The row about anti-semitism in the Labour Party has broken out again: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/jul/18/labour-party-to-take-action-against-mp-who-called-corbyn-a-racist; and with no more reason or judgment behind it than was displayed when it was last aired a few months ago – see my earlier posts. Here is an excellent demolition of it published recently: https://www.opendemocracy.net/antony-lerman/why-turning-to-jewish-exceptionalism-to-fight-antisemitism-is-failing-project. That really ought to nail it. By any objective reading, conducted on the basis of a reasonable and objective definition of anti-semitism, and not one, for example, founded only on the opinions of Jews (that’s the most intellectually disreputable suggestion of the ‘New’ anti-anti-semites), Labour is the least anti-Jewish of any British political party in recent British history. Corbyn has always stood strongly against racism of any kind. To tar him with this brush is a quite appalling slur. (It has to do of course with hostility to him as a socialist and pro-Palestine.) It’s almost enough to turn one anti-semitic. Of course I can and will resist this; but many radicals may not be able to.
Back to Sweden tomorrow, by boat and train. (We both dislike flying, and the cost at this time of year is not very different. Plus we live in a ferry port.) So, there’ll probably be another gap before my next post.
The idea of an official definition of anti-semitism approved by a jewish authorities is against free critical thought and the long tradition of jewish scholarship and critical thinking. It clearly derives from the long campaign by jewish lobbies to conflate anti-semitism with anti-Zionism or anti-Israelism and is therefore politically motivated. Corbyn is being targetted because of his long-time support for Palestinian rights and the desire of some MPs to weaken him.
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The Brian Klug article linked at the foot of that piece is also very good, although (perhaps inevitably) it goes over some of the same ground.
Klug, in an academic paper published twenty-odd years ago, suggested that anti-semitism could be defined as “hostility to Jews as Jews, where Jews are perceived as something other than what they are”. It’s an interesting qualification. The idea is that anti-semites, and racists generally, don’t hate people because of who they actually *are*, but because of the fantasies they project onto them. So anyone who had lived such a sheltered life that they had literally never encountered a Jew, apart from their noisy and boorish next-door neighbours and their horrible close relatives, could hate ‘Jews’ without anti-semitism – as long as they were willing to abandon that view of Jews in general when they’d had wider experience. It’s a highly artificial and hypothetical point in Britain; perhaps less so in Palestine. I talk about this some more in this blog post.
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