antisemitism,  Israel/Palestine,  The Left

More neo-Nazi conspiracies from Israel boycotters

Sean Wallis, UCL UCU branch secretary
Sean Wallis, UCL UCU branch secretary

There’s a relatively new antisemitic conspiracy theory going around, the gist of which is that Jews skimmed $400 Billion out of Lehman Brothers before it was declared bankrupt – and smuggled the cash to Israel. Wait, here’s a fuller explanation cut from a post to the neo-Nazi web forum, Stormfront:

Jews are the undisputed masters of money manipulation, they’ve been doing it for thousands of years. The Jewish Oligarchs were able to transfer billions of dollars out of Russia when a drunken Boris Yeltsin gave them the keys to the national treasury. Jews are experts at extracting money from their victims. No doubt some of the Tribe sent some money “home” to Israel. Many of those Golden parachutes had Stars of David on them, maybe not 400 billion, but only 40 billion. If Lehman Brothers insiders did NOT try to savage a few billion from a sinking ship, they were displaying Goyish weakness, not Jewish ruthlessness.

Haaretz reported that the theory was spreading from racist sites to “more popular mainstream sites”. It notes that Hamas has joined the chorus blaming Jews for the current financial crisis, amid refrains that Jews are the main beneficiaries – and in fact may even have engineered the crisis as cover.

We’ve seen this cross-infection from neo-Nazis to anti-Zionists before when Jenna Delich,  a supporter of an academic boycott of Israel, sent out emails linking to Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke’s website.

And now it’s apparently happened again.  The Fair Play blog has a report from a fringe meeting at UCU Congress yesterday in Bournemouth. On the subject of contributions from the floor, it notes:

One of these was Sean Wallis, UCL UCU branch secretary. He wanted to speak about how UCU should debate a boycott whether it’s legal or not. One of the threats he mentioned was from lawyers backed by those with “bank balances from Lehmann Brothers that can’t be tracked down.”

What? A UCU official repeating an antisemitic conspiracy theory at a public meeting? Could it be a mistake? A slip of the tongue? I don’t think so.  Sean Wallis is the Senior Research Fellow, Survey of English Usage at UCL – a linguist – so I think it is fair to say that he knew exactly what he was saying.

Gene adds: It appears Sean Wallis is a member of the Socialist Workers Party. I can’t can’t help thinking back a couple of years to when chief SWP ideologue Alex Callinicos referred to the likelihood of a “well-funded Zionist campaign” against a UCU Israel boycott. Wallis’s comment about Lehman Brothers suggests that he is following Comrade Callinicos’s remark to its logical conclusion.