In the aftermath of the Boris Johnson comments on Muslim women wearing the burqa, ‘Lord’ Eric Pickles told the Today programme that Johnson’s words should not be compared to Enoch Powell’s ‘rivers of blood’ speech (I commented on this earlier this month but I’m damned if I can now find the blog). Pickles’ ‘non-comparison’ comparison was clearly a comparison, dressed up as if it wasn’t. Now, at the tail end of this silly season month we have ‘Lord’ Jonathan Sacks comparing Jezza to Enoch, on the grounds that Jezza apparently joked that some Zionists didn’t understand English irony. With a not unsparing degree of arrogance, Sacks has made the mistake of assuming that the remark (taken out of context of course) meant that all Zionists living in the UK were Jewish, when it is clear that there are many Zionists who are not Jewish. But Sacks, who it seems has no problem with Israel’s racist ‘Nation State’ law is on dodgy territory here. It may be more of a phenomenon in the U.S. but there are ample numbers of Christian evangelical Zionists. But of course he knows that. I thought it might be worth dropping him a line to point out his error, but the danger there is that my communication would end up on the ‘anti-semite hate pile,’ which I am sure the noble Lord will be asked about soon enough, as we enter stage two of his media intervention.
Neither the Mail nor the Telegraph headlined with Pickles’ rivers of blood comparison, but their front pages this morning screamed about “Corbyn’s ‘rivers of blood’” speech. I assume this was Sacks’ calculated effect. There may well have been rivers of blood in Gaza, but that’s by-the-by.