Where Angels Fear to Tread 229

I have accepted an offer from Sky News tomorrow to discuss anti-Semitism in the UK, where I shall argue that opponents of Israeli policy are being tarred with anti-Semitism in an witch-hunt.

I do this with some trepidation, because the media hype has become so hysterical that I am certain to face accusations of anti-Semitism myself for daring to question the narrative that has gripped the corporate media and political elite. But witch-hunts succeed because not enough decent people have the courage to stand against them; I imagine Sky contacted an awful lot of people who refused to do it before they worked all the way down to me.

Nor am I expecting to get a level playing field from the Murdoch media on which to argue my point. As I doubt I shall get a chance to put my case without interruption, this is what I am going to be trying to say.

Real anti-Semitism does exist and is to be deplored without reservation. Thankfully it is much rarer in the UK than in many other European countries.

There is a deliberate ploy by Israel to brand Palestinian sympathisers and critics of the Israeli state as anti-Semitic, in order to delegitimise criticism of Israel, as the settlements programme makes any two state solution completely non-viable.

Support for Israel is a clear dividing issue between Corbynites and Blairites. The Blairites are hopeless and defeated, so are seizing on the meme that critic of Israel equals anti-semite as a means to undermine Corbyn and create a leadership crisis

They have the tool to amplify this as the corporate media, like the political “elite”, are massively more pro-Israel in their sympathies than the great bulk of the population.

I think the chances of my getting to say much of that on air are pretty limited!

229 thoughts on “Where Angels Fear to Tread

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    • Shatnersrug

      Yes! Good luck Craig – This is something to keep in mind


      I wish you had a number of Jewish friends who agreed to accompany you, I feel there is often a danger of insensitivities when non-Jewish get into these debates. See as Murdoch is a proud Zionist on the board of directors for Genie Oil I seriously doubt you’ll even get to put your views across.

  • Dave

    I suggest you take the prepared script above and just read it out and if interrupted ask the interviewer if they are anti-Semitic.

  • Jamie McMillan

    At risk of stating the obvious, You’d do best to talk in terms of ‘supporting the Palestinians’ rather than ‘criticising Israel’. You can then portray your opposition as ‘not supporting Palestine’ which sounds much worse than ‘supporting Zionism’.

  • Rob

    I would add that the timing of this “crisis” is no accident: just before crucial elections upon the results of which a successful putsch against Corbyn depend.

  • Phil the ex frog

    Yeah you won’t get that time. Get the major points across in as few words as possible and expand if they come back at you.

    “The cry of anti semitisim is used to delegitimise critics of the murderous Israeli state. This is the right wing of the Labour party attempting to dislodge Corbyn by sabotaging the upcoming elections. “

  • henry chinaski

    Good luck Craig.

    P1ssing into a force nine gale requires a very thick skin (or appropriate waterproofing).

    This corrupted western plutocracy has to fail. I fear revolution is now the only option left.

    Dark days ahead….

  • RobG

    Good luck with that one, Craig.

    I hardly need to add that they (the media) occasionally bring on people like you to give the impression of balance, whereas it’s just part of an already laid down agenda.

    Howabout a new hashtag: “Je suis anti-zionist”.

    Of perhaps, je ne suis pas mort cérébrale.

  • Methuselah Now

    “Are you saying you don’t support the Palestinians, where × number of children have been killed/arrested in x years”



  • Dave Hansell


  • CanSpeccy

    Seems you’re a sure-fire loser on this, since criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic by definition.

    Abba Eban was among those who established this definition. If you not familiar with the argument you might find this link useful.

    And Eban’s position is a strong one. He is saying that North Americans stole a continent and those who condemn them for it are rightly considered anti-American, so why should the Jews not steal their own shitty little country.

    My view is that in both cases the act or crime, however you want to describe it, has occurred and we now have to make the best of the world as it is.

    Sadly, the English lack the determination of the Jews to hold onto what they have, but instead follow the PC impulse pass their inheritance not to their own posterity but to a bunch of immigrants who, in large numbers, seem to have a contempt for both the English and England’s cultural and religious tradition. Bizarrely, this program of self-destruction is energetically pursued by politicians who have pledged allegiance to the fiercely nationalistic Jewish state of Israel.

