The following text has been on my desktop in different versions for a good year and finally has to go out, even if it is possibly out of date ...
Andy Partridge (former singer, guitarist and main songwriter of the English band XTC) was on Twitter as @xtcfans until May 17th, 2019. In addition to tweets about his musical past, his current activities and videos of his favorite songs, there were also tweets about politics that didn't particularly upset me, but did other readers, because "we like your music but don't want to be bothered with your political views". At one point he announced that he had been banned from comment pages in British newspapers, although it remained unclear what the reasons were. Apparently he doesn't seem reluctant to give his opinion there.
There is a text by Rob Shapiro that describes the brief history of the Twitter account deletion. Partridge responded with a "wink" to a tweet that read anti-Semitic. Faced with this, Partridge suggested to Shapiro, if he was afraid for his children because of his name, that he simply switch from Judaism to atheism - a very stupid suggestion, given that the Nazis had sent all people with Jewish ancestors to the gas chambers, even if they were Christians or atheists. After someone else tweeted that he was waiting for the Partridge supergroup with Roger Waters, the dispute escalated. The accusation that Partridge was an anti-Semite led to a shit storm that Partridge only wanted to master with numerous bans (see also here). But finally he deleted the account, allegedly to protect his health. After the deletion until now no statement, correction or apology has been issued by Partridge.
Is it all just a big misunderstanding? You can have your doubts. Here are some of his tweets:
I REALLY admire Roger Waters and his stance on many things. What’s wrong, did he criticise your little religion? Perhaps your apartheid state wasn’t to his taste? (@xtcfans 15-05-2019 17:02)
To call Israel an apartheid state is wrong and typical anti-Israeli propaganda (which often overlaps with anti-Semitism). Aren't there Arab MPs in the Kneset, don't Israeli citizens of Arab descent have the same rights as everyone else? Sure you can argue about the social climate and the politics of the current Israeli government, but these two legal facts refute the claim of apartheid in the South African style. That Partridge admired Roger Waters for something is difficult to assess at first, but it should be pointed out that Waters is considered an anti-Semite by many Germans because of his support for BDS. That Partridge equates the Jewish religion and the Israeli state is just as stupid as seeing the Taliban as typical Muslims - and also a typical anti-Semitic attitude.
The holocaust is not holy writ, It isn’t a religion, it can be historically revised. Auschwitz themselves did that. Read the plague. (@xtcfans 15-05-2019 22:03)
Yes, the Holocaust is not a scripture or a religion, it is a historical fact that cannot be denied as the evidence is plentiful and all counter-evidence has been exposed as false. The following sentence "he (the Holocaust) can be historically revised" is extremely misleading. Does Partidge think that, unlike religious beliefs, scientific theory - and historical research is a science - can be falsified? In theory, this would also be possible for the Holocaust, but so far no one has succeeded, which is why the Holocaust is to be regarded as a historical fact. Or does Partidge actually think that it is practically possible to refute the Holocaust? In any case, the words allow this interpretation - if one ignores the next paragraph. In between, however, there is still the unbelievable sentence "Auschwitz itself did that”" What did Auschwitz do? Refuted itself? Really? Or does he mean that historical research has dealt with the "arguments" of the Holocaust deniers, just as science should do with contradicting theories? Well, since the trial of David Irving against Deborah Lipstadt, the issue of Holocaust denial should have been settled. I don't understand the phrase "read the plague". Is he referring to the novel of the same name by Albert Camus? Where is the connection with the Holocaust?
If you want a little fact, more Roma were killed per head of population, that any other category. Facts make me anti Semitic do they? (@xtcfans 15-05-2019 22:03)
Whether or not more Sinti and Roma than Jews were actually murdered by National Socialism as a proportion of their population in Europe, I don't know, a brief search on the Internet reveals very different figures, but in any case Partidge does not deny that there were Jewish victims as a result of the crimes commited by the National Socialist tyranny. "Category" is, however, an unspeakable word for different population groups, that is actually the language of the master race.
