Stephen Sizer, the Viva Palestina activist, multinational companies, and the “Zionist agenda”

In June 2011, on a trip to Malaysia, Stephen Sizer interviewed an activist in an organisation called “Viva Palestina Malaysia”.

You can listen to the whole interview below [1]:

At 0:55-1:40, the activist advocates a boycott of four multinational companies –  McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, L’Oreal and Nestle – on the basis that they “channel their profits to the Zionist agenda”. Sizer does not challenge this assertion. Indeed, at 1:30, he helps the activist find his words; and at 1:38 he appears reflexively to indicate his agreement (“Yah”).

What’s the problem with that? 

Firstly, it’s false. All four companies are public companies, which distribute their profits to shareholders in the form of dividends. They do not channel their profits to the “Zionist agenda” – whatever that is.

Secondly, it mirrors the classic antisemitic myth – typified in the infamous forgery, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion – that Jews conspire in a secret global plan to control governments and businesses. If the activist had said that they channel their profits to the “Jewish agenda”, it would have been unmistakeably antisemitic. It is no less antisemitic for the fact that he says “Zionist agenda” instead.

Isn’t he just expressing legitimate criticism of the policies of the Israeli government?

No. In this section of the interview, he is not primarily criticising the Israeli government (legitimately or otherwise); he is criticising four multinational companies. And he is not criticising even them legitimately – his criticism is false.

Implications

When the activist suggested that these companies “channel their profits to the Zionist agenda”, he was not expressing legitimate criticism of the Israeli government. The suggestion was antisemitic.

It follows that when Stephen Sizer (a) helped the activist formulate his words (b) did not challenge him and then (c) posted the whole interview, unedited, on his Vimeo site (where it remains to this day), he was promoting and implicitly endorsing the antisemitic suggestion.

References: 

[1] Stephen Sizer, Vimeo, June 12, 2011, Syafig talks about Viva Palestina Malaysia, viewed 17 June 2020, < https://vimeo.com/24993637 >. Below is a screenshot from Vimeo, indicating when the video was originally uploaded.

Syafig

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1 Response to Stephen Sizer, the Viva Palestina activist, multinational companies, and the “Zionist agenda”

  1. Pingback: An Obfuscation Master Class | Large Blue Footballs

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