Afraid Of Corbyn? Afraid So

“If Jeremy Corbyn is not anti-Semitic himself, he is more than happy to consort with those who are”

UK Politics With Prejudice
Friend of Corbyn? The anti-Zionist jazz saxophonist Gilad Atzmon, pictured in 2007 (Richard Kaby CC BY-SA 2.0)

By the time you read this Jeremy Corbyn will be the leader of the party for which I’ve voted for the last time. He is thought to be a breath of fresh air. A man of conscience. Refreshing. Yeah, like polenta is refreshing. For refreshing, read “I see Michael Foot has come around again,” like knitting and birdwatching and baking and ballroom dancing and talent shows and vinyl, and, it goes without saying (so I’ll say it), anti-Semitism.

It’s so bloody obvious. Why do so many people fall for it? Same old, same old. At the first sniff of austerity the goat gets tethered to the familiar cliff edge and over we are expected to go. The world is in a bad way: cruelty, extremism and chaos abound. Very little of that it is the fault of the Jews. There is no conspiracy, no cabals, no secret running of governments or criminal underworlds or excessive lobbying or slipping  of blood into matzo crackers. (Ask Claudia Roden — they really wouldn’t be so beige.) We are not blowing up teenagers or gassing or beheading or expelling or drowning in cages or torturing or raping. This is all easy to prove. Yet, once again, we are the recipients of the same blind hatred and prejudice.

Mostly, when it’s survivors, Chasids or schoolboys being attacked, it goes unreported. Until it happens to artists like Anish Kapoor or elected prime ministers like Benjamin Netanyahu. There is Holocaust denial all over the internet and in the eastern bloc and some Scandinavian countries. Explain to me, please, how something as well-documented, down to the last measurement of head and tabulation of confiscated property — the legacy of German precision — and witnessed and filmed can be denied? To which part of the earth did the six million disappear — the Bermuda Triangle?

And if we are so prescient that we can warn every Jew in the World Trade Centre not to go to work on 9/11 because jihadists will be flying planes into the building then perhaps the dissenters should cease fearing and despising and find out how we do it without some yenta spilling the beans.

Meanwhile, in the left corner, we have Jeremy Corbyn to contend with. A man who sups with the devil but claims no one told him that the horned, red-skinned man at the table was, in fact, the actual devil. A man who defended conspiracy theorists such as the Rev Stephen Sizer, stood up for the anti-Semites Paul Eisen and Gilad Atzmon, and joined a protest to protect the blood libel cleric Raed Salah.  I would be grateful for any evidence that he has ever objected to the anti-Semitic rantings of these “colleagues” or  stated his own belief in the legitimacy of the Jewish state. If he is not anti-Semitic himself then he is more than happy to consort with those who are.

Yet Mr Corbyn is the man of the moment. Because Mr Corbyn is an honourable man. He is reasoned and relaxed, polite, unruffled and bearded like a peacenik. He doesn’t sound as if he could be turned, let alone spun. He is happy to sit down for a nice chat with Hamas and Hezbollah — with Israel’s views entirely unrepresented — because “yesterday’s terrorist is tomorrow’s leader” and “if you don’t talk then you don’t move forward.” He also made it plain, long ago, that Britain should also talk to the IRA. It happened finally because of Mo Mowlam’s style and because the IRA was skint, but how long should one leave it, decently, after the Brighton bombing before sitting down, as Jeremy did, for a nice chat with the bombers?

Mr Corbyn, it has been reported, has voted 500 times against his own party and has never held office in 30 years. Now that is refreshing. But then neither has George Galloway, so why not elect him as leader? Possibly because he is so blatantly “reasoned in his madness”, whereas Comrade Corbyn is only obliquely so. Galloway’s supporters have flocked to the Corbyn campaign.

Is Jeremy in favour of a two-state solution, I wonder? How does he feel about Khamenei’s latest post-nuclear-deal statement that in 25 years there will be no Israel? Is he equally concerned about the right of return of Palestinians to Jordan. Iraq, Iran and Yemen? Does the Egyptian blockade of Gaza exercise his mind as he sips a rooibos tea of an evening after a storm of oratory, the like of which I haven’t witnessed since Barack Obama similarly failed to convince me.

Be afraid? Erm, yes. Because like Russell Brand, and to some extent Nigel Farage,  these are men who have never worked from the inside for change. They accuse the big parties of causing the breakdown of society, but what they suggest in place of existing policy is unworkable, outdated pie in the sky. Somehow still, they convince by default and gather the discontented masses to them with the promise of a brave new world. Bah, humbug!

Skulking in the background is Ken Livingstone, a simmering cauldron of bitter ambition and an ancient anti-Zionist. So Corbyn has behind him the perfect bad cop and one who is supremely happy to do his spinning for him and at the first sign of doubt just mention the demon Blair and light the red touch paper — so yes, be very, very afraid.