Lily Einhorn tweets

A moving twitter thread. Yet another Jewish voice, excluded by the establishment but taking to twitter to express passionate feelings:

I am not afraid of a labour government. I am afraid of another Tory one. I am not afraid of Corbyn. I am afraid of Johnson. Let’s not forget, let’s really really not forget, one of these men has a track record of fighting racism — whilst one has written overtly racist articles in a newspaper and then refused to apologise for them.

 

The mural commemorating the battle of Cable Street. Photo: jo-marshall (was Jo-h)

Ok. I’ve written about this before but after the intervention yesterday [25th Nov] of the chief Rabbi, and a few weeks ago of my great aunt’s Rabbi, I feel compelled to write again. Antisemitism and the Labour Party. A (long) thread.

First of all my Jewish credentials. (We’ll come back to this). Both my parents are Jewish. On my mother’s side we are German Jews who left Germany early in the 20th Century. Pre-Holocaust but because of the rise of antisemitism in Europe & Germany.

On my father’s side we are (now) Romanian Jews. But then it was Carpathian Russia. You can swim across the river to Ukraine from the village where my grandfather was born. He ran away from home aged 14 because he didn’t want to go to rabbinical school.

This was just before the war broke out. It saved him. He ended up joining the Czech army and coming to Britain. (On the boat not sunk by the british). He ended up in Felixstowe in Essex where he met my grandmother. He joined the British army.

After the war he went to Prague to the Red Cross Centre to find his family. He was one of 13. His parents and most of his siblings – and their young children – were killed in Berkenau. Two of his sisters survived the camps and went to Israel.

Two of his brothers also survived the camps. One saved the other. It’s a good story. They used to show me their branded numbers on their forearms at family gatherings. I am an atheist. I was brought up by atheist parents.

We didn’t celebrate Jewish holidays except when we went to the practicing members of the family’s houses. This is pretty much still the case except I’m instituting secular Chanukah into our lives like we celebrate Christmas.

So that’s me. I grew up on chicken soup and gherkins. My grandfather spoke with a thick Eastern European accent. I hate g’filter fish. I love cheese cake. And I’m left wing and a labour supporter.

I lay these credentials out because they have become necessary. It has become necessary to prove your Jewishness I order to join the debate, to have a ‘legitimate’ opinion. In this debate there are right Jews and wrong Jews and Jews who aren’t Jewish enough.

I’m the latter. And frankly that opinion is repulsive, whether it comes from inside or outside the ‘community.’ (Which I will also come back to). And it is the former who gets the articles in The Times. Because the latter are being silenced.

I am not afraid of a labour government. I am afraid of another Tory one. I am not afraid of Corbyn. I am afraid of Johnson. Let’s not forget, let’s really really not forget, one of these men has a track record of fighting racism –

– whilst one has written overtly racist articles in a newspaper and then refused to apologise for them. So bsck to the issue. Do I think Corbyn could have handled the issue better? Arguably, yes.

He was not quite quick enough to admit it exists in the Labour Party bf promise to root it out. It’s bad politics. It’s not racism. I will link to articles citing the research at the bottom of this: course there is antisemitism in the Labour Party.

It has hundreds of thousands of members and there is antisemitism in every pocket of British society. So when our let a large group of people near a microphone some of them will say hideous things.

Tory members aren’t allowed near microphones. They don’t have the same kind of grassroots membership or campaigning models. They are much better at hiding their racism.

Except, you know, they’re not. Their leader is racist. He is a right wing racist. And nobody cares. So what’s really going on? Antisemitism is very very easy to weaponise. Because Jews are wary.

The Holocaust may have been the pinnacle of anti-Jewish sentiment but it came after hundreds of years of pogroms, caricatures and sanctions. It has happened before, so, we think, it could happen again.

Casual antisemitism is so common we shrug it off. Sneaky and thrifty like a Jew, tight like a Jew, Jews are all diamond dealers, gold diggers, there’s no shortage of us in the media, the film industry, theatre. We’ve heard it all.

I’ve heard it all. From strangers and colleagues alike. So we are familiar with a sense of dislike and distrust, just there under the surface. It doesn’t take much for a campaign of misinformation to make people feel really frightened, hated.

Jewish people are not stupid and alarmist for feeling this way. Do not take my distaste with this campaign for a distaste for people who share my heritage. And so this barely perceptible, under the skin nervousness gets weaponised.

Appropriated by the right, both Jewish and non-jewish alike, for political gain. The non-Jewish people currently rushing to call out this scourge in the Labour Party never cared before. I haven’t seen these people leaping to our defence.

I haven’t seen people calling out these micro aggressions before Corbyn became the leader of a socialist movement which would seriously damage right wing interests.

Does anyone really – really – think that there is less antisemitism and racism in the Conservative party than in the Labour Party? In the right and not the left? In a party whose leader is racist and has allied himself with other, racist, leaders across the globe?

Because antisemitism in on the rise across the world. The far right are on the rise. And this nonsense witch hunting on the left does several things which I find DEEPLY offensive.

It distracts from those genuine incidences of antisemitism which really do need calling out and addressing. It feeds into the (antisemitic. The irony) idea of a Jewish conspiracy. And most dangerous of all, it removes Jewish people from their natural allies: the left.

And I feel utterly furious. First of all there is no homogeneous ‘Jewish community’ who these anti labour articles speak for. They don’t speak for me. I may not be religious but I’m jewish ebough to have a fucking opinion.

And do I think Johnson would stand alongside me and protect me if things got ugly. No I fucking do not. Do I think @jeremycorbyn would? Yes. I do. I’m voting @UKLabour. I suggest, if you care about racism, you do too.

Finally, some article from more articulate people than me. opendemocracy.net/en/opendemocra…

 

Comments (5)

  • John Baruch says:

    Really good i feel just the same.

  • Marion Creighton says:

    me too, me too, ME TOO !!!

  • Richard Hayward says:

    “It distracts from those genuine incidences of antisemitism”

    That’s not the main issue – which is that it has resurrected and given centre stage to a division that has not been an important part of British society for a long time.

    The evidence? That of a vast number of members of the Labour Party who have never come across even unthinking anti-semitism in their experience of the Party – or more widely.

    The promotion of the views of a minute minority fringe into the myth of an ‘existential threat’ for political purposes has done more damage in a short period than all the activity of the actual right-wing antisemitism could ever have managed.

  • Kathy hayman says:

    Can I share some of this on fb page

    [We’re sure you can – it was originally posted on an open Twitter thread – JVL web ed]

  • Dave Lewis says:

    This is a touching, rightly angry and very personal testimony. Thank you Lily, for writing it and JVL for sharing it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Read our full comment policy.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.