THE SATURDAY ESSAY:why critiquing Zionism is a Ken Livingstone’s throw from the New Anti-Semitism

I doubt very much if Cuddly Ken knows the first thing about ‘Zionism’

Oh dear, here we are again. As Tom Lehrer sang around the middle of the last century in his classic National Brotherhood Week:

Oh the Catholics hate the Protestants/ and the Protestants hate the Catholics/ and the Muslims hate the Hindus/ and everybody hates the Jews

Not too deep down – myriad pogroms and Nazi death camps later – a majority of people in the West are at best suspicious of Jewry…and at worst, harbour feelings of violent resentment at the power they wield. In Eastern, Central and South Eastern Europe, sneering rejection of their ‘clannishness’ is the default position for most citizens. In every conversation about banking malpractice, it’s never too long before the name Rothschild pops up, followed by Goldman Sachs. Everyone is called Dimon and Blankfein and Diamond and Lehman. Hollywood, financial services and most  of the professions in the West are dominated by Jews. They excel in the arts. In the UK, there are 263,000 Jews, and yet this 0.4% of the population accounts for 4.7% of all MPs – including the current speaker and the last Opposition Leader.

Let’s get even more personal about it: Ros Altmann is a Jew. Sir Philip Green is a Jew. A pretty unpleasant pair.


To my mind, two distinct forms of racism exist: those based on resentment of success, and those based on detestation of failure. I have felt since the early 1970s that ethnicity (and even the term ‘racism’) are distractions from the real issue, which is one of culture clash. With a genuinely level playing field, multi-ethnic societies on the whole function perfectly well. Attempts at establishing multiculturalism have, by contrast, been an unmitigated disaster throughout history. Northern Ireland, Nigeria, India/Pakistan, the USSR, the USA (South v North), contemporary Britain and – worst of the lot – the European Union remain examples of endless attempts to override anthropoligical truth. Even today, a hundred and fifty years after the end of the Civil War, the US remains a country where blacks and hispanics struggle, Jews thrive, but all of them are sneered about in private.

Such ‘melting pot’ success – and it is a truly extraordinary one – as has been achieved in the US is down to homogeneity of the civics there: by and large, there is one language, one flag, one education curriculum and one God….Munnneeee. Latterly, America has chosen pc as the way to keep the cohesion on the road – in my opinion, another word for denialism, but each to his own. However, if you ask me why Trump is going to get the GOP nomination, my answer would be succinct: “The arch hypocrisy and fascism of pc”. I would probably leave unsaid “and bitter resentment of democracy being stolen mostly by Jewish banking firms” because if one said that in the States these days, chances are you’d be deported and the people you said it to would need counselling for the rest of their lives.

So if the problem is one of culture, is it possible to be a ‘culturalist’? I would say emphatically, yes it is: I am culturalist. I believe anything other than a monocultural socio-economic model leaves every State prone to anarchy; and I believe some cultures are better (for me) than others.

Let me give you some examples. I believe British Jewish culture is superior to British crypto-atheist culture. I believe that because economically, it is far more successful; and socially it is infinitely more successful. Problem families are largely absent from UK Jewish society. Economically, there is far more philanthropy and mutualist communitarianism. The divorce rate among Jewish Brits is half that of other communities.

On the other hand, I believe the British culture of equality and tolerance – for all its myriad faults – to be superior to achetypal Islam. And no, I’m not interested in this convenient addition of the suffix ‘ist’ to distinguish the bad guys from ‘ics’. Islam in its contemporary form is mysoginist, ignorant, intolerant, demanding, illiberal and undemocratic. The desire of Islamic Brits to have their own education and legal system is I’m afraid a clear warning that only the blind can ignore: most younger Muslims do not wish to integrate into a State they see as decadent bordering on depraved….and they state this time after time in opinion research.

Because I am at heart a liberal democrat (no capital letters) Benthamite, I would rather my community and country was allied to cultures I perceive as most congruent to mine. This isn’t narrow bigotry, but a conclusion based on watching uninformed ideals snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, and the acceptance of overwhelming evidence that we are a pack species based on fair competition within the pack, and honest trade with other packs. That combination, above any other, is the secret of our species development. (I shrink from calling it ‘success’, because we are failing miserably at the moment…specifically because we have lost this plot).

