The Soviet Union Is Long Gone, but Soviet-Style Anti-Semitism Thrives in Britain

Sept. 13 2018

Jeremy Corbyn, the current leader of the British Labor party, has for his entire career been a committed apologist for the USSR, and belonged to that segment of the British left that took its cues from Moscow. Thus, writes Ben Cohen, it should be no surprise that his attitudes toward Israel and Jews, and those of his defenders, seem to come straight out of Soviet propaganda:

For much of its existence, the Morning Star, Britain’s Communist newspaper, was a slave of the Soviet Union. Old habits die hard, it seems—an editorial in the paper this week that attacked the “Jewish establishment” for allegedly scheming to bring down Corbyn was horribly reminiscent of the kind of screed about “Zionists” that was once daily fodder in the Soviet press. . . . The article . . . quoted a Jewish left-winger who ventured in all seriousness that Britain’s Jewish leaders are committed to “censorship and outlawing views other than their own.” . . . “Labor’s enemies, including its most embittered fifth column, have tasted blood,” the article concluded, “and won’t end their attacks until Corbyn is hung out to dry.”

[In 1977, by analogy, there was] a slew of Soviet newspaper articles with headlines like “The Espionage Octopus of Zionism,” replete with wild claims that will probably be familiar to many British Labor-party social-media activists—for example, that U.S. oil companies “are directly controlled by pro-Zionist capital.” Most of all, there was the Soviet practice of wheeling out “citizens of Jewish nationality” to denounce Zionism as a “racist” tool of “imperialism.” . . .

Corbyn himself was present at dozens of left-wing political gatherings during the 1970s and 80s where Soviet and Arab anti-Semitic literature was distributed, [and when] Corbyn and those in his camp speak and write about the triangle of Jews, Zionism, and Israel, these are the terms in which they think, and have always thought.

That is why [the Morning Star], Corbyn’s house journal, uses terms like “embittered fifth column” to describe their leader’s Jewish opponents—also used by Valery Emelyanov, an official Soviet ideologue, in 1978 to describe the “internal danger” posed by Soviet Jews. It’s why they have no qualms about saying that Jewish leaders opposed to Corbyn have “tasted blood,” despite the associations with the anti-Semitic blood libel that such a metaphor unleashes; then again, Vladimir Begun, a particularly toxic Soviet anti-Semite, wrote with great enthusiasm of the “bloodthirstiness” that was inherent in “Zionist gangsterism.”

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More about: Anti-Semitism, Jeremy Corbyn, Labor Party (UK), Politics & Current Affairs, Soviet Union, United Kingdom

The Reasons for Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Staying Power

Nov. 20 2018

This week, Benjamin Netanyahu seems to have narrowly avoided the collapse of his governing coalition despite the fact that one party, Yisrael Beiteinu, withdrew and another, the Jewish Home, threatened to follow suit. Moreover, he kept the latter from defecting without conceding its leader’s demand to be appointed minister of defense. Even if the government were to collapse, resulting in early elections, Netanyahu would almost certainly win, writes Elliot Jager:

[Netanyahu’s] detractors think him Machiavellian, duplicitous, and smug—willing to do anything to stay in power. His supporters would not automatically disagree. Over 60 percent of Israelis tell pollsters that they will be voting for a party other than Likud—some supposing their favored party will join a Netanyahu-led coalition while others hoping against the odds that Likud can be ousted.

Opponents would [also] like to think the prime minister’s core voters are by definition illiberal, hawkish, and religiously inclined. However, the 30 percent of voters who plan to vote Likud reflect a broad segment of the population. . . .

Journalists who have observed Netanyahu over the years admire his fitness for office even if they disagree with his actions. A strategic thinker, Netanyahu’s scope of knowledge is both broad and deep. He is a voracious reader and a quick study. . . . Foreign leaders may not like what he says but cannot deny that he speaks with panache and authority. . . .

The prime minister or those around him are under multiple police investigations for possible fraud and moral turpitude. Under Israel’s system, the police investigate and can recommend that the attorney general issue an indictment. . . . Separately, Mrs. Netanyahu is in court for allegedly using public monies to pay for restaurant meals. . . . The veteran Jerusalem Post political reporter Gil Hoffman maintains that Israelis do not mind if Netanyahu appears a tad corrupt because they admire a politician who is nobody’s fool. Better to have a political figure who cannot be taken advantage of than one who is incorruptible but naïve.

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More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel & Zionism, Israeli politics