I thought it would come to this.
Right-wingers in politics and the UK’s mass media are trying to split British Judaism by dictating to the nation what they say we should all consider the right and wrong kinds of Jew.
Many of the people making these claims are gentiles – non-Jews – who may reasonably be asked why they think they have any right at all to stir up such a discussion. It isn’t the same as the debate on anti-Semitism, in which we must all have well-defined standards and stick to them.
We know why it is happening: To undermine Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
The bad news, for those who are vainly (in both senses of the word) trying to topple him, is that Mr Corbyn is more secure in his post than ever – with supporters performing the “Oh, Jeremy Corbyn” chant at Liverpool and Everton football matches, and at the recent boxing match between Anthony Joshua and Joseph Parker.
The latest stage of the row started when Mr Corbyn attended a Seder – a ceremonial dinner at the start of Passover – organised by the left-wing organisation Jewdas.
The group’s website (which was not responding when This Writer tried to access it this morning – April 3. How curious…) states that “nearly all of us in Jewdas are synagogue-going Jews, most with either paid or voluntary positions within our communities. With members across the country, for the last thirteen years we have been the only place many people could come to be both left-wing and religiously Jewish”.
It seems an obvious choice for Mr Corbyn to reaffirm his support for – and solidarity with – the Jewish community by spending time with Jewdas, then.
This is amplified by the group’s attitude to the recent attacks in Mr Corbyn. From the same website: “What has happened over the last week is anything but an attempt to address antisemitism. It is the work of cynical manipulations by people whose express loyalty is to the Conservative Party and the right wing of the Labour Party. It is a malicious ploy to remove the leader of the Opposition and put a stop to the possibility of a socialist government. The Board of Deputies, the (disgraced for corruption) Jewish Leadership Council and the (unelected, undemocratic) Jewish Labour Movement are playing a dangerous game with people’s lives.
“This is about people of a certain age, class and political persuasion who have no idea how to function in a system where every political party isn’t pandering to their views exactly. It is about the threat that the possibility of nationalisation, rent caps and redistribution of wealth poses to the people whose ‘philanthropy’ funds our community. We have allowed our community to be dominated by middle- and upper- class people who are actively opposed to our material interests for way too long.
“The next steps from here are usually predictable. A non-Jew like Wes Streeting, Luke Akehurst or Stephen Pollard will appear on TV and claim to be the sole representative of the Jewish community, who they will say will settle for nothing less than the sacking of the entire shadow cabinet to be replaced by their friends… Then our communal leaders will rally together and tell all the Jews who disagree to shut up. And denounce all the Jews who continue to disagree as traitors. And proclaim all the Jews who still disagree are not really Jews. That only the Jews who agree with them are Jews. And, because only the Jews who agree with them are really Jews, the whole community is unanimously united behind the vomit-inducing ‘progressive Zionist consensus.’”
Isn’t that exactly what has happened?
But it seems the non-Jew claiming to be the sole representative of the Jewish community was John Woodcock, who said the following about Mr Corbyn’s appointment with Jewdas:
This is deliberately baiting the mainstream Jewish community days after they pleaded with him to tackle antisemitism. And he must know that meeting them now will give his members the message that the group’s extreme views are ok. Irresponsible and dangerous https://t.co/NORQQiFq8J
— Lord Walney (@LordWalney) April 2, 2018
Jewish Voice for Labour (another organisation not approved by the likes of the BoD, JLM and so on) has said that this statement from a non-Jew borders on anti-Semitism in itself. And it has certainly stirred up a strong adverse reaction from the Jewish community.
Here’s children’s poet Michael Rosen, who happens to be Jewish:
John Woodcock, John Woodcock,
John Woodcock MP
O Tell me what kind
of Jew I should be.
— Michael Rosen (@MichaelRosenYes) April 2, 2018
Here’s Twitter stalwart Tom London:
I am a Jew
I support Corbyn (unlike @BoardofDeputies)
I condemn Israeli actions against unarmed Palestinians (unlike BoD)
I strongly oppose Trump (unlike BoD)
If I was denounced as the “wrong kind of Jew” by Guido Fawkes and John Woodcock, it seems @bbcnews would run the story
— Tom London (@TomLondon6) April 3, 2018
And here’s Corbyn supporter Tom Pride, who was subjected to appalling anti-Semitic abuse by the anti-Corbyn brigade for revealing that his own family were murdered in a Nazi concentration camp:
— Tom Pride (@ThomasPride) April 3, 2018
How about Jewish Voice?
