Why does Jeremy Corbyn’s anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism make him so popular in England ?

The popularity of Corbyn despite many antisemitic scandals requires to examinate the roots of theses success in English politics and history


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The accusations of anti-Semitism rained down on Jeremy Corbyn. And he does not do anything to make it better. Its popularity in the polls makes it necessary to question the anchoring of its ideology in English politics and history.

Jeremy Corbyn combines accusations of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. His friendship with the terrorist organization Hamas is notorious whereas this islamist organisation has committed several suicide bombings against israeli civilians, calls in its Constitution to armed jihad against the Jews and validates the theses of the Protocols of the Sages of Zion. His proximity with Hezbollah’s ideology is also well known. There are many photographs showing Jeremy Corbyn with protesters carrying the flag of the Shia terrorist organization.

More recently, a cover of the Daily Mail of August 11 showed Jeremy Corbyn, then simple deputy, holding in his hands a wreath of flowers at a ceremony in Tunis in 2014. Then, the interpretation of the facts diverges. The Daily Mail claims that it was a commemoration of the members of the Palestinian terrorist organization "Black September" who committed the bombings at the 1972 Munich Olympics. Jeremy Corbyn, meanwhile, supports it was a commemoration of the bombing of Israel's PLO headquarters in Tunisia in 1985 (sic!).

Other images of this commemoration in Tunisia have emerged on social networks showing him praying in the manner of Muslims with palms of the hands to the sky and doing the Rabia, the rallying sign of the Muslim Brotherhood. These images reinforced criticisms of anti-Semitism and hatred of Israël against the leader of the British Labor Party. Even Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu posted on Twitter and Facebook to say that Corbyn's participation in this tribute to the "Black September" terrorists and his comparison of Israel to the Nazis deserved unequivocal condemnation from all political parties. Jeremy Corbyn replied on social media to the Israeli prime minister that these allegations were false and that was the killing of "over 160 Palestinian protesters in Gaza by Israeli forces since March, including dozens of children" that deserves unequivocal condemnation.

In any case, both the accusations against Jeremy Corbyn and his defense arguments invite us to highlight a troubled facet on the relationship between the United Kingdom, the Jews and Israel. Jeremy Corbyn is not just anyone, not at the head of any party, or fallen from the sky. He is at the head of the leading party of the British Government Left. He can be Prime Minister in the next election. Similarly, the popularity of Jeremy Corbyn and Labor in the polls are questionable.

The Dreyfus affair already demonstrated under the French Republic that democracy is not a regime that is impervious to anti-Semitism. The same is true of with English democracy.

According to an Opinium's poll for the Observer quoted by The Guardian, Labor has a 40% sympathy rating, four points higher than Theresa May's conservatives who are now at 36%. The paradox of this case is that according to another poll, 51% of British admit that the Labor Party has a problem with anti-Semitism. This is a short but insufficient majority to check the sympathy and communication strategy of the Labor Party leader. In other words, it is necessary to consider that Jeremy Corbyn is representative of a strong current of thought and a certain policy hostile to Jews and Israel in England. We will therefore attempt through this article to examine theses ideological, historical and political roots in recent history.

The myth about Britain's blamelessness against Jews and Israel

A widespread myth exists that the United Kingdom is an irreproachable democracy that has never conducted an anti-Semitic or anti-Zionist policy in the very turbulent period of the first half of the twentieth century.

This myth is based on two main ideas :

  • on the one hand, that there was the Balfour declaration of 1917 and that the British mandate on Palestine led to the creation of the State of Israel on May 14, 1948;

  • on the other hand, that the United Kingdom remained a democracy throughout the Second World War thanks in particular to the tenacity of Winston Churchill who was Prime Minister between May 1940 and July 1945, five of the six years of war.

But this myth is wrong. The historical reality is quite different.

The gradual abandonment of the Balfour declaration by the English in the inter-war period

After the First World War, the Balfour declaration of 1917 was consecrated in international law by the mandate given on 24 July 1922 by the League of Nations to Great Britain to create a "Jewish National Home in Palestine". The article 6 of the mandate treaty provides that "the administration of Palestine will facilitate Jewish immigration in suitable conditions" and that it "will encourage the intensive settlement of Jews on the lands of the country". But Britain has violated this article.

