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The woke wing of Hamas

From London to New York, young radicals have become footsoldiers of Jew hatred.

Brendan O'Neill

Brendan O'Neill
chief political writer

Topics Identity Politics Politics UK

Can we call them hate marches now? On Saturday in London there was yet another gathering of frothing Israelophobes. Another noisy assembly of bourgeois leftists and radical Islamists. Another long trudge through the city by that unholiest gang of Waitrose shoppers and jihad fanboys, of plummy liberals and the people who’ll be giving them a hundred lashes if the Islamic Revolution ever sweeps Britain. And this time the mask was well and truly off. This was no ‘pro-Palestine’ march – it was a viscerally anti-Israel march that frequently crossed the line into something even darker. Into the darkest hatred of them all.

There was the usual anti-Semitism. The kind we’ve seen at every anti-Israel demo since Hamas’s pogrom of 7 October. ‘I thought Hitler was dead’, said one placard, next to an image of the Star of David. The Jews are the new Nazis, you see. They are such a wicked people that they now gleefully visit on Palestinians the kind of horrors once visited on them. ‘Wanted for mass murder’, said another, with an image of Benjamin Netanyahu next to Hitler. One turbo-smug hippyish couple, complete with culturally appropriated keffiyeh scarves, held up a placard featuring a photo of Israeli spokesman Eylon Levy and the words: ‘The Goebbels of Gaza.’

This is rank Holocaust inversion. Anti-Israel hotheads seem to derive a sick thrill from comparing Jews to Nazis. If you hate Mr Levy so much that you feel the need to take a day off from perusing the kale aisle at Whole Foods to defame him on the streets of London, then why not just call him a ‘liar’ or a ‘propagandist’? Because that wouldn’t achieve the true aim of these vile marches, which is not merely to criticise people like Mr Levy but to hurt Jews. To taunt Jews. To rub salt in their historic wounds. The public branding of Levy as ‘the Goebbels of Gaza’ is hard proof of the racial animus behind these fake anti-war gatherings.

Holocaust inversion is so widespread now, it’s such a key motif of fashionable Israelophobia, that there is a danger we’ll come to view it as merely irritating. As the ravings of witless youths who don’t know their history, who don’t know that there’s no comparison whatsoever between the bloody war in Gaza that Hamas started and the Nazis’ meticulously planned effort to exterminate every Jew on Earth. But that would be wrong. For this is more than hyperbole. It’s a nauseating inversion of truth designed to trivialise the crimes of the Nazis while criminalising the actions of Israel. As that great warrior against anti-Semitism, Deborah Lipstadt, says of Holocaust inversion, it ‘elevates by a factor of a zillion any wrongdoings Israel might have done, and lessens by a factor of a zillion what the Germans did’.

We must never become inured to Holocaust inversion. That the streets and social media are overrun by activists screaming ‘Nazis!’ at Israel should horrify us all. Projecting the crimes of Nazism on to the Jews is surely the highest – or lowest – form of anti-Semitism. It is a flagrant effort by the activist class to denude the Jews of their historic experience of suffering and reimagine them as the reincarnation of their own evil persecutors. That people are happy to march in London with placards showing the swastika enmeshed with the Star of David is testament to how unabashed this racist project of the moral demotion of the Jews has become.

Also on Saturday we saw the anti-Semitism of imagining the Jews as the controllers of the world. Or ‘Zionists’, as the marchers like to say, hilariously thinking their use of the Z-word instead of the J-word will disguise their boiling bigotry. ‘Our media, TV, radio and government are controlled by Zionists’, said one placard. Another showed the Statue of Liberty doting on a baby dressed in the Israel flag. Shorter version: the Jewish State has the Great Powers under its spell. Isn’t it remarkable how much today’s ‘criticism’ of Zionism echoes yesteryear’s loathing for Jews? They run the media, they puppeteer politics, they have their sneaky fingers in every pie… it’s almost as if anti-Zionism is just anti-Semitism in leftish drag.

Then there were the chants. They were chilling. We’ve already heard pro-Houthis chants, with activists yelling: ‘Yemen, Yemen, make us proud / Turn another ship around!’ This is a foul expression of awe for an army of violent bigots that subjugates women and executes homosexuals and whose flag literally contains the words: ‘Death to Israel. Curse the Jews.’ Now we have people chanting for the obliteration of the Jewish State. On Saturday a group of protesters danced as they sang: ‘Judaism yes, Zionism no / The State of Israel has to go!’

There was something truly unnerving in the glee with which this Hamas-style slogan was sung in our capital. These people were not voicing concern for Palestinians but blind hatred for Israel. They were mimicking Hamas and its long-held racist belief that Israel must be erased from the map. It reminded me of a recent demo at Columbia University in New York where activists doused the quad in fake blood and chanted: ‘We don’t want two states / We want all of it.’ What was the fake blood meant to symbolise – the blood of the Jews who will have to be massacred as part of this racist removal of Israel from the family of nations? At New York University, too, protesters have chanted: ‘We don’t want no Jew State / We want all of it.’ Yes, they really said ‘Jew state’.

This is the genocidal ideology of Hamas with a woke makeover. Youths in the West who agitate for the destruction of Israel are more than Hamas sympathisers – they’re Hamas lackeys. They’re a fifth column of radical Islam. The fevered Israelophobia of the influencer set is best seen as an extension of the 7 October pogrom. Hamas did more than attack Jews on 7 October – it called for others to do likewise. And many have. Some violently, with assaults on Jewish people and Jewish property, others ideologically, in marches damning Israel as a Nazi-like entity deserving of annihilation. Hamas might be cornered by the IDF, but in London, New York, Berlin, its racist bidding is still being done.

One of the most alarming things about the rise of the woke wing of Hamas has been the police’s response. On Saturday’s demo we saw Met officers drag away an Iranian dissident who was holding a placard calling Hamas terrorists. He’d been abused and spat on by the marchers, who will clearly brook no criticism of their favourite anti-Semitic army. And yet it was he who was forcibly removed from the protest. The police were essentially protecting Hamas fans from a Hamas critic. Likewise, cops in Scotland advised a Jewish man to hide his Star of David necklace lest it ‘trigger’ nearby protesters. Telling Jews to hide their Jewishness in order to appease anti-Semites is unconscionable. It seems even the cops have converted to the cause of woke anti-Semitism, and now elevate the feelings of Jew-haters over the rights of Jews.

The woke set’s claim that all they’re doing is criticising Israel is increasingly unsustainable. Their plea goes something like this:

‘We don’t hate Jews. We just hate the Jewish State, make excuses for Jew-hating terrorists, disbelieve Jewish women who say they were raped, support pirates whose flag says “A curse on the Jews”, and march alongside people who want all-out jihad on Jews. It’s totally different.’

Is anyone falling for this shit anymore?

Brendan O’Neill is spiked’s chief political writer and host of the spiked podcast, The Brendan O’Neill Show. Subscribe to the podcast here. His new book – A Heretic’s Manifesto: Essays on the Unsayable – is available to order on Amazon UK and Amazon US now. And find Brendan on Instagram: @burntoakboy

Picture by: Getty.

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Topics Identity Politics Politics UK

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