The “anti-Semitism-in-the-Labour-Party” non-story of the last five years should never have received even five per cent of the media coverage it got. One of the reasons why it should not have, one that is seldom commented upon, is that its sole justification has been “offence.”
Offending people for the sake of it is seldom a good thing, but the problem with preventing any behaviour purely on the basis of offence-caused is that there is no hard-and-fast rule about what is offensive and what is not. Anyone can claim any remark they hear is offensive. I find typical Tory rhetoric about ‘scroungers,’ asylum seekers, or single mothers offensive, but that reason is not enough to have the rhetoric banned, only to criticise it.
The term, “That’s offensive,” should not be imbued with the power that has increasingly been granted to it. In too many areas, it exists as an automatic ‘shut-down’ for any conversation heading in a direction certain participants would rather it did not. Especially Zionists who would rather people not find out the true story of Israel’s crimes against Palestinians.
The hysteria about anti-Semitism against Jeremy Corbyn and the left would at least have been more forgivable had it been based on the likely threat posed, rather than on mere offensiveness. The reason that the threat was never discussed in any mature depth by the mainstream media was because it was plainly laughable to say there was any threat to Jews from Corbyn’s Labour. That would have required an open and frequent assessment of the real numbers involved – 56 out of over 500,000 – but also the seniority of those involved.
No one in the Labour Party accused of anti-Semitic offensiveness during the hysteria was high-ranked at all except Jeremy Corbyn, and every accusation against Corbyn was easily debunked. After him, the highest-profile Labour members accused were probably Ken Livingstone and Naz Shah, both of whom were still a long way down the party’s pecking order. Irrespective of whether you believe their behaviour was anti-Semitic (it was not, no matter how bluntly worded it was), they were on the periphery of the party’s levers of power. Other accused members such as Marc Wadsworth and Jackie Walker might be classed as senior in terms of their long years of service, but again, they were not in any real position of authority.
Offensive or not, Labour posed no threat
With none of the accused really in a position to operate any of the powerful instruments of the party machine, should Labour have won either General Election in 2017 or 2019, whether they were guilty or not, there was no threat a Labour-left Government posed to British Jews.
But the irresponsible scaremongering of papers like the Jewish Chronicle, Zionist fronts like Labour Friends of Israel and the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, and the prejudicial biases of the right wing national press, frightened many British Jews into seeing Corbyn and his supporters as mortal enemies.
How great a role that played in the overall outcome of General Election 2019 is debatable – Brexit appears to have had a far greater effect – but many Jews in the UK genuinely saw Anyone-But-Corbyn as a target in itself. Many of them genuinely celebrated when Boris Johnson won, even though there was nothing whatever to indicate that Labour had any plans to advance any legislation that might restrict Jewish liberties or rights.
Tory Bills could do exactly what British Jews feared Labour might do
Compare that with the legislation now being advanced by the party elected instead. Look at the Nationality & Borders Bill, which effectively will allow a Home Secretary to throw countless people out of the UK and strip them of citizenship with scarce right-of-appeal. How many Jews might be among those who fall foul of that law if it is passed? No such Bill would have been tabled by Corbyn’s Labour.
Look at the Police, Crime, Sentencing & Courts Bill, which effectively allows the police to terminate any form of protest on the grounds of it being “a nuisance” or “noisy”. How many pro-Zionist protests over the last few years, including those against so-called ‘Labour anti-Semitism’, might have been derailed by such a Bill? How many such protests in the future might it derail? Again, no such Bill would have been tabled by Corbyn’s Labour.
Who was the threat, not just to Jews, but to ethnic groups of different types all over Britain, all along? Britain’s Jewish community may have triggered the biggest backfire in twenty-first century UK politics. I was one of the British Jews who tried to stop it. I take no pleasure from being proved right.
Originally published here.
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