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A short thread on the unbearable hypocrisy in some reports and reactions to the chief rabbi's words on Jeremy Corbyn. Seeing how social media tends to reduce everything to the personal, I'm going to try and keep this as general as possible and not name names. 1/15
I know there is a place for the word “whataboutery.” But it's also a word people use to shut down any exploration of context. When the chief rabbi writes his piece on the day Labour unveil their race & faith manifesto it is clearly legitimate to see the two as not unrelated. 2/15
When it is said that Labour can no longer call itself an anti-racist party, it is legitimate to ask which other party can. That's not whataboutery, just diligence, unless you have decided your conscience tells you that you cannot vote at all (a morally flawed argument). 3/15
When a member of the House of Lords says that this country is no longer the “comfortable place” it once was, it is legitimate to point out that it has been a deeply uncomfortable place for people from many minorities already. That there has been RAMPANT RACISM forever. 4/15
It is legitimate to ask people to look at how badly represented other minorities are in the House of Lords and then, as the infuriating saying goes “check their privilege”, if only to imagine for a second how what you are saying will sound to people from other minorities. 5/15
Again, not whataboutery, but awareness of context. When people say antisemitism began to rise in 2016 with Jeremy Corbyn's arrival as Labour leader, it's absurd not to point out that this was also the year of the Brexit vote, leading to racist attacks against all minorities. 6/15
It is legitimate to mention that travellers' caravans are being burnt to the ground, that people of different skin colour and those who speak foreign languages in public and AS WELL AS Jewish people have been attacked and how nativist Brexit propaganda encouraged this. 7/15
Of course, it's not the same as that special brand of antisemitism cropping up in the Left “criticising Israel”, but it is a gross distortion to act as though the Left presented anywhere near the an equal threat to the safety of Jews or other minorities as the the far right. 8/15
With that in mind, let's also remember that T*mmy R*binson, a far-right thug with mob attached, is backing Boris Johnson, and I haven't seen anybody asking him to disassociate himself from this endorsement. 9/15
Tellingly, when a German exchange student of Lebanese origin was almost beaten to death by English schoolchildren in the centre of my hometown last year, Labour was the only mainstream party visible at the anti-racist demonstration that followed. 10/15
Thanks to the way identity politics have degenerated in public discourse, we are now meant to put on our yellow stars on before talking about antisemitism. So be it, once again, if only to explain why all this is depressing me as deeply as it is. 11/15
Do you think my grandparents were so stupid not to know there was antisemitism among the Communist resistance when they joined them during the war? Do you think they made an immoral choice in doing so when they prioritised fighting Nazism over such qualms? 12/15
Because I don't, even though I know they were eaten up by moral conflicts after fascism was defeated. As was everyone with a brain and a heart, on any of the “winning” sides. 13/15
Finally, to bang on about them some more, I know enough about the political squabbles among the survivors in their family to know that there has never been such a thing as a homogenous Jewish community with anything like a united opinion on just about anything. 14/15
And that' s a wonderful thing, actually. But it also means that it's infuriating to see people make collective assumptions, both from within the “community” and from without. So please don't do it, however high the horse you're riding in on. 15/15
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