Saturday 4 August 2018

The 'Martyrdom' of Tommy Robinson

Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, alternately known as ‘Tommy Robinson’

The jailing a couple of months ago of the nationalist activist Tommy Robinson on a charge of contempt of court and his recent release on bail pending a re-trial has evoked much emotion among both his supporters and his detractors. While the former revere him as a staunch defender of British values, the latter consider him a rabblerousing bigot feeding off anti-Muslim sentiment. My view is that the frequent assertions made by his supporters that Robinson is a martyr in the cause of freedom of speech is a misguided one. He is riding on the coattails of genuine grievances felt by segments of the British population, but has contributed little of substance to the causes he claims to promote. He is a provocateur and a publicity hound whose ultimate loyalty on closer examination, ironically, arguably does not lie with England.

Tommy Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon is not a thinker and cannot by any stretch of the imagination, be considered to be an investigative reporter. Instead, what Robinson quite clearly is, is a provocateur and a rabble-rouser who is merely feeding into the celebrity cult of modern media.

It is important to note that Robinson has never been responsible for unearthing a single case of ‘Muslim gang grooming’ subsequent to the uncovering of the scandal in Rotherham by two women who worked for the relevant social services department.

After burying their heads in the sand, and even actively attempting to suppress the initial revelations, the authorities are doing something about it by putting suspects on trial and securing convictions.

Yet, in the guise of an activist and ‘investigative reporter’, Robinson showed up at a trial and began filming within the precincts of the court. What did he hope to achieve by doing this? Nothing it would appear - except to jeopardise the trial.

As a self-appointed standard bearer for English or white nationalist identitarians, Robinson ought to have thought about upholding centuries-long practised legal procedures relating to trials. His claim to have been “exposing Muslim rapists” was devoid of any logic given that the relevant defendants were part of a series of linked trials, and that their names would be revealed after the completion of the trials. Besides, it appears that the principle of innocent until proven guilty did not occur to Robinson. Instead he risked having the trial collapse with all the attendant ramifications of costs and of enabling the likely guilty to have got off on a technicality. He was not thinking about the time and effort put in by police, forensic experts, and other professionals involved in collecting the evidence and the hundreds of thousands of pounds of tax-payers money spent on this.

Robinson was already under a suspended prison sentence and yet he went to the courthouse knowing the inevitable outcome of his juvenile adventure. Before his arrest, he was bragging that the police were begging him not to show up. He could not wait until the end of the trial when reporting restrictions would be lifted.

There is nothing sinister about imposing reporting restrictions especially as the group of suspects at whose trial Robinson sought to intrude were being tried in multiple proceedings. Once the series of trials end and restrictions are formally removed, those convicted will have mug shots posted and the full glare of the press will be brought on them.

The narrative of his supporters that Robinson is being persecuted by the ‘evil multi-cult state’; that he was arrested for no good reason at all, does not stand the test of scrutiny. Instead, Robinson’s activities can readily be ascertained to have been a vehicle for incitement and the furtherance of his personality cult. What he is doing is designed to boost his earning capacity while being egged on by his gullible cheerleaders.

An interesting and revealing aspect of Robinson the activist and whose interests he serves beyond the street level ‘defence’ of English culture is the source of his funding. The Middle East Forum (MEF), a hardline pro-Israeli think-tank admitted last month that it had helped fund Robinson’s legal expenses as well as the protests which had taken place in support of him while in jail.

The statement issued by the MEF said that it helped Robinson “in his moment of danger” in “three main ways”. These were: using “monies to fund his legal defence”; “bringing foreign pressure on the UK government to ensure Mr. Robinson’s safety and eventual release”; and “organising and funding” a rally held on June 9th.

The fact that groups associated with the Israel lobby fund parties and individuals associated with the cause of white nationalism should come as no surprise. The pioneering ‘Alt-Right’ news outlet Breitbart, while founded in the United States, had been conceived in Israel when its founder, the late Andrew Breitbart, was touring Israel on a media junket in the summer of 2007. And while it has resorted to what is perceived as anti-Semitic stances, it is avowedly anti-Muslim. This, it appears, is the underlying attribute sought by pro-Israeli groups and the Israeli government itself in lending covert support to the far-right and the alt-right.

