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Palestinian flags at the 2018 Labour Party Conference (©Simon Dawson/Bloomberg via Getty Images)



Jews in Britain, and more widely across Europe, are confronted by a new mutation of the oldest hatred: the anti-Semitic alliance of the Left and radical Islam. As Dave Rich argues in his new book The Left’s Jewish Problem: Jeremy Corbyn, Israel and Anti-Semitism (Biteback, £12.99), the impact of the Leftist and Islamist nexus on the Labour Party during the three years of Corbyn’s leadership has been toxic.

It was Standpoint, the magazine of which I am the founding editor, that brought the Labour Party’s “Jewish problem” to wider attention in 2014, when the well-known actress Maureen Lipman, a lifelong Labour supporter, declared that she could no longer vote for the party because of its extreme hostility to Israel and its intolerance of any other views. She castigated the then leader of the party, Ed Miliband, as a secular Jew for ignoring the problem and, indeed, being part of it. Her protest had a wide resonance, but the scale of the Left’s Jewish problem emerged only after Corbyn came to office in 2015 following Miliband’s defeat in the general election.

I too come from a family for whom this problem is personal. My father, Paul Johnson, was the editor of the New Statesman from 1965 to 1970 and one of the Left’s strongest voices in support of Israel. I still recall our jubilation at the outcome of the Six Day War and the boxes of Jaffa oranges that would arrive from the Israeli embassy when my father had written a particularly trenchant essay in Israel’s defence. (I suppose those oranges would be enough to land us in trouble under a future Prime Minister Corbyn, or even be used as evidence of the imaginary Israeli conspiracy to control British politics that he regularly demands should be investigated.) My father left the Labour Party to join Margaret Thatcher in 1977 while I was in Israel; I vividly remember the front-page news item about him in The Times and wondering where this bold move, fraught with professional risk, would lead.

Forty years later, as we celebrate my father’s 90th birthday, he has been vindicated. There are still decent people in the Labour Party, but many of them have despaired of reforming it. The long march though the institutions that began in the 1970s has brought the enemies of society, as my father called them back then, to the brink of power. If Brexit goes badly — as it may well do, given the malice of Brussels and the muddle of Westminster — then the public will blame the Conservatives. Britain could elect a Labour prime minister who is not only unfit to lead his country, but who hates it so much that he has refused to sing the national anthem.

So I shall start with the flags. Some of you may be familiar with the British tradition of the Last Night of the Proms, when the Royal Albert Hall resounds to patriotic music, with a great deal of singing, swaying, stamping and waving of flags. The flags in question are of course mainly the Union Jack, though since the vote for Brexit they have almost been outnumbered by great variety of European flags and especially the EU flag. There is much disapproval of any public display of national symbols in Europe, in stark contrast to the United States; indeed, the main thing that unites otherwise disparate European elites is fear of and hostility to populism and nationalism. So those who wave the Union Jack at the Last Night of the Proms are the target of condescension and disdain or worse, even from the BBC, which actually sponsors the event.
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Chavez
December 7th, 2018
1:12 PM
"And even in Western Europe the only values that offer hope of restoring equilibrium are the biblical ones..." How correct. Solzhenitsyn said where the 20th century went wrong was that it forgot God. (It got Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin, and Mao, instead.) Society seems to be wanting to try everything else first, before it comes back to that realization.

Donald M Coder
December 7th, 2018
12:12 PM
Islam has spoken clearly that they intend to destroy Israel, USA, and Western civilization. They will disappear into the dustbin of history because this means they oppose the God of Creation! And the bigoted, anti-Semitic UN will join them.

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