Neviim Tovim, blogs by Gillian Gould Lazarus

Archive for December 2020

Over the years, I paid only moderate attention to the illustrious career of Margaret Hodge, but I watched a documentary about the BNP leader Nick Griffin standing for parliament in her constituency, Barking. It was May 2010. Ten years later, Dame Margaret wrote in Labour List:

Back then the threat was very real as the BNP poured all their resources into taking over the Town Hall and gaining their first parliamentary seat.

The battle for Barking – ten years on – LabourList

The BNP lost and it was the beginning of their decline. I had not realized that Margaret Hodge was Jewish until it was mentioned in the documentary.

Fast forward to the present day and everyone knows. Her confrontations with Jeremy Corbyn are one of the most popular topics for Corbynists on social media. Not for them the dullness of Brexit or the unproven efficacy of the latest measures against Covid. They know what they like: Corbyn and all those who sail in him. They know what they don’t like: the opponents of Corbyn. If these happen to be Jewish, and they often are, they take it as proof of what the more careful comrades call ‘foreign intervention’.

Even the careful comrades are often transparently antisemitic in their identification of British Jews as ‘a foreign power.’ Those who are not careful – well, in the screen shots below, you will get a glimpse of their vocabulary.

Last night, as the Prime Minister was in Brussels with a no deal Brexit hanging in the balance, I browsed one of the Corbynist forums on Facebook: ‘Recognising Jeremy Corbyn’s Dedication to a Just Society,’ moderated by Caroline Tipler. Originally the group was called ‘Jeremy Corbyn Leads Us to Victory’ but it has undergone more than one name change since the General election of 2019. One subject dominated the forum: Margaret Hodge. There was more than one post about Dame Margaret and one of them attracted well over a hundred comments as the comrades vied to see who could express the greatest hatred.

Not one of the contributors would admit to antisemitism. They justify their venom by accusing Margaret Hodge of a variety of sins, venial and mortal. When one of them pointed out that she belongs to ‘a group of people who love money’, my acquaintance Margot Koroviev asked them to be explicit. ‘Fascist Zionists’ was the answer, lest anyone might think they meant Jews. Margaret Hodge’s greatest sin, in their eyes, is alleging that antisemitism became a force to be reckoned with in the Labour Party under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn. They will agree that it may have been present before Corbyn and possibly under Starmer but Jeremy, they insist, was the one person who defended the ungrateful Jews.

The epicentre of their antisemitism is their assertion that it doesn’t exist.

Below are some of their comments.

I would not want you to think that ‘Recognising’ differs from other Corbynist forums or that last nights contributors were exceptionally acrimonious. The vindictive malevolence exceeds in quantity anything I can display here, but here are some screen shots from other forums, on other days, all since the General Election of December 2019.

And here they reprise their thoughts about Margaret Hodge, in the bleak midwinter, from the heart of lockdown.

Afterword

When I enter the name of one of these forums in the Facebook search box, they often appear with a thumbnail picture of Margaret Hodge. I assume this is because any post about Margaret Hodge always produces the most abundant replies.

We have reached September 2021 and the Corbynists interest in Margaret Hodge has not waned.



  • Gillian Gould Lazarus: The Conference has kicked off and the new EHRC rules have been passed, 73% - 27% I think. It's good but one thinks about the 27% who opposed them.
  • keithmarr: Familiar sentiments to me. Saddened I am too. In addition to antisemitism Starmer’s reluctance to make Labour the natural home of the Remainer is fr
  • keithmarr: Thank you once again for perspicacious comment. There is an element of social media, one’s potential anonymity perhaps, that leads to behaviour that