British Jews’ potential lose-lose scenario

What is happening in Britain’s Labour party, the main political opposition force to the current government and the party suggested by many pollsters as the most likely next government, is simply appalling. 

There has been a lot of media attention in recent weeks as the spotlight has been thrown on the virulent levels of anti-Semitism running rife in a political party that was once a natural home to so many British Jews.

Under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn - a man with a history of supporting terrorists around the world, including Hamas and Hezbollah - anti-Semitism has reached shocking levels as highlighted by a series of Labour’s own MP’s in a passionate, heart-rending debate in the House of Commons last week.

The levels of abuse, hate mail, and even death threats that Jewish MP’s, and non-Jewish MP’s who support their Jewish colleagues have received has been horrific and unprecedented in the UK. Corbyn, carried to the shock leadership of the Labour party by the far-left wing Momentum movement that seemingly contains many anti-Semites, made little effort to rein in the vile imagery and comments on social media perpetrated in the name of the far Left against the Jewish community. Indeed, he posted and shared some of the anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli tropes doing the rounds among his supporters.

Now that the issue has become a political hot potato he is trying to worm his way out of the situation promising that disciplinary panels will investigate the issue etc. But he refuses to remove his close friend and long-time colleague Ken Livingstone from the party, a man with a long history of anti-Semitic slurs and support for Palestinian terror groups. Corbyn’s pathetic attempt in 2016 of ‘investigating’ the issue in the whitewash that was the lopsided Chakrabarty Report into anti-Semitism in the Labour party, only served to enforce the impression that his own personal views have never changed.

And after a meeting yesterday with leaders of the Jewish community, it was clear Corbyn has done nothing in real terms to change the status quo in the Labour party since the spotlight was shone on the issue of anti-Semitism. The dignified, but powerful statements from the Jewish community leaders left no doubt they were massively disappointed with Corbyn’s failed promises. They clearly stated they will judge him “on deeds, not words”.

The big problem in all of this for Britain’s 250,000-300,000 Jews is that they potentially face a lose-lose scenario. If they don’t tackle the frightening wave of anti-Semitism the situation will surely only get worse, reaching similar proportions to the crisis in France. But on the other hand, if they do succeed in quite rightly bringing Corbyn to book and the Labour party suffers a slump that might included their leader having to step down, the Jewish community could face another backlash from those fanatical Momentum supporters living their warped dreams on the coattails of Corbyn’s stunning rise to power from the back benches.

There has always been - and I believe always will be - an undercurrent of sometimes only thinly disguised anti-Semitism across all classes and political opinions in British society. I was on the receiving end of it a time or two myself and know how insidious it can be.

The Jewish community represents around 0.5% of the total British population. Their votes don’t count to the same extent as other larger minority groups, such as British Muslims - now assessed at around 3-4 million on some measures - the majority of whom are Labour party supporters, and among whom, “the prevalence of anti-Semitic views … was two to four times higher than in any other segment of the population”, according to the ‘Anti-Semitism in the contemporary Great Britain’ report conducted by the London-based Institute for Jewish Policy Research in September of last year.

While shining a clear spotlight on Corbyn and his cronies is undoubtedly the right thing to do - and not to do so would be a dereliction of duty - the Jewish community in Britain should not kid itself that ridding the political scene of this terrorist appeaser and Jew hater will bring an end to the worrying rise of anti-Semitism on its doorstep. It goes a lot deeper than that.