Daily Mail

Anti-Semitism, football and that Daily Mail article

A guest post by Richard Millett

If you are at White Hart Lane today to see Spurs v West Ham you risk being arrested for singing “Yid Army” or “Yiddoes”, typical refrains of the Spurs faithful.

Not an ounce of malice is intended, but just because a few with fame and influence, like David Baddiel, have complained about “Yid” being used in this context the Metropolitan Police have taken a stand starting with today’s game.

I’m Jewish. I like hearing Spurs sing “Yid army”. No harm is intended. It is a bit of fun. Spurs have a lot of Jewish supporters and have a Jewish chairman, Jewish directors and once had a Jewish manager in David Pleat. Spurs fans are embracing that positively.

It is a far cry from calling someone a “dirty Yid” which is obviously racist. That prefix makes all the difference.

It is sad that the police have been taken in by Baddiel. When playing Spurs certain opposition fans chant “Spurs are on their way to Belsen” (some Leeds United fans) or hiss to imitate the sound of Zyklon B being thrown into the gas chambers by the Nazis (some Chelsea fans). That’s racism. Arrest those racist thugs, but not Spurs fans who intend no racism at all.

It’s not just Baddiel. The British public is being taken in by the likes of Owen Jones and Jonathan Freedland who are crying “anti-Semitism!” due to that Daily Mail article headlined “The Man Who Hated Britain” about Ralph Miliband, Ed Miliband’s father.

Ralph was Jewish. He was a refugee. He was a Communist thinker. Any of these three aspects have been deadly for Jews in the past, admittedly.

But, does this now mean that we cannot criticise a Jewish person with Ralph’s background, or any Jewish person?

This is Owen Jones:

“As others have pointed out, this whole episode reeks of anti-Semitism – of the rootless cosmopolitan Jew with contempt for his country, and so on.”

Even Ed Miliband who has spent the week coming to his father’s defence on radio, tv and in print, doesn’t sense any anti-Semitism in the affair, but to Jones it “reeks” of anti-Semitism? Wow!

Jonathan Freedland digs even deeper in his attempt to make the “anti-Semitic” label stick:

“This is why I…stopped at the reference in Tuesday’s editorial to “the jealous God of Deuteronomy.” That looked like another veiled pointer to both Miliband Sr’s indelible alienness – and his membership of an ancient, vengeful people.”

This is what the Mail actually wrote on that score:

“We do not maintain, like the jealous God of Deuteronomy, that the iniquity of the fathers should be visited on the sons. But when a son with prime ministerial ambitions swallows his father’s teachings, as the younger Miliband appears to have done, the case is different.”

So the Mail is using this biblical reference as an example of what generally shouldn’t happen. That’s all. Based on Freedland’s assertion we should now be careful lest we associate any biblical reference directly or indirectly with a Jewish person. How sad.

And Marc Goldberg is easily influenced by Daniel Trilling’s attack on the Mail in the New Statesman. Trilling writes “The subtext…is that there’s something foreign about Ed Miliband himself”. Goldberg empathises:

“..if even Ralph Miliband, the Marxist who left his Judaism way behind him and sired the head of the Labour Party could come under attack for not being British enough, then maybe the rest could too.”

Even Charles Moore accuses the Mail of “attacking a Jew”!

There are many other examples of this hyperbolic response to the Mail’s attack on Ralph Miliband. Commentators should attack real examples of anti-Semitism before trying to board the “it’s anti-Semitism!” bandwagon.

Alex Brummer, who is a journalist for the Mail, thinks apologies should be made by those who have suggested anti-Semitism by the Daily Mail. He’s right.

As Ed Miliband, himself, said when asked if the Daily Mail was being anti-Semitic:

“I’m always incredibly careful about throwing around the idea that the paper or somebody is anti-Semitic or racist unless there is real evidence for that.”

26 replies »

  1. I agree: I just see this as the Left using the charge of anti-Semitism as a cudgel against their enemy, the Daily Mail.

    I’m much more concerned about the usually baseless attacks against Israel from the Left, which I think are anti-Semitism in camouflage and truly reflect their bias.

  2. The Guardian is probably one of the very last possible media grouping in the UK that should be accusing another media grouping of Antisemitism.

    I don’t see its attack on Miliband as Antisemitism but it is disgusting attack anyway.

  3. Well, the piece of Daily Mail implicitly questions the patriotism, as understood by the right, of the Millibands. And the markers Jewish and Immigrant, the reproach of being not grateful to the country giving protection, education, job etc. are there.
    My answer would be that a Jewish Immigrant who served the Royal Navy in WWII had fulfilled his duty whatever his ideological views were.
    Misrepresentations of the father`s stance strengthen the suspicion that it is a vile attack on the Labour leader by confounding biography, immigration, Jewishness, ungratefulness, Stalinism, marxism and Labour with the end of British ownership due to dreadful taxation by marxists belonging to the Establishment.
    “Of course, both his sons went to the ‘Establishment’ Oxford University. And in recent times there have been embarrassing allegations involving how the ownership of the family house was altered – albeit perfectly legally – which experts say enabled his sons to avoid death duties.
    Hardly the behaviour of tax-loving socialists. ”
    “As his son, Red Ed – who lives less than a mile away from Highgate cemetery in a £1.6 million townhouse – talks of ‘socialism’ being the key word for the next Labour government, perhaps that ground is indeed now being prepared.”

    It certainly plays with all sorts of prejudices, antisemitism included.
    And clearly the defenders who are always ready to vilify everyone coming to the defense of Israel picked up the only defense strategy which was possible as the citations look accurate and the reproach of being part of the Establishment is ceratinly true.
    So we get both sides of hypocrisy concerning Antisemitism. No need to excuse either side.
    It reminds me of the vile Egypt discussion between liberals, the army and the Muslim brotherhood each accusing the other being a Zionist puppet.

