In Britain’s House of Commons this week, MP Kim Johnson launched an attack on the “fascist Israeli government” and its “apartheid” policies.
Johnson is a Labour Party MP. You know, the same Labour Party whose current moderate leader, Sir Keir Starmer, has reputedly cleansed it of the Jew-hatred that exploded under its previous hard-left leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Following Johnson’s remarks, the Labour leadership leapt into immediate action. Within hours, Johnson was ordered to make a groveling apology.
This is supposed to reassure us. True, Starmer now takes action against any expression of Jew-hatred. This includes the pathological demonization of Israel that singles it out for lies designed to delegitimize and destroy it—an agenda applied to no other people or state in the world.
Any such eruption threatens Starmer’s strategy of suppressing the bigotry that previously threatened to destroy the party as the self-professed standard-bearer of conscience, enlightenment and all good things. So, he stamps down on it hard whenever it appears.
But Starmer is playing a game of whack-a-mole. Anti-Jewish bigotry still courses through the party. Anyone who thinks Labour’s antisemitism has gone away or is restricted to a tiny unrepresentative fringe is a fool.
The demonization of Israel is the defining cause of the progressive left. As such, it has become the default narrative in all higher reaches of the culture.
In America, where there is still a bedrock of public support for Israel, this poison has spread through the universities into the schools and infiltrated the Democratic Party. Unlike in Britain, however, the Democrats haven’t even gotten to the Labour Party’s stage of seeking to rid themselves publicly of this moral stain.
The ousting of the Jew-bashing Minnesota Democrat Rep. Ilhan Omar from the House of Representatives’ Foreign Affairs Committee was organized by the Republicans. The Democrats, who refused to take action against her when they governed the House, opposed the ouster, complaining that it was “revenge” for the Democrats’ removal of two GOP representatives from committees during the previous session of Congress.
Accordingly, the Democrats continue to sanitize Omar’s egregious Jew-hatred. In 2019, she tweeted that U.S. support for Israel was “all about the Benjamins”—that is, hundred-dollar bills. In 2012, before she arrived in Congress, she claimed that “Israel has hypnotized the world” and added, “May Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel.”
Last weekend, Omar claimed on CNN that she was unaware that the word “hypnotized” and conspiracy theories about Jews and money are anti-Jewish tropes.
“I might have used words at the time that I didn’t understand were trafficking in antisemitism,” she said.
Her protestations of ignorance have drawn widespread incredulity and scorn. In fact, they imply something more unpalatable than being disingenuous.
Omar knows that there’s a prejudice called antisemitism. However, she self-evidently believed that Jews do use their money to exercise covert and harmful power and that they do hypnotize the world.
In other words, Omar thought that what others know to be Jew-hating tropes couldn’t be prejudice because they’re true. So, when she says she didn’t think these tropes constituted antisemitism, she reveals just how antisemitic she actually is.
Yet even now, the supposedly anti-racist Democrats refuse to condemn her. This is because Western progressives either support or refuse to condemn “intersectional” Critical Race Theory.
Emanating from Marxist propaganda that damns as oppressive all who have political, economic or military power, this dogma identifies Jews as oppressors—because it itself draws upon the antisemitic tropes of Jewish power and money.
This ideology of Western oppression turned the left into the useful idiots of the former Soviet Union, which allied with the PLO’s terrorist leader Yasser Arafat in the 1960s to fuse Marxism with the fabrication of Palestinian identity and victimization by Israel.
This both fueled and provided cover for overt Jew-hatred. While Western liberals have normalized this through their support for the Palestinian Arabs, it has been promoted disproportionately by black people and Muslims under the influence of Black Power, Critical Race Theory and the laundering of the global Islamic jihad through the Palestinian cause.
Black people and Muslims are involved in attacks on Jews in America, Britain and elsewhere in numbers significantly disproportionate to their presence in the population as a whole.
Such attacks are now being normalized in the wider culture. The Netflix movie “You People”—which premiered on International Holocaust Remembrance Day last week—depicts Jews in hateful terms. They are presented as rich people who profited from the slave trade and now leech off the poor, or degenerate and lying low-lifes who earn deserved humiliation over their attempts to whitewash their racism.
On the Jew in the City website, Allison Josephs observed how this production repeats and normalizes the Jew-hating tropes of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.
“The erasure of past and current Jewish persecution, while pitting Jews against black people, is absolutely vile,” she wrote.
Where are the other Jewish voices raised in protest over this production?
The Jewish Diaspora leadership may complain about antisemitism on campus or some of the most egregious lies about Israel’s supposed oppression and “war crimes.” But in general, it refuses to call out Muslim or black antisemitism.
With very few exceptions, it refuses to tell the truth that the Jews are the only people with a legal, historical and moral claim to the entire Holy Land and thus lance the boil that produces this poison—the lie that the Jews stole the land from its indigenous inhabitants.
It refuses to call out the West’s political and cultural leaders for telling the lie that Israel illegally occupies “Palestinian” land. This is not just because of the fear of challenging people in power. Far worse, many Jewish Diaspora leaders themselves believe this lie because they are ignorant of Jewish and Middle East history.
In America, “progressive” Jewish groups that regularly demonize Israel actually defended Ilhan Omar. A number of them published a statement claiming that House Speaker Kevin McCarthy was acting “based on false accusations that [Omar] is antisemitic or anti-Israel.”
In Britain, The Jewish Chronicle reported that the United Synagogue—analogous to America’s Orthodox Union—actually sold the now-defunct Wembley synagogue in London to an extremist Islamic group, the U.K. branch of the Pakistan-based Dawat-e-Islami.
In raising funds to buy this synagogue, the group described it in its publicity materials as “a former place of worship of non-believers.”
Dawat-e-Islami’s Midlands branch hosted an extremist preacher, Shaykh Asrar Rashid, who once claimed Hitler did Jews “a favor.” The group’s founder, Muhammad Ilyas Attar Qadri, wrote that boycotting Jewish products wasn’t enough for Muslims, who must make sure not to behave as “imitations of the Jews.”
Yet the clueless United Synagogue claims that it activated its “robust due diligence processes” to conduct the sale. Like the rest of Britain’s Jewish leadership, it seems neither to understand Islamic extremism nor to recognize the severity of the threat it poses to Britain’s Jews.
While failing to call out systemic Muslim, black or Palestinian Arab antisemitism, Britain’s Jewish leaders instead demonize as Islamophobic, racist or extremist anyone who does.
Meanwhile, Jewish voters and donors are flocking back to the supposedly safe-again Labour Party; while in both Britain and America, Jewish communities internalize the hysteria and distortions about both the new Israeli government and the Palestinian Arabs that flow unremittingly from outlets such as the BBC, Haaretz and The New York Times.
As the West careens off the moral and political road and hurtles towards the precipice, Diaspora Jews are like rabbits caught in the headlights, unable to move.
Melanie Phillips, a British journalist, broadcaster and author, writes a weekly column for JNS. Currently a columnist for The Times of London, her personal and political memoir Guardian Angel has been published by Bombardier, which also published her first novel, The Legacy. Go to melaniephillips.substack.com to access her work.