Will England be Safe for Jews under a Labour Government?
“If there is one overarching lesson from all of Jewish history it is this: Always be ready for change.
There was a Jewish custom that has largely fallen out of practice. For quite a long time Jewish families used to keep a fully packed suitcase by the door ready for the arrival of the moshiach, the messiah.” (From My Jewish learning web site)
According to a survey by Survation, published in the Jewish Chronicle, 38% of Jews living in Britain will ‘seriously consider emigrating’ if Jeremy Corbyn is elected Prime Minister.
Are they right?
Doesn’t it sound odd to ask this question? Only a matter of months ago it would have seemed bizarre, almost surreal to even raise it about this tolerant, immigrant welcoming, liberal country, but there is another question that is probably just as crucial:
is anti-Semitism safe for Labour?
When Jeremy Corbyn said of British Zionists that they were not interested in history and, despite living in Britain all their lives, they had not managed to acquire the British sense of irony, wasn’t he talking (rightly or wrongly) about British Zionists, not about British Jews at all?
Well, not really…
What is a Zionism? A movement for the establishment and protection of a Jewish nation in what is now Israel. It began as a political organisation in 1897 under Theodor Herzl, and was later led by Chaim Weizmann. So a Zionist is someone who supports the existence of the State of Israel as a Jewish homeland. Now, a survey by the Institute of Jewish Policy Research (JPR) showed that 95% of UK Jews have visited Israel and that 90% view Israel as the “ancestral homeland of the Jewish people”. So, it’s fair to estimate that between 90% – 95% of British Jews are British Zionists.
So, without haggling too much over statistics, common sense suggests that when Jeremy Corbyn talks about British Zionists, he is de facto talking about British Jews, and since he doesn’t like British Zionists much, in practice (even if not in theory) he doesn’t much like British Jews either – and neither do several thousand of his followers.
Well, but it’s really only a small group of people and surely their racist attitude will put voters off?
You might hope so, but the numbers don’t support such optimism.
In the 2011 Census 263,346 people answered “Jewish” to the voluntary question on religion, about 0.5% of the population. In other words, Jews are electorally unimportant.
But surely, ordinary decent people of all religions and backgrounds will feel revulsion about anti-Semitism?
Again, you might hope so, but the numbers don’t support such optimism.
A study by Jewish Policy Research in 2017 found that nearly one in three Britons holds at least one anti-Semitic attitude and more than half endorse at least one hard-line anti-Israel statement. Now, it’s true that this doesn’t make them rabid anti-Semites, but it’s not exactly encouraging news for Jews in Britain:
You don’t count for enough votes to really matter and Labour can afford to be anti-Semitic, because Brits are frankly at best indifferent about the fate of Jews.
But surely, Mr Corbyn just wants to retain the legitimate right to criticise the policies of the Israeli government?
Possibly, but the statement he tried to introduce into the definition of anti-semitism added this:
“It should not be regarded as anti-Semitic to describe Israel…or the circumstances around its foundation as racist.”
So, Corbyn doesn’t like British Jews (although he calls them Zionists for convenience) and he is against the existence of the State of Israel (presumably since he regards it as a racist state) although 90% of British Jews think of it as their ancestral homeland.
Still, one bit of good news is that if ever Jeremy Corbyn becomes Prime Minister, it’s highly likely that British Jews will regain their sense of irony, as they pack their bags. David Duke, the former Grand Wizard of the Klu Klux Klan has offered to help them, now he is Jeremy’s new disciple having repeatedly praised his anti-Semitism.
So Jewish folk, pack your suitcase – the Messiah is coming. Only not the one you were hoping for!
If you want to know more about things than they really want you to know, read The Dweller’s Guide To The Planet