I don’t know Islam

And I’ve never been inclined to link Islam and antisemitism – I don’t think it gets anyone anywhere to attempt to either prove or disprove that. Islam is a world religion, and therefore dynamic, plural, shifting. But if you were going to go down the route of investigating such a link (as is somebody I know) then you would for credibility as well as validity need to become familiar with the koran, and the different denominations of Islam, identify clear examples of anti-Jewishness and link them authoritatively with anti-Jewish activities. This is something which requires evidence and substance – it can’t just be spread as a theory or it shades into propaganda. To make a good job of it as a piece of research would certainly stand a chance of tempering some of the perceived historical pro-Arab bias in the media.

But I’m not confident that pro-Arab bias, if that even exists, is the problem. If the real motive behind hatred of Israel is actually anti-Americanism (as Daniel Finkelstein, among many others, suggests – http://www.engageonline.org.uk/blog/article.php?id=914) and that anti-Americanism is expressed as support and glamourisation of any group (no matter how violent and totalitarian) which opposes America, and conversely hatred of any group which is perceived to espouse the same values as America or have links with America (i.e. my enemy’s enemy is my friend), then we don’t get anywhere except to exascerbate existing currents of fear and hatred of Muslims in Europe and the US. I consider Hamas as a group of people with fascist, totalitarian values (as expressed in their charter) and recoil from thinking of them as Muslims and therefore instrinsincally tending towards fascist totalitarianism. I’d rather engage with these values and the ways Islam have been hijacked and appropriated to peddle them than make a generalised ad hominem case.

I think things are getting better in terms of the way the English view Israel (though there is certainly anti-Israel feeling, certainly anti-semitism, and though the English let’s face it are the least of Israel’s worries – maybe marginally more important than the views of Burkina Faso). Today Sally Hunt was elected UCU’s first General Secretary.

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