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Much has turned on the adoption of the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism and the examples of anti-Semitic views and comments that the IHRA has provided. One may or may not wonder whether a tick-box approach is the right one; but some means need to be found to make important distinctions, such as criticism of the government of Israel as opposed to rejection of the existence of Israel. The difficulty is compounded because anti-Jewish sentiment is a dangerous beast that has mutated over the centuries, sometimes primarily taking the form of hostility to the Jewish religion (as with Martin Luther), sometimes taking the form of hostility to the Jews as a “race” (as with the Nazis), sometimes taking the form of hostility to Jewish financial successes (as in Western Europe and the USA around 1900, and even now), sometimes taking the form of hatred for the Jewish state. Most, but not all, of these forms of anti-Semitism envisage a supposedly better world in which there would simply be no Jews, or just a few insignificant ones. For anti-Semitism in its most virulent form has involved a wishing away of the Jews. (Another case of wishing away a people is the Gypsies, who shared the same fate under the Nazis.) The disappearance of Jews might be through assimilation or conversion or indeed extermination. One way or another, the world becomes Judenfrei. Virulent anti-Semitism involves strong negation: the negation of Jewish existence. We might call it the mental extermination of Jews, whether or not it is accompanied by physical extermination. The question then is how far Jeremy Corbyn thinks in these terms.

Anthony Julius’s substantial book on the history of anti-Semitism in Britain, Trials of the Diaspora (2010), looked both at this sort of anti-Semitism, loudly expounded by Oswald Mosley, with his wish to clear Jews out of Britain “to one of the many waste places on earth”, and at the sort of social anti-Semitism that saw Jews excluded from golf clubs, Jewish quotas in leading public schools, and occasional off-the-cuff remarks that were not appreciated in the Jewish community. I am not sure whether Macmillan’s famous jibe about there being “more Estonians than Etonians” in Margaret Thatcher’s cabinet really qualifies as anti-Semitic; in fact, it serves as a reminder that the Conservative Party, once seen by Jews as a place that harboured a fair amount of social anti-Semitism, had become a natural home for the ever-expanding Jewish middle class. Around 1960 the only Jewish Tory MPs were the patricians Sir Keith Joseph and Sir Henry d’Avigdor-Goldsmid, while Labour had a great many Jewish MPs from much more modest backgrounds. And then here we were under Mrs Thatcher with three or four Jewish cabinet members. For Mrs Thatcher, the Jewish community demonstrated clearly how it was possible for people, many of whom were descended from poor migrants settled in the East End, to improve themselves and contribute significantly to British society and to the economy.

The changes not just in the political loyalty but in the social status of the Jewish community need to be borne in mind when looking at the anti-Semitism of the Left. Far from qualifying as members of an ethnic minority in need of support, Jews are now seen as white and middle-class, indeed very often as establishment figures — better not to mention how many Jews are judges in the High Court or professors at Oxford and Cambridge. They may be white British; but, paradoxically, they are also being classed as distinct. The radical Left’s war against the Jews is a class war as well as a race war.
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C MacDonald
November 24th, 2018
10:11 PM
There is a place for the Jews, in Corbyn's mind. Madagascar.

Daniel Bamford
November 8th, 2018
6:11 PM
Thank you for publishing David Abulafia’s feature-length article on Jeremy Corbyn’s anti-Semitic sympathies as your main cover story for October 2018. I agree that the wilful and defiant complicity of the Leader of the Opposition with anti-Semitic terrorism and agitation is a national disgrace, which must be countered by sustained condemnation throughout civil society with no regard for political partisanship. One important area where I disagree with Prof. Abulafia is his cursory single paragraph on Muslim anti-Semitism. Islamic law (sharia) has permitted far worse treatment of supposedly ‘protected’ (dhimmi) Jews and Christians than he implies, while popular misconceptions of Islamic Spain have been dealt with most recently by Dario Fernández-Morera in ‘The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise’ (ISI Books, 2016). Most seriously, Prof. Abulafia claims that ‘no one is suggesting the abuse is a speciality of the Muslim community…’ I would like to take this opportunity to make that suggestion and I am far from being the first to do so, because a genocidal hatred of Jews lies at the core of Islam in the personal example set by its founding prophet, who destroyed the Jewish communities of the Hijaz through expulsion, slaughter, rape and enslavement. Aside from the various denunciations and accusations in the Koran, Muslims have been left in no doubt about their ultimate duty to kill all Jews by an additional ‘hadith’ (saying of Mohammed). This ‘hadith’ is preserved and corroborated by eight separate traditions in the authoritative collections of Sahih Bukhari, Sahih Muslim and Malik Muwatta, which have the status of holy scripture equal to the Koran. This same ‘hadith’ is quoted by some of Jeremy Corbyn’s “friends” in the 1988 Hamas Charter. There is no such scriptural imperative behind what remains of Christian anti-Semitism, despite the flippant and dismissive assumptions exhibited by Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran in her TV clash with UKIP Leader Gerard Batten MEP on BBC2’s ‘Daily Politics’ (1st May 2018). Playing identity politics with her Palestinian Arab Christian ancestors did not conceal Layla Moran’s wilful ignorance regarding the scriptures and histories of both Christianity and Islam. It is therefore unfortunate that you chose Layla Moran as an example for British Muslims to follow in denouncing Jeremy Corbyn. No sincere denunciations will come until British Muslims are willing to repeat Mehdi Hasan’s startling admission that Muslim anti-Semitism is ‘routine and commonplace’ and then follow this by clearly disowning the bloodthirsty anti-Semitism that lies at the heart of their religion. As with many other abhorrent aspects of Islam, this will require a drastic reappraisal of the historical record and the authority of their scriptures. A few brave reformers have set themselves this unenviable task and we cannot afford to pretend that the problem does not go this deep. P.S. Complete Sahih Muslim - Book 41, Number 6985: ‘Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him; but the tree Gharqad would not say, for it is the tree of the Jews.’ http://hadithcollection.com/sahihmuslim/169-Sahih%20Muslim%20Book%2041.%... HAMAS Covenant, Article 7: ‘The Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him salvation, has said: "The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews." (related by al-Bukhari and Moslem).’ http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/hamas.asp

untenured
October 29th, 2018
5:10 PM
Labour is just another brand in the Sunni portfolio.

amcdonald
October 12th, 2018
12:10 PM
Today on BBC Politics Live we were actually presented with an accurate, short but parsimonious summary of the Brexit/Corbyn/Islam war. Toby Young,the UKIP leader , a photo of Tommy Robinson with a group of army cadets,a clip from last night`s Newsnight about the predatory muslims raping white girls, and the dogmatic assertion by the female presenter that Islam is a religion not an ideology. She doesn`t wear a BBC burka but she is one. Andrew Neil will be presenting Sharia Politics Live next ?

Lawrence James
October 7th, 2018
10:10 AM
Jewish settlement in Palestine was approved by the last Ottoman sultans and confirmed by the Balfour declaration made shortly before British, Indian, Dominion and French forces conquered the province. Jewish settlement was, therefore, legitimate Before and after the Allies arrived,and there was no lack of Arabs of the effendiya class willing to sell land to the incomers. A small but important point to add to a lucid and formidable article.

amcdonald
October 4th, 2018
2:10 PM
The 17.4 million who voted Leave are the intelligent majority. Theresa May`s dance and speech hit all the right notes. She`s doing the 17.4 million proud and will make a success of it all domestic and foreign. Hard luck for `Islamised` Jeremy Corbyn. If it ain`t got that swing it don`t mean a thing.

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