ModernityBlog

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

Explaining The EDL And The Guardian.

with 19 comments

My reason for writing the post, Imagine you’re a British neofascist, was to convey the political absurdity of the Guardian’s original photograph.

The implied meaning of the photo was to connect the EDL with Israel, and so in turn to Jews.

It was to imply, in a not too subtle fashion, that Jews could be EDL thugs too, that was the message coming from the Guardian.

This was not the first time that I have run across this (implied) argument and when you consider the politics and history behind it then it doesn’t bear much scrutiny.

However, let us step back and be clear that the EDL leadership are made up of neo-Nazis and their allies.

We know this from circumstantial evidence, video footage, the publication of EDL events on neo-Nazi bulletin boards and above all from the statements of the one-time founder of the EDL, Paul Ray.

Ray admits that neo-Nazis took over the EDL in a video clip, here.

But perhaps we should consider some of the underlying issues and see what comes out.

In this form of arguing by innuendo, what we are meant to believe is that the neo-Nazis and their close associates, who actually run the EDL and decide policy, have suddenly taken a liking to Israelis, and by inference Jews.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Clearly, an alternative line of reasoning is possible, that the neofascists within the EDL are lying about their motives.

It is a simpler and much more straightforward answer because otherwise we have to explain away why neo-Nazis would suddenly take a liking to Israelis, and Jews.

The problem being is that, neo-Nazis don’t like Jews, and in particular Israel as it is seen as the centre of Jewish power. That is something that all neo-Nazis fear the most. A central theme to Nazism is the notion that Jews control and manipulate events around the world from a central location, in this case Israel. [Warning: illustrative links to original Nazi propaganda, nasty racist material.]

It is hardly credible that entrenched neo-Nazis would suddenly wake up one-day and decide “Yes, we like Israelis.”

It seems incongruous, and ever so improbable.

Why people would advance these arguments in one way shape or form I can’t say, they are nonsensical because you have to assume a multiplicity of tenuous assumptions, that just don’t hang together naturally.

For example, firstly, you have to assume that neo-Nazis are honest about their motives. Secondly, that you can take their word as truthful. Thirdly, that they are sincere in their beliefs. Fourthly, that they have changed completely, to now liking Israelis and Jews.

Which is all rather ludicrous and contrary to the evidence.

Possibly the reason that this argument, by innuendo, is pushed is that those people advancing it are completely ill-informed about the nature of the EDL?

Or conceivably they know next to nothing of politics or history? Perhaps they haven’t thought about the issues? Maybe they are prisoners of their own prejudices, they want to believe the worst and so do.

I can’t say one way or the other but what disturbs me is that seemingly highly educated individuals would erroneously jumped to the conclusion that neo-Nazis have suddenly grown a love for all things Israeli, and Jews in particular.

It doesn’t make sense.

Surely, following Occam’s razor, the simpler answer is probably the correct one? And in the case of the EDL that means they are merely putting on a front and lying.

Of course, if you’re going to seriously argue the EDL really like Israelis and Jews then it is incumbent on you to provide some concrete evidence other than a flag.

Also you would have to explain how neo-Nazis have come to this conclusion and why. Above all, you would have to explain how neo-Nazis have dropped their all-consuming hatred of Jews and are now to be taken seriously.

It’s not too surprising that those most keen to advance these arguments are often themselves fierce critics of Israel, but to argue that the neo-Nazis in the EDL leadership should be taken at face value is naive at best.

Some gullible types might be taken in, but that doesn’t change the historical evidence nor the fact that the EDL leadership are neo-Nazis and their allies.

Again, so anyone trying to advance this argument would:

1) have to explain why the EDL leadership are not neo-Nazis
2) need to argue why those neo-Nazis are sincere and should be taken at their word
3) detail precisely why the EDL had taken this position, etc etc

I favour the simplest answer that the neo-Nazis in the EDL are lying and using this as a ploy to wrong foot their opponents.

Seriously, why should we believe the EDL?

What compelling reason is there that we should suspend our natural scepticism of political activists? If we would take the words of mainstream politicians with a pinch of salt, then surely the EDL’s and their assorted neo-Nazis’ deserve more than a handful?

