Sir Roger Scruton and Suella Braverman venture into forbidden territory

Christopher Goff asks: Is it now the case that criticizing any supposed or real, cultural, political, social or theoretical product, influence or movement created by a Jew or Jews is to attract accusations of anti-Semitism?

If a sitting Member of Parliament is going to upset the Board of Deputies of British Jews, it is better for all concerned that a woman does it. And better still if that woman also belongs to a second 'victim group'. Who am I talking about? Answer: the Conservative MP for Fareham, Suella Braverman, and who luckily for her and the rest of the Tory Party is, it would appear, of some kind of Asian origin. Phew! Far better to leave the job of upsetting Jews to members of multiple victim groups, like women, minority ethnics and homosexuals, and who are better placed to get away with their indiscretions than any regular white guy might be. They can be cut a bit of slack, so to speak.

But what was it that Suella Braverman did to attract the disapproval of the Board of Deputies? Say that Claudia Winkleman's hair looks a mess? Cast doubt on the money-saving advice of financial expert Martin Lewis? Disagree with the opinionated TV pundit Vanessa Feltz on some or other point of hers? While it doesn't take much to upset people who see anti-Semitic conspiracies in their cornflakes, it was in fact Suella Braverman's mentioning of the term 'Cultural Marxism' that got her in to trouble.

Speaking at a meeting of the Eurosceptic think-tank the Bruges Group a while ago, Braverman said, and presumably in response to some or other point of discussion: "We are engaged in a war against Cultural Marxism". Upon which a journalist attending the event tweeted her words with the following added: "'Cultural Marxism' is an extremely loaded term, used by the far/alt-right, and a long-term anti-Semitic conspiracy theory. A member of government using it and linking it to Labour is really worrying". And therein lies the reason why reference to Cultural Marxism is forbidden, for it is supposed not to exist. This despite evidence to the contrary suggesting that Cultural Marxism – something which commonly manifests itself as political correctness – was the invention of a coterie of Jewish intellectuals, amongst them Herbert Marcuse, with expertise in the field of Marxist critical theory and who were based at the Frankfurt School around the time of its relocation from Germany, first of all to Geneva, and then, in 1935, to New York City where the school became part of Columbia University.

The conservative philosopher, academic and one-time Editor of The Salisbury Review, Sir Roger Scruton, has become the latest victim of an anti-anti-Semitic witch-hunt after making disparaging comments about the Jewish multi-billionaire George Soros during an interview with the Deputy Editor of the New Statesman, George Eaton. Not long after the magazine published details of the interview, Scruton was fired from his position as Chairman of the Government's Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission, an intergovernmental panel set up to advise on matters of housing and the built environment.

On April 10 2019, The Jewish Chronicle reported a Board of Deputies spokesperson as saying: "As soon as we saw Roger Scruton's unacceptable comments we contacted the Government to make our concerns heard" and, "We are satisfied the right decision has been made to dismiss him". Scruton claimed in his interview that George Soros had created an "Empire" in Hungary, saying: "Anybody who doesn’t think that there's a Soros Empire in Hungary has not observed the facts". Comments of his which the New Statesman described in its subsequent article as "heedless of the anti-Semitic portrayal of the philanthropist George Soros as a Jewish puppet-master".

Scruton's comments follow on from similar ones made in November last year [2018] as part of his The Need for Nations speech [English translation at bottom of page] given during a visit he made to Hungary. Scruton said in his speech: "Many of the Budapest intelligentsia are Jewish and form part of the extensive networks around the Soros Empire" and also, "As the world knows, indigenous anti-Semitism still plays a part in Hungarian society and politics, and presents an obstacle to the emergence of a shared national loyalty among ethnic Hungarians and Jews". Shortly after delivering his speech, the Jewish Labour MP Luciana Berger said: "An individual who peddles anti-Semitic conspiracy theories has no place advising government about anything", and she urged the Prime Minister to intervene and for the Government to "urgently reconsider his appointment". Fellow Labour MP Wes Streeting also called for Sir Roger to be removed from his position as Chairman of the Government's Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission, to which he had only recently been appointed.

Really, is it now the case that criticizing any supposed or real, cultural, political, social or theoretical product, influence or movement created by a Jew or Jews is to attract accusations of anti-Semitism? It seems that way.

But levelling claims of anti-Semitism against individuals in this way can be counter-productive since it serves to throw light on the association between Jews and such universally loathed things as Cultural Marxism, and to which I have already referred. In fact, it no longer seems possible these days to criticize some of the most negative influences affecting Western societies without inadvertently spurting out what some have taken to calling anti-Semitic 'tropes' or anti-Semitic 'canards', or making what have ridiculously become known as 'dog-whistles' to the far-right. And I am thinking here of phenomena like globalism, pornography, multiculturalism, banking and money-lending, all things which have, for one reason or another and to some or other extent, a Jewish imprint on them. The business of lending money with interest, for example, became the preserve of Jews on account of the fact that many jurisdictions would ban Christians from their involvement in an activity seen as immoral.

Truth, even sometimes the most glaringly obvious truth is no defence against claims of anti-Semitism. And likewise the process of reason does not apply when claims of anti-Semitism are levelled against people. That is the power of accusations of anti-Semitism. They can discredit and ruin people in an instant; thereby having the effect of deterring any future criticism of Jews.

And anti-Semitism is something which is never allowed to disappear from the public conscious. If a couple of weeks go by without at least some kind of reference to it the guardians of Semitic interest become worried that the public might be forgetting about the world's most important issue, so up pops a story about a Jewish cemetery being vandalized or a synagogue having its windows put through or a plague of anti-Semites supposedly infiltrating some or other national institution, the most recent example being the British Labour Party.

In the case of anti-Semitism, however, might it not reasonably be assumed that if the issue is one which raises so much public concern and creates so much public interest that it is never off our TV screens or out of the newspapers the proper way to avoid any future misery would be to knock the theory held by some of there being a 'Jewish conspiracy' firmly on the head? Surely, there is a high enough level of enquiry in a so-called 'free' country like Britain to make possible the holding of an even-sided debate in which someone is allowed to speak on behalf of all those important people in history who have been classed as anti-Semites, amongst them Martin Luther, Adolf Hitler, William Shakespeare, Hilaire Belloc, G.K. Chesterton, Richard Wagner and Henry Ford?

That there never is any public discussion about the motives lying behind anti-Semitism is very conspicuous by its absence – a glaring example of the notion of intellectual freedom applying in the case of some matters, but not in others. And this because the people who raise the anti-Semitic bogey want it both ways: on the one hand they want to ensure the subject is never kept out of the public spotlight, but on the other hand they want to prevent the presentation of two points of view.

If the theory of there being what we might loosely refer to as a 'Jewish conspiracy' is baseless rubbish propagated by crackpots, then why the ruthless suppression of remotely any reference to it by organizations like the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the lot that gave MP Suella Braverman a telling-off for her use of the term 'Cultural Marxism' and the lot that quite possibly got Sir Roger Scruton sacked for comments he made about the controversial Jewish businessman George Soros? Do the people running such organizations not credit the British people with the ability to determine truth from fiction?

Copyright © Christopher Goff
Tag: Jewish Question
Uploaded: 15 April, 2019.