The Antisemitism of Sir Keir Starmer

JVL Introduction

Crystal Moth lays out how an absolutist view of the threat of Labour Party antisemitism makes Jews less, not more, safe. There is no ‘existential threat’ but there is a coalition of interests determined that Corbyn should fail.

Community bodies of declining influence had more concern for bolstering their position than for the safety and welfare of those they claim to represent. Inducing fear where none was appropriate is harmful.

By latching on to this, Starmer was exploiting Jews for his own political purposes, making them more fearful and less safe – that is the real antisemitism.

This article originated as a twitter stream but deserves a more durable publication.

This article was originally published by Twitter on Fri 20 Nov 2020. Read the original here.

The Antisemitism of Sir Keir Starmer

Jewish fear of antisemitism is real. Jews often have experienced antisemitism and have good reason to fear it. But what if there was a situation in which Jews were convinced there was a threat of antisemitism, which didn’t in fact have a basis in reality?

What if small amounts of relatively inconsequential antisemitism was presented as an existential threat: antisemitism that arose out of ignorance; antisemitism that could simply be put right by pointing it out to people or asking them to think about it and stop; antisemitism that amounted to a few people using the wrong words on the internet?

What if people took that and used it to whip up fear among Jews?

What if people told Jews that it meant they should fear for their lives, that they should prepare to leave the country for their safety?

What if Jews’ real fear of antisemitism was played upon in order to instrumentalise this fear against a political opponent?

What if Jews, because they were Jews, were made fearful for little reason, and this terror just made them collateral damage for some obscure political project?

There’s a word for the politics that makes Jews live in fear: antisemitism.

A cause of suffering or a moral absolute?

I know what you’re going to say: “There’s no such thing as inconsequential or minor antisemitism. The seriousness of all and any antisemitism is a moral absolute. And anyone who says any different must themselves be an antisemite.” Well, let’s just say I disagree. Most of us involved in fighting antisemitism aren’t here to justify some moral absolute: we’re here because we know of the real suffering, danger, and fear that antisemitism causes and we want to put an end to it.

In doing that we need to constantly make distinctions about who is a real danger and who isn’t: there are real differences between dyed-in-the-wool antisemites who deface Jewish cemeteries, or who rail against “Jewish power” in the media, or who shoot up synagogues, and people who accidentally and ignorantly find themselves repeating anti-Jewish tropes. There are differences between antisemites who might need educating, or where convincing them to change might make Jews safer, and those who at every turn become more hateful. There are different dangers associated with people who fervently believe that the world is run by a secret cabal of Jewish puppetmasters who need to be eliminated, and those who blithely talk about “Jewish influence” or the “Israel lobby”, without thinking about what what the problems might be in that type of analysis.

In order to be effective in a struggle against antisemitism we need to be able to make these distinctions, and work out whose views can be changed and whose simply need to be opposed. The doctrine of “zero tolerance” (incidentally invented by police in the United States in the 1970s as a justification for arresting and imprisoning young black people in the name of “community policing”), now endorsed both by the Labour Party and the EHRC, is an effort to do away with all these distinctions. It is a type of thinking that says “all that racism is equally bad” and turns the question of fighting racism that was socially produced into a mere clash of moral absolutes. There are some problems with this: firstly, there’s no evidence that “zero tolerance” policies work. In fact they have been widely criticised, because (quite unsurprisingly) utter moral condemnation of racists actively gets in the way of them changing their ways.

Not the best way to make a world less dangerous for Jews

Some of us fight antisemitism because we want to make a world less dangerous for Jews. Others seem to be more interested in taking someone’s worst point in order to characterise their entire existence as morally degraded (we might call this the abstraction of criminality), in order to then exile them from politics or excise their existence from any political association. Secondly, a consequence of this morally absolute thinking of antisemitism is to reduce antisemitism – which is a social problem, which arises out of society, and is not just a matter of a “problematic opinion” – to an idiotic numbers game. Those who want to say that antisemitism is a serious problem are reduced to making enormous, numbered lists of antisemites and antisemitic incidents. And those who disagree about this being a sensible way to address antisemitism are accused of minimising them problem because they don’t accede to the sheer vastness of the numbers. In particular in the UK, this strategy of producing enormous numbers of antisemites and antisemitic incidents has functioned to encourage Jews to be often unreasonably afraid. And more than this, it has truly obstructed efforts to offer those who harbour antisemitic opinions to change, through education, for example.