    • James Dickins

      “Eban’s position is a strong one. He is saying that North Americans stole a continent and those who condemn them for it are rightly considered anti-American”

      No, they’re not.

      There are millions of people around the world who quite openly – and correctly – condemn the theft of the Native Americans’ lands, and the genocide that accompanied it.

      • CanSpeccy

        Dickens, that’s a Norman name, isn’t it? You spawn of Viking terrorists, invaders and thieves of English lands.

        Most lands have been stolen from someone, Israel having been stolen twice by the same people. What you gonna do about it? Send four hundred million North American settlers back to England, Spain and France, while sending the British descendants of Normans, Vikings, Angles, Saxons and Celts back wherever the Hell they came from?

        • Karel

          If I understood your logic, may I presume that stealing land anywhere is fine? Why should “Israel” not be stollen from the Khazars, who call themselves Jews, and their descendants again? I guess that you would favour this option.

          • Resident Dissident

            Most Israeli Jews are of Mizrahi origin nowadays – and I thought Craig was banning this Khazar shit which is a pretty sure indicator of anti-Semitism.

    • Chris Rogers


      Please be careful when you speak of the English, or label us non-English who have suffered under the yoke of the English that somehow we are inferior to them. Indeed, hailing from Wales one has a dislike of the Norman conquerers who behaviour in Wales and Ireland was awful to say the least, and that’s before we consider occurred to those of Angle and Saxon descent, never mind Viking descent in the North of England. Indeed, hailing from South Wales, I myself have always thought of us modern Brits as bastards or mongrels, that is we are quite mixed, although DNA surveys suggest most of us have a large amount of Celt in our heritage, and this includes my own daughter who’s mother happens to be from South East Asia. Its all about culture I believe, rather than genetics, and we still have a strong culture, one flavoured by all sorts. And I bloody well like my curry, so quite happy that we have representatives from the Indian Subcontinent who are British, some being more nationalist that I’ll ever be. That’s the beauty of the UK, I believe its called tolerance and integration, which does not equate to watering down, unless said watering down benefits the oligarchy that rules our green and pleasant lands, many of whom can’t even be bothered to bloody live in the UK – it’s an investment you see!!!!!!!!

      • CanSpeccy

        be careful when you speak of the English, or label us non-English who have suffered under the yoke of the English that somehow we are inferior to them.

        There we are, the whinging, whining complaint of the victim culture. Who said anything about anyone being inferior? Er, well, you actually. You hate the English apparently who caused you to suffer under their yokel, and who are, therefore, morally inferior to you. As if the Welsh like every other group in the United Kingdom didn’t take advantage of the opportunities for wealth and power that their British citizenship provided, with its avenues to the world’s greatest universities, to participation in the greatest empire the world has ever seen, even to the throne, I believe, a long line of Tudors to be specific.

        You may “bloody well like your curry,” but any normal person would prefer to see their country inherited by their own posterity, not the posterity of immigrants such as the curry eating immigrants who now are the majority in my father’s home town of Leicester. The immigrants, I hold blameless, of course. They or their predecessors simply did (legally I assume) what every normal person does, which is to pursue their own interest, in their case by moving from India (and other places) to England. The idiots and criminals are the politicians who invited them.

        • Chris Rogers


          Just one issue with your remarks about Leicester, I actually lived in the City for nearly seven years from the late 80’s until the mid 90’s, actually lived on a very rough white council estate for 6 of those years with a persons who’s family had lived in the County for centuries – he marched against the NF in the 70’s and 80’s and was glad of these immigrants because as a mechanic in a sock factory these immigrants gave him valid and well paid employment – further, as i lived outside of Uni and associated predominantly with my own class I must say it was highly mixed and highly integrated. Indeed, even the youth criminal gangs were mixed, which I found quite positive in a strange way. Further, many of the second generation Indian’s sounded the same as their white counterparts, they all had a Leicester accent, whilst I had my welsh accent – they can always come to Wales, as I’d welcome them, although about 7% in my area I’d deem as racist, luckily I’m not one of them.

          • CanSpeccy

            You say “Just one issue with your remarks about Leicester” but then fail to say what the issue is.

