Media

Rosen-Galloway Double Act

You’re in for a treat tonight:

George Galloway will be presenting a special, extra three hours of his phone in show on TalkSport – Available on 1089/1053 AM, Sky Digital 0108, Freeview 723, Digital Cable, DAB Digital and at www.talkSPORT.net – on Friday 8 September from 10pm. He’ll be joined by broadcaster and writer Michael Rosen to discuss the fallout in Britain from the conflict in the Middle East. Is anti-Semitism on the rise, as an unofficial committee of MPs claims this week? When does legitimate criticism of Israel cross over into anti-Jewish prejudice? Phone 08704 20 20 20 or text in via 81089 or email via the website – www.talksport.net – to join the discussion.

Gosh. A whole three hours of Galloway and Mike Rosen, discussing anti-semitism. What a great debate that will be.

The old far-Left/Islamist line used to be that anti-semitism is not increasing, but that “Zionists” are pretending that it is: in order to silence dissent, scare Jews into supporting “Zionism”, and generally to make mischief.

But times change, and so does the line. The new position was nicely showcased by Steven Rose on the radio, yesterday. Norm summarises it, thus:

Rose agrees that it is increasing. However, with only a few minutes to say his piece on the subject, how does he focus the responsibility for it? Not on those who attack Jews or hold prejudicial attitudes towards them. No, on the actions of the Israeli government; and then, when challenged by Humphrys with the observation that the government of Israel is not the same thing as Jewish people at large, on the ‘Israel lobby’ – who treat Judaism and Zionism, he says, Judaism and support for Israel, as identical, thereby making ‘a rod for their own backs’.

Leave aside the elision there from the ‘Israel lobby’ to all those people on the receiving end of anti-Jewish hostility – like schoolchildren in Manchester. But if there’s growing anti-Semitism it’s due to a confusion perpetrated by Jews (those who don’t agree with Steven Rose’s views on Israel). On the resurgence of an age-old form of hatred, not one single word about any other source of it, and not one word of criticism or blame for anybody other than Jews. It’s poisonous stuff.

There used to be a theory on the Left, that if you shared a “platform” with a representative an organisation, you gave its views “legitimacy”.

I’ve never bought into that argument.

I can see why somebody might want to avoid legitimating RESPECT. It is after all, a party run by a cabaret-turn, whose candidates are given to making the vicious racist and conspiracist claims: for example, that “Israel has been formulating and directing UK and US foreign policy”. Indeed, as the report of the All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Antisemitism in the UK identified, it is rhetoric of this kind that inspires and propogates racism.

However, if you refuse to share a “platform” with people and political movements on the grounds that they are scum, you deprive yourself of what is often the best opportunity to counter their rubbish.

The Galloway Show represents a perfect opportunity for Michael Rosen to condemn RESPECT for spreading conspiracist lies, and to make it clear that the responsibility for racism lies with those who commit racist assaults and those who encourage and promote racism: not with the victims.

Harry adds: The Galloway Show also represents a perfect opportunity for the rest of us to condemn RESPECT and make those other points – live on radio, directly to Galloway himself. Unlike the Swansea students I don’t believe in no-platform as a policy. If you’ve nothing better to do tonight why not share a platform with Galloway and Mike Rosen and join in the debate?

Oh and a little hint for those of you who might be tempted to call up. Galloway will come back at you, he’s quick on his feet and he has that button that can switch you off. Do some homework, prepare yourself for a quick exchange, be ready for his likely comebacks and don’t be afraid of him, don’t let him bully you.

David T adds…: Oh, and he REALLY hates us. He reckons we’re part of the “conspiracy”, see?

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