There is a word in the left-wing lexicon which is close to meaningless, it seems. And that word is “solidarity”.
It shouldn’t be meaningless. It should describe a positive action; people standing together with an individual or a group against an evil.
But what “solidarity” has become is a buzzword, a similar sentiment to the regular tweets by right-wing politicians in the United States offering their “thoughts and prayers” to the families of those who lose loved ones in gun massacres.
What such politicians are really saying with their “thoughts and prayers” tweets is as follows: “I’m not going to do anything to actively try and change this situation, even though it’s within my power to try. So here are some words expressing faint regret. That’s all you will ever receive from me.”
So too, we have the current situation in the Labour Party. Time and time again, the party has proved that it is rotten to the core with antisemitism. Yet time and time again, people refuse to leave. For hardcore activists, Labour isn’t just a party; it’s an entire social circle or the nearest equivalent to a religion. Some members, to be fair, possess a genuine dedication to a vision of a fairer society (where Jews will fit into that society is not their paramount concern). So, like those Republican politicians, they can’t or won’t offer any concrete action.
But here’s a sprinkling of “solidarity”, comrade, to know that we understand your pain, even though we’ll do nothing to help end it. Down With This Sort Of Thing.
There are some, of course, who go even further in their grotesque mockery of the idea of solidarity; and that is never more apparent than when it comes to Holocaust Memorial Day. Our greatest tragedy has become their photo opportunity.
There was, of course, Chris Williamson, who after a year of defending repulsive antisemites, thought that a picture of him signing the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Book of Remembrance would simply wash those sins away.
But it goes beyond the Labour party’s most repulsive MP. Far beyond.
On the eve of HMD, Labour let one of its former MPs, Jim Sheridan, back into the party. It had suspended him in August after he made the following comment:
“For almost all my life I have had the utmost respect and empathy for the Jewish community and their historic suffering. No longer due to what they and their Blairite plotters are doing to my party and long suffering people of Britain who need a radical Labour government.”
That is an antisemitic statement. You would have to be blind not to see that. And yet Labour let Mr Sheridan back in to the party. And once they did, he said this:
“I remain of the view that my accusers were misguided and overreacted to what was intended to highlight my personal frustration and criticism of those intent on undermining our leadership in Scotland and the UK.”
Does that language sound familiar? Perhaps that is because it’s very similar to a standard excuse in the wake of spousal abuse. I was frustrated and by your actions you were asking for it. Why are you making such a big deal about it now?
And yet, some 24 hours after his party once again demonstrated its complete disdain for Jews by letting Mr Sheridan back into its ranks, the leader of the party was busy tweeting about Holocaust Memorial Day.
“In memory of the millions of Jewish people, and others, who perished in the Holocaust”, Jeremy Corbyn tweeted, along with a picture of him looking solemn while signing HET’s Book of Remembrance.
“Let us never allow antisemitism or any other form of racism to disfigure our society.”
In memory of the millions of Jewish people, and others, who perished in the Holocaust. Let us never allow antisemitism or any other form of racism to disfigure our society.— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) January 26, 2019
My message in the Holocaust Education Trust's Book of Commitment. @HolocaustUK pic.twitter.com/NK1dsRrRk1
Words. Nothing but words. From people who have the ability to take action, but have deliberately chosen, for their own reasons, not to do so.
Mr Corbyn wasn’t the only one. The far-left Momentum group took the opportunity offered by Holocaust Memorial Day to publish one of their slickly produced videos about Jews who fought back against the Fascists.
Perhaps they hoped we’d forget what happened less than a year ago.
Let me refresh your memory.
In March 2018, Christine Shawcroft, a director of Momentum, was forced to resign as head of Labour’s Internal Disputes Panel, a role she had been in for less than two months.
Why? Because she was found to have defended a suspended member of the party, having made strong representations on his behalf. That member had been suspended after sharing a post on social media. The post was titled “International Red Cross confirms the Holocaust of 6m Jews is a hoax.”
Ms Shawcroft is still one of Momentum’s directors today. Why take action when you can produce videos instead?
There is a reason that Cable Street features so prominently in the Left’s narrative of its relationship with the Jewish community.
It is because that was the last time that genuine solidarity was shown, the sort of solidarity which quite literally had men and women of the Left standing shoulder to shoulder with the Jewish community in London’s East End, waiting for the jackbooted thugs who had planned to flaunt their power by strutting through the streets.
But now? Thoughts and prayers, comrade. Thoughts and prayers.