Speaking for the Defence (MAYBE?)
Criticism of Israel is not (necessarily) antisemitism
Jeremy Corbyn made his defence by ignoring the personal charges against him and claiming that the problem in his party was confined to a tiny minority. I hope he’s right about the second part.
I found the response by his defenders to his ‘No place for antisemitism’ approach-cum-apology to the Jews fascinating. You will find virtually every instinctive cliché in the comments on social media.
Here’s a sample.
No antisemitism in the Labour Party
Prove there is
Hey, didn’t you watch the video? Jeremy Corbyn promised to drive antisemitism out of the party for good. (The video is linked inWalks like a Duck? Pt I).
The issue first came to public attention in 2016 when Oxford University’s Labour Club (OULC) co-chair Alex Chalmers resigned because OULC and the student Left in general “have some kind of problem with Jews”.
Janet Anne Royall, Baroness Royall of Blaisdon PC is a British Labour Co-operative Party politician. She was Leader of the House of Lords and Lord President of the Council. Currently she is the principal of Somerville College, Oxford. The Baroness Royall concluded there appears to be a “cultural problem” in which “behaviour and language that would once have been intolerable is now tolerated” in Oxford University’s Labour Club (OULC).
Since then Jewish Labour MPs, including Luciana Berger, Ruth Smeeth and Margaret Hodge, have spoken out against antisemitism in their own party. So we have to assume they have some greater knowledge.
“I told the anti-Semites in my party, in no uncertain terms … tone it DOWN a bit!”
Criticism of Israel is not antisemitism
Recite this as a mantra and you are protected from the charge of antisemitism, no matter what you say or what you do.
The confusion about what constitutes antisemitism created the need for the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism. Then it occurred to me that the problem is as much defining what is criticism of Israel as much as what is antisemitism.
One wonders why Corbyn didn’t simply accept the definition and then ignore it as he appears to have ignored the recommendations of the (it’s all about Shami) Chakrabarti Report.
‘Criticism of Israel is not antisemitism’ with its implication that the Jews invent charges of antisemitism to deflect ‘justified’ attacks on Israeli policy, verges on antisemitism. It is ss if the Jews don’t know when they are being attacked as Jews.
At times the charge is expressed quite directly. My recent favourite is “Jewish Trump supporters invent antisemitism to bring down Corbyn”.
†Didn’t the get the memo ~ remember to blame Israel not Jews?
- And many Jews (my ancestors too) were the chief financiers of the sugar and slave trade which is of course why there were so many early synagogues in the Caribbean. Jackie Walker, former Vice-chair of Momentum, Founding member of Jewish Voice for Labour.
- Prime Minister Tony Blair was unduly influenced by a “cabal of Jewish advisers” Tam Dalyell Labour member of the House of Commons from 1962 to 2005.
- “a distortion running right the way through British politics” because “a majority of Jews in this country supported the Labour Party and elected a number of Jewish Labour MPs”. Ken Livingstone Mayor of London from the creation of the office in 2000 until 2008. Labour Member of Parliament (MP) for Brent East from 1987 to 2001.
- Commenting on a plan to relocate Israel to the United States. Might “save them some pocket money”. Naz Shah Labour MP. Shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities.
- “Rothschilds Jewish mafia” was being behind the September 11 attacks; “Jewish money” was running the British government. Roy Smart Labour local council candidate.
- “[The] Rothschilds are a powerful financial family (like the Medicis) and represent capitalism — even if the Nazis DID use the activities of Rothschilds in their anti-Semitic propaganda. We must not obscure the truth with the need to be tactful.” Pam Bromley Labour local council member
What do any of the above examples have to do with criticising Israel?
Then what do you do with Corbyn ‘identifying’ with the Muslim Brotherhood or laying a wreath in memory of the Palestinian murderers at the Munich Olympics have to do with criticism of Israel’s policies?
It’s true that the Brotherhood are Jew Haters but they are also opponents of any form of ‘moderate’ Islam or Western influence. They oppose most of the things Corbyn claims to support. They wish to overthrow the Egyptian government as much or more than they wish to eliminate Israel.
Does the explanation that he didn’t fully understand what he was doing give more confidence than the one that he is a willing supporter of war against the Jews and the West?
I’ll leave you with a quote from Jewish lawyer Mark Lewis who is leaving Britain. Lewis sees Corbyn as a catalyst for antisemitism rather than a threat in himself, saying the Labour leader has “moved the rock and it’s the people who are crawling out from underneath it who are the problem.”
Corbyn and his supporters will never admit moving the rock.
- Antisemitism in the UK Labour Party, Wikipedia, accessed August 2018
- Stop accusing the Jewish community of conspiring against the left, David Hirsh, openDemocracy, 9 August 2018
†What do any of the following have to do with Criticism of Israel?
- Few Jews were involved in the slave trade. Slavery ended for the the United Kingdom more than a century before the establishment of the state of Israel.
- The charge that a secret Jewish group working against the interests of the country is a classic antisemitic libel.
- Can’t win even by voting Labour. BTW Jews represent only 0.5 per cent of the UK population.
- Does suggesting ethnic cleansing constitute criticism or is it support for the destruction of the only Jewish state. In either case the association of Jews as misers is another classic antisemitic libel.
- The Jews are blamed for capitalism, for the major terrorist attack beginning the 21st century (conducted by Arabs).
- Ironically the Rothschild family are no longer Jewish.