Thursday, June 09, 2005

Aunty's Anti-Jewishness

I thought I might write about this because it's a subject that I find most divides my viewpoint from that of the BBC, and via this divides it from that of a considerable portion of people in the UK.

My thoughts arose from reading this article from John Ray- sourced from the Jerusalem Post- about the British elite and anti-semitism.

He quickly introduces the BBC we should all know if we aren't wrapped in maudlin (it was the last item which caught my eye):

'Matters begin with the BBC, the voice of sweet reason to itself and most Britons. On BBC discussion shows, like Question Time, defenders of Israel are inevitably outnumbered three or four to one, if they can be found at all. Even an innocuous observation that Israel is the Middle East's best functioning democracy is guaranteed to set off vicious hissing and jeering from the studio audience.

Prior to the boycott revote, the BBC carried a report on the College of Judea and Samaria, which it matter-of-factly describes as being located in an "illegally occupied settlement on Arab land." Viewers would never have learned that 300 Arabs from neighboring villages study there, or that 20% of the University of Haifa's student body, and many department heads, are Arabs. The BBC's Orla Guerin, who once described the arrest of a retarded teenage Palestinian suicide bomber as an Israeli stunt to gain favorable publicity, was on the Queen's most recent birthday honors list.'

This is just a taster, but I am disgusted by what the Queen's Honours have become under Tony Blair's guidance- routinely embodying for me why Blair is certainly no friend to Britain, and remains emphatically a revisionistic Socialist with all that means. Of course peerages and honours are debased coinage anyway following Blair's evisceration of the Lords, but nevertheless they are still as much, if not more than ever, the coinage of elitism, an expression of establishment admission, and a powerful social force among the UK's leadership tranche.

As for Guerin, I remember early one morning in one tucked-away broadcast, just over a year ago, when Guerin repeatedly described Ariel Sharon as the 'Godfather' of Israeli settlers. She clearly implied some kind of gangster-like qualities, and it was so gratuitous and sneering it took my breath away. This of course at a time when many unnecessary courtesies had already been mooted for Saddam Hussein. Well, more about Guerin's recent activities here, as she lays into Israel's highly successful concrete-aided fence.

What can a British person who is also a sympathiser of Israel say when someone like Guerin is honoured by the Queen. Dude, where's my country?

But Guerin is not alone in her bias; there's Barabara Plett and Lys Doucet and and others who I and others have noticed with anti-Israel bias, not to say occasional anti-semitism. In other words the BBC itself stands accused.

Yet from the journalistic establishment we get things like this:

'What, I sometimes wonder, would life be like without Desert Island Discs, Jim Traynor, Andy Marr, Bryan Burnett’s fab C&W extravaganza, the World At One, the World Service, Radio Three, Radio Five’s football commentator Alan Green (“This will be their 19th consecutive game without a win unless they can get an equaliser”), honey-voiced Nick Clarke, Natasha Kaplinsky, Humphrey Lyttleton, Mark Lamarr, the Round Britain Quiz, the fragrant Orla Guerin, and, of course, not forgetting my dear chum, Andra Neil.'

I mean really all you need is to put 'the Rvd', 'the hon.', and so on, beside these names and you'd have the makings of a speech from one of Jane Austin's Grande Dames.

To an extent that's absurd. No, of course the BBC and chums (and there are a lot of people involved) are not the new aristocracy, at least not as we knew it. What they are though is a highly self-satisfied and self-interested body of folks who are evolving their own definition of class and how to enforce it. Different classes than the old sort perhaps; more broad-based in some ways, yet in other ways actually narrower (the highest echelons being less soundly educated, for instance, than the Arnoldian upper classes).

The way that anti Semitism and elitism ties together is this: elites like to consider themselves the best that is present in society, and the more prestigious they find their society to be the more they can enjoy their position. Britain really knows far too much about this phenomenon, though you'd never guess it from the faux-egalitarianism of the Beeb (faux-egalitarianism is part of the fun). Society elites therefore spend their time comparing themselves to other countries' elites, and this is where the Jews come in for their stick. Forget American exceptionalism- the real exceptionalism of history, an exceptionalism unchosen and unsought, belongs to the Jews. So whatever the pretensions of the British successors to the Empire (ie. the cool Britons), there is always one cachet which eludes them- they are not different in the way that the Jewish nation is.

As the British elite becomes ever more rapaciously absorbative of all manner of problems that befuddled their ancestors (Ireland, Palestine, racism, Africa), and pretends to know all the answers to these questions (ever more ludicrously and damagingly in real historical terms), so they get more and more unhinged by Israeli exceptionalism.

But what does this mean? Not I think, that Britain is about to round up the relatively small populations of its own Jews- that would only happen over heaps of non-elite British corpses (as the elite get more rotten so in some respects the ordinary British people get more like tarts with hearts). And anyway, the elite is too lazy and too stupid either to bother rounding them up or to organise the operation. True, there are many sycophants of the elite, but they simply have very loud voices rather than overwhelming numbers.

Of course Israel-in-the-world suffers, but I still believe that modern Israel can and will hold its own.

No, the real loss is that when the world needs leadership what it gets is Tony Blair.

And it's people like Blair that render me sympathetic to people writing like this. (no, I don't agree, only sympathise- if that's not a cop out. I am certain that Blair will do no real good to Africa; the reverse in fact.)

Thanks, by the way, to A Tangled Web for much food for thought and valuable linkaging.

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