No HeterOx, an influential student Facebook group and magazine designed as ‘a platform of discussion and expression for Oxford’s Queer and Trans Community’, has launched a purge, removing members on the grounds of their political views, many of whom had never actually posted on the group.
The group’s administrators released a lengthy statement declaring that, ‘Zionists are not welcome here … This group is anti-police, anti-prison, anti-heteronormative, anti-homonationalist, anti-colonial, anti-state, anti-corporate.’ The statement came after allegations of anti-semitism were levelled at the group, following a comment by defeated Oxford Union presidential candidate Zuleyka Shahin that denounced ‘Judeo-Xtian white men, Zio white men, most of whom are complicit in the funding of wars and the social genocide of my people’.
Firstly, this repeats common anti-semitic tropes about a rich Jewish lobby being responsible for the evils of the world. Secondly, ‘Zio’ is a racial slur commonly employed on the less edifying corners of the internet. Anyone who types ‘zio Israel’ into Google will be greeted with a link to Radio Islam, which the EU’s racism monitoring organisation described as ‘one of the most radical right-wing antisemitic homepages on the net’, as well as a plethora of links to former Ku Kluk Klan Grand Wizard David Duke’s website. Those brave enough to type in ‘zio Jew’ will come across a host of neo-Nazi websites that denounce ‘vile pig-demon Zio-Jews’.
Instead of purging or even just condemning those who engage in such rhetoric, the administrators decided that the ‘Zionists’ who support the state in the Middle East with by far the best record on LGBTQ issues were the real problem. This reflects the growing tendency to denounce Israel’s LGBTQ rights record as an attempt to ‘pink-wash’ imperialism. So, when Israel does something bad, it’s proof of the evils of ‘Zionist imperialism’. When Israel does something good, it’s a craven attempt to cover up said imperialism. This crude, self-reinforcing way of thinking is hatred, pure and simple.