Socialist Worker

Antisemitism fuelled by the right—not Labour

Issue No. 2682

Ephraim Mirvis wrote that Jewish people are worried for the future

Ephraim Mirvis wrote that Jewish people are worried for the future (Pic: Commemoration of Holocaust Memorial Day/Flickr)


Antisemitism is “sanctioned from the top”—but not, as the Chief Rabbi wrote this week, from the top of the Labour Party.

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis wrote in the Times newspaper this week that Jewish people are worried for their future if Labour wins the general election.

There are good reasons for Jewish people to fear a growth in antisemitism. It has risen along with hatred of Muslims and migrants.

Scapegoating of Muslims and migrants—promoted by every major party and mainstream national newspaper—has fuelled the growth of racists, Nazis and the far right.

Inevitably, the mainstream endorsement of these forms of racism allowed antisemitism to fester as well.

Nazi groups that feed off Islamophobia and hatred of migrants tie this into the antisemitism that is central to their ideology. For modern fascist groups this takes the form of the “great replacement theory”.

This is the lie that white people in European countries are being “replaced” by Muslim migrants—and that this is all orchestrated by Jewish people.

Consequences

It’s had horrifying consequences for Muslims and Jews.

Robert Bowers, who committed a mass shooting at a synagogue in the US last year, was motivated by this ideology. The same ideology inspired another mass shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand, earlier this year—this time at a mosque.

And it helped Victor Orban’s antisemitic Fidesz party get elected to government in Hungary last year.

These are the people who the Tories are happy to sit alongside, and who Boris Johnson congratulated as “friends” in a “close partnership”. Yet when the rise of antisemitism is discussed in Britain, more often than not the finger of blame is pointed at Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party.

In his Times article, Ephraim wrote that “a new poison” has “taken root in the Labour Party” under Jeremy Corbyn.

Claims that antisemitism has risen in Labour—and in Britain—since Corbyn was elected Labour leader in 2015 underpin all the accusations made against him.

They focus on Corbyn’s “past associations”—by which they mean his support for the Palestinian struggle against oppression by Israel.

Muslims—not just the left—are treated as suspect and open to antisemitism due to their opposition to Israel.

The right’s answer is either to get rid of Corbyn or to support the racist Johnson, the antisemites’ friend.

If Johnson’s Tories win the general election, racism in Britain will continue to get worse, including for Jewish people.

Those who prefer Johnson to Corbyn care very little about challenging racism.

 


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