Since assuming the leadership of the British Labor party in 2015, Jeremy Corbyn has faced one anti-Semitism-related scandal after another. Mostly, these have involved party members making hate-filled statements about Jews, with the party establishment then responding too slowly and too tepidly. Corbyn’s record of praising Hamas and Hizballah, and visiting the graves of terrorists in North Africa, has hardly helped. Now information has surfaced about his membership in a secret, by-invitation-only Facebook group called “Palestine Live”—thus raising the stakes. Dave Rich writes:
Palestine Live is a secret Facebook group that has been running since 2013 and has around 3,000 members who use it to share news stories, to organize events, and to network with like-minded people. You may have heard of some of its members: Jeremy Corbyn, Baroness Jenny Tonge, . . . and many of the leading activists in pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel campaigning in [Britain]. . . . [Several] of the active members of the group—the ones who have posted most frequently and who use the group for their offline activism—hold anti-Semitic views. . . .
Indeed, of the three “administrators” who run the group, one—the group’s founder—is a conspiracy theorist who shares material from Holocaust-denial websites; a second identified himself as a “9/11 truther” and posted an article that dismissed the “fictional account” of six million Jews dying in the Holocaust, claiming instead that “somewhere between 100,000 and 150,000 people perished in Auschwitz, mainly as a result of disease and starvation”; a third administrator posted an article in the group titled “Israel Control of USA Government” [sic] that quoted approvingly from Mein Kampf. . . .
[B]ecause the most active members of this Facebook group also tend to be the more anti-Semitic ones, their views set the tone for the group as a whole. Meanwhile, the other members of the group, including several Jewish anti-Zionists, rarely object to the anti-Semitism posted there. Instead, they just get on with using the group to organize their activities and encourage their comrades. This is how a political culture becomes anti-Semitic, even if most people who share in it are not, themselves, anti-Semites.
Needless to say, many of the group’s members support Jeremy Corbyn and have joined the Labor party since he became its leader. Corbyn has responded, as he always does, by saying he condemns anti-Semitism. But until he understands that the political culture with which he associates himself fosters the very anti-Semitism he claims to condemn, this problem will only get worse.