The UK’s Labor Party Can’t Escape Its Anti-Semitism

August 26, 2020 | David Herman
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In a recently publicized interview, Andrew Murray—an adviser to the former leader of the British Labor party Jeremy Corbyn—was asked about the politician’s apparent hostility toward Jews. Murray responded that Corbyn “is very empathetic, . . . but he’s empathetic with the poor, the disadvantaged, the migrant, the marginalized, the people at the bottom of the heap. . . . But, of course, the Jewish community today is relatively prosperous.” That, writes David Herman, sums up the essence Laborite anti-Semitism:

If you take anything [Corbyn] says about Jews and apply it to any other community in Britain it would sound appalling. And this is exactly what so many people in the British media have failed to do. They have rarely asked themselves how they would react if Corbynistas spoke this way about black, Asian, or Middle Eastern people.

For centuries anti-Semites have associated Jews with money, banking, and usury. Think of Shylock, . . . the Jew of Malta (his “usury” is said to “fill the gaols with bankrupts in a year”), Dickens’s Fagin, and Trollope’s mysterious banker Augustus Melmotte. Murray is just playing that age-old nasty game. Jews would be OK if it weren’t for all that money.

But, of course, Corbyn’s anti-Semitism was never just about money. There was Israel, his long-time association with Holocaust deniers, terrorists, Hamas and Hizballah. . . . What was so striking about Corbyn’s obsession with Jews and anti-Semitism is that it prevented him from seeing the bigger issues in British politics and taking a clear line on the biggest issue of all: Brexit.

Almost a year after Corbyn’s crushing defeat in December, anti-Semitism still haunts Labor.

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