Jewdas are a group of religious Jews who are dedicated to fighting Anti-Semitism and standing up for socialism hence the mainstream media attacking Corbyn for meeting them is a sign they have gone to the Alex Jones Fake News zone. #VoteLabour #RegisterToVote
— Workers of Zion (@WorkersofZion) April 3, 2018
Here’s Jon Lansman, Jewish founder of Corbyn-supporting organisation Momentum:
Galling to see non-Jewish Labour MPs weigh in and decide who is a good Jew and who isn't. This is not the way to solve antisemitism. This is not how we make the Jewish community feel welcome in our party. https://t.co/34Zq0NDE9A
— Jon Lansman (@jonlansman) April 3, 2018
Jon Lansman suggests some Labour MPs are using the anti-Semitism row to "opportunistically" attack Jeremy Corbyn. #r4today
— Kevin Schofield (@KevinASchofield) April 3, 2018
Well they are. It's pretty obvious when non-Jewish MPs accuse left-wing Jews of being anti-Semitic for simply criticising the actions of Israel.
Frankly it's outrageous. https://t.co/vDmT5yc3cw
— Evolve Politics (@evolvepolitics) April 3, 2018
Yes it is.
Finally, here’s Jewdas itself, commenting directly to Mr Woodcock:
Have you considered the possibility that you might just hate Jews?
— jewdⒶs // ייִדהודה (@jewdas) April 2, 2018
Young Labour Women’s Officer Charlotte Nichols attended the Jewdas Seder. She wrote, on LabourList:
“It is not for non-Jewish people, in criticising Corbyn’s attendance, to determine what is and isn’t a legitimate expression of the Jewish faith. Many of the criticisms I’ve seen are themselves anti-Semitic. For those in the community who want to paint Jeremy’s attendance as an act of provocation, rather than an attempt to listen, engage, and share our festival with us, it’s actually just alienating many young Jewish people further and validating Jewdas’ very existence.
“The Jewish community is not one monolithic bloc; part of its beauty is in its plurality and diversity. It’s absolutely right that, particularly when some community gatekeepers are refusing to meet with Corbyn, he nonetheless shows willingness to engage with the community at all levels, to listen and to learn, and be a gracious guest. If you want to see this for yourself, do as Jewdas did and simply invite him.”
The public has rallied against the transparent attempt to manipulate national feeling by Mr Woodcock, who has been supported by the right-wing blog Guido Fawkes and BBC News:
Could you please explain why you create free publicity for the extreme-right Guido Fawkes hate chamber by sharing links to their site when this is the kind of commentary they host about your fellow Labour MPs?
Looking forward to hearing from you … pic.twitter.com/U2pnqYKWhE
— Another Angry Voice (@Angry_Voice) April 3, 2018
Considering the fury on my Twitter feed, I could carry on quoting the outrage against Mr Woodcock and his fellow travellers forever.
Oh, and in case anybody has forgotten, the real enemies are Theresa May and her vile Tory government. Here’s what the news media haven’t been using as their headline for the past few days:
So Jeremy Corbyn goes to a Jewish event in his constituency and is labelled anti-semitic.
Meanwhile, starving children are literally stealing food from schools to survive and Theresa May gets a free pass.
What a mad world.
— Hasan Patel 🌹 (@CorbynistaTeen) April 3, 2018
As a person who has been wrongly accused of anti-Semitism by exactly the kind of people who have now outed themselves as anti-Semitic in their attack on Jewdas, I intend to complain to the Labour Party’s complaints team, [email protected], in the strongest possible terms.
The party has a new general secretary in Jennie Formby, who said in an email today that party unity “requires recognising and tackling problems in our own party, above all in relation to antisemitism… The stain of antisemitic attitudes must be completely eradicated within the Labour Party”.
Is it too much to hope that she will start with Mr Woodcock and his cronies?
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