Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Corbyn, Antisemitism, and Israel

Over the last few weeks, a mesmerizing political drama has been unfolding in my old home country, England. The leader of the opposition, far-left Labor politician Jeremy Corbyn, has been the center of an enormous scandal about antisemitism in the Labor party and his own complicity with it. After being repeatedly blasted in the press, and a demonstration taking place outside Parliament, Corbyn finally issued a firm apology in which he acknowledged the existence of antisemitism in the Labor party and promised to fight it.

Now here is where it gets truly incredible.

Just as Corbyn was trying to desperately extract himself from this mess, he went and attended a Passover seder by a radical fringe group known as Jewdas.

The press is noting that Jewdas once sent out a tweet calling Israel “a steaming pile of sewage which needs to be properly disposed of.” But the press appears to have missed some of the more revolting statements. Last year, the Jewdas haggadah included the following: (WARNING - it includes obscene language)

This year's edition omitted that, but instead included the following:

As well as the following:

Now there is some disagreement going on in the UK about whether Jewdas is a group of "good Jews" or "bad Jews," since they have put in a lot of effort to fight certain types of antisemitism. Still, I recommend this important article by non-Jewish leftist Alan Johnson, about the connection between anti-Zionism and antisemitism. He points out left-wing antisemitism today has taken on a new form, that he calls "antisemitic anti-Zionism." Johnson notes that "Antisemitic anti-Zionism bends the meaning of Israel and Zionism out of shape until both become fit receptacles for the tropes, images and ideas of classical antisemitism. In short, that which the demonological Jew once was, demonological Israel now is: uniquely malevolent, full of blood lust, all-controlling, the hidden hand, tricksy, always acting in bad faith, the obstacle to a better, purer, more spiritual world, uniquely deserving of punishment, and so on."

Yet, for argument's sake, let's say that Jewdas isn't an antisemitic group. And some people - even those who have been protesting Corbyn and Labor's antisemitism - argue that attending the Jewdas seder was fine, since after all, they are a group of committed Jews.

But all this is missing the point.

After such a huge stink about antisemitism in the Labor party, after Corbyn had to apologize and promise that he was committed to uprooting antisemitism, just a few days later he attends such an event? Of all the Jewish groups to meet with, this is the one that he chooses? What kind of message does this send to the rest of the Jewish community?

The editor of the UK Jewish Chronicle presented a more focused critcism, in light of the fact that last week, Jewdas actually put out a statement opposing the protests over antisemitism in the Labor party, claiming that it was all "the work of cynical manipulations by people whose express loyalty is to the Conservative Party and the right wing of the Labour Party... a malicious ploy to remove the leader of the Opposition and put a stop to the possibility of a socialist government." The Jewish Chronicle points out the following:
"...It’s important to recognise that the significance of last night’s revelation that Jeremy Corbyn’s first public engagement with British Jews since last week’s ‘Enough Is Enough’ demonstration was to take part in Jewdas’s ‘third Seder’ has nothing to do with whether Jewdas are ‘good’ or ‘bad’ Jews – a revolting concept. It’s not even anything to do, really, with whether or not Jewdas is a ‘fringe’ organisation....
Because the real point is specific and limited – and all the more important for that.
It is that at the very time when Jeremy Corbyn is claiming to be “an ally” in the fight against antisemitism, when he is issuing finely worded statements about his commitment to that fight, the one group he chooses to endorse by his presence just days after the mainstream Jewish community protested about his refusal to take antisemitism seriously is the group that last week issued a statement dismissing the idea that there is any serious issue around antisemitism in the Labour Party."
Corbyn himself has argued that there was nothing at all wrong in attending the Jewdas event, and he seems perplexed that anyone sees it otherwise. "It was very interesting talking to a lot of young people about their experiences of modern Britain, and I learned a lot,” he said, “Isn’t that a good thing?”

There comes a point when a person appears to be so utterly obtuse, that it's hard to see the situation as being anything other than either all a wilful deception, or that the person is so morally blind as to be evil.


  1. The UK has its worst Prime Minister since Chamberlain and yet the Leader of the Opposition is even worse in absolutely every way.

    Why is the UK so cursed today?

  2. R' Slifkin, could you reveal your source for the Jewdas haggadah from last year please?
    I've only skimmed through it but it is an absolute mockery. People must be left in no doubt that this group cannot in a million years be called mainstream!

    1. The text of their "Haggadah" is truly nauseating.
      I remember reading a survey of Jews being asked, "What does being Jewish mean to you?" Some gave the answer, "To be active in fighting social injustice." Others said, "To have a good sense of humor."