However, what does Partridge with the "information" Sinti and Roma had it hit much worse in relation to the number of their victims in relation to the size of their population group than the Jews say? That the Holocaust wasn't that bad after all? That can already be understood as anti-Semitic because the Holocaust is relativized. By the way, who talks about the millions of Russian soldiers who starved to death in German captivity? In comparison, the British victims of the German bombs are blah blah blah, and in Dunkirk you all escaped across the canal, right? A few months later, Roger Hallam of Extinction Rebellion made himself impossible in Germany because he said that the Holocaust was only another shit in world history and an almost normal event (I can well imagine that Partidge could have sympathy for Extinction Rebellion), which concludes suggests that the uniqueness of the Holocaust, the idea of the "annihilation of the Jewish race", is obviously not so anchored in the public consciousness in the United Kingdom, unlike in Israel and Germany. Hallam has at least apologized for his remarks (whether he would have done that if the remarks had not been made in Germany is another matter).
Let's be clear: Partidge apparently does not deny that Jews were murdered under the rule of the Nazis. And Partidge has a fundamental problem with religions, as his song "Dear God" shows, for which he is still attacked by Christian fanatics. But the question of anti-Semitism is not a question of wrong or right religion. Nor is o one free from the suspicion of being an anti-Semite by claiming to have Jewish friends, as Partidge did elsewhere. Anti-Semitism is also racism, because Jews who converted to Christianity were also sent to Auschwitz. Criticizing the actions of the Israeli government is not anti-Semitism unless the criticized actions are accepted when done in other states. Then the criticism is obviously just a cover for anti-Semitism.
Is Andy Partridge an Anti-Semite? I don't know, but in any case he's stupid - and that's the surprising thing. As a musician, singer and songwriter, he should be familiar with human communication and understand the difference between the real world and the internet. What happens in the pub stays in the pub, but what happens on the internet the whole world can notice. It is one thing to get along with Jewish friends (1) in the pub with puns about Beatles songs, because that is no longer noticed at the next table, but spreading it on the Internet can lead to misunderstandings. All communication on the Internet, especially on Twitter and Co., is fragmentary because there are only the words, the context of the voice, the facial expression, the social situation in which something is said, the specific addressee and the expectation are missing how the speaker believes the addressee understands. The mere text does not convey whether something is serious or not, and because the whole world can read it and everyone has their own experiences, it is inevitable that words will be misunderstood. In this respect, Partridge is accused of being an anti-Semite, regardless of whether he is or not, because of his careless behavior. And that's what shakes me the most, that despite his apparent intelligence, he failed to see the consequences of his actions - and that he, offended, withdrew instead of acknowledging his mistakes (and Mark Caro's article (see above) shows that he would undoubtedly have been able to do so).
I can no longer enjoy his music with an open mind.
PS: Does anyone remember the appearance of XTC on German television for the release of "Mayor of Simpleton", where the presenter asked why Charlie Chaplin in his role The great dictator was used as a symbolic image for Germany in the promo video "The Road to Oranges and Lemons" and Andy is to blame for the record company - the video looks like it was shot by XTC themselves - tried to talk it out?
Andrea Wilke: “Andy, why did you take in your latest video as a symbol for Germany a picture of Charlie Chaplin as Hitler? What that what comes to your mind first when you think of Germany?”
Andy Partridge: “I think you’ve seen the wrong video.”
AW: “I think I’ve didn’t, we’ve seen it right now there. It’s not true?”
AP: “No, it’s no true at all, you must show me that video. Charlie Chaplin… Neither Charlie Chaplin nor Adolf Hitler are ever been in any video of us.” (Dave Gregory talks to AP)
AW: “I’m talking about the long one, 15 minutes long.”
AP: “Oh, the.. yes… the record company sent a postcard representing… the only postcard they could find that afternoon.”
AW: “What did you think, you… especially in England the people think we are still Nazis in Germany?”
AP: “Ah, this is a loaded question because I know what the show is about now. Ah, now you do have a hell of a past to líve down but you look like you’re doing a great job of doing that so carry on, eek eek, live it up.”
AW: “You’re making fun of me okay okay.”
(1) A friend of mine who has many contacts in the Israeli music scene told me that they would tell the toughest Jewish jokes without any problems. But they are allowed to, we as Germans with our past cannot, because the context around the person telling the joke suggests a certain interpretation, and we as Germans cannot escape that, never. As Eliyah Havemann recently wrote on taz.de: "Here in Israel there are the most tasteless Auschwitz oven jokes that you can imagine. When a victim's descendant tells you, it can be liberating. But if a German makes the same joke, then I might report him for sedition."
...translated with the help of babelfish...