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By Jason Michael
ACCUSING POLITICAL OPPONENTS of Antisemitism and Holocaust denial – the political equivalent of spray-painting ‘PEDO’ on a hated neighbour’s door – is a favourite tactic of the right-wing. In English politics, this was exactly what was levelled against Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn after Ken Livingstone made insensitive comments about collaboration between the Hitler’s Germany and Zionist organisations before and during the Second World War. ‘Collaboration’ is a bit of a stretch, but the history of the systematic murder of the Jews of Europe between 1941 and 1945 is complex, and, as is the case in every such dark story, there are collaborators and individuals forced to do awful things in order to survive. Livingstone’s comments were not clever, but their cynical use by the Conservatives and right-wing elements of the Labour Party to discredit Corbyn and the left were disgusting to say the least.
More refined independentistas do not much like other, less-well refined, independence supporters calling Conservatives ‘scum.’ Fair enough, but we are talking about a political party in government in London and a socio-economic ideology that are solely responsible for the introduction of shock economic austerity; a sweeping set of cuts that have cost the lives of more than 130,000 people. We are talking about a party that sees no problem with insisting a woman declare she was the victim of rape to claim benefits for a third or subsequent child. We are talking about the party of the powerful British establishment that has routinely covered up the misdeeds of its members and its friends in high places. The Conservative Party is rotten with racism and Islamophobia. Some may not like calling them scum, but we can all accept that there is most definitely something scummy about British Conservativism and those who support it.
The Scotsman has wisely decided I am no longer a Holocaust denier. And the only paper putting me under fire for my… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…—
Jason Michael (@Jeggit) February 01, 2019
For as long as I can remember, the bedrock of every single Conservative initiative has been a web of class-antagonistic jingoism and outright lies. David Cameron’s better-late-than-never apology to the people of Derry for the Bloody Sunday massacre exposed the facts of Britain’s lies and denials in Ireland during the Troubles, since the 2014 campaign for independence in Scotland the Tories have come to be recognised for the liars and master manipulators they are, and Brexit has put the final nail in the coffin. To expect anything more than a barefaced lie from a British Conservative is as naïve as imagining a hungry boa constrictor would make an ideal childminder.
It came as no surprise to me, then, that the Scottish Conservatives still have a number of particularly nasty lies about me on their websites. On scottishconservatives.com (30 January 2019) you can read this scurrilous nonsense:
Jason Michael McCann, known as ‘Jeggit’, is a prominent independence campaigner who has repeatedly and unashamedly promoted anti-Semitism and praised political violence online.
The, over on fifeconservatives.uk, they provide their readers with an entire syllabus of errors, repeating the accusation that I am an anti-Semite, adding to it that I support the violent actions of dissident Republicans in Ireland, that I would like to see members of the British royal family dead, and that I have an ill opinion of those who were killed in the trenches during the First World War. Admittedly, they get some of this right. So, let me address those parts first.
“He calls British soldiers of World War I ‘fools’ and delights in ‘[taking] a dump’ on ‘their cheap and meaningless little flower.’” This is absolutely correct, and I offer no apology. The soldiers in the trenches were fools, and they – more than anyone else – knew this to be true. They were made fools of by the butchers who sent them there. So true is this that it has become a central feature of the canon of poetry and literature from the war that is taught to our children in school. One of that war’s fools, Wilfred Owen, puts his sense of foolishness and betrayal better than I ever could – and why not, he was there: “If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace behind the wagon… you would not tell with such high zest to children ardent for some desperate glory, The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori.” And as for the poppy, goodness only knows what the poppy is anymore. Once upon a time it was a token of respect and an emblem of pain. It’s not that now. It’s a vainglorious recruiting tool, a symbol of empire and violence, and everywhere it is used much as a dog marks a tree as a sign of hatred and intolerance. It is a cheap and meaningless little flower.
They claim that I call for violence, that I am somehow a supporter of the IRA and dissident Republican groups in Ireland. All they have to base this on is a tweet in which I quoted the operations manual of the Irish Republican Army in which the British Army and members of the British security services and the police were called “legitimate targets.” I am an Irish Republican. I am a member of Sinn Féin, and like my comrades in Sinn Féin I am working to end Britain’s presence in Ireland and to bring about the peaceful and democratic unification of the island of Ireland. This was the same claim made about me in the Daily Mail, but this claim was made in an article which included a response I gave to one of its journalists: “I stand by my comments. I am a pacifist and a devout Christian, and I don’t want Ireland to return to violence.” How the British Conservatives get IRA supporter from this, I certainly don’t know. Must be a lie.
Jason Michael (@Jeggit) January 31, 2019
Then we have this claim that I am an anti-Semite and a Holocaust denier. Throughout my entire university career I have been a member of Trinity College’s Jewish Society and for a decade served as an Irish delegate to the International Council for Christians and Jews at Heppenheim, Germany, and during my time in Dublin I have been a regular worshipper at the Orthodox synagogue in Terenure and consider the Chabad rabbi a dear friend. The accusation of antisemitism comes from my thoughts on the State of Israel, which I do not think has a ‘right’ to exist – I don’t believe any state has a right to exist. Criticism of the State of Israel is not antisemitism, it’s simply criticism of a state.
What about Holocaust denial? Have I ever denied the Holocaust? Well, no. The Conservative Party website misquotes me as saying: “the holocaust was a fiction” – something I have never said or published. They have lifted this quote, distorted it, and presented it entirely out of context. What I actually said was that “this holocaust was a fiction,” referring to the distorted narrative used by the State of Israel to delegitimise the Palestinian cause. In truth, these aren’t even my words. This is the old-hat opinion of Jewish scholars Noam Chomsky, Ilan Pappé, and Shlomo Sand. It would be wrong not to give my Jewish colleagues credit here. The misquote used by the Tories comes from an article I published in early April 2018 which makes absolutely clear the distinction between the Holocaust qua the Nazi genocide of European Jews and the distorted narrative of that awful history used by the State of Israel. In fact, the opening paragraph of the article reads:
What I mean by this is not that I refuse to accept the murder of millions of Jews across Europe by the Nazis during the Second World War, we know this happened. What I deny is the right of the State of Israel to hide behind the special victim status that has been manufactured out of the Holocaust; a moral fallout shelter that has effectively permitted Israel to murder Palestinians and destroy Palestine.
Hardly much of a Holocaust denier. But truth matters very little to British Conservatives. They are the sort of people who would callously sit back and watch their policies kill the most vulnerable people in England – their own motherland, they are content to use the genocidal murder of some six million men, women, and children by the Nazis for their selfish and sick political gain – why on Earth would they not be liars too? I don’t need to lie about what I have written. It is there for all to see, and I stand by every last word. There is the difference between me and a Conservative – integrity.
Holocaust Denial and Distortion