Toby Young: Anti-Semite, or the Victim of Media Bias and Delegitimisation of Israel?
One of my favourite journalists (also education-impresario, and author) Toby Young has this week been accused of being both an Islamophobe and an anti-Semite. It is of course quite possible to display anti-Muslim and anti-Jewish bigotry. Members of the British National Party (BNP) for instance, may fall into that camp.
And you can understand the Islamophobe thing. Or at least I can. Anyone out of step with the idea of turning Britain into a fully blown Islamic state is an 'Islamophobe' nowadays, dont cha know? Me especially, according to one Khomeinist think-tank.
But for someone like Toby, who totes loves the Jews, to be called anti-Semitic is quite bizarre. And then I saw what he had said. He explains on his Spectator blog:
...I was feeling quite relaxed when the woman from ITN asked if I could give her a few words about the recent bust-up between Michael Gove and Theresa May. Wasn’t this another example of the Tory party snatching defeat from the jaws of victory?
‘The whole thing is the Home Secretary’s fault,’ I said. ‘Michael Gove made some off-the-cuff remark about a minor Home Office official over lunch with some journalists and as soon as Theresa May heard about it she went ballistic. She reacted like some Israeli tank commander on being confronted by a stone-throwing Palestinian.’ I thought it was quite an amusing analogy, not least because Gove is fanatically pro-Israel. But judging from the reaction I got on Twitter, the humour was lost on most viewers.
I've gotta say, I don't think this is anti-Semitic. But it is wrong, and disappointing to say the least. Funnily enough however, I'm inclined not to blame Toby.
His comment didn't come from a place of Jew, or Israel-hatred, as so much anti-Israel imagery and comment does. His comment came from the fact that he is an impressionable human being, much like the rest of us.
For years it has been drummed into our heads by the BBC, the Guardian, Reuters, even the Times and others, how the most aggressive people in the world are those pesky Jews who have procured themselves some American weaponry by which to oppress helpless Palestinian women and children. Oh crap, now I'm doing it too!
A few years ago I exposed how the BBC used imagery to harm Israel's reputation internationally, even in an article about the Olympics, not the Middle East Conflict. The Times newspaper has since followed suit. So it is little wonder that Israel (and subsequently, Jewish people) are stigmatised.
It is this delegitimisation that I believe causes people like Toby to jump to the imagery he did, when searching for a simile about aggression. He could have chosen Genghis Khan, or Gordon Brown, or Christian Bale – but the mainstream media and its accompanying Pallywood lies have made Israel the current bogeyman of choice.
Only a few people see past this. For instance, Colonel Richard Kemp once told the United Nations, "...based on my knowledge and experience, I can say this: during operation Cast Lead, the Israeli Defense Forces did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in the combat zones than any other army in the history of warfare".
In the history of warfare.
But for the record, I don't think Toby Young is an anti-Semite. I just think he's a product of what we as British taxpayers are funding: the delegitimisation of the most free country in the Middle East on an industrial scale.