A new book, “The Left’s Jewish Problem: Jeremy Corbyn, Israel and Antisemitism”, written by Dave Rich, looks back four decades to see how the embrace of the Palestinian cause by the Left has given rise to the anti-Semitism we see in today’s Labour party.
Dave Rich is deputy communications director of the Community Security Trust (CST) and associate research fellow at the Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism at London University’s Birkbeck College. His book grew out of his PhD thesis and, according to Jenni Frazer, “is a remarkable, methodical documentation of the growth of left-wing anti-Semitism in Britain.”
In the book Rich explains that “Anti-Zionism here began as part of liberal, anti-colonial sentiment, anti-apartheid — it always had a liberal home, liberal language. It’s not something which has been infiltrated from the far Left. They played their part, but it was always mainstream liberal in its origins.”
It is too simplistic, Rich argues, “to say that everyone is an anti-Semite and they all hate us. You have to understand the political thinking and what lies behind it.
“We can speculate on who, in the anti-Zionist world, is motivated, consciously or unconsciously, by anti-Semitism, but a lot are not. You have to understand their motivation and their politics.
“On the one hand the Left has always had a democratic emancipatory tradition that has fought anti-Semitism and racism, but it has also had a non-democratic totalitarian tradition that has contained and encouraged anti-Semitism. You have to tackle it at that level, you can’t just write everybody off.”
Rich believes that over the past fifteen years there has been a, “constant, extreme inflammatory anti-Israel propaganda and activism” on the far Left. He states that “anti-Israel advocacy and rhetoric will always impact on British Jews in a way that is anti-Semitic” and says that some on the Left do not recognise anti-Semitism “even when it comes from their own mouths”.
To read more about this book, please see The Times of Israel’s article by Jenni Frazer.
Note: This article is not necessarily an endorsement.