What is it with the Labour Party and anti-Semitism? One step forward, one step backwards, one thumbs up, one middle finger stuck up in your face.
Almost 97 percent of Labour Party Conference delegates voted for the rule change banning racism. This rule change was tirelessly promoted by the Jewish Labour Movement and backed by Jeremy Corbyn and his left-wing supporters in Momentum.
Sounds good, yes? Unless, that is, you were sat in the Conference hall, and heard the loud cheers for those who compared Israel and Zionists with South Africa and apartheid. Or, if you sensed how sullen and grudging many of the votes were for the resolution against anti-Semitism.
Meanwhile, Jewish Voice for Labour stuck to their job of assuring the Corbyn faithful that anybody who complains about anti-Semitism is a liar, a willing agent of the Daily Mail, Benjamin Netanyahu and all points in between.
How this sneering catch-all slander equates with the Jewish Labour Movement doing its utmost to legitimise (Jewish and non-Jewish) General Election votes for what was almost a Corbyn-led Labour Government is anybody’s guess: but fairness is for soft fools, when your objective is to destroy your enemy, rather than defeat his argument.
Back at Conference, Len McCluskey, the biggest trade union boss behind Corbyn, takes his cue from the Ken Livingstone song book, declaring he’s never seen anti-Semitism in Labour. He says he is putting his unparalleled support into the Jewish Voice for Labour: one of whose leaders, Mike Cushman, has said Labour “has become a pawn of Zionist organisations” – nice conspiracy language for a Jewish voice to use and make kosher.
Meanwhile, Miko Peled, an Israeli Jew who seemingly hates Zionism, tells another Conference meeting of ageing Jewish anti-Zionists that “every issue” should be up for discussion, including “whether it’s the Holocaust: yes or no”. Nobody complains. At the same meeting, an audience member is loudly cheered for saying that the Jewish Labour Movement and Labour Friends of Israel should be kicked out of Labour. With boundless chutzpah, the name of this particular Jewish anti-Zionist group is Free Speech on Israel. It overlaps with the Voice group, but is a bit nastier in style.
Simultaneously, another Jewish anti-Zionist, Moshe Machover, was also putting the boot in: this time a Nazi jackboot belonging to Reinhard Heydrich, one of the primary architects of the Final Solution. Machover wrote a special “Anti-Zionism does not equal anti-Semitism” article for Labour Party Marxists to distribute at the Conference, which quoted Heydrich making “a friendly mention of Zionism”. This, despite the notorious Nazi’s quote beginning with the words “National socialism has no intention of attacking the Jewish people in any way”. This is the depths that some Jewish anti-Zionists will reach, just to savage their Zionist co-religionists.
In all of the above cases, it was, yet again, Jewish anti-Zionists dragging the Labour Party into disrepute with the mainstream of the Jewish community. It was, yet again, Jewish anti-Zionists helping provide the ammunition for the Daily Mail to fire at their great leader. Labour does indeed have a problem with Jews: but not (only) the one that it thinks.