When Margaret Hodge sadly dies and goes to her Jewish heaven – will it be for Jews only? I don’t know, but that would tie in with Netanyahu’s present plans for Israel – I predict that God is going to be very cross with her, in view of her shoddy libels on Jeremy Corbyn as ‘anti-semitic’. He (capital ‘H’) may well be cross with Netanyahu too. I hope so. Luckily not all British Jews go along with Hodge, or with the Israeli Right. I was impressed with this interview with Michael Rosen recently: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uVMINxG_agA. That just about lays it on the line to her. Let’s hope that the majority of Labour-leaning Jewish voters takes heed.
I’m not Jewish, though I sometimes wish I were: anything but boring old Anglo-Saxon. But I’ve had experience of an ‘exclusivist’ religion quite like Judaism. My paternal grandmother was a member of a (Christian) church in rural Essex called the ‘Peculiar People’: ‘peculiar’ in this context meaning something very close to ‘chosen’. It’s on Wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peculiar_People. She used to take me along as a boy to services: I must recount my experiences there sometime. (They were quite weird.) Luckily Grandad and my father were Methodists, which was the tradition I was brought up in. But not before I’d grown to be uncomfortable with sects that only looked after their own. Or which wanted to create communities made up only of their own sort.
Multiculturalism may have its problems; but its influence is generally enriching. What would Shakespeare have been if he had not moved from boring monocultural Warwickshire to the colourful cosmopolis that was 16th-century London? Or Elgar, without his German Jewish friends? Or even little me, without the stimulating experience I had of living in a very multinational society as a graduate student at Cambridge?
That society included a few Jews of all sorts. They immensely enriched the culture of the rest of us; together with the Africans, Latin Americans, Asians, and even the North Americans. How dare the Israeli exclusivists want to keep all that for themselves?
Which takes us some way away from the awful Margaret Hodge; but that’s maybe not such a bad thing. British politics – and the Labour Party in particular – would be better off without her.