            But you seem keen to tell me that people from India, Africa, etc who settle in Britain are, for the most part, perfectly decent people. But I never doubted that or suggested otherwise. In fact, the problem for the indigenous people of Britain is that immigrants are almost universally of the more intelligent, energetic, and effective half of the population of their country of origin. Thus, when competing with the Brits they tend to win hands down. That’s great for them, not so great for the Brits, who are now taking their own lives with unusual frequency. The end result: race replacement and extinction of the indigenous culture, i.e., genocide.

    • ASch

      Your argument that ‘the crime has been committed, let’s just get on with the present’ is the very structure of colonialism. Check back over history. In virtually every case people are killed, a population clear or wiped out, and their land and resources appropriated, by groups who are subsequently found by (later) governments to have acted unduly, but ‘too late’ for the land or resources to be returned. Almost without exception. And of course this is still happening – illegal logging in the Amazon, the murder of environmentalists and indigenous leaders in Central America or Indonesia, illegal settlements in Palestine territories. The lands are taken over, the people killed or displaced, the mines and dams built, and some fractionally tiny compensation perhaps arrives later. The other side, though, is that this land can indeed be returned. It may not happen often, but there are examples, and we have an ethical and political duty to help those who have been dispossessed to fight for this to happen, not accept deliberate fait accompli.

        • ASch

          Nice. So you’re making an ‘anti-anti-semitism’ argument based on an evolutionary argument of survival of the fittest by any means necessary, however ruthless – one used in Nazi ideology to justify the genocide of the Jews? Can you explain that tour de force? I imagine not.

          • CanSpeccy

            I certainly cannot explain what you just said, but is sounds like total bollocks designed as a fatuous smear — or about how most arguments on this blog seem to end. I wonder why.

          • ASch

            You smear yourself easily enough without anyone else’s help. As for levels of response, I don’t expect any kind of intellectual or integrity from you, but observe that my first response was measured and non-personalize. The usual troll response then ensued from you with a serious of provocative questions, trying to ask/guess/get me to reveal some kind of ‘identity’ you could then attack. Sulking afterwards because you object to a ‘survival of the fittest’ evolutionary ideology of unscrupulous action in support of colonialism being compared to ethnocidal ideologies just makes you sound dim witted and craven. Assume responsibility for the words you right.

          • Phil the ex frog

            I particularly enjoyed how Canspeccy accuses other of spouting bollocks and flouncing off exactly as he talks bollocks and flounces off.

        • Herbie

          “Yes, evolution proceeds by the survival of the fittest, which is to say, the strongest, the most unscrupulous, and the most determined to survive”

          That’s a version of Darwin, who thought the English the most advanced of peoples.

          But “fittest” don’t mean “strongest”. It quite literally means fitting with the environment around. That’s Darwin’s meaning, It was social darwinists who changed it to strongest.

          So who’s surviving.

          That’s increasingly looking like the stupidest and dumbest, for example, these days.

          We’ve seen all this before. If you’re not stupid, pretend to be. That’s the better route to survival.

          Across the classes, women are doing better than men. They’re more adaptable.

          They tend to whack yer bolshie male gung ho types, these elites.

          And critical intellectuals don’t do so well.


          Darwin’s English aren’t really doing so well as he expected, are they, according to you.

          Adaptable is better than strongest.

          And that’s more of an individual thing than a group or nation thing, or is it.

          • canspeccy


            You’re playing with words: actually engaging in tautology. Fitness and adaptability have the same meaning.

            But it sounds like the genocide of the English is a matter of satisfaction to you.

          • Herbie

            “You’re playing with words: actually engaging in tautology. Fitness and adaptability have the same meaning.”


            I’m suggesting “adaptable” instead of your choice, “strongest”, which is not at all what Darwin meant.

            “Strongest” is the term used by social darwinists. It ain’t science. It’s just their preferred philosophy.

  • Cyril Wheat

    I would share your trepidation Craig but I am also very pleased that someone with your experience and knowledge will bring some light to this debate. There is a concerted effort to conflate anti semitism with anti Israeli government actions particularly in Gaza. In addition the shameless and baseless accusations are a smokescreen for an attack on Corbyn and his allies. Good luck and thanks for taking up the challenge.

