JEREMY Corbyn is correct to state that anti-Semitism in the Labour Party did not start when he became leader. Pre-Corbynist Labour’s response to anti-Semitism amongst its members was rather feeble as well. It would seem that political expediency overrode the facts on at least more than one occasion. Naz Shah, the member selected to challenge George Galloway in 2015 after his shock victory in the Bradford West by-election, had anti-Semitic baggage in the form of support for some rather offensive social media posts. Although she had previously supported Galloway’s Respect Party, she had rapidly gone from member to activist to candidate to MP before anyone was aware of her conduct, certainly no one in the Labour Party. It was Naz Shah’s exposure in 2016 and Ken Livingstone’s Hitlerite defence that led an increase in scrutiny into Labour’s culture of hate and evidence of the party’s historic reluctance to address it.
The rise of Corbyn was accompanied by a surge in membership, including from the numerous groupings of the Hard Left. It is no secret that these extremists are the willing believers of global capitalist conspiracies and that this mindset targets Jewish people as part of this delusion, also blaming British Jews for the situation in the Middle East. The effect of Corbyn’s leadership has been to enable and thus propagate anti-Semitism in a Labour Party which was already unable to address the levels of anti-Semitism amongst its leading members. The bigots feed off each other, communicating within closed groups over social media. Occasionally a dribble of their bile emerges, and Labour is still unable to point to any cases where there has been rapid investigation and action, and certainly not when the BBC’s Panorama documentary exposed the precise reverse. Instead some Hard Left Jewish members and expellees formed a group called Jewish Voice For Labour to defend Corbyn and play down what had already been established beyond a reasonable doubt: that Labour is structurally and institutionally anti-Semitic.
But the subversion of the Labour Party has also enabled and validated anti-Semitism across the country, and not just from party members. There seems a growth in the culture of anti-Semitism that is played out daily in social media. This is how genocides start. It is not with the rounding up of innocents after a knock on the door at 2am. It starts when antipathy and hatred become socially acceptable in certain areas. It is a gradual process as bigots become more emboldened, when the informal and formal disapproval that previously inhibited them is shrugged off, until the only social protections are provided by the forces of law and order and security guards. And a whole people cannot be guarded for ever. And in time a government might just not bother.
The polling points to a spectacular Labour collapse. But nothing is certain: the pollsters were wrong in 1992 and 2015, and their projections were mostly off in 2017. However a Labour loss on December 12 will not dispel the stench of anti-Semitism in the public arena. It might actually get worse.
Every time Labour lose a General Election, which they do not pretend as they did in 2017 is a victory, they never blame themselves or their policies. Instead they blame the voters for ‘voting against their own interests’, predicting doom, gloom and disaster thereafter. They will accuse the voters of being brainwashed by the ‘Murdoch Press’, forgetting that people vote with their wallets to buy newspapers and that they can buy the Guardian or the Daily Mirror if they so choose. But this time, it is possible that the extremists will also blame the Jewish community. With the Unite boss, Len McCluskey, who has previously accused Jewish leaders of ‘truculent hostility’ for sticking to their guns on Labour’s anti-Semitism and has let rip again with an extraordinary attack on the Chief Rabbi for daring to criticise Corbyn, leading the way, it is possible that the Leftists who deny Labour’s structural anti-Semitism will accuse British Jews of inventing, inflating, and exaggerating issues to turn voters against Corbyn’s Labour. Speculation should always come with a health warning but there are times and places for it and this is one. Labour’s historic blame culture could come to include a desire for some form of revenge.
We cannot allow this to be the moment when historians looking back say is when the British Holocaust started. Anti-Semitism will increase in intensity should Corbyn attain power. However there is no guarantee that a decisive defeat of Corbynism on December 12 will diminish it or make it go away. Unless proper action is taken by a Conservative majority government anti-Semitism could actually get worse in Britain after Corbyn has been returned to the dustbin of history.