So who is responsible for forcing Jews to live in fear of an existential threat of antisemitism? Well one answer is that antisemites are ultimately responsible. But it is also true that these fears have been whipped up not only by the media and politicians, but also by Jewish community institutions and Jewish media. Anyone who has read the Jewish Chronicle for the last five years would believe that Corbyn would enter power amid a second Kristallnacht; those who listen to the Board of Deputies, or the Jewish Leadership Council (whoever they are. And why they are apparently our leaders, nobody knows), or the Campaign Against Antisemitism, or the Community Security Trust, would think that we needed to be packing their bags and fleeing before some torrent of antisemitic violence.

But this has no basis in any reality. It ought to be the greatest shame to these institutions that when the media, the Tories, and the right wing of the Labour Party used accusations of antisemitism to attack Corbyn, they didn’t defuse the situation by offering a sober and realistic view. They refused to offer Jews who rely on them the comfort of knowing that the scale of the threat was being exaggerated for political purposes. When it turned out that the accusation of antisemitism against Corbyn ‘stuck’ it was then repeated day after day across the news media not because the news media cared about Jews, but because they cared about stopping Corbyn for wholly other reasons.

For the ‘community’ or for self-interest?

Any Jewish institution with any integrity or any care for those Jews who look to them for advice should have seen this and said this. They didn’t. In fact most of the so-called “community leaders” made the decision that they too would rather have all the Jews of the UK terrified. So why did they do this? There are a mixture of reasons. Firstly, all of these institutions have been historically centrist or right wing. Secondly, they have all been historically Zionist (with the exception of the Board of Deputies, which was critical of Zionism up to the 1930s.) Thirdly, in recent decades an increasing number of British Jews – like many Jews in the diaspora – have become anti- or non-Zionist, and especially have become disaffected with the increasingly right-wing nature of Israeli politics. Many Jews are highly critical of the increased occupation of the West Bank, of the building of the wall in Palestinian territories, and of the blockade of Gaza. At the same time, with increasing secularism, many Jews have turned away from traditional community institutions that refuse to recognise them as Jewish if they are not members of synagogues.

Under these conditions, many Jewish “community leaders” and community organisations seized upon this situation to try to shore up not only their relevance to British Jews (at the expense of terrifying them with the prospect of a new and violent wave of antisemitism), and to reassert the centrality of support for Israel in combatting antisemitism. These leaders have acted cynically and unscrupulously, and have shown little regard for either the real dangers of antisemitism, or for the lived experiences of British Jews.

Zero tolerance produces zero progress

In the great numbers game of the “zero tolerance” approach to antisemitism, the so-called “new antisemitism” hypothesis has played a crucial role. The idea is that many antisemites have recoded their antisemitism as anti-Zionism. And it may be true that some antisemites have done this. But the theorists of this idea then argue that this means that all anti-Zionism is an expression of antisemitism, or is nothing but a cover for antisemitism. There’s a name for this type of logical fallacy, in which you move illegitimately from the particular instance to the general rule: casuistry. And this casuistry has proved particularly useful to certain people in this fight: by redefining criticism of Zionism and Israel as antisemitic, it has allowed the Zionist elements of the Jewish community and leadership organisations to reassert the centrality of a defence of Israel in the struggle against antisemitism. Meanwhile, it has offered an ideological defence of Israel by tarring all opponents of Zionism with the morally absolute claim that they must be racists, and that they must be involved in Jew-hatred.

Starmer’s actions canten pledges ot intensify the antisemitism crisis make antisemitism flourish

So how does this make Keir Starmer an antisemite? Since taking power in the Labour Party, Starmer has said that he will root out antisemitism, and will enter into agreements with “The Jewish Community”. The trouble is, the community leadership have been complicit with what has happened over the last few years. He won’t speak to any of the other kind of Jews – and in fact seems convinced of the antisemitic premise that there is a unified Jewish way of thinking about these problems. In truth, Starmer only wants to speak to Jews who are on the one hand petrified with fear, or Jews on the other who have encouraged that fear. No other Jew counts for him.

