Only five months ago, Jewish Chronicle editor Stephen Pollard asked the Board of Deputies of British Jews if it really wanted to engage with the Labour Party. For Pollard, even making contact with The Red Team was out of the question, and he was more than prepared to go Over The Top in imposing his world view on anyone thinking otherwise.
Today, the boot is firmly on the other foot, as the BoD has passed severely adverse comment on the JC, telling “[The Jewish Chronicle’s] fearless journalism has been at the forefront of tackling antisemitism & its denial. The publication of this piece was an error. Anti-Muslim prejudice is very real & it is on the rise. Our community must stand as allies to all facing racism”. So what was the article to which the BoD had taken exception?
To no surprise at all, this was a piece by Melanie “not just Barking but halfway to Upminster” Phillips, headlined “Don’t fall for bogus claims of ‘Islamophobia’ … ’The taunt of Islamophobia is used to silence any criticism of the Islamic world, including Islamic extremism.’” Pollard, being of less than perfect courage, had to use quote marks there.
There are the usual false assumptions, such as “Anti-Zionism is the modern mutation of antisemitism with which it shares the same, unique characteristics of deranged and obsessive falsehoods, demonic conspiracy theory and double standards. It is furthermore an attack on Judaism itself, in which the land of Israel is an inseparable element”. Bullshit. Zionism and Judaism are not the same. Else how does she explain Christian Zionism?
Stephen Pollard, editor of the JC ...
Her historical illiteracy extends to this gem: “‘Islamophobia’ was invented by the Muslim Brotherhood to mimic antisemitism”. As Islamophobia was definitively defined by 1923, and the Muslim Brotherhood was founded five years later, that’s a hard sell.
... and his less than fair and balanced pundit
But do go on. “‘Islamophobia’ appropriates to itself the unique attribute of antisemitism - that it is deranged - in order falsely to label any adverse comment about the Islamic world as a form of mental disorder”. No. It just describes anti-Muslim bigotry. “The concept of ‘Islamophobia’ is thus profoundly anti-Jew”. Again, no. Doesn’t follow. And then the pièce de résistance: “‘Islamophobia’ is not equivalent to antisemitism. It facilitates it”.
Calling out anti-Muslim prejudice enables anti-Semitism? No. Worse, the Board of Deputies is late to the party, and should know it. As Miqdaad Versi of the Muslim Council of Britain has pointed out, “We should not be surprised by the Jewish Chroncile - it's not the first time. When many Muslims were reeling after the massacre in Christchurch, they published a similar hate-filled piece by Melanie Phillips”. There was more.
“They lied about the [MCB] & had to correct their lie … They lied about a Muslim charity, falsely linking it to terrorism, necessitating an apology and paying libel damages … When Baroness Warsi speaks up against Islamophobia in the Conservative Party, its editor tries to slur her … In one of a *number of articles* intending to undermine the definition of Islamophobia, it made false claims of links to extremism, about Professor Salman Sayyid, which it had to retract … This latest article is not a one-off but part of a pattern of behaviour - an editorial line on Muslim-related issues as the thread shows”.
At least the BoD has called this one out. Pity it won’t have any effect on Pollard or Mel.
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