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Labour and Antisemitism: a Crisis Misunderstood


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10 May 2020


n this article, we argue that Labour’s antisemitism crisis has been misunderstood. We suggest that a more accurate and sophisticated understanding of antisemitism offers a way forward. There are three elements to this claim. First, by drawing on existing data on attitudes towards Jews, we criticise the widespread focus on individual ‘antisemites’, rather than on the broader problem of antisemitism. In turn, we conceive of antisemitism not as a virus or poison, as in so many formulations, but rather, as a reservoir of readily available images and ideas that subsist in our political culture. Second, following on from this understanding, we offer five ways forward. Finally, we set this analysis in the context of a historical parting of the ways between anti‐racism and opposition to antisemitism. An anti‐racism defined solely by conceptions of whiteness and power, we argue, has proven unable to fully acknowledge and account for anti‐Jewish racism.



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This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution‐NonCommercial‐NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non‐commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.

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Link to article, Labour and Antisemitism: a Crisis Misunderstood

Bibliographic Information

Gidley, Ben, McGeever, Brendan, Feldman, David Labour and Antisemitism: a Crisis Misunderstood. The Political Quarterly. 10 May 2020:  https://archive.jpr.org.uk/10.1111/1467-923X.12854