Wednesday 27 October 2004

Them pesky Jews.

Over at Harry's Place, there's a big argument going on (as usual) in the comments to this post claiming that Mark Steyn is a racist. The claim is bollocks, based on the usual left-wing premises that Islam is a race, not a religion, and that there is no difference between race and culture. But that's not the point I wish to address.

In the comments, someone calling himself "Satmarvellous" (yeah, like I'm in a position to criticise silly names) says:

For some reason Steyn never admits he is Jewish when launching into one of his indiscriminate indictments of Muslims.

DoviD then says:

Steyn never flags up his Jewish background in his articles, and only admitted it in an interview which most of his readers in syndication know nothing about. He should declare an interest when scaremongering about Muslims, as he so often does. A Canadian Zionist Jew for Jesus living in America and writing for the Limey press is sure giving a lot of hostages to fortune. Steyn's disingenuousness (as I think Satmarvellous is arguing) strengthens anti-semitic suspicions. There's enough talk about dual loyalties floating around already. These neoconservative pundits are doing American Jews no favours; most of them are agin Likud and Sharon and are embarrassed by the extremism preached in the name of the community by self-appointed spokespersons.

This is something one sees a lot these days: the belief that anyone with a Jewish surname must have a hidden agenda when they discuss Muslims, or Arabs or Israel or Iran or a whole host of other issues. It's an insidious bit of nastiness that I feel very strongly about. I reproduce my response to it here.

Look, no other race gets this shit. "You must declare your ancestry so that people can see you have an interest." West Indians don't get this when writing about Africa, white people don't get it when discussing England, there are never calls for anyone discussing Algeria to reveal that their great-grandfather was French. It's only the Jews. Because, as we all know, while other races are capable of diversity of opinion, all Jews think alike on all issues: they all hate all Muslims, for example. Oh, no; hang on: you've just written about how Steyn's opinions actually differ from those of the majority of American Jews. Amazing. So what is your problem? If different Jews have different opinions, why on Earth should Jews have to declare their ancestry when writing about politics?

I fail to see the difference between asking why Jewish jounalists don't declare their race so that their readers can divine their real agenda and claiming that Jews are involved in an international conspiracy.

Incidentally, Mark Steyn isn't Jewish. Just inheriting a surname from Jewish ancestors is enough to spark off this particular type of racism.


Anonymous said...

Take for example this piece of hateful crap (see final section). Like the writer, I too have a policy: if I see the by-line "Richard Ingrams" I will go out of my way to avoid it.

Squander Two said...

You're not wrong: that's utterly disgusting.

"The issue arises partly because, in both cases, these people are often accusing the other side of being prejudiced and biased - we are either homophobes or anti-Semites."

That's right, Mr Ingrams. You certainly are.