Alan Johnson: ‘Jeremy Corbyn is incapable of tackling Labour’s anti-Semitism problem’: a comment by Political Observer


Alan Johnson is the editor of Fathom and a senior fellow at BICOM, Britain Israel Communications & Research Center:

‘BICOM, the Britain Israel Communications & Research Centre, is an independent research centre producing research and analysis about Israel and the Middle East. Our overall aim is to improve understanding of Israel and the many issues facing the countries of the Middle East and the region. We believe in the right of the State of Israel to live in peace and security and the right of the Palestinians to an independent state brought about though a negotiated agreement. We support a close relationship between Britain and Israel, based on shared values and interests.’

Liberal Zionist advocate/apologist Alan Johnson comments on Jeremy Corbyn, as providing a safe space for  Antisemites, while making clear that Mr. Corbyn is not himself one of that loathsome breed. Not very convincing, but first we must wade through Johnson’s lengthy indictment till we reach this:

Anti-Semitism has shape-shifted through history, employing different modes of justification. Its core motif is that the Jews, collectively and in their essence, are not just Other but malign. The content of this perceived malevolence changes with the times and the needs of the anti-Semites. “God-killers,” “aliens,” “cosmopolitans,” “sub-humans” and now “Zionists” have all served as code words to mark the Jew for destruction.

The new anti-Semitism does not criticise Israel—it demonises it. It twists the meaning of “Israel” and “Zionism” until they are so bent out of shape they can serve as receptacles for the tropes, images and ideas of classical anti-Semitism. That which the Jew once was, the Jewish state now is: evil, vampiric, full of blood lust, the all-controlling but hidden hand in global affairs, the obstacle to a better, purer, more spiritual world, uniquely deserving of punishment, and so on. “For World Peace We Must Destroy Israel,” as that new anti-Semitic placard puts it.

Antisemitism has shape-shifted through time to become, in the political present, Anti-Zionism: BDS is the current enemy, and all those who support it as a legitimate answer to Apartheid Israel, and its thuggish leader Netanyahu. There can be no legitimate criticism of Israel: the rhetorical invention of Antisemite/Self-Hating Jew has rendered the very expression of a critique irrational, as argued by apologists like Johnson and others. It never occurred to the advocates/inventors of Zionism, that their politically emancipatory idea and practice, might lead to a critique founded on a rational critique of their politics: one need only look to Arendt’s prediction that Israel would become Sparta.

‘And even if the Jews were to win the war, its end would find the unique possibilities and the unique achievements of Zionism in Palestine destroyed. The land that would come into being would be something quite other than the dream of world Jewry, Zionist and non-Zionist. The ‘victorious’ Jews would live surrounded by an entirely hostile Arab population, secluded into ever-threatened borders, absorbed with physical self-defense to a degree that would submerge all other interests and acitvities. The growth of a Jewish culture would cease to be the concern of the whole people; social experiments would have to be discarded as impractical luxuries; political thought would center around military strategy…. And all this would be the fate of a nation that — no matter how many immigrants it could still absorb and how far it extended its boundaries (the whole of Palestine and Transjordan is the insane Revisionist demand)–would still remain a very small people greatly outnumbered by hostile neighbors.

Under such circumstances… the Palestinian Jews would degenerate into one of those small warrior tribes about whose possibilities and importance history has amply informed us since the days of Sparta. Their relations with world Jewry would become problematical, since their defense interests might clash at any moment with those of other countries where large number of Jews lived. Palestine Jewry would eventually separate itself from the larger body of world Jewry and in its isolation develop into an entirely new people. Thus it becomes plain that at this moment and under present circumstances a Jewish state can only be erected at the price of the Jewish homeland…

– See more at:

Please read Philip Weiss’ ‘Arendt: Born in conflict, Israel will degenerate into Sparta, and American Jews will need to back away’ in full, at the link above, truly worth your time and attention. A brilliant reminder of Arendt’s prescience and of the estimable Philip Weiss!

Political Observer

Jeremy Corbyn is incapable of tackling Labour’s anti-Semitism problem



About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.'
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