Oh please don’t let it be a Jewish conspiracy! It would undermine my whole historical world view, built up over the last 70-odd years, if it were. As a historian I’m fully aware of the conspiracies attributed to the Jews over time – the blood libel, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and so on, which were obviously cruelly false; and – in more general terms – am unwilling to ascribe any major historical event to the plotting of a minority, as against the open decisions of rulers and the broader impersonal imperatives of history. The very idea of world events being significantly affected by secret cabals offends me.
I accept that people do plot – I’ve written about secret service conspiracies – and it may be that I’m only reluctant to accept the effectiveness of their plots because I’m a rational historian who wants events to happen for reasons that I can rationally understand. (It’s sometimes called the ‘intellectualist assumption’, or ‘delusion’.) I’m also temperamentally very Judeophile (is that the word?), and anti-antisemitic. So I should prefer to believe that the current campaign against Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party on the grounds of his, or its, anti-semitism is not part of a Jewish plot to destroy them. As I wrote a couple of days ago: it would be a tragedy not only for Labour if that were so, but also for British Jewry, giving Corbyn’s supporters at last a genuine reason to mistrust them, and so possibly provoking a degree of antisemitism in the party that was not there before.
But in truth the anti-Corbyn onslaught is beginning to look more and more like a Jewish – or, far more likely, an Israeli government – conspiracy. Why has it suddenly broken out now? Before Corbyn became leader, I was aware of no such public complaints against the party. So why today, suddenly? Why are the many Jewish voices in support of Corbyn, and disputing the charges made against him, being suppressed by – apparently – even the Guardian? (See: http://www.jewishvoiceforlabour.org.uk/media/guardian-denies-space-to-650-labour-party-members-challenging-hostile-media-coverage/.) Surely the Guardian isn’t part of the plot? Who was behind those huge billboards wheeled past Parliament and Labour’s HQ yesterday proclaiming Labour’s endemic antisemitism? (See http://metro.co.uk/2018/04/17/three-anti-semitism-billboards-criticising-jeremy-corbyn-driven-past-labour-hq-7475128/.) ‘Crowd-funded’, apparently; but by and led by whom?
Lastly, and perhaps most telling: which foreign country is most likely to gain from the defeat of a pro-Palestinian and quasi-pacifist Labour leader at the next election? Some British Jews are clearly of the opinion that criticising any aspect of Israeli government policy in Gaza or the West Bank – settlements, shootings and so on – is tantamount to denying the Jews their right to a national home in Palestine, and consequently indistinguishable from antisemitism. It’s quite possible that they alone are responsible for the anti-Corbyn campaign – egged on, of course, by rich Tories for their own purposes – so we don’t need to believe that the Israeli government or secret services are directly implicated. If they are, however, it must raise questions about the coming election – whenever that is – similar to those raised about Russian involvement in the Brexit and American Presidential votes.
Again, and for the sake of my Jewish friends: please God – or Jehovah, or Allah, or the fairies at the bottom of the garden – let that not be so. Surely any intelligent Jew – and the Jews are known, stereotypically, for their intelligence – would not risk what seems such a blatant conspiracy. I’m clinging on to that, in order to hold on to my old world view.
PS. Here’s the best defence of Corbyn and Labour on the ‘anti-semitism’ charge that I’ve read so far: from a website called ‘off-guardian’ – perhaps in protest against the Guardian‘s curiously anti-Corbyn bias: https://off-guardian.org/2018/04/18/corbyn-the-anti-semitism-question/. And another, on the letters page of the Guardian itself: https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/politics/2018/apr/02/stop-jeremy-corbyns-trial-by-media-over-antisemitism. I’m not alone!