I was on France24’s “The Debate” with Francois Picard this week, talking about antisemitism in light of issues relating to the yellow jacket protests in France and the Labour Party in the UK.
Is France becoming more anti-Jewish? Or has hate speech become more uninhibited? After some Yellow Vests hurled abuse at Jewish intellectual Alain Finkielkraut, people are rallying in Paris against anti-Semitism. Last year, anti-Semitic incidents rose 74% in France. Is social media enabling hate speech and fostering a culture of violence? Is that violence born from a changing world order, with weaker institutions like trade unions that used to channel grievances and tone down extremes?
Cain Burdeau wrote up
the broadcast for Courthouse News:
“We’re living in a time when there’s been a crisis of trust in sources of authority, sources of information, sources of knowledge, and so people seek alternative truths,” Ben Gidley, a senior lecturer in psychosocial studies at Birkbeck, University of London, said during the France 24 debate. “Once you stop believing in truth, almost anything can be true.”
Juan Branco, a lawyer for the yellow vest protesters, acknowledged during the France 24 debate that some protesters were guilty of anti-Semitism. But he blamed those incidents on people connected to the far right and said the movement’s leaders rejected anti-Semitism. He added that there was an intense effort to purge racist views from the protest movement.
Gidley said the rise of anti-Semitism was a troubling sign for Europe and does not bode well for the state of democracy.
“Jews are often one of the canaries in the coal mine,” he said. “It’s not just Jews, other minorities as well. You can take racist attacks as a kind of good indicator on the health of a democracy. Jews and other minorities are the first victims of a sickness in democracy.”
Tomorrow France goes to the polls in an unprecedented election between Marine” Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron. But is the National Front candidate really an old school fascist? We talk to Ben Gidley, senior lecturer at Birkbeck, about the far-right’s attempt to rebrand itself and secure electoral success. You can follow him on Twitter here.
VIDEO LINK HERE
Interview by Ian Dunt
Filming & production by Alex Frois
I spoke recently at a Runnymede Trust event “Redefining Integration“.
Here is a blogpost about it by Lester Holloway:
As Dame Louise Casey’s report throws the definition of integration into sharp relief, to a mixed chorus of unbridled gleeful and concerned criticism, Runnymede Communications Coordinator Lester Holloway looks back at our timely Redefining Integration conference last week.
With Donald Trump the president-elect of America, Brexit in Britain and the threat of the far right National Front winning the French presidency, what is the role of integration today? That was one of the questions debated by an experienced panel of academics and thought leaders at Redefining Integration.
The central focus for debate was how we define integration and its role in bringing communities together. You can watch a video (15 mins) here.
Photogallery on Facebook
My paper “Faith Communities and Racism: Some Reflections from the Anglo-Jewish Experience” has been included in the newly publication by the Runnymede Trust, “Runnymede Perspectives: Secularism, Racism and the Politics of Belonging”.
This publication is a collection of papers that were presented at conferences in 2010 and 2011 co-organized by the Runnymede Trust and CMRB – the Centre for Research on Migration, Refugees and Belonging at the University of East London. The contributors address issues of migration, racism and religion. The publication is edited by Professor Nira Yuval-Davis and Professor Philip Marfleet, University of East London.
Read the Conference Report by Mary Sutton. Listen to an embarrassing mp3 of my oral presentation. And even more embarrassing youtube of my paper, part 1 and 2.
My video for the Oxford Diasporas Programme. Not my finest moment:
Ben Gidley on the Diasporas of East London from Ann Cowie on Vimeo.
Read about the project here.
At the Migration Observatory:
Nearly half of the UK’s migrants live in London and a third of London’s residents were born abroad. This primer discusses the policy challenges arising from the diversity and scale of immigration in London.
Read the briefing.