I write of cultural congruence in various senses. The UK’s Chinese community, for example, fulfils it pretty much to the letter: they share my community/family values and my fascination with good food and entrepreneurial capitalism; their kids display little violence and very high average IQs; they retain admiration for their culture and what the PRC has achieved, but they are very firmly rooted in our host culture. They too may seem closed and standoffish at times, but this I believe is a function of facial expression: once you establish ‘good egg’ credentials, they are (like the Jews) unbelievably generous – and quick to smile at ironic humour.

Looking beyond Dover, well….I live in France now, because its lasting communitarianism and thinly disguised anti-globalism chimes very well with mine. The French insist that all immigrants stick to the rules on the atheist nature of the State here: I’m all for that, as religion only becomes benign when it stops looking for power surges to electrify its fanatics.

But we in Britain are quite wrong to see France as ‘alien’. Rather than somewhere with which we should be in a Union, it is ‘another pack’ with whom we can amicably trade. If you look at the etymology of language difference, most Rosbifs and Frogs speak the Normand French of Henry II of England; they just pronounce most of it differently. The idioms, sentence constructions and derivations are the same because we were both invaded by the Romans, and then commenced a long tradition of invading each other.

Plonk the entirety of the UK’s population in France tomorrow, and it would produce mayhem. I think our problems would be more to blame for that than theirs, but either way France comes under my heading of cooperation between tribes. Just not a Union.


Scratch a German, and you will find a person privately convinced that the Greeks are Untermenschen. Scratch a Greek, and you will find a dislike of the ‘Dutch tightfists’ as represented by Jeroan Dijesslebleom. Scratch any Clubmedic, and you will find deep suspicion of the Germans’ controlling culture. Scratch the Harder Left across the West, and you will find many ideologists looking to make the Jews an exception to their formulaically robotic pc.

I know perfectly well that expressing the last of those beliefs sets me apart from the great majority of the Radical Left. And thus, it’s hardly surprising that in my own country of birth, a row has now broken out within the Labour Party. Naturally, this is being stirred vigorously by Camerlot, and over-dramatised by the largely Right-wing press….but those are catalysts, not causes: ultimately, the Left (as I do) despises banking power…and as we saw earlier, most of that power lies in the hands of Jews.

In order to maintain this narrative, the Left persistently complicates the history and facts surrounding it. This latest case involving famous ‘national treasure’ hardliner Ken Livingstone is a classic of its kind. The former GLC leader and London mayor was suspended from the Labour party two days ago after claiming Hitler had supported Zionism “before he went mad and ended up killing 6 million Jews”.

He also said “a real antisemite doesn’t just hate the Jews in Israel, they hate their Jewish neighbour in Golders Green or in Stoke Newington. It’s a physical loathing.” The following day, Livingstone told the Evening Standard that “everything I said yesterday was true”, adding that he had evidence of Hitler’s support for Zionism.

This is vintage Ken stuff. What he asserted is massively open to question – he cited a Marxist historian of whom the kindest adjective to use is ‘controversial’. But the use of words above gives away his real feeling: “a real antisemite doesn’t just hate the Jews in Israel” is a profoundly Freudian admission that Livingstone and his ilk do in fact hate the Jews in Israel.

It all comes down in the end to people you’re allowed to hate. And to this end, the harder US and European Left have forever and a day skirted round the danger area of anti-Semitism by looking for closely related euphemisms that even pcers can use: Israelis, Hassidics, Zionists and so forth.

What was this ‘Zionism’ that Adolf Hitler allegedly admired? In fact, it is one of many historical examples of how ‘rights’ to this or that territory depend on where one starts the clock ticking. For millenia, the Middle East was home to dozens of migratory peoples, and so the ticking clock applies even more to this region.

But some things are relatively easy to establish. During the period 1,000 to 900 BC, there was a clearly recorded ‘United Kingdom of Israel’, ruled in turn by Saul and David.

