Zack Beauchamp has a long piece up at Vox, titled “The anti-Semitism controversy roiling the UK Labour party, explained.” It says that Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn gave a speech on anti-Semitism Thursday that turned out to be a “debacle” and a “mess,” because the Labour Party “is having trouble drawing the line between acceptable criticism of Israel and outright anti-Semitism.”
Beauchamp went on to offer a typical catalog of alleged anti-Semitism from Labourites. Here’s one item:
Corbyn himself made matters worse, by implicitly comparing Israel to ISIS in his speech.“Our Jewish friends are no more responsible for the actions of Israel or the Netanyahu government than our Muslim friends are for those of various self-styled Islamic states or organizations,” Corbyn said.
Another: A screenshot from former Labour parliamentarian Naz Shah’s Facebook page, comparing Israel to apartheid South Africa, the segregated American South, and Germany under Hitler.
Read very narrowly, Shah’s comments aren’t talking about Jews outside Israel. But the issue here isn’t that Shah is condemning UK Jews in Hitler-like terms, but rather that her attacks on Israel have been so vitriolic as to veer into what many see as anti-Semitic territory.
Or these statements from Jeremy Corbyn that “raised eyebrows.”
Most notoriously, Corbyn once referred to members of Hamas and Hezbollah — both US-designated anti-Israel terrorist groups — as “friends,” and invited Hamas representatives to speak in Parliament.
Beauchamp’s catalog is typical: In the British argument over whether anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism, the pro-Israel side lumps in defensible statements, dumb or insensitive statements, and actual antisemitic statements from the anti-Zionists into one big pot, as co-author Johnson observed before, in a post asserting that “Anti-Palestinianism” is surely as serious a moral failing as anti-Semitism. But no one is ever called on that.
[Commentators say] it’s anti-Semitic to deny “Israel’s right to exist” without seeming to realize that Israel wouldn’t exist as a Jewish state without ethnic cleansing and discrimination.
Because nobody cares about anti-Palestinian bigotry.
No other human rights movement I can think of is automatically accused of being racist. The underlying assumption is that Palestinians just don’t matter that much, so anyone who expresses moral outrage or uses the normal tools of protest, like boycotts, can’t possibly be motivated by human rights concerns. They must be antisemites or at least examined very closely for antisemitism before being given a clean bill of health.
Vox just continues that pattern. Liberal Zionists place themselves on a pedestal, grandly informing us who is an anti-semite based on just how critical they are of Israel. It never crosses their mind that the shoe could be on the other foot– people can and should judge them as racist for implicitly assuming that Palestinians only have as many rights as liberal Zionists are willing to grant them.