You have to laugh. In the week after the Jerusalem Declaration that provides a new definition of anti-Semitism to stop it being confused with criticism of the hard right-wing Israeli government, the Likud-supporting Jewish Chronicle accuses Labour Party members of delusion.
It is reporting that a YouGov survey has found 70 per cent of current Labour members – that’s the people who are left after Keir Starmer and David Evans’s purges – don’t believe the party has a major problem with anti-Semitism.
There’s a good reason for that: the Labour Party does not – and never did have – a major problem with anti-Semitism. That attitude has been found within the party – but on a smaller scale than among the UK’s population generally and a much smaller scale than in right-wing parties like the Conservatives.
Hacks like the JC‘s Lee Harpin keep carping on about it because they have an anti-left wing political agenda of their own, it seems.
Consider the language Harpin uses in his story:
An exclusive poll for the JC reveals a party that remains in denial about the scale of the crisis, with large numbers still in thrall to Jeremy Corbyn.
There’s no evidence in the poll itself of any kind of denial at all, and agreement with Jeremy Corbyn’s opinion is not blind servitude to him.
The story goes on to say that, “in echoes of Mr Corbyn’s claim that the issue had been ‘dramatically overstated’, almost half (46 per cent) thought the scale of the allegations were ‘exaggerated’, while 24 per cent said the party did not have a serious problem.
Harpin editorialises (which is highly unprofessional among reporters who claim to be writing the news rather than opinion pieces):
Significant support for the toxic former leader remains, with a striking 72 per cent of members insisting that he should not be expelled from the party.
No evidence is put forward to explain why Corbyn should be considered toxic – unless it is his accurate point that anti-Semitism claims had been “dramatically overstated” and “exaggerated”.
Almost a third of those polled, 29 per cent, thought that Sir Keir was doing a worse job than Mr Corbyn, who quit in 2020 after leading Labour to its worst general election defeat since 1935.
There’s a debatable claim! Corbyn lost a lot of seats but still won more votes than Tony Blair in 2005, Gordon Brown in 2010 and Ed Miliband in 2015. And that’s (allegedly) fighting the huge drag factor of Labour Party officers working to ensure that the Conservatives won.
The poll also disclosed that hostility towards Israel remains rampant amongst Labour’s rank-and-file, with almost half of respondents (49%) agreeing with the suggestion that Israel is an “apartheid state” .
It is. Palestinians are treated as an underclass by law – a law passed by the Likud government under Benjamin Netanyahu. Of course, this doesn’t mean Labour members think Israel will always be an apartheid state. South Africa used to be and isn’t any more so there’s always hope. It isn’t an anti-Semitic attitude to oppose the bigotry of that nation’s current government.
The revelations highlight the scale of the challenge that still faces Sir Keir, who pledged on his first day as leader to tear antisemitism out by the roots and restore trust with the Jewish community.
More accurately, they show that, rather than restore trust with the Jewish community (that was lost when Labour started paying attentions to the rantings of its pro-Likud Israel critics), Starmer has lost the trust of Labour Party members.
He will never regain it.
Starmer nailed his colours to the mast when he made his grovelling apology for anti-Semitism in Labour on his first day in office. He has spent his time since then pursuing, suspending and expelling party members under the pretext of anti-Semitism, when their real crime – as far as he is concerned – is Socialism.
But Labour is a Socialist party. It’s right there on the membership card. If Starmer disagrees with that, he should not be a member, let alone a leader. Nor should any of his cronies who take his side.
He will lose many seats in the local government elections next month because he simply can’t understand that anybody who supports the policies he likes will vote for the party that originally put them forward – the Tories.
His reliance on watered-down Conservatism, and his insistence on pursing a crusade against an enemy that doesn’t exist in any meaningful form will kill Labour as a political movement.
People have started to believe that this has always been his intention.
So, ultimately, Harpin’s hack-piece has the issue arse-backwards (as usual).
Starmer’s challenge isn’t ridding the Labour Party of anti-Semitism; Labour’s challenge is ridding itself of Starmer.