Thursday, August 30, 2018

The Anti-Corbyn Enigma

An article today in Politico points out a bizarre aspect of many people's rejection of Corbyn:
“For me, Corbyn’s patronizing, racialized put-down of British ‘Zionists’ and our sense of history and English irony was no surprise,” said David Krikler, a Jewish communications consultant in London. “His political career has been spent in the company of Holocaust deniers, anti-Semites and terrorist groups, so I don’t need to hear him sounding like an old-fashioned anti-Semite to know exactly what he stands for.”
“It’s been interesting to see some commentators say they can no longer defend him after seeing that,” he added. “I think it’s telling that they were prepared to defend his support for organizations that literally murder Jews, whether on Israeli buses, in Olympic villages or in Argentinian community centers, but they’re more concerned by a linguistic micro-aggression. Support for anti-Semitic terror groups is fine, as long as you don’t sound like an elderly racist who’s had one drink too many in the process.”

But what I've been saying for a while is that this it not only true for those who defended Corbyn's support for terrorist organizations; it's even true for the mainstream Jewish and non-Jewish community, who are against it. Because while they are against it, and even mention it, they don't discuss it with anywhere near the intensity that they discuss his antisemitic expressions of speech. There's been more focus on condemning his linguistic micro-aggression than on his actual support for terrorist organizations and brutal regimes! What is the explanation for that? I'm mystified by it.


  1. Rabbi,

    I am a big fan of yours, I have read several of your books which have helped me a lot in coming to my views on Torah and Science. I don't normally comment on blogs, but I thought this time, I might be able to help you with an answer to your question.

    You are correct, that meeting with Hamas and Hezbollah should have been enough. But the problem lies in just how demonized Israel became in Britain over the years with the help of the global news networks. At a certain point, anti-Semitic criticism of Israel and Zionism came to be seen as "legitimate criticism of Israel."

    Even if someone were to say something like "those blood thirsty Zionist child killers" or the "Zionists are committing a genocide against the Palestinians." All such demonization has now made it's way into Academia, not just misinformed public opinion.

    If so many people, are debating over the case in point of the IHRA definition whether or not Israel's founding was a racist Endeavour or not, it means that a significant number of people see it as a matter of difference of opinion where differences should not be suppressed. This leads to the legitimization of the idea that Israel is racist and Zionism is akin to Nazism. If those ideas are up for debate, then so too is the moral standing of Hamas and Hezbollah, who are seen as a resistance group fighting off an evil akin to Nazism. A third world people fighting off colonialism and occupation.

    When we wanted to confront Corbyn on what was wrong with his supporting Hamas and Hezbollah, and his other attacks on Israel. We have to engage in an argument of him claiming he is just a critic of Israel. Then we have to explain that he is not a critic. He is an enemy. His "criticisms" are not legitimate "criticisms."

    But we end up stuck, with trying to explain why his malicious hatred of Israel is a form of modern day anti-Semitism. People cannot connect the dots with that. He is able to divide and rule. The public are so ignorant of anti-Semitism that they only recognize it when it speaks in the language of the Nazis, or medieval blood libels.

    It is the conspiratorial aspect of anti-Semitism that people do still recognize as anti-Semitism. The allegation of Jewish control of the media, finance, government... as well as the notion that Jews have a dual loyalty. The reason more has been said about this is because Corbyn can't easily say, "I am just anti-Israel and there is a difference..."

    It has become OK in the eyes of many people that if they just hate Israel and Israelis, but not Diaspora Jews, then its not anti-Semitism, because they are fine with Jews who are not from Israel or have any identification with it.

    It is sad, but this is what people understand. Since the two latest exposures, concerning English Zionists not being British and the claim that the Israeli Ambassador wrote speeches for British politicians, more people woke up when they heard that who had turned a blind eye until now.

    Don't know if that answered your question, I gave it a go.

    Shabbat Shalom

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  3. I'll proffer a hypothesis. Some might not weigh in as much to express what matters to them as to convince a wider audience that they should reject Corbyn. Thus, if Corbyn's micro-aggressions convince people that he is unsuited for any political role while his support for terrorists does not, calling attention to the micro-aggressions will convince more people to turn on Corbyn. Any ideas to test it? Whether or not micro-aggressions are a more effective anti-Corbyn rallying cry that his support for terror, any arguments for why the terror-support should still be pressed?

  4. What percent of UK citizens seems likely to be antisemitic on some level? If Jewish organizations think that's a very high percent, that could reinforce their usual cautious tendencies.

    1. I don't have a direct answer for that, but I do have something that is suggestive. In the US, supermarket shelves are lined with products bearing hechsherim to let kosher consumers know that they can buy those products. Producers of products which can be bought with a hechsher, such as bottled water, seek a hechsher because they perceive that consumers see kosher certification as an indicator of quality.

