Friday 3 March 2023

Is Humza Yousaf as liberal as he first appears?


When Isabel Oakeshott leaked Matt Hancock’s WhatsApp messages to the Telegraph even though she had apparently signed a non-disclosure agreement she did something that has become almost unimaginable in Scotland.

We don’t know why Nicola Sturgeon resigned. We don’t know what she knew about Alex Salmond’s alleged misdemeanours and when she knew it. We don’t really know anything about what if anything Alex Salmond did when he was First Minister. There was a court case he was acquitted of all charges. That’s all we know. We don’t really know anything about the inner workings of the SNP or the Scottish Government. There are never any leaks. No one delivers to the papers all of Sturgeon’s emails or messages. No one dares. The last person who leaked something ended up in jail.

There are rumours of super injunctions, which prevent us finding out about the real Nicola Sturgeon, but we never get closer than rumours. The SNP want it to stay this way and so does Nicola Sturgeon. This is why Humza Yousaf will probably become the next First Minister.

He is the continuity candidate. His policies would closely resemble Sturgeon’s. The party machine wants him to win. This I think is why there were such extraordinary attacks on Kate Forbes who on the surface looks to be the better candidate.

But just as Sturgeon has been keeping the lid on rather a lot of secrets it may be that Mr Yousaf is doing so as well. While on the surface he has the most progressive of credentials. I would very much like to know what he privately thinks.

I have no doubt whatsoever that Mr Yousaf would defend a Jewish constituent or indeed a Jewish person anywhere in Scotland who was the victim of racist name calling or discrimination. But this is not the only definition of anti-Semitism.

The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance has a definition of anti-Semitism that is widely accepted in the world.

One instance is the following:

Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.

Unfortunately, 44% of British Muslims hold precisely this view.

I would like someone in the media to ask Mr Yousaf what he thinks about this issue and whether he would convict Muslims in Scotland of a hate crime (i.e., anti Semitism) if they share it?

Here is another instance of anti-Semitism:

Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.

Now this is interesting because very few Muslim states recognise Israel. They all in principle deny the right of Israel to exist. We can assume that the citizens of these states also deny Israel’s right to exist, otherwise they would try as best they can to change their government’s policy towards Israel.

Mr Yousaf met the former chief of Hamas when he was much younger. This need not be held against him. He was young. But what does he think of Hamas now?

A recent poll found that 72% of Palestinians support forming new armed groups.We can assume that they wish to do this not to cooperate with Israel but to destroy it. Does Mr Yousaf agree with the armed struggle against Israel, or does he oppose it?

Not very long-ago Mr Yousaf expressed concern for his wife’s family in Gaza when Israel responded to rockets fired from Gaza. Does Mr Yousaf think that his wife’s family are among the minority who disagree with Hamas and the armed struggle against Israel. Does Mr Yousaf’s wife accept that Israel has the right to exist or does she agree with most Gazans. She is after all descended from someone from there. Of course, she is Scottish and may not have an opinion on the issues in the Middle East or may not know more about it than the average Scot.

A further instance of anti-Semitism is:

Applying double standards by requiring of it [Israel] a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.

If Mexicans who had been displaced by the USA when the USA conquered parts of Mexico in 1846-1848 were firing rockets into New Mexico with the hope of turning it into Old Mexico, would Mr Yousaf condemn the USA for retaliating and trying to destroy those rocket sites?

If Germans who had been displaced from Poland were firing rockets at Szczecin hoping to turn it into Stettin again, would Mr Yousaf condemn Poland for retaliating and attacking those rocket sites? No of course not. No one would.

So why does Mr Yousaf apply a different standard to the actions of Israel? Why does he not say to the people of Gaza stop firing rockets and you will be safe from attack?

Someone is not merely an anti-Semite if he refrains from beating up Jewish people or calling them nasty names or discriminating against them. Someone is an anti-Semite if he holds certain views about Israel. These views are nearly universally held in Muslim countries, so it is reasonable to wonder if the children and grandchildren of people from those countries who are now Scottish continue to hold these views or not. After all we learn about religion and much else from our parents and grandparents. Otherwise, Muslims would give birth to Jews and Jews would give birth to Christians.

Jeremy Corbyn is an anti-Semite not because he met with Hamas, though that would suggest anti-Semitism because Hamas is clearly anti-Semitic. Corbyn is an anti-Semite because he thinks Israel ought not to exist and would welcome the Arab world succeeding in occupying Israel either by armed force or by means of a right to return that would see Israel become an Arab state rather than a Jewish one.

It may be that Mr Yousaf and his wife share none of these anti-Semitic views. I don’t know them. They may be friends of Israel and regularly watch Paul Newman in Exodus (1960) thrilling to the theme music and the story of how the Jews fought for their homeland.

But it would be nice to know just a little more about Mr Yousaf’s private views about religion and Jewish self-determination versus Scottish self-determination. Because if Jews did not have the right to self-determination why should Scots and in that case why are Mr Yousaf and his wife representatives of the SNP?