  • Herbie

    Too complicated.

    You need a slogan. And. Repeat, repeat, repeat…

    That’s how media discourse on these issues is conducted these days.

    Your slogans versus theirs.

    Your acusations versus theirs.

    You have to scalp the moral high ground out from under them and show them for the scum they are. That’s what they’ll be doing to you.

    It’s dog eat dog out there mate.

    • Shatnersrug

      How about “after the Hillsborough slurs and lies do you honestly believe the public at large believe what you have to say”

      All of this is clearly an attempt to drag interest away from one of the most mendacious lies of the last 30 years, is it even worth discussing Zionism – bring it back to the discredited Murdoch press at every opportunity.

  • N_

    @Craig – You will need an extra lot of good wishes from your friends, now you’ve given the other side a list of points to run through so they can tweak their prepared attacks on you. Or maybe you will be fiendishly clever and change the list to wrongfoot them? I don’t know where you will do the interview, but it wouldn’t surprise me if you get bearded by Zionist protesters before, during or after it.

    “a deliberate ploy by Israel” <- they'll pick on this.

    If you have got time, you could look at the work of the All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism and its associated Parliamentary Committee Against Antisemitism Foundation. The APPGAS's reports seem like something written by the Anti-Defamation League.

    The Commons Speaker's office has been under lobby control since one of the big Gaza massacres.

    My advice: focus on GAZA, GAZA, GAZA.

    "During the Israel-Gaza war of July and August 2014 there was a significant and unacceptable increase in antisemitic incidents in the UK.

    Yeah, right. No shit! They might as well call for a whip-round to help the concentration camp guards’ welfare fund.

    When Israel gets involved in a war – or in the case of Gaza, a massacre of civilians defended by incomparable flimsily-armed resistance fighters – large numbers of Jews around the world want to do their bit in support. A lot of their effort is in propaganda. Not all – there are many other kinds of support – but a lot. And of course they turn the ratchet. They want to make it impossible for any politician or anyone who aspires to an establishment position to say anything close to the truth about what’s going on, impossible for them even to use honest phrases such as “massacre” and “propaganda” and “civilians”, let alone “Jewish money”. This is the background to the all-party fuckers.

  • Summerhead

    I think you are walking into a trap Craig; cancel it. Anyone with an opinion on the matter is not going to be persuaded by Sky News.

    • Mark Golding

      Craig has conviction in my book Summerhead and hope in this instance is achievement and what better place is Sky News, a seat of lies and deception.

      To “obstruct, oppose” one has to visit Hell.

      • Summerhead

        I didn’t want to be rude but this is an important issue and some people come across better using the written word whilst not so well on the medium of television where success depends on communicating with people with the attention spans of starfish.

  • Loony

    Sky News has no interest in seeking to inform the public about anything. It is a rancid organization ruthlessly pursuing its own, ultimately nihilistic, agenda.

    I would not defecate in Sky News toilets much less appear on their inane programs.

    • Herbie


      Unless you’ve got an extremely cunning discursive plan, you’re wasting your time with these well practised liars and smear merchants.

    • James Dickins

      “Is it anti Semitic to say Jewish intellectuals behind Bolshevism, Marxism, Neoconservatism and Zionism?”

      It’s certainly a bit stupid and crude. With the exception of the last, these movements have drawn support from various religious and ethnic backgrounds. There are even neocons of Muslim background, e.g. Fareed Zakariya:

    • N_

      You’re right about Bolshevism, and you’d be right about Menshevism too. You could also add feminism (most of its leading figures have been Jewish) and also many non-political areas such as much of psychoanalysis. If you haven’t read it, I think you would enjoy Kevin MacDonald’s book The Culture of Critique.

      But I don’t know what you mean by “Marxism”. Karl Marx did not defend Jewish nationalism or any kind of Jewish “tribal” interest. Have you read his “On the Jewish Question“? He was a good boy, OK? 🙂

        • N_

          Jewish nationalists have used the concept of “anti-semitism” to shift the definition of “Jewish” from religious to “racial” (or, a word they sometimes use, “tribal”).

          If you take Jews living in the Arab world up until a few generations ago, they saw themselves as Arabs whose “Jewishness” meant that they belonged to the Jewish religion.

