by David Isaac
Anti-Zionism: Its final ideological destination is no secret. It’s antisemitism. Like the monster in the B movie horror “The Beast Within,” antisemitism carries out its evil inside a host until the time is ripe to be reborn. In England, it’s apparently now.
The Sunday Times reported this weekend that two former Labour Party councillors from North London quit over the anti-Jewish hostility they encountered in their local district. Behind the antisemitism was Momentum, a faction in their own party which supports anti-Israel Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who refers to Hamas and Hezbollah as “our friends.”
Haringey Labour Cllr. Joe Goldberg. Credit: Haringey.gov.uk
One of the councillors, Joe Goldberg, said he was accused of practicing “bagel-barrel” politics. “Many members have repeated to me assertions about Jews having big noses, controlling the media, and being wealthy,” he said. “It has become impossible to operate as a Jewish councillor in the Haringey [Labour] party without having your views and actions prejudged or dismissed in terms that relate to your ethnicity.”
Natan Doron, the second councillor, says he was told how Israel was a Nazi country. “People are worried and scared and Haringey Labour is definitely not a safe space for Jews,” he said.
Doron says he complained to Labour whip Lorna Reith who told him antisemitism is a “debatable term.” The Sunday Times noted that Reith had retweeted on Holocaust Memorial Day in 2015 a picture comparing Israel’s military attack on Gaza to the Holocaust.
Back in 2016, the British Labour Party conducted an investigation into allegations of antisemitism within the party, launched after Naz Shah and Ken Livingstone, two high-ranking Labour members, made antisemitic remarks. The inquiry came up with 20 recommendations; one being that Labour members should avoid Hitler, Nazi and Holocaust metaphors. Corbyn at the time called for the “immediate implementation” of the inquiry’s recommendations.
Someone didn’t get the memo. Someone being like everyone in Labour.
Fast forward to November, 2017 and three prominent British-Jewish figures published an open letter condemning antisemitism in the Labour Party. “We are alarmed that during the past few years, constructive criticism of Israeli governments has morphed into something closer to antisemitism under the cloak of so-called anti-Zionism.”
The writers of the letter, historians Simon Schama and Simon Sebag Montefiore and novelist Howard Jacobson, can hardly be accused of being conservative anti-Labourites. Indeed, their favorite pastime seems to be bashing President Trump.
Jeremy Corbyn (third from left) at a 2014 anti-Israel demonstration. Credit: Wikicommons
The “New” Antisemitism
On Monday, at the 6th Global Forum on Combating Antisemitism, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman told the crowd that the “new” antisemitism, “the irrational, deceitful, and insidious vilification of Israel and its supporters under the guise of political commentary,” worries him more than the “old” antisemitism. Ironically, he gave his speech only minutes after PA Chief Mahmoud Abbas descended into an old style antisemitic meltdown, accusing Friedman of being a “son of a dog.”
Ambassador Friedman explained the difference between the “old” and “new” antisemitism with this example: If someone said at a cocktail party “‘I hate Jews,’ then you would be politely escorted to the door.” But if at that same party someone compared Jews to Nazis in their treatment of Palestinians, “you might be offered another drink and invited to hold court on your interesting point of view.”
Friedman set his cocktail party in Manhattan. But in London, the new and old antisemitism are indistinguishable.
The question is: Can New York be far behind when it’s the same beast within?
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Photo Credit: MGM Studios