Most Jeremy Corbyn supporters claim that “he hasn’t got an antisemitic bone in his body” (whatever an antisemitic bone would look like). Another theory is that the antisemitism scandal in Labour is a relatively new one.
Both theories are wrong. It turns out that Jeremy Corbyn has been virulently anti-Israel to the point where it becomes antisemitism since the early 1980s and probably earlier. And the Labour antisemitism scandal has been running since those times as well.
The story is revealed to us by a Twitter account called “Citizen Corbyn in the Times” (which documents Jeremy Corbyn’s activities as mentioned in the Times and other British media), in a thread about the late Philip Kleinman a Jewish journalist, who wrote for the Jewish Chronicle among many other publications, and Labour activist back in the 1980s who had a most mortifying experience in Labour. Here is the thread unrolled for easy reading:
Sunday Times 21 Oct 1984 p.16 ‘Tearing the heart from a Labour man’
Philip Kleinman on a mortifying experience in politics.
In 1981, Mr Kleinman joined the Islington North CLP but found it ’embodied some of the least attractive trends in today’s Labour movement.’
‘Our first encounter [with Mr Corbyn] was at a candidate-selection meeting of Islington Fabian Society. He indicated then that he favoured British withdrawal of NATO & from Northern Ireland & the dissolution of the state of Israel.’ [!]
‘While Ireland seemed to come higher on the political agenda, the subject which most worried me, the most personal concern was Israel. I am no slavish support of that country’s policies – the weekly column I have written for 10 years in the @JewishChron is proof enough of that.’ ‘but, like the great majority of British Jews I strongly oppose any threat to its existence. Apart from anything, the PLO’s objective of a “democratic, secular state of Palestine” superseding the Jewish state could be achieved only through the most tremendous bloodshed.’
‘The idea of helping to put an enemy of Israel into the House of Commons, where he might one day have some influence on British foreign policy, was distinctively unattractive.’
‘In the year which followed Corbyn’s selection I tried 2 or 3 times to arrange a private meeting with him to discuss the middle east. No luck. Meanwhile events did not stand still…
My constituency party put its weight behind the anti-Israel moves at conference.’
In my own ward I challenged the general committee’s action but got nowhere. My submission that support for the “democratic secular state” formula was bound to look to most Jews like a declaration of hostility to the Jewish people as a whole was met with incomprehension.
‘During the 1983 GE I finally managed to have a word (on the telephone) with Jeremy Corbyn about the middle east & he confirmed that he remained as anti-Israel as ever.’
‘They are the people who oppose violence except when employed by those who speak the language of national liberation, however spuriously; who are all for democracy except when the will of the majority, as in Ulster happen to conflict with their opinions’. whose hearts bleed for the sufferings of certain groups while remaining curiously cold to those of others.’
Because of the article Mr Kleinman was disciplined for disloyalty, he avoided an initial expulsion & continued to argue that he had seriously considered “the long-term interests of the Labour Party would have been better served by keeping Jeremy Corbyn out of Parliament”.
This. ‘I compared yesterday’s anti-semitism, to today’s anti-Zionism, which uses the Jewish state rather than individual Jews as a symbol of evil. I quoted Neil Kinnock statement in a letter to me that he was “opposed to any proposal to abolish the state of Israel’.
Islington North CLP eventually expelled him, & despite support from the left and right of the Party, the NEC upheld their decision. Although encouraged to reapply Mr Kleinman ‘was unwilling to get into that nest of vipers again.’
Here are some excerpts from the article, via the relevant Twitter thread:
‘No matter how fervently or angrily socialist may wish to deny it, there is growing evidence of the existence of what Denzil Davies [shadow defence]… identified at last year’s Blackpool conference as an “anti-semitic strand” running through certain parts of the Labour Party.’
Speaking at a fringe meeting on “Racism & anti-semitism” at at the 1983 Brighton conference, Roy Hattersley, then just installed as deputy leader was careful to draw clear distinction between…’ the anti-Zionism legitimately advanced as a critique of Zionism and of Israeli government policies, and that which “spilled over into opposition to the Jewish community” & was therefore, as he said, “wholly unacceptable” to Labour.
‘It is to this test, many Jewish member of the Labour Party believe, that Ken Livingstone’s recent pronouncements on the British Jewish community should be put. In an interview in the Israeli trade-union newspaper Davar, he seemed to go out of his way to cause offence to Anglo-Jewry.’
With what has been described as an “ignorance matched only by his insensitivity” he alleged that the Board of Deputies of British Jews is “dominated by reactionaries & neo-fascists”. He went on: “Progressive Jews support me; only Jews who hold extreme right-wing views oppose me.”
Nothing seems to have changed as Peter Bradley revisited his article 33 years later, in April of this year and finds little has changed:
In 1985, when Jeremy Corbyn was still a relatively fresh-faced backbencher, I wrote an opinion piece which the Times published under the depressing headline ‘Why Labour is losing its Jews’. In it, I cited evidence of the kind of anti-Zionism prevalent on the party’s left which, in the words of deputy leader Roy Hattersley ‘spilled over into opposition to the Jewish community’ and was therefore ‘wholly unacceptable’.
Sadly, I could have written that piece yesterday. Even some of the dramatis personae are the same: Ken Livingstone, who featured prominently though not to his credit, was then in his pomp.