Around 440 BC, Judean drought caused Moses to migrate into Egypt, where the Jews were enslaved for a considerable time.

The enslavement by Egypt was followed – once the Jews escaped – by the arrival of the Romans in Judea. This second enslavement nurtured the Israelites’ obsession with The Messiah. So when Jesus the Nazarene pitched up there, he was at first seen as the patently miraculous liberator they had sought. Seen equally as a threat by both Romans and Pharisees, he wound up crucified…but was succeeded by a Christian sect. It was this that the Romans (quite rightly) saw as a threat to their power. And it is at this point that the Jewish diaspora begins in earnest…as persecuted Jews flee in all directions to escape the Roman suppression.

What too often gets overlooked by fanatics on all sides is that the Jews are seen (and describe themselves) as the children of Israel: the Israelites. And this homeland was never far from Canaan, Judah/Judea, and Palestine. Here’s the map as it was 900 years before Jesus was born:


At around 11 o’clock high above, we can clearly see Cyprus. Now look at the map of contemporary Israel superimposed on the original Kingdom:


If Israel is a fascist imperialist nation (as most Islamist sites claim) then believe me, it’s crap at Imperialism…being as it is just 35% of the size it was nearly 3,000 years ago.

Now of course, this is spurious: events closer to the present are being completely ignored in the analysis. But that’s my point about ticking clocks: as with Marxist dialectics of historical political development, the history of national territory brings nothing to the party…because every claim can be disputed by a previous or subsequent claim.

I’m merely pointing out here that when it comes to land claims, Israel’s is just as good as anyone else’s….or just as superficial. To use obvious parallels, the Picts are the rightful owners of Scotland, the Danes have a good claim on England, the Bretons an excellent title to Wales, and the Hun a very strong case for a homeland in Lot et Garonne….where one major town is still called Allemans le Dropt.


Now, there is a modern 19th century form of Zionism that basically pressed for a homeland for the Israelites whose tribal name had morphed via the southern Judah presence into Judaism…the Jews. In German (from much of which Yiddish [Judisch] is descended) the word for Jewish is still Judisch.

This is the scintilla of truth behind Ken Livingstone’s half baked “Hitler was a Zionist” drivel: Zionists from time to time in the late 19th and early 20th centuries accepted the idea of the Jewish homeland being situated in South America…although nobody bothered to ask the main candidate Chile what it thought about this daft idea. For a brief few months in 1941, Hitler also listened to the eugenicist Nazi amateur Heinrich Himmler (whom he ridiculed in private) and his fantasies about deporting European Jews to Madagascar.

But the idea that Hitler wanted Jewry to survive is preposterous. His Weltanschauung was of a Jewish world conspiracy to which the only solution – the Final Solution – was to treat the Jews as “the bacillus” he described over and over again in his rambling Mein Kampf: to disinfect the world from them as if they might be leprosy.


I’m sorry folks: I know that many of you see my defence of the Jews in general and Israel in particular as my “blind spot”. But I do not and never will see them as a threat to the philosophy I embrace in favour of any ideology I must obey. World socialism, Islam and neoliberalism are quasi-religious ideologies, the pursuit of whose aims will happily accept war, drone murder, citizen destitution, media censorship, illiberal laws and an end of democracy as the means entirely justified by the ends.

For sure, Netanyahu has been guilty of some of those things, and the Palestinians have been given a raw deal. But so have the Iraqis and Syrians…at the hands of Barack Obama (a black man) David Cameron (a white man) and Recep Erdogan (a very bad man).

I will always reject systemic, one size fits all ideology. I believe in philosophy grounded in humanity. I believe humanity is flawed raw material, and therefore Utopian ideology will always fail. I don’t think Zionism is a serious concept and I see no evidence of its relevance or existence in our contemporary World.

Frankly, hiding behind criticism of Zionism is just the same old same old. It is anti-Semitism based on hegemonous conspiracy theory. For Ken Livingstone, it is nothing more than a port of convenience. For the Labour Party, it is merely a tool for hounding a leader most of them don’t like. And for the Conservative Party, it is a useful distraction from destruction.