This week’s Telegraph comment comes from numbskull “josiexuereb”, who left this comment on Dan Hannan’s blog.
Notice how “josiexuereb” skirts around history to promote the notion that the biggest threat of anti-Semitism comes from Islam rather than the far-right. She’s completely forgotten Edward I’s expulsion of the Jews and the persecution that took place immediately before that.
The comment left under that points out how the parties like Hungary’s Jobbik is openly anti-Semitic and anti-Ziganist (probably anti-Muslim too). No doubt someone will come along and claim that Jobbik is a “socialist” or “far-left” party as they usually do with the fascist BNP. Jobbik is actually a member of the EAF, a European Parliament grouping of far-right parties that includes the BNP. UKIP’s Godfrey Bloom also has close ties to the group.
So what prompted this comment? Hannan wrote a blog which claims that Shakespeare’s Shylock character in The Merchant of Venice “may be a greater incitement to anti-Semitism than the Protocols of the Elders of Zion”. Frankly, I think he’s tilting at windmills. Here’s a taste of the article.
No wonder anti-Semites in every age and nation seize gleefully on the play. No wonder Disraeli’s opponents used to shout “Shylock!” when he addressed Parliament. No wonder performances were so popular in fascist Europe in the 1930s. Even in the 1980s, I listened as a teenager to Peru’s President, Alan García, justifying his nationalisation of the country’s banks (one of which was owned by a Jewish family) by recalling the pound of flesh story. I wish I could say that García had missed the point of the play, but the awkward truth is that the theatre-goer is invited to spit upon Shylock with the otherwise high-minded Antonio; to declare with Gratiano, “O, be thou damn’d, inexorable dog!”
Hannan ignores how The Protocols has been used to assert an international Jewish conspiracy. This has far greater potency in the minds of anti-Semites than a character in a Shakespeare play.
I’ve just gone back to Hannan’s blog and noticed that the comment that replied to “josiexuereb” has been removed. I would suggest that what was said in that comment upset the Lyin’ King and his far-right readers.
UPDATE: 15/9/13 @1028
josiexuereb’s comment has been removed. Never mind, I still have a screenshot.