Ultimately, the EDL are not what they say they are, and anyone semi-serious on these issues shouldn’t be fooled by them, and certainly not Guardian journalists.

PS: I am away for a few days, so if you haven’t commented before you’ll get stuck in the moderation queue for the first time, that’s how it works.

Please be patience .

Oh, and any would-be EDL supporters, please read my comments policy, twice.

Update 1: I thought it would make it easier to post the previous instalment, Imagine you’re a British neofascist, below:

This is going to be difficult, but imagine you are a British neofascist:

“Further, imagine, that you long for the days when you can openly worship Nazism, as your forbears in and around the leadership of the British National Front used to do.

Imagine your frustration, you are a British neofascist and yet you can’t be open about it, you can’t express your admiration for David Irving or visit extreme right-wing Japanese groups without someone finding out.

In short you are in a pickle, you want your odious ideology to succeed but realise that most people would sooner eat their own vomit than join you in the Nazi salute.

Then you have a bright idea. Why not hide the extremes of your neofascist ideology? Why not wear a suit? Why not try to pick on the weakest in society as your heroes from Nazi Germany did, but do it with a twist?

Cunningly, as a devious British neofascist, you would not attack the ultimate target: Jews, directly

No, that wouldn’t work, so you have to think of another scheme.

Who to attack? And who to whip up hatred against? Who to use to build a street army?

Then in a flash it occurs to you, you’ll attack immigrants, but stop, that hasn’t been too successful for the BNP. What else can you do?

Ahh, attack Muslims, but not directly, not whilst wearing your suit.

So you infiltrate a new organisation, you make sure that all your neofascist and neo-Nazi pals are in key positions of power, and eventually take it over.

Still you’re worried, as a devious British neofascist, that your political enemies with see through these tactics, and then it hits you, how to throw them off the scent?

Pretend that you like Jews. Get one of your knuckle headed friends to get an Israeli flag or two. And when you walk around wave it a lot. What a laugh!

Your mates think it is funny, they hate Jews with a passion, but it is a big wind-up and people don’t know how to react, many stop and think, others are fooled and some like your natural opponents in the liberal minded Guardian suddenly think that a bunch of neo-Nazi skinheads have converted to Zionism, how wrong could they be!

All the same, as a British neofascist, you don’t mind if the Guardian takes pot-shots at Jews.

In fact, you think it is funny, that highly educated journalists don’t really understand modern neo-Nazism, letting you have your way. And once you’ve whipped up enough hatred against the Muslims then you can turn to other ethnic minorities, and eventually Jews.

Whilst all this is happening you, as a British neofascist, will have an able ally in the Guardian as they don’t much care for Jews or Israelis either. Plus the fact they haven’t worked out that you can’t stand Jews or liberals, but their gullibility blinds them to the fact that neofascists are frequently dishonest about their motives.

The Guardian types don’t know that you will do anything to get power, even tell fibs. But none of that will matter once you’ve grown from a proto-street army to an organised force, all of that will be too late.

But, as a British neofascist, you thank your lucky stars that the Guardian editorial staff seem to know next to nothing of history, care even less and have their own set of prejudices.

Then you trot off to polish your steel capped-boots, ponder a recruitment campaign at the Guardian, all with a smug grin on your face.”

Imagine that.

Actual Guardian article on the EDL, published on August 21, 2010

19 Responses

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  1. I am not a great expert on the EDL. However, here are a few points:

    1. Paul Ray appears, from Richard Bartholomew’s account of him, to be a loony. He has some sort of preoccupation with crusaders, and may well have been involved in daubing weird graffiti reflecting this obsession. I am not sure that he is much of a witness.

    2. There are clearly neo Nazis involved in the EDL. However, I don’t think that neofascists run the EDL. I don’t think that the EDL is really “run” at all. They are idiots.

    3. I expect that the motives for carrying Israeli flags are pretty varied and not really thought through. It will be a combination of winding up their opponents, identifying with those struggling against radical Muslim politics, being “politically incorrect”, etc.

