A sticking-plaster remedy may or may not be better than nothing, but banning people from Tweeting and Facebooking antisemitic taunts and jibes is a pretty tokenistic gesture.
However, as Rabbi Mark Goldsmith says, "People do need that sense that wherever you spread hate, it's not going to be legal". Meaning, I suppose, that such actions will be defined as ‘criminal’ and therefore less likely to be flung about with gay abandon, as it appears they are at the moment.
Stephen Sizer has received a six month ban on using social media, though he hasn’t been defrocked. What message does that send?
The new Bishop of Guildford, the Right Reverend Andrew Watson just doesn’t seem to get it. He said: Dr Sizer's "strong but increasingly indiscipline (sic) anti-Zionist agenda" had become a "liability". He said that even other Christians who support the Palestinian cause found his strident stance counterproductive.
"Having now met Stephen, in my brand new role as Bishop of Guildford, I do not believe that his motives were antisemitic," he said."But I have concluded that, at the very least, he has demonstrated appalling poor judgment on the material he has chosen to disseminate, particularly via social media, some of which is clearly antisemitic."
See here, an article in the Times (£) and ‘Christian Today’ about Archbishop Welby, who says Facebook and Twitter must do more to prevent the proliferation of racism and antisemitism on their sites. (Funnily enough there’s another article on Justin Welby, which reveals that his old man was ‘born a Jew’, so Justin is ‘half Jewish’, which almost devalues any positive sentiments towards Israel and nudges him towards the Mandy Rice Davies category. Deduct several brownie points for that please Samantha.)
The BBC’s article doesn’t even mention Archbishop Welby though. The BBC does seem to be ostentatiously sticking to facts in a palpable ‘walking on eggshells. manner.
It includes a brief analysis by Caroline Wyatt. Her analysis is a real curate’s egg. Good in parts. eg:
“The rise in violent anti-Semitic attacks last year in the UK was clearly linked to the conflict in Gaza, with some using criticism of Israel's actions as a pretext for hate speech.Although the Jewish community is deeply integrated into British society, many British Jews say there has always been a low level of underlying anti-Semitism - such as casual, thoughtless remarks - but the rise of hate speech online is new and risks normalizing such sentiments. Extremist or hate speech against one minority creates an environment in which such sentiments can easily spread to others.”
Very preceptive. But here comes the rotten bit:
"So today's call may also be welcomed by Muslim communities, facing what they say is a rise in Islamophobia following the Paris attacks.
No! No, Caroline, no!. Let’s address antisemitism in a fully frontal fashion, and not equate it with Islam. Please. Antisemitism is not the same thing as Islamophobia. While Muslims may welcome some sort of curb on anti-Islam Tweets and Facebook posts, they probably won’t be so delighted with a curb on antisemitic ones, since they are the primary perpetrators.
In any case, this curb, without a very strict definition and scrupulous enforcement could easily morph into the thin end of a blasphemy law type wedge.
Let’s just go back to basics.
What is missing from enquiries into antisemitism is a straightforward examination of the media’s reporting of matters concerning the Middle East.
Also missing, but gradually becoming inescapable, is the antisemitism that emanates from Islam.
Prominent in all debates about antisemitism is the plea that diaspora Jews should not be held responsible for ‘Israel’. This sentiment occurs in discourse coming from anyone and everyone. It is based on the premise that Israel is in the wrong.
While diaspora Jews are not necessarily ‘responsible for’ or indeed necessarily supportive of Israel, and / or the present Israeli government, the vilification of Israel (hence the resulting need to distance oneself from it) is itself antisemitic.
Through sloppy, ill-informed and one-sided reporting there is confusion and ignorance about the very moral and legal legitimacy of Israel. I mean Israel’s right to exist. A common perception is that Israeli Jews are European interlopers in ‘Muslim lands’. That Israel shouldn’t ‘be there’. All attempts to counter this perception are dismissed as ‘hasbara.’ Anyone with more than an average interest in the topic can find masses of information if they search for it, but apathy prevails.
More confusion surrounds the history of the creation of Israel, Arab rejectionism, the wars, peace agreements and intifadas. The predominating narrative throughout the MSM emanates from Israel’s enemies. The Islam-Hitler collaboration, the mass expulsion of Jewish communities from Arab countries and the religiously based Islamic antisemitism are all but unknown to the average viewer.
“In just 50 years, almost a million Jews, whose communities stretch back up to 3,000 years, have been 'ethnically cleansed' from 10 Arab countries. These refugees outnumber the Palestinian refugees two to one, but their narrative has all but been ignored. Unlike Palestinian refugees, they fled not war, but systematic persecution. Seen in this light, Israel, where some 50 percent of the Jewish population descend from these refugees and are now full citizens, is the legitimate expression of the self-determination of an oppressed indigenous, Middle Eastern people”.
Who knew? Arab rejectionism is barely ever mentioned. Instead all we hear is ‘the nakba’.
The BBC rarely shows its viewers the rabidly antisemitic outbursts from the Arab world. Despite the extremist views delivered with maniacal passion by sheikhs and clerics, which we can all see if we take the trouble to look at Memri’s archive, there are, amongst the overwhelming dross, some voices of sanity out there in the Arab world as well. We don’t see them on the MSM either.
President Al-Sisi at Davos ‘Peace treaty with Israel’ Tunisian MP says ‘Elders of Zion’ wasn’t penned by the Jews.
Yet week in week out BBC viewers get Abdel Bari Atwan - not exactly saying what he says in the Arabic speaking media, but his toned down, between the lines antisemitism, all of which is regarded by the BBC as credible.
Will Abdel Bari Atwan get an asbo? No, he’ll remain Dateline’s most popular guest, as he always was.
The new Bishop of Guildford doesn’t think Stephen Sizer is antisemitic. That will be because, like George Galloway, Sizer simply says “I’m not antisemitic, just anti-Zionist.” upon which the new Bishop is stalemated.
Even if George Galloway accidentally crosses the line and Tweets something careless, and picks up an asbo, that won’t stop him from disseminating Islam-engendered Jew hate at rallies, in universities, on Press TV.
The only way to turn the tide is for the BBC to open up and start giving the whole picture. The truth about Israel and Islam. As we can see from the BBC’s (so far) total blackout of the protest that took place outside the PM’s residence yesterday, it isn’t going to happen anytimesoon. (Oh I do hate that expression.)
Asbos all round for the BBC please.