His response to the EHRC’s report has been particularly egregious. The report found not only that the Labour Party had not been institutionally antisemitic, but that of the many cases they looked at, very very few were actionable. Where members had expressed antisemitic views this had normally been addressed with disciplinary proceedings, suspensions, and expulsions. And under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, following the Chakrabarti report, which the EHRC praise, these processes had in fact started to improve – all the more so after certain right-wingers like Iain McNicol were removed from looking after the disciplinary processes. Where there was a problem of “political interference” in the complaints process, the majority of these were to speed up the resolution of complaints about antisemitism by censuring, suspending, and expelling members.

More widely, recent studies have shown that antisemitic sentiments declined in the Labour Party during Jeremy Corbyn’s tenure as leader. The entire circus of the last week has been an attempt to stop people looking at what the EHRC report actually said: that there was little antisemitism, especially by officers of the party; and that those officers who were involved had been dealt with and expelled; and while there were failures of process, moves were being made to put this right already under Corbyn’s leadership. Given the furore in the media for five years, and the 18 months that the EHRC spent looking for instances of antisemitism, this is all they found. People should read the report. It’s a lot less damning than they’d have you believe.

Meanwhile, Starmer’s tenure has been marked by the abolition of any semblance of democracy in the Labour Party. For the first four months of his leadership, democracy was “turned off”, with Constituency Labour Parties not allowed to hold decision-making meetings. Party Conference – the Party’s sovereign body – was cancelled for no apparent reason. Jews who questioned the much-questioned IHRA definition of antisemitism were suspended from the party. Local parties were told they too would be suspended if they even discussed these suspensions. Members were told they would be suspended if they discussed pay-outs in a legal settlement to anti-Corbynite Labour staffers who held up the complaints processes about antisemitism, in order then to blame the Corbyn leadership. And Jeremy Corbyn himself was suspended from the party – yet the party refuses to even state which rule he is supposed to have broken.

This widespread assault on democracy is bad enough in itself, but what is worse are the perpetual claim that the “new management” is doing this on behalf of “The Jewish Community”, or in an effort to tackle antisemitism. Where Jews have spoken out against this in public, they have been bullied in the media (as with Kirsty Wark silencing and interrupting dissenting Jews on Newsnight), or they have been treated like they don’t count. A recent invitation to Starmer to have a conversation with Jews in Islington North constituency has been not even refused, but just ignored.

This is a situation in which goyim – from Keir Starmer, to Angela Rayner, to Wes Streeting, to Luke Akehurst – all claim to be acting on behalf of the Jews, when in truth they are using Jews as thin cover for their attack on socialism. They claim to want to allay fears that Jews have, while in fact they whip up fears among Jews. They have concealed all evidence that antisemitism in the Labour Party is being dealt with and declining. Meanwhile, in making Jews the perfect fall guys for their attacks on democracy and socialism, they have produced a situation in which antisemitism is more, not less, likely to flourish. This is what I call antisemitism.

Comments (52)

  • Philippa Illsley see says:

    Overawed by this. It’s very clear, easy to read and brilliant.

  • Among the motivations for promoting a fear of increasing antisemitism (or even provoking it), you omit the use, from the days of Herzl onwards, of antisemitism as a justification and fund-raiser for Zionism and as a recruiting sergeant for ‘aliyah’ (Jewish emigration to Israel)

  • Christopher Lazou says:

    This is a poignant article, especially articulating what I was saying for a long time, that by whipping fear of antisemitism in order to promote their other political agenda they were creating the conditions in which antisemitism is more likely to flourish. In other words they were doing no favours to ordinary Jewish people.

  • David Oates says:

    It’s a near perfect plan of attack, a taboo subject many do not really understand but virtually everyone has a knee jerk reaction to.

    Day after day, on Social Media, you see left leaning Jews attacked in the most vile ways by antagonists who are obviously not Labour supporters, let alone members. Most admin are now too frightened to protect the target. The object now is to vilify the JVL, if anything that simply proves what the real target is – Socialism. This, copied from one of the largest Labour FB forums, one Jew to another, one who had the sheer temerity to post a JVL article.

