THERE’S NO evidence Jeremy Corbyn is an anti-Semite. But the storm over his dodgy associates has thrown up ample evidence that the modern left doesn’t take anti-Semitism seriously.
It’s extraordinary. Ours is an era of super-sensitivity towards race and prejudice. A politician who cracks a less-than-PC gag about black people can expect a thorough Twittershaming. Criticise Islam and you’ll be diagnosed as suffering from the mental malaise of Islamophobia. Share a platform with a BNP nutjob or Christian evangelical who hates gays and you’ll be frogmarched out of polite society.
Yet what has been the left’s response to revelations that Corbyn rubbed shoulders with anti-Semites? In a nutshell: “Chill out. Stop making a fuss over nothing.”
All of 21st-century Britain’s racial sensitivities seem to fly out the window whenever Jews are involved. Corbyn, far from facing expulsion from the dinner-party set for having mixed with racists, is being protected from criticism by the dinner-party set. They’ve erected a moral forcefield around him.
So Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, who frequently frets about Islamophobia and the white observers who apologise for it, described the criticisms of Corbyn as “political trickery”. She even peddled a dodgy-sounding theory for why Corbyn is facing attack. An “unholy alliance” of “the right, Blairites and hard Zionists” has clearly set out to besmirch his good name, she wailed. Those bloody Zionists and their pesky alliances. All this from an observer who normally treats shoulder-rubbing with racists as a scourge.
Labour MP Diane Abbott, never normally shy to call out racism, also sought to cover Corbyn’s back. MPs are too busy to check the backgrounds of everyone they share a platform with, she said, before accusing Corbyn’s critics of “plucking incidents out of a very long career”.
A writer for Electronic Intifada said the “organised supporters of Israel” – sounds sinister – are throwing mud at Corbyn because they don’t like his criticism of Israeli militarism.
It is striking that for some pro-Corbyn, anti-Israel types, the really wicked people are not the Jew-haters Corbyn has shaken hands with, but the super-organised alliances of hard Zionists who use their power to smear anyone who stands in their way.
So, not content with guarding Corbyn from questions about some of the people he’s hung out with, the Corbynites push prejudices of their own, resuscitating the ugly view that a certain section of society uses its considerable clout to hush criticism.
Read the rest here.