As a person who has been falsely accused of anti-Semitism, it would be easy for me to side with George Galloway after he was sacked by TalkRadio for anti-Semitism.
The natural assumption is that other accusations must also be false and unfair. “Oh, another one,”I might say. “About as much truth in it as there was in mine. None!”
That is the danger when people make false claims for the sake of political gain – that genuine cases will be overlooked.
And this is a genuine case.
The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition and examples of anti-Semitism has been much-maligned over the apparent ease with which apologists for the Israeli government can use it to defend the acts of that administration.
But the sixth of its examples is clear: “Contemporary examples of antisemitism in public life, the media, schools, the workplace, and in the religious sphere could, taking into account the overall context, include… accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.”
It would be perfectly reasonable to accuse Tottenham Hotspur of such behaviour if there was evidence of it, but “a strong association with the Jewish community” is not enough.
There were Jews in London long before the current state of Israel was formed and there is no reason to believe that those who support Tottenham Hotspur have changed their loyalties from the UK to that nation.
So the claim that Mr Galloway’s words were anti-Semitic seems accurate to me, although I make no judgement on TalkRadio’s treatment of him in response. That is a matter of the station’s rules.
If I am missing a vital piece of information, please let me know.
George Galloway has been sacked from his TalkRadio show with immediate effect, after the former MP said Liverpool’s victory over Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League final meant there would be “no Israel flags on the cup”.
The north London club, which has a strong association with the Jewish community, had called for him to be sacked, saying: “It’s astounding in this day and age to read such blatant antisemitism published on a social platform by someone who is still afforded air time on a radio station on which he has previously broken broadcast impartiality rules.”
ADDITIONAL: Soon after I published this article I was made aware that many Jewish Spurs supporters take, and wave, the national flag of Israel to matches, in an expression of their shared Jewish identity. This casts a new complexion on the matter. But here’s the question: If Spurs had won the cup, would these fans have claimed it for Israel, as Mr Galloway implied – or for their home team?
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