It’s four days until Seder night, and I’m up to my eyeballs in lists, and recipes, and printouts of Seder songs. To be brutally honest with you, I’ve got better things to do with my time that stand outside on Parliament Square and watch while community leaders deliver a letter to Jeremy Corbyn (who, according to some sources, might not even be there.)
But despite that, I’ll be there.
I’ll be there because, whilst they may not be perfect (and hey, I’ve put myself on the record with how not perfect I think they are) the BOD and the JLC do represent the majority of Jewish organisations and Jewish people in the UK.
I’ll be there because we need to show that the majority of British Jews ARE concerned about the rise in anti-Semitism.
I’ll be there because British Jews DO know the difference between antisemitism and anti-Zionism, and we’re sick of having our genuine concerns about blatant Jew-hate deflected with insulting whataboutery.
I’ll be there because my trust that this issue will be taken seriously by the Labour leadership was trampled long ago, not least by the ‘independent’ Chakrabarti report, a cynical exercise in deflection and minimisation, written by someone who’d been promised a peerage and continues to act as Corbyn’s puppet.
I’ll be there because no other minority group would be victim-blamed for raising concerns about a rise in hate-speech towards them, or accused of ‘weaponising’ their experiences of racism. Not convinced? Within minutes of Corbyn’s ‘apology’ yesterday, the hashtag PredictTheNextCorbynSmear was trending on Twitter. Cue thousands of tweets from self-professed anti-racists for whom the whole antisemitism thing is SOOO hilarious.
I’ll be there because Ken Livingstone has still not been expelled from the Labour Party and MPs who defend him and his views are neither sanctioned nor criticised by the party leadership.
I’ll be there because Jewish MPs and Jewish councillors have repeatedly raised the issue of antisemitism in Labour meetings, hatred that they themselves have experienced, and it has been repeatedly minimised, ignored or denied.
I’ll be there because Corbyn has been interviewed by GQ, and Grazia, and NME, and many more, but has to date not found the time (read: refused) to be interviewed by the Jewish Chronicle. This matters because it reflects how insignificant our concerns have been to the party leadership
I’ll be there because Corbyn continues to wilfully ignore the fact that his leadership has actively encouraged this rise in Jew hate, and he has done nothing to adequately confront it. It’s not pockets. It’s widespread, it’s constant and it’s growing.
I’ll be there because I have gone on (and on and on and on) about the anger and pain I feel about what has happened to the Labour party and the outright hatred that I see daily on Labour forums. We can’t keep having small, isolated conversations about this. There comes a time when pockets of despair (yes, that WAS intentional) need to become protests of action.
I’ll be there because the next time Corbyn defends a Holocaust-denier, or a Jew hater, or a Rothschild stereotyper, and says ‘I didn’t see anything, and anyway, my parents were at Cable Street’. I can say, “Well, I saw it all. And I was at Parliament Square.”