The antisemitic traditions of the Tory Party

Leftwing antisemitism is anything but a new phenomenon, says Daniel Hannan. The same could be said of Hannan’s own side of the political divide.

Harold Macmillanj

Leftwing antisemitism is anything but a new phenomenon, says Daniel Hannan. The same could be said of Hannan’s own side of the political divide

Dashing through the Reich, killing lots of Kike; that particularly loathsome couplet forms one line in a catchy little number reportedly popular at Oxford University Conservative Association piss-ups a few years ago.

No-one expects undergraduate drinking song lyrics to conform to the highest standards of political correctness, or even the minimum norms of good taste, come to that.

But this one – I’m guessing from the meter that it runs to the jaunty tune of Jingle Bells – is patently as nasty as they get.

Presumably the ditty was not current among the future leadership cadre of Britain’s main party of government when Daniel Hannan was OUCA president in the early 1990s.

I say that because Mr Hannan, currently a Tory MEP, and something of a poster boy for the eurosceptic right, is unwavering in his determination to root out antisemitism wherever he finds this archaic prejudice.

And the main place where he does find it is on the left, as he makes clear in a recent blog post on the Telegraph website.

By stringing together multiple quotes by historical figures ranging from Marx to Hitler – in Hannanland, you see, Hitler was a socialist – he tries to establish that a propensity to this vile prejudice forms part of the our common political inheritance.

Generously, he does concede that progressive opposition to Israel’s brutal onslaught on Gaza should not automatically be equated with a racist attitude towards Jews. However, this is, if nothing else, an easy mistake to make.

‘Supporters of Israel can be too quick to make the elision,’ he tells us. ‘Then again, they have understandable cause.’

Read the piece yourself. Hannan’s tactic is to select sayings from any long-dead arbitrarily-chosen individuals that come to hand, including ideologically eclectic oddballs who could just as easily be pegged as rightists rather than leftists, and then sit back and chalk up QED.

Yet somehow, he is strangely unable to cite a single significant thinker on the contemporary mainstream left who would use such words today.

The most he can hang on us is that a bunch of unknown Occupy activists have been filmed regurgitating Jewish banker conspiracy theory nonsense on homemade placards, while an obscure pro-Chavez Venezuelan publication of which nobody had previously ever heard once ran a dodgy article. Newsflash; neither of these cases is remotely representative, Daniel.

What is more, the same methodology could just as well be applied to Hannan’s own side of the political divide. For most of the previous century, the Conservative Party harboured not just antisemitic individuals at the highest levels, but organised antisemitic currents among its rank and file.

Organised antisemitism in Britain began with the British Brothers League, which from 1902 onwards mobilised the population of East London against Jewish immigrants seeking safety from the pogroms in their home countries.

It’s leaders included two Conservative MPs, Major Sir William Evans-Gordan and Howard Vincent; its actions laid the ground for such mercifully minor successes as the British Union of Fascists, the Union Movement and the National Front were to enjoy in the East End in the decades that followed.

If you want chapter and verse on antisemitism in 1930s Toryism – not to mention its frequent overt enthusiasm for fascism – look no further than Richard Griffiths’ excellent 1980 book Fellow Travellers of the Right.

To take just one example – and there are many, many more – Conservative MP Archibald Maule Ramsay headed an explicitly antisemitic organisation that went by the name of the Right Club. That’s right, Daniel; the Right Club, not the Left Club.

Its aims were to ‘oppose and expose the activities of organised Jewry’, including alleged Jewish control of the Conservative Party.

Conservative prejudice against Jews run up to world war two was not confined to the wingnuts, either. As even sympathetic reviewers point out, biographers of future prime minister Harold Macmillan show up the man’s almost casual antisemitism.

The most notorious example is Macmillan’s putdown of Jewish cabinet colleague Leslie Hore-Belisha as ‘Horeb-Elisha’, a reference to the mountain on which the Ten Commandments were handed down to Moses.

