Tuesday, February 3, 2015
Holocaust Remembrance Day and British Press Antisemitism
Two incidents occurred that undermine the claim that Britain has a quality press. Unless, that is, we redefine the concept of quality as being “news built on the sophistication of propaganda employed to further a popular stream of thought; the replacement of truth with cant being the single, most important attribute in a journalists possession.”
Both incidents were connected to Holocaust Remembrance day.
When assumptions are made that link past events to current events then it is of no consequence that the linkage is only implied. Links rapidly create facts. The essence of propaganda is that you decide on your message and then stick to it. It is unimportant that there is no connection between the two events. Constant repetition creates a subliminal linkage that becomes hardwired into our consciousness no matter how spurious that linkage may be. Making a false connection is the essence of the propagandists’ science.
The two incidents were: the BBC’s “The Big Question” hosted by Nicky Campbell and Sky News’s interview by Adam Boulton with Britain’s Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mervis.
The BBC is particularly adept at cleverly manipulating audience membership and stage-managing the timing of comments made by its participants. Sky News’s anchor uses both imagery and pithy, simple connections in order to establish truisms.
The beauty in establishing a truism is that ideas which differ from the accepted orthodoxy, when placed in competition with the accepted belief are not easily repudiated and invariably, effortlessly ignored or dismissed.
The first assault on the truth occurred in Nicky Campbell’s programme, The Big Question (which describes itself as concerned with ‘faith and ethics’). He asked whether it was time to lay the Holocaust ‘to rest?’ But within that question was also the idea that the Shoah was neither unique nor special. In the twentieth century humanity also permitted other major crimes against humanity to occur without interference:
· The Rwanda genocide
· The Cambodian (Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge) mass extermination
· Saddam Hussein’s’ attempted genocide of the Southern Shiite Arabs
· Turkeys’ Armenian and Kurdish genocides
These are ‘just’ some of the terrible crimes of the previous century – we have not even begun to investigate Brazil for its genocide of the indigenous tribes of the Amazon basin. There are eight nations within an area almost as large as Australia that are part of that basin and it would be naïve to think that Brazil is alone in its shocking treatment of its native Indian population.
A journalist works with an inverted pyramid (who, what, where, when and why are placed first). This pyramid is essential to building a false narrative because it allows for necessary information to be ignored if it fails to contribute to contemporary journalism's personal prejudices. Nicky Campbell injected two people into the debate and it was their fundamental bias that was meant to cloud any reasonable discussion.
The first, Tom Lawson, stated that the Shoah was not unique but part of a “broader phenomena”. He argued that if it was unique it not only diminished it but stops us learning from it. Nicky Campbell reinforced this last statement by immediately adding that if something is unique it has no lessons for us. Both are classic fascist arguments, superficially plausible but devoid of merit. Something is unique because of its nature, not necessarily because it is a “one-off” occurrence. The only thing that can possibly prevent something re-occurring is to understand it and more crucially, to learn from it. This is one simple reason the question itself was so offensive. In a latter exchange of tweets Tom Lawson wrote: “I took part in a program that asked ‘that question’. The answer is no. How we remember is a rather different question.”
The second person, Professor Nira Yuval-Davis, was once married to the anti-Zionist activist and Muslim convert Uri Davis. Ms Yuval-Davis could only have been injected into the debate as a controversial sop to anti-Zionists. Her contribution: that “political, economic and social interests” are involved in the way we commemorate the Shoah, and that Israel’s leader cynically exploits it, was gratuitous and therefore offensive. Nicky Campbell and the BBC had no right to add her into a debate about Holocaust remembrance.Yuval-Davis stated that “part of the problem is the way Israel uses this ‘Never again to Jews’ argument.” And she then added “never again to anybody.” The only person cynically exploiting the Shoah for her own offensive agenda was this disgusting person. “Never again” is a common, justifiable refrain. Yuval-Davis’s implied allegations are politically motivated and for that reason they represent an unethical intrusion into the debate. During the Rule of the Generals in Argentina (when members of the Left were ‘disappeared’ in their thousands) it was Israel that sent emissaries to try and stop the slaughter. No other nation bothered. The fascist left abandoned its own. Yuval-Davis based her arguments on marginal and malicious hearsay. It is sadly what seems to be accepted practice amongst the academic fascist left that truth is no more than fashion; an articulately designed and insincere narrative meant to reinforce the prejudiced view presented by the scholar without necessarily containing any joined-up facts.
Universal questions demand universal answers and in spite of the exhaustive research that exists to try and understand the Shoah we are never given satisfaction in short and superficial televised debates. It is precisely because the Shoah is so comprehensively studied that it is an appropriate beacon from which we may examine and warn against other potential atrocities and mass extermination events. But if our understanding of why humanity is able to carry out acts of unimaginable cruelty is subject to relativism then we cannot ever create a truth that is universally applicable to all conflicts and any warning becomes fraught with politicized objections and theological indulgences.
We should not discuss genocide without referencing the abomination of Belgian colonization during the 19th century and early 20th century in Congo Free State, the Arab genocide of Black Sudanese Christians, or, of contemporary relevance, the Arab-Muslim slave trade which continues to this day. These are issues that are part of what Lawson defined as “a broader phenomena” and of course they must be studied. But the central question of the debate was whether to stop discussing the Shoah. The question is loaded with emotion and it cannot be addressed adequately within a politicized debate. That the BBC tried to create this politicization was a crime against the victims of all persecutions.
To quote some of the participants: there is no “hierarchy of victims” or “competition of suffering.” The BBC, by its inclusion of two politically biased individuals, clearly attempted to show that continued commemoration of the Shoah was unsound because it implied competitive persecution as an intrinsic aspect of Shoah remembrance.
It is much easier to explain why I objected to Sky news.
Psychological brain-washing is defined by Daniel Kahneman as “a self-reinforcing pattern of cognitive, emotional and physical responses that is both diverse and integrated. This associative coherence creates a context for future developments and all it takes is the association of words in a group to an image or a page in a book. You have psychologically been brain-washed into associating the conjunction of words as representative of reality.” (P51 “Thinking, Fast and Slow”).
Associative connections are formed with words and pictures.
Sky News Anchor Adam Boulton encouraged acceptance of a negative link between Israeli self-defence and Palestinian attacks on Israel, effectively blaming Jewish self-preservation for antisemitism. Images of Gaza juxtaposing a discussion on the Holocaust create negative associative connections that given the previous comments by Boulton are clearly intended to justify antisemitism. News Anchors do nothing without intention. The Shoah was a mass extermination event. Gaza is ruled by people who, in their foundation covenant call for a similar mass extermination. Operation Protective Edge cannot be linked to the Shoah unless Boulton was attempting to link the genocidal Islamic theology of Hamas with the latest war. Given his earlier comments it is clear that this was not his intent.
Based on how British journalistic empires chose to commemorate the Shoah it is painfully clear that Britain has intellectually sold its soul to a morally impoverished class for whom scoring political points are the only reason for engaging in debate.