Why does the ancient curse of anti-Semitism never go away?
Why are there still wild-eyed rabble-rousers still going around spouting nonsense about the Holocaust being a hoax, or as we might call it these days, fake news?
Why do so many ancient anti-Semitic myths persist in an enlightened age, notably the one about Jews owning the banks and the media and exploiting the power it gives them to achieve world domination?
And how is it that the leader of the British Labour Party has failed, after numerous inept attempts, failed to dispel the notion that his anti-Zionism is merely a front for anti-Semitism?
Jeremy Corbyn, in a speech recorded in 2013 but recently unearthed, can be heard saying that British Zionists don’t understand English irony. Singling out British Zionists as a group that doesn’t understand English irony betrays his underlying belief that Jews in Britain are a race apart. The victims call it ‘othering’, a relatively new coinage, or at least new to me. Anyway, such remarks coming from a man with no discernible sense of humour is in itself richly ironic.
The anti-Semitism row in the Labour Party will not go away. People keep asking why. The reason is clear: the party leader is a deep-dyed anti-Zionist, in the way that Arabists in the Foreign Office used to be – and still may be imbedded there for all I know – and he has allowed that to drift carelessly into traditional anti-Jewish tropes. ‘The Jews are ruthless, conniving and money-crazed fifth columnists who will not rest until their kind have taken over the world.’ Corbyn, for the record, does not believe any such things. What he secretly believes, however, may be another matter. I have my suspicions.
That still goes for the Roman Catholic Church, which started the whole nasty Jew-baiting business. For two millennia its official doctrine was to blame the Jews for murdering Christ the Saviour, so feeding a deep-rooted prejudice. It could have been ended with a simple declaration. The Pope has in recent years made such a declaration, but after two thousand years, old attitudes are hard to change. Millions of Catholics who have been told that they may now eat fish on Fridays refrain from doing so as a matter of genetically ingrained habit. So it is with the Jews.
And so it is with the unreconstructed Marxist wing of Britain’s main opposition party. Marx himself was a Jew, of course, but his adherents in those countries of Eastern Europe that enthusiastically espoused his creed, Communism, were traditionally anti-Semitic. The prejudice is still apparently alive and well – or at least only mildly reproved – across that vast expanse of humanity, most acutely in Poland and Ukraine, but hardly less so in Russia – all this despite the Jewish populations in those countries having been reduced by the millions, apparently in an event that never happened.
Corbyn is surrounded by irredeemably old fashioned worshippers of Marxism, men (mostly) who still secretly mourn the fall of the Soviet Union and devoutly desire to resurrect it in some more civilized form in Britain. They could even succeed.
Amazingly, in the face of the anti-Semitism furore, the Labour Party stands neck and neck with the Conservative Party in the opinion polls. Where Labour stands on Brexit nobody knows. Where it stands on anything is something of a mystery, at least to anyone who doesn’t bother to listen to the speeches of Corbyn’s deputy John McDonnell. And few do bother, it seems.
I have nothing against people who argue that Israel’s government has not behaved decently towards the Palestinians. My view of Benyamin Netanyahu strays close to being unprintable. Israel, in short, is no less capable of being flawed than any other country.
Nor do I have any moral objections to who would want to restore to Britain some thirties-style, power-to-the-people form of government. Each to his own taste, I say.
But that nasty residue of racism must be eliminated because it is stinking out the joint. If the stench of it is causing me to hold my breath, I won’t be holding it waiting for Jeremy Corbyn and his crew to change their suppurating spots.
The man long ago earned the soubriquets of buffoon and bumbler. To these he has now disgracefully added that of bigot.