    “JVL’s main reason for existing is to provide a fig leaf for antisemites in the Labour Party. They don’t just disagree with this point or that point in the EHRC report, they fundamentally do not accept that there has been a serious, or indeed any problem, with antisemitism in Labour. Worse they failed to come to the defence of Jewish members subject to abuse, and have defended antisemites even after they have been thrown out of the Party. They have zero credibility in the Jewish community outside their tiny membership, and their refusal to accept the EHRC report in full demonstrates why Starmer is right in refusing to have anything to do with them.”

    Truly sickening to see, but when bullies are protected….

  • goldbach says:

    Spot on. A friend, who is Orthodox, is livid that certain people claim to speak for her. She says ………. actually I’d better not say what she says because it would be inappropriate to print it.

  • Chris Owen says:

    It would be hard to find another such comprehensive, complete and succinct summary of the whole antisemitism debacle. It has everything from sensitivity to anti semitism itself, to a rational and thought provoking response to its manifestation and to an explanation of the motivation of the right to exploit it.

  • Dr ALAN MADDISON says:

    Brilliant….covers so many aspects with such clarity.
    We use the phrase ‘weaponising antisemitism’ but this article gives it a better intellectual depth, describes well the emotional consequences and exposes those responsible for what they truly are.

  • J. Connolly says:

    Thank you for this lucid, insightful analysis. I wish the left leadership would absorb this, have the courage of their convictions, and reverse their policy of appeasement.

  • Peter Reilly says:

    It’s Starmer who should be suspended from the Labour Party for his silence on Israel’s crimes against humanity, his discrediting of critics of Israel’s crimes, his refusal to have policies to put effective economic and politic pressure on Israel to change, and his condemnation of BDS campaign. He is therefore complicit in Israel’s racist policies which are diametrically opposed to Labour Party values.

  • Many of the Labour party membership have seen through these actions but I for one have felt unable to say or do anything about the situation. The right wing of OUR party have colluded with outside forces to defeat the true socialists within our ranks. At my age I have seen many politicians come and go and it goes round in circles, a majority of left wing influence and after a while the policies become stale and there is a resurgence of the right wing and that is democracy, it is right and proper. What has happened over the past five years is that the not so socialist socialists within wanted their own way at any cost, even making sure with their accusations of antisemitism against the last party leader that this abomination of a tory government was elected to torture the population further., They should be ashamed, if their policies were worthy of their party’s backing they would still be in power but they are not. I am by no means anti semitic but I do abhor the treatment of ordinary Palestinians by the right wing Israeli government. The right wing of the Labour party are not socialists, they are looking after their own interests and I feel Keir Starmer is leading the throng.

  • Taraneh Ahmadi-Parker says:

    Brilliant analysis of this current anti Semitism crises. Shame on the them who are using Jewish people for their own political gains.

  • Sarah Perrigo says:

    Spot on

  • Philip Ward says:

    I have to say that if someone happened to be a supporter of Corbyn, but also accepted Starmer’s assertion that there was a monolithic “Jewish community” (and Corbyn himself has not done enough to disabuse people of this notion in the last five years) it might be understandable if they held me partially responsible for the suspension of Corbyn and the general vilifying of the LP membership and came up to me and smacked me in the face. That’s how the the bodies that claim to represent the “Jewish community” have promoted antisemtism.

  • Ken Locke says:

    I’m afraid that- despite how much this article gets right- it still contains a glaring and egregious error: it labels the disgraceful efforts of Jenny Formby and the leader’s office to speed up the illegitimate expulsion of many innocent members as “improving” the situation. As being a part of the fight against antisemitism. Of course the truth is quite different; the decision by Formby, the LOTO and the people around the LOTO to deny many decent and innocent members due process was yet another concession to the right wing’s witch hunt, and helped significantly to defeat socialism once and for all.

  • Mary Davies says:

    Superb article.

  • Jack T says:

    Great article.