    4. There are some neofascists who are separatists, and therefore support Jewish nationalism for the same reasons that they might support black identity politics. That doesn’t mean that they don’t hate Jews or Blacks, however.

    Thoughts

    25/08/2010 at 14:44

  2. This is the problem, there are plenty of people who wish to make snap judgements, invariably absolving the EDL.

    They do so contrary to the facts and often not troubling to read any of the evidence.

    I would suggest that you take the time and trouble to read the numerous links in the original CiF Watch and then get back to me.

    modernityblog

    25/08/2010 at 14:53

  3. This is the perfect example of what I think you mean on that vapid site Indymedia:

    http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2010/08/457503.html

    A man called Mick blames ‘Zionists’ for funding the EDL. No further information, just ‘Zionists’….

    David

    25/08/2010 at 15:01

  4. “The implied meaning of the photo was to connect the EDL with Israel, and so in turn to Jews.”

    What evidence do you have for this besides the fact that there is a picture of an Israeli flag at an EDL rally (as there often are)? I’ve also seen photos in the Guardian of a gay pride flag at EDL rallies – would this mean that the Guardian was subversively attempting to connect the EDL with “militant homosexuality”?

    I don’t think EDL’ers like Israelis and Jews: they just despise Muslims more, and Muslims offer an open goal with regard to scapegoating what with the widespread and legitimate fear of terror/sharia etc.

    If anything the flying of the Israeli flag is done solely because they know it will piss off the far-left and hardcore Muslim element – this urge seems to supercede any dislike they have of Jews.

    Also, if for nothing else the fascist is often defined by a specific hierarchy of the races. It does seem that, at least presently, that “Pakis” come out on top of the hate list for the 21st cebtury British fascist.

    James Bloodworth

    25/08/2010 at 15:01

  5. What evidence? The constant stream of comparisons between the Nazis and Israelis/Jews which can be found on commented is free, run by the Guardian.

    Additionally, they are probably flying the flag as a useful diversion, it can unbalance their enemies and makes people who would normally shun them, sympathise with them.

    As for hierarchies, to the neo-Nazi the ultimate enemy is always the Jew, but to attack them in this form of popular frontism is politically inadvisable, so they pick on the people they perceive to be the weakest, at the moment, Muslims, South Asians, etc but that doesn’t mean that the neo-Nazis have forgotten their own ideology, just that they think they’ve found a easier route to power.

    Never underestimate these devious fokkers.

    modernityblog

    25/08/2010 at 15:16

  6. Indeed David, you can find similar stuff across the web, normally coming from the fringes of the “anti-Zionist” spectrum.

    If you throw “edl zionists” into google without the quotes you’ll see what I mean.

    modernityblog

    25/08/2010 at 15:18

  7. “What evidence? The constant stream of comparisons between the Nazis and Israelis/Jews which can be found on commented is free, run by the Guardian.”

    Don’t for a minute think I’m excusing the numbskulls who write anti-Semitic babble on the CIF threads; I’ve encountered enough of them myself.

    But considering the story is just a run-of-the-mill EDL story, rather than a comment piece, which you’re right *could* be interpreted as an anti-Semitic insinuation if you wished to see it that way, I’m not inclined to go quite that far. I think the reasons the EDL do it are far more base; but I do not see the Guardian as quite so deliberately devious.

    Agree with the rest though ;)

    James Bloodworth

    25/08/2010 at 17:22

  8. Btw, you fancy mutually linking? Here I am: http://bloodworthweb.blogspot.com/

    Great blog.

    James Bloodworth

    25/08/2010 at 17:24

  9. I favour the simplest answer that the neo-Nazis in the EDL are lying and using this as a ploy to wrong foot their opponents.

    I think there’s a more simple explanation than this. Given that much of the EDL’s roots come from football hooligan culture the reason they wave the Israeli flag is because they think this will wind up their opponents the most. This is what football hooligans do, it explains why some opposing fans sing ‘always check on the runway for ice’ to the tune of ‘The Bright Side of Life’ when they play Man United (a reference to the disaster in Munich).