          Today’s tribalist Jews switch between “we’re a religious group” and “we’re an ethnic group” according to whatever’s in their interests.

          I remember a Guardian pullout on the distribution of different ethnic groups in Britain. There was an asterisk on the front page which directed readers to some small print saying that Jews weren’t included in the final report because they’re a religious group not an ethnic one. Obviously a ruling had been issued and delivered.

          “Judaism”, though, is certainly a religion – but an ethnic one, not a universal one like Christianity or Islam.

        • K Crosby

          It’s a religion, although some of those in favour of it and some of those against it call a race, despite the bleeding obvious consequences of Khazar conversion, diaspora miscegenation and modern genome studies which explode racism as a masturbatory fantasy. Being English, I don’t mind the tiny minority of religious people here as long as they don’t bore me with the details. Since most of the tiny minority of religious people here are pietists in the practice of their religion, they don’t.

        • K Crosby

          Obviously; you can play masturbatory games with words, use sophistry and casuistry but you’re either in the god squad or you aren’t.

          • K Crosby

            They can do as they please but either you’re into a religion or you aren’t, you can’t cop out when it’s inconvenient.

        • DomesticExtremist

          All atheists should qualify their atheism with what the society they were born into tried to nail into their brains before they were old enough to defend themselves intellectually.

      • N_

        Some atheists consider themselves to be Jewish, and among their number are some rabbis. I have always taken the view that a person is “Jewish” if and only if they consider themselves to be Jewish.

        Theodore Herzl, founder of the World Zionist Organisation, was an atheist. Do you think he wasn’t Jewish?

        Karl Marx wasn’t really an “atheist”. (Here and here). Being against religion isn’t the same as being an atheist. Nor is being in favour of the supersession of religion, or its realisation and suppression.

        Many so-called “Marxists” consider themselves to be Jewish and indeed in someone like Marcuse’s case, Zionist as well. (Marcuse may have written some good stuff, and supported Angela Davis, and so on, but he was an arsehole who supported the state of Israel and met with Moshe Dayan after the Six Day War.) Other “Marxists” (like me, for example) don’t support Zionism at all.

    • fred

      “Is it anti Semitic to say Jewish intellectuals behind Bolshevism, Marxism, Neoconservatism and Zionism?”

      It certainly can be, anti-Semitism is more about why something is said than what is said and if something is said for the wrong reasons then it being factual, as Ken Livingstone has found, is not a defence.

    • Summerhead

      All these isms are meaningless; the only isms that count are corporatism and (arguably the same thing) banksterism. And it would be jumped on as anti-Semitic by the usual suspects if we were to suggest the race/religion (I don’t know) of the majority who run banks and large corporations.

  • K Crosby

    When they interrupt you, ask them to stop, when they don’t, make their interruptions the point of your remarks. Forget any attempt to put across your point of view, filibuster them better than they flack you. Have a list of well-rehearsed spontaneous retorts like theirs but sexier – “Can I finish what I’m saying please?” “Why are you interrupting me?” and before they sign off, make sure the audience hear you say “Fuck off, yer red-nosed twat!”

    Seriously though, it’s a game you cannot win, but you can’t lose if you don’t play. If you try to move on instead of excoriating their conduct, you’re doomed.

    • N_

      Have a list of well-rehearsed spontaneous retorts like theirs but sexier – “Can I finish what I’m saying please?” “Why are you interrupting me?”

      With that kind of imaginative retort you’d be an amazingly sexy beast, K Crosby! 🙂

  • Dave Price

    Best of luck Craig. Some good advice from other contributors already. Keep calm, keep it simple and put the onus back on the other side. I expect you will need to be prepared to deal politely but firmly with one or more people shouting at you and over you.

    I noticed that MediaLens has been invited on to Newsnight tonight (they didn’t say whether they had accepted). I am slightly worried that this is all part of a ploy to get a sense of a crisis, and that you and anyone else who speaks out are simply being brought in to have someone to shout at and make it seem a real thing.


      • Herbie

        Bringing on internet bloggy people who aren’t fully of the current orthodoxy, further enables them to say that the internet is full of all this antisemitism and we need more powers to control it.

        So they get Corbyn and the internet all in one go.


