Anti-Semitism in the Labour Party
Britain's Labour Party has repeatedly had to defend itself against accusations of anti-Semitism. First former London mayor Ken Livingstone was suspended from the party and now three more Labour politicians have met the same fate because of their controversial statements about Israel. How susceptible is Labour to anti-Semitic views?
Anti-Semitism is part of radical left ideology
The anti-capitalist worldview of a certain section of the left prevents it from seeing Jews as victims, the daily The Guardian criticises:
“The problem for the hard left - presently in the ascendant - is that its adherents do not regard anti-Semitism as equivalent to other forms of racism. ... In this worldview, most Jewish people are caricatured as friends of capital and all Israelis are agents of imperialism. It is therefore doctrinally difficult - perhaps impossible - for this section of the left to see Jews as victims. To which one can only say: let them go to Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem, and recall what Hitler - the man Livingstone calls a Zionist - did to the most persecuted people in history.”
Criticism of Israel must be allowed
In the controversy over Labour Party politicians' remarks the accusations of anti-Semitism are motivated by political opportunism, argues the Irish Times:
“The expulsions have taken on the character of a witch hunt. ... Such cynical political acts cheapen the grave charge of anti-Semitism. In this atmosphere where such allegations are used to silence political opponents, it is tempting to reject any and all accusations of anti-Semitism. This too must be guarded against - anti-Semitism needs to be tackled wherever it exists. In this battle, there is an urgent need to resist conflating opposition to Israel with anti-Jewish racism.”