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

Europe Has a Chance to Change Its Attitude toward Israel

Dec. 15 2017

In Europe earlier this week, Benjamin Netanyahu met with several officials and heads of state. Ahead of his visit, the former Italian parliamentarian Fiamma Nirenstein addressed a letter to these European leaders, urging them to reevaluate their attitudes toward the status of Jerusalem and the West Bank, the Israel-Palestinian peace process, the gravity of European anti-Semitism, and the threat posed by Hamas and Hizballah. In it she writes:

For years, the relationship between Europe and Israel has been strained. Europe tends to criticize Israel for simply defending itself against the continual threats and terrorist attacks it faces on all its borders and inside its cities. Europe too often disregards not only Israel’s most evident attempts to bring about peace—such as its disengagement from Gaza—but also chides it for its cautiousness when considering what solutions are risky and which will truly ensure the security of its citizens.

The EU has never recognized the dangers posed by Hamas and Hizballah, as well as by many other jihadist groups—some of which are backed by [the allegedly moderate] Fatah. The EU constantly blames Israel in its decisions, resolutions, papers and “non-papers,” letters, and appeals. Some of Europe’s most important figures insist that sanctions against the “territories” are necessary—a political stance that will certainly not bring about a solution to this conflict that . . . the Israelis would sincerely like to resolve. Israel has repeated many times that it is ready for direct negotiation without preconditions with the Palestinians. No answer has been received.

The European Union continues to put forth unrealistic solutions to the Israel-Palestinian issue, and the results have only aggravated the situation further. Such was the case in 2015 when it sanctioned Israeli companies and businesses in the territories over the Green Line, forcing them to close industrial centers that provided work to hundreds of Palestinians. The Europeans promoted the harmful idea that delegitimizing Israel can be accomplished through international pressure and that negotiations and direct talks with Israel can be avoided. . . .

[Meanwhile], Iran’s imperialist designs now touch all of Israel’s borders and put the entire world at risk of a disastrous war while Iran’s closest proxy, Hizballah, armed with hundreds of thousands of missiles, proudly presents the most explicit terrorist threat. Europe must confront these risks for the benefit of its citizens, first by placing Hizballah on its list of terrorist organizations and secondly, by reconsidering and revising its relationship with Iran.

Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Europe and Israel, European Union, Hizballah, Israel & Zionism, Israel diplomacy