It’s amazing, isn’t it? Just because Jeremy Corbyn wrote a new foreword for an old book that contains one sentence that might be interpreted as anti-Semitic, not only is that enough to condemn Mr Corbyn as anti-Semitic, but also the century-old text and its well-respected author.
Did I write “amazing”? I mean “utter lunacy“.
And hypocrisy, it seems.
Mr Corbyn wrote a foreword to a new edition of John Atkinson Hobson’s 1902 book Imperialism: A Study in 2011.
Academics and people who are sane consider the book to be a classic text which is still useful today, written by a man of his time. Hobson’s attitudes are acknowledged but are not considered to outweigh the usefulness of what he wrote.
I can certainly understand this. Back when I was at college, studying European literature, we looked at a text by August Strindberg – who was an appalling misogynist. This was acknowledged and formed part of our study of the text.
Were my course leaders misogynists for including this book on my course? Were those of us who were on the course – men and women alike – misogynists for studying it? No – that would be ridiculous.
We acknowledged it for what it is.
As, it seems, Mr Corbyn did in his words about Imperialism: A Study.
As, it seems, did Times journalist and former Tony Blair speech-writer Philip Collins, who was quick to share a link to a Times article condemning Mr Corbyn for writing a foreword to a renowned book, regardless.
Isn’t that a bit hypocritical?
Shadow Business Secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey, forced to comment on this storm-on-a-library-card to Sky News, rightly said Mr Corbyn was writing about the book as a whole, and was not supporting anti-Semitic statements.
This makes perfect sense, and for any blame to be attached to him, he would have had to single out an anti-Semitic comment for praise.
I haven’t read the foreword in question, but I would bet money that he didn’t.
Meanwhile the loonies are having their fun:
Will @jeremycorbyn now defend his own decision to unreservedly promote, commend, and write a forward for the re-release of a century's old anti-semitic book, or will he yet again leave it to proxies? It is a very sad time indeed for all of the genuinely good @UKLabour folk.
— Jeff Phillips (@DrJBPhillips) May 1, 2019
He could leave it to Gordon Brown, who has also praised Hobson. I wonder how Jeff Phillips would feel about that?
Oh, but wait.
Isn’t there a big election today (May 2)?
Aren’t millions of people set to visit polling stations to vote in local government elections?
I think they are.
And isn’t it a little too convenient that another anti-Semitism smear against Jeremy Corbyn – even one as pathetic as this – should drop on the eve of such an event?
Some people certainly think so:
#Coincidence: On the eve of UK's election (May2) @BoardofDeputies of British Jews predictably produce fresh accusations of antisemitism against @jeremycorbyn (he wrote forward for 2011 book Imperialism by JAHobsen) They express “grave concern” and demand explanation. Triple Yawn https://t.co/vvMns8zWzz
— annie fofani🇵🇸 (@anniefofani) May 1, 2019
Oh, hey, if we’re finding reasons to censor books – A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle features derogatory references to Mormons. Should that book be deleted from cultural memory too? It’s the one that introduced the world to Sherlock Holmes, but that’s of no consequence, right?
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