Cor­byn and the racist mob

The Jewish Chronicle - - COMMENT - Ge­of­frey Al­der­man

A“friends” with the Hizbol­lah and Ha­mas ter­ror­ist or­gan­i­sa­tions, which are openly an­tisemitic. Of course there’s al­ways room for re­pen­tance. Fol­low­ing his vic­tory, Cor­byn wasted no time in con­demn­ing Eisen’s Holo­caust po­si­tion as “wrong and rep­re­hen­si­ble”, and claimed that as a politi­cian he had to meet peo­ple with whose views he did not nec­es­sar­ily agree. Asked about these mat­ters, Cor­byn de­clared: “The idea that I’m some kind of racist or an­tisemitic per­son is deeply of­fen­sive.” I was in­clined to ac­cept this dis­avowal, un­til news emerged that, at a Labour Friends of Palestine fringe meet­ing dur­ing last week’s party con­fer­ence, Cor­byn had shared a plat­form with another un­savoury char­ac­ter. Even if this is ex­plained away as just one more un­for­tu­nate misun­der­stand­ing, there’s a world of dif­fer­ence be­tween Cor­byn as a con­fused in­no­cent and Cor­bynism as an ide­ol­ogy. Cor­bynism means that “Is­rael” is an un­men­tion­able word, not to be ut­tered even if you are a guest at an event hosted by Labour Friends of Is­rael. More gen­er­ally, Cor­bynism sig­ni­fies the Labour move­ment’s em­brace — or re-em­brace — of a vis­ceral anti-cap­i­tal­ist mind­set. Last month, in cel­e­bra­tion of this re­turn, Cor­byn gave no­tice that he would welcome back into the Labour fold mil­i­tant ac­tivists who had been ex­pelled there­from.

Among those is the for­mer MP for Coven­try South-East, Dave Nel­list, who the Labour Party ex­pelled in 1991. Ad­dress­ing a meet­ing of po­lit­i­cal bed­fel­lows in Coven­try last month, Nel­list is re­ported as hav­ing de­scribed the Labour Friends of Is­rael as “the en­emy within”. No doubt, in con­sid­er­ing any ap­pli­ca­tion from Nel­list to re­join Labour, Cor­byn and his brethren on Labour’s NEC will wish to en­quire whether this re­port is true and, if it is, what ex­pla­na­tion Nel­list can give for hav­ing ut­tered these words.

Cor­byn may also wish to com­ment on the an­tics of a mob of anti-gen­tri­fi­ca­tion “war­riors” that ram­paged through Lon­don’s Shored­itch lo­cal­ity on Satur­day night last. In­formed by a phi­los­o­phy of greed and a pol­i­tics of envy, it was or­gan­ised (anony­mously) via Face­book and claimed com­mu­ni­ties in Lon­don were be­ing “ripped apart” by a va­ri­ety of in­ter­ests in­clud­ing “Is­raeli scum­bag prop­erty de­vel­op­ers”.

I have no idea whether Is­raeli prop­erty de­vel­op­ers have been re­de­vel­op­ing Shored­itch. But even if they have, and even if you con­sider gen­tri­fi­ca­tion to be a bad thing, why draw at­ten­tion to the na­tion­al­ity of the de­vel­op­ers? This is unadul­ter­ated racism. I sus­pect, how­ever, that by “Is­raeli scum­bag prop­erty de­vel­op­ers” the au­thor(s) ac­tu­ally meant “Jewish scum­bag prop­erty de­vel­op­ers” — but (be­ing the cow­ards that they are) lacked the courage to say so.

I’m not as­so­ci­at­ing Jeremy Cor­byn with this at­tempt at mob rule. But I am chal­leng­ing him to is­sue an un­qual­i­fied con­dem­na­tion not merely of what hap­pened, but of the an­tisemitic lan­guage used. If Cor­bynism is to en­joy any sem­blance of le­git­i­macy in An­glo-Jewish eyes, this is the least we can ex­pect of Labour’s new leader.

I am call­ing on him to con­demn an­tisemitic lan­guage

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