BY ALEXANDER MELEAGROU-HITCHENS
This evening, Channel 4’s Dispatches featured Peter Oborne’s ‘Inside Britain’s Israel Lobby’. 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. He may not realise it, but that’s the oldest antisemitic trick in the book.
The Community Security Trust (CST) blog explains how, by referring to a number of different organisations as part of a single block – the ’pro-Israel lobby’ - tonight’s Dispatches was unwittingly utilising well known antisemitic ideas. Referring to an opinion piece co-authored by Mr. Oborne today, where both the Labour and Conservative Friends of Israel are singled out 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 happen 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 and we are now seeing more popular (and often ignorant or unwitting) use of previously unacceptable antisemitic themes. Tonight’s Dispatches is just the latest example of this.