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It’s not that difficult to start a row in the Jewish community (just go to the Brent Cross shopping mall car park if you don’t believe me). But I was nevertheless quite honoured to have started what the Jewish Chronicle called “a big one”. Doing anything in the Jewish community becomes more impressive with scale. No one’s mother ever telephoned their friends to boast that their son started “a small debate”.

But it was only a modest point that I sought to make. My argument, in the JC, was that the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) was fighting our friends and propping up our foes by standing for the Labour Party in marginal seats with large Jewish populations (like Finchley and Hendon) against non-Jewish MPs who have been brave and vocal in the fight against anti-Semitism. Not so much starting a row, I thought, as a statement of the blindingly obvious.

Apparently not so, to parts of the Jewish Left. Danny Rich, a prominent Liberal rabbi, described my contention as “an attack on all [the JLM] have achieved, and everything we have won”. Blimey. I only heard of it for the first time a fortnight ago. My article meant no such thing.

I applaud the JLM for its historical success in fighting anti-Semitism, of course I do. But its numerous campaigns have only been necessitated because Labour is so toxic on this issue. The levels of its activity are ironic testament to the problems with Labour. Hardly a day goes by without Labour members ascribing global difficulties to Jewish conspiracy. Many suffer from Ken’s favourite illness, Hitler Tourette’s. Even when Labour commissioned an inquiry into anti-Semitism, it concluded in a whitewash. As I wrote previously: Labour ended up in the clear and Shami Chakrabarti ended up in ermine. 

So mazel tov to the JLM on its incredibly busy last couple of years. But this also explains why it makes perfect sense not to put tooth and nail into fighting off prominent friends of the community, only to try and deliver more marginal seats for a Labour Party led by Jeremy Corbyn.

One of the premises which informs the thinking of the Jewish Left is that Corbyn has no chance of being Prime Minister. David Hirsh, an academic I respect, stated in the Jewish News that Corbyn has

only the tiniest chance of winning the election. And if Labour did find itself in a position to form a coalition, the anti-Corbyn Labour MPs would hold the balance of power at Westminster. In my judgment, electing [Jeremy] Newmark [the Labour candidate in Finchley and chair of the JLM] would not put Corbyn one centimetre nearer to control of the nuclear button.

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