CST Blog

Anti-Zionism, back to basics with the NF (and BNP)

10 October 2013

In recent days both the National Front and Nick Griffin, leader of the British National Party, have shown, yet again, how their use of the word “Zionist” is basically the same as that found in Islamist and leftist anti-Israel circles. In doing so, they remind us of the need to get ‘back to basics’ in challenging antisemitic aspects of anti-Zionism.

Firstly, on 28 September the National Front ran this image on their facebook page:

 Image from National Front Official Facebook page

Then, on 8 October, (discussing the Quilliam Foundation’s facilitation of Tommy Robinson leaving the English Defence League), the BNP’s Nick Griffin stated on Twitter:

Qulliam closely linked to Policy Exchange just another bit of neo-con/Zionist puppet play. Same paymasters just different tune for Tommy.

So, both the NF and the BNP are using the word Zionism / Zionist to denote forces that control Britain and conspire against it. The NF use the Star of David in their sticker, literally binning it. They are blatant about what the word “Zionism” actually denotes for them. 

Nick Griffin ties the word “Zionist” to “puppet play” and to “neo-con”. Anyone remotely familiar with leftist anti-Zionist and anti-Israel rhetoric will immediately understand him.

However, ordinary Jews who self-identify as Zionists may well find it far more puzzling. So, to briefly explain:

In anti-Israel circles, the words “neo-con” and “Zionist” have long been yoked together by everyone from the Guardian’s Editor briefing (see here, from 2003) to...err...Nick Griffin. On “Zionist puppet play”, famous Guardian cartoonist Steve Bell showed that Griffin is most certainly not the only one to think in such terms. (See his Guardian cartoon here, showing Netanyahu with Blair as puppet.) Bell vigorously protested that he didn’t mean it: well, obviously not like that anyway, but such ideas and imagery simply should not make it into Britain’s most influential mainstream left-wing space.

Then, there is Nick Griffin’s mention of the influential Policy Exchange think-tank. This is a more specialist part of the left-wing anti-Zionist charge sheet, but it is entirely predictable that Griffin would be well aware of it. He has, after all, long regarded himself as a bit of a maven on “puppet play”, having peaked back in 1997, with his publication of “Who are the MIND-BENDERS?”.

Griffin’s “paymasters” sneer is his long-running accusation that the EDL is run by Zionists. The EDL is (or was) the BNP’s main competitor, so it is natural that Griffin resorts to such rubbish. Nevertheless, the notion of Zionist money power is both a direct echo of antisemitic Jewish money power accusations; and will again be wearyingly familiar to anyone with a basic understanding of what passes for the fundamentals of modern Islamist and leftist anti-Zionism. (For example, Jenny Tonge, on the “financial grips” of the “Israel lobby”.) 

There are, literally, thousands of such examples: from the right, left and Islamists. They happen every day. On the Internet, facebook and Twitter, the examples are almost innumerable. In proper anti-Zionist and anti-Israel meetings (leftist or Islamist), they often occur: sometimes overt, sometimes implied, spoken from the stage or audience, but hardly ever challenged when pushed as a fundamental paradigm for how the world and its structures of power should be understood. Then, there is its occasional appearance in supposedly respectable political places: be that Parliament, party conferences, newspapers or wherever.

So, the most grudging of thanks to the (partially) unreconstructed racists at the National Front for getting us back to basics.

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