In a story that is well-known, former UKIP Oberscheissenführer Nigel “Thirsty” Farage was prone to making blatantly anti-Semitic remarks in his schooldays, referring crudely to the techniques used by the Third Reich to massacre Jews and others whom they had declared to be Untermenschen. But then, we are assured, he matured and shunned such crude bigotry. Sadly, though, this maturation has not been without its lapses.
Squeaky bigoted finger up the bum time
Farage’s European Parliament group, the EFDD, needed to recruit MEPs from seven different member states in order to unlock more of those EU expenses that he slags off when others get them, but willingly trousers himself. Jonathan Arkush, deputy head of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, was ashast at Farage’s willingness to welcome a far-right Polish MEP into the EFDD ranks - and said so.
“The Board is gravely concerned by reports that UKIP may sit in the same parliamentary grouping as a far-right Polish MEP in a bid save its funding. Robert Iwaszkiewicz belongs to an extremist party whose leader has a history of Holocaust denial, racist remarks and misogynistic comments … Extremists and racists should be roundly rejected, not embraced. Even France’s far-right Front National rejected the JKM as being too extreme ... For Ukip to choose such a figure as Robert Iwaszkiewicz as a bedfellow, apparently for money, is beyond belief”. Too extreme for Marine le Pen.
(c) Steve Bell 2016
Then, during the EU referendum campaign, came Farage’s “Breaking Point” poster, which echoed Nazi stereotypes. He was called out for it: in reply, he told Robert Peston he was a victim, and told Dermot Murnaghan “That poster reflects the truth of what’s going on”.
That much was bad enough, but last night live on LBC - still giving him a platform, despite all the lying - Mr Thirsty was off and running again. As Labour councillor Adam Langleben has told, at around 1930 hours he told listeners “there are other very powerful foreign lobbies in the United States of America, and the Jewish lobby with its links to the Israeli Government is one of those strong voices”. And there was more.
“Well, in terms of money and influence, they [the Jewish lobby] are a very powerful lobby … There are about six million Jewish people living in America, so as a percentage, it’s quite small, but in terms of influence it’s quite big”. Where do we start with that?
The howler that leaps off the page is the idea that the “Jewish lobby” in the USA is a “foreign lobby”. Someone at LBC should have had a word in his ear as soon as he had said that. Many Jewish families can trace their time in the USA back two centuries - or even more. The “foreign” slur feeds into the anti-Semitic “disloyal Jew” trope.
Following right along, we get another old anti-Semitic trope, “Jews are all wealthy”, and then it’s on to “Jews are running everything behind the scenes”. All he needs to chuck in after that are “Goldman Sachs”, “globalists”, and a reference to George Soros.
The maturing out of Nigel Farage’s Jewish Problem seems to have been incomplete. Whether we see a more complete retraction and apology this evening is also doubtful. But don’t forget, some of his best friends are Jewish. Allegedly.