Thursday, September 17, 2015


I know, I know, we're many of us cheered that the newly elected leader of England’s Labor Party, Jeremy Corbyn, cannot be confused with a Tory or with ex-Labor leader Tony Blair — Corbyn never would have given Bush the British partner without which Bush could never have sold the catastrophic invasion of Iraq — and these are good things. And yet there is room for doubt about Corbyn.

I'm not referring to the predictable smears from the Jewish right (for the Jewish right, just for the fun of smearing back, if you're not for Netanyahu then ipso quacko you're for Hitler), and here I must unfortunately include, much as I appreciate it and many of its offerings. But when it comes to the Middle East and Israel, between Lee Smith and, increasingly, Liel Leibowitz, the tabletmag mavens on these subjects, I feel like I might as well be reading Commentary. (True, Todd Gitlin does every now and then get a sane word in edgewise. Not often enough.)

Back to Corbyn: when raises questions — doesn't point the finger, doesn't denounce, doesn't rush to judgment but posts a caution — that's something to consider.

As in:

Perhaps the main reason Corbyn in particular has accelerated the separation of British Jews from Labour, though, is the feeling that he grasps neither the seriousness of his associations nor that anti-Semitism can exist on the left at all.



  1. This concern is really a concern about the left in general. As long as leftists have a simplistic view on who is oppressed and feel the need to constantly show they are on the side of the oppressed, anti-Semitism on the left will continue to be dismissed. The corollary to that is that the human rights violations that take place on the "side" of the oppressed will also be dismissed. We need to fight to get leftists to grapple with the issue more seriously. One good reason is that this hypocrisy actually is a vulnerability that is being used against the left at a time it can grow very quickly.

  2. I agree, though might say it differently. I might say that dogmatism is, if not a constant, then a constant problem for the left, which has never done particularly well with the knotty problem of the Jews.

  3. For sure. I wish more were trying to sort this out rather than just picking a side that is more comfortable for one's personal identity.