BY ALEXANDER MELEAGROU-HITCHENSÂ
This evening, Channel 4's Dispatches featured Peter Oborne's 'Inside Britain's Israel Lobby'.Â At the end of the programme, Mr. Oborne sought to make it very clear that he was not suggesting there existed some kind of conspiracy, but merely that the 'pro-Israel lobby' had a lot of influence among politicians.Â He may not realise it, butÂ that's the oldest antisemitic trick in the book.
The Community Security Trust (CST)Â blogÂ explains how, by referring to a number of differentÂ organisations as part ofÂ a single block - theÂ 'pro-Israel lobby' -Â tonight's Dispatches was unwittingly utilising well known antisemitic ideas.Â Referring to an opinion piece co-authored by Mr. Oborne today, whereÂ both the Labour and Conservative Friends of Israel areÂ singled outÂ for their supposed political influence, the CST writes:
Note the way that the "pro-Israel lobby" is referred to as a single body that works through apparently separate organisations in different, opposing political parties. There is no room here for Tories who happen to support Israel, and Labour-ites who happenÂ to support Israel (or for that matter Lib Dems who happen to support Israel and are members of Liberal Democrat Friends of Israel). You would not know from this article that CFI and LFI are entirely separate organisations, with separate governance structures, staff, funding and all the rest. There is an assumption - with no evidence offered - that these separate organisations are merely parts of a single whole, moving and acting as one. Genuine antisemites often represent the Jewish or Zionist conspiracy as an octopus, or a spider sat in its web. This is the image that is echoed by Dispatches' wording here.
There has been a gradual shift in the terms of the debate on antisemitism andÂ we are now seeing more popular (and often ignorant or unwitting)Â use of previously unacceptableÂ antisemitic themes. Tonight'sÂ DispatchesÂ is just the latest example of this.
Focus on Islamism is a blog dedicated toÂ analysing and exposing the modern ideological phenomenon known as Islamism.
Shiraz Maher is a writer andÂ broadcaster.
Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens is aÂ PhD student at King's College, London.Â He has contributed to various online and printed publications including, The Daily Telegraph, Lebanon's Daily Star, Standpoint and NOWLebanon.Â
To contact the authors, click here
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