GIDEON LEVY. The Contract on Corbyn (Haaretz 28-11-19)

Corbyn is not an anti-Semite. His real sin is to fight against injustice in the world, including the version Israel perpetrates.

The Jewish establishment in Britain and the Israeli propaganda machine have taken out a contract on the leader of the British Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn. The contract was taken out a long time ago, and it was clear that the closer Corbyn came to being elected prime minister, the harsher the conflict would get.

On Tuesday it reached its climax in an article by the chief rabbi of Britain, Ephraim Mirvis, in an article in The Times. Mirvis has decided that the anxiety of British Jews over Corbyn is justified and he is not fit to be prime minister. He called on Jews not to vote for Labour in the election on December 12.

Born in South Africa and a graduate of Har Etzion Yeshiva in the settlement of Alon Shvut, Mirvis is the voice of British Jewry. In Capetown, Johannesburg and Har Etzion, he should have learned what apartheid was and why one should fight it. His parents did so, but one doubts that he learned the moral lesson from the regions of disenfranchisement in which he lived in South Africa and the West Bank.

As opposed to the horrid Corbyn, Mirvis sees nothing wrong with the continued occupation; he does not identify with the struggle for Palestinian freedom, and he doesn’t sense the similarity between the South Africa of his childhood, Har Etzion of his youth and Israel of 2019. That is the real reason that he rejects Corbyn. The Jews of Britain also want a prime minister who supports Israel – that is, supports the occupation. A prime minister who is critical of Israel is to them an exemplar of the new anti-Semitism.

Corbyn is not an anti-Semite. He never was. His real sin is his staunch position against injustice in the world, including the version Israel perpetrates. Today this is anti-Semitism. The Hungarian Viktor Orban, the Austrian Freedom Party and the extreme right in Europe are not the danger to Jews. Corbyn is the enemy. The new and efficient strategy of Israel and the Zionist establishment brands every seeker of justice as an anti-Semite, and any criticism of Israel as hatred of Jews. Corbyn is a victim of this strategy, which threatens to paralyze and silence Europe with regard to Israel.

British Jewry might not be faking its anxiety, but it is certainly magnifying the danger. There is anti-Semitism, though less that what is presented, certainly on the left. About half of British Jews are considering fleeing if Corbyn is elected. Let them flee. The survey that showed this could actually encourage anti-Semitism: Are the Jews of Britain conditionally British? To whom is their loyalty?

The future of all British Jews is much more secure than the future of any Palestinian living under the occupation, and even more secure than that of any Arab living in Israel. Jews are persecuted and are victims of discrimination and racism less so than the Palestinians in the Israel they hold dear. Moreover, Islamophobia in Europe is more common than anti-Semitism, but people talk about it less.

Mirvis presents no evidence of Corbyn’s anti-Semitism. It sufficed for him to note the fact that Corbyn described as “friends” those who “endorse the murder of Jews” – a reference to Corbyn’s comments on Hezbollah and Hamas. Corbyn is indeed a very harsh critic of the occupation, supports the boycott and compares the closure of Gaza with the siege of Stalingrad and Leningrad. These are anti-Israeli positions, but not necessarily anti-Semitic. The Jews of Britain are blurring this difference as are many Jews throughout the world, intentionally. One can (and should) be a harsh critic of Israel without being anti-Semitic.

If the Jews of Britain and their chief rabbi were more honest and courageous, they would ask themselves: Isn’t Israel’s brutal occupation policy the strongest motive for anti-Semitism today? There is anti-Semitism, it must be fought, but it must also be recognized that Israel supplies it an abundance of excuses and motives.

The Jews and Israel’s true friends should hope that Corbyn is elected. He is a statesman who can change international discourse about the occupation and the struggle against it. He is a ray of hope for a different world and a different Israel – and what more could we want.

This article was published by on the 28th of November 2019. 


