The St Vitus’s Dance of the modern age: On Corbyn and his apologists

“The party,” wrote Orwell in 1984, “Told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.” The Labour Party, in 2018, counsels much the same thing. Consider the following:

We are asked to believe that Jeremy Corbyn didn’t know that “honoured guests” he invited to tea in Parliament were enthusiastic antisemitic blood-libellers (Raed Salah a key reference here)

We are asked to believe that Jeremy Corbyn didn’t know that a mural he defended was brimming with grossly antisemitic caricatures straight out of the pages of Der Stürmer

We are asked to believe that Jeremy Corbyn didn’t know that social media groups in which he actively and enthusiastically immersed himself for years were foaming with a truly toxic antisemitism

We are asked to believe that Jeremy Corbyn didn’t know that many of his fellow speakers at the innumerable pro-Palestinian anti-Zionist hate fests he’s attended over the past four decades were antisemitic obsessives, even as he sat through their obsessively antisemitic speeches

We are asked to believe that Jeremy Corbyn was “present but not actually involved” in a memorial service for the terrorists who tortured and murdered Israeli athletes in Munich in 1972

We are asked to believe that Jeremy Corbyn didn’t know that in mocking “British Zionists” for “not understanding English irony, despite having lived in this country for a very long time, probably all their lives” he was indulging the oldest antisemitic trope of them all: The Jew as alien, the Jew as other, the Jew as outsider, the Jew as (((rootless cosmopolitan))), among his host society but never of it, the eternal, damnable stranger

…and so on and so on. Now, outside of a one-on-one conversation with the average non-functioning schizophrenic, it’s impossible to imagine being asked to accept the intricate counter-factuals of this kind of delusional architecture with a straight face. Yet take a cursory glance at the comment pages in any given left-leaning national newspaper, or the comments appended to any given social media thread on the subject, and you’ll encounter otherwise ostensibly sane men and women executing flawless multiple intellectual somersaults to excuse this man’s inexcusable track record of keeping constant company with the antisemitic scum of the earth, even as he aped their Israel-fixated antisemitic grammar and diction. This is the St Vitus’s Dance of the modern age, group self-delusion instantly evocative of the mass hysterias that incited the medieval mind.

That said, even the most battle-hardened and creative of the cultists- encrusted with scar tissue from the constant ideological self-mutilation- are struggling to explain away Corbyn’s grubby little “Jews-don’t-get-our-English irony” quip. It’s telling that even the indolent excuse peddled by Corbyn himself (I was a naïve and impressionable 64 year-old when I said it; I’m older and wiser now) rings with the weary, fag-end defiance of a man who realises he’s finally left himself with no retreat. Corbyn has systematically painted himself into a corner and now stands there, brush in hand, denying he’s even holding a brush. Were it not so serious, were Britain’s Jews not so filled with foreboding for the future, it would be farcical.

Responding to charges of antisemitism, Corbyn is often the first to remind us that his mother fought at the Battle of Cable Street. The irony (that word again) is that this is our Cable Street. This is a chance for everyone of goodwill to hold the line, stand their ground, speak up for the Jews, and check the march of the modern fascists. And the left- irony of ironies- are on the wrong side of the barricades. We really are through the looking glass: A mega-meshuga madhouse of a situation where the Labour Party has regressed in the space of two generations from a “moral crusade” in Harold Wilson’s idiom to a gurgling sewer of antisemitic effluent poisoning the whole of our national life; a situation where hard right and hard left alike are militant in their approval of the most palpably dishonourable man ever to lead a major British political party. “Go Jezza!” tweets Nick Griffin, late of the British National Party. “He’s right you know” tweets David Duke, white nationalist theoretician and former KKK hierophant. Top tip: If you find yourself the leader of the Labour Party while simultaneously scoring top marks from Nazis, you’re doing something very, very wrong. Shame on the apologists still working shifts to sanitize this mess.

Indeed, once this nightmare passes its climacteric, once this accursed man and his corroding presence finally exits the frontline of British politics, it’s important that the self-appointed scribes of the revolution not be let off the hook: The likes of Owen Jones, Aaron Bastani, the long et al of hive-minders who’ve voluntarily lowered themselves into the gutter and splashed and wallowed in the filth in defence of their master. They should never be allowed to forget what they’ve encouraged, facilitated, and excused in these islands these past three years. They should never be allowed to forget their connivance in lighting the kindling then looking the other way in wilful and collective denial while Britain’s Jewish community found itself slandered, execrated, and isolated as the flames licked higher and hotter. More: They should never again be allowed to posture as the voice of conscience or social justice. Orwell again, this time on the pro-Stalin left of the postwar era: “Do remember that dishonesty and cowardice always have to be paid for. Don’t imagine that for years on end you can make yourself the boot-licking propagandist of the Soviet regime, or any other regime, and then suddenly return to mental decency. Once a whore, always a whore.”

About the Author
Freelance writer and commentator, blogger for the Huffington Post and the Jerusalem Post, contributor to Quillette magazine
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