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Much has turned on the adoption of the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism and the examples of anti-Semitic views and comments that the IHRA has provided. One may or may not wonder whether a tick-box approach is the right one; but some means need to be found to make important distinctions, such as criticism of the government of Israel as opposed to rejection of the existence of Israel. The difficulty is compounded because anti-Jewish sentiment is a dangerous beast that has mutated over the centuries, sometimes primarily taking the form of hostility to the Jewish religion (as with Martin Luther), sometimes taking the form of hostility to the Jews as a “race” (as with the Nazis), sometimes taking the form of hostility to Jewish financial successes (as in Western Europe and the USA around 1900, and even now), sometimes taking the form of hatred for the Jewish state. Most, but not all, of these forms of anti-Semitism envisage a supposedly better world in which there would simply be no Jews, or just a few insignificant ones. For anti-Semitism in its most virulent form has involved a wishing away of the Jews. (Another case of wishing away a people is the Gypsies, who shared the same fate under the Nazis.) The disappearance of Jews might be through assimilation or conversion or indeed extermination. One way or another, the world becomes Judenfrei. Virulent anti-Semitism involves strong negation: the negation of Jewish existence. We might call it the mental extermination of Jews, whether or not it is accompanied by physical extermination. The question then is how far Jeremy Corbyn thinks in these terms.

Anthony Julius’s substantial book on the history of anti-Semitism in Britain, Trials of the Diaspora (2010), looked both at this sort of anti-Semitism, loudly expounded by Oswald Mosley, with his wish to clear Jews out of Britain “to one of the many waste places on earth”, and at the sort of social anti-Semitism that saw Jews excluded from golf clubs, Jewish quotas in leading public schools, and occasional off-the-cuff remarks that were not appreciated in the Jewish community. I am not sure whether Macmillan’s famous jibe about there being “more Estonians than Etonians” in Margaret Thatcher’s cabinet really qualifies as anti-Semitic; in fact, it serves as a reminder that the Conservative Party, once seen by Jews as a place that harboured a fair amount of social anti-Semitism, had become a natural home for the ever-expanding Jewish middle class. Around 1960 the only Jewish Tory MPs were the patricians Sir Keith Joseph and Sir Henry d’Avigdor-Goldsmid, while Labour had a great many Jewish MPs from much more modest backgrounds. And then here we were under Mrs Thatcher with three or four Jewish cabinet members. For Mrs Thatcher, the Jewish community demonstrated clearly how it was possible for people, many of whom were descended from poor migrants settled in the East End, to improve themselves and contribute significantly to British society and to the economy.

The changes not just in the political loyalty but in the social status of the Jewish community need to be borne in mind when looking at the anti-Semitism of the Left. Far from qualifying as members of an ethnic minority in need of support, Jews are now seen as white and middle-class, indeed very often as establishment figures — better not to mention how many Jews are judges in the High Court or professors at Oxford and Cambridge. They may be white British; but, paradoxically, they are also being classed as distinct. The radical Left’s war against the Jews is a class war as well as a race war.
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amcdonald
October 12th, 2018
12:10 PM
Today on BBC Politics Live we were actually presented with an accurate, short but parsimonious summary of the Brexit/Corbyn/Islam war. Toby Young,the UKIP leader , a photo of Tommy Robinson with a group of army cadets,a clip from last night`s Newsnight about the predatory muslims raping white girls, and the dogmatic assertion by the female presenter that Islam is a religion not an ideology. She doesn`t wear a BBC burka but she is one. Andrew Neil will be presenting Sharia Politics Live next ?

Lawrence James
October 7th, 2018
10:10 AM
Jewish settlement in Palestine was approved by the last Ottoman sultans and confirmed by the Balfour declaration made shortly before British, Indian, Dominion and French forces conquered the province. Jewish settlement was, therefore, legitimate Before and after the Allies arrived,and there was no lack of Arabs of the effendiya class willing to sell land to the incomers. A small but important point to add to a lucid and formidable article.

amcdonald
October 4th, 2018
2:10 PM
The 17.4 million who voted Leave are the intelligent majority. Theresa May`s dance and speech hit all the right notes. She`s doing the 17.4 million proud and will make a success of it all domestic and foreign. Hard luck for `Islamised` Jeremy Corbyn. If it ain`t got that swing it don`t mean a thing.

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