The presence of Israeli flags at rallies of Pegida, the German nationalist movement which is anti-Muslim and anti-immigration, has not gone unnoticed. It is a phenomenon repeated at similar rallies at off-shoot groups in other countries such as Britain and Australia where Israeli flags are flown alongside banners identifying with neo-Nazism and neo-Fascism.

The history of Zionism is replete with collaborations with both Nazism and Fascism. The Transfer Agreement between the Nazi regime and German Zionists in the 1930s is one example, and a proposed alliance between Avraham Stern’s Lehi group and the Nazis another. Furthermore, Vladimir Jabotinsky, the author of Zionist Revisionism as well as the founder of the Haganah, the precursor of the Israeli Defence Force (IDF), made an alliance between his Betar youth movement and the fascist regime of Benito Mussolini when Betar established a naval training academy at Civitavecchia, a naval base north of Rome. Jabotinsky, to whom Benzion Netanyahu, the father of Israel’s present prime minister served as secretary, is the ideological progenitor of the ruling Likud party.

The tactic of supporting and giving succour to today’s nationalist parties may be rationalised as a meeting of minds between those who believe as Zionism does in the creation of ethno-states. The idea is to support those European nationalists and white identitarian activists who foment anti-Muslim sentiment so long as they remain silent on the traditional focus on ‘Jewish power’ with its perceived manifestations in terms of media ownership and banking. This is the deal allegedly offered to Nick Griffin by shadowy “American” sources, whose condition for financial support for the British National Party (BNP), which he then led, was to focus all its energies on Islam as the enemy.

Stirring up anti-Muslim sentiment has been an avowed goal of Israel for many decades now. The rationale behind this strategy has been for Israel to reframe its conflict with Palestinians and the wider Arab world from one that is between a colonising power and a people with genuine grievances about being dispossessed of their land, to that of a conflict between two antithetical philosophies with Israel purportedly reflecting the values of the West, that is, of ‘democracy’ and ‘tolerance’, and the majority Muslim Arabs reflecting ‘tyranny’ and ‘intolerance.’

Robinson has gone on at least one tour of Israel during which he posed, machine gun in hand, on top of IDF tanks in the occupied Golan Heights where he proclaimed himself a “Zionist” (as he has done on several occasions), even though one result of Political Zionism was the ethnic cleansing of Arab Christians from their homes in Palestine and the marginalisation of Christian communities in Israel.

While being interviewed by Tucker Carlson on Fox TV, Robinson, playing the role of the victim to the hilt made the claim that state persecution had induced symptoms of post-traumatic stress syndrome and that he had been “reluctant” to disclose this so as not to “insult” members of the military who “have witnessed war”. Robinson, of course, would never acknowledge that these soldiers have come back from a succession of illegal wars fought in Muslim lands such as Iraq at the prompting of many of those who constitute the Israel lobby. But the connection with soldiers, albeit ‘reluctantly’ made, is revealing. Robinson thinks of himself as a soldier of sorts and wishes for others to see him that way.

It has to be said that the drift towards identity politics has made the politics of white identity something of inevitability. And the anger and disgust over the discovery of the authorities ‘head-in-the-sand’ attitude towards grooming gangs targeting young white girls is understandable. However, to embrace a woman-beating, convicted fraudster as a beacon of nationalism as well as a defender of moral and cultural values is one of the most peculiar developments in this dumbed-down age of vacuous celebrityhood.

His supporters, who include a significant group of fascist-saluting thugs, cannot see beyond their hatred of all Muslims and immigrants to see who is pulling the strings, and that Robinson is using his activism to generate a healthy income for himself. They cannot work out that he cannot serve two masters, and that when it comes to the crunch, he is not serving Albion, but rather the overarching goals of Zion.

To them Robinson is a ‘hero’, a ‘martyr’ and a ‘soldier of truth’. And with regard to the last, he has the ‘battle scars’: a self-disclosed and uncorroborated diagnosis of post-traumatic stress syndrome.

Play the world’s smallest violin.

© Adeyinka Makinde (2018)

Adeyinka Makinde is a writer based in London, England.

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