June 04, 2013

Anthony Julius was Never the Best Choice to Run an Allegation of Racism

I was just idling away wondering if we'll ever hear from Anthony Julius again following the drubbing he got at the Employment Tribunal case of Fraser v UCU when I found an article about him from a few years back in The Daily Telegraph.  It was actually some kind of review of his book supposedly about antisemitism called The Trials of the Diaspora.  For some reason he drifts into gossiping about the late Princess Diana of Wales:
Anthony Julius is a distinguished barrister, whose best-known client was Diana, Princess of Wales. He has written about the subtleties of anti-Semitism in a book called Trials of the Diaspora, which, among other things, gives an incisive account of Diana. He cuts right to the chase: "She was under-educated in the approved style of her class and gender… she had a strong desire to please, to leave her interlocutor happy, but often without understanding what that person was about.
"She was interested in Jews, but had no idea about them – she was happy to take Jews to be hostile to everything to which she herself was hostile. She once said to me that she should never have married into a German family."
He's right about the Princess being poorly educated – she didn't get a single O-level at her expensive school; her brother Charles got to Oxford from his (Eton).
But that remark about her wanting to say what her interlocutor wanted to hear, followed by the bombshell that she should never have married into a German family – what does that tell us? That she felt that Mr Julius, being Jewish, was anti-German, even if the Teutonic taint was, by the Prince of Wales's time, a few generations removed?
It doesn't seem to cross Mr Julius's mind that this remark was unworthy of either of them. He might have mildly pointed out that, although Jewish, he was not prejudiced against the German nation. He might have said that the Windsors were hardly German now, or even that it is unreasonable to equate being German with being Nazi, for that was the implication.
Of course, he might have felt it wasn't his job to do so, but one of the points of his book is that anti-Semitism – that is, racism – should be challenged, whether discreet or explicit.
Actually, in his educational superiority to the Princess, his intellectual self-assurance, not to mention his wealth as a leading lawyer, what comes across is how much Mr Julius is part of the governing class. If Britain is divided now in creed and ethnicity, the real antagonism, the new Them and Us, is Judaeo-Christian values versus a fundamentalist kind of Islam and the people who espouse it. If that is the divide, Mr Julius is on the Establishment side of it.
That last bit had echoes of Joseph Massad's article, The Last of the Semites but the whole piece speaks volumes about Julius's approach to racism and his notion of a specifically Jewish worldview.

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