The rise of totalitarianism in Europe since the end of the First World War, the economic crisis of 1929 and the accession of Adolf Hitler to the office of Chancellor of Germany in 1933 led to an increase in anti-Semitic acts in Europe. first in Poland and the Baltic States, then in Germany.

From 1933 to 1936, Jewish European immigrant flows to Palestine increased considerably. In the year 1933 alone, 37,000 European Jews emigrated to Palestine, almost as many as the previous 10 years. In 1935, with the antisemitic laws of Nuremberg, this figure rose to 66,000 immigrants. At that time, Nazi Germany encouraged the departure of German Jews to Palestine.

But gradually, because of the opposition of the Arab nationalists to the creation of a Jewish home and the anti-Semitic violence provoked by the Mufti of Jerusalem Hadj Amine Al-Husseini which led in particular to the massacre of Hebron in 1929 and the guerrillas Palestine in 1936, the United Kingdom adopted the policy of appeasement with the Arabs. In violation of Article 6 of the aforementioned Mandate for Palestine of the League of Nations, the English have increased the obstacles to Jewish immigration to Palestine by the illegal introduction of entry quotas, thus burying the Balfour declaration de facto.

Neville Chamberlain, who ruled Great Britain and signed the Munich Accords of 1938, favored the same policy of appeasement with Nazi Germany and fascist Italy. The Rome-Berlin Axis was anxious to see the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine that would be both anti-Nazi and anti-fascist and serve as a support base for the British and Allies in the Mediterranean, in addition to Egypt, which was already an English possession.

Chamberlain, Daladier, Hitler, Mussolini during the Munich Agreement of September 30, 1938 (Wikimedia Commons)

In 1938, the United Kingdom finally closed the door to Jewish emigration to Palestine, sealing the fate of the Jews of Germany. In 1939, Great Britain granted only in all and for all that 19,000 visas of entry to Palestine hardly for the Jewish refugees coming from Europe (!).

The turn to an English Pro-Arab Realpolitik in the mid-1930s

It is from the middle of the 30s that one can find the rooting of a certain English connivance with totalitarian ideas and a pro-Arab tropism that could serve as a lever in English opinion.

The English have indeed adopted at that time a Realpolitik at once simple and ruthless that could be summed up by the following maxim: "to keep the Arabs sweet and the oil flowing".

Knowing that the threat of war with Hitler's Germany was becoming more and more inevitable, the British equation was: the Arabs have oil, not the Jews, the Arabs outnumber the Jews and can thus provide more troops in the event of war, so it is better for the United Kingdom to play the card of appeasement with the Arabs, whatever the international treaties say, than to persist in a Zionist foreign policy that satisfies the Jews.

As the English historian Sir Lewis Bernstein Namier, a friend and associate of Chaim Weizmann, summarized in his book In the Margin of History (1939): "All sacrifices were required of us and all the benefits were offered to Arabs ".

History has since shown that the British calculation was bad because the English were not massively supported by the Arabs during the war, contrary to what they had anticipated. King Farouk of Egypt preferred to remain neutral while his country was a British possession, Hassan El-Bana and the Muslim Brotherhood fed the hostility of the Egyptian crowds towards the British and the Mufti of Jerusalem called the Muslims to engage the side of Germany.

Conversely, 1600 Jewish volunteers against 1200 Palestinian Arab volunteers embarked on the Palestine Regiment of the British Army formed in 1940. The Palestine Regiment consisted of three Jewish battalions. Their cadres then formed in 1944 the Jewish Brigade composed of 5000 Palestinian Jewish volunteers.

One might have thought of British reconnaissance during the war, but it was not. Wiston Churchill was cruelly passive about the Holocaust when the English were informed of the existence of the Auschwitz extermination camp in 1943 by the escape of Polish resistance leader Witold Pilecki. Even worse, the English did not accept ANY Jewish refugee from Europe in Palestine during the war, in complete violation of humanitarian law, while knowing the death sentence awaiting them in the Europe then occupied by Germany.

