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

Syria’s Downing of a Russian Plane Put Israel in the Crosshairs

Sept. 21 2018

On Monday, Israeli jets fired missiles at an Iranian munitions storehouse in the northwestern Syrian city of Latakia. Shortly thereafter, Syrian personnel shot down a Russian surveillance plane with surface-to-air missiles, in what seems to be a botched and highly incompetent response to the Israeli attack. Moscow first responded by blaming Jerusalem for the incident, but President Putin then offered more conciliatory statements. Yesterday, Russian diplomats again stated that Israel was at fault. Yoav Limor comments:

What was unusual [about the Israeli] strike was the location: Latakia [is] close to Russian forces, in an area where the IDF hasn’t been active for some time. The strike itself was routine; the IDF notified the Russian military about it in advance, the missiles were fired remotely, the Israeli F-16s returned to base unharmed, and as usual, Syrian antiaircraft missiles were fired indiscriminately in every direction, long after the strike itself was over. . . .

Theoretically, this is a matter between Russia and Syria. Russia supplied Syria with the SA-5 [missile] batteries that wound up shooting down its plane, and now it must demand explanations from Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad. That won’t happen; Russia was quick to blame Israel for knocking over the first domino, and as usual, sent conflicting messages that make it hard to parse its future strategy. . . .

From now on, Russia will [almost certainly] demand a higher level of coordination with Israel and limits on the areas in which Israel can attack, and possibly a commitment to refrain from certain actions. Syria, Iran, and Hizballah will try to drag Russia into “handling” Israel and keeping it from continuing to carry out strikes in the region. Israel . . . will blame Iran, Hizballah, and Syria for the incident, and say they are responsible for the mess.

But Israel needs to take rapid action to minimize damage. It is in Israel’s strategic interest to keep up its offensive actions to the north, mainly in Syria. If that action is curtailed, Israel’s national security will be compromised. . . . No one in Israel, and certainly not in the IDF or the Israel Air Force, wants Russia—which until now hasn’t cared much about Israel’s actions—to turn hostile, and Israel needs to do everything to prevent that from happening. Even if that means limiting its actions for the time being. . . . Still, make no mistake: Russia is angry and has to explain its actions to its people. Israel will need to walk a thin line between protecting its own security interests and avoiding a very unwanted clash with Russia.

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More about: Hizballah, Israel & Zionism, Israeli Security, Russia, Syrian civil war