Way back at the end of the 1970s, ‘anti-racism’ was the first ‘ism’ that got me vaguely interested in politics.
Barely out of primary school, the far-right National Front seemed to be growing ever stronger in north London.
A group of skinheads at school actually did their Doctor Martens boots up with red-laces – at the time a symbol of support for the NF, or the even more extreme British Movement.
To mark my opposition to the far-right I remember taking the tube to Finsbury Park one afternoon to purchase an Anti-Nazi League badge from BookMarx, the left-wing propaganda shop – heavily linked to the Socialist Workers Party, of course.
It seemed like the natural thing to do for a teenage Jewish boy who didn’t feel entirely comfortable just hanging out with kids from his own background, but felt empowered and a whole lot more tougher than he actually was by the anti-racism crowd’s regular chant of ‘Black and White, Unite and Fight’ .
Last weekend, I watched a film about those times, with its focal point the famous Rock Against Racism concert that took place in Hackney’s Victoria Park in 1978. It was called ‘White Riot’, in honour of my favourite band The Clash’s seminal song.
One thing struck me though.
While the film correctly showed the rising hatred towards the Black and Asian communities that the far-right sought to exploit as Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government came to power in 1979, the issue of anti-Jewish hate was much less focused on.
In fact during the entire film, one of the only mentions of Jews came when one of the organisers of the Rock Against Racism concerts stated that support for the anti-racist movement was even found amongst “Jewish businessmen”.
Today’s anti-racism leaders have developed an even bigger problem addressing what Karl Marx infamously described as the ’Jewish Question’.
Take Labour’s antisemitism crisis under Jeremy Corbyn.
You would be hard-pushed to find any self-declared anti-racists who actually accept that Labour antisemitism is real.
Rather than standing alongside Jewish brothers and sisters who have complained bitterly for the past five years about their treatment by Labour, today’s self-proclaimed anti-racists have turned on an ethnic minority and accused them of making it all up.
Even worse, some of them have accused Jewish people of engaging in racism themselves when they have criticised Labour MPs, some of whom happen to be black.
These same self-defined anti-racists were the ones unable to speak out when Sajid Javid, a British Muslim, was labelled a ‘coconut’ – a racist slur to someone deemed to be brown on the outside and white on the inside – because he was a senior minister with the Conservative Party.
Or similarly, they were silent when former Labour MP Chuka Umunna was attacked with very same slur – mainly because he spoke out about Labour’s antisemitism problem.
Then there’s those REALLY outspoken anti-racists - people like Salma Yaqoob, a former parliamentary candidate for George Galloway’s Respect Party, who launched such a vicious campaign against British Muslim MP Naz Shah it left the Labour frontbencher feeling suicidal.
Or Jackie Walker – the former Labour Momentum member expelled from Labour over allegations involving antisemitism – who last week saw fit to share a social media post that read: ‘Dear BoD, Kier (sic) Starmer, Jewish Community Groups – if you want race conflict you are going the right way. Stop it now.’
Which left me thinking: If these people are seriously amongst the leaders of today’s ‘anti-racism’ movement, then that’s it - I’m out.