How Blindness to Anti-Semitism Threatens Parties and Movements | Opinion

Keir Starmer, the post-Jeremy Corbyn leader of Britain’s Labour Party, acted swiftly to demote a member of Parliament who tweeted an article containing a paragraph linking Israel to the killing of George Floyd. In truth, when Labour MP Rebecca Long-Bailey tweeted the interview with the actress Maxine Peake in which she made the appalling and unfounded claim, Long-Bailey may have had no sinister intentions. Indeed, she may have missed the offending paragraph altogether. So common has the obsession with Israel become in the left fringes of social-democratic parties, so accustomed must Long-Bailey be to hearing Israel blamed for all of the world’s ills at branch meetings and in her social media feed, that a casual reference to the Jewish state masterminding violence on the other side of the world would hardly raise an eyebrow. Instead, Long-Bailey tweeted out the article with no caveats or qualifications, intervening only to opine that the actress who made the accusation was an “absolute diamond.”

The allegation that Israel trains American officers to kneel on the necks of suspects is the sort of half-baked musing one might overhear on a university library lawn. But while such theories often originate on campuses or in the disturbed minds of people like Roger Waters—the musician made the identical claim in a recent interview with a Hamas-affiliated news agency—they rarely stay there. Such theories now have a voice in the U.S. Congress and in national legislatures throughout the world.

This can partly be attributed to the nature of modern communications, which means that fanatical political ideas and prejudices no longer reside in pamphlets that no one outside the movement reads, but are now manufactured into compelling content, entirely stripped of context or truth, and instantly transmitted into the eyeballs of millions. It is also a symptom of the mainstreaming of once-fringe elements who have shifted from micro-parties and, occasionally, the back-benches, into the corridors of power. More than that, it shows how society, stricken by pandemic, discord and fatigue, has embraced conspiratorial thinking.

Read the article by Alex Ryvchin, co-CEO ECAJ in Newsweek.

[Editor: Although this article has not been published in an Australian media context it is still considered worth publishing here because its author is an important Jewish community leader in Australia.]