Antisemitism on the British Left is a story that does not go away, the gift (if that’s the right word) that keeps on giving. Over the last few weeks several items have popped up in the media and I give you a taste of them here.
One of the most recent items concerns Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn’s comments on Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD). Harry’s Place explains in Corbyn, Jews and Holocaust Memorial Day that initially there was an outcry that Corbyn did not even mention Jews in his HMD comments on Facebook. It subsequently emerged that he did make mention of Jews in the HMD brochure, and he also updated his Facebook comment. Small comfort:
It is still not a pretty picture however. Some of the comments to his updated Facebook comment are vile, and dripping with antisemitism:
Naturally there is linkage with Israel/Palestine. This idea that the Israelis are perpetrating genocide is nonsense, obviously. Chas Newkey-Berdon wrote, for me, the definitive piece on how vile the idea that Jews should have learned from the Holocaust how to treat others;
Let us strip the “they-of-all-people” argument down to its very basics: gentiles telling Jews that we killed six million of your people and that as a result it is you, not us, who have lessons to learn; that it is you, not us, who need to clean up your act. It is an argument of atrocious, spiteful insanity. Do not accept it; turn it back on those who offer it. For it is us, not you, who should know better.
It’s interesting that Corbyn chose to quote the Bundist (member of the Jewish Socialist Party) Szmul Zygielbojm. I suppose the fact that he wasn’t a Zionist probably made him more attractive to Corbyn.
The extreme leftist edge of Labour Party managed to make itself a laughing stock by splitting against itself and… well, just sit back and read this Twitter thread for a chuckle: (Click the screenshots to enlarge):
We can laugh all we want but the truth is the situation is highly toxic to Jews and Israel in the hard Left. Just see the subject of a lecture at Warwick University and try not to throw up:
And the Labour Party itself is giving an easy ride to known antisemites:
Labour’s grassroots organization Momentum has a record of anti-Israel, even anti-Jewish activity. Nevertheless they have organized a Jewish support group, Jewish Voice for Labour, which, akin to the American JStreet, is more anti-Jewish than some antisemites. Let’s have a look at the latest antics of JVL leader Naomi Wimboune-Idrissi (Again, click on the screenshots to enlarge):
But it’s not only in the extreme corners of Labour that there is a “Jewish” problem. Last week Parliament debated whether Hezbollah should be proscribed as a terror organization, or whether its “political” wing should still be allowed to be active in Britain. As if Hezbollah has two separate wings! It si a disgrace that the matter had to be debated at all, and it still has not been decided! CUFI has more on why the UK government is weak, misguided and wrong:
Yesterday a two-hour debate took place in the House of Commons regarding the full proscription of Hezbollah in the United Kingdom.
Currently the UK government has banned the “military wing” of Hezbollah, however they have allowed the so-called “political wing” to remain active.
This distinction between the two wings is a fallacy. The organisation itself does not differentiate between the two. This division of the organisation was created by Western politicians in an apparent attempt to show they were “serious about tackling terrorism” while at the same time trying not to offend those same terrorist groups or the countries supporting them.
Unfortunately, the UK government’s weak approach when dealing with Hezbollah has allowed the support for this terror organisation on the streets of the Britain. The Hezbollah flag is regularly seen in anti-Israel marches. The most notable being the Al-Quds march in 2016, where hundreds of flags were waved, sparking calls to ban the flying of the Hezbollah flag.
We were excited to see this debate come about, and along with our partners, sent thousands of emails to politicians urging them to attend the debate and to support the motion.
However, before the debate had even taken place, we heard the views of two of the political parties, and the forecast was not good.
The Liberal Democrats showed that their party line was not to support the ban as they wanted to keep dialogue open. A flawed view in our opinion.
An email seen by CUFI from a Lib Dem MP read, “Liberal Democrats are committed to preventing terrorism in all its forms, but simply banning organisations we disagree with will not achieve that goal.”
This view was echoed by Labour whose leadership issued a memo to all its MPs on the morning of the debate urging them not to support the motion saying that “full proscription could be a move against dialogue and meaningful peace negotiations in the Middle East.”
Wes Streeting, Labour MP for Ilford North, said he was “dismayed” by the memo, and expressed his full support for the banning of Hezbollah.
The debate itself was lively, informed and passionate, with MPs from Labour, Conservatives and the DUP all showing their support for the banning of Hezbollah. The consensus from backbench MPs was that Hezbollah was a terrorist group who should be banned in its entirety, without question.
Despite 81% of the UK public supporting a full ban of Hezbollah. Despite all MPs involved in the parliamentary debate on the issue supporting the ban of Hezbollah. Despite high level military officials supporting the ban. And despite the fact that Hezbollah is the most dangerous terror organisation in the world, which is hell bent on destroying one of our most cherished allies, Israel, and is responsible for killing Jews around the world, as well over 1,000 British and American troops in the Middle East – despite all of these things – the front benches of both Labour and the Conservatives have refused to support the ban of Hezbollah.
The UK government’s response is weak, compromised, misguided and wrong. It allows support for the terror group to flourish on our streets, it compromises the security of our own people, and it strengthens the terrorist’s hands against our cherished ally Israel, all for the delusion that we can make peace with terrorists.
The government must change its stance on Hezbollah.
Shame on the Conservative Party! We hardly expected more from Labour but the Tories?
It’s not only England which has an Israel problem. In fact Ireland has a much greater antipathy to Israel, particularly the “settlements”, aka Jewish homes in the Jewish homeland of Judea and Samaria. A private member’s bill proposed a full boycott of goods and services from the settlements (h/t Rob Harris) although the coalition was divided.
NGO Monitor described the situation on Facebook (h/t Hadassah) :
The bill is being promoted by a number of BDS advocates, including Trocaire and Christian Aid. These NGOs have long-campaigned to sanction Israel as well as sabotage mutually beneficial trade agreements between Israel and Ireland. In an explanatory note circulated by Black, these NGOs note that the bill was specifically crafted to single out Israel. Shockingly, a handful of Israeli activists, some that serve on the boards of the New Israel Fund, have openly supported the bill.
In the picture: The section of the law that describes the penalties:
Israel protested at the bigotry and discrimination, and the Irish Senate froze the legislation, although they may yet return to discuss it.
Beyond the revulsion I feel for the hatred spewed towards Israel from seemingly civilized countries, I find it amazing that such a tiny country like Israel should occupy so much space in people’s political consciousness. What is it about this tiny sliver of land, and the even tinier section called Judea and Samaria, which so enrages otherwise cultured and civilized people?
Answers on a postcard please. And no hints from Holocaust Memorial Day.