The Daily Mail, September 28, 2013
From London Review of Books:
I’m not arguing that centre-right and right-wing critics of antisemitism are antisemitic, but their campaign has a ferocious hygiene about it that carries unpleasant and ironic resonances, and leads to irrational outcomes. Attempts to reveal hidden hatred are a central feature of the asymmetrical identification of antisemitism with the left. Right-wing antisemitism is assumed to be more blatant, and therefore attracts less scrutiny. The left is held to a higher standard, and ‘gotcha’ moments trump statistical evidence.
On Monday, the Labour MP Siobhain Mcdonagh said on the Today programme that ‘it’s very much part of their politics, of hard-left politics, to be against capitalist and to see Jewish people as the financers of capital, ergo you are anti-Jewish people.’ ‘In other words to be anti-capitalist you have to be antisemitic,’ John Humphrys interrupted. ‘Yes,’ Mcdonagh said. ‘Not everybody but there’s a certain strand of it.’ I could hardly believe my ears, but she is not alone. In the New Statesman last year, Matt Bolton and Frederick Harry Pitts wrote about the ‘deep-seated theoretical underpinnings of left critiques of capitalism that have antisemitism as their logical consequence’.
Such commentators make associations that they would regard as antisemitic if articulated in reverse: the link between Jews and a version of capitalism that is about actors as well as systems. Similarly, they are keen to stress the distinction between Israel’s actions on the one hand and Jews on the other, yet at the same time frequently identify criticism of Israel as at least latently antisemitic.