Britain’s Labour Party has been rife with anti-Semitism for some time now, but it has come to the forefront over the past several days.
First, there was the suspension of Labour MP Naz Shah after the revelation of a post on her Facebook page in 2014 which read, “SOLUTION FOR ISRAEL-PALESTINE CONFLICT – RELOCATE ISRAEL INTO UNITED STATES”. Shah would add the comment, “Problem solved & save u bank charges for £3 BILLION you transfer yearly.”
Mind you, Shah had been sitting on a parliamentary committee investigating an upsurge of anti-Semitism in Britain. Shah won a seat for Labour in the 2015 election in the predominantly Muslim constituency of Bradford West defeating George Galloway, the former Labour MP who championed Saddam Hussein. Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn initially refused to discipline Shah until pressure was brought to bear.
Then former Labour MP and London Mayor Ken Livingstone put dynamite on the fire when he not only claimed Shah hadn’t said anything anti-Semitic, but that Hitler was actually a Zionist:
Let’s remember when Hitler won his election in 1932, his policy then was that Jews should be moved to Israel. He was supporting Zionism – this before he went mad and ended up killing six million Jews.
And if that weren’t enough, Livingston justified Shah’s remarks by stating “there had been another brutal Israeli attack on the Palestinians” and called criticism of her remarks as “a well-orchestrated campaign by the Israel lobby to smear anybody who criticises Israel policy as antisemitic.”
These remarks enraged Labour MP John Mann who angrily confronted Livingstone in public calling him “a Nazi apologist.” Writing in The Daily Mirror, Mann states, “There was no such Nazi policy in 1932. The idea that Hitler “went mad” rather calculatedly planning to murder Jews is also grossly offensive.” Yet the first reaction of the upper echelons of Labour was to discipline Mann for confronting Livingstone. Had Mann confronted Livingstone over remarks against Muslims would Labour have reacted in this manner? However, following further pressure, Livingstone too would also be suspended by the Labour Party.
Keep in mind the Labour Party is led by a man who has described Hamas and Hezbollah as “friends” and had tea on the terrace of the House of Commons with Raed Salah, a man convicted in Israeli court for inciting violence against Jews. Corbyn calls this man “a very honored citizen.” So is it any surprise that a Labour Party led by Corbyn would be uninterested in publishing a report about the harrassment of Jewish members of the Oxford University Labour Club?
As for Shah, I don’t buy her explanation, “This post from two years ago was made before I was an MP, does not reflect my views and I apologise for any offence it has caused.” I think it reflects her exact views. The fact that Shah would hire someone who believes that ISIS is an Israeli plot to take over Syria is reason not to believe her “apology”.
One of the main reasons I no longer identify myself as a socialist is because of how anti-Semitism has gained a foothold on The Left. While I think it is more far more acute in Britain and Europe there are certainly signs of it on The Left in both Canada in the NDP and the United States through the Obama Administration and through Bernie Sanders and his supporters despite the fact many of those people are themselves Jewish. Ironically, Israel was originally a social democratic project especially when you consider the kibbutzim. But Israel became too successful and there’s nothing The Left resents more than success. Success=Oppression. The Palestinians, despite their racism, sexism and homophobia, are considered the underdogs. Their useful idiocy in advancing the delegitimization of Israel is a triumph of madness.
But anti-Semitism in the Labour Party is such that nearly two-thirds of British Jews voted Tory in last year’s election. This latest sorry spectacle will not reverse that trend anytime soon.
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