Neviim Tovim, blogs by Gillian Gould Lazarus

Archive for January 2021

This is going to be a very short post. I’m not going to express opinions, just to use it as storage for the most recent rampant Jew hate I have seen on Corbynist forums (Someone out there is muttering ‘fora’ every time I say ‘forums’).

As Israel’s vaccine roll out has been a bit of a success story, the Corbynist comrades are beside themselves. But when have they ever been anywhere but beside themselves? They are distressed since Keir Starmer recruited an Israeli expert on cyber warfare, in a social media role. Taking their lead from Skwawkbox, Novara Media, The Canary and a variety of Middle Eastern presses, they declare that Keir Starmer is employing an Israeli spy.

As Kenneth Jones expresses it, on Jeremy Corbyn’s Socialist Forum, ‘Well Starmer, explain why you need a Jewish intelligence officer?’ In months gone by, someone would have counselled Kenneth, ‘Change Jewish to Zionist or the Zionists will weaponize it.’ They no longer bother. They know what they mean. We know what they mean.

The Dreyfus Affair kicked off when the French army found there was a spy in their ranks and assumed it must be none other than the Jew, Dreyfus. When Keir Starmer employs an Israeli, the Corbynists conclude, in a curious reversal, that he must be a spy.

I intended to add screen shots from January 2021 and leave it at that, but I have added and added until the present day and the post has become a dossier. Obviously there is more to be seen if you go to the Facebook forums:

Recognising Jeremy Corbyn’s Dedication to a Just Society

The Left Fights the Media

Jeremy Corbyn Should Have Been Prime Minister

Jeremy Corbyn’s Socialist Forum

Jeremy Corbyn – True Socialsim

Jewish (not likely!) Voice for Labour (also not likely)

We Support Jeremy Corbyn.

Indeed, any forum which exists to magnify and sanctify the name of Jeremy Corbyn will include hardcore antisemitism. I could add to the list Truthers Against Zionist Lobbies, but they seem to be in a depleted state, nearly all of their recent posts coming from group admins Rita Allison and Marino Robles.

Jew hate isn’t new; it isn’t even new in Labour. It is a hardy perennial, just now proliferating on the far left and the far right and perhaps spilling over a little into the areas in between.

וְהִיא שֶׁעָמְדָה לַאֲבוֹתֵינוּ וְלָנוּ. שֶׁלֹּא אֶחָד בִּלְבָד עָמַד עָלֵינוּ לְכַלּוֹתֵנוּ, אֶלָּא שֶׁבְּכָל דּוֹר וָדוֹר עוֹמְדִים עָלֵינוּ לְכַלוֹתֵנוּ, וְהַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא מַצִּילֵנוּ מִיָּדָם

…in every generation, they stand against us to destroy us

But here we are and there are many indomitable friends who stand with us. Be strong and of good courage.

On 23rd January, the Israeli spy is still of paramount interest on the forums.

And still, they continue in the same vein.

And on the evening of 24 January, one subject absorbs the comrades on ‘Jeremy Corbyn Should Have Been Prime Minister’.

I did a key word search on the forums – fora if you insist, to see how frequently Myanmar got mentioned and if there were any posts about the Uyghars in China. Results varied. In some cases, they hadn’t been mentioned for the best part of a year but in one case, someone had posted just the day before about demonstrations in Myanmar against the recent coup. There were no comments but you can’t expect people to have an opinion about everything. When I typed Israel into the search field, it was like turning on a tap, on all the forums. How the comments flowed!

Am I wearing rose-coloured glasses, I sometimes wonder, when I look back at my working life, employed by a variety of booksellers, retail giants and small independents? Students and school leavers love to get jobs in book shops and there are many candidates for every vacancy, but the pay for an adult with a family is quite silly, even at management level.

I don’t miss the heavy work, lugging skips of books from floor to floor, the endless shelving or the fractious or patronizing customers who make up about 5% of the clientèle. I miss the cultural diversity and co-operation; Muslim colleagues explaining to me about the Hadith and Sufism and checking the Arabic text on my Ramadan posters; getting Caribbean recipes off of colleagues; discussing bible translations with a bookseller who was also a church deacon and making him Hebrew flashcards because he wanted to learn the aleph bet. Gay colleagues advised on the LGBTQ displays and were photographed with them for the trade magazine, The Bookseller.

Just once, a colleague – a handsome, edgy, white Canadian whose name I forget – said ‘Gill, we need to talk about Israel’. We talked and I was surprised to learn that he, so well-educated, had never heard of Partition or the War of Independence.

I remember a haughty customer being dismissive to two BAME colleagues, young women, and turning to me, an old white woman, as if I were a reliable source of information. We talked about it afterwards and all interpreted the customer’s preference in the same way, but nobody asked me to check my white privilege.

I was responsible for books on religion: for keeping in stock the Adi Granth, the book of Mormon, the Pali canon, the Vedas, the Qu’ran in Arabic and English, Tanakh in Hebrew and English and the Stuttgartensia, Douay-Rheims bibles with the Deuterocanonical books and KJV without them; ESV, NIV, Tyndale and Coverdale, Good News and Greek interlinear. Ah. I miss being with so many bibles, I really do.

And I miss the colleagues. Friendships endured but then lapsed a bit, as the years passed. I retired about seven years ago.

Worst of all were the hand held computers we all used for stock-taking and other quantifying tasks. The batteries would run down very suddenly and then all the data would be wiped. We would hasten to the stock room taking the stairs two at a time, to reach the chargers which would preserve the battery life.

The powers at head office purged the lower management shortly before I left; knowledgeable, experienced booksellers replaced by yet less expensive retailers from other industries.

I don’t know how the business works now in the age of Covid. The managers must have adapted to the crisis by conducting sales predominantly online.

I wouldn’t wish to be back, dragging three skips piled up like a tiered wedding cake, towards the rickety lift but I have fond memories. It makes me think that, away from political arenas, people usually get on.



  • 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