Many observers, including social progressives like myself, have been concerned with the anti-Semitic statements and actions of now-disgraced former Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn and many of his fellow legislators. I’m pleased that the Brits defeated him resoundingly, and his party recently suspended him for a couple of weeks for flagrant anti-Semitism.
Rebecca Long-Bailey was one of two candidates for Corbyn’s position when he stepped aside. The other was Keir Starmer, now Labour’s new leader. Starmer had vowed to put an end to widely acknowledged anti-Semitism in the Labour Party.
Recently, Long-Bailey posted a Twitter link in which a Labour supporter (actress Maxine Peake) stated that police kneeling on George Floyd’s neck “was learnt from seminars with Israeli secret services.” Starmer promptly removed her from Labour Party leadership. I’m hoping that Starmer will continue to weed out the bigots.
I’m on the left regarding most issues, as are most American Jews. I did not vote for Trump or right-wing candidates, despite their support for Israel. I believe Trump’s position is designed to obtain normally Democratic Jewish voters in Florida and firm up his evangelical base, which he did per polls.
I believe in an equitable, negotiated two-state solution, permanently guaranteeing Israel’s security as a Jewish state and not including a right of return for Palestinians who have been gone 70 years now. Netanyahu’s plan to annex much of the West Bank, which he put on hold when Bahrain and the UAE recognized Israel, is not helpful in achieving this goal.
On the other hand, I’m worried that the American far left is on the same misguided ideological path as Labour under Corbyn. Numerous Labour politicians had made anti-Semitic statements such as:
• Adolph Hitler was a Zionist;
• Jews in the USA and Britain have too much influence;
Hamas and Hezbollah are Labour’s friends; and
• Jews were responsible for the slave trade.
Corbyn himself had taken numerous anti-Semitic actions including:
• going to a 2018 Tunisian ceremony honoring terrorists who murdered 11 Israeli Olympians;
• sponsoring a 2010 Holocaust Memorial event featuring a weird anti-Zionist holocaust survivor who compared Israel to Nazi Germany and a Palestinian who stated that “Nazism…has finally managed to Nazify the consciousness of its own victims”;
• writing the foreword for a book accusing Jews of “controlling the policy of nations”;
• voting to have “Holocaust Memorial Day” renamed “Genocide Memorial Day”; and
• failing to enact strong measures against a multitude of party members who have made anti-Semitic statements.
I’m concerned that the same thing may be happening here:
• Left-wing protestors at numerous universities have blocked pro-Israel speakers from speaking at Jewish events and also targeted Jewish students (see my AJT Emory column).
• Left of center, misguided administrations at many of these schools have sought to justify blocking the free speech of pro-Israeli speakers rather than taking action against protestors;
• Tamika Mallory, organizer of the Women’s March, supports anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam, calling him “the GOAT,” short for “the greatest of all time.”
• A leading Florida Senate Democrat came out against a Florida bill condemning anti-Semitism, stating it “fights the wrong battle, and targets the wrong enemy.”
• Representative Talib of the “Squad” said that Congressmen opposing the House Boycott, Divest, and Sanction resolution against Israel “forgot what country they represent;”
• Rep. Omar of the “Squad” has made several anti-Semitic statements including that Jews “push for an allegiance to a foreign country” and “it’s all about the Benjamins;”
• Majority Leader Pelosi initially criticized her but came under pressure. She then stated, with no factual basis: “I feel confident that her words were not based on any anti-Semitic attitude;”
• The Black Caucus came out against a specific House declaration against anti-Semitism based on Rep. Omar’s comments (but not mentioning her specifically). Pelosi caved, resulting in a washed-out House declaration generally condemning all bigoted speech;
• The newsletters of the left-leaning American Friends Service Committee (Quakers) contain constant, unrelenting, one-sided criticism of Israel, while ignoring much more severe, widespread, documented mistreatment of Muslims by other Muslims, Chinese Communists, and Myanmar’s Hindus.
Isn’t unbalanced criticism of Jews and Israel an obvious form of anti-Semitism? That’s what has been occurring in Britain and many parts of Europe. It’s clearly begun here, but we still have time to stop it. That is, if up and coming leaders of the Democratic Party really want to do so.