  • nevermind

    Was Mrs Thatcher a terrorist sympathiser when she supported le Clerks SA Government, was she a fascist for supporting the fascist Pinochet?
    A fact spoken by Livingston is being turned into anti semitic slander.
    Quiet surprising how the issue of the Conservatives illegalities during elections have fallen off their battle bus and were squshed by the media’s turning wheels of Tory fortune.
    But, what are we going to replace the news of ruthless cheating with.
    Hmm, lets call anyone who is speaking out against Zionism an anti semit, shall we?
    Ensure that all our CfI’s/LfI’s are on red alert, to support the ‘get Corbyn ‘ campaign, after all this is their country now, isn’t it Lord Feldmann/Levy

    Zionism is equalled to SA Apartheid fascists, But Mrs Thatcher wasn’t called an anti semite or fascist as was in order, instead the media s..t themselves, the OBN media barons were not used to a woman PM, so they dare not call her anything.

    Zionists are violent towards other Semites such as Arabs, does that mean they are anti Semitic? and I can’t see for the heck of it what the difference is between them and the Nazi’s.

    How many children got incarcerated today?
    Were there any roadblocks taken away today to decrease the plight/fright of the Palestinians in any way?
    Why is Israel using IS murderers as a buffer against Syrian soldiers who might one day decided to re-open their administrative Government there?
    Will Israel defend IS terrorists who are fighting legitimate Syrian forces?

    And finally, what will the Electoral Commission do to punish those who have brought the law into disrepute, who won at least ten seats by means of breaking electoral law?

  • Republicofscotland

    They’ll ask you to condem the likes of Naz Shah and Ken Livingstone, and if you hesitate for one second, they’ll crucify you.

    They may even do an Andrew Neil on you and have names of party members who’ve mentioned Hitler on social media, with the intent of trying to draw some sort of three ringed circus of comments from you. Or have someone who opposes your view waiting to comment on a tv screen, like John Mann did to Livingstone.

    Make sure that getting your views across doesn’t end up tainting you, they done a excellent job on Livingstone, now people feel he’s anti-Semitic.

    I must add though it’s a brave or foolish man, who’d go into the lions den willingly. Though George Galloway has on occasion put Sky presenters, who were leading him, in their place so to speak, but generally the subject the you’re speaking on is a minefield.

    Good luck you’ll need it. ?

  • Tony_0pmoc

    Best wishes Craig. Try and practice it tonight with someone playing devil’s advocate. Then just clear your mind and do it. You’ll be fine.

  • giyane

    Reminds me of this poem
    The Twa Corbies

    As I was walking all alane,
    I heard twa corbies making a mane;
    The tane unto the t’other say,
    ‘Where sall we gang and dine to-day?’

    ‘In behint yon auld fail dyke,
    I wot there lies a new slain knight;
    And naebody kens that he lies there,
    But his hawk, his hound, and lady fair.

    ‘His hound is to the hunting gane,
    His hawk to fetch the wild-fowl hame,
    His lady’s ta’en another mate,
    So we may mak our dinner sweet.

    ‘Ye’ll sit on his white hause-bane,
    And I’ll pike out his bonny blue een;
    Wi ae lock o his gowden hair
    We’ll theek our nest when it grows bare.

    ‘Mony a one for him makes mane,
    But nane sall ken where he is gane;
    Oer his white banes, when they are bare,
    The wind sall blaw for evermair.’

  • Carol Jackson

    Please avoid use of the word Zionist. It has so many meanings nowadays that it will be taken to mean anything the interview chooses it to mean. It actually means nothing any more. For example, today Ken Livingston said Hitler was a Zionist because he wanted Jews to be deported to Palestine.

    • N_

      Zionism means the organisation, which functions under various names (“Israel”, “World Zionist Organisation”, etc.), or it means support for the existence of a Jewish state. Anti-Zionism means opposition to the existence of a Jewish state.

    • Doug Scorgie

      Come on Carol! The whole issue is about Zionism.
      Are you not a full shekel ?

  • Megemby

    I wish you the best, it’s somewhat of a suicide mission

    Lots of good advice amongst earlier comments, support basic human rights for all, ignore the mud that will be thrown.

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