by UnHerd Staff
Friday, 21
October 2022
Debate
13:00

Is ‘globalist’ an anti-Semitic term?

Israeli nationalism expert Yoram Hazony thinks not
by UnHerd Staff
Credit: Getty

In recent years, the term ‘globalist’ has become a favourite among populists and the anti-establishment media. Politicians from Donald Trump to Viktor Orbán to Giorgia Meloni have used the word to describe what they are against — but does it actually mean anything? 

More controversially, critics of the term also claim it has anti-Semitic connotations. Dating back to WWII, they argue that the word is a reference to Jewish people having allegiances not to their countries of origin, but to a global conspiracy. Just yesterday, Jewish groups came out to criticise Nigel Farage for labelling the new Home Secretary Grant Shapps, who is Jewish, a “globalist”. 

We caught up with Israeli political philosopher Yoram Hazony, an expert on nationalism, to see if he finds the term useful or problematic.

He explained to UnHerd: “The term “globalism” is a useful shorthand for referring to “the rules-based international order” or “liberal internationalism.” These somewhat cumbersome terms describe the post-1989 consensus that sought to establish a single worldwide market governed by a single worldwide legal system established by international bodies rather than by independent national states. In other words, “globalism” is the opposite of “nationalism”—which is the way I use the term.”

And does he think the term is anti-semitic?

“No, it’s not. The overwhelming majority of time, “globalism” is used to express a concept in political theory, international relations, and political economy. In its normative usage, it has no anti-Semitic valence…”

The philosopher goes further, saying that attempts to banish particular words is part of a wider attempt to suppress certain ideas, and must be resisted.

“The woke neo-Marxist cultural revolution is not only interested in “canceling” individuals. They want to “cancel” and prohibit the use of any word or expression that is useful in advancing a conservative worldview,” Hazony says.

“If the woke had their way, words like “globalist” and “nationalist” would be cancelled, blacklisted. And once that happens, it will become impossible for us to present our views on the contest between a global order and an order of nation-states. That’s what our opponents want: They want to make it impossible for us to express our views because the very words that we need to say what we think will have been eliminated from legitimate speech.”

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R Wright
R Wright
1 month ago

It always slightly baffles me that those claiming to represent the Jewish community seem to instinctively lash out when terms like this are used, which ends up feeding the very conspiracy theories they are subject to. If you want to avoid giving the impression that a Jewish cabal runs the planet from a space station shaped like the star of David, demonstrating your ability to criticise and censor people at a whim for using ‘dog whistles’ is not the best way to do it.

chris Barton
chris Barton
1 month ago

These useful plebs are always on hand to deflect from the fact organisations like the WEF, IMF and UN are clearly up to something.

Barry Murphy
Barry Murphy
1 month ago

No, it’s not. And anone who says that it is is just trying to shut down debate about globalism.

Richard Barrett
Richard Barrett
1 month ago

I agree, and the left should not be shy of using this term. 20 years ago, much of the left was engaged in anti-globalization agitation, but now that term has fallen into disuse, and much of the left has since fallen into the neoliberal trap of regarding anti-globalism as “far right.” This is a serious mistake.

B Stern
B Stern
1 month ago

Yoram Hazony knows very well that “globalist” is used by SOME people as an anti-semitic term. A bit of googling reveals a twitter thread of his from 2018 where he clearly knows that SOME people use “globalist, nationalist and Anglo-American” as dog whistles. Hazony also clearly doesn’t like this because he feels that his area of expertise is being infringed upon because these terms have what he feels are precise meanings that are being infringed upon when globalist is used in an anti-semitic manner.
Hazony is being disingenuous when he says rather blithely No, Not at all, globalist isn’t an anti-semitic term, when he knows quite well that SOME people use it in that way.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
1 month ago
Reply to  B Stern

You’re right, he does. He probably also knows that acknowledging them and refusing to use the word empowers them while diminishing our understanding of the world by restricting our language. This is exactly why we shouldn’t listen to cancel culture either. The proper thing to do is not to empower these people, but to ignore them.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 month ago
Reply to  B Stern

Why would the term ‘globalist’ be used in the way you describe?

Arnold Grutt
Arnold Grutt
1 month ago

On the point of ‘globalism’ being anti-semitic, the Roman Catholic (‘universal’) Church was the first self-declared globalist organisation in the world (if one excludes the Roman Empire, whose knowledge of the ‘world’ as a whole was somewhat limited). One could hardly type opposition to Catholic desires for ‘globalism’ (by gradually converting all humans to ‘the faith’) as ‘anti-semitic’.
The meaning of ‘globalism’ I take to be ‘centralised world government’, or ‘pie in the sky’. The very idea as applied to politics rather than religion presupposes the universal human harmony of desires, morality and ethics (which I am confident will never happen before the Earth is finally swallowed up by the sun). It could be imposed, but it will never be ‘chosen’.

Last edited 1 month ago by Arnold Grutt
Jon Hawksley
Jon Hawksley
1 month ago

In language a sequence of sounds is used to name an object or event and to communicate every participant has to use a name to refer to the same object or event. The choice of a name is arbitrary and the object or event it refers to can be changed, provided everyone adopts the new meaning. Society will then usually need to find a new name for the object or event that no longer has a name. Changing what a name means does not change the nature of the objects and events that they used to refer to.

Last edited 1 month ago by Jon Hawksley
Martin Akiyama
Martin Akiyama
1 month ago

Here’s a Guardian headline from 2018 identifying “fascism and globalists” as bad people who must be fought against. The author, Yanis Varoufakis, blames the rise of nationalism on a reaction to the “degenerating financialised capitalism” of “the globalist establishment” such as Tony Blair and Hilary Clinton.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/ng-interactive/2018/sep/13/our-new-international-movement-will-fight-rising-fascism-and-globalists

Arnold Grutt
Arnold Grutt
1 month ago

Yet again the constrast is made between ‘globalism’ and ‘nationalism’. But this omits the UK whose form of Government is neither. The UK is not, and has never been, a ‘nation’. It has no universal state religion, no universal legal system, no uniform system of honours or heraldry, no reserved money supply (Scottish banks can issue notes). The previously existing ‘nation states’ (England, Scotland) of Great Britain were abolished in 1707.
It is common for conservatives to be referred to as ‘nationalists’ because they support the UK. Well, I support the UK and Brexit, as I am definitely anti-‘nationalist’ (which I equate to racism and bogus theories of ‘ethnic essentialism’ (e.g. ‘the Scottish people’)). I support the UK because it is a United Monarchy, not a ‘nation state’. The Union flag is not a ‘national’ flag.
Perhaps these facts can be thought about every so often, whence the articles might become more insightful and relevant.

Last edited 1 month ago by Arnold Grutt