@Baddiel lectures his readers on Anti-Semitism of the ‘progressive variety’ = The Labour Party of Jeremy Corbyn and its stand-in Dawn Butler, in the TLS. Political Observer comments. (Revised, January 30, 2021)

Here is an excerpt from Mr. Beddiel’s book, as it appears in the TLS:

‘Left out
On the insidious, pervasive, exclusionary nature of ‘progressive’ antisemitism’

Even Anthony Julius, the most trenchant Eliot critic? in his book ‘T. S. Eliot: Anti-semitism and literary form’ receives its due, as argued by Mr. Baddiel.


Time for a more classic literary example: on New Year’s Day 2017, BBC Radio 4 broadcast Jeremy Irons reading from the complete collection of T. S. Eliot’s poems, almost in their entirety. And this meant the inevitable inclusion of the following lines from “Gerontion” (1920):

My house is a decayed house,
And the Jew squats on the window sill, the owner,
Spawned in some estaminet of Antwerp,
Blistered in Brussels, patched and peeled in London.

And, from “Burbank with a Baedeker: Bleistein with a Cigar” (1920):

The rats are underneath the piles.
The Jew is underneath the lot.

I remember listening, and wondering how the BBC would get round this. When it came to these particular poems, they enlisted the help of Anthony Julius, a Jewish lawyer, and the author of T. S. Eliot: Anti-semitism and literary form (1995), who prefaced the readings with his theory of how the highly prevalent, fashionable antisemitism of the time informed and possibly even enhanced Eliot’s work. To simplify considerably, Julius believes that Eliot was such a great poet that he could – almost uniquely, although there is of course The Merchant of Venice – make antisemitism into art.

I wrote to Julius after this because I think his position is wrong. I’m an Eliot fan, but I think the poetry does not redeem the hatred. We ended up some time later having lunch and talking about it for three hours (a very, if I might say, Jewish reaction to the whole thing). But none of this shook off the feeling I had, on that New Year’s Day 2017, that, however great the writer, however great the writing, no other minority group would be compared to rats, or envisaged as any similar negative racist stereotype, on Radio 4. It is not inconceivable that the BBC might read a whole Agatha Christie book on New Year’s Day. It is, however, inconceivable that anyone will hear Jeremy Irons’ voice saying, “And now, Ten Little N****rs”.

The curious reader need look to a Sunday 24 February 2019 essay/news report in the Independent.

Headline: Blackface still dominates pop culture – but feigning ignorance is no longer an excuse

Sub-headline: We may not readily admit it, but for all the self-assuredness with which we celebrate British comedy, blackface has played a curiously prominent role in it for much longer than we realise, writes Kuba Shand-Baptiste

David Baddiel also famously blacked up in Fantasy Football, playing footballer Jason Lee, who was subjected to racist abuse over his dreadlocks at the time. The list goes on, from slightly forgotten, but no less bold examples like Facejacker to disputed caricatures like The Mighty Booshs dreadlocked Spirit of Jazz or Howlin’ Jimmy Jefferson, based on the voodoo loa (god) Baron Samedi.

https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/tv/features/blackface-gucci-prada-ant-and-dec-emmerdale-comedy-little-britain-a8792616.html?r=32303

The next article is from the 8 Apr 2010 Guardian:

Headline: David Baddiel on The Infidel: ‘I’m not worried about a backlash’

Sub-headline: My film is a buddy movie, and it comes from a place of love, warmth and affection

It’s not my job to promote interfaith dialogue and tolerance – I’m not a community relations officer – but I do think the movie comes from a place of love and warmth and affection, and that laughter is a good way to make people feel less tense about their status in a multicultural society. What the film is really saying is that our cultural identity can’t be easily defined.

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2010/apr/08/david-baddiel-the-infidel-film


The Corporate Press’ hostility to Corbyn is a fact, so the attack on one of his loyalists, or thought to be loyalists, is unsurprising! From February 24, 2019, written by Dominic Sandbrook is pure political hysteria mongering!

Headline: Review: Dangerous Hero: Corbyn’s Ruthless Plot for Power by Tom Bower — portrait of a monomaniac

Sub-headline: If Jeremy Corbyn became prime minister, he would easily be the most dangerous, most indolent and least intelligent holder of the office in history

This is one of the most depressing books I have ever read. It is a forensically detailed portrait of a man with no inner life, a monomaniac suffused with an overwhelming sense of his own righteousness, a private schoolboy who failed one A-level and got two Es in the others, a polytechnic dropout whose first wife never knew him to read a book.

It is the story of a man who does not appear to have gone to the cinema or listened to music, takes no interest in art or fashion and refused to visit Vienna’s magnificent Schönbrunn Palace because it was “royal”. It tells how he bitterly opposed the Anglo-Irish Agreement, deeply regretted the fall of the Berlin Wall and praised the men who attacked New York on September 11, 2001, for showing an “enormous amount of skill”. In some parallel universe, this man would currently be living in well-deserved obscurity. In reality, Jeremy Corbyn is the leader of Her Majesty’s opposition and the bookmakers’ favourite to become our next prime minister.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/review-dangerous-hero-corbyns-ruthless-plot-for-power-by-tom-bower-portrait-of-a-monomaniac-8x0spp3d8

David Baddiel writes ‘history made to measure’ or more pointedly propaganda! That allows him to the play the victim of prejudice/oppression. The Jew as Eternal Victim of oppression, rather that the actual political role he plays. As the practitioner of oppression, in the self-serving role as defender of a version of political rationalism. This might appear to be circular, or even contradictory, to some. Propaganda is never about argument , but about emotional manipulation: Black and Muslim stereotypes, are the foundational caricatures of both his ‘comedy’ and his politics. Neither can rise above their assigned places, in his ‘world view’.