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5 Responses to GIDEON LEVY. The Contract on Corbyn (Haaretz 28-11-19)

  1. Avatar Neil hauxwell says:

    “Anti-Semitic” seems to have become a universal weapon-word to be deployed against any criticism of the nation of Israel or its actions . To criticise sending in the bulldozers to flatten orchards in Gaza shows anti-Semitism. To suggest that occupations on the West Bank, or water diversions, or bloody great concrete walls, or passes just to go about daily life, or political and economic marginalisation are anything other than necessary defense measures is to be an anti-Semite worthy of condemnation. God forbid that religions which give “ chosen people” status to their more literal adherents would ever condone treating the neighbours with anything other than respect.

  2. Avatar Andrew McRae says:

    A marvellous article, telling the truth. Corbyn is the victim of a vicious, sustained right-wing/conservative/mainstream media character assassination based on a reverse kind of ‘political correctness’. PC, in short, is a tool of the right to attack what it perceives as a closing down of discussion on various social and political issues; in the case of Corbyn we have the complete closing down of any ability to speak publicly against the violent apartheid of the Israeli government.

    A significant proportion of Israeli and global Jews also oppose the Zionist position. A few days ago, a letter was delivered to Jeremy Corbyn, signed by Rabbi Mayer Weinberger on behalf of the Executive Board of the United European Jews. It starts:

    “I write to you on behalf of the Executive Board of the United European Jews organisation regarding an unusually disturbing declaration that was … reported in the media claiming that the overwhelming majority of British Jews are “gripped by anxiety” at the prospect of a Labour victory in the forthcoming general election.

    “Please not that we totally reject and condemn in no uncertain terms these remarks, which [do] not represent the views of the mainstream chareidi Jews that live in the UK.”

    The letter in full and comment is to be found on various ‘alternative’ sites including
    but of course not in the mainstream media, where it’s also unlikely that Tory Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis’s friendship with Boris Johnson is getting a run.

  3. Avatar Jim KABLE says:

    Like Jeremy CORBYN…

  4. Avatar Jim KABLE says:

    Will The Guardian/The SMH/Age/The ABC News – any NewsCorp press outlet or Media organ – publish this (at last) straightforward denunciation off the anti-Semite smear being directed at Jeremy Corbyn! I was in NYC five years ago when on the basis of answering a series of genealogical question a group of Lubavitcher youths declared I was Jewish – and holding aloft a volume of Holy Scripture and in turn facing the four compass points as I was prayed over – that apparently sealed the declaration. I was given a card with a photograph of The Rebbe and a verse in Hebrew on the reverse face – and we went our various ways – me to the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens – they towards the Brooklyn Public Library. Scratch most of us out of the Western/Eastern European ethnic fold and there is sure to be some DNA (even if distant) evidence suggesting such an ancestry – even with the questions and prayers. The lads may have been having a lend of me – but I didn’t detect it – they had the kind of zeal one associates with mid-teens – that I certainly had at the same age as a fundamentalist Protestant. In any event – I am also an honorary member of a Shintō Parish in western Honshu in Japan. No, Jeremy Corbyn is no anti-Semite – nor am I – but I oppose the appallingly Nazi-like treatment of Palestinians in their own lands (or in recent decades dispossessed of them/murdered/abused/tortured/imprisoned – or otherwise denied human rights) as much as I oppose the appalling treatment of asylum-seekers by our own Likudnik-like LNP and the dreadful NT Intervention – supported it would appear by the ALP as well. ike Jeremy CORBYN – I am opposed to injustice. So, thank-you, Gideon LEVY. Long may you address these issues!

  5. Avatar John Thompson says:

    An excellent article. It is a great pity that more people do not recognize (or choose not to recognize) the difference between Judaism and Israel. Israel’s continued occupation of Palestinian land, with US support and our acknowledgement, is absolutely abhorrent. Australia should condemn this action of a nation state, not of a religion.

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