Anti-Semitism is real and present, in Britain and in the world, even where there are no Jews. I well remember during the revolutionary swirl in Bucharest in January 1990, which I witnessed, hearing men fulminating against the post-coup leadership of Ion Iliescu and Petre Roman as "Jews" and the whole "communist" leadership being a "nest of Jews." For them "Jews" and "communists" was a synonym and Jews were everywhere even though they were in fact almost nowhere to be found. Most Romanian Jews had been slaughtered in the Holocaust and the rest had long since gone to Israel.
In my book 'Downfall: the Ceausescus and the Romanian Revolution' there is a chapter entitled 'The Romanian Jews' in which I describe my long discussion with Romania's Chief Rabbi Dr Moses Rosen as the three stars twinkled in the sky over Poiana Brasov marking the end of the Sabbath. "Anti-Semitism without Jews," was how he described the situation in his country.
Mind you the Rabbi had long been a man of ring-craft, having to deal with the suddenly dead dictator Ceausescu and accusations that he had collaborated with him. He had, in fact, because the Romanian potentate had been an early example of an anti-Semite who loved Israel. Rabbi Rosen saw it as his prime responsibility to facilitate the exodus of the surviving Romanian Jews to Israel. Nowadays these are common around the world, all the way from Steve Bannon to the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban or the far-right in Britain which once made Jews their whipping boy and now cavort on all-expenses paid trips atop Israeli tanks.
From anti-Semitism without Jews to anti-Semitic Israelophilia is just one of the unexpected journeys of the last 30 years.
There is anti-Semitism in Britain and there always has been. But the kind of brutal pogroms of Jews which were a regular feature of European life and death have not happened in Britain since the York and London massacres almost a thousand years ago. Grim repression and vile prejudice carried on for centuries after that but in modern times there has been nothing like what happened in modern Europe. In European countries - West and East - sections of the population fell upon the their own Jewish countrymen even before the Nazis and their trains arrived to take them to the death camps.
From Ukraine to the Netherlands, Jew-hating locals committed murder against the Jews and many more collaborated with the Occupation forces to entrain their fellow citizens to the gas-chambers. But not in Britain.
For a time, Britain stood alone against the beast of fascism and it was our finest hour. Whilst Britain did not fight WWII to liberate Jews, liberate what was left of them, we did, along with the Red Army advancing from the east - an army of a state which bore the overwhelming brunt of fascist depredation.
Whilst groupuscules of the British far-right kept the flame of anti-Semitism alight - together with their "Empire-Loyalist" friends in the Conservatives - the vast majority of British people, and especially those on the left, saw clearly where racism can end up - in Auschwitz and Treblinka - determined to fight it as one of the first banners in their ranks.
The Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, whom I have known for 40 years, remains an icon of that tradition as were his parents before him. His own mother fought at Cable St in London's East End against Britain's fascists in 1936 - defending the huge Jewish community then there under the slogan 'They Shall Not Pass'.
Yet, if you google the words "anti-Semitism" today the first name which will pop-up is not the name of the architects and mass-murderers of Hitler's "Final Solution" but the name of Jeremy Corbyn.
That is the stupendously stupid achievement of the leaders of the Israeli lobby in Britain - and Tel Aviv - today. Because Corbyn would not turn his face away from the suffering of the Palestinian people, would not eschew condemnation of the brutal Netanyahu regime, he is now - hourly - denounced as an anti-Semite, a Jew-hater, a Nazi.
Some say the Israeli lobby is the architect of this Salem-style witch-hunt but I disagree. It would be easier if it were true. In my view the true architects are Britain's - and the US - ruling elites. Having tried to smear Corbyn as a Russian agent, a KGB operative, a Czech spy, an IRA man they have fastened on the only smear which appeared to have traction - anti-Semitism. They have weaponized the suffering and the murders of millions of Jews in the Holocaust in their coup against Corbyn.
It's not a coup against Labour - the kind of Labour Party we had in the past was easily accommodated by the ruling class. It's not even a coup against Corbyn's frankly social-democratic economic program, less radical even than Harold Wilson's Program For Britain back in 1974.
This is a very British coup against Corbyn's imagined foreign policy. A British government which might put a spoke in NATO's wheel. A British government which could no longer be dragooned into the anti-Russia front. A British government which would end the grisly but profitable arms trade with the despots of Arabia. A British government fighting for justice for the Palestinians, standing with Mexico, Venezuela, South Africa…
This coup unmasks British democracy as little more than a fraud, lipstick upon a pig. The militarised mendacity of the entire mass media - led by the state broadcaster the BBC - the use of deep-state subversion methods against Corbyn has led many in Britain to fear even for the personal safety of the Labour leader. I used to read about things like this in my callow youth. I knew them to be true, in theory. But not in practice, not in Britain. It has taken this very British coup to change my mind.
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