Labour and Jews
Labour’s decision to drop all action against two members accused of antisemitic abuse is both shocking and entirely predictable. Predictable, because despite the warm words about fighting antisemitism, the evidence of the past year is that Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour has no interest in rooting out antisemitism from its ranks.
But still shocking, too, because a mainstream party has upheld the right of bigots to act as bigots over that of Jewish students to live free from such bigotry.
These were not unsubstantiated allegations: Baroness Royall’s inquiry found the evidence compelling that “there have been some incidents of antisemitic behaviour and that it is appropriate for the disciplinary procedures of our Party to be invoked.”
Labour has instead decided to do nothing. The message from the party is now clear. When Mr Corbyn pledged, as he did at last year’s party conference, to “take firm action against abuse and intimidation”, he should have added “unless the victim is Jewish”.
It is now difficult to see how Labour can be regarded as anything other than institutionally antisemitic.
The Chief Rabbi says he is uninterested in being just a figurehead. Quite right. There is no point in being a leader without showing leadership.
But we sometimes forget how difficult that is. Jonathan Arkush is a refreshingly direct President of the Board of Deputies. Yet for all those who agree with him, there are those who resent every word he utters. Oy vey iz mir!