Was Hobson Jewish?

I haven’t bought a copy of The Spectator since Charles Moore was its editor, about 30 years ago, and the odd piece reaching me through Facebook vindicates the wisdom of such abstinence.

The face of Jew-baiting, according to The Spectator

The most recent one was last week’s article Utterly Betrayed: Britain’s Jews Are Now Politically Homeless by Tanya Gold.

To begin with, Miss Gold is such a shockingly bad writer that at times one struggles to understand what she’s trying to say. However, as far as I can surmise, her general point is that British Jews are facing a political Hobson’s choice: vote Labour or not at all.

And, since Labour is anti-Semitic, not at all becomes the only option. British Jews will never vote Tory, will they? As far as Miss Gold is concerned, the question is rhetorical.

One wonders on what basis she feels authorised to speak on behalf of all British Jews in this matter. It can’t be statistical evidence: 63 per cent of them voted Tory in 2017. And this percentage is likely to go up in December because, as Miss Gold herself states, only seven per cent of British Jews plan to vote Labour.

Hence the honest title to the article would have been As a British Jew, I Feel Politically Homeless. However, one can’t discount the possibility that Miss Gold’s mind isn’t attuned to such nuances.

Trying to hack my way through the impassable thicket of her prose, I can deduce that British Jews, that is she, can’t possibly vote Tory because she doesn’t like the look on Jacob Rees-Mogg’s face.

At least that’s my inference from the incoherent paragraph below. Conceivably Miss Gold meant something else and, if so, please help me figure out exactly what:

“That they made us choose makes me weep, for I have not considered voting Conservative before. But I won’t. There is a respectable strain of Conservatism, but this is not it, not for me – one glance at Jacob Rees-Mogg’s face is enough; and all racism thrives under inequality. The Tories cannot save us; that is a laughable sentence. That Labour call themselves progressives, and yet are imbued with the infection of ancient Christian Jew-hatred – the murder of God was our original sin – is equally laughable. We have returned to our settled place; too proud, in every sense, to assimilate; rather, we drift across the world to where we feel safe: the Syrian border for some; Muswell Hill for others.”

Miss Gold must be endowed with psychic powers to grasp the rotten core of conservatism with “one glance at Jacob Rees-Mogg’s face”. Being myself less perceptive, I can’t for the life of me detect the mark of racist Cain on that rather pleasant and intelligent visage, but it must be there if Miss Gold says so.

If I understand her correctly, she ascribes Labour anti-Semitism to “Christian Jew-hatred”. This is certainly one of the tributaries feeding the anti-Semitic stream, but somehow one doubts it flows mighty within Labour ranks.

The Labour Party is leftist and therefore doctrinally atheist. A strain of Christian socialism exists there, but it’s a tiny one, and one doubts it contributes much to the anti-Semitism of today’s Labour Party.

At the heart of this phenomenon lie the Marxist roots of today’s Labour. Marx either sublimated his virulent anti-Semitism into the hatred of blood-sucking, profit-grabbing capitalists or it might have been the other way around.

By whatever route he arrived at that destination, the equal sign between Jew and capitalist permeated his whole being and much of his writing. That chiselled in stone the lapidary equation of socialism: the more socialist, the more anti-capitalist and therefore anti-Semitic.

That’s why by far the worst modern atrocities against the Jews were committed neither by conservatives nor by Christians nor by Christian conservatives but by godless socialists of either the red or brown hue. It’s in that tradition that the most toxic varieties of anti-Semitism are to be found in today’s Labour Party, which is Marxist through and through.

This isn’t to say that no anti-Semitism can be found within the ranks of the Tory Party. But both its roots and therefore its virulence are different.

Part of it is indeed Christian resentment of those who rejected Christ. These days, however, it’s rather rare, what with Christianity no longer being a major cultural and social force. When it does occur, this sub-emotion mostly haunts the lower intellectual layers of the Tories, Christian or otherwise.

Much more widespread is the kind of Tory anti-Semitism that goes back to the modern party’s Victorian roots, when it was still the party of aristocracy. It’s a form of snobbery and contempt for the upstart, which is closely related to the wider disdain for all nouveaux riches in general.

The same Tories who felt that way about Jews also petitioned their children’s public school to stem the influx of pupils from ‘trade’. The two phenomena are related, although their temperature may vary.

The Conservative Party has long since ceased being either aristocratic or indeed conservative. But the survivals of snobbish anti-Semitism persist, no doubt about that.

Yet there’s a major difference between that and Marxist anti-Semitism. A Tory thus inclined would like to keep Jews out of some Pall Mall clubs (although the roster of the Tory Carlton club includes many Jews). A Marxist would like to kill them.

That anti-Semitism is more prevalent among Labour hasn’t escaped Miss Gold’s attention. Yet she brands Rees-Mogg as a physiognomic Jew-baiter, while still insisting that “all racism thrives under inequality”.

Then how come the party doctrinally committed to equality, understood in the pernicious Enlightenment sense, is beset with anti-Semitism, while the party personified by Mr Rees-Mogg’s Savile Row suits and patrician accent isn’t?

Sorry, I realise how tactless it is to put such questions to the mentally challenged who still deserve their rightful place in society. And, by the looks of it, on the pages of our formerly conservative magazine.

One wonders if Miss Gold realises that, in the passage cited above, she repeats the worst anti-Semitic rhetoric one hears these days. The British Jews aren’t really British; they “are too proud to assimilate”; they feel more at home in Israel or, which is worse, Muswell Hill.

Speak for yourself, dear. Many of my friends are British Jews who are British first and Jews a very distant second. But then they are intelligent people who think before speaking or just think in general.

Anyway, I can’t promise to desist from buying The Spectator for another 30 years, but only for purely biological reasons. Barring those, I would.

3 thoughts on “Was Hobson Jewish?”

  1. ” Labour call themselves progressives, and yet are imbued with the infection of ancient Christian Jew-hatred ”

    Progressives predominantly non-religious. At best agnostics and most of them atheists. Like to quote the Bible to make a point however. Hillary Clinton is good at that.

  2. As anyone who reads Chesterton will know, Christian antisemitism definitely exists, but then of course GK did not live to see the Holocaust. Nowadays, I imagine most Christians who hate Jews are Palestinian.

    I’m still thinking the Cons are the best bet in the upcoming election, but frankly, I think the last thing that party needs is the likes of me voting for it!

    1. And, if GK had seen the Holocaust, I doubt he would have liked it, although he did make some threatening noises about Jews (“If they don’t stop whingeing, we’ll really give them something to whinge about.”). As to the Tories, I’m sure they’ll be happy to have you — in fact, I wish most of their voters were like you.

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