If the UK Labor Party Is Serious about Fighting Anti-Semitism, It Must Expel the Jews Who Encourage It

Dec. 17 2020

Since the end of Jeremy Corbyn’s tenure as its leader, the British Labor party has sought to take a firm stand against the anti-Semitism that had overtaken its ranks in recent years. To succeed in this effort, argues David Hirsh, the party must cease to tolerate Jewish Voice for Labor, a pro-Corbyn and anti-Israel group that has persistently used its members’ identity as Jews to provide cover for anti-Semites. Hirsh writes:

Anti-Zionist Jews are not the useful idiots of left-wing anti-Semitism, they are among its pioneers. They . . . taught Jeremy Corbyn that Zionism was racism and they taught the University and College Union that Israelis should be excluded from UK campuses and journals. They arm contemporary anti-Semitism with little particles of fact and with plausible arguments, dressed up as legitimate Jewish opinion.

Anti-Semitism is frightening because it is irrational. Some Jews are tempted to believe that they live in a world where anti-Semitism is a rational response to the bad behavior of Jews. It is tempting because then Jews could make things better by being good. Sometimes taking on anti-Semitic logic saves Jews from the fear of living in an [irrational] world. Jewish anti-Zionism is one way of dealing the stress of living in an anti-Semitic world. It is understandable as such, but it makes things worse, not better.

Viewed in this frame, the organization Jewish Voice for Labor serves to kosherize Jeremy Corbyn’s anti-Semitic politics and to smear any who say they have experienced anti-Semitism in the party. That is its function; that is why it exists. It is there to pretend that Labor Jews are split on the question of anti-Semitism.

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Read more at Jewish Chronicle

More about: anti-Semitsm, Jeremy Corbyn, Labor Party (UK), United Kingdom

 

Iran, America, and the Future of Democracy in the Middle East

Nov. 23 2022

Sixty-two days after the death of Mahsa Amini at the hands of the Islamic Republic’s police, the regime has failed to quash the protest movement. But it is impossible to know if the tide will turn, and what the outcome of the government’s collapse might be. Reuel Marc Gerecht considers the very real possibility that a democratic Iran will emerge, and considers the aftershocks that might follow. (Free registration required.)

American political and intellectual elites remain uneasy with democracy promotion everywhere primarily because it has failed so far in the Middle East, the epicenter of our attention the last twenty years. (Iraq’s democracy isn’t dead, but it didn’t meet American expectations.) Might our dictatorial exception for Middle Eastern Muslims change if Iran were to set in motion insurrections elsewhere in the Islamic world, in much the same way that America’s response to 9/11 probably helped to produce the rebellions against dictatorship that started in Tunisia in 2010? The failure of the so-called Arab Spring to establish one functioning democracy, the retreat of secular democracy in Turkey, and the implosion of large parts of the Arab world have left many wondering whether Middle Eastern Muslims can sustain representative government.

In 1979 the Islamic revolution shook the Middle East, putting religious militancy into overdrive and tempting Saddam Hussein to unleash his bloodiest war. The collapse of Iran’s theocracy might be similarly seismic. Washington’s dictatorial preference could fade as the contradictions between Arab tyranny and Persian democracy grow.

Washington isn’t yet invested in democracy in Iran. Yet, as Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has often noted, American hostility toward the Islamic Republic has been damaging. If the theocracy falls, Iranians will surely give America credit—vastly more credit that they will give to the European political class, who have been trying to make nice, and make money, with the clerical regime since the early 1990s—for this lasting enmity. We may well get more credit than we deserve. Both Democrats and Republicans who have dismissed the possibilities of democratic revolutions among the Muslim peoples of the Middle East will still, surely, claim it eagerly.

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Read more at Dispatch

More about: Arab democracy, Democracy, Iran, Middle East, U.S. Foreign policy