Neviim Tovim, blogs by Gillian Gould Lazarus

The Names They Call Us

Posted on: November 12, 2022

There’s nothing easier than listing the names I am called by hostile accounts on Twitter: racist, white supremacist, apartheid apologist, liar, child killer.

In the sunlit uplands of the past, I may have been told ‘Go and join the Tories’ but the invective is stronger now, just as the dosage of a medicine is increased when the body is desensitized to the original dose.

But who are they and who are we?

When the names are applied to me, I infer that they are due to to the fact that I’m Jewish, a Zionist, opposed to Corbynism and active on Twitter in connection with these issues.

The same names are thrown at most members of Keir Starmer’s Labour Party, with the additional appellations: backstabber, frontstabber, traitor, puppet.

I have never seen – and one can’t see everything – anyone who calls me, Jewish community organizations and the Labour front bench ‘racist’ confronting any of the right far accounts, which target black people, Jews and LGBTQ people. When these accounts with 88 or 18 in their Twitter handles show up on my timeline, the first responders to confront them are accounts I follow or like, but naturally Twitter works this way, showng the tweets of people we follow.. Perhaps the Corbynist left really do confront neonazis on Twitter and, due to some algorithm beyond my understanding, I never get to see it.

In the case of Kanye West, Ye as we must now call him, the UK accounts calling out his antisemitism were the usual activists against antisemitism – in all its forms, as Mr Corbyn might say.

The more attention given to any particular tweet in likes and retweets, the more it will garner negative attention.

In the world of Twitter, the battle lines are drawn. A sceptical reply to a known Corbynist can produce a pile-on and no doubt this works in reverse.

How can one learn to be indifferent to the names one is called on Twitter, particularly those tweets which call us/me far right? The insults which come my way from the actual far right are often nearer the truth as they tend to mention that I’m Jewish. And they don’t mistake me for one of themselves.

The names I am called – by the left, sorry to say, which can now be called the Corbynist left, regardless of whether their support is agreeable to Corbyn himself – are bestowed also on the journalists I read, the broadcasters I watch and the entertainers I follow. It is worse to see luminaries or friends being insulted, as I am then tempted to go in with virtual fists flailing, and this does not always help.

I avoid the use of insulting terms in my tweets but the same can be said of adversaries, who routinely end their barbs with ‘Enjoy your day’. The art of incivility is to accuse the other of what they hate. Sometimes, if I query being called ‘white supremacist,’ I am told that now I know how Corbyn felt, being called ‘antisemite’ when he doesn’t have an antisemitic bone in his body. So I am called these names as a punishment for what I say about Corbynists?

Tit-for-tat is as prominent as rebuttal in a Twitter altercation. If someone posts a photo of Corbyn with a terrorist from Hamas or the IRA, a reply may come in the form of a photo of Tony Blair or the late Queen standing next to a tyrant or a crook. Monarchs and Prime Ministers are obliged to meet all sorts, so these photos are not hard to find.

The most prominent UK activists against antisemitism are routinely called far right, so much so that those of our number who are left-leaning sometimes buy into the disinformation.

In the course of writing this short post, I find I have two new hostile notifications, one telling me that I know I’m wrong and an adversary is right. As for the other, I can’t make out exactly what they’re saying but I know I’m not supposed to like it.

I blocked both accounts. Blocking is an action one never regrets. It is harder to block when it seems compromising to leave a libel hanging out there without an answer, but one of the rare positives in online altercations is that one can switch them off.

Muting is a gentler option. ‘I’ve had Mrs Hudson on semi-permanent mute,’ said Sherlock.

I wish they all could be Mrs Hudson.

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  • Gillian Gould Lazarus: Thank you for reading it Keith. As always, I value your opinion.
  • keithmarr: Gillian Thorough research as always. I always keep these posts and hit any challenge between the eyes. They represent a real armoury of evidence. Bl
  • Gillian Gould Lazarus: I can never make up my mind whether it should be illegal and tend to think it shouldn't be. On the other hand, social media could do more to stop it p
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