Neviim Tovim, blogs by Gillian Gould Lazarus

‘What some people will do for shackles’

Posted on: October 2, 2021

‘Zionists are the abused who have become worse than the abusers,’ says Siân, in the Facebook group, ‘Prime Minister Jeremy Corbyn.’

Almost daily, I see evidence of this inclination to minimise the enterprises of the Third Reich by replacing nazism with Zionism as the supreme evil. Did the nazis kill Zionists (the abused who are now the abusers according to Siân), rather than Jews? I think Siân is using Zionists as a synonym for Jews which she would be likely to deny, if challenged on this point. Moreover, she would hardly be so careless as to say ‘Jews are worse than the abusers’ on Facebook, where she fears the Zionist censors lie in wait.

There is one person, Adam, who argues with Siân and she replies sternly:

Zionism reeks of pure evil…Please see some sense before it is too late to save your soul.

The Facebook group in question, Prime Minister Jeremy Corbyn came to my attention just a few weeks ago. Most of the posts are about Israel. If people with this outlook still adhere to the Labour Party, it is not surprising that Conference chose Israel/Palestine as one of seven urgent matters for debate. For the folk of the Corbynist forums, many of whom claim to be still in the Labour Party despite their visceral loathing of Keir Starmer, Israel/Palestine is the paramount subject. They see it as an ongoing holocaust perpetrated by Israel against Palestinians and, noticing that the State of Israel has lasted six times as long as the Third Reich, they suppose it must be six times as evil.

If they had the power of life and death over us British Zionists who, they believe, control politics, media, academia, the judiciary and even the monarchy by the expenditure of bribes, would they let us live? I do not think so.

I hope continually for some influential body or individual with clout to stem this flow of ill-informed hatred. We have had the EHRC report and Keir Starmer’s determination to rid Labour of antisemitism. Yesterday the University of Bristol at last fired Professor David Miller. All of these are cited by the comrades of the forums as proof of Zionist control, to which they attribute almost occult power. Lisa Nandy, they say, has been bought. Angela Rayner has been bought. Emily Thornberry was bought. These are politicians who have been relatively even-handed about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, hardly uncritical of Israel. ‘Who’s paying her?’ the comrades ask each other, and there is always one who does not discern the rhetorical nature of the question and answers ‘Israel’.

They say that the BBC and the Guardian are mouthpieces for Israel and prefer to rely on Palestinian news sources, which are easily accessible through other Facebook pages of similar inclination. The UK’s own Skwawkbox, and to a lesser extent Novara Media and Dorset Eye, furnish them with opinion. They admire bloggers such as Tony Greenstein, loose cannons like Chris Williamson and cultural icons Ken Loach and Roger Waters. They follow JVL – Jewish Voice for Labour – which provides an admission of Zionist evil, from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. Photographs of the charedim of Neturei Karta holding anti Israel placards are also popular on anti Zionist social media where the NK theology is not closely examined.

Most people see through the biased fury and self-justifications of these anti Israel groups which, 80% of the time, have Jeremy Corbyn’s name in their title. I am told that their irrational excesses are transparent and that this is why Corbynism held the Labour Party back when it came to the ballot box. I agree. They are not as many as they think they are and, although UK Jews are few in number (about 270,000), our friends and allies are not so few. There are more discerning, honest people than there are racist activists. I receive some abuse online, but I get very much more encouragement. Very occasionally, some neonazi contributes a comment to this blog such as ‘Gas all Joos’. They use false IP numbers to disguise their locations (I do look). After Labour Conferencce passed a motion condemning Israel, I got more tweets than usual calling me ‘apartheid lover’.

The danger is from the potent rabble rousers who have reputation and status in British society: the MPs still in the Labour Party, the activists in the CLPs, celebrities like Lowkey and certain mainstream journalists and reporters who are very far from being, as the comrades suppose, favourable to Israel.

Why would I need journalists who are favourable to Israel, you might ask? A fair question. It is enough when they are even-handed and well-informed. Dayenu.

After Labour Conference passed Young Labour’s motion condemning Israel, Jeremy Corbyn allowed himself the luxury of posting on Twitter a gif of a Palestinian flag, unfurled against the sky. The Prime Minister who never was. He knows not what he does or, if he knows, he does not mind.

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  • 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
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