Friday, February 06, 2009

Steven Berkoff speaks out

So Steven Berkoff says that Britons are anti-semitic. I feel the need to respond with that great American exclamation: DUH! A couple of weeks ago in the Telegraph Tim Walker reported:

"Within days of Trevor Phillips, the chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commisson, saying he believed that Britain was the least racist nation in Europe, the actor Steven Berkoff has claimed that its people are inherently anti-Semitic. "There is an inbuilt dislike of Jews," says Berkoff, whose production of On The Waterfront opens this month at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket. "Overt anti-Semitism goes against the British sense of fair play. It has to be covert and civilised. So certain playwrights and actors on the Left wing make themselves out to be stricken with conscience. "They say: 'We hate Israel, we hate Zionism, we don't hate Jews.' But Zionism is the very essence of what a Jew is. Zionism is the act of seeking sanctuary after years and years of unspeakable outrages against Jews. As soon as Israel does anything over the top it's always the same old faces who come out to demonstrate. I don't see hordes of people marching down the street against Mugabe when tens of thousands are dying every month in Zimbabwe.""

Wasn't it Golda Meir who complained that of all the places in the Middle-East that might have been chosen to be the Promised Land, howcome we got the only one without any oil? What rotten luck for us, eh? I have been asking for weeks why people do not march in their thousands and throw shoes at the Zimbabwean embassy, or any other major international humanitarian situation. The British may be covert and civilised, but anyone who has lived there for a while knows that the WASPs will never change their minds. After all, to jew someone down is still considered a verb in England. There seems little point, however, in rehashing the whos and the whys and the hows. In the end, it is plus ca change.


  1. Anonymous10:35 pm

    in my experience, britishes weren't racist.

    i don't think it's good what happened in the middle east now.
    but i know that the reason jews are doing it because they hurt by
    other nations over the centuries.

    i think zionism is fine because
    every nation has their own believes
    like, think about chinese they believe they're the center of the world, and i'm not chinese but we
    believe we're the center of the
    world something like that.

    what about britain?
    the sun never goes down.right?
    so? why bother others?
    they all have something to proud.

  2. Contrary to what you have written, 'jewing' someone down is not a contemporary expression in British English, and its meaning "to get the better of someone in a business deal", which I had to look up, is simply not generally understood.

    Antisemitism surely exists in Britain, as in Europe and the US. But that it is commonplace in the EU is AIPAC propaganda. I won't stress this point, because as an American you will instinctively resist the idea that you are subject to anything like propaganda, but when you have calmed down I suggest you devise strategies to establish truths that are held across the world, not merely in the US. I hasten to add that I have tremendous respect for Americans, who have demonstrated their ability to right past wrongs by their recent choice of president. If only you didn't believe what you hear on Fox?

    You won't like bits of this, but if you read it all you might better understand European thought: (draft)

    BTW, this cracked me up: Golda Meir complained that of all the places in the Middle-East that might have been chosen to be the Promised Land, how come we got the only one without any oil? -Maher (

  3. dear maher, how kind of you to take the time to comment. a couple of points in response:

    contrary to how you have responded to what i have written, i happen to have heard the expression 'jewing' someone down quite regularly in conversation in london over a period of several years.

    secondly, why assume i am an american? as it happens, to this point i have lived more of my life in europe than in the usa. this does not make me any the less saddened by your assumptions of my emotional responses, nor your need to vent anti-american bile on my page.

    as for your suggestion with regard to learning about european thought, i have been patronised by many more broadminded than you.

    at least we agree on golda :-)

  4. Maybe one day we'll agree about grama too?