It is seventy years since the ‘Jewish People’s Council’ gathered at the Tel Aviv Museum and approved the proclamation declaring the establishment of the State of Israel. For six months, Jews had been engaged in a bloody civil conflict that would turn the right of having a state, into actually creating one. To do this they had to fight united groups that stood against them. Those that sought to destroy the idea of the Jewish state, fighting alongside those that sought to destroy the Jews.
Following the establishment of Israel, the regional war began, as local Arab armies tried to succeed where the Arabs inside the Mandate and their own irregular forces had failed. For seventy years now, Israel has faced a range of enemies that seek to destroy it. During this endless war of hate, 27,779 people Jews/Israelis have been killed. 23,645 soldiers and 4134 victims of terror. The price has been heavy and felt by every family in Israel. Which is why it is fitting that Israelis remember the cost, the day before they can celebrate the gift.
This is not a battle that Israel chose. Israel has pulled it’s forces out of Sinai, Gaza and Southern Lebanon. It has signed peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan. It was closer with the Palestinians than many think and it was the Arab inability to end the conflict, rather than anything Israel did, that remains the primary reason why such a treaty was not signed. If Israel had it’s way the fighting would end today. Israel’s children wear the uniform because they must.
It may seem like a change of subject but in reality, the events in the British Parliament yesterday are part of the very same fight that make Israeli children wear the IDF uniform. In an emotional debate about antisemitism, several Jewish MPs spoke of the hate that has been personally directed towards them. Anyone who is publicly engaged in this fight against antisemitism probably knows those that were read out were ‘light’ examples, of some of the torrent of abuse we receive. The speeches of both Luciana Berger and Ruth Smeeth were heartbreaking. Both of these MPs were visibly affected by having to deliver such a truth to the British Parliament in 2018. This was not a battle they chose.
The ‘tightening air’
It was a Tory MP, rather than a Labour one, who provided the best description of the deteriorating environment. Robert Halfon said he felt as if ‘the air has grown tighter’ in this country. A reference to the increased toxicity that exists on our streets, and that feeling that we are less safe, less free, than we all were yesterday. A sense of slow suffocation, a claustrophobic quality. Halfon then said this:
‘I never imagined, because I always thought this was the greatest country in the world, my father was an immigrant here – he escaped from Pogroms in Libya – and I never imagined that one would ever feel the air tightening in this country’
That he said this indicates that Halfon never chose this battle either. Like Berger, Smeeth and the thousands who turned up at the demonstrations either at Parliament Square or outside the Labour HQ, none of us ever imagined this is where we would be in 2018. This was the battle of our parents, our grand-parents and our great-grandparents. Many thought this battle was done. They were wrong.
The personal attacks
It isn’t surprising that there is a virtual army online defending Jeremy Corbyn. 100,000’s of people joined the Labour Party because of Corbyn and he has an adoring following. He provides many people who felt excluded from politics with a voice. Some of those voices we are better off without. He is seen by some as the person who will bring the ‘revolution’ against a world controlled by Jews. These people act like a swarm, crowding around and then abusing anyone who attacks Corbyn. As someone who is at the front of this fight, and not acting anonymously, I have been abused, threatened and defamed. I have had my contact details publicly shared. My family has been hounded at times, and even my 87-year-old mother became a target for online abuse.
Gilad Atzmon, Free Speech on Israel, Mondoweiss, Electronic Intifada, JVL, Asa Winstanley, Tony Greenstein, Bella Caledonia, Sarah Glynn, Alan Maddison and Jonathan Ofir are just some of those who have written or published nonsensical stuff about me, and in many of these pieces I have been called a combination of racist, neo-Nazi, Islamophobic and misogynistic. All this because I believe in the ethical underpinning of the Jewish right to statehood and I fight against antisemitism.
Corbyn on the stool
None of this will be changed by the debate yesterday. It was emotional, but we already know that there is more than one party inside this Labour party. We know Corbyn has brought a cult with him and we know moderates inside the party are being abused. The truth is this – if Corbyn were really to tackle antisemitism, he would be the man standing on a stool with a noose around his neck, kicking away the very legs upon which the stool seat stands. He cannot and will not tackle anti-Jewish racism in the party.
Just as he is caught in his world, we must face the reality of the dangerous environment this creates. I personally saw Jeremy Corbyn swimming in the sewer with Holocaust Deniers and rabid antisemites. He seems at home in these environments. Just as he appears at home with ideologies promoted by groups like Hamas and Hezbollah. For me, this man is not, nor never will be fit, to lead this country.
The game must be played
Yet nobody can say Jeremy Corbyn must go, because his followers have a grip on the party apparatus. We can only ask him to change or to tackle the racism. In turn he can suggest that he will or pretend to do so. This is the near choreographed dance that is taking place at the moment.
