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12 May, 2018

Letter from Britain: increasingly illiberal establishment and the challenge of Jeremy Corbyn

Britain prides itself on being a liberal state, tolerant of diverse points of view with a judicial system based on law and evidence, but its recent behavior has been anything but that.

by Alexander Mercouris

Part 5 - The ‘Anti-Semitism’ Exaggeration

This scandal has developed concurrently with a parallel one of alleged anti-semitism in the Labour Party, which is quite clearly targeted at the party’s leader, Jeremy Corbyn.

It is based on claims that Corbyn—who has a well-established record of outspoken support for the Palestinian people’s struggle for their rights—has tolerated or even fostered a culture of anti-semitism within the Labour Party. There are even occasional insinuations that he is an anti-semite himself.

It should be said clearly that the insinuation that Corbyn is an anti-semite is malicious and absurd. Corbyn has an outstanding record of anti-racism, and this has included a history of strong opposition to anti-semitism.

As for the allegations of anti-semitism by some members of the Labour Party, some of these allegations have substance but some appear to be legitimately contested, whilst all of the individuals involved have been marginal figures who carry little weight in the Labour Party. Their number has been tiny. Corbyn himself has moreover strongly condemned manifestations of anti-semitism within the party, and those who have been accused of engaging in it have been subjected to disciplinary action, and where the allegation has been proved, have been expelled.

Nonetheless the anti-semitism campaign against Corbyn has been waged relentlessly for weeks, gaining huge publicity in the media, with Corbyn himself being the primary target of the attacks.

The anti-semitism campaign against Corbyn has moreover been waged far more relentlessly, for much longer, and with far more publicity, than has been the Windrush affair.

This is despite the fact that the Windrush scandal has materially affected large numbers of innocent people, whilst the anti-semitic statements of a very small number of marginal figures in the Labour Party have so far as I can see materially affected no-one at all.

Though anti-semitism should be shown no tolerance, it is impossible to avoid noticing the contrast between the relentless and unjustified criticism of Corbyn over the anti-semitism issue, and the gentle treatment of May over the Windrush affair.

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