The Long (overdue) Goodbye

Image description: A view from the back of Jeremy Corbyn giving an address.

A few weeks ago, Jeremy Corbyn was suspended from the Labour Party. Then, he was reinstated. The disappointment was crushing. And then this morning I woke up to the joyous news that he would not receive the Labour whip. That makes him kaput. Done.

See, when Corbyn was suspended, Jews didn’t come out ahead on the deal. But justice was done. In 2019’s general election, only 6% of Jews could bring themselves to vote for Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party.

That’s a Labour party which was branded by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission as containing a culture which “at best, did not do enough to prevent antisemitism and, at worst, could be seen to accept it.”

Let’s be very clear. When the best line of defence against charges that your institution is anti-Semitic is that you are incompetent, you have no defence at all. 

Corbyn is a man who delivered slap after slap to the face of British Jewry for four straight years. He continually spurned the mainstream representatives of the community to sit down with the most ideologically-left leaning groups (read: “the good Jews”).

Anti-Semitism was simply the very visible tip of an iceberg.

In a Facebook message posted after the EHRC’s report came out, Corbyn continued to insist on his commitment to getting rid of racism in general while papering over his failure to address anti-Semitism in particular. 

Jeremy Corbyn’s list of misdeeds are labyrinthine and form a sort of confessional litany for those familiar with the issue. The mural, the vicar, the Press TV appearance, the “friends”, Raed Salah, English irony

Ask yourself why men who believed that Jews – whoops, “Zionists” – kill and eat children also believed that Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party was likely to be friendly to them. Ask yourself why anti-Semitism accusations were so rife that Labour members referred to it by the familiar acronym “AS”. Ask yourself if four years of repeated failures can really all be chalked up to incompetence.

Anti-Semitism was simply the very visible tip of an iceberg. It leaves many of Corbynism’s chief exponents completely unable to grapple with the fact that their movement is permeated by bigotry. There was and still is something intrinsic to the structure of Corbynism that endorses bigotry, and until there is a reckoning on that, Labour will never truly move past anti-Semitism.

Corbynism frames anyone nominally opposed to the “imperialist and capitalist West” as blameless victims incapable of doing wrong, prohibiting any condemnation of such groups. This worldview means that when anti-Semitic tropes accusing Jews of being rich and in power are spun up, Corbynists are simply unable to comprehend that discrimination towards Jews might exist.

Jews have known for a long time that Corbyn’s Labour Party also repeatedly failed to address the anti-Semites within the party. That is no surprise, since the man at the top was one.

After John Ware’s excoriating Panorama documentary, revealing the shambles that Jennie Formby, Karie Murphy, Seumas Milne, and the rest of the Corbynista-led National Executive Council had made of the complaints process, a decent man would have resigned.

Barring that, a competent man would have done what Keir Starmer has – invited the Jewish Labour Movement (not Jewish Voice for Labour, Labour Against the Witchhunt, Jewdas, or any other fringe organisation) to set up a complaints procedure that would actually uproot anti-Semites from the rank and file of the party. 

The lesson from this should be very simple for anyone watching.

Jeremy Corbyn is neither a decent man nor a competent man. Instead, as the EHRC report sets out in painstaking detail, he has systematically interfered in the reports process to protect political allies and slow down expulsions at all levels.

He did not even have the basic decency to protect the whistleblowers who appeared in that documentary and MPs who dared to speak up against him. Instead, he sued them (and lost) while sanctioning their harassment and bullying on social media and in real life.

The lesson from this should be very simple for anyone watching. The way to prevent extremists and bigots from taking over your party is to have a complaints procedure which actually results in their expulsion, with an executive that is willing to take radical and tough action on the very worst representatives of the British body politic.

It is to take the opportunity to expel them earlier when they are weaker rather than later, when they consolidate power. And it is to understand that there are things about movements with apparently appealing aims that can still make them totally unacceptable.

When Corbyn was first suspended, I exalted that Corbyn was in the dustbin of history: good riddance. It hurts a lot that I can no longer say that. So it gives me great pleasure to write once more that Jeremy Corbyn has been consigned to the dustbin of history. Good riddance. There is still more to do, but (for now) a hearty yasher koach to Keir Starmer.

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