I have been warning for a long time that the widespread and irresponsible misuse – make that abuse – of the term “anti-Semitism” was devaluing it, and desensitising the public to it. My original fear was that the general public would grow to assume that it just means, “Anything Jews dislike.” But truth to tell, I am not sure that it has any meaning even that strong left by now.
My breath has been truly taken away repeatedly by how meaninglessly and carelessly the term has been thrown around since 2015, and the growing depths of its misuse continue to astonish me even now. Take this little gem I saw on Twitter today, responding to Laura Pidcock taking issue with Keir Starmer’s feeble pushback against a racist caller on LBC Radio this week; –
I have no particular knowledge of whoever ‘Ade Hughes’ is, apart from his own Twitter profile claiming he is in the Labour Party and centre-left. But I was genuinely bewildered to see him calling my former employer at The Canary, Kerry-Anne Mendoza, an anti-Semite. If ever there were proof that the term no longer really means anything substantial or specific, this is it. Kerry-Anne is many things. She is a laugh in the pub, she is a dab-hand at taking the mickey. But an anti-Semite? Seriously?
Here is what I am puzzling over. Ten years ago Kerry-Anne got married to a lady called Nancy. Guess what? Yes. Nancy is a Jew. So, if Kerry-Anne hates and fears Jews, why did she choose to spend the rest of her life with one? Why does she visit Israel every couple of years, to be surrounded by Jewish people, if she is terrified of them? The only way the accusation makes any sense is if we assume that the term anti-Semite does not mean an anti-Jewish racist. It is just being used as a broad term-of-abuse…………………..
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