One of the small cadre of commenters who like to attack and smear critics of Israel and aggressive Zionism as anti-Semites suggested I should read a book called The Left’s Jewish Problem, earlier this week.
Well, it seems I won’t have to. My brother blogger, Beastrabban, has spotted it already and, while he couldn’t actually be bothered to wade through it, he has at least posted a response to its main arguments.
He didn’t read it, and he says you don’t have to either. Just cast your eyes over the following:
Unfortunately, despite the fact that Shami Chakrabarti cleared the Labour party of institutional racism, and that most of the people smeared as anti-Semites have similarly been cleared and reinstated, the allegations keep being repeated.
Browsing through the Cheltenham branch of Waterstone’s on Friday, I came across a book repeating the allegations. Written by David Rich and published by Biteback, the book’s title told you precisely how it was biased: The Left’s Jewish Problem, with the word ‘Jewish’ on the cover surrounded by a stylised Star of David.
The blurb for it on its back cover stated that the Labour party having to conduct three investigations into anti-Semitism after the election of Jeremy Corbyn was no accident.
It then went on to allege that the ‘left’ and in particular the Labour party was deeply contaminated with anti-Semitism. This was, it declared, due to the anti-apartheid campaigns launched against Israel, which saw members of the Left ally themselves with radical Islam.
The smears have been made not because the Labour party does have an anti-Semitism problem, but because of the desperation of the Blairites in the party and the Israel lobby to hang on to power by any means they can.
Which basically means smearing decent people, Jews as well as gentiles, as anti-Semites when they are nothing of the kind.
Rich is right about some of the opposition to Israel having emerged from the anti-apartheid movement. In the 1960s and 1970s Israel did indeed form a close alliance with White South Africa, as they were both pariah states, where Western settlers ruled as a privilege minority over non-Western indigenous population.
The alliance also shocked many Israelis, who did not want to see their country allied to and compared with a nakedly racist state.
Israel too has also developed its own form of apartheid in its treatment of the Palestinians, who are subject to repeated restrictions on the personal and collective freedoms in the name of security, and where the constant goal of the state itself has been their cleansing from Israel and the Occupied Territories.
As for the narrative that the European Left are allied with radical Muslims, this was all formed at least about twelve years ago.
The lie couldn’t really be run against Labour when Tony Blair was in charge, because of his strong links to the Israel lobby. It also couldn’t really be used against Ed Miliband, as he’s Jewish. I dare say, however, that some were probably willing to try. We’ve seen how they’ve smeared other Jews since. But they had their chance with the election of Jeremy Corbyn, who threatened the Blairites’ continued hold on power and that of the Israel lobby, with whom the Blairites were deeply intertwined.
And so these vile stories were taken off the shelf, dusted off, and decent men and women with proud personal histories of fighting racism and anti-Semitism were libelled, all because they took their commitment to combating racism and imperialism sufficiently seriously that they dared to criticise and question Israel.
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