In an article for The Guardian about stereotyping Jews, Michele Hanson has peddled the stereotype that people are accused of antisemitism merely for “expressing a smidgin of concern about the Palestinians”.
In an article titled “Nigel Farage isn’t just crass, I find him dangerous and cruel” she wrote: “I notice Theresa May mentioned illegal settlements to Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week, but he wasn’t keen to chat about them, and instead started droning on about his commitment to peace and ‘the battle against militant Islam’. That was a pretty daring move by May, because some people might easily have called her antisemitic, as she was expressing a smidgin of concern about the Palestinians and questioning the Israeli government’s actions.”
It is ironic that Ms Hanson made this unpleasant and derisive remark in an article about “insidious stereotypes” in which she criticised Nigel Farage over his remarks to LBC listeners that he believes that American Jews wield disproportionate political power. Ms Hanson wrote that “I would like to write Farage’s statement in bold, 10ft-high letters to shame him, but it wouldn’t work.”
Instead of welcoming Ms Hanson’s criticism of Nigel Farage, which echoes our own thoughts on his remarks, we find ourselves faced with an article about stereotyping Jews which claims that antisemitism is wielded as a political weapon to stifle Israel’s critics. In so doing she deploys the so-called Livingstone formulation, named for the notorious Ken Livingstone.
The International Definition of Antisemitism adopted by the British Government, states that “criticism of Israel similar to that levelled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic.” Campaign Against Antisemitism suggests that Ms Hanson takes a close look at the definition and retracts her comments that conflate criticism of Israeli government policy with accusations of antisemitism.
Whilst attempting to point out and isolate Nigel Farage for his remarks, she has simultaneously echoed the poisonous claims of Len McCluskey, Ken Loach and Ken Livingstone. She should be ashamed to keep such company.
We are now making a complaint to The Guardian which we will withdraw if Ms Hanson apologises.
We are grateful to UK Media Watch for bringing this matter to our attention.