Another word which has gained a new meaning in the present decade, along with ‘vulnerable’ and ‘diverse’: survivor. Once it meant a person who had been transported to Auschwitz but somehow came out alive. Or a person who had been involved in a terrible car crash but had escaped with only a broken neck. Today it means someone whose nipple was perhaps gently tweaked by a light entertainment star 40 years ago. Or someone who was mildly and almost certainly justifiably bullied at school.
I’m also getting a little weary of the elephant in the room. It has become for me, when talking about transformative grammar, the elephant in the room. I heard a woman on Radio 4 say: ‘Well, the thing is, Sarah, there are so many elephants in the room.’ More elephants in the room than there are in the wild, I suspect.
The woman had made reference to the hidden pachyderms while lecturing us all about some form of discrimination I hadn’t previously known existed. This was ‘colourism’, which is the tendency of some mixed race people to be sneering about other mixed race people who have darker skin than them. The woman on the radio said we needed to have a ‘conversation’ about colourism. But that’s another word which is beginning to be denuded of its original meaning — i.e., a two-way discourse. The woman didn’t mean that. By ‘conversation’ she meant to harangue you at great length until the spittle was dripping off your chin. She then started jabbering about skin-bleaching products, which she didn’t like one bit. Hell, I felt like telling her, leave them alone, they’re just aspirational products.
We need to switch these new clichés about, these nonce words and neologisms, subvert them a little. So let me suggest right now that the Labour party is a small room in the large elephant of anti-Semitism. The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, has noticed this particular elephant in must, stamping around the Fatherland, and she put it down, accurately enough, to the presence of lots of Arabs. The Germans have a little form themselves when it comes to anti-Semitism, of course, and sometimes feel a bit embarrassed accusing other people of the same tendency. But Merkel was surely right, given that she let them all in. French politicians have been saying much the same thing. It is a very large elephant, anti–Semitism, and it has big tusks.
The Labour party, meanwhile, continues to pretend that there is not really any anti-Semitism in the party, despite the appalling stories of abuse meted out both to Jewish MPs (such as Luciana Berger) and non–Jewish MPs, such as John Mann, who had the gall to stick up for Jewish MPs. This is all a confected outrage, the leadership insists. And when you prod and pry a little deeper at this assertion you find out that they mean it’s the Jews behind it. They don’t quite say that, but it’s what they mean. I was kicked out of the party a year or so back for having suggested that the rising tide of anti–Semitism within Labour was a consequence of its growing Muslim membership and also the radical, white, pro-Palestinian far left (which of course now runs the party). We know why the Muslims are anti-Jewish — it’s all there in Muhammad’s hadiths and in the Quran. But how have the whiteys got themselves transformed into racist bigots?
It has been a gradual journey for them, I think. It began with the left’s Cold War allegiances (anti-Israel and anti-western) and was sharpened by the often virulent anti-Semitism which came out of the black liberation movement in the USA during the 1960s and 1970s, especially the Nation of Islam, which counted the now-revered (by liberal idiots) scumbag Malcolm X. And it is honed today by the poisonous stuff these halfwits pick up when they are hanging around the various pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel campaigns, both online and, weary-ingly, outside the Israeli embassy.
Take just one example: the BDS movement. This stands for Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions, and it aims to denude Israel and Israelis of money, prestige, recognition, employment and, in the end, its existence. The BDS will tell you that it is anti-Zionist, not anti-Jewish. But it is explicitly anti-Jewish. One of the things it has been quite successful in campaigning for is stopping Israeli academics taking up posts, or speaking, in western universities. It has been successful in this because paradoxically, you might think, our universities are stuffed with some of the most stupid people on God’s earth and they have been cheerful signatories to this racism.
But BDS does not actually mean ‘Israeli’ academics. It means only Jewish academics. It is quite clear about this. Arabs who live in Israel are specifically exempted from their repulsive bullying: the boycott is just for the Jews. And the British far left, not terribly bright, goes along with this business and eventually starts parroting it itself, eventually recycling the old conspiracy myths, the blood libel, the Jews controlling everything.
You may remember that a bunch of ‘senior academics’ (they were nothing of the kind, as Douglas Murray has hilariously detailed on The Spectator’s website) signed a letter which insisted that the claims of anti-Semitism within the Labour party were cooked up by Corbyn’s enemies and had no basis in fact. One of the signatories, Jane Dipple from Winchester ‘university’, whose field of expertise is zombies (I kid you not), has since been suspended by Labour … for anti-Semitic posts she had made on pro-Palestinian social media sites. Including one site which reproduced articles from The Daily Stormer, an American neo-Nazi publication.
That’s how it happens with the lefties. If you bathe in excrement, you’ll end up smelling of it.
Rod Liddle will be in conversation with Fraser Nelson at the London Palladium on 15 May. Tickets are on sale now.