I’m becoming increasingly fed-up with all this stuff about anti-semitism in the Labour Party. I don’t doubt that there are a very small number of members who are genuinely anti-semitic, and perhaps a few more who have made comments at times that could be construed as anti-semitic. But I have seen no evidence that it is any worse now than at any time in the past.
Now the argument seems to be all about whether Labour should include all these supposed examples of anti-semitism. The fact that they are the sort of things that might be said by anti-semites does not mean that these statements are themselves anti-semitic.
Take one example; “The existence of the state of Israel is a racist endeavour.” Is this itself an anti-semitic statement? Consider the following series of statements:
1. Israel is a state based on racial identity.
2. Israel is a racially based state.
3. Israel is a racist state.
4. The state of Israel is a racist endeavour.
Which of these statements would get me into trouble? Statement 1 has now been affirmed by the Israeli Parliament, and I don’t think they are being accused of anti-semitism, so presumably that is OK. Statement 2 seems to follow inexorably from 1, so that must be OK. Statement 3, I would argue, also then follows logically from 1 and 2; I guess there would be political objections, but I can’t see that it is inherently anti-semitic.
So we come to statement 4, which is the controversial one. To my mind, it requires some detailed semantic analysis to distinguish 3 and 4. So I really do not see the point.
In the end, we have to ask why all this has been blown up now, and why so much attention is being given to this supposed anti-semitism, as opposed to all the other possible forms of discrimination (which are undoubtedly more prevalent)? Are there forces at work that are afraid of the outcome if JC were to get into power? I fear that all this fuss runs the risk of causing some people to actually become more anti-semitic, e.g., by believing that the ‘Jewish lobby’ is powerful enough to manipulate the news in their own interests – which could be said to be an anti-semitic statement. So I wouldn’t want to say that, but I can see the potential for that argument emerging. It could be stirring up a hornet’s nest.