I recently watched Dr David Cumin and you debate your respective “Perspectives on Israel”.
At the event you not only dismissed charges of antisemitism against you personally but also the general accusation that antisemitism is the engine of much of the anti-Israel movement. You told the crowd that when people who single out the Jewish state for destruction and falsely blame Israel for all manner of egregious sins are challenged as modern peddlers of an ancient hatred, this is an orchestrated campaign run by Jews to silence critics of Israel.
Your evidence for this was a single 2003 interview with a disgruntled far-Left Israeli MP, Shulamit Aloni, which you claim brought into the sunlight what you refer to as “The Trick”.
I wonder if you will be able to dismiss the following Tweets so easily.
I recently tangled with a colleague of yours on Twitter. Neil Scott – secretary of your new Palestinian Solidarity Network group. I was drawn into the fray by his serial harassment of members of the local Jewish community, which included the spewing of his customary bile on a thread in which a representative was wishing the Indian community a happy Diwali.
A class act.
Neil Scott’s Tweets (and these are merely a selection) aren’t just far-Right adjacent, John; they are neo-Nazi tropes that could have been taken, without a word changed, from the notorious White Supremacist website The Daily Stormer. In fact, I very quickly found the same ideas expressed by Scott on the “Jewish Problem” part of the Daily Stormer site.
Neil Scott is the secretary of the supposedly well-intentioned anti-Israel group that you chair. Yet here he is expressing views indiscernible from those presented on the world’s most infamous White Supremacist website.
John, do you in any way endorse the views expressed by your group’s secretary, Neil Scott?
I’ve heard it opined that the political spectrum is not a straight line but more of a horseshoe or even a circle where the fringes – if you travel far enough – will eventually meet. Surely this is the case with Scott, who breaks with the Left and sits unequivocally on the racist Hard-Right when it comes to Jews. But you also freely promote the far-Right idea that antisemitism is cynically used by Jews, at every level, to distract from Jewish crimes. You have justified the murder of Israelis and denied Palestinian terrorism, and openly present as the goal of your activism the end of Jewish self-determination. The end of Jewish power. The end of our ultimate means of self-defense, which you frequently present as a rare evil.
What Scott’s Tweets, and more than a few moments in your performance vs. Dr Cumin have taught me is that trying to define far-Right off far-Left antisemitism is a mug’s game. The othering of Jews and the perpetuation of conspiracy theories about what is still a beleaguered minority in most parts of the world is a total and complete departure from the humanist foundations of the Left. As far as I’m concerned you have a mountain of work to do to convince me you don’t have a neo-Nazi lieutenant in Neil Scott. The real question is, how much of this thought do you, and the wider movement, share?
Dane is a comedy writer (creator of Find Me A Maori Bride), and a member of the NZ Jewish community.