The Budget has fallen flat, so here comes the 2018 silly season’s greatest hit and dampest squib, “anti-Semitism in the Labour Party”. It is not clear that there really is a Police investigation into that. But if there is, then ask the Police about Orgreave.
The decision as to whether or not to bring a prosecution would in any case be made by the Crown Prosecution Service, which has unilaterally adopted the self-appointed International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s convoluted Definition of anti-Semitism as the law of the land, without reference to minor bodies such as Parliament.
The Labour Party, however, is the only body in the world to have adopted that Definition after the enactment of Israel’s apartheid Nation-State Law. Even as much as Tony Blair’s continued membership of it, that makes me proud beyond words that that party long ago banned me for life.
Anyway, here are 10 little facts.
The definition of anti-Semitism in the Oxford English Dictionary is perfectly sufficient: “Hostility to or prejudice against Jews.”
The charge of anti-Semitism was deployed daily for years against everyone who opposed the Iraq War (Oliver Kamm was forever throwing it at me, for example), so that it long ago became water off a duck’s back.
The Jewish population of Britain is smaller than the number of people who voted to re-elect Jeremy Corbyn as Leader of the Labour Party in 2016, and in 2015 66 per cent of British Jews voted Conservative even though the Labour Party was at that time led by a Jew. We are talking about the core Conservative vote here, and about an extremely small section even of that.
The heavily publicised “Enough Is Enough” demonstration attracted fewer people than would protest against an unwanted road scheme or housing development in any country town, and it was largely made up of non-Jewish politicians, of their paid staff, and of the paid staff of the Israeli Embassy. The counter-demonstration probably featured more Jews, and it certainly featured more Jews who held only British nationality.
The Board of Deputies of British Jews does not represent, either the 50 per cent of British Jews who are not members of synagogues, or the large and rapidly expanding Haredi (“ultra-Orthodox”) community that is often highly critical of Zionism and of Israeli policy, and which has close and longstanding ties both to Corbyn and to Diane Abbott. The Jewish Leadership Council is plain and simple astroturfing by what little remains of the once-mighty Conservative Party machine in London.
The Campaign Against Antisemitism is a textbook example of a fake charity, and it ought to be deregistered accordingly. The combined readership of the Jewish Chronicle, the Jewish Telegraph and the Jewish News is infinitesimal, and they are all hardcore Conservative-supporting newspapers. “Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth” is a ridiculous vanity title, since the United Synagogue, which the bearer of that moniker heads, has 40,000 members in a country of 66 million, and there are 270,000 Jews in the United Kingdom, never mind in the Commonwealth. Far from being some neutral moral authority, Lord Sacks is a Mike Pence speechwriter and a Jordan Peterson enthusiast who was involved in a march through East Jerusalem that featured the chant, “Death to the Arabs!”
If the IHRA’s quaint little phrase “a racist endeavour” means anything at all, then it certainly applies to the expulsion of 700,000 or more people from Palestine on ethnic grounds in 1948, as surely as it applies to the expulsion of a comparable number of Jews from Arab countries, of a much larger number of ethnic Germans from Central and Eastern Europe between 1945 and 1950, and of vastly larger numbers of people from what were then the new states of India and Pakistan. See also the treatment of Aboriginal Australians and of Native Americans, of Anglo-Saxons and of Ancient Britons. None of that invalidates the present states or populations in any of the places concerned; yes, 1948 was indeed also the year of the Empire Windrush, and we should always keep that in mind. But the facts are the facts.
By its enactment of the Nation-State Law, Israel has declared itself to be a racist endeavour while that Law remains in place. I am still averse to aspects of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. I see academic and cultural boycotts as contrary to the fundamental character of scholarship, art and science, while sporting boycotts tend to have a disproportionate impact on very young people with no public policy-making role (rather like wars, in fact).
But Israel is now the apartheid state that its bitterest enemies have always said that it was. It does not have to stay that way. For now, though, that is what it is. From the prominence of the Israeli flag at the events staged by the English Defence League and the Football Lads Alliance, to the promise of Jair Bolsonaro to move the Brazilian Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Israel has become the rallying point for the resurgent Far Right all over the world.
The Zionist movement and its emigration to Palestine predated the Holocaust by several decades, Jews were by no means the only victims of the Holocaust, the persecution of the Jews or of anyone else was no part of the reason why any country fought the Second World War, the existence of the State of Israel has singularly failed to act as any kind of prevention of anti-Semitism, events comparable to the Holocaust are far from uncommon in human history, and the majority of Jews in Israel now originate from Arab countries, such that they have little or no direct connection to the Holocaust.
Jews are no more a “race” than Christians or Muslims are. Just as anyone may convert to Christianity or to Islam, so anyone, such as Ivanka Trump, may convert to Judaism, thereby acquiring, among other things, the Right of Return to Israel. If Israel wants to see off any impractical call for a Palestinian Right of Return, then it needs to repeal its own, thereby declaring itself to have become a settled, rather than a settler, state and society.
Every Jew in the world is either a first generation convert or predominantly descended from such, with little or no Ancient Israelite biological ancestry. Historically, the rabbis have been entirely matter-of-fact about that reality. Unlike, say, the several DUP MPs who subscribe to Dispensationalism, which is the terrifyingly anti-Semitic basis of the Christian Zionist minority position among Evangelical Protestants. The protection of Jews, as such, properly falls under the protection of religious sensibility and practice, not under the protection of innate and immutable “race”.
The State of Israel was founded by anti-British terrorists of the most exceptional viciousness. You might argue that so was the United States. Well, then, so was the United States. But Israel was so founded within living memory. My normally mild-mannered father could not stand the sight of Yitzhak Shamir on television. My father’s friend, my positively saintly and profoundly learned Senior Tutor from my undergraduate days, remains of much the same view to this day. But none of this must ever be mentioned.
The Duke of Cambridge, who is a former Army Officer and a future King, recently stayed at the King David Hotel without making any reference to its history. Just as no one may ever mention the USS Liberty, or Menachem Begin’s vengeful arming of Argentina during the Falklands War, or the endemic Israeli espionage against the United States, or the improper Israeli Embassy funding of British Conservative and Labour politicians, including a slush fund of one million pounds, as caught on camera by Al Jazeera, with which to bring down Jeremy Corbyn.
Whereas anti-Corbyn organisations such as the Jewish Labour Movement and Labour Friends of Israel are largely non-Jewish in composition, pro-Corbyn organisations such as Jewish Voice for Labour and Jewdas have mostly or entirely Jewish memberships. While the Nation-State Law remains in place, then the existence of Labour Friends of Israel is no more acceptable than the existence of Labour Friends of South Africa would have been in the 1970s or the 1980s.
It is an observable fact that certain Labour MPs have an overriding civil, and not religious, allegiance to the civil, and not religious, entity that is the State of Israel. Just as it is an observable facts that the Liberal Establishment has imported the New York practice of branding as “anti-Semitic” any uppity black activist who dares to challenge its hegemony. What is so wrong with the dream of a single state in which human and civil rights were constitutionally protected while everyone had precisely one vote? I am the first to say that the present Palestinian leadership has got to go. But remember that Hamas was created by the Shin Bet in order to destabilise Fatah, one of so many such cultivations of Islamist movements against secular Nationalist or left-wing ones.