      I think reading a Jewish joke book at the Passover Seder is more traditional than what they came up with.

      -Yehudah P.

  3. I couldn't have put it better than you. Your analysis is spot on.

    The terrifying thing to me, as a London Jew, is how Corbyn is currently Mr Teflon, like Trump was last year, in the sense that nothing sticks to him. He continues to make every anti-Jewish/anti-Israel act he can, while issuing pathetic weak excuses constantly contradicted by his behaviour, yet somehow the dirt just doesn't stick to him.

    Personally I feel the UK Jewish establishment is missing an important announcement. That protracted, overweighted and overfocused criticism of Israel IS anti-semitic. Corbyn and the Left's excuses til now is that anti-semitism and anti-israel/zionism should not be conflated. That's only true if both are measured and proportionate. But if the level of anti-Israeli sentiment is overproportionate, then that should be clear evidence of anti-Semitism. IMO until this distinction is made Corbyn and his ilk will always hide behind the facade.

    1. Virtually any criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic. There's no reason for someone to focus their ire on a small country thousands of miles away. Your equivocating here, I'm sorry, is part of the problem.

      Fortunately, I see this is hurting Labour in the polls. There are enough decent British people out there, it seems. White English people and Protestant Irish mostly, I'd guess.

  4. Part of my issue with Corbyn's Antisemitism is that, being a Canadian by default, I can never pinpoint the accuracy of the claims themselves. They're wildly contradictory, frequently lack proper context and come from news outlets/people with their own inherent biases. All I can say is that, either way, there's some real Antisemitism in Britain that's not being properly addressed...

  5. Corbyn is not 'anti-Semitic' (which is an exclusively right-wing phenomenon and one that barely exists today), he is consistently anti-white. Jews are welcome to join his party as long as they spit on their heritage and loudly disclaim even the most mild and benign feelings of ethnic solidarity, just like any other group of white people.

    The problem is that Jews think they should get the privileges of not being white because something, something Holocaust and feel genuinely bewildered when he Left treats them with the same murderous hatred that they reserve for white people in general (excluding those whites who work to undermine the interests* of other white people).

    *When I say 'interests' I include things as basic as not having hostile immigrants keep you as a sex slave or not being boiled alive, as in the following examples:


    1. I don't disagree with your main point, but in what universe is anti-Semitism "exclusively right-wing" and "barely existent"? The Nazis were far from right-wing. (National *Socialist*, you know.) And today, there are scads of left-wing anti-Semites. Black Americans have been anti-Semitic for decades, just for starters. And Muslims...

    2. The Nazis were right wing and anti-Semitism is a specific ideology invented in the 19th century by right-wingers trying, not very successfully, to rally the masses in defence of the ancien regime by creating an updated version of Christian anti-Judaism.

      There are a few genuine anti-Semites still around, but they are what they appear: dysfunctional weirdos clinging to a retrograde ideology. Kind of like Georgists, or people into bimetallism (I have doubtless sent too much time on the internet engaging with these kind of people).

      Black Americans (or, rather, a subset of them) are just consistently applying their ideology (white people should give me all their money because we built the pyramids) to Jews who are the richest group of White Americans. Left-wing 'anti-semites' are, as I explained, not anti-semites at all and Muslims, well, they are just Muslims and as such believe that a pederast bandit was mankind's moral exemplar not to mention that they don't like it when they keep getting humiliated in wars. Not being anti-semitic doesn't mean you don't still suck.

    3. Gavriel, the Nazi ideology was absolutely not "right wing" The acronym of Nazi spells out exactly the orientation of their philosophy and ideology; "Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei" The National Socialist German Workers Party. As for your absurd claim that anti-Semitism is exclusively the domain of right wingers, I suggest you get out from behind the keyboard and shake off some of that academic indoctrination. In fact, if you want to see left wing anti Semitism in all of its yellow glory, start with academia. Liberal Arts Colleges are hardly bastions of right wing ideals. :stingray:

  6. Did anyone expect this Corbyn Pesach to be other than an insult and a mockery? Totalitarians of all stripes despise the Pesach message and its bearers (us). They'd get along just swell with a Pharaoh.

  7. As the old saying goes, some of his best friends are Jews so how can he be an anti-Semite? And if you continue to doubt him, he'll probably attend a prayer service with the Neturei Karta to prove that he associates with both religious and non-religious Jews.
    But perhaps he is being honestly naive. After all, with the UK's extensive history of Jew hatred he's probably wondering: when did I miss the memo that says we now like these people?


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