Farage made a number of anti-semitic and islamophobic comments during his interview with CUCA@nigel_farage

The Cambridge University Conservative Association (CUCA) held an interview with Nigel Farage, ex-UKIP leader and current Brexit Party leader, in June during which Farage made a number of anti-semitic and islamophobic comments.

A recording of the video was published on CUCA’s youtube and Facebook page. At the time of publication, the video has 87,000 views, over 700 likes and 500 comments collectively.

When discussing the recent wave of protests in the United States, Farage made the following remark: “Black Lives Matter sounds great, you know, all these organisations, Hope Not Hate, they all sound wonderful until you examine what the modus operandi of some of them is. When you examine the connection with Soros and many other people…”.

Farage has previously been criticised for using antisemitic tropes to criticise financier George Soros. Farage has, among other comments, called Soros “the biggest danger to the entire western world” and has also alleged that the work of the Hungarian-born philanthropist is “the biggest level of political collusion in history.”

Soros’s portrayal as a ‘scheming puppet’ is a well-known anti-semitic trope, which spills into historic conspiracy theories of Jewish bankers controlling governments through unseen financial apparatus. This too finds its place in Farage’s punditry, when he asserted that the ‘Jewish lobby’ in America has disproportionate power during a show on LBC.

The condemnation of Soros has been a common thread among far-right pundits and countries with leaders with authoritarian tendencies, such as Hungary and Poland, where Soros initiatives are often banned and politically attacked.

Following Farage’s comment about Soros, the CUCA member hosting the event nods in agreement and says “of course.”

When questioned about Farage’s anti-semitic remark and the interviewer’s lack of intervention, the Cambridge University Jewish Society (CUJS) provided the following statement to Varsity: “There is a discernible and important distinction between critiquing Mr Soros’ politics and applying historically Antisemitic tropes to Mr Soros to incite fear and stoke up animosity. When, for example, Mr Farage described Mr Soros as ‘in many ways the biggest danger to the entire western world’ he did not respect this distinction.”

“Such conspiracy theories should not be allowed to seep into political discourse at Cambridge no matter how fleeting the reference. Although Mr Farage has suggested that criticising Soros should not be seen as antisemitic due to Mr Soros being an atheist, there are real-world consequences to the propagation of conspiracy theories about Soros. Robert Bowers, the Pittsburgh synagogue shooter subscribed to these theories as do the far-right in Hungary.”

“We hope that the student society in question (CUCA) will consider these matters seriously and reflect on whether the deferential tone that was adopted for Mr Farage’s interview was appropriate. Given the cross-party condemnation his past comments about several minority communities have received, we are surprised that no attempt was made to hold him to account for his inflammatory rhetoric”, the statement finished.

The interview also touched on Farage’s opinions on asylum seekers crossings in the Channel. Having spent several days out in the English Channel, Farage claimed that he had“proved inconclusively” that French naval boats are “literally escorting inflatable dinghies from French waters to English waters.”

He continued: “Be in no doubt that 90% of those that are coming are young men, between the ages of 18 and 26, who are coming from Eritrea, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, you name it, none of them would ever qualify as refugees under any Geneva convention definition, they are coming as economic migrants and my fear is unless we grip this very quickly, this summer could see literally an invasion and that brings with it, you know I saw one or two of these young people in that boat, very aggressive towards us.”

“And I thought I wonder, I bet one or two of you were fighting for ISIS a few months ago before they were militarily defeated. Now whether I’m right or wrong the point is there are serious security implications here too”, Farage finished.

Article 31 in the Refugee Convention protects refugees against prosecution for ‘illegal’ entry into a country and after having applied for asylum they are no longer considered ‘illegal’. Once in a country, an asylum seeker is entitled to stay in that country while awaiting a decision on their asylum claim.

CUCA provided the following statement to Varsity about their interview with Farage: “CUCA stands in total opposition to anti-Semitism and Islamophobia of all forms. Hosting a speaker is never an indicator of CUCA’s own position on a given matter and comments made by a speaker are entirely their own. CUCA hopes that those attending our events will make up their own minds on a speaker or topic and will leave with better informed opinions, whatever those may be.”

In regard to the lack of intervention by the interviewee, CUCA detailed: “Whilst CUCA would have liked to have had the opportunity to debate points further with Mr Farage, we were only offered half an hour with him. With this constraint in mind, we aimed to get through as many of our members’ submitted questions as possible within the narrow timeframe.”