    So where does the recent weaponisation of antiSemitism stem from? It comes from die hard Zionists being terrified that Jeremy Corbyn would be able to speak on a world stage about the dispossession of Palestinians from their land and homes if he became PM. Consequently there was an all out attempt by Zionists to terrify Jews into joining in the attacks against him. In ignorance and stupidity, without doing their homework, Rebecca Long Bailey and Angela Rayner and others joined the pro Zionist camp. Those such as Kier Starmer, rather than helping, are hindering by assisting the Zionists in exaggerating the fear of antiSemitism.

    Zionists know that there is a growing mood in Israel, which we very rarely hear of in Britain, to right the wrongs of the past. Many of the Palestinian activists put on trial for resisting the occupation are defended by Jewish lawyers who have befriended the Palestinians.

    Much of the Jewish opposition to Palestinian victimisation is coming from the young who have taken part in education courses by run by Zochrot, the combined Jewish/Palestinian organisation set up to teach the history of the foundation of Israel. Zionists strongly object to this and do not want any story other than the one based upon their own myths to see the light of day.

    Because of the growing enlightenment in Israel, Zionism will gradually fade out and become marginalised. The young are starting to realise that the only way for Israelis to live in peace and safety is when democracy for all is achieved.

  • Bob Cannell says:

    It is normal practice for bullies, once they are confronted, to claim to be victims. It is normal for them to ‘gaslight’ their victims, persuading them that their thinking is wrong and that they are in fact the bullies.
    This campaign against St. Jeremy has all the hallmarks of bullying.
    Many of the people on the right in the Labour Party are full on bullies. I’ve had the misfortune to meet some of them. The leaked emails and messages from those officials paid lots of our money portray bullying of people like Diane Abbott. The behaviour of the press, the top dogs in these hierarchical Jewish organisations, the behaviour in Britain of the racist state they support, is all symptomatic of bullying. A confederacy of bullies. All shoring up each other, as bullies have done sine the dawn of humanity.
    There is only one solution to bullying, a collective opposition to wear them down and reveal them for the paper tigers they really are.

  • Jenny Mahimbo says:

    An excellent reframing of the situation we are in now, clearly showing how antisemitism and Jews are being used as puppets for selfish and disingenuous political reasons. At least in the 80’s purges of the left there was more honesty.

  • Helen Richards says:

    This is so instructive especially explaining the EHRC’s report. I wish it could be more accessible to a wider readership or given a platform on TV.

  • William Brown says:

    First class article! Pity this could not have forced it’s way to the surface some time ago. Blair was a populist Labour leader who had praise from Thatcher for finishing off the job she had started. Let’s hope we are not again having a Labour Leader in the same vain?

  • Matthew Robson says:

    This is a wonderful analysis .As someone who has shared nuclear disarmament platforms with Jeremy Corbyn I know first hand of his opposition to all forms of racism. I will take this article ( and others published by the JVL) in to the New Zealand Labour Party and ask them to protest to Keith Starmer at his actions which are discrediting the name of Labour- as if enough damage as not done to it by Tony Blair and his ilk.
    Hon Matt Robson, former Minster in the Helen Clark government.

  • Stephen Richards says:

    I am a Catholic & I admit to feeling nervous around Bonfire Night, but happy that I could never be allowed to become king, by Act of Parliament. I have numerous Jewish Friends & I am proud of being a member of JVL, but there is one question that is constantly referred to in MSM that I don’t understand….’The Great Fear’ that is felt in THE Jewish Community. to such an extent that Jews are leaving the country.
    So I ask the dumb question, where is the evidence? What should my friends be so afraid of? They can’t tell me. The fear of ……..what exactly? Maybe it’s a London thing, but there is a healthy interaction between different faiths in the North West (in my experience), but then I am a Catholic, so what would I know?
    I think Ephraim Mirvis hinted at it when he congratulated AIPAC for halting Socialism & the politics of Bernie Sanders & Jeremy Corbyn. That frightens us. When a religion conflates itself with a nation & embarks on a programme of social cleansing & genocide, don’t be surprised that others are not able to disentangle the two. That really frightens us.

  • Shannon Coles says:

    This is the best thing I have read on the whole sorry mess.

