There may be a a small number of racist morons in the LP but that is absolutely NOT what the anti-Semitism crisis was/is about.


There may be a a small number of racist morons in the LP but that is absolutely NOT what the anti-Semitism crisis was/is about.

It is all about the fact many on the left believe that the Palestinians have been treated unjustly by the state of Israel, not by ‘Jews’ as a race or creed but by the sovereign state of Israel and some Jews and certainly the state of Israel regards support for the Palestinians across the world as a clear and present threat to its survival as ‘Jewish only state’ and its ability to expand its borders into a very broad area of the Levant and to erase the very idea of a ‘Palestinian people’ from history.

Serious concern has been expressed by Jewish communities on both sides of that debate. “Jews’ are not united on this issue and the idea that they could or should be is in fact an anti-Semetic trope! All Jewish communities are obviously opposed to anti-Semitism as am I and every Socialist I have ever met or read, but not all seek to characterise criticism of Israel as de facto anti-Semitism. Corbyn couldn’t “deal, efficiently and effectively, with a small number of racist morons in his own party” because that wasn’t and still isn’t the issue.

There is literally no evidence that the LP is facing a crisis of anti-Semitism apart from the accusation that it is facing such a crisis by some right wing Jewish community leaders. There is absolutely NO evidence of people in LP meetings made or are using overtly anti-Semetic hate speech, nor indeed of such hate speech taking place in private or in smaller meetings. Over the whole three years of this contrived crisis there have been only half a dozen incidents of LP members being discovered expressing unequivocally anti-Semetic sentiments and they were dealt with promptly and without equivocation by expulsion. Almost everyone else who has been expelled or suspended for anti-Semitism has been because they posted on social media or have spoken publicly in favour of the cause of the Palestinians and in doing so have criticised the actions of the state of Israel.

It is true that some of these, but only some, question the legitimacy of the state of Israel as a religious state in which only Jews have full citizenship but even that is not anti-Semetic in and of itself. Western, secular democracy is based upon the idea that all citizens should have equal rights regardless of their race, creed or religion. Indeed, Western, secular Liberal democracy arose from centuries of religious wars and was an attempt to stabilise society by making religious tolerance the constitutional bedrock of society. The concept of “equal rights’ was in fact first expressed with reference to the right to worship as you wished without interference from the state. Thus for Western liberal democrats ANY state in which full citizenship is based fundamentally on religious identity is illegitimate. The brutal 2000 year history of the Jews in Christian Western Europe and culminating in the horrors of Nazi Germany do make Jewish identity and the state of Israel understandably emotive and it is not hard to understand why some Jewish people perceive criticism of Israel as being potentially dangerous but the plight of the Palestinians is also real and needs to be addressed by all of us. To vilify as racist people who are merely trying to support an oppressed minority fighting for their very survival is to descend into a Kafkaesque rabbit hole where a moral compass has no chance of operating.

About I Am Not A Number

I Am Not A Number is written by Chris Jury. For 30 years Chris Jury was a TV actor, director and writer best known for playing Eric Catchpole in over 60 episodes of the BBC’s antique classic, Lovejoy, and for directing over 50 episodes of Eastenders. In 2008 he was appointed as the Senior Lecturer in Recorded Media in the School Of Music & Performing Arts at Bath Spa University. He currently presents, Agitpop, a pop & politics radio discussion programme on North Cotswold Community Radio http://www.agitpopradio.org.uk He is currently the Communications Officer for UCU at Bath Spa University and a UCU SW Regional Rep at SWTUC.
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