Yair_Rosenberg) March 17, 2019
Completely agree. But we tend to call it out more in the case of anti-Semitism than in the case of Islamophobia. Both are wrong, as you say.
— Mehdi Hasan (@mehdirhasan) March 17, 2019
But why drag Jews into this in the first place? And why derail a perfectly valid argument about representation of Muslims in the media and turning it into a Jew v Muslim one?
The Jew Muslim comparison is something of a theme with Hasan’s discourse:
Imagine if a LBC host was told “the majority of Jews” or “the majority of black people” don’t like them & they responded “I’d be worried if they did”.
Also, how can you be a “Muslim reformer” if you admit “majority of Muslims” don’t like you and you don’t like them?
— Mehdi Hasan (@mehdirhasan) October 5, 2018
“For too long, Jews in the West have been driven (sometime encouraged by Zionists) to enter politics on a very narrow platform: to “represent” Jews “defend Judaism”. Contrary to her posturing on ‘lobbying’, many enter politics effectively to ‘lobby’ on Jewish issues.” #bigotry pic.twitter.com/IWwXq2ZOps
— Mehdi Hasan (@mehdirhasan) February 13, 2019
If Phillips had said the kind of stuff she’s said about Islam and Muslims about Judaism and Jews instead, she wouldn’t be on this shortlist.
But for the British media, anti-Muslim bigotry is still, basically, totally… fine. https://t.co/rdvYkKlSv8
— Mehdi Hasan (@mehdirhasan) 4 October 2018
Mehdi explains why he does this:
Also, many well-meaning liberals don’t *see* Islamophobia, especially of the unwitting type, unless you change Muslims to another minority who they do see, eg black people, gay people, Jewish people etc. @OborneTweets famously showed this with altered newspaper headlines once.
— Mehdi Hasan (@mehdirhasan) 17 March 2019
He should note that as well as often being factually incorrect (as Yair Rosenberg showed above) this tactic has the effect of pitting minorities against one another. The implication that Jews have it easier is offensive, it’s also not true. In future he might want to use the more intellectually rigorous tactic of explaining to people why he thinks something is islamophobic rather than just replacing the word Muslim with Jew.
Contentious Centrist makes an excellent point BTL that I’d like to add here:
The article does not confront Mehdi Hasan’s main premise in making the analogy. He compares Israel “occupation” of West Bank with Islamist terrorism. This is a slander that must be vigorously rejected. To ignore this premise is to grant it validity and place in the market of legitimate ideas.
When he writes that Jews are being treated differently in the media, he means to draw out denials exactly like those furnished by Yair Rosenberg. Because to deny Hasan’s comparison is to accept Hasan’s implicit proposition that Israel’s occupation is the moral equivalent of Islamist terrorism.
Hasan’s analogies should be condemned not only because they are “factually incorrect” (this is relatively a more minor infraction of good faith) or for “pitting minorities against one another.” but for the much greater and glaring motivation that underlines its very logic: that Jews vs. Israel is analogous to Muslims vs. Islamism. This is nothing less than demonization of Israel and is an anti-Semitic slur in and of itself.
As Oliver Kamm once said: “Historical analogies are never exact but sometimes useful. If they are to be useful, then the precedent needs at a minimum to be stated accurately.”
In this case, the very assumption underlying Hasan’s analogy is not exact or useful but a scurrilous lie.