UK: The Idiocy of the Anti-Semitism row in the Labour Party
Well it is the silly season and people have nothing better to occupy their time. So what do they do? Waste it with nonsense, stupidity and an anti-Semitism row
Anti-Semitism. Let us talk some common sense, let us call a spade a spade and let us have it all out here once and for all. Let us start with the term "anti-Semitism". It is a misappropriation, a malapropism, an inaccurate and linguistically imperialistic use of the word "Semite" which is basically, and purely, a speaker of one of the many Semitic languages. Nothing more and nothing less. The term is derived from Shem, one of Noah's sons
330 million people today speak Semitic languages. Only 5 million of these are native Hebrew speakers. Semitic languages are spoken in Western Asia, North Africa, the Middle East, the Horn of Africa, the Caucasus, Central Asia, North America and Europe. Among these languages, and Semitic peoples, are Arabs (300 million native speakers of Arabic). There is also Amharic (22 million speakers), Tigrinya (7 million speakers), Tigre (1.05 million speakers), Aramaic (between 500,000 and 1 million speakers) and Maltese (nearly 500,000 speakers).
Among the earliest written languages was Sumerian cuneiform, a Semitic language from the thirtieth century BCE. The common link in all these languages, and the Semitic peoples who speak or spoke them, is the abjad nature of the written script - consonants being the major carriers of sound, the vowels being formed by diacritic marks above or below the consonants; the only one of these languages using the Latin script is Maltese.
So for any one people to appropriate the term "Semitic", especially a people constituting a very small minority of this universe, is an act of shitfaced arrogance, insolence and utter stupidity. How can someone be "anti-Semitic" (when referring to Jews) when Hebrew constitutes 0.01 per cent of the total number of Semites = speakers of Semitic languages?
So being anti-Semitic is by definition someone who is being anti-all-the-speakers-of-Semitic-languages and how dare any one of them claim that the term refers to anything else. It would be like the speakers of Romanche in Switzerland saying that they represented all the speakers of Latin languages.
We all know what those who use and abuse the term mean, they have tried to appropriate it as those who criticise Israel in particular and Jews in general. And how dare Israel in particular and Jews in general forbid people to criticise them when Israel in particular behaves in a way that is open to criticism. The laws governing humankind apply to all, unless those who appropriated the term Semitism wish to claim they are the chosen people. By whom? By themselves?
Therefore let us debunk the idiotic sh*tfaced myth of anti-Semitism, a stupid term which is an insult to human intelligence. Now let us face the issue, namely that of equating policies pursued by Israel with those followed by Hitler and the Nazi Party in Germany, and those of Germany's allies. Latvia was the first European State to declare itself Judenfrei (Free of Jews) and many concentration camps were opened in Eastern European allies of Nazi Germany, some even before Hitler came to power.
Those of us who have been to concentration camps, to see what happened, those of us who have had family members held or murdered in such camps, because they were Roma, or homosexual, or Communists, or Jews, know very well what the so-called Holocaust means. Africans also suffered a Holocaust in the fifteenth to the nineteenth centuryes when not 6 million but SEVENTY MILLION people were massacred or sold or had family members murdered or tortured or disappeared. Who speaks about that?
Unacceptable? Yes. In all cases. We are speaking about unacceptable practices perpetrated by human beings against others, be this Nazi policies against ethnic minorities or political opponents, be this Christians against Moslems, be this Israeli policies against Palestinians, stealing their homes, dessecrating their cemeteries, shooting their kids in the eyes with rubber bullets, incarcerating young girls because they defended their homes, be this Buddhists against Moslems in northern Myanmar, be this Sunni Wahhabist fanatics such as Saudi Arabia murdering Yemeni Shia with the backing of Western pro-terrorist interests.
So let us not hijack the bandwagon of human rights and spotlight one group. Sure, Jews have been discriminated against in history, principally by Christians, who accused the Jews of murdering Christ, a Jew. History teaches us that Islam was far more tolerant towards Jews than those who profess to follow Judaism have been towards Moslems. So equating the abominable policies of the State of Israel to Hitler or Genghis Khan or whoever else is an act of stupidity, not anti-Semitism, and I repeat the accusation is equally stupid.
Jews, Communists, Roma and gays died in Nazi concentration camps. So did Protestants and Catholics and Moslems. And non-gays and lesbians and non-Communists and non-Fascists and Fascists. Unacceptable. But so is Israel's policies towards Palestinians, whose homes they have stolen and whose cemeteries they dessecrate and whose lands they steal, and steal, and steal, and steal, and steal, and steal, and steal, and steal.
Many Jews are not Zionists, many Jews consider Zionism as the root of all evil. Jews are white and black and yellow, there are African Jews, European Jews, Caucasian Jews, Negro Jews. Jews are those who profess Judaism as their religion. They are Semitic. But they are not the only ones.
So in this debate let us remember that not all Jews follow the policies of Israel, stealing lands and murdering civilians. Attacking such policies is not anti-Semitic, nor racist (the Jews are not a race). Attacking such policies, while following the law, is being a valued and valuable member of humankind in the 21st century and in this many Jewish people are present.
So to finish, the much-vaunted debate in the Labour Party in the UK is a non-event, a fire stoked by arsonists. Certainly the policies of modern Israel are to be condemned and who the Hell is Israel to claim that it should not be criticised? My father taught me to speak out and proclaim what I perceive to be right and no State or people or those who claim statehood are superior to me or anyone else. We all have a birthright, which is the word of truth. Those who cannot take the heat, leave the kitchen.
*Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey has worked as a correspondent, journalist, deputy editor, editor, chief editor, director, project manager, executive director, partner and owner of printed and online daily, weekly, monthly and yearly publications, TV stations and media groups printed, aired and distributed in Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, East Timor, Guinea-Bissau, Portugal, Mozambique and São Tomé and Principe Isles; the Russian Foreign Ministry publication Dialog and the Cuban Foreign Ministry Official Publications. He has spent the last two decades in humanitarian projects, connecting communities, working to document and catalog disappearing languages, cultures, traditions, working to network with the LGBT communities helping to set up shelters for abused or frightened victims and as Media Partner with UN Women, working to foster the UN Women project to fight against gender violence and to strive for an end to sexism, racism and homophobia. A Vegan, he is also a Media Partner of Humane Society International, fighting for animal rights. He is Director and Chief Editor of the Portuguese version of Pravda.Ru.