  • Chris Wallis says:

    Thank you. That is an excellent analysis that explains much that I have been thinking. I read the JC in Waitrose from time to time, and the edition in the week in which Hodge called Corbyn a ‘fucking anti-semite and a racist’ carried that as the front page headline, had ten pages of content attacking Corbyn and anti-semitism in the party, and ended with a prognostication piece by a woman columnist which began with Corbyn elected, the IHRA rescinded, Jews starting to leave the country, and ended with Hezbollah supporters marching round synagogues with placards demanding their deaths while Jews cowered inside. It is difficult to know what this was for other than to invoke fear in the reader.Sometime in the Autumn of 2018 – I think – C4 news carried a piece in which they interviewed a 14 year old Jewish girl in North London and pushed her to tell them she was afraid. At no point did they ask her why she was afraid, ie what had triggered her fear rather than a generalised fear of what the Labour party was up to, or ask her for evidence. It was aone of many disgraceful pieces of journalism in this whole sorry business. They mad up for it in their interview with Ian Austin in April 2019, however, when theyactually confronted him with the question ‘ Do you have proof that Jeremy Corbyn is an antisemite?’. Austin looked like a goldfish for about ten seconds -they clearly weren’t meant to ask him this – and then burbled ‘Yes,I do’. The interviewer said ‘Waht?’. More goldfish then ‘I have heard him say anti-semitic things.’ End of interview. Wow, I thought, a coup. If this is true other people will have heard it too and JC will not be leader of the party tomorrow.When I went back to check the archive for my blog, it had been wiped. Clearly therefore not true. And now he sits with all the other liars in the HoL.

  • Brilliant -Kier represents all the labour party should not be, he is hypocritically using the Jewish community for his own selfish ends. No labour politician should abuse a community in this way.

  • LW says:

    Brilliant and clear explanation about what has happened over the past 5 years. I’m still not confident about the disciplinary process. They never used the Chakrabarti guidance and have little confidence they will.

  • Geoffrey Turner says:

    Excellent article.

  • Ian Kemp says:

    Brilliant I wonder what Starmer would make of this. Of cause he will not. It does not fit in with those who fund and support him. There is no doubt that A/S has been used as a weapon. This as is pointed out undermines the real A/S out there.
    The problem for for Starmer is he has by his actions demonstrated that he does not want to up set his backers rather than face the real truth about A/S. It has in many ways become a form of McCarthyism

  • Steve Richards says:

    “Talkin’EHRC Blues”. (based on orig. idea Robert Zimmerman.)
    ‘I was feelin’ sad & kinda blue,
    I didn’t know what I was gonna do,
    those anti-Semites was a comin’ around,
    they was in the air, they was in the ground,
    they was all over.
    Well Donald Trump, he’s a Russian Spy,
    Biden & Pelossi & that Pompeo guy,
    now to my knowledge there’s only one american true
    & that’s Benjamin Netanyahu.
    Is this anti-Semitic?

  • Paul Jonson says:

    This is extremely well articulated and thought provoking. Thank you

  • Ian Judd says:

    You have summed up the situation perfectly. Corbyn was doing exactly what the right didn’t want – he was dealing with anti-Semitism too well and so he had to go.

  • Suzanne Haystaff says:

    Excellent, these are my thoughts too.

  • Brian Robinson (Dr) says:

    A newspaper columnist has written, referring to the Starmer-Corbyn-whip row, that Starmer ‘has no obvious exit from that bog that will not leave one group or another feeling very angry.’ Well, Starmer might have no exit but here’s a thought. Nietzsche distinguished between an objective ‘Will to Power’ and the much more subjective ‘Sense of Power’, the latter being a person’s own evaluation of what amount of power they have. Despite outward appearances, someone may feel their power, and here I mean specifically moral power, rising. In such circumstances, Nietzsche says, a person can deploy power magnanimously.

    Now, people hostile to the Corbyn project can insist that in his struggle with the ‘under new management’ Labour leadership, Corbyn has lost, a more sympathetic view proposes that morally he has won. He can thus be, in Nietzsche’s sense, magnanimous. He can declare that in his response to the ECHR document and in regard to the entire antisemitism debacle he said nothing that wasn’t in accord with the facts, and that there is no objective evidence that he has ever acted antisemitically as classically defined and understood.

