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Author(s): Allington, Daniel
Date: 2020
Author(s): Bolton, Matthew
Date: 2020
Abstract: This article analyses the British left’s response to allegations of antisemitism within the UK Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership. It uses as its foil a collection of essays on the topic written over the course of the Corbyn era for leading online outlets of the contemporary Anglo-American left, and given away as a free e-book by Verso, the world’s biggest leftist publisher, during the 2019 British election campaign. On the basis of this collection, the article suggests that the Labour antisemitism crisis was the culmination of a long process of political and theoretical degeneration within the left. It argues that the tendency to reduce of the question of antisemitism to that of class “interests,” with antisemitism understood primarily as an “instrument” used by the powerful to divide the “oppressed,” leaves many leftists unable to comprehend the possibility of exterminatory antisemitism as an end-in-itself. The appeal of this approach lies in the apparent alibi against antisemitism it provides for those on the left, like Corbyn, whose interests supposedly coincide with those of “the oppressed,” and means that accusations of antisemitism within the left can be similarly denounced as cover for the underlying ‘interests’ of those making the accusation. The article argues that the insistence that the State of Israel is “a racist endeavour,” a claim which lay at the heart of the Labour antisemitism dispute, rests upon an arbitrary and ahistorical rejection of the notion of Jewish peoplehood. This critique itself draws upon a long history of right-nationalist and liberal-republican antisemitism in which Jews were viewed as an illegitimate “anti-nation,” and in its partiality is radically distinct from a critique of the nation-state as such. The article suggests that this same partiality and ahistoricity reappears in the inability of a class instrumentalist perspective to apprehend the intrinsic, rather than extrinsic, relationship between Israel and antisemitism, and the genocidal antisemitism of the Holocaust in particular.
Date: 2019
Author(s): Rich, Dave
Date: 2020
Abstract: In April 2020, shortly after Keir Starmer replaced Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the UK Labour Party, an internal party report concerning the workings of Labour's internal disciplinary unit in relation to antisemitism was leaked to the media. This report was over 850 pages long and was intended to be submitted to the Equality and Human Rights Commission, which is conducting an inquiry into allegations of antisemitism in the Party. However, Labour's lawyers refused to allow it to be used, almost certainly because the content was so damaging to the Party's own defence. It confirmed many of the claims made by Jewish Party members and community organisations during Corbyn's leadership of the party, namely that the disciplinary system was not fit for purpose and cases of alleged antisemitism were ignored or delayed and punishments were too weak. When it was leaked the report caused a scandal because it claimed that Corbyn's efforts to deal with antisemitism were sabotaged by his own Party staff, who were mostly drawn from factions opposed to his left wing project. Furthermore, the report claimed that this was part of a broader conspiracy against Corbyn that even extended to Labour Party staff trying to prevent a Labour victory in the 2017 General Election. The leaked report is selective and inaccurate in many respects and ignores the role played by Corbyn and his close advisers in denying the problem of antisemitism existed. Nor does it address the reasons why people with antisemitic views were attracted to Labour under his leadership. It is most likely that it was written to allow Corbyn and his supporters to continue to claim that their project did not fail on its own merits, but was betrayed by internal saboteur