Sunday Times 21 Oct 1984 p.16 'Tearing the heart from a Labour man'
Philip Kleinman on a mortifying experience in politics.
In 1981, Mr Kleinman joined the Islington North CLP but found it 'embodied some of the least attractive trends in today's Labour movement.'
'Our first encounter [with Mr Corbyn] was at a candidate-selection meeting of Islington Fabian Society. He indicated then that he favoured British withdrawal of NATO & from Northern Ireland & the dissolution of the state of Israel.' [!]
'While Ireland seemed to come higher on the political agenda, the subject which most worried me, the most personal concern was Israel. I am no slavish support of that country's policies - the weekly column I have written for 10 years in the @JewishChron is proof enough of that.'
'but, like the great majority of British Jews I strongly oppose any threat to its existence. Apart from anything, the PLO's objective of a "democratic, secular state of Palestine" superseding the Jewish state could be achieved only through the most tremendous bloodshed.'
'The idea of helping to put an enemy of Israel into the House of Commons, where he might one day have some influence on British foreign policy, was distinctively unattractive.'
'In the year which followed Corbyn's selection I tried 2 or 3 times to arrange a private meeting with him to discuss the middle east. No luck. Meanwhile events did not stand still...
My constituency party put its weight behind the anti-Israel moves at conference.'
'In my own ward I challenged the general committee's action but got nowhere. My submission that support for the "democratic secular state" formula was bound to look to most Jews like a declaration of hostility to the Jewish people as a whole was met with incomprehension.'
'I wrote to Tony Benn, the only senior Labour figure who cut any ice with my Islington comrades, asking him for his views on the subject. His reply was courteous, brief and totally unsatisfactory. He supported, he said conference policy. That was all.'
[more at 14:00].
'During the 1983 GE I finally managed to have a word (on the telephone) with Jeremy Corbyn about the middle east & he confirmed that he remained as anti-Israel as ever.'
Leading Mr Kleinman to vote for John Grant (ex Labour), explaining why in an article in the Standard.
'the anti-Israel faction and the pro-IRA faction in the Labour Party consist to a large extent of the same people. The reason for this is to be sought, I believe, not so much in any similarities between the Irish and ME situations... but in the psychology of the people involved.'
'They are the people who oppose violence except when employed by those who speak the language of national liberation, however spuriously; who are all for democracy except when the will of the majority, as in Ulster happen to conflict with their opinions'.
'whose hearts bleed for the sufferings of certain groups while remaining curiously cold to those of others.'
[Mr Kleinman reads Mr Corbyn & others on the hard Left like a book]
'While denying that he supported acts of violence in Norther Ireland, Corbyn, like Livingstone, showed every sympathy for Sinn Fein, which everyone knows to be only the IRA under another name.'
Because of the article Mr Kleinman was disciplined for disloyalty, he avoided an initial expulsion & continued to argue that he had seriously considered "the long-term interests of the Labour Party would have been better served by keeping Jeremy Corbyn out of Parliament".
'I compared yesterday's anti-semitism, to today's anti-Zionism, which uses the Jewish state rather than individual Jews as a symbol of evil. I quoted Neil Kinnock statement in a letter to me that he was "opposed to any proposal to abolish the state of Israel'.
Islington North CLP eventually expelled him, & despite support from the left and right of the Party, the NEC upheld their decision.
Although encouraged to reapply Mr Kleinman 'was unwilling to get into that nest of vipers again.'
See this thread: 'on Why Labour is losing it Jews' by Peter Bradley for additional context on the period (especially Livingstone).
This year Mr Bradley wrote a sequel which found 'many worrying similarities'.
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