    He could say, ‘Of course I don’t agree with the decision to withhold the whip and I believe I have been treated unjustly, nevertheless to prevent this damaging row continuing, in the interests of my party and even more in the interests of the country to ensure the defeat at the earliest possible moment of this destructive, incompetent Tory government, I shall no longer fight the leadership’s decision. I shall remain as an MP for as long as my constituents continue to vote for me to represent them. I urge those who agree with me to think and act magnanimously to save the party and country we love.’

  • Ken Hanson says:

    I’m anti-Zionist, just like JC and like most people in the middle-east. Israeli treatment of Palestine Arabs is comparable to Nazi treatment of Jews. In any other area of the world the international opinion would be “Crimes against humanity”

  • steve mitchell says:

    Those who claim the Jewish lobby is all powerful have been given an enormous boost by Starmer. They will point to the treatment of an MP who is the last person in the country to be antisemitic . They will claim that if such a left wing figure can be removed by Jewish power then then what they have been claiming for decades is true. The author is absolutely right in an excellent piece.

  • Jan Brooker says:

    Read it and AGREE except NOT SURE what this bit is trying to say: “There are different dangers associated with people …. who blithely talk about “Jewish influence” or the “Israel lobby”, without thinking about what what the problems might be in that type of analysis.”
    The “Israel lobby” even has its own wikipedia entry:

  • Martin Clay says:

    Its only a matter of time before anyone reposting this is accused falsely of antisemitism and suspended.

  • Linda Scurrah says:

    Excellent article but so depressing.What do you do when the its such a massive stitch.up? I was horrified to see the Jewish lady being so dismissed and trodden on by Wark on Newsnight.I didn’t vote for Starmer but would never have thought he would be part of the trope

  • Lynda rushron says:

    Excellent piece which articulates most of the points I could not quite reach and clarifies so much for me . Thank you.

  • Perhaps the real purpose behind so many “antisemitism” allegations is to foment and inflame antisemitism. By making more and more outrageous accusations (Margaret Hodge for example) the understandable resentment felt by the accused (us) might tempt some into, unfairly, blaming ALL Jews.
    So the accusers can then claim “look antisemitism.”
    I have also heard people whom I KNOW not to be in the slightest antisemitic make thoughtless comments about Jews. I have no wish to excuse these comments they were made in ignorance and a certain lazy thinking but not hostility and had the possible offence of these comments been pointed out to the perpetrators they would probably have been shocked.

  • David Langford says:

    A thorough and intelligent analysis of this question.
    As an anti-racist I am insulted and angry at being accused of racism because I criticise the actions of Israel particularly as those accusations emanate most frequently from parliamentary members who I have never noticed in any anti racist campaigners hitherto.

  • Catherine Hutchinson says:

    The clarity and insight of this is really helpful. Reading it I was reminded of a Twitter thread about the smearing of Jeremy Corbyn from a couple of years ago – someone posted they felt as if dark forces were at work against the left. He was immediately accused of antisemitism. A whole range of voices then joined in: Jews who dismissed the accusation, others who said they felt attacked, non-Jews who wanted to know why ‘dark forces’ was in some way antisemitic. The trope of darkness was discussed, the example of Ann Widdicomb brazenly and knowingly saying Michael Howard ‘had something of the night about him’ in Parliament brought up. Initially defensive commenters began to ask ‘what can we say then?’ and Jewish contributors made suggestions. The thread became a learning process, the opposite of zero tolerance. From it I understood more about the perfidiousness, subtleness and permeation of antisemitic language in our culture, but also what a wide range of views Jewish people have, not only about the language used but people’s probable motives in using it. It has stuck in my mind, and so will this discussion. Behind the foghorn of Zero Tolerance, the manipulative disingenuousness, I feel as if the Corbyn-supporting left is undergoing an extensive education, conversation by conversation, article by article. I just wonder where we go next with this and how we put it to good use.

  • Gilbert Markus says:

    A marvellously clear analysis of how we got to this absurd position.

