Farage and Antisemitism

Oh come off it! Fair’s fair. As much as I loathe and despise Nigel Farage, and willing as I am to believe he’s an anti-semite underneath, I can’t accept that this is proven by the words and opinions that are held against him in a recent attack by certain ‘Jewish organisations and a series of other groups’, which argue that his appearance on right-wing US talk shows (damning enough, I agree) where he ‘openly’ discussed conspiracy theories, ‘some of which have been linked to antisemitism’  (my italics), definitely establishes this. None of Farage’s statements quoted in this Guardian report, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/may/06/nigel-farage-under-fire-alleged-antisemitic-tropes-far-right-us-talkshow-alex-jones, mentions the Jews specifically; and the ‘links’ it claims to antisemitism seem, to my mind, to be tenuous.

There are and always have been conspiracy theories alleging a desire for ‘global domination’ which don’t involve the Jews at all: the Illuminati, Freemasons, communists, the ‘Rhodes group’, capitalists of all races and religions, the CIA, the mainstream media, and so on, depending on your prejudices and gullibility; which makes it curious – surely antisemitic, even – to assume that talk of ‘conspiracy’ automatically involves Jews. Find a better petard to hoist Farage by, please. There are plenty of them around.

Of course it’s useful to be able to counter the specious accusations that are being made against Corbyn with these mirror-image ones against Farage. But therein lies the flaw, and the danger when it comes to rational political debate. What’s sauce for the goose should be sauce for the gander. If we object to the ‘anti-semitic’ insinuations made against Corbyn – and, to take the latest of them, I’ve written favourably about Hobson’s Imperialism too – we should extend the same privilege to his enemies. I hold no candle for Nigel – precisely the opposite, in fact; and there may be other reasons to attribute to him one of the nastiest prejudices in human history. He’s of the right class, in the right trade, and with the right brand of politics, after all. What is at issue here, however, is the integrity of our political discourse, which should not be coloured on any side by insinuations and alleged ‘links’ of this kind.

About bernardporter2013

Retired academic, author, historian.
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