Harvie’s words were outrageously offensive

A Scots mother* of Jewish heritage takes the Scottish Greens co-leader to task for his remarks on women

In much of the commentary on Patrick Harvie’s outrageously offensive comments on Sky News yesterday, his singling out of Jewish women has perhaps received less attention than his dehumanising of black and disabled women.

Yet it is no less problematic. and it is also part of a pattern in trans activism to accuse others of antisemitism while indulging in excesses themselves. 

I wasn’t sure whether I had any business writing this: our family is a mixed bag – none would count as properly Jewish under the strict rules of the local synagogue. Nevertheless, my children would be Jewish enough to ensure they would have been barred from work or study in Nazi Germany and might, ultimately, have faced a worse fate.

All that is, however, somewhat moot: if Britain had been invaded in 1940, it is unlikely they would have been born at all.

Tasteless appropriation

While some trans activists seem to get a vicarious thrill from imagining themselves as the victims of the most notorious act of genocide in the 20th century (perhaps in history), this thought has always sickened and chilled me.

Last month, Eddie Izzard offensively claimed that if he’d been in Nazi Germany, he would have been murdered for wearing women’s clothing. This might have come as a surprise to the Wehrmacht Officers and soldiers who cross-dressed so frequently, there is a book on it.

This tasteless appropriation of the Shoah and the greedy need to centre blond, white Anglo-Saxon males in a Jewish tragedy is, of course, far worse than anything Mr Harvie said. Yet it still stung.

It was always a matter of pride that my daughter inherited her striking looks and colouring from the Jewish side of the family. When she was a baby, with her black hair and dark almond-shaped eyes, she would stand out amongst her fairer peers.

As she got older, however, she would fret about the dark hair that grew on her upper lip and her arms. She would sob that she had a “moustache like a boy” and wish her hair was blonde and her nose a turned-up button.

Ignorant and stereotypical

And this rushed back so forcibly when Patrick Harvie made his ignorant comments. When Harvie spoke of Jewish women, was he thinking of blonde or red-headed Jewish women? I doubt it. I imagine Mr Harvie was thinking of the stereotypes, just as he was when he thought of black women.

How does Mr Harvie think his likening of minority women to fully intact men makes little girls, too young to wax or pluck, feel about having a “moustache like a boy” or a nose too strong to be truly feminine?

Was he one of those children whose taunts made girls like my daughter so insecure about their looks and their sex?

My little girl is now old enough to vote. This week the Scottish Greens sent her an election letter. They didn’t mention, oddly, their position on equality law and how black, Jewish and disabled women are analogous to men.

No matter, it went into the bin – recycling, naturally.

*Our contributor has asked to remain anonymous.

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