We are now asked to at least try to understand the concerns of many British Jews’ – hopefully not a majority – about Jeremy Corbyn. But we already know the reason. It’s not really because they feel he’s an ‘existential’ threat to them – that is, to their very lives in Britain. By comparing Corbyn to the notorious 1960s racist Enoch Powell, or even to Hitler, critics like Lord Sacks and Margaret Hodge are making grotesque fools of themselves. That Corbyn is a racist of any kind is a ludicrous charge, which an intelligent people – and aren’t the Jews stereotypically supposed to be that? – should be able to see through easily.
In fact Jewish concerns have little at all to do with the situation of Jewry in Britain. Britain has nearly always been, and still is, one of the least anti-Semitic, and therefore safest, countries in the world for Jews to live and work in. Labour has generally gone along with this. That’s not what really worries Corbyn’s critics. Insofar as their concerns are about Jewry at all, and not merely a cynical excuse for Labour ‘moderates’ and the Right-wing press to get at him, it’s Corbyn’s criticisms of radical Zionism, which is basically a political ideology, although arguably founded on racism (a ‘National Home for the Jews‘), that are at issue; together with his hostility to the current extreme Right-wing government of Israel; and his support for the Palestinian people who were originally dispossessed of their lands to make way for the state of Israel, are undergoing further dispossessions at the present time (the new ‘settlements’ on the West Bank), and are being systematically oppressed by the Israeli authorities in a number of ways, even in the lands – like Gaza and the West Bank – they are presently allowed to eke out a miserable existence on.
The over-the-top extremity of the attacks on Labour ‘antisemitism’ must surely backfire on Corbyn’s critics eventually, to the benefit of the Labour cause. Let’s hope it doesn’t backfire on the Jewish community as well, actually stirring up the antisemitism it is supposed to be directed against. (See https://bernardjporter.com/2018/08/01/6808/.) But it may also have another positive effect. Before it came up few people in Britain outside the Jewish community knew much about Israel, its history, its activities on its borders, and its subvert interference in British politics. (On that, see https://bernardjporter.com/2018/08/10/the-plot-revealed/.) Now they know a little more, at least; and also about the Palestinian cause which Corbyn has championed so consistently. That could redound to his credit, and to the discredit of those who are seeking to undermine him. It could be a dangerous game they’re playing.