Headline: Hobson, Corbyn and antisemitic tropes
Sub-headline: It troubles me that scholars are teaching Hobson’s Imperialism without flagging the antisemitic dimensions of his thought or contextualizing it appropriately, says Abigail Green
In its concerted campaign to defame Jeremy Corbyn, The Guardian has enlisted Abigail Green, Professor of modern European history, University of Oxford, to add a bit of intellectual respectability, to a coterie led by the mendacious, hysterical Jonathan Freedland.
As a historian with a different intellectual focus, I am struggling with the idea that it is possible to teach an analysis of the relationship between imperialism and capitalism, written in 1902 and reflecting contemporary antisemitic conspiracy theories about Jewish capitalist power, without any reference to this context. That Corbyn endorsed this book is troubling, but more troubling for me is the thought that scholars all over the world are teaching Imperialism without bothering to flag the antisemitic dimensions of Hobson’s thought or to contextualise it appropriately. Under these circumstances, the repeated failures by Corbyn (and many others) to identify antisemitic tropes about Jewish money, power and globalism for what they are is hardly surprising. That does not make the failure to call out these – and other – antisemitic tropes any more acceptable.
Here is a copy of a letter authored by Corbyn, in answer to his forward to Hobson’s book, as an endorsement/apologetic for the Anti-Semitism expressed by Hobson :
Please note that Prof. Green engages in self-serving equivocation about Corbyn’s supposed endorsement of Hobson’s Anti-Semitism: isn’t that a standard set by a politically prudent academic? I have rendered them in bold. Corbyn’s letter to Board President Marie van der Zyl will never put the question to rest. As Corbyn gets closer to actual political power, the more concerted the campaign to smear him with baseless accusation. Except Prof. Green’s equivocations are too attached to a cultivation of academic respectability, rather than the outright political hysteria of Jonathan Freedland’s maladroit polemics.