Last week, a chilling video made the rounds in social media of UK’s Labour candidate Salma Yaqoob at an anti-Israel protest in London. The protest, which stood against Israel hosting Eurovision, saw Salma Yaqoob’s anti-Semitic “rolodex” scroll through some of history’s most notorious Jew-hating tropes reminiscent of Nazi Germany.
While Yaqoob has a long history of hate — common in Islamist office-seekers in the West — her rhetoric this time was absolutely unhinged.
— Adam Milstein (@AdamMilstein) October 26, 2019
The video above shares her speech, in which Salma Yaqoob:
- Refers to Jews as “pigs”
- Says Israel is a European colonizer. “They’re not a part of Europe, but they’re trying to consolidate this image of one of us, the white European against those brown “other” Muslim Arab dehumanized species. This is what this game is all about,” she said
Here statements didn’t come without considerable pushback from counter-extremist experts and peace advocates. In messages, Faith Matters founder Fiyaz Mughal, a UK-based organization working toward peace, shares:
“We cannot expect equality as British Muslims if we treat other communities with disdain. Equality is not only one way, it is earned by valuing others.”
In October, the UK’s Commission on Counter Extremism published an in-depth report on countering extremism, detailing a new marker: hateful extremism.
Salma Yaqoob’s language would fall under “hateful extremism.”
Speaking with me directly, British political analyst Wasiq warns:
If the American constitution means anything, then it means challenging hate when it rears its ugly head. In the UK we have seen how, over time, we have become desensitized to hatred against Jews, when prospective parliamentary candidates are openly being anti Semitic.
Slowly being drip fed conspiracy theories and questioning Jewish national identity under the cloak of Palestinian rights has left UK as a de facto anti-Semitic society. The same is now happening in the States by the likes of Ilhan Omar. Therefore, unless we call it out now and challenge it, then we are doomed to make the same mistakes the UK made in letting down the Jewish community.
The same message was echoed years prior by documentary filmmaker Evelyn Markus. Markus maps the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe as it parallels the climate around and during World War II. As a daughter of Holocaust survivors, her film Never Again is Now traces patterns of anti-Semitism across Europe to the United States.
The United States is typically 5-10 years behind trends in the UK, including its response to rising extremism. However, the trends in the U.S. also include raging hate and aggression by Islamist political leaders.
In the U.S., we have no shortage of aspiring Islamist personalities seeking public office — including those who already have secured office.
There are noteworthy similarities between Salma Yaqoob in the UK and Ilhan Omar in the U.S.
- Both refer to Israel as a “regime” instead of a nation in order to delegitimize Israel’s right to exist
- Both are anti-Semites.
- Both promotes conspiracy theories.
- Both hold vitriolic attitudes toward competing ideas and other Muslim women in shared spaces
At the rate of decline of narratives supporting American values, it won’t be long before we hear the same candid hate espoused by Islamist elected officials in the U.S.
Salma Yaqoob isn’t just UK’s problem just like Ilhan Omar isn’t just a U.S. issue. The mindset that breeds these thought patterns is our collective problem no matter what side of the pond we’re on.