Nicole Lampert

Labour’s anti-Semitism problem is losing its power to shock

A Labour activist – since elected a councillor – sharing neo-Nazi material declaring that ‘the Jews declared war on Germany in 1933’. A video of a Labour MP rousing a rabble with the incendiary suggestion that ‘Zionism is the enemy of peace’. An activist for the self-proclaimed anti-racist party suggesting a march on their local synagogue. The secretary of Jewish Voice for Labour telling a crowd of pro-Palestinian marchers that Jews are ‘in the gutter’.

In isolation, all of these are jaw-dropping and deeply alarming. That they all happened – or emerged – in a short period of time following years of similarly scandalous behaviour means that a certain ennui about Labour anti-Semitism has set in. But it is important that we don’t get bored by these stories. The party’s problem with Jews must not lose its power to shock.

Labour’s reaction to such stories has certainly become predictable, even as MPs and councillors leave the party decrying its ‘institutional anti-Semitism’. A mealy-mouthed semi-apology saying the party is determined to root out all forms of racism, while doing precisely zilch, is the typical response. This is followed by a temporary suspension from Labour, if we are lucky, which will probably last until the fuss dies down. Meanwhile, on and on it goes.

The Labour anti-Semitism crisis has been rumbling on for nearly four years now and it poisons the party – which could soon be running the country – from top
to bottom.

It is there in its leadership team, schooled in Soviet-style anti-Semitism in which Jews and Zionists – as the colonialist oppressors of the Palestinians – are the enemy. Jeremy Corbyn was ‘present’ but ‘not involved’ when wreaths were laid for members of the terror group behind the attack at the Munich Olympics, in which 11 Israeli athletes were murdered.

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