With cruel irony, the 70th anniversary of the State of Israel, celebrated April 19, is sharing media space with the news that Jewish MPs within Jeremy Corbyn’s UK Labour Party have testified to the demonstrable anti-Semitism that runs rife in that party under his leadership.
In parliament on Tuesday, three hours of debate were given over to the problem of anti-Semitism. Corbyn was forced to absorb the main thrust of his peers’ opprobrium, much of it from within his party. Jewish Labour MP Luciana Berger, for example, witnessed to the virulently anti-Semitic hate speech she had been subjected to on account of her activism against anti-Semitism.
Berger, also chairwoman of the Jewish Labour movement, stated: “I was 19 when I received my first piece of hate mail – it described me as a dirty Zionist pig – and so started my 18-year experience of contending with antisemitism.” Other Jewish MPs validated her claims with examples of their own experiences of hateful marginalization from within their party.
To many longtime observers, Corbyn’s formal comeuppance on this file is long overdue. His dalliance with extremely dark corners of the anti-Semitic world is common knowledge. He and other Labour members were, for example, members of private Facebook groups that circulated crude Jewish-conspiracy theories. P
osts included images of Jews harvesting body parts – the vilest of blood libels – and the hoary image of rapacious Rothschilds exerting control over the U.S. and Israel, with the updated addition of Al-Qaeda and Boko Haram shown as pawns of Jewish interests, a belief by otherwise intelligent people that would be comical if it were not so harmfully unhinged.
Even after being “outed,” Corbyn did not remove himself from the group. He claims not to have been aware of the worst posts. But ignorance – if truly the case, which is doubtful – is no excuse. When one lies down with dogs known to be flea-ridden, one must not complain when the fleas are publicly picked off one’s own lapels.
A former gunner with the Royal Artillery in the 1970s, today a freelance legal advisor, Robert Pegg, recalls warning his local Labour Party group soon after Corbyn’s election as leader that Corbyn’s “past associations with terrorists, anti-Semites, misogynists and homophobes would one day come back to bite him.”
According to Pegg, based on his experiences and observations of the intersectionality between the Irish Republican Army, the infamous Baader-Meinhof gang and the PLO, who “all trained together in the Middle East,” the common threads that bound the groups together were their left-wing ideology and anti-Semitism. All the groups feasted on Jewish conspiracy theories, whether borne of left-wing anti-capitalism and their association of “moneyed” Jews with the oppression of the poor, or of endemic Arab hatred of Jews in general.
Given his overt associations with anti-Semites and supporters of Arab terrorism, It is difficult to understand Corbyn’s rise to leadership without at least considering the unpleasant possibility that a great many British subjects either share his views or are indifferent to them.
Ignorance of the past clearly also plays a role, since a disproportionate slice of Corbyn’s support comes from affluent, university-educated millennials, for whom the Holocaust is ancient history Though present nation-wide, especially amongst the chattering classes, hostility to Israel is, of course, particularly vicious on campus.
For decades, students have been steeped in progressive sympathy for the “oppressed” and hostility to the “oppressors,” the former always including the Palestinians and the latter always including Israel/the Jews.
Under the tutelage of near-monolithically left-wing academics, millennials have likewise failed to learn (since they have not been taught) the obvious lessons from the massive iniquities visited on innumerable victims by Communist regimes. Thus, the fact that Corbyn has supported so many bankrupt political endeavors beloved by the Left throughout his career – the IRA, Hamas, Chavez, Maduro of Venezuela – does not impinge on their judgment of him. They see in him an idealist, rather than the fellow traveler with political pathology that he is.
Robert Pegg remembers that when he warned his Manchester Labour colleagues of Corbyn’s alarming character deficits, the general attitude was “‘let’s wait and see’.” Waited, seen. The Labour Party must exorcize this already-metastasizing cancer from their body before it is too late to heal.