Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party allows anti-Semitism to thrive

Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party allows anti-Semitism to thrive, by Greg Sheridan.

Corbyn has taken Labour further left than at any point in its history. He wants to renationalise a lot of industry and raise taxes, and he has a history of favouring unilateral nuclear disarmament, though that is not official party policy. Although a bearded old fuddy-duddy in manner, he embraces every twist of every far left identity issue and grievance mongering.

He did so well [in last year’s election] partly through populism — promising to wipe out university debts and eliminate tuition fees, promising new public holidays, big pay rises for civil servants and much more. Part of his success came from low expectations. No one thought he had a chance when the campaign started and he received a very soft press.

One reason his personal history of extremism doesn’t count against him is that young people have no clue about the historical issues on which Corbyn routinely sided with the communists and the dictators. And his identity politics extremism is substantially forgiven by all but the right-wing media and, mostly shorn of meaningful context, regarded as vaguely hip or cool, or at least well intentioned, by young folk.

But the anti-Semitic words and actions of Corbyn’s supporters, and his own expressions of support for them, have been so gross and blatant recently that it has caused revulsion among many Labour faithful.

Corbyn has long been closely associated with anti-Semites. Historically, he described the Gaza-based Hamas terrorists as “friends”, despite not only their gruesome terrorist murders but also the shocking and classic anti-Semitism of their charter.

Corbyn signed on to the defence of a mural by Mear One that contained hideous, grotesque anti-Semitic stereotypes. He later explained, with a kind of demented lameness, that he hadn’t looked at the mural closely and was defending it only on the basis of defending free speech, which is a bit rich given that he never defends the free speech of cartoonists murdered by Islamists. …

It goes without saying that criticism of Israel, provided it is not distorted by hatred for or prejudice towards Jews, is not anti-Semitism. In all the cases mentioned above, what I am talking about is classical, racist anti-Jew hatred and prejudice. This is often conflated with a hatred of ­Israel but the sources of anti-Semitism, especially on the left, go far beyond modern Israel. …

In a brilliant column in London’s The Sunday Telegraph a Conservative member of the European Parliament, Daniel Hannan, recalled some of the highlights of the left’s wretched and hateful obsession with Jews. Karl Marx wrote of Judaism: “What is the worldly religion of the Jew? Huckstering. What is his worldly God? Money. The chimerical nationality of the Jew is the nationality of the merchant, of the man of money in general.”

Similarly, it is easy to forget Adolf Hitler was a socialist and Nazism — National Socialism — was a socialist movement. Hitler himself asked: “How can you be a socialist and not be an anti-Semite?” …

Tragically, a crude anti-Semitism thrives in the Arab world. It also thrives in the sectarian left and in the orbit of the weirdest and most disturbing mainstream leader the Western world has seen in a long, long time.