    My only disappointment is that the author does not (apparently, unless s/he really is called Crystal Moth, which seems unlikely) name him/herself. I would like to circulate the article among friends, but am reluctant to do so without knowing who the author is.

    But thank you for this, nonetheless.

  • W Stephen Gilbert says:

    As one awaiting (for 16 months so far) a hearing into an allegation – brought by someone who is not a member of the Labour Party – of antiSemitism against me, I read this with great interest. Thank you.

  • Phil Barber says:

    I absolutely endorse these views, and have been myself disturbed by what is happening, without fully understanding it but with an uneasy feeling that debate itself is on trial, and a whiff of personal agendas being pursued. Kirsty Warke’s treatment of the secular Jewish lady on Newsnight a few days ago was disgraceful, and Louise Ellman’s over-lengthy contribution was vehement but repetitive and a largely content-free zone. I think it is vital that moderate Jewish alternative voices are not ‘no-platformed‘ in this way, not least because any attempt by well motivated non-Jews at constructive debate seems to provoke the accusation that they are ‘part of the problem’. I wish you every success in trying to bring about a more reasoned approach to this important issue, and I agree that the current witch-hunt approach is likely to prove ultimately counterproductive.

  • Rada says:

    Being a by-stander, I fear that the vicious attempts of hunting Corbyn to destruction and intimidating other Labour Party members as they have, those who speak for “The Jewish Community” will only increase anti-jewish sentiment or create it when there was nothing like that before. I regard their actions it in a very visceral sense as disgusting.
    The conflation of critique of Israel’s policies with A/S feels like the beginning. That is when I myself was suddenly an anti-semite.
    As I am neither Jewish nor a Party member anywhere, I don’t care but, for what it’s worth, I am deeply offended.
    Do they really not know what they are doing?
    Starmer just supported them – equally unthinkingly?

  • Ndaizivei Scholastica Esnathy Paul says:

    Agreed. It begs the question what exactly is meant by this “Zero Tolerance” to anti-Semitism and is there going to be “Zero Tolerance ” to all forms of racism too? If not why not?

  • Ian Kemp says:

    Brilliant Steve Richards Bob Dylan at his best . your take is so accurate.

  • John Rollinson says:

    As a layman on the subject, the complexities of the above article had my head spinning. I view the world from a “Live and let live” point of view whatever race, creed, ethnicity etc. This said I see unfairness that is outside my control and it upsets me. In the context of the above I have given money to a charity working in Palestine because I see Israels intransigence towards Palestine being unfair and the Palestine people essentially being held in jail in their own country. This means I do not like Israeli politics but I have no complaint against its people and the sector of its society known as Jews. That the Jewish community is complex in itself is beyond me. In addition I know also that the media in general makes mischief of societal issues to suit ends that that are either political or financial. Its a nasty business and, frankly, one that has been ongoing for centuries. It is happening across the world and is a blot on the human race in the 21st century.

  • Alistair Hale says:

    Fantastic article. By using these accusations to destroy their opponents whilst claiming to be protecting the Jewish community, they are making some of the worst anti-Semitic tropes appear to be actually true. Cancel culture may produce a temporary convenient silence. It can also produce a long lasting silent resentment and hatred. Keirmer gets what a good portion of what he wants, but only a small portion of the hatred. For what it’s worth I have found that one effective way to counter the growing anti-Semitic resentment this is causing is to draw people’s attention to Mandela’s Jewish supporters who were imprisoned alongside him. Or just mention someone like Bob Dylan. Which is just one simple illustration of how the misinformed require better information, or just broader thinking, as opposed to being instantly painted into the Nazi corner. Thanks for this article and this website – it is a much needed voice of sanity.

  • Paul says:

    Spot on this exactly what many Socialists have been saying for years!

  • June Simmons says:

    This JVL author speaks to the high level of moral, intellectual, and emotional engagement that most socialists aspire to and, if and where found wanting, offers a truly socialist path – one which, IMHO, is less rooted in the view of mankind as rooted in ‘original sin’ than as social beings, more malleable than fixed, and therefore able to inspire, and aspire to, the best within us all to flourish as cooperative Communities in Peace.

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