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Sunday 6 October 2013

Daily Mail Anti-Semitism Smokescreen

After parts of their attack on Ralph Miliband were called out for anti-Semitism, the Daily Mail characteristically put up veteran City Editor Alex Brummer, Jewish “in the Orthodox tradition”, as he puts it, to rubbish such suggestions, put the boot into his former paper, the deeply subversive Guardian, and conveniently apportion all blame for the attacks on “the Left”.
Who're you f***ing calling prejudiced, c***?!?

All of which will chime with long-time Mail watchers: the idea of rebutting attacks by saying “but look who we employ, we can’t be prejudiced” is a well-worn staple of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre. As Nick Davies pointed out in Flat Earth News, when the Mail wanted to run a story on calls for a new investigation into Stephen Lawrence’s murder, they put their only black reporter, Hal Austin, on the case.

Why should that be? Ah well. At first, the line handed down by the Vagina Monologue was of hostility to those calls. It was only after Austin had interviewed Neville Lawrence that the latter figured out he knew Dacre, contacted him, the line was changed, and the Mail’s fortunate and beneficial campaign against the initial injustice over the Lawrence murder began.

More recently, when the Mail wants to kick gay people, especially those with a public profile, it uses Andrew Pierce, who can speak “as a gay man. So there can’t be any prejudice, you see, because if the paper was truly homophobic, it would not employ Pierce. This may sound crude and simplistic, because that is what the Mail’s tactic is. And Brummer has seriously demeaned himself by defending it.

Worse, as he must know, the most severe accusations of anti-Semitism have come not from “the Left”, but the conservative Jewish Chronicle: the idea that Martin Bright is some kind of leftist really does take the biscuit. Brummer fails to identify the difference between papers using an anti-Semitic slant – as the attacks on Ralph Miliband appear on occasion to do – and being organisationally prejudiced.

Brummer might also reflect on the Mail’s editorial, where it toldWe 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”. Old Testament God and bad blood. Now there’s an interesting one.

I do not dispute Alex Brummer’s assertion that many Jewish people work at the Mail. The paper also employs Black and Asian people. It employs gay men. It probably also employs followers of The Prophet, but that doesn’t stop the slew of Muslim-bashing copy. It is sad not just to see Brummer so wilfully missing the point, but also that he has allowed Paul Dacre to use him in this way.

On the “whiff” of anti-Semitism, the point stands. Get over it, Mail people.

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