The Green Party’s bigotry problem is far worse than Reform’s

There are candidates in this week’s General Election who praised 7 October. We need to talk about that.

Brendan O'Neill

Brendan O'Neill
chief political writer

Topics Politics UK

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There’s a political party in the UK that is fielding candidates who seem to have ‘praised’ the slaughter of hundreds of members of an ethnic group. This party has put forward candidates for the 4 July General Election who appear to have favourably compared racist murderers to the French Resistance. It’s a party with candidates who allegedly accused victims of racist violence of bringing the violence on themselves in a bid to win some pity. What awful party is this? What dreadful organisation might have such bigotry coursing through its ranks? It must be Reform, right? No. It’s the Greens.

We need to talk about the Green Party’s anti-Semitism problem. All the comments mentioned above – the praising of bigoted violence, the likening of such violence to resistance – were made by Green Party candidates in the wake of Hamas’s 7 October pogrom. The world witnessed the worst act of anti-Jewish violence since the Holocaust and these people were crowing about Hamas’s ‘freedom to resist’. More importantly – far more importantly – we need to talk about why the Greens’ seeming Jew problem has caused far less concern in chattering-class circles than Reform’s handful of mad candidates who’ve said vile things about black and Asian people. It’s the most glaring double standard of this election, and it demands interrogation.

Election followers will be keenly aware of the racist invective that has been spouted on the fringes of Reform. For the simple reason that it is never out of the headlines. Everywhere you look there is media fury over ‘Reform’s racism’. Every time party leader Nigel Farage appears on TV he is grilled about the bigoted tweets and hateful blather of some of his candidates.

And, to be clear, dreadful utterances have been made. A Reform campaigner in Clacton, where Farage hopes to be elected to parliament, was filmed by an undercover journalist referring to Rishi Sunak as a ‘Paki’. The Reform candidate for Barnsley North reportedly said black people should ‘get off [their] lazy arses’ and stop acting ‘like savages’. Another allegedly referred to the people arriving on small boats as ‘scum’. Another seemed to make sneering comments about the IQ of sub-Saharan Africans. The Clacton campaigner and these three candidates have now all been unceremoniously dumped by Reform, and quite right too. Language like this has no place in 21st-century Britain.

But here’s what I want to know: why is the racism of a small number of Reform-linked people hogging the headlines while the horrific post-pogrom commentary of certain Green candidates is being treated as a small, troubling affair, at best? Or to put it another way: why has there been more cappuccino-spilling in right-think circles over that Reform candidate’s gross likening of black people to ‘savages’ than there has been over some Greens’ seeming sympathy for the real-world savagery visited on Israelis by Hamas? Is saying the word ‘savage’ worse in these people’s minds than praising the savagery of fascistic violence? If so, I’d hate to see the state of their moral compasses.

It is worth revisiting what some Greens said as Jewish women were being raped and Jewish children were being murdered by an organisation that was founded in the cesspit of Jew hate. One Green election candidate reportedly said on the day of Hamas’s mass murder that ‘there is no peace without freedom. Resist.’ Resist? Slitting Jews’ throats isn’t resistance, mate, it’s fascism. Another Green candidate suggested Hamas is ‘terribly similar’ to ‘the French Resistance’. Not just similar, but terribly similar. This felt like moral inversion on steroids: a movement that carried out the worst butchery of Jews in 80 years was being likened to a movement that sought to liberate Jews, and others, from the suffocating boot of Nazism.

Another Green candidate posted on Facebook that 7 October was a ‘false flag [operation]’ that was designed to ‘open the way to the genocide of the Palestinian people of Gaza’. It sounded like Holocaust Denial 2.0, with You Know Who essentially being accused of inventing an atrocity for political and moral gain. One Green candidate went so far as to express support for protesters who disrupted a remembrance ceremony for the victims of Nazism at Auschwitz. I humbly propose that the person who backs the noisy interruption of a memorial service for Jews slaughtered in the Nazis’ worst death camp has taken leave of the realm of morality as much as the person who refers to migrants as ‘scum’.

