Earlier this week, the general secretary of the British Labor party, Jennie Formby, told her fellow party members that it is “impossible to eradicate anti-Semitism and it would be dishonest to claim to be able to do so.” Perhaps so, writes Stephen Daisley, but “that doesn’t mean you don’t try.” Formby’s point, however, was to give herself an excuse for being less zealous in tackling her party’s infection by anti-Semitism, starting with Jeremy Corbyn, the fanatical Israel hater at its head. Daisley adds:
A decade ago, when I first began researching and writing about anti-Semitism, the talk was of the “new anti-Semitism” but what confronts us today is anything but new. It is the blood libel and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the poisoned well and the puppet strings—updated, repurposed, made shareable but recognizable still as tropes from the time of Christ and before. There is more awareness now than ten years ago—the volume and outlandishness of anti-Semitism make it impossible to avoid—but while there is concern and even indignation, our response is muted by the sheer banality of this ever-restive evil.
Anti-Semitism has lost its visceral punch, its power to appall. It has become pedestrian, mundane. Like the frog in the simmering pot, we feel the temperature rising but cannot conceive of the boiling point. This is how bias makes its way into the mainstream, and anti-Semitism, to our boundless shame, is once again an idea of the mainstream. It is ceasing to be a prejudice and becoming a point of view. . . .
The Labor party, one of the largest left-wing movements in the world today, is owed a great debt of blame here. Evidence that it has allowed anti-Semitism to spill over into the mainstream left is abundant. The former MP Jim Sheridan has been readmitted to Labor following suspension for announcing he had lost his “respect and empathy for the Jewish community” because of “what they and their Blairite plotters are doing to [the] party.” . . . As the campaigning lawyer Mark Lewis writes of Jeremy Corbyn, “he has moved the rock and the anti-Semites have crawled out. They are not going back.” Corbyn did not shift that rock alone and neither did the left. . . .
Taki Theodoracopulos is the star columnist—and a gifted one at that—at [the Spectator], a magazine known for being firmly Zionist and even philo-Semitic. Yet a root around the Spectator’s archives throws up reams of self-indictment. He has called New York “Tel Aviv-by-the-Hudson,” claimed Jews “control Hollywood,” and declares “Jews are not the types to let bygones be bygones.” He has lambasted “rich American Jews who encourage unacceptable and brutal behavior against innocents,” averred that “the Jewish lobby in America has stifled debate,” and has pronounced that “almost all the people who have made billions through insider trading, greenmailing, leveraged buyouts, and junk bonds are Jews.”