Christkillers at Christ Church

Here’s David Aaronvitch on a meeting I attended at the Oxford Literary Festival at Christ Church college but haven’t found an outlet to write about. It was extraordinary. A demented demagogue preaching an updated version of Nazism to the genteel literary folk of Oxford; half the audience scandalised and the other half muttering that he had a point of view.

Here’s a story in which I take no pleasure. Some time ago, I was asked to participate in a “debate” on antisemitism at a respectable literary festival. The other speakers were to be Denis MacShane MP and the radical Israeli historian, Ilan Pappe. Though the debate’s topic was unclear, with a book due to be published on conspiracy theories, I happily agreed.

Two weeks before the event, I was called by the organisers to be told two things: first that Mr Pappe had had to withdraw and second that they had invited Gilad Atzmon, the Israeli musician, to take his place. Atzmon, for those who don’t know, is a man who spends his evenings playing the saxophone and his days on the computer, variously churning out Judeophobic nonsense and indulging in extensive pseudonymous self-promotion.

In essence, his stock argument is that Jews are responsible for their own historic misfortunes due to their tribalism and aggression. He then serves this stuff up larded with post-modernist gobbledegook borrowed from his incomprehensible, academic mother.

Read the whole thing here
PS I recommend Aaronvitch’s new book on conspiracy theories which will be out soon.

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4 thoughts on “Christkillers at Christ Church

  1. Nick, you’ve obviously never seen “The Doha Debates” and were probably very lucky that the Literary (sic!) Festival (double sic!) didn’t have the technology to ask the audience to vote; else you would certainly have witnessed the shameless ways in which supposedly educated and rational people, such as those in the Audience, ABSOLUTELY HATE THE JEWS AND THE STATE OF ISRAEL.
    Like the torture debate in the US right now, the truth is that those who weep and wail and mourn about America losing its moral standing do not give a toss about condemning “TORTURE”; they just happen to know that the wrong “terrorists” got tortured. If it were Bush, Cheney, Rove and Rice being waterboarded that would be just tickety-boo! And if white phosphorous were to fall in industrial quantities on Tel-Aviv why that would be just peachy!
    Save your ire; learn to shoot!

  2. It is interesting that such a small religious minority or nationality – however you look at it – should receive such obsessive attention from the rest of the world; and the more interesting still that almost nobody seems to realize that it is strange. To make a comparison, who obsesses about the Basques, the Antiochene Orthodox, the Jains, or the Ainu? I have a theory of my own about the causes of Jew-bashing, but what seems worth saying here is that the very enemies of Jews themselves tend to bring, in their own weird way, a testimony to the importance of Hebraism that goes well beyond its numbers.

  3. The horrible paragraph where David Aaronovitch writes of it going downhill reminded me of something I’d read a couple of years ago. It’s about a discussion on the Guardian’s online talkboards that was entitled ‘David Aaronovitch and Nick Cohen Are Enough to Make a Good Man Anti-Semitic’.
    In Nick Cohen’s words: ‘ The political incorrectness was too much for one contributor. Rightly, she protested that naked bigotry infused the debate. The Guardian readers should have headlined it ‘David Aaronovitch and Nick Cohen Are Enough to Make a Good Man, or Woman, Anti-Semitic’.
    That is from the excellent What’s Left?
    A book needing reread or bought, if it hasn’t been.

    The poor little snivelling, proud racist – upset that those exactly like her could treat her so discriminately.
    David Aaronovitch settles on the idea that it is best to know, whatever the encounters, and I for one say it is too because we get accounts like that and are greatly informed. It’s very good that it is typical of Nick Cohen to be there, or wherever, taking on such types and their racism.

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