Macmillan and other senior Tories, including Viscount Cranbourne, eventually forced Hore-Belisha out of office in 1940, in the belief that his support for the war was primarily premised on his support for fellow Jews.

In the postwar period, Andrew Fountaine came within a few hundred votes of delivering Chorley to the Conservatives in the 1950 general election, despite giving a speech at party conference only months before, deriding the number of Jews with prominent positions in British public life.

His name may be familiar if you have read any of the literature on British fascism; Fountaine later become part of the central leadership of the National Front.

In more or less the same period, another organisation that wound up as part of the NF – the heavily anti-semitic League of Empire Loyalists – functioned as an unofficial ginger group inside the Conservative Party.

The British Brothers League, the Right Club and the League of Empire Loyalists were never mass forces, of course. The point is that in all cases, their originators found within the Conservative Party a sympathetic milieu in which to grow.

To the best of my knowledge, there are no counter examples of organised antisemitic tendencies of this kind inside the Labour Party, the British labour movement, or even the Marxist left.

Nor is Tory antisemitism entirely ancient history. As late as 1982, the oafish and odious Alan Clark was confiding in his diaries about the sport to be had by indulging in public Jew-baiting during the ennoblement of Sidney Bernstein, who declined to take the Christian oath.

Meanwhile, Supermac was to pop up again in the Thatcher years, famously branding her cabinet ‘more old Estonian than old Etonian’, by way of a less-than-subtle dig at the ancestry of Nigel Lawson, Leon Brittan and Michael Howard.

Much has changed since then, of course. The Colonel Blimp element in local level Conservative Associations is dead and buried, and David Cameron has made genuine efforts to distance the Nasty Party from UKIP-style fruitcake racism.

Yet knowledge that Tory students drunkenly extol the pleasures of ‘killing lots of Kike’ underlines that the brand is some way from detoxification yet.

Admittedly, holding them up as indicative of the mood in the party as a whole is unfair; just about as unfair as Hannan’s attempt to portray a bunch of New York trustafarian stoners as typical lefties, in fact.

To flip his blog post title back at him, rightwing antisemitism is anything but a new phenomenon, either.

David Osler is a London-based journalist and writer

80 Responses to “The antisemitic traditions of the Tory Party”

  1. His Excellency

    Tell that to the Communist revisionist idiot who calls himself “Reco2” or “MrReco12”.

  2. His Excellency

    Tell that to the Communist revisionist idiot who calls himself “Reco2” or “MrReco12”.

  3. His Excellency

    Neo-Communist Russia, Communist China and Islamist Iran are complicit in Hamas and other “Palestinian” Islamist leaders’ crimes against Israel. If you care about Muslims so much, then bring genuine democracy to Islamist regimes like Iran. Also, the father of so-called “Palestinian” nationalism, Hajj Amin Al-Husseini (who was the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem) was a supporter of Nazi Germany and the Axis forces during World War II who traveled to Berlin to personally meet with his friend and ally, Hitler, regarding building concentration camps for Jews in the Middle East. That’s who you support when you slander Israel with lies and propaganda.

  4. Reco2

    Actually, Hitler hated Karl marx. The anti semites were the German conservatives who suggested that the Jews be exterminated by the use of gas, indeed- all jews were banned from the joining the German conservative party. Furthermore, Hitler appointed a banker as his reich economic minister, you buffoon. William Mckingly did not coin privatization, it was coined in 1934 by the government lead by the mad rightist Adolf Hitler.

  5. His Excellency

    Radical leftists were the anti-Semites. Hitler was a socialist. Enough with the revisionism.

  6. Reco2

    No, the German Right demanded the extermination of the Jews early on. The Kaiser himself sheriked:

    ““I shall not leave the throne to please a couple of hundred Jews and several thousand workers,””

    When the rightist monarch had lost his throne he screamed:

    “deepest, most disgusting shame ever perpetrated by a person in history,
    the Germans have done to themselves… egged on and misled by the tribe
    of Judah … Let no German ever forget this, nor rest until these parasites have been destroyed and exterminated from German soil!”

