A bit late to lob into the anti-semitism debate – especially for someone (me) who left the Labour Party two years ago on this very issue. Well, not too late as I had a go in February 2014, but I want to add some things that are rarely said but I find particularly irritating: things you dare not say on Twitter (where I am a Zionist moron, according to one correspondent)
(a) the idea that somehow anti-semitism is only of interest to Jews. This is part of identity politics, I guess – see also how when you say you support the NHS you have to say that someone in your family has had life saving treatment, or you’re against ham-fisted immigration policy because your gran came here from Jamaica. The idea that common decency is just a matter of, well, common decency and not self-interest seems so old-fashioned.
(b) “I’m not anti-Semitic, I’m anti-Zionist” as if that is an OK attitude, as if Jews aren’t allowed their own country, as if what the Middle East really needs right now is one less democracy and ten million more refugees. Of course the current Israeli government is an unpleasant bunch of chancers – welcome to the club. It’s not an area where the UK or the US can take any great moral stance. Netanyahu is appalling, but leads an elected government with a free press and independent judiciary. If I had the choice of which police force between Greece and Australia were to arrest and detain me, I think I’d choose Israel.
(c) why no-one sues these bastards. If you say an MP’s views reflect the fact that they’re funded by Israel, when plainly they aren’t, it’s slanderous and you should be made to pay up.
(d) Why don’t the virtue brigade worry about genuinely appalling regimes (Sudan ? Saudi Arabia ? Iran ? Turkey ? Hungary ? Russia ? Any one of many African regimes – we are now getting up to 6m dead in Central Africa) ? Articles on the awfulness of mining cobalt in Central African Republic leave any injustice to Palestinians way, way behind. The idea of calling Israel ‘an apartheid state’ when it accords the same rights to Arab citizens as Jewish (or Christian, etc), rights including voting – is simply name-calling.
(e) if establishing a nation by exchange of populations is wrong, let’s abolish Pakistan and India, Poland and the Ukraine. If taking over the lands of native people is the problem (historically iffy, I know, but let’s run with it), why not chase much more egregious cases (New Zealand, Australia, USA, anywhere in South America ?). If there must be the right of return, why not restore all Jewish property in Arab lands ?
None of which you can say in public print, because of the misery of the trolls. Twenty years ago, I thought antisemitism was dead, and the main issue was race and sex. Jeez, was I wrong – it springs back up like the vampire at the end of the horror movie. Well, I hope it’s the end.