I find myself again talking about Folau, because it is interesting how over time the field is moving. The issue is not about Folau’s faith — or indeed if people are offended by this. It is about if an employer can stop someone tweeting. In Australia, Folau has more support than the media and activists.
Similarly, legal precedent is determined by culture, not the other way round, which is why we’re not cock-fighting, bear-baiting, slave owners with chimneys cleaned by children in 2019.William of Ockham, Tim Newman’s Blog.
The reason so many eyes are on this is because most people can realise it’s a moment where the culture is going to be tested.
Many people are currently resentful at being forced to choose a side on this in the first place; what if you have gay mates AND Christian mates AND you like rugby? We were all getting along fine until about ten minutes ago.
The media class have the lion’s share of the blame in this, selectively reporting the original Instagram posts and even going to his church to report on his sermons; sermons 99.99% of people weren’t ever going to be interested in without the spin of “outrage”.
The denial and shock at the counter response has really thrown them. Even if/when the legal case is lost, we will know more about where the culture is on the tension between our acceptance of diverse beliefs and diverse lifestyles.
The media need to consider Minto. Minto was instrumental in getting the South African Rugby team banned during the period of apartheid. He was then a person to be feared, with power. He continues to be an activist, but one without much clout. To the point that Shalom Kiwi fisks him right and proper.
These days, no one pays Minto much attention, if they ever did, and it’s unlikely anyone will take this letter seriously. It’s tempting to ignore it, but we decided it’s worth unpacking it to peer into Minto’s monomaniacal mind and understand how what Lord Rabbi Sacks calls the “cognitive failure” of antisemitism works.Shalom Kiwi.
How many ways is this letter antisemitic? Let us count the ways.
First, we note that Minto thinks that he is better able to determine what is antisemitism than Jewish people. We believe that Minto would not dare to tell Muslims, Māori or gay people that what they consider to be prejudice towards themselves is actually not. Indeed, it is well accepted and understood by progressive people that minority groups have the right to determine and define prejudice towards themselves according to their lived experience. Denying Jewish people a right that every other minority group has is antisemitic.
Perhaps anticipating such a charge, in order to give himself cover and legitimise his antisemitism, he’s quoted a Jew. Minto has trawled the internet and – eureka! – found a 17 year old interview with a 74 year old Jewish woman, an interview frequently pulled out by antisemites because it’s the “smoking gun” they’ve always hoped for and confirms their wildest suspicions. Amplifying the voices of Jews on the margins and marginalising the voices of mainstream Jews is a favourite tactic of antisemites. Notably it is also adopted by Labour MP Duncan Webb, who lives in Christchurch just as Minto does, and advocates for the boycott divestment and sanctions campaign (BDS). According to Webb, BDS can’t be antisemitic because “Jewish groups” like the inaccurately-named Jewish Voice for Peace support it. (JVP does not actually support Israel’s right to exist as the Jewish homeland.)
Jews, like any other minority group, are not homogenous. There will always be differences of opinion and experiences. We are not all programmed to think the same way, despite what Minto might think.
The minorities, particularly the coalition of the minorities, forget that by the measure you judge others you yourself will be judged. You define racism by your lived experience? So shall we. You classify people by skin colour and faith? So will you be classified.
I’d rather use the content of their character, and that should make us all repent, and turn to God for salvation. Which was Folau’s point