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It may seem perverse to have as our cover story this month Professor David Abulafia’s searing indictment of Jeremy Corbyn, placing the left-wing anti-Semitism that he now symbolises in its proper historical context. Though Standpoint has never been partisan, those who are not regular readers may wrongly suspect us of anti-Labour bias. The Corbyn Case, which refused to go away throughout the summer, has now been supplanted by Brexit, a matter of much greater moment to most people.

And yet we make no apology for refusing to play Mr Corbyn’s game by changing the subject. For one thing, a majority of the country evidently finds his equivocations and evasions as repulsive as we do: a poll on the eve of the Labour Conference found that twice as many now dislike the party leader as like him. His undeclared foreign visits, some for sinister purposes connected to his hostility to Israel, are now subject to a parliamentary investigation that could result in the suspension of the Leader of the Opposition — unheard of in the history of the House. It is demonstrably untrue that the country is indifferent to the Labour leader’s venomous world view. But there is more to him than a Rip van Winkle of the Cold War.

Mr Corbyn’s long record of support for nations and organisations that are implacably opposed to the West is unprecedented. Rightly, the public is anxious about what this might portend, were he ever to occupy Downing Street. What has alarmed many people is the revelation that the Labour Party is now led by a man who sees no place for a Jewish state, has no time for British Jews who defend such a state, and makes no apology for consorting with or glorifying those who actively work to destroy it. Mr Corbyn takes cognisance only of those Jews (a vanishingly small minority) who share his loathing of Israel — not unlike the anti-Semitic mayor of Vienna, Karl Lueger, who notoriously quipped: “I’ll decide who is a Jew.”

Mr Corbyn’s role in the rise of left-wing anti-Semitism is a scandal. By alluding to Émile Zola’s great polemic “J’accuse!”, Professor Abulafia has linked this scandal to the Dreyfus Case. We therefore propose to refer to the Labour leader’s scandal as “the Corbyn Case”. Zola framed his accusation in 1898 as an open letter to the French president, published on the front page of a newspaper — the most celebrated modern example of an ancient literary device. He accused the government and the army of a vast cover up and listed all the individuals who had participated in the miscarriage of justice of which Dreyfus was the victim. Zola challenged them to sue him for libel, which some of them did; he was convicted, but fled to England for a year to avoid prison.
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