The Board of Deputies and Jewish Leadership Council must be seen to be willing to accommodate a world with Corbyn as PM, even though they already know Corbyn is just playing games with them. Jeremy Corbyn must be seen to be willing to attend to the antisemitism, even though he has no intention of doing so. The dance begins. The BOD / JLC issue demands. Corbyn goes to a Jewdas Seder. The meeting is set up. Corbyn sets up a second meeting and invites anti-Zionist groups to come along. There is a debate on antisemitism, Corbyn walks out and then back in again. We demand he investigates antisemitism in the party, the entire process becomes a shambles.
At every juncture, Corbyn’s strategy will be to play games, or use the tiny minority of hard-core Jewish anti-Zionists to annoy the mainstream Jews. When necessary, he will hide behind a slightly less extreme fringe, like Jewdas, to create confusion in the wider public. If pushed, he will use support for ultra-Orthodox Jews to blur lines even further ( see the deflective speech by Diane Abbot in the debate).
The wider population will never understand the opposition that mainstream Jews have to groups like JVL or Jewdas. They cannot be expected to fathom the gulf that separates a few naive synagogue going students (Jewdas), from a handful of Marxist assimilationists who care nothing about Judaism or the wider Jewish community (JVL). Most importantly nobody outside the community can see the numerical insignificance of any of these groups. Even if we add JVL to Jewdas and then include anti-Zionist (not non-Zionist) orthodoxy, we are still dealing with an insignificant fringe. These people are of no relevance beyond their use as a political weapon to shield antisemitism.
Which Jeremy Corbyn will use at will. Creating a false impression that this is an internal Jewish fight. Classic Soviet style strategy that seeks to divide to rule. He does this with an army of antisemites hiding behind him. We have no choice but to stand up against the threat. To argue semantics over anti-Zionism and antisemitism is a pointless exercise when they all fight in the same army, sleep in the same barracks and eat in the same canteen.
Semantics and statistics
Yet that is exactly what Corbyn’s followers want people to do. Become confused by irrelevant semantics. To show the level of the absurdity, look at this post by Alan Maddison:
Maddison actually went through the entire first part of the Palestine Live report and found only 4 posts that were shared in the Facebook Group he was willing to consider as antisemitic. 10%. According to Maddison the other 90% were not antisemitic at all. I can only assume he is seeing ‘Rothschild Zionism conspiracy’ as anti-Zionist and ‘Mossad did 9/11’ as anti-Israel. Look through the report yourself. How blind must you be not to see it? This man was a key strategist for JVL and is behind many of the ridiculous statistics about antisemitism being shared by Corbyn supporters.
The other trick is to distribute statistics that exclude ‘Zionism’ completely. Much of the available data on antisemitism, tests public attitudes through the use of the word ‘Jew’. Which means that someone who thinks Zionists control ISIS, the media and banks or steal organs from Arab children, would not register as antisemitic in the statistics. Anyone who has learnt to switch the word ‘Jew’ for ‘Zionist’ would not be included. Because of anti-Zionist antisemitism, this would affect Labour more than any other party. It renders those statistics virtually meaningless.
Which brings us back to Corbyn. Jeremy Corbyn will see the mainstream Jewish community as an enemy for as long as he is leader. His political world vision will never accommodate being ‘Jewish’ in the same way as we understand it. For decades he has aligned with those who hate Jews and those who seek to destroy Israel. Behind him today stands an army that includes far too many antisemites for us to ignore as a serious threat. We are destined to oppose him. We do not choose our battles, sometimes they choose us. Israel sits surrounded by enemies, so are we.
As the environment deteriorates in the UK and beyond, we cannot know how all this will play out. This battle we did not want or expect. We stand against those who hate Jews via Israel and those who hate Jews directly. From the perspective of some naive idealistic anti-Zionist, these positions may seem entirely different. For a Jew, fighting anti-Zionist antisemitism, there is virtually no difference at all.
In 1948, when they celebrated the creation of Israel, Zionists knew the battles were still to be fought. Today we celebrate Israel’s 70th birthday as the ‘air tightens’ around us in the UK. What yesterday’s debate showed us all clearly, is that whether we wanted this political fight or not, it is upon us.
Please help support the research
This blog is unique, and the type of investigative journalism that this work requires can be intense. Across the globe there has been a rise in antisemitism that is connected to the delegitimisation campaign against Israel. To fight back, we must do so on both fronts. Because of this, my research involves both antisemitism and the revisionist narrative that demonises Israel. My work is fully independent, and your support makes much of what I do possible. This research can and does make a difference, I was recently named as one of the J100 (‘top 100 people positively influencing Jewish life’) by The Algemeiner.
If you can, please consider making a donation. Either a single amount or if possible a small monthly contribution. We need to be there to expose the hatred and the lies. We have to shine a light into the shadows and show people what is happening. We cannot remain silent. Every contribution is greatly appreciated.