    Yes, Hitler was following the Rightwing German conservative traditional of Jew-Hatred.

  7. Reco2

    No, the German Right demanded the extermination of the Jews early on. The Kaiser himself sheriked:

    ““I shall not leave the throne to please a couple of hundred Jews and several thousand workers,””

    When the rightist monarch had lost his throne he screamed:

    “deepest, most disgusting shame ever perpetrated by a person in history,
    the Germans have done to themselves… egged on and misled by the tribe
    of Judah … Let no German ever forget this, nor rest until these parasites have been destroyed and exterminated from German soil!”

    Yes, Hitler was following the Rightwing German conservative traditional of Jew-Hatred.

  8. His Excellency

    Yet, few had wanted the Kaiser to return. Your problem is that you put Communists on one side and all the others on the other side. Did you know that Lenin gave the Kaiser extra land to the east by pulling out of World War I? Lenin almost cost the Triple Entente the war, and the only reason they didn’t lose was because the US eventually intervened in the war. Anyway, the fact is that National Socialism was still socialism and Hitler was a socialist.

  9. Reco2

    The Kaiser was good friends with the wealthy capitalist Krupp. Russia did surrender to Germany in world war I, mainly due to the Tsar’s inept incompetence!

    The fact remains, Hitler’s regime was capitalist and must like the past conservative regimes.

  10. His Excellency

    Russia pulled out of World War I because that thug Lenin signed a “peace pact” with the thug Kaiser in Germany, giving land as a consequence and almost costing the Triple Entente the war until they were saved by the United States. When Germany lost, the Kaiser was deposed and he was exiled to the Netherlands where he resided until his death in 1941. Anyway, the fact remains that Hitler was a socialist and wanted to construct “true” socialism. Watch Revolutionary Holocaust.

  11. Reco2

    No, Russia was defeated fool. The economy was destroyed and its army was defeated. The fact remains, Hitler was a anti semtic Rightwinger like the former German Kaiser(MONARCH), he even supported the same capitalists.

  12. His Excellency

    Russia wasn’t defeated, fool. Lenin signed a “peace pact” with the Kaiser’s Germany withdrawing Russia from the war and giving Germany lands in the East. That is part of the historical record. The fact remains that Hitler was an anti-Semitic left-winger who wanted to construct his “own version” of “true” socialism.

  13. Reco2

    It was defeated, that is like saying Germany wasnt defeated in the first world war. Hitler was an anti semtic rightwinger like all conservative Germans, they hated the Jews. INcluding the head of German conservative party who claimed that German Jews were “vampires”

  14. His Excellency

    Russia was not defeated. Lenin had it withdrawn from World War I. Only the aid and intervention of the United States saved the Triple Entente from the Kaiser’s Germany. Anyway, Hitler was an anti-Semitic left-winger like many other leftist Germans, they hated Jews and hated Zionism. East Germany was very anti-Israel.

  15. Reco2

    Russia was defeated, its army lay in total ruins and so did its economy. HItler was an anti Semitic right winger who wanted the Jews to be exterminated like the conservative monarchist the Kaiser.

    “East Germany was very anti-Israel.”

    Marek Edelman, who lead the warsaw Ghetto uprising, was also very anti Israel. Many German anti semites were committed zionists, demanding that Jews be stripped of their citizenry and deported to the middle east.

  16. His Excellency

    Bulls**t. Hitler was a socialist. Many radical socialists were anti-Semites. The Nazis hated Zionists because Zionists were Jews. Hitler was an ally of Hajj Amin Al-Husseini, who was also anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist who also opposed the establishment of Israel. By the way, regarding Jews, the Holocaust, Zionism and Israel, I bet you never heard of Tom Lantos, a Hungarian Holocaust survivor who was later elected to the United States House of Representatives representing a district in Maryland. He was a pro-Israel Zionist.

