Some sort of problem with Jews? The Holocaust, the Left, and the Return of Hate

The key question facing the European Left is whether or not it can change in such a way that Jews can once again feel part of the Left’s political family. Unfortunately, for the foreseeable future the answer to that question appears to be no.

Much has been written about the problem of antisemitism in the British Labour Party, but few commentators have attempted to contextualize ongoing revelations of anti-Jewish bigotry among party activists by providing a broader historical and intellectual analysis of antisemitism within the European Left.

Jamie Palmer, a freelance writer and independent filmmaker, set out to do just that – in a thorough, incisive and simply masterful essay published at The Tower.  

Here are a few introductory paragraphs from Palmer’s essay:

Over the past few years, a palpable sense of alarm has been quietly growing amongst Jews on the European Left. At the heart of an often-fraught relationship lies the following dilemma: The vast majority of Jews are Zionist, and the vast majority of Left-wing opinion is not.

But the problem goes beyond the question of Israel itself. It also involves a general sense that the Left is unconcerned with Jewish interests and unwilling to take the matter of rising anti-Semitism seriously, preferring instead to dismiss it as a consequence of Israeli policies or a censorious attempt to close down discussion of the same. The horror with which many Jews greeted the election of Jeremy Corbyn to the leadership of the Labour Party was outstripped only by the realization that his supporters felt that his fondness for the company of anti-Semites was unworthy of their concern.

This is a complex subject, with roots that stretch back to the beginning of the last century. I have attempted to outline in necessarily broad fashion some of the trends of thought that have informed the relationship between Jews and the Left, as well as the shifting attitudes towards Israel in particular. In doing so, I hope to shed some light on their implications.

The key question facing the European Left is whether or not it can change in such a way that Jews can once again feel part of the Left’s political family. Unfortunately, for the foreseeable future the answer to that question appears to be no.

We strongly suggest that you read it in full here.

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