Political Reporter

_________________________________________________________________

Added January 30, 2021:

Read this January 31, 2017 interview with Anthony Julius on the question of Anti-Semitism in Britain, and the Labour Party, headed by Jeremy Corbyn, is explored. David Baddiel’s quarrel with Julius is confined to his Eliot book?

Julius fell out of love with the party even before Corbyn came on the scene, switching to the Liberal Democrats in 2015 “because I had no conviction young Miliband was going to make a good fist of being prime minister”.

Would Corbyn?

Julius laughs at the suggestion: “He’s not a leader of a party I would want to support.”

While Corbyn’s supporters keenly point to his record of fighting against racism, his critics say he too blithely looks past the antisemitism of those he considers allies. So, was Julius not surprised by the anti-Zionist and antisemitic stuff coming out of the Labour party last year?

“No, because I had studied the question of left antisemitism generally, and knew something about the provenance of the new leadership of the party including associated groups, political friends, and so on,” he says. “So the sense of being given permission to [express] that kind of language and sentiment was so strong.”

And where was that permission coming from?

“It seemed to me to be tacitly sanctioned by the new leadership. I don’t mean that anyone asked permission to say these things, but that there was a sense of: ‘What a relief: what we want to say is now also being said – or has been said – by the leadership, too.’”

It’s interesting that Corbyn and George Galloway have been so happy to appear on Russia Today and Iran’s Press TV in the past, I say. So, on the one hand you have Donald Trump sucking up to Putin and, on the left, you have Corbyn on Russian state TV.

“Yes, the French say the extremes touch each other. But I’m not even sure if it’s reasonable to talk about the left any more,” he says. “There isn’t a left. You get the sense that our deepest-held categories through which we see the world are ephemeral.”

And what does he think of Trump, who hires people from Breitbart, which peddles antisemitic headlines, and works closely with his orthodox Jewish son-in-law?

“I think one can only make sense of it if one abandons all conventional categories, the left and right categories,” he says.

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/jan/31/denial-lawyer-anthony-julius-on-antisemitism-and-the-age-of-extremes

But note that Anti-Corbyn hysteric Jonathan Freedland calls Julius out on the vexing question of ‘Zionist excesses’ :

Julius fell out of love with the party even before Corbyn came on the scene, switching to the Liberal Democrats in 2015 “because I had no conviction young Miliband was going to make a good fist of being prime minister”.

Would Corbyn?

Julius laughs at the suggestion: “He’s not a leader of a party I would want to support.”

While Corbyn’s supporters keenly point to his record of fighting against racism, his critics say he too blithely looks past the antisemitism of those he considers allies. So, was Julius not surprised by the anti-Zionist and antisemitic stuff coming out of the Labour party last year?

“No, because I had studied the question of left antisemitism generally, and knew something about the provenance of the new leadership of the party including associated groups, political friends, and so on,” he says. “So the sense of being given permission to [express] that kind of language and sentiment was so strong.”

And where was that permission coming from?

“It seemed to me to be tacitly sanctioned by the new leadership. I don’t mean that anyone asked permission to say these things, but that there was a sense of: ‘What a relief: what we want to say is now also being said – or has been said – by the leadership, too.’”

It’s interesting that Corbyn and George Galloway have been so happy to appear on Russia Today and Iran’s Press TV in the past, I say. So, on the one hand you have Donald Trump sucking up to Putin and, on the left, you have Corbyn on Russian state TV.

“Yes, the French say the extremes touch each other. But I’m not even sure if it’s reasonable to talk about the left any more,” he says. “There isn’t a left. You get the sense that our deepest-held categories through which we see the world are ephemeral.”

And what does he think of Trump, who hires people from Breitbart, which peddles antisemitic headlines, and works closely with his orthodox Jewish son-in-law?

“I think one can only make sense of it if one abandons all conventional categories, the left and right categories,” he says.

Well, perhaps. But surely we have to acknowledge Israel’s power.

“We must acknowledge Israel’s power,” he bursts out, as though the issue were so obvious it hardly needs mentioning. “We must also acknowledge the suffocatingly short-termist perspectives of Israel towards the Palestinians. I mean, you just can’t look at the political situation in Israel without despairing, without feeling acute anxiety,” he says, rubbing his eyes sadly.

What seems to have escaped the notice of Julius is that Corbyn has been unapologetic,in his support of the Palestinians. The invincible lawyer facade recedes, just enough, into the equivocation of ‘the new leadership‘, subject to a bit of politic reductionism?

Suggested reading: ‘Eliot and the Jews’ by Louis Menand in the June 6, 1996 issue of The New York Review of Books.

About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.' https://www.lrb.co.uk/v15/n20/perry-anderson/diary
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