  17. Reco2

    Hitler was a capitalist, who supported the same capitalist as the German Kaiser. Hitler was also close allies with the leader of the German conservative party Alfred Hugenburg who denounced German Jews as “vampires”.

    Again, the Nazis banned German Jews from flying the German flag…a move supported by anti Semitic Zionists who believed Jews should be thrown out of Europe and sent to the middle east.

    Vile anti Semites are against multiculturalism, many peopel who were pro Jewish were anti zionists.

  18. His Excellency

    Many people who are pro-Jewish are also pro-Zionists. You leftists always have to resort to revisionism to slander conservatives. Furthermore, Hitler was a socialist.

  19. Reco2

    Hitler and the German kaiser were Rightwing anti Semites who supported German Capitalism. In fact, many German capitalists were anti Semites as well.

    Why did the anti-semite Alfred Hugenburg promote zionism?

    Hugenberg Papers Voice Approval of Zionism

    September 27, 1933

    Berlin (Sep. 26)

    Approval of German Jews who are Zionists was
    expressed today by the powerful Hugenberg chain of newspapers owned by Dr. Alfred Hugenberg, nationalist leader and deposed minister of economics. The papers ridiculed Jews who consider themselves Germans.

    The papers indicate that German government circles are sympathetic to
    the Zionist movement, which need not fear suppression. The Jewish
    Telegraphic Agency learns, however, that Zionist headquarters in Berlin,
    especially those branches assisting emigration to Palestine, are
    closely watched by agents of the political police to ascertain whether
    all activities going on are strictly Zionist.

  20. Reco2

    Hitler and the German kaiser were Rightwing anti Semites who supported German Capitalism. In fact, many German capitalists were anti Semites as well.

    Why did the anti-semite Alfred Hugenburg promote zionism?

    Hugenberg Papers Voice Approval of Zionism

    September 27, 1933

    Berlin (Sep. 26)

    Approval of German Jews who are Zionists was
    expressed today by the powerful Hugenberg chain of newspapers owned by Dr. Alfred Hugenberg, nationalist leader and deposed minister of economics. The papers ridiculed Jews who consider themselves Germans.

    The papers indicate that German government circles are sympathetic to
    the Zionist movement, which need not fear suppression. The Jewish
    Telegraphic Agency learns, however, that Zionist headquarters in Berlin,
    especially those branches assisting emigration to Palestine, are
    closely watched by agents of the political police to ascertain whether
    all activities going on are strictly Zionist.

  21. His Excellency

    Hitler was a left-wing anti-Semite. Many radical socialists were anti-Semites and anti-Zionists.

  22. Reco2

    Hitler came straight out of the German Rightwing anti Semitic tradition.

  23. His Excellency

    No. He was a left-wing socialist. There were anti-Semites on the radical left as well.

  24. Reco2

    Is that why he came from the Rightwing anti Semitic tradition, with the leader of Germany’s conservative party labeling Jews “germany’s vampires”. Like Hugenburg, he was an anti semite,rightwing capitalist!

  25. His Excellency

    More propaganda, pendejo. Man, you can’t stop lying.

  26. Reco2

    No, you are denying that the German Right always hated the Jews….rather pathetic in a way.

  27. His Excellency

    You are denying that there are those in the German Left that hate Jews….rather pathetic in a way. You deny the fact that the radical left is anti-Semitic.

  28. Reco2

    If i recall, it was the German Kaiser, a rightist monarch, who demanded the Jews be gassed and exterminated.

  29. His Excellency

    You mean the leader who signed a “peace treaty” with Lenin, acquiring land from Russia?

  30. His Excellency

    You mean the leader who signed a “peace treaty” with Lenin, acquiring land from Russia?

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