    The EDL are out to provoke a response from Muslims in Britain. This is why you’ll find the seemingly incomprehensible sight of people seig-heiling and waving Israeli flags on the same demo.

    Duncan

    27/08/2010 at 19:56

  10. I take it we’re going to have a thorough critique of the racism on display here at some point: http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2010/08/201082913280929137.html?

    P

    30/08/2010 at 08:48

  11. indeed Duncan, that’s a good answer too, but you can see that a few “anti-Zionists” can’t wrap their heads around this issue, they *assume* that suddenly ‘the EDL are Zionists” etc etc and all that follows from that….

    They can’t see that there are alternative answers….

    modernityblog

    01/09/2010 at 14:18

  12. P,

    Do you have a point relevant to **this** issue?

    Or are you going to bait people instead?

    modernityblog

    01/09/2010 at 14:27

  13. I mostly agree with James Bloodworth on **this** issue.

    I just thought, what with the universalist approach you take to racism (which I commend), you might be interested in writing something on the incident I noticed, too.

    P

    05/09/2010 at 10:03

  14. P, it is more “whatabouttry” from you.

    Why won’t you concentrate on the issue at hand?

    modernityblog

    07/09/2010 at 01:46

  15. “Additionally, they are probably flying the flag as a useful diversion, it can unbalance their enemies and makes people who would normally shun them, sympathise with them.”

    I think you’ve hit the nail on the head there. They are trying to tap into Jewish anti-Palestinian sentiment to bolster their cause, much as their allies try to tap into animal welfare concerns when campaigning against Muslims schoolchildren being allowed halal meat in school dinners. They have explicitly issued appeals for Jews to join their movement due to sharing a common enemy (as they see it). Buying into Israeli nationalism (cynically? very probably) by waving flags is part of that.

    Where you haven’t hit the nail on the head, I would say, is in suggesting that the Guardian chose to publish the photo out of anti-Semitic malice.

    jungle

    08/09/2010 at 07:58

  16. “in suggesting that the Guardian chose to publish the photo out of anti-Semitic malice.”

    Did I say that? Where?

    But please, do explain the Guardian’s attitude?

    I’d welcome some explanation of what goes on at the Guardian and any insights into their thought process.

    And in particular why they allow CiF to become a hotbed of anti-Jewish racism.

    modernityblog

    08/09/2010 at 10:18

  17. Apologies for not giving a reason for my last comment: real life got in the way.

    You did say:

    “The implied meaning of the photo was to connect the EDL with Israel, and so in turn to Jews. It was to imply, in a not too subtle fashion, that Jews could be EDL thugs too, that was the message coming from the Guardian.”

    Which seems to be implying that you think the Guardian’s use of the photo has an agenda – i.e. that even though it is a real picture of the protest, they chose that picture over others quite deliberately, in order to associate Israel (and therefore Jews) with the EDL (and vice versa).

    To me that’s just such an obscure and indirect way of expressing anti-Jewish sentiment that it seems highly improbable that the Guardian would bother (especially when, as you say, you don’t have to search all that far on CiF comment threads about Israel to find anti-semitism, despite the fact that numerous comments are deleted for other reasons). It certainly would never occur to me that the act of publishing the picture could be interpreted as anti-Semitic, any more than publishing pictures of the EDL waving English flags is anti-English.

    jungle

    08/09/2010 at 11:45

  18. “Which seems to be implying that you think the Guardian’s use of the photo has an agenda – i.e. that even though it is a real picture of the protest, they chose that picture over others quite deliberately, in order to associate Israel (and therefore Jews) with the EDL (and vice versa).”

    Very good summary, I wish I had written that :)

    “It certainly would never occur to me that the act of publishing the picture could be interpreted as anti-Semitic,”

    Racism often works on an almost subconscious level, I suspect that the journalist or subeditor that chose the picture might not have *openly* thought that, but the subliminal message comes thru…

    I don’t think it is coincidental, that when you have to wade thru the anti-Jewish racism on CiF, that it springs out and infects the thinking of otherwise intelligent individuals on the Guardian.

    modernity

    08/09/2010 at 11:56

  19. […] Explaining The EDL And The Guardian. […]


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