Sectarianism is a serious social problem in our country, for sure, but there is little we can do about it when it happens outside institutions. We can’t police people’s homes to stop parents poisoning the minds of their children. The best we can do here is improve diversity awareness and education in schools and hope some of it sticks. But racism, prejudice, bigotry, and sectarianism thrive in institutions where such cultures have gone unchallenged and allowed to fester.
This living on the threshold has taken a toll on us. Since the late 1990s, when the scales were first taken from our eyes, we have had to come to terms with new realities and battle for our faith in new and unfamiliar territories. My own journey, like that of many other Catholics, was one that made it impossible for me to consider myself a 'Roman' Catholic. The hierarchy had been – perhaps forever – tainted. It no longer held the moral authority, no matter what the Church taught, to hold my allegiance. The papacy was no longer the infallible and unassailable Rock it had once been.
In 2018 Brexit and the disaster capitalism of the British establishment is also all about thieft. This is the latest development in a class war project designed to transfer the wealth of our society to the very top. The reduction in rights, the deregulation, and the tax benefits for the wealthy that will come from Britain’s departure from the European Union will make the wealthiest people in the UK even wealthier – and more powerful. The last thing these robbers want is a class based solidarity emerging in the class they are despoiling. A distraction has to be found.
There is no legitimate reason for banning the veil, leaving us only with the illegitimate reason no one calling for the ban wants to reveal – racism. No sooner is this said than some idiot leaps into the discussion with that pearl of wisdom: “Islam isn’t a race.” No it’s not, but no one dispensing this nugget of knowledge and no one attacking the “burka” can tell us much about Islam the religion. Shahadah, Salah, Zakat, Sawm, and Hajj – the Pillars of Islam – are mysteries to them. Their assault is not an assault on Islam qua Islam, but on Muslims qua racialised others.
At the heart of this Israeli and Zionist definition is the deliberate conflation of Zionism – an ethno-nationalist state-political ideology – and Judaism, and, by extension, the conflation of anti-Zionism and antisemitism. How useful to the State of Israel – Katz’s “Jewish State” – would it be had this definition been adopted officially by the European Union as it was by the US State Department last year? Doubtless, this is what the AJC’s Andrew Baker had in mind when he negotiated with the EU to have it adopted. Yet, more rational heads prevailed.
In this broken democracy – which is no democracy at all – seats are won and power secured in a loop; the media manufactures fears and blames powerless, invariably foreign, scapegoats and the careerists bang the drum of security and ethno-nationalism. This is the state of politics in the United Kingdom today. It is much the same across Europe and even more so over the Atlantic in the United States. Democracy in any meaningful sense has died and we are right now in the rapid descent into the abyss of totalitarianism and fascism – both coming a-creeping like saviours.
But this new antisemitism – the use of “antisemitism” to silence dissent, by calling everything anti-Semitic, weakens our ability to combat real anti-Semitic racism. When everyone is an anti-Semite no one is an anti-Semite. Reasonable people who can see through the political weaponisation of this language begin to dismiss – as I have been guilty of doing – almost every claim of antisemitism. We become deaf to a terminology that, ever since Auschwitz, should ring immediate alarm bells the moment we hear it. “Antisemitism,” thanks to pro-government media outlets...
Gillian Martin MSP published an article on her personal blog eleven years ago that has returned, as these things often do, to bite her on the bum. She described transgender students – people over whom she was in a position of power – in the most disgusting way imaginable. She reduced some of the most personal and treasured truths of their beings to worthlessness and shame. Since then she has deleted this horrible post and two years ago she made a full and unreserved apology for what she had written.