Momentum activists handed reissued book on left-wing antisemitism to avoid falling into same trap

500 free copies of the the book, written by Jewish Marxist on Steve Cohen 35 years ago, are being sent out


A classic study of left-wing antisemitism written 35 years ago by a Jewish Marxist named Steve Cohen has been reissued — partly as an attempt to educate activists associated with Jeremy Corbyn’s party on how to avoid falling into the same trap.

Steve Cohen’s book, That’s Funny, You Don’t Look Antisemitic, was first published in 1984 and has become a collectors’ item among political obsessives ever since.

The author had originally set out to write a critique of the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982 — but ended up stumbling across clear-cut examples antisemitism by self-described “anti-racists” within the left time and time again.

Mr Cohen, who died in 2009 and was a socialist activist primarily based in Manchester, wrote: “It is intolerable that the socialist movement has never been prepared to look at its antisemitism in a self-critical way.”

In the book he expresses his complex and contradictory feelings towards Israel and the idea of a Jewish nation.

Now, in an attempt to stem the rising tide of antisemitic tropes and conduct on the left, the book’s publishers, No Pasaran Media, have sent 500 copies free of charge to members of the Momentum movement.

In recognition that the book held many valuable lessons for modern-day left-wingers, Momentum issued a statement telling supporters that Mr Cohen’s book was “well worth a read.”

Labour’s Norwich South parliamentary candidate Clive Lewis has also praised the re-issue of the book.

In a recent essay on how Labour should tackle antisemitism within, he said: “We could also circulate existing educational resources such as Steve Cohen’s book That’s Funny, You Don’t Look Antisemitic, a comprehensive but accessible analysis of how antisemitism has historically manifested on the left.” For the reissue of the book on Friday, Mr Cohen’s son Tom wrote a new forward to make his father’s words even more relevant today.

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