As a Jew I feel under siege in the country I love
By Rob Harkavy
I’m a terrible Jew. Seriously. Both my marriages have been to non-Jewish women, I haven’t crossed a synagogue’s threshold for 20 years (and that was for my sister’s wedding) and I don’t really believe in God. And although I’m very proud of my heritage, in the personal identity stakes “Jew” usually fails to make the top three, rolling in some way after Englishman, Londoner and Brit. All four of my grandparents were born in London and one branch of my direct antecedents first came to these islands in the 1650s, preceding the establishment of the United Kingdom by half a century.
And yet since Jeremy Corbyn and his hard-left cabal of anti-West, anti-America, anti-capitalist, anti-British, republican, IRA-sympathising, Hamas-licking, terrorist apologists won control of the Labour party, I have never felt more Jewish and more under siege in the country I love and, until now, have been proud to call home. My social media timelines are consistently populated with anti-Jewish conspiracy theories from people proud to display a #JC4PM hashtag, often denying or mocking the holocaust, regurgitating nonsense about “The Rothschilds” and frequently labelling any criticism of their Glorious Leader as a “Blairite Zionist Plot”. Those, including Labour MPs, expressing even the mildest of misgivings about this lurch to the far left are accused of “smears” and even of being in the pay of the Israeli embassy in a textbook example of gaslighting.
The leader of the first political party since the far-right BNP to be formally investigated for racism has referred to Hamas and Hezbollah, terrorist organisations which have indiscriminately murdered Jews, as he friends. He bemoaned the removal of a mural depicting hook-nosed Jewish bankers crushing the poor, and has laid a wreath at the grave of a terrorist who, in 1972, was one of the men responsible for the murder of 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics, at least one of whom allegedly bled to death having had his genitals cut off.
Many of Mr Corbyn’s comrades will insist that they’re not anti-Semitic…just anti-Israel, and to ignore their claim is to ignore the elephant in the room, so let’s look at it more closely.
Israel, as you know, is a country established by the UN following the holocaust, which itself followed millennia of Jewish persecution. In a world of secular states, Christian countries and Muslim nations, to be anti the existence of the planet’s single Jewish territory does, I’m afraid, demonstrate anti-Jewish bias.
Some, of course, will say that they’re not anti-Israel per se, but pro-Palestinian. Let’s be clear, if it were up to me, all illegal Israeli settlements would disappear tomorrow. I don’t like the current Israeli government one bit. But Israel is unique in that its validity as a nation is brought into question by the left because of a government of which they don’t approve. They don’t like Donald Trump’s administration either (neither do I) but I’m yet to hear anyone call for the disestablishment of the United States. Even North Korea gets a free pass.
I’d also contend that this singular focus on “Palestine”, with the aggressive flag-waving at the Labour Party conference and the infantile Twitter hashtags reveal a culture of anti-Semitism. Why focus on this one foreign policy issue which, let’s face it, is hugely complex? What of the oppression of Muslims in China and Myanmar, the gassing of civilians in Syria, the torture of gay people in Chechnya and their execution in Iran, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Kim Jong-Un’s labour camps? Barely a whisper from Mr Corbyn. I’m forced to wonder what is it about this one issue involving the world’s only Jewish state which exercises the far left so much?
So, aside from the Holocaust denial, the hatred of Zionism, the conspiracy theories, the pathological focus on “Palestine” and the friendship with organisations which vowed to kill Jews wherever they may find them, what else is there not to like?
Just this: the lack of support from friends, acquaintances and colleagues who are prepared to ignore the plight of a tiny section of the population (less than 300,000 in the UK) all in the name of attaining some warped idea of a socialist nirvana. They, like the Labour MPs who talk a good game but whose ambition dwarfs any innate decency to actually resign the whip in protest should be ashamed of themselves.