Bigotry arises in whatever form society deems permissable. Rather than pointing out that another party is worse, we should be fighting prejudice wherever we see itby Rachel Shabi / July 19, 2018 / Leave a comment
A few months ago, Muslim leaders placed full-page ads in two broadsheets, the Telegraph and the Times, condemning antisemitism. The ads, stating that British Jews did not stand alone in the fight against antisemitism, came as the Labour party’s handling of the issue within its own ranks was dominating the national news (much as it is today).
After months of media-relayed accusation and denial over the issue—during which British Jews often felt like unwilling pawns in a political game—these ads were a welcome message of solidarity. They were also an echo of previous acts of collectivism, such as when Muslim and Jewish organisations jointly complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso) last year over a column in the Sun that referred to a “Muslim problem”.
This phrase, they noted, “harked back to the Nazi use of the phrase ‘The Jewish Problem’ in the last century, to which the Nazis responded with ‘The Final Solution’—the Holocaust.”
Such cross-faith unity shouldn’t be hard to comprehend. Racialised minorities know all too well that race-hate is a shape-shifter, attacking and scapegoating different groups interchangeably depending on the social standards of the day.
In 2011 the Conservative Baroness Sayeeda Warsi said that Islamophobia had “passed the dinner table test” of social acceptability in the UK. By that time, European far-right parties had, in attempts to rehabilitate and go mainstream, dropped the overt antisemitism and taken instead to hating Muslims and migrants.
Sometimes, though, antisemitism is too hard a habit to even pretend to break. Hungarian far-right prime minister Victor Orban’s attacks on philanthropist George Soros depict him not just as a “billionaire speculator” but as one who is trying to “Muslimise Europe.”
Such hateful scaremongering casts Muslims and Jews as united in a secret mission to destroy Christian Europe, by which, presumably, Easter eggs and Christmas trees will be banned, but bagels and falafel are fine (not together, though. Obviously.)
Earlier this month, Baroness Warsi reiterated her call to the UK Conservative party, of which she is former co-chair, to tackle the Islamophobia within its own ranks. In this, she is echoed by the Muslim Council of Great Britain and other Muslim groups.
There are ample examples to warrant the concern and calls for an inquiry—Warsi describes the scale…