He doesn't agree with what anti-Semites say, but he agrees with who they areby Alan Johnson / April 25, 2016 / Leave a comment
Read more: Does Labour have a Jewish problem?
Labour’s anti-Semitism problem today is much deeper than people think. In September last year, just before Jeremy Corbyn was elected Labour leader, I expressed my deep concern—not that Corbyn indulges in anti-Semitism, but that he has associated with those who have. And that when he is faced with what is called the “new anti-Semitism,” he is lost.
So it has proved. Under Corbyn, a parade of troubling incidents has trooped past. Vicky Kirby, vice-chair of the Woking Labour party and a former parliamentary candidate, was suspended after posting anti-Semitic tweets, such as one saying that Jews had “big noses.” Revolutionary socialist Gerry Downing, who believes there is a “Jewish Question” which needs to be addressed, was finally expelled from Labour in March. Khadim Hussain, a Labour councillor and a former Lord Mayor of Bradford, resigned from the party after denying charges of anti-Semitism; he allegedly shared a Facebook post that said: “Your school education system only tells you about Anne Frank and the six million Zionists that were killed by Hitler.”
The UK far-left’s goading of Jews has a long and inglorious history. Over 30 years ago, in March 1985, the student union of Sunderland Polytechnic banned its Jewish society at the urging of the Socialist Workers Party and the Workers Revolutionary Party. Activists argued that the society was Zionist and therefore racist. Several student unions followed Sunderland’s example. I was a (non-Jewish) member of Socialist Organiser, an influential group in student politics at the time. We worked with the Union of Jewish Students and other parties and successfully reversed the ban.
Now, there has been a swing to the far-left in student politics again. In February, Alex Chalmers stepped down as co-chair of the Oxford University Labour Club, claiming that his colleagues “have some kind of problem with Jews.” His resignation followed the club’s vote to endorse “Israel Apartheid Week” at the university; he also alleged that members used the offensive term “Zio” and liked to sing “Rockets over Tel Aviv.”
Malia Bouattia, newly elected president of the National Union of Students, has referred to her alma mater the University of Birmingham as a “Zionist outpost” with “the largest JSoc in the country.” She…