Did we like it?
Right wrong subject, wrong right-wing presenter (Richard Littlejohn), in which the disturbing rise in anti-Semitism in Britain was juggled about in the hands of a man whose mission in life is to come up with more and more tenuously ingenious ways of lambasting the liberal left until it was aligned with his own prejudice.
What was good about it?
• When he stuck to the facts and simply reported his findings, Richard Littlejohn was acceptable as a TV presenter. He listened to how a rabbi was beaten up by a gang of thugs because of his faith, and he also visited a Manchester school which had been the target of abuse and violence that now has bomb-proof windows to deter attacks.
• He also did a pretty good job of nailing the myth of The Protocols of The Elders of Zion, a fabrication that is the root for the disinformation spread about how Judaism controls the world.
• The point Littlejohn made that Israel attracts plenty of criticism yet it is the only democracy in the region, while the surrounding despotisms inflict equally, if not more so, appalling human rights abuses on their citizens yet escape censure because they do not have a free press; essentially meaning Israel is exclusively penalised for its relative liberty.
• The most enlightening part of the programme was the account of how Oswald Mosley’s Blackshirts were repelled from a provocative march through the East End of London by an alliance of immigrant Jews and anti-fascists. At this moment, we believed that the notorious Littlejohn was going to be able to present a show without any of his own personal bugbears slithering into view.
• Littlejohn’s exposure of those people who seek to justify their anti-Semitism because of what they see as Israel’s actions towards Palestine; actions as abhorrent as reactionary tabloid journalists using the recent convictions of Islamic terrorists as a very big stick with which to beat all immigrants, illegal or otherwise.
• Former editor of the New Statesman Peter Wilby’s admission that his magazine’s cover story Kosher Conspiracy illustrated by a Star of David stabbed into a Union Flag was a misguided attempt to analyse the influence of Jews on Great Britain. He also refuted Littlejohn’s allegation that the left uses Israel as “a cloak” for its anti-Semitism; Wilby suggested the “vehemence” against Israel sometimes spilled over into anti-Semitism rather than being a cloak itself.
What was bad about it?
• Littlejohn’s glowering smugness whenever he mentioned that he was spearheading a campaign to highlight the rise in anti-Semitism despite not being Jewish himself, as if this somehow absolved the inflammable ire he has belched up in tabloid newspapers for decades.
• At one point he ambled towards the camera claiming: “I’ve just been in that newsagent’s over there to buy tonight’s copy of the Evening Standard”, a trip in which he also managed to pick up the Arabic version of Mein Kampf. A translation of this episode might have been: “I just trawled through every newsagent in South London in an effort to discover some evidence that agrees with my edict that anti-Semitism is widespread amongst Muslims. And I bought a copy of the Evening Standard as a weak cover story.”
• Littlejohn quite rightly was derisive towards the absurdity of a ‘Jewish conspiracy’; a theory propagated by the Russians to denounce the Communist uprising at the start of the last century that claimed that Jews effectively controlled the world. It’s ridiculous, therefore, for himself to propagate a similarly dubious ‘conspiracy theory’ about his despised ‘liberal left’s’ “unholy alliance” with “Islamic extremists” for which the only evidence he offered was plenty of blustered extrapolation and wishful thinking. His disgust for his favourite targets was palpable striding through Islington with the bile almost dripping from the sides of his mouth as he deplored it as “Guardianista central”.
• The only evidence presented of any member of the ‘liberal left’ acting in any-thing that could be deemed approaching an improper manner was George Gallo-way bellowing nonsense at some rally he’d hi-jacked, but his accusations never stretched beyond his vilification of Israel. And besides, Galloway is the worst kind of socialist; a rancorous toad addicted to egotism rather than altruism who savours the thought that at the end of each and every one of his puerile diatribes one hundred deluded students might rush home to log on to the internet to update his profile on Wikipedia to call for his summary beatification.
• Observer journalist Nick Cohen wrote an article advocating the invasion of Iraq, but was soon besieged by a wave of virulent emails slating him for offering an opinion that didn’t agree with theirs and risibly accusing him of being myopically partial towards Israel because of his Jewish name. The problem here was that Cohen claimed that all the emails came from “white leftists”. If he knew them all personally, fine, but we would have liked to hear their side of the story. However, if he didn’t know them, how did he ascertain their ethnicity and political viewpoint? Did they each attach a photograph and a 200 word document on their ideology as if applying for the next series of Big Brother? Or did he simply wave a couple of divining rods that locate ‘white leftists’ in the general direction of his monitor?
• Cohen also seemed to exist in his own conceited bubble of self-delusion about the protests that followed the conflict between Hezbollah and Israel last year. Adopting the George W Bush dogma of ‘you’re either with us or against us’, Cohen scorned the march to plead with Israel to stop its assault on the Palestinians. “It was quite a sight to see white left-wingers marching through London with banners all saying ‘We Are Hezbollah Now’.” Firstly, aside from a few morons appropriating the march to further their own squalid political doctrines, the majority of the people would haven been on the march to halt the killing of civilians not in support of Hezbollah. And secondly, rather than “banners all saying ‘We Are All Hezbollah Now’”, we counted two with most of the others saying such things as ‘Blair Out’.
• In fact, the march was if anything a back-handed compliment to the Israeli government as there was at least the hope that it, either through its own conscience, pressure from allies or democratic accountability, would listen to the protests and halt the bombardment. Any such protest demanding Hezbollah do the same would have been an exercise in concise futility, as demonstrated by the admirable but forlorn efforts to free Alan Johnston through similar rallies.
• While crass and stupid, especially given the target was Jewish, Ken Livingstone’s accusation that a journalist was “a concentration camp guard” was to more to illustrate the journalist’s vindictive behaviour as the servile tool of a malevolent organisation who refuses to take any sense of personal responsibility for his actions, rather than overt anti-Semitism.
• While Littlejohn’s haste to recklessly extrapolate Livingston’s noxious tactlessness and shovel the blame for the rise in anti-Semitism on him and his liberal ilk contradicted his earlier and correct viewpoint of the idiocy of those people who blamed British Jews for all of Israel’s perceived misdeeds.