Q: What is it about Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party that anti-Semites find so attractive?
A: Jeremy Corbyn.
The Labour leader seems to hate Israel and all it stands for. The psychopaths of Hamas remain his “friends” and Israel the enemy. He has an unshakable one-eyed view of the Jewish state – refusing even to utter the word “Israel” after being forced to speak at a Friends of Israel fringe meeting at last year’s party conference.
Alongside George Galloway and Ken Livingstone, Corbyn is a poster boy for the British anti-Zionism movement. When the Labour Party, in an act of self-slaughter, crowned him leader, the Jew-haters began hovering around Her Majesty’s Opposition like flies to honey. It didn’t take the loonies long to cause a stir.
There have been a litany of debacles in the past two weeks, from party member Gerry Downing addressing “the Jewish question” to former Parliamentary candidate Vicky Kirby noting Jews have big noses – culminating in last week’s suspension of Bradford West MP Naz Shah, who called for the “transportation” and “relocation” of Israelis as a “solution” to the Middle East problem and compared Israel to Nazi Germany.
Corbyn’s default position on all these outrages is to do precisely nothing, until nothing is no longer an option. He simply utters the same warped, weasel words. Literally: “Nothing to see here… move along, move along.”
He flatly refuses to tackle – even isolate – anti-Semitism, for one far-reaching reason. Jeremy Corbyn, a man who questions Israel place in the world, emboldens Jew haters. Denounce them, call this filth out for what they really are, and he also denounces much of his core support.
It’s Corbyn’s Catch 20-Jew.
So rather than label a Jew-hater a Jew-hater, he speaks in the broadest possible terms about “all racism being unacceptable”. There’s always a caveat, always a balance.
Rather than do the right thing, he obfuscates and draws false comparison. It’s a very dark art, and every time he indulges in it, his Jew-hating advocates draw closer and grow bolder.
How ironic that it was Ken Livingstone, Corbyn’s kindred spirit – who the Labour leader brought back from political wilderness and into a senior role in the party – who caused this simmering mess to reach boiling point.
With the timing of a Diego Costa tackle, not-so-cuddly Ken, a man who couldn’t spot an anti-Semite at a Nuremberg rally, decided in his finite wisdom to send the party into meltdown by claiming the man who slaughtered six million Jews was in fact a Zionist, in defence of Labour MP Naz Shah’s anti-Semitic Facebook posts.
Crass Ken, as he so often does, mentioned the war. Like Basil Fawlty, he didn’t get away with it.
Ken has a talent for provoking Jewish ire, from his support for homophobic Jew-hate preacher Yusuf al-Qaradawi to comparing Jewish journalist Oliver Finegold to a concentration camp guard. That infamous incident, which saw him suspended as London mayor after he stubbornly refused to apologise, showed a particularly ugly self-righteous streak running through his personality.
Had he the sense to keep shtum in the wake of the Shah scandal [a woman who, irony of ironies, sat on the Home Affairs inquiry into anti-Semitism until stepping down on Tuesday], this whole sorry episode may have petered out. After all, Shah has had a broadly positive impact on relations between UK Jews and Muslims in the year since becoming an MP.
The other week she attended a Passover seder and, tellingly, her constituency’s synagogue quickly jumped to her defence. She even wrote an apology for the Jewish News, which showed seemingly genuine remorse.
Her suspension was a setback towards bolstering Jewish-Muslim relations, but the damage she wrought is reversible. She should be brought back into the party.
For Ken, on the other hand, it’s game over. He has proved his credentials time and again as a political survivor, but this latest madcap manoeuvre surely signals the end of a chequered, often ignominious career. Expulsion is inevitable.
After which, his old pal will inevitably continue to tinker around the edges of Labour anti-Semitism, paying lip service to his party’s sickness, until Rome finally crashes at his feet.
The end can’t come soon enough.