Having witnessed the Palestinian supporter death ride through the street of London last weekend, I wasn’t especially impressed with the video made by those former Redhill students. They resembled a younger SAGE (Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies) – the sullen, unelected, and possibly evil scientific body advising the UK government on ‘the Rona’ (‘May we have our freedom back now?’ ‘Er…er…er komputa says no’).
There are a few things to consider.
Firstly, if I was a parent of a protesting child, curious as to the destination of middle class slacktivism before somebody handed me a photo of Jeremy Corbyn, I’d enlist them into the Foreign Legion real quick. Secondly, if the well-being of the child has been issued to the school, and the latter has reasonable grounds to suspect that enabling a ‘discussion’ may actually be to invite a festival of pre-orchestrated ridicule-giving-license-to-hate speech onto its grounds, then the school is obliged to decline.
Events that unfolded in Essex, in North London and now those in the diamond district in New York all refer – attacks against Jews in major western capitals spiked by 400% in less than a week.
But the more obvious issue is just how rigged the game is. It would be unreasonable to expect fairness when these morose children are so explicitly intolerant. It would be impossible to apply limitations to their kind of fashionable, social justice-y performative radicalism imported from places like Islington and the fraud squad’s quarters in Washington DC. This is key to understanding their proclaimed ‘embarrassment’: it isn’t embarrassment as much as it is disappointment. As with much of the confected outrage that seeped into America’s corporate and cultural institutions throughout 2020, so is the appearance of ‘resistance’ the ultimate form of virtue signalling – particularly over a subject boasting such asymmetrical fandom.
The children do have the benefit of the President’s remarks – and many would probably subscribe to his broader views of the world, possibly even LEWC (land expropriation without compensation). Unlike his predecessor, Cyril Ramaphosa is wise to universal rhythms: he would only have published that garbage were he certain of the result of converging nostalgias – the ANC’s now exhausted liberation history, and its support of Hamas (there is already one well-meaning if delusional, bedwetting lockdown fanatic keffiyeh-wearing young person in Ramaphosa’s office who holds pro-Palestinian views. His name is Saul Musker).
To understand how cock-eyed influence, prompted by organizations like the ANC and by people like Musker, snakes its way through public consciousness – look at what happened in central London, when another group of young people decided to stand together under a banner yelling: ‘Queers for Palestine’. Reverse those words: ‘Palestine for Queers’. What is Hamas’ LGBTIQWERTY composition? What is its policy on puberty blockers or gender neutral toilets? Is it aiming to send a bearded man wearing a sequined dress to perform at Eurovision 2021? When you are tossed from a building head first, it’s unlikely those whizzing sounds contain the answers. ‘Trees for deforestation!’
Chris Williamson is a man you would never have heard of were he not such a vile anti-Semite. For a long time he was Labour MP for Derby North and voluntary head of the serpent – the most exhaustive, unequivocal hater of Jews in that party. So extreme are his views that even Labour, under Jeremy Corbyn, blocked him from participating in 2019’s general election. At the end of 2018, whilst trying to explore the depths of Labour’s hatred, I experimented with Twitter: ‘@DerbyChrisW you’re a revolting anti-Semite,’ I wrote in a reply to one of his notorious, toxic threads. I did this only to measure the response – and the speed at which it arrived was truly remarkable. ‘Fuck off to Tel Avev (sp) with your 12 followers,’ wrote Maureen from Wigan, a heavy-set woman with a picture of a rose in her handle (I had only joined Twitter a few hours before). ‘Zionist scum,’ wrote Mark from London, whose interests included ‘environmental justice, Crystal Palace and music.’ Soon my comment was ratio’ed by insults and later that evening Twitter sent me a warning. After archiving all the responses – all of whom were from white people – I deleted the account I had registered hours earlier.
The issue of Palestine is so divisive that it can extract people like Williamson from the mangled wreck of obscurity. This week Williamson posted a link to group called ‘Electronic Intifada’ headlined with: ‘Today we are Nazis says member of Israeli extremist group.’ The comment has 280 likes. Williamson retains his verified tick from the social media company. According to Twitter Chris Williamson is some kind of authority.
Since 2016 I’ve sought a German or Afrikaans expression or word to describe a very particular type of political hypocrisy – reserved for people like Corbyn and Williamson and Musker and the dockers in Durban and Cosatu. Nothing I encountered captured the hysteria and elimination of parameters – until I read the late Canadian poet Kathy Shaidle: ‘It’s different when they do it’. Nuanced and enduring, today it could be applied to Joe Biden’s southern border policies or his son in Ukraine or his recent capitulation to Russia. It would be Gavin Newsome’s dining habits, Gretchen Whitmer’s cushions, Nancy Pelosi’s hair – and all of Tony Fauci, Fredo Cuomo, Cyril Ramaphosa, a group of workers at the Port of Durban (have they ever refused to offload Chinese products?) and now – a group of miserable ex-students from a private school all fiddling with loaded dice. A thousand ways to twist a sentence. ‘It’s different when they do it.’