Anyone in any doubt about the true nature and credibility of the campaign currently being waged against Corbyn and the Labour Party, on the grounds of their alleged ‘anti-semitism’, should read these two pieces, published recently.
https://orientxxi.info/magazine/anti-semitism-orchestrated-offensive-against-jeremy-corbyn-in-the-uk,2446; and https://www.opendemocracy.net/uk/jamie-stern-weiner-norman-finkelstein/american-jewish-scholar-behind-labour-s-antisemitism-scanda.
I’ve said it before (see for example https://bernardjporter.com/2018/04/16/have-you-stopped-beating-the-jews/), but let’s say it again: criticising the Israeli government, and supporting the cause of the Palestinians, are not signs of or necessarily rooted in anti-semitism. But they seem to be the main complaints of the current crop of anti-antisemites. Similarly, pointing out that Hitler at one point supported a ‘national home’ solution for the Jews – Ken Livingstone’s notorious claim, for which the Labour Right want him expelled from the party – is a statement of fact, and not intended to imply that Zionists are Nazis, for goodness’ sake! And (lastly) a mural painting of capitalists sitting around a table is not necessarily directed against Jewish capitalists. (The problem with this is that Corbyn once endorsed it: see https://bernardjporter.com/2018/03/28/israel-jezza-and-imperialism/). But these seem to be the main items of ‘anti-semitic’ ‘evidence’ that Labour’s critics are currently offering. It’s pretty thin gruel.
I have to say that I’m personally getting fed up with – even enraged by – all this false anti-antisemitic propaganda; especially when it’s directed against and could derail the best hope we have at present of bringing the present crazy and dangerous stage of our national history to an end, and returning us to a decent social democracy. – Which itself poses a problem. Anti-semitism is not, I’m still convinced, a serious problem in Britain, and least of all in the Labour Party. It’s also far milder than other kinds of British racism, or the racism that important elements of Israeli-Jewish society display towards other ethnic groups. The outcry against it is clearly whipped up – and supported by the Israeli government – simply in order to stop a Palestinian sympathiser from getting into No. 10.
But – and this is my main point – the outcry in itself could easily provoke a new anti-semitism on the Left, if people come to blame it for Corbyn’s failure to win the next general election. I’m sure I can resist the temptation – I’m fascinated in a positive way by Judaism, and even planning a visit to Israel soon – but many on the Left won’t be able to. Launching this campaign against Corbyn, in fact, was a high-risk strategy for British Jewry, which could well rebound against them. Let’s hope not.
Just to make clear: I’m personally greatly in favour of Israel’s survival, despite its ‘imperialist’ origins, though I don’t think Netanyahu is going the right way about it. And – because this is often a charge brought against critics of Israel – none of what I’ve just written amounts to a ‘conspiracy theory’. Jewish fears of anti-semitism, in this British context, are wrong and misguided, but they are genuine, open and above-board. I’m not sure, however, that I could say the same about newspapers like the Daily Mail, whose anti-Corbyn philo-semitism seems of very recent growth.