There are any number of depressing elements to the Priti Patel affair. But for our community, by far the worst is the credence it will give to the conspiracy theorists and Israel-haters who have for years argued that Israel exercises undue influence in British politics.
No such allegation is made against other nations, which spend far more money on lobbying and hold far more sway; but the libel of the all-powerful Jew is as potent now as ever.
The worry is that we will now have to spend untold time and energy countering even more baseless accusations of conspiracies — time and energy that could otherwise be spent on the many real, practical issues that need attention. As one senior community figure puts it in our coverage: “This will set us back 20 years.”
But the irony behind Ms Patel’s departure is that her idea of using British aid money to help fund Israeli relief operations is sensible and would have been a wonderful example of British and Israeli co-operation. Thanks, however, to her breaches of the ministerial code that cooperation is now most likely as dead as Priti Patel’s Cabinet career.
Meanwhile, we are faced with decades of good work on behalf of our community being undermined and a likely suspicion of entirely legitimate future meetings and lobbying. This affair is a disaster.
Jeremy Corbyn’s presence at last week’s Mend meeting is the most significant — and worrying — event of his leadership. It shows that he has not changed since his days as a backbencher, when he welcomed a variety of unsavoury characters to the Commons and gave succour to the more dangerous elements in society.
Mend is a malign organisation which exists to undermine Western democracy. All those who attended last week’s meeting — including the Met’s head of community relations — should feel shame for pulling the rug from underneath moderate Muslims who are fighting to counter the influence of the likes of Mend.
And what a chilling message it sends about a future Corbyn government.