The attack of King David of Jerusalem July 22, 1946 (Wikimedia Commons)

As a result, the Irgun, the ancestor of the Likud, called on 1 January 1944 in the person of his leader Menachem Begin to fight the British proxy power and create a general climate of insecurity against the English occupier. This was one of the reasons for the July 22, 1946 bombing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, headquarters of the British government in Palestine that killed 91 people and wounded, most of them civilians. The violence of this attack sealed the hostility to Zionism of much of the English public, while pushing the British government to disengage as soon as possible from the quagmire of Palestine.

English hostility to Zionism continued with Labor after the Second World War

After the Second World War, the United Kingdom's successor to Winston Churchill was Clement Attlee, Labor Chief. But as the world discovered the horror of the Nazi extermination camps, the Attlee government continued to illegally deny the arrival of Jewish refugees in Palestine.

Clement Attlee, Chief of Labor and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1945 to 1951 (Wikimedia Commons)

The English suppressed the Exodus in 1947 when it consisted mainly of Jewish refugees survivors of death camps and stateless. The Attlee government abstained from the UN in the Palestine partition vote on November 29, 1947. It is in relation to this period that Labor's hostility to Zionism and the Jews is rooted, well. before the infiltration of Labor by the Trotskyists and far-left sympathizers like Jeremy Corbyn from the 1980s (!).

Historically, the accusation of anti-Semitism against Labour was already being used against Clement Attlee's government (1945-1951) by prominent people, most notably against Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin, because of their reluctance to support the creation of Israel. Winston Churchill himself said about Ernest Bevin "I do not think it's a secret that he does not like Jews". Chaim Weismann and David Ben Gurion also wrote that Ernest Bevin was "blinded by his hatred of Jews".

Ernest Bevin, secretary for foreign affairs during the independence of Israel, a member of Labor, repeatedly accused of anti-Semitism. He was opposed to the creation of a Jewish state and he is at the origin of the case of the Exodus (Wikimedia Commons)

Ernest Bevin, as Secretary of Foreign Affairs, attempted – with the support of Clement Attlee – to prevent the creation of the Jewish national home. Bevin was directly behind the establishment of the 1946 Anglo-American Inquiry Commission which issued the recommendation that "Palestine is neither a Jewish state nor an Arab State" (third recommendation). He is also behind the blocking of the Exodus.

The Exocus ship stopped by the British in Haifa in July 1947 (Wikimedia Commons)

As a member of Labor, Ernest Bevin was also a fierce anti-communist who saw in the birth of the State of Israel a future socialist state close to Stalin's USSR. He was not totally wrong because at that time, by pure political expediency, Joseph Stalin was in favor of Israel's independence in the UN partition plan on November 29, 1947, and had supplied the Zionists with weapons. In april 1948, via Czechoslovakia, USSR armed Israel in order to chase the English from the Middle East. It is thanks to these weapons that the Hagana managed to win the war of independence against five Arab armies led at the time by the kingdom of Transjordan which was also formed and advised by British officers.

We understand better where the anti-Israeli passion of Labor and Jeremy Corbyn take their ideological roots. Certainly, Jeremy Corbyn is not Clement Attlee or Ernest Bevin. But at least he shares with them both a political filiation and a cynical political calculus.

Remember that bipartisanship is very strong in the United Kingdom, that religious and ethnic statistics are allowed and that religious communities are recognized. Electoral patronage is therefore fully recognized and assumed.

By transposing the historical logics of Realpolitik from English diplomacy to the self-interest of liberal logic, electoral calculations are quickly made. With 290,000 English Jewish voters compared to 3.1 million Muslim voters, some of whom have connections with billionaires, in the petro-monarchies of the Gulf, Jeremy Corbyn made his calculation.

Add to that the adherence of Jeremy Corbyn to the jihadist Islamist ideology to the point that it began to pray like Muslims with the palms of the hand raised to the sky (has he converted to Islam? ) to pay tribute to the so-called PLO members bombed by Israel in Tunisia, the sign of Rabia, his trip in 2016 to support Turkey's entry of Erdogan into the European Union although this is the hub of Daesh … and you get a leader of the Labor certainly conniving with Islamism (euphemism), if not anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism (pleonasm).


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Yoan Afriat

Yoan Afriat est un juriste français et enseignant en droit. Fondateur de Radio Expres'Sion, un média francophone alternatif indépendant sioniste et conservateur modéré, ses publications portent sur différents sujets tels que la politique, les relations internationales, l'histoire et les religions.

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