The seriousness of these post-7 October comments, the depravity of them, must not be glossed over. Hamas’s founding charter instructed Muslims to ‘fight Jews and kill them’. As recently as 2021, leading Hamas figures were calling on people to buy ‘five-shekel knives’ and ‘cut off the heads of Jews’. And on 7 October, Hamas militants did something very much like that: they used knives, guns and rocket launchers to slaughter more than a thousand people, most of them Jews. One of the pogromists phoned home to boast to his parents about how many Jews he’d killed. And yet we had Green Party people apparently calling it resistance, even seeming to ‘praise’ it, in the words of Jewish News. It’s pointless to rank bigotries, given all bigotry is wicked, but until someone can show me a Reform candidate justifying the KKK’s lynching of black people, I will struggle to believe that ‘Reform racism’ is worse than the hatreds that seem to be boiling up in polite, green society.

Yet that is what the media elites would have us believe: that Reform’s ‘racism row’ is one of the big stories of this election while Green candidates’ description of a pogrom as ‘resistance’ is a trifling matter. That saying ‘scum’ about migrants deserves ceaseless coverage while sympathising with the scum who murdered Jews is meh. Yes, there has been some questioning of Green leaders about their candidates’ seeming sympathy for 7 October, but it has been gentle in comparison with the inquisition Farage is subjected to every time he’s on the airwaves.

This shocking double standard was summed up in the BBC’s Question Time special featuring Green Party co-leader Adrian Ramsay and Reform leader Farage. Fiona Bruce questioned Mr Ramsay about his candidates who seemed to say 7 October was an act of ‘resistance’, but it was delicate and didn’t last long. Farage, in contrast, was subjected to a show trial about three of Reform’s iffy candidates. It was relentless. The audience chipped in, too. I half expected to see rotten fruit fly by at one point. One was left with the impression that the BBC doesn’t take expressions of sympathy for Jew-killers as seriously as it does expressions of disdain for black and Asian people. If that isn’t the impression it intended to give, then it should clarify its position, urgently.

Here’s the really unsettling thing: where Reform has forced out the candidates who allegedly made racist comments, the Green leadership has stood by some of its candidates who seemed to make apologies for a pogrom. It still endorses ‘half a dozen’ candidates despite allegations that they ‘shared “anti-Semitic” slurs [and] conspiracy theories’, as The Times says. Apparently some of the candidates have walked back or deleted their post-pogrom comments. Others have received anti-Semitism education. Great! Problem solved. One leading Green suggests sections of the media are conflating ‘legitimate criticism of the Israeli government and anti-Semitism’. Perhaps they are. But describing the murder of Jewish civilians by known Jew-haters as ‘resistance’ is not ‘legitimate criticism of the Israeli government’, is it?

How do we explain this? This chasm-like divide between the media’s kid-glove treatment of the Greens and their haranguing of Reform? Is it because the media classes don’t take anti-Semitism as seriously as other forms of racism or because they’re hell-bent on thwarting Reform’s electoral prospects?

Sadly, I think it’s a bit of both. I think the influencer classes are so addled by identity politics, by the infantile idea that ‘whites’ are oppressors and ‘non-whites’ are oppressed, that they genuinely struggle to see Jews as victims, even when they clearly are. I also think these people’s hatred of populism still burns so brightly in the post-Brexit moment that they will throw anything at Reform in a bid to discourage the plebs from voting for it. That’s the irony of their ceaseless exposés of ‘Reform racism’ – they think they’re showing how morally upright they are, when really they’re making it clear to the world that racism only bothers them in certain circumstances, and populism bothers them always. What all this Reform-bashing really exposes is the identitarian disarray and anti-democratic angst of an elite that still distrusts us little people.

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 Politics UK


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