Rabbi Jonathan Sacks has no illusions about Jeremy Corbyn. In an interview with New Statesman that was published in late August, the former chief rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth called Corbyn an anti-Semite and denounced the British Labour Party leader’s statement that British Zionists “don’t want to study history and ... don’t understand English irony.” Sacks understands that Corbyn is accusing British Jews of dual loyalty, a classic anti-Semitic canard.
Corbyn is a longtime supporter of Hamas and Hezbollah, which openly declare their desire to destroy Israel. Nevertheless, he has thus far won support from liberal Jews in Britain who have long seen Corbyn’s party as their home. For many years, Labour reflected their ideals — globalization, universalism and love of the “other.” Now, their world is collapsing around them.
The British Jewish journalist Melanie Phillips assailed them in an essay in Britain’s Jewish Chronicle (September 13) for having been silent when Corbyn spouted anti-Semitic venom about Israel and painted it as a bloodthirsty occupier, a satanic state, yet being shocked now that he’s closing in on them.
Denial of reality, shock and disbelief are classic responses to distress among liberal Jewish communities, from German Jews who, after the rise of the Nazis, refused to believe that their loyalty to Germany would end in their deaths, to Communist Jews in Stalin’s Soviet Union, who believed the blood libels against other Jews until they themselves were executed or exiled to prison camps in Siberia.
Now as then, liberal Jews are trapped by their noble mission of “fighting from within.” In Britain, they refuse to admit that Corbyn prefers his Muslim friends to bleeding-heart Jews. And in France, philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy compares the Jews to Jonah the prophet, who was sent to persuade residents of Nineveh repent.
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The Jews must remain in France and fight so that it won’t fall into the hands of the barbarians, he said last year in a lecture at Bar-Ilan University. Levy’s barbarians aren’t just right-wing anti-Semites, but also the left-wing anti-Semites who fawn over Muslim voters, whose numbers are steadily growing in western Europe.
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Frighteningly, the old anti-Semitism of the right in Europe is increasingly joining hands with the anti-Semitism of the left and Muslim immigrants, and this combination is liable to reach the United States as well. The day is nearing when it will no longer be possible to distinguish between anti-Semitism toward the Jewish community, which espouses liberal and universalist values, and anti-Semitism toward Israel, “the Jew among the nations.” And it’s impossible to legitimize or forgive either of them, because they stem from the same poisoned root.
I’m sorry for those enlightened, cosmopolitan Jews, but this must be said openly: Their mission to rehabilitate the haters and discover the light in their hearts has ended. They shouldn’t wait until Corbyn is elected prime minister of Britain, or until Linda Sarsour becomes head of the Democratic Party in the United States. They must correctly understand the historical process by which anti-Semitism effects a rapprochement between the radical right and the radical left and its Muslim supports.
This is the time to start thinking about emigration. Luckily for them, their parents supported the establishment of Israel, and therefore, today they have a homeland and a country to which to flee.