By Ya’akov Sloman
I have been reluctant to comment on the recent controversy concerning @Grouse_Beater’s blog post and the SNP response to it.
This thread is written because I feel an obligation to express my opinion.
Extracting a tweet from it for political reasons could mislead, it’s a risk.
I don’t speak for “The Jews”, I speak for *a* Jew,
I don’t speak for “Yessers”, I speak for *a* Yesser—myself.
I have written here about my concerns regarding the use of cynical accusations – by Jews and others – of antisemitism, how it dilutes public concern, and trivializes the real thing. I have written about my feelings concerning the inclusive, progressive nature of the Yes movement, and how for *me* that is the justification for Scottish self-determination.
Nothing has changed.
I regret the lack of sensitivity in how @Grouse_Beater chose to express his idea. It was inevitable that it lead to both sincere and cynical accusations of antisemitism.
BUT, I don’t believe he is an antisemite, nor that it was an expression of antisemitism – rather, ignorance. What he intended to communicate was impossible to isolate from current events, and the history of Nazism.
I don’t believe there is any evidence of @Grouse_Beater being an antisemite or holding antisemitic views.
I regret the impracticality of a more nuanced response from @theSNP to this controversy. The use of antisemitism as a political tool is terrible, but, here we have it – and in the context of popular media with an anti-SNP bias and the currency of such use, they acted as they must.
I am sympathetic with the sincere responses to @Grouse_Beater’s blog, both in condemnation and support – but I don’t share them.
It was neither antisemitism nor acceptable without qualification. It is a third thing, utterly lost in the current political climate – an honest mistake. I condemn the cynical responses to @Grouse_Beater’s blog who seek to make political hay on the backs of people who can’t see that this is nothing more than a lack of sensitivity.
Those cynical operators don’t care about truth, only political gain. This includes media and “opposition” politicians.
It is important to acknowledge that the demand for purity is one of the tools of political rhetoric. It’s absurd to expect a diverse movement not to reflect things that are generally found around them.
Are there genuine antisemites among yes voters? It seems impossible there not be. It is an endemic feature of Europe and baked in to the political mythology and assumptions.
But critically, neither antisemitism – nor the accusation of it in opponents – are integral to the Yes movement’s philosophy, strategy, or support for independence.
Scotland’s freedom is NOT ABOUT JEWS.
I will not elaborate on other UK political movements but I believe you can work that out.
As a Jew I am afraid of the shape of world events. I would be foolish not to be concerned. I am as afraid of the would be antisemites as my “defenders” who, in their ignorance, fan the flames and attack *friends* who may be ignorant but are surely not enemies.
When an ordinary person must sincerely ask if their righteous indignation at abuse and oppression are “antiesemitism”, and, at the same time are told that clumsy political writing *is*, Jews are at risk of losing real allies against it and being delivered to it.
I haven’t been around much, the world has forced me to stay away and try to enjoy my life and family – because it feels very much like I should do it “while I can”. But, I couldn’t stay silent in the face of something I consider crucial to the future.
This article originally appeared as a twitter thread. It is reproduced in article form with the kind permission of Ya’akov Sloman.
The original version of Grousebeater’s article can be read here.
The amended version can be read here.