Donate

While Anti-Semitism Flourishes under His Watch, Jeremy Corbyn Refuses to Acknowledge Its Existence

Despite official inquiries, public scandals, and the formal censure of several party activists, anti-Semitism is very much alive and well in the British Labor party; indeed, at its most recent conference, a motion was proposed to question the historicity of the Holocaust. The novelist Howard Jacobson comments on the feeble efforts of Jeremy Corbyn, the party’s leader, to deny anti-Semitism’s presence while insisting that it has nothing to do with “anti-Zionism.”

By way of a sop to critics, a rule warning against such conduct as might be deemed detrimental to the party—such as hostility to disability, gender reassignment, civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, oh, and anti-Semitism—was adopted. But condemnation of Zionism was as febrile as ever and any Jew—particularly any Israeli Jew—willing to join in could count on a standing ovation. No man is a prophet in his own land, but an anti-Zionist Israeli is a hero in this one. . . .

To this, Jeremy Corbyn and those closest to him are tetchily indifferent. Mr. Corbyn goes out of his way not to use the word “anti-Semitism,” and when he is forced into condemnation of it he invokes the platitude that Labor opposes all racism and discrimination. The “all” is important. Burying anti-Semitism among offenses such as bullying and sexual harassment is a dodge to equalize things that are not equal and in the process ensure that anti-Semitism is rarely privileged with a mention of its own.

There is method in this evasiveness. To implicitly deny the existence of anti-Semitism—as some continue to deny the Holocaust—is to render it as a sick fantasy of the Jews’ own making, a pathology whose function is to blunt the edge of the anti-Zionist critique. That Jews invoke anti-Semitism primarily to silence critics of Israel is a tired canard, but it continues to be pressed into service. It serves a purpose: it libels the Jews as liars in the act of protesting innocence of any such offense. And if anti-Semitism is a chimera, then anti-Zionism, so often conflated with it, has nothing after all to apologize for. . . .

What needs to be insisted on is that Zionism—the idea not the political events to which it has given rise—is integral to the Jewish mind and imagination. Those who say they are against Zionism but not Jews are speaking in riddles. It is not the Jew who needs to see himself apart from anti-Zionism; it is the anti-Zionist who needs to ask himself what feeds his fervor.

Read more at New York Times

More about: Anti-Semitism, Anti-Zionism, Howard Jacobson, Jeremy Corbyn, Labor Party (UK), Politics & Current Affairs

Hamas Sets Its Sights on Taking over the PLO

Oct. 20 2017

Examining the recent reconciliation agreement between the rival Palestinian organizations Fatah and Hamas, Eyal Zisser argues that the latter sees the deal as a way to install its former leader, Khaled Meshal, as head of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and thereby the Palestinian Authority. It wouldn’t be the first time something like this happened:

Even the former Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat . . . took the PLO leadership by force. His first steps, incidentally, were with the Fatah organization, which he cofounded in January 1965 in Damascus, under Syrian patronage. Fatah was meant to serve as a counterweight to the rival PLO, which had come into existence [earlier] under Egyptian patronage. Arafat, however, was relegated to the sidelines in the Palestinian arena. It was only after the 1967 Six-Day War that he exploited the resounding defeat of the Arab armies to join the PLO as the leader of Fatah, which led to his gaining control over [the PLO itself].

Meshal [most likely] wants to follow in Arafat’s footsteps—a necessary maneuver for a man who aspires to lead the Palestinian national movement, particularly after realizing that military might and even a hostile takeover of [either Gaza or the West Bank] will not grant him the legitimacy he craves.

It is hard to believe that Fatah will willingly hand over the keys to leadership, and it is also safe to assume that Egypt does not want to see Hamas grow stronger. But quasi-democratic developments such as these have their own dynamics. In 2006, Israel was persuaded by Washington to allow Hamas to run in the general Palestinian elections, thinking the Islamist group had no chance of winning. But Hamas won those elections. We can assume Meshal will now look to repeat that political ploy by joining the PLO and vying for its leadership.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Fatah, Hamas, Khaled Meshal, Palestinian Authority, PLO, Politics & Current Affairs, Yasir Arafat