A Collection of Apologias for the British Labor Party’s Anti-Semitism Exposes the Depths of the Problem It Denies

March 23 2020

Published in December last year, Anti-Semitism and the Labor Party is a collection of essays meant to serve as “a sober examination of the strange events that have warped British politics since 2015,” combined with the personal testimonies of 21 party members. The “strange events” in question are not the public and private statements of influential Labor figures—starting with the party leader Jeremy Corbyn—about sinister Jewish influence and other fabricated outrages but the reactions to these statements on the part of the media, Jewish leaders, and some moderate Laborites. Reviewing the volume, Sarah Brown notes that some of the authors slip easily from defending against accusations of anti-Semitism to defending hatred of Jews on the merits:

[Take for example] the collection’s final chapter, “Stereotypes Should Be Discussed Not Sanctioned,” by Jamie Stern-Weiner (the volume’s editor) and Alan Maddison. The authors’ reasoning is convoluted, but they are anxious to demonstrate that harboring anti-Semitic views doesn’t necessarily constitute hatred of Jews. Here is a sample of their logic: “If I believe that Chinese people are good at math, or that Jews are smart, it does not mean I love the Chinese or the Jews. By the same token, if I believe that Jews are cheap, it does not mean I necessarily harbor hatred toward them.”

It doesn’t indicate hatred, precisely, to believe that blacks are inherently intellectually inferior to whites, or that women are only fitted to be mothers and homemakers. But most would have no difficulty acknowledging such views as racist and sexist—and that includes, I would guess, Stern-Weiner and Maddison. [But] when it comes to anti-Semitism, only the most active hatred is allowed to be worrisome.

However, the most disturbing piece in the whole collection is Norman Finkelstein’s “The Chimera of British Anti-Semitism (And How Not to Fight It If It Were Real).” He takes as his starting point some research carried out by the Institute for Jewish Policy Research (JPR), which made use of a series of anti-Semitic statements in a survey used to gauge the extent of racist views in the UK. . . . Finkelstein goes on to argue that nearly all of the stereotypical statements about Jews used in the JPR survey are not simply something we should be allowed to debate—but that they are in fact an accurate summary of Jews’ character and position in the world.

Rather than arguing that Jeremy Corbyn was falsely accused of anti-Semitism, Finkelstein and Stern-Weiner end up arguing that his anti-Semitism is wholly justifiable.

Read more at Fathom

More about: Anti-Semitism, Jeremy Corbyn, Labor Party (UK), United Kingdom


The Right and Wrong Ways for the U.S. to Support the Palestinians

Sept. 29 2023

On Wednesday, Elliott Abrams testified before Congress about the Taylor Force Act, passed in 2018 to withhold U.S. funds from the Palestinian Authority (PA) so long as it continues to reward terrorists and their families with cash. Abrams cites several factors explaining the sharp increase in Palestinian terrorism this year, among them Iran’s attempt to wage proxy war on Israel; another is the “Palestinian Authority’s continuing refusal to fight terrorism.” (Video is available at the link below.)

As long as the “pay for slay” system continues, the message to Palestinians is that terrorists should be honored and rewarded. And indeed year after year, the PA honors individuals who have committed acts of terror by naming plazas or schools after them or announcing what heroes they are or were.

There are clear alternatives to “pay to slay.” It would be reasonable for the PA to say that, whatever the crime committed, the criminal’s family and children should not suffer for it. The PA could have implemented a welfare-based system, a system of family allowances based on the number of children—as one example. It has steadfastly refused to do so, precisely because such a system would no longer honor and reward terrorists based on the seriousness of their crimes.

These efforts, like the act itself, are not at all meant to diminish assistance to the Palestinian people. Rather, they are efforts to direct aid to the Palestinian people rather than to convicted terrorists. . . . [T]he Taylor Force Act does not stop U.S. assistance to Palestinians, but keeps it out of hands in the PA that are channels for paying rewards for terror.

[S]hould the United States continue to aid the Palestinian security forces? My answer is yes, and I note that it is also the answer of Israel and Jordan. As I’ve noted, PA efforts against Hamas or other groups may be self-interested—fights among rivals, not principled fights against terrorism. Yet they can have the same effect of lessening the Iranian-backed terrorism committed by Palestinian groups that Iran supports.

Read more at Council on Foreign Relations

More about: Palestinian Authority, Palestinian terror, U.S. Foreign policy