  4. Ed Miliband didn’t notice Ken Livingstone’s anti-Semitism when he supported him for mayor.

    Owen Jones hasn’t taken a stand against anti-Semitism in his own newspaper, ‘The Independent’ (Dave Brown’s cartoons, Robert Fisk’s ‘United States of Israel’ article).

    And Jonathan Freedland certainly hasn’t bothered opposing anti-Semitic bile in his own newspaper, ‘The Guardian’.

    Daniel Trilling also doesn’t appear to have been bothered by ‘Kosher Conspiracy’ and other stories in his own paper.

    I think we can therefore judge for ourselves how seriously the above consider anti-Jewish hatred.

    I would use that biblical quote about motes and beams, but I suspect that might be taken as a sign that I, too, have a problem with British Jews (sarcasm off).

  5. That’s all. Based on Freedland’s assertion we should now be careful lest we associate any biblical reference directly or indirectly with a Jewish person.

    Not true at all.

    Imagine that very same (Mail) article had appeared in the Guardian.

    Would CiFWatch publish two pieces defending it from charges of anti-Semitism?
    Would it not comment on the issue?
    Or would it perhaps publish two articles accusing the Guardian of anti-Semitism?

    • Obviously the piece at Daily Mail is used to improve Al Guardian`s own stance on Antisemitism, as CifWatch decoded a lot of Antisemitsm in those articles concerning Israel.
      Hypocrites using the Jewish issue to their own ends are quite common.

      • CifWatch decoded a lot of Antisemitsm in those articles concerning Israel

        Ern, no. I don’t think so.

    • I agree Pretz. I also disagree with Richard Millett about the use of the “y word” on the football terraces. The whole reason Baddiel and others are campaigning against it is because they are not Tottenham fans, and they hear the “negative” use of the phrase from their own fellow fans as I do when I go to watch The Arsenal play.

      The Spurs fans’ casual use of the word provides a ready-made and unanswerable excuse to the fans of Leeds, Chelsea, West ham and others to sing horrible things about “yids”. It makes me – a Jewish Gooner – extremely uncomfortable when I hear the word chantedby other Gooners. The only way to cut thaqt out is for Tottenham to stop using the word themselves.

      • Arrest the real racists, those who sing about Belsen. You are taking the easy way out. I thought the law tends to punish malicious intent. Why is this campaign not to stop fans singing about Belsen or hissing? It’s the wrong way round.

      • Labenal,
        I can see your point but I have to agree with Richard on the football bit.
        The term Yid Army is part and parcel with Tottenham and is something that echos support, defiance and courage under years of hate.
        We will not be silenced, we will not bow down and walk away.
        There will always be idiots and haters who will abuse whatever name is given.

        You want to change something write to your boss, Wenger, and ask him to come out publically against the offensive chants.
        Then sit back and watch the French sport of running away (sarcasm…).

      • It won`t go away if Spurs stops it, all others will continue to call them names and to hiss.
        More important is the point brought up in the discussion of Ajax

        “”A lot of Jews all over the world believe that Ajax fans are proud to call themselves Jews, but it’s a kind of hooliganism,” he said.”
        “Nonetheless, the club became identified in the public mind with Jews in the 1950s, and by the 1970s, opposing fans began to call Ajax supporters Jews. The supporters adopted the identity in a spirit of defiance.

        Jaakke said the trend has bothered the club’s management for the past 10 years, and many Jewish supporters have complained that it makes them uncomfortable. Finally, last year, during a period of national debate about the language being used in soccer stadiums, the board decided to take the opportunity to address the issue. One of the main catalysts for that debate was not anti-Semitic chants, but chants calling the well-known girlfriend of an Ajax player a prostitute.”

        Another point of view
        On Tottenham

  6. “or hiss to imitate the sound of Zyklon B being thrown into the gas chambers by the Nazis (some Chelsea fans).”

    That would be Arsenal scam…
    Plenty of those even if they have Jews in their supporters and board.

  7. Richard: “So the Mail is using this biblical reference as an example of what generally shouldn’t happen. That’s all.”

    No, that is not all.
    One must ask himself why use that reference at all?
    When writing such an article which could be seen as racially charged you would expect the editor to walk on egg shells.
    This was obviously not the case.
    There was no need to use an old testament phrase to have a dig at a Jewish refugee.
    Every word was calculated in that shambles of an article by the mail and it was lowest journalism of the low.
    i’m sorry there are no excuses in my opinion.
    And assuming Anti Semitism was at play is hardly far fetched – even if on a sub conscience level.

      • No Richard, one should not.
        But one should be vigillant, as editors do, about potential misunderstandings.

        Ask yourself this; Was there a need for the biblical reference in this sentence?
        Did it add any value to the sentence that could not have been added in other means?
        Can it be misrepresented by potential readers?
        I think you know what I’m getting at.

        As for your defence it is routinly being used about AntiSemitism being directed at Israel rallies and in places where Israeli History is being debated.
        Of all the people I should think you would recognise this.
        Let’s agree to disagree on this one.

        • Well, at anti-Israel rallies where they call for the end of Israel and say other dreadful things there is a clear case for calling it anti-Semitism. No?
          I agree the biblical reference was totally unnecessary, but then so are many words used in journalism. Most people use things like this to make themselves sound clever and to give their articles more gravitas. I don’t want to misrepresent the average Daily Mail reader but do you really think they would have perceived this biblical reference as shorthand for “be careful he’s a Jew”? I doubt it.

  8. It seems a Spurs fan was indeed arrested for using the term ‘Yid’. Seems a bit silly within the context, although I do see ItsikDeWembley’s and Labenal’s point.