Saturday, 26 May 2018

ALLEGATIONS: Being left wing or anti-Semitic?

Attacks on Ken Livingston point to sad confusion

 by Martin Gilbert

LIKE a number of British Jews I’m an anti-Zionist. In the heat around this issue the Board of Deputies of British Jews have suggested that they speak for our entire community.  They may speak for all paid up members of
synagogues, presuming that they all support Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.  It suggests that all Christians are paid up at their local parish church.  That Board do not represent the much larger number who identify as being Jewish and are entirely secular.

Contributing to an attack on the left is a confusion that any criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic.  Corbyn’s Labour party are trying to deal with this smear. In resigning from that party Ken Livingstone described it all as
'a distraction'.  After meeting with the Board, trying to show some balance Corby attended a Passover service organised by some left wing Jews. Passover services are very jolly affairs with much singing and wine-drinking.  It is a festival of liberation but the radical, left wing theme is 'we cannot celebrate our liberation while we oppress others'.

A possible source of anti-Jewish feeling has been neglected.  If there is confusion generally about anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism, some of it may be found in immigrants with personal experience of Israeli oppression.  If that were my background it would be very hard for me to be liberal and internationalist.
Martin Gilbert, 25.5.’18.

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