After Ken Livingstone’s suspension from Labour last week, Jeremy Corbyn said, “We are not tolerating antisemitism in any way or indeed any other kind of racism.”
He was then attacked for not condemning antisemitism by itself.
Corbyn was accused of subscribing to a “hierarchy of racism”.
This says that antisemitism is not as bad as other forms of racism such as Islamophobia.
Racism doesn’t have a “hierarchy”—all of its forms must be vigorously fought. But it does have a cutting edge.
Antisemitism has deep roots, but the main targets for racists today are Muslims and migrants.
The Tories, most of the media and some of the Labour Party’s right wing MPs keep quiet on Islamophobia and anti-migrant racism.
But if Islamophobia and racism against migrants and refugees goes unchallenged other forms of racism, such as antisemitism, can grow in their wake.
So there is no opposition between fighting Islamophobia, defending migrants and refugees and confronting antisemitism.
That’s why it’s right for the left to insist that fighting Islamophobia and defending migrants should not be separated from resistance to antisemitism.
And it’s also why Corbyn was right to condemn all forms of racism.