Wednesday, February 02, 2005

New Labour, new anti-semitism?

William Rees-Mogg writes:
THERE are two great anti-Semitic personas in English literature. Both were created by men of genius, William Shakespeare and Charles Dickens, in works of genius, The Merchant of Venice and Oliver Twist. Both portray a stereotypical Jew as avaricious, ruthless and cunning. The names of both of these characters are so familiar that they have entered the language. They are Shylock and Fagin.

Yesterday, The Mail on Sunday rightly published two striking photographs side by side. Both are carefully staged, with a Fagin figure holding an old-fashioned pocket watch on a chain. The first is a picture of Barry Humphries actually playing Fagin. The second is a Labour Party poster of Michael Howard, carefully chosen to fit the Fagin image. MORE

Melanie Phillips writes:
This image [in the Labour Party poster] conveys the subliminal message that Mr Howard is not to be trusted because he is a Jew. It does this by drawing on two caricatures straight out of the lexicon of anti-Jewish prejudice. The first is the image of the money-grubbing Jew, like Shylock. Worse still is the suggestion that Mr Howard is trying to hypnotise the public, which plays directly on the ancient canard that the Jews are some kind of sinister conspiracy manipulating the world to their own nefarious ends. MORE
See the pictures here and here

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