      In Britain, that is not the case. With the exception of products targeted to Jewish customers, such as matza, producers will get kosher certification, but not place any indication on the package. Instead, the London Beth Din publishes a book with a list of certified products. A friend of mine from Britain once described that as a result of producers fearing that consumers would avoid products that advertise their appeal to Jewish customers.

  5. Can I suggest that it's because this point has the widest potential traction? Whether one likes it or not there is no consensus in the UK overall about the rights or wrongs of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the far left, Corbyn's natural home, is most likely to side with him on it. But the left, especially the far left, is much more sensitive to, as you put it, "linguistic micro-aggression", and is much more easily agitated by it. It's something they will agree with us on. And the Jewish community leaders who are jumping on it can smell blood in the water.

    My own experience with my left-leaning and far-left non-Jewish friends is that increasingly large numbers of them accept that anti-Semitism in their own party is a significant problem. Many of them no longer trust Corbyn's denials, either. I think it's incidents like this one which tip people over the edge.

    This comes with the caveat that the very first concern I had about Corbyn, back when he was newly famous and I was trying to decide whether I liked him, was his support for Hamas et. al., and I very much agree with you that were that the only problem with him - dayenu...

  6. Easy, because the British generally don't care very much what happens elsewhere, to others.Hamas? Phooey. Hezbollah? Who? But feeling threatened at home? Now that's fightin' talk.

  7. More Jews should wake up, realize that Europe is finished and make aliyah.

    Corbyn is another symptom.

    And the U.S. is next.. .

  8. Corbyn's anti-Semitism is only the beginning of his problems. His entire policy platform, on just about everything, would be catastrophic. And he would be even more dangerous than Trump, whose often-similar xenophobic policies (albeit without Corbyn's personal anti-Semitism) are equally problematic because the checks and balances built into the US system of government do not exist in the UK. One must not underestimate the damage that Corbyn could do to the world and indeed the micro-aggressions are not the major problem.

    1. Really poor attempt at Trump bashing,but they are polar opposites to any rational observer.One is a terrorsist coddling ,radical socialist antisemite.The other a capitalist ,UNRWA defunding,great( albeit meshugana) president who instinctively realizes that radical Islam is incompatible with Western society.

    2. Charlie, when people wishe you "Good Morning",or asks you to pass the salad, or comment on the weather - do you also find a way to tell them your opinion of Trump?

  9. It is not very complicated. Anti-Zionism is not considered wicked because according to Left-wing thought (which 75%+ of Britons believe in to at least some degree, 90%+ among under 40s) Israel is in the wrong with regards to the liberated territories and, moreover, shouldn't really exist, except for the Holocaust. Corbyn's crime with regard to Israel is therefore being a bit 'over the top'. It's easy enough to find footage of British politicians on the Left present when people were singing 'Killer the Boer' and 'One [South African] settler, one bullet', and people agree that this was over the top too, but over the top in a good cause.

    Anti-semitism, however, is according to Leftism a very, very bad thing indeed. Everyone knows that there are a lot of Muslims who want to exterminate Jews around the Labour party, but no-one has been able to find a smoking gun for Corbyn (not surprisingly because he isn't anti-semitic). This is the closest the people trying to save Britain from going full Venezuala have got and it's the closest they're going to get, so they are going to ride it as far as they can.

    All pretty pathetic and disgusting really. What a rubbish place Britain has become. Sad. That's what happens when you let the Left run your education system for 50 years. Take note.

    1. I thnk he is antisemitic but not in the Nazi racial sense (which is what most people think of in this regard). He is more like Haman. He sees the Jews as the movers and shakers behind the capitalist system and as a freemasonry type cabal with the haunting spectre of Ysrael formenting trouble for the world.

  10. Ade Rabbi Punkt FarkertSeptember 3, 2018 at 11:47 PM

    My take. palestinians claim they are not anti-semitic by wanting the jews to go to the gas. If Israel was founded by hindus fleeing persecution, they would have also wanted hindus to go to the gas.

    so palestinians are equal opportunity seekers with an authentic culture of their own not corrupted by white colonianalism, for better or for worse.

    1. Authentic culture of gassing people who want to live with them? Wow.

  11. Did you read the united editorial? It said "the party that was, until now, the natural home of the Jewish community" has seen its values eroded, etc. Catch that? Labor, in the minds of these Jewish media, is "the natural home of Jews."

    How very interesting. Sounds suspiciously like the presumptuous (and obnoxious) attitude of many in our own Jewish community who just blithely assume the "natural home of the Jewish community" are democrats. The hypocrisy of such people, who preach "diversity" to everyone but are themselves completely mired in groupthink, is nauseating.


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