- Conservative MP Suella Braverman has been criticised by Britain’s leading Jewish group for using the term “cultural marxism,” which is a common anti-Semitic trope.
- The former Brexit minister made the comment at a meeting of the Eurosceptic Bruges group in Westminster.
- The Board of Deputies of British Jews called on her to cease using the term.
- Anti-racism group Hope Not Hate described the MP’s use of the term as “deeply disturbing.”
LONDON – A former Brexit minister and current Conservative MP has been criticised by Britain’s leading Jewish group, and anti-racism campaigners, for using an “anti-Semitic trope” about the spread of “Cultural Marxism” in the UK.
Conservative MP Suella Braverman told a meeting in central London on Tuesday that her party was engaged in “a fight against Cultural Marxism” being led by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
“As Conservatives, we are engaged in a battle against Cultural Marxism,” she told a meeting of the Bruges Group in Westminster attended by Business Insider.
“I’m very worried about this ongoing creep of Cultural Marxism which has come from Jeremy Corbyn.”
Cultural Marxism is an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory which was popularised in recent years by figures on the far-right, including the Norwegian terrorist Anders Breivik, for whom it formed a major part of his terrorist manifesto.
The theory suggests that Western culture has been deliberately undermined and attacked by ideas originally pushed by the Frankfurt School of largely Jewish academics.
Britain’s leading Jewish group criticised Braverman for using the term.
“Suella Braverman may not have been aware of it, but the term ‘cultural Marxist’ has a history as an antisemitic trope,” a spokesperson for the Board of Deputies of British Jews said in a statement.
They added: “We would ask for her to clarify the remarks and undertake not to use the phrase in future.”
The anti-racism group Hope Not Hate told the Guardian that it was “deeply disturbing” that an MP had used the term.
“This is deeply disturbing and disappointing language to hear from a Conservative MP,” Joe Mulhall, senior researcher at Hope Not Hate, said.
“In fact, it’s worrying that a mainstream politician would even have heard of such a phrase, which is usually championed by those on the extreme right.”
He added: “Given the term is championed by many figures inside the alt-right milieu, no politician in their right mind should be promoting such an obviously fake conspiracy theory. These are ill-judged, ill-chosen words.
Asked at the Bruges Group meeting on Tuesday by Guardian journalist Dawn Foster why she was using a far-right term used by figures including Anders Breivik, Braverman insisted that she was only trying to prevent further attacks on the “British genius”.
“We have a culture evolving from the far left which is about snuffing out freedom of speech, freedom of thought,” she said.
“No one can get offended anymore. We are living in a culture where we are putting everybody in cotton wool. Our risk-averse mentalities are taking over.
“And that instinct for freedom, for risk-taking, for making a mistake, for innovation, for creativity is being killed. And it’s absolutely damaging for our spirit as British people and our genius – that British genius.”
Braverman is a former chair of the European Research Group of anti-EU Conservative MPs and resigned as parliamentary under-Secretary at the Department for Exiting the European Union in protest at Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement.
The row comes after the BBC journalist Laura Kuenssberg reported on Monday that senior figures in the group have started referring to themselves as “Grand Wizards,” a term most famously used by the Ku Klux Klan.
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