Bradley is rather too leftist, and too defensive of Corbyn for my taste plus his dislike for Israel slightly too strong, and yet he is fair in his judgement call on antisemitism. He produces a handy little test for people to see if they are antisemitic or not:
1. Are you anti-Israel?
a. Yes I am. It is a fascist state
b. No, but I do support the rights of the Palestinians and am opposed to the Israeli government’s abuses against them, as are many Jews and many Israelis
2. How strong is your objection to Israel?
a. Very, because Israel is the world’s single most repressive regime
b. I am equally committed to opposing all acts and agents of repression
If you are a member of the Labour party and did not spot the elephant traps, the problem is worse than we thought. And yes, of course, a multiple choice of two does not allow for much nuance. But nor does it allow for obfuscation. If you answered ‘a’ to any of the questions, can you not see that the alternative in no way abridges your right to criticise Israel but does so in terms which beg far fewer questions about what else you might believe?
The other article of faith which unites those on Labour’s ‘left’ is their unqualified commitment to its leader. It is Corbyn, not the discredited Livingstone, who provides the continuity between the problematic politics of the 1980s and the 2010s. Because long before he and Momentum redefined Labour’s mainstream, those were the people he knew, the principles he espoused, the associations which sustained him through 30 rebellious years on the backbenches.
Keeping in mind this “insider information” about the real character of Jeremy Corbyn, Joe Duenas writes in Arutz Sheva about the present-day threat posed by Jeremy Corbyn:
Jeremy Corbyn’s anti-Semitism has been difficult for some to swallow. After all, he doesn’t fit the typical archetype of an anti-Semite. The traditional view of a Jew-hater, at least for the past two centuries, is a militaristic and anti-liberal reactionary who views progress and liberalism as some sort diabolical conspiracy by shifty Jewish subverters. He also tends to look down on other minorities and will commonly fetishize fictional and grandiose times past; to this particular Jew-hater, the clock needs to be rewound to the harmonious pastures of yesteryear.
Turn to Mr. Corbyn and that’s not what we find. What we have in the leader of the British Labour Party is a leftist and self-described “anti-racist”, who claims to be a defender of the downtrodden victims of traditional institutions. Somehow, he manages to do this while simultaneously holding toxic views about members of the Jewish tribe and their homeland.
To understand the threat that Corbyn poses, it’s necessary to unpack the worldview to which he fervently subscribes. Corbyn supports the fringe and leftist viewpoint that the global disarray and conflict we see today is the fault of the West. Similar to Barack Obama, he views the Islamic fascists in the Middle East, not for what they actually are, religious fundamentalists who want to kill and conquer the rest of us, but as victims of American foreign policy and/or a legacy of “white supremacy”.
This isn’t to say that Corbyn and his ilk necessarily agree with or support the Jihadists, but in a condescending and, dare I say, racist tone, they would claim that the Islamic fundamentalism is some kind of backward liberation movement for brown-skinned people. To the Corbynites, the Jihadists ought not to be held accountable for any of the heads that are hacked off by their pocket knives, they’re confused Third-Worlders who have been pushed to this barbarism by Western policies. If we can just fix or destroy the West, then they’ll stop hating us and abandon their dreams of establishing a worldwide Caliphate.
Corbyn is an artifact of the communist-inspired New Left of the 70’s and 80’s, which gobbled up anti-Western narratives and internationalist propaganda peddled by the Soviet Union and her satellites. A core motif of Eastern Bloc propaganda was the promotion of national liberation of Third World countries from the evils of capitalism and Western imperialism. This was a revised and extended version of the worldwide worker’s revolution prompted by the Bolsheviks, and it was an effective Cold War tactic in mobilizing young Western leftists and idealists in the Third World against the “oppressive” West and her “oppressive” ally, Israel. Among these, a young revolutionary named Jeremy Corbyn.
The main issue with this worldview is simply this: none of it is based in reality. It’s delusional […. ]
Conspiracy theory is common among these one-dimensional movements because the “oppressor” can be depicted as a diabolical and all-powerful force. To the Germans everything was the fault of the Jew, to the Proletariat all problems could stem from the Jewish bourgeoisie, to the Arab middle east anything can be attributed to a Zionist plot. It’s in the conspiratorial and totalitarian potential of the Corbynite worldview that the threat of Jeremy becomes clear:
Jeremy Corbyn’s policies will most likely not directly target Jews, but what happens when his policies don’t achieve the desired results? Will he and his supporters simply concede that this messianic worldview is ineffective? Will they merely accept that economic policies of raising taxes, increasing spending, and expanding welfare may not be the best way to stimulate the economy? What happens when the open and warm embrace of Islamic Jihadists doesn’t actually stop the violence?
The Corbynites will either self-reflect – don’t count on it – or blame their failure on a secret plot meant to undermine their mission. It may just be the all-powerful Zionist Jews, who they claim wield immense influence over the international media, corporations and Western governments. If that were to happen, then the Corbynite revolutionary mission could shift from a crusade to liberate all victims of oppression and poverty, to combatting the aggressive international oppressors, the Zionist Jews.
The writer’s concluding words should be a warning to all of us:
We’ve seen that type of crusade in the past. We will not see it again, not without a fight. This is the threat of Jeremy Corbyn, and this is what we are afraid of.