A lot has been written in the British media about antisemitism in the UK Labour Party, but an op-ed written by Dave Rich of the CST masterfully cuts down the core of what the debate is about – the belief by a worrying number of Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters and “friends” that “Jews must be up to something”.
The basic idea behind most modern anti-Semitism is that Jews must be up to something. Whatever Jews say and do can’t be taken at face value: they must have some ulterior motive or hidden agenda that needs to be uncovered.
So when Jewish donors give money to political parties, it can’t simply mean that they support that party’s policies, as any non-Jewish donor would; they must be trying to buy support for Israel. Or when Israel sends rescue teams to countries that have suffered from natural disasters, it can’t simply be to offer humanitarian aid; it must be to steal human organs from the victims of those disasters.
Later in the op-ed, Rich addresses those who reflexively dismiss antisemitic rhetoric as “merely” anti-Israel.
Nowhere is this more apparent than when Jews complain about anti-Semitism in left-wing or pro-Palestinian circles. It has become a reflexive response for any such complaints to be dismissed as fake, a manufactured outrage designed to cynically deflect criticism of Israel’s policies.
due to years of treating Jewish concerns about anti-Semitism as a cynical Zionist smokescreen…Anti-Semitism is simply not recognized as such if it comes in an anti-Israel context
Sincere Jewish complaints (including from my own organization) that [Raed] Salah was guilty of anti-Semitic incitement were dismissed by one journalist at the Guardian newspaper as a failure to “distinguish between anti-Semitism and criticism of the acts of the Israeli state.” No matter that Salah had peddled the lie that 4,000 Jews did not turn up for work in the World Trade Center on 9/11.
Rich characterizes the dynamic as “a reverse of the Emperor’s New Clothes”. Contrary to the original parable, he explains, “when everybody pretended to see something that was not there”, in this version much of the British Left fails to acknowledge the truth staring them in the face.
If you have access to Haaretz Premium, we encourage you to read the entire op-ed.