Labour will never eradicate its antisemitism until the Left acknowledges racism elsewhere

Melanie Philips looks at the mind-set of those who allow hate to fester

February 28, 2019 14:47

There can be no doubting the anguish felt by decent Labour party members over the terrible poison of antisemitism that has corrupted their cause. As Harold Wilson said in another era, Labour is a moral crusade or it is nothing.

After the departure from the party of nine MPs, wholly or in part over the failure to deal with its antisemitism, deputy leader Tom Watson warned of a crisis over its soul.

Those who, like Watson, are appalled but are staying put say they are fighting to rescue the party. But it cannot be rescued. It is not just that there have been so many incidents of antisemitic abuse and bullying. It’s not just that the party has been captured by the hard left. It’s not just that Jeremy Corbyn refuses to acknowledge a problem that he himself embodies.

The problem goes much further than the Corbynistas. For the virus of this bigotry is carried by the cause that serves grotesquely as the international marker of conscience for western progressive circles.

The reason the party cannot eradicate its antisemitism is that support for the Palestine cause is the default narrative on the left.

And Palestinianism does not consist of the mythical two-state solution, that moral fig-leaf for the gullible and blinkered. It stands for the destruction of Israel altogether, as is demonstrated by what is regurgitated not just by Hamas but also by the supposedly “moderate” Palestinian leadership.

It is demonstrated by their flags and insignia depicting the whole of Israel as Palestine, by the incitement of their children to murder Israelis and steal their land, and by their own statements over the years that the two-state solution is in fact an intended final solution for the existence of Israel.

Moreover, this agenda is rooted in eye-watering antisemitism. Public Palestinian discourse demonises not just Israel but also the Jewish people as a source of cosmic conspiracies and evil intent.

Mahmoud Abbas, viewed by the western left as a statesman-in-waiting, has a doctorate in Holocaust denial, explicitly venerates the Palestinian Nazi-ally Haj Amin al Husseini who undertook to slaughter every Jew in the Middle East in the event of Hitler’s victory, and uses his media outlets to transmit medieval and Nazi-style demonisation of the Jews.

His followers claim the Jews were behind 9/11, that Israel is out to destroy the Islamic world and that the Jews control the world’s media, finance and US foreign policy.

So why should Labour party members who support the Palestinians with their agenda of Holocaust denial, attacks on Judaism and unhinged conspiracy theories about Jewish power now be so shocked that Labour party members are themselves coming out with Holocaust denial, attacks on Judaism and unhinged conspiracy theories about Jewish power?

And has everyone forgotten that it’s been an article of faith on much of the left that the west went to war in Iraq “on a lie” as the result of a conspiracy cooked up between Jerusalem and the White House?

The left has absorbed the Marxist concept that the world is divided into the powerful and the powerless. Those with power can never be good; those without power, like the Palestinians, can never be bad. Those who make money have power over those who don’t. Those who make money are bad; those without money are good. Jews make money. Therefore Jews are powerful and bad.

Worse, Israel is militarily powerful. That is seen as its crime; and it’s also why anti-Israelism is umbilically connected to antisemitism. The fact that Jews are now equipped with military power, albeit solely to defend themselves against annihilation, breathes life into the paranoid delusion that the Jews are so powerful they pose a threat to everyone else.

Antisemitism is now surging across continents in an unholy alliance between the left, neo-Nazis and the Islamic world.

Such a derangement of reason on a global scale is terrifying and, as with antisemitism throughout the ages, ultimately unfathomable. For the west, however, support for Palestinianism has clearly destroyed its moral compass.

The left believes that it is morally unimpeachable and simply incapable of racism. Its support for the Palestine cause demonstrates and reinforces its self-righteousness.

It won’t begin to address its own antisemitism, therefore, until and unless it acknowledges that the evil it has supported abroad has seeded itself not just in the Labour party but throughout the “anti-racist” world.


Melanie Phillips is a Times columnist


February 28, 2019 14:47

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