Hardly a week goes by without a new revelation regarding Jeremy Corbyn’s very questionable past exploding in the news. His current antisemitism-related actions are – shall we say – hardly redeeming (I’m trying to learn English irony – you see…)
It is therefore understandable that Corbyn and his immediate clique attract most of British Jews’ outrage and anger.
Yet in the heat of that anger, we might forget that Jeremy Corbyn has been elected Leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition by a large majority of (the now half-a-million-strong) Labour Party membership. That membership re-elected him – with an even larger majority – even after the antisemitism issue had made it to the front pages. What’s more, all the revelations alluded to above did not seem to hurt Mr. Corbyn’s popularity too much: current opinion polls place him as a strong contender to the post of Prime Minister.
And it’s not just that. During a (by now famous) meeting of the Labour Party brass, National Executive Committee member Peter Willsman dismissed accusations of antisemitism as malicious fabrications by “Jewish Trump fanatics”. This elephant-in-china-shop moment caused even the hard-core Momentum party-within-a-party to drop Willsman from their list of ‘endorsed candidates’ for election to the NEC. And yet, Peter Willsman got elected to Labour’s top forum; more than 70,000 Party members voted for Mr. Willsman despite (or perhaps thanks to?) his outburst. For comparison, the most popular candidate (Yasmine Dar) got elected with 88,000 votes.
The conclusion is, I’m afraid, inescapable: Jeremy Corbyn did not ‘create’ the antisemitism that we witness – on- and off-line – in 2018 United Kingdom. In fact, the opposite is true: Corbyn climbed to the top on (among other things) ‘anti-Zionism’ fuelled by antisemitic prejudice.
That antisemitic prejudice (revealed also in a recent survey) has been lurking under the surface – only held there by a ballast of British reserve, fear and political correctness. The prejudice was there all along.
That does not exonerate Corbyn and his junta. True, these ‘socialists’ did not invent antisemitism – nor did the national socialists in the 1920s. But they rode the wave of antisemitic prejudice, some even whipped it on; even worse, they legitimised it – they turned latent antisemitism into an overt, brazen, self-righteous, mainstream, ‘socially-acceptable’ phenomenon.
I’m sorry if this sounds disheartening to some. But we need to recognise that this is not just a battle against Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell and Seamus Milne. No, this is part of a never-ending war – one that antisemites have been waging for centuries, long before their hatred had a name. In recent decades, most British Jews have had little personal experience of antisemitism. But that, my friends, was not peace; in history’s big picture, it was just a short-lived truce.