Personally I couldn't give two shits about 'the Middle East conflict' and refuse to 'pick a side' in the ongoing troubles engulfing that part of the world like many do, lining up for Israel or Palestine in the same way that people support football or rugby teams. You don't and won't hear me talking about it on these pages for precisely this reason, as I've always thought Anglo-American interference in what is essentially other people's business to be at best pointless and in all likelihood somewhat counter-productive. The nadir of our narcissistic self-obsession was probably when we appointed Tony Blair as the region's 'peace envoy' - a bad taste appointment if I've ever known one.
Yes, we bought a very expensive ceasefire in Northern Ireland (contrary to what some may tell you the underlying 'issues' have not disappeared) but it's not in our gift to do the same in Israel/Palestine and we shouldn't try to. Sometimes, as difficult as it is, you have to acknowledge that the world isn't exactly as you would like it to be and that you can't personally 'fix' everything that is wrong with the planet. My suspicion from the outside is that the main reason conflict persists in the Middle East is that the genuine pursuit of a peaceful two-State solution (with difficult compromises) is politically unacceptable to too many people on all sides - just look at the people they keep electing.
It's with this in mind that I struggled to take the 'Labour Party anti-semitism' story this week too seriously. Things reached something of a low when Jezza attended an event thrown by a group hilariously named 'Jewdas' and smirked his way through a series of foul-mouthed 'speeches' about the State of Israel, 'the Jewish history of making money' and a multitude of other topics. Now I don't think this idiot will ever become Prime Minister but for the sake of argument I'm pretty sure he'd be an unmitigated disaster if he ever did. The 'flavour' of this story, however, was more about the quality of the man's judgement and the nature of the company he keeps.
Whether it's the IRA, Hamas, Communist 'diplomats' or attending the annual Jewdas shindig it's beyond dispute that Corbyn has some 'interesting' and potentially dubious friends, although this is far more common amongst senior politicians that many probably realise (see our dealings with Pinochet's Chile, Saudi Arabia and Communist China off the top of my head). What I find most interesting in the ongoing description of his 'friends' is that they consistently represent "an existential threat to our values and way of life" - it's worth breaking that down and working out the extent to which they represent a threat and/or the biggest threat to whatever 'our way of life' is.
The last time I checked the Uk wasn't at serious risk of being invaded, nor is Sharia Law about to be implemented anytime soon. The republican movement in Ireland ended its campaign on the British mainland many years ago, while as I stated earlier we could always take a step back from matters in the Middle East and remove any potential cross-hair from ourselves. However you choose to define 'our way of life', I'm struggling to identify this potential aggressor from overseas from which we (and by extension this 'way of life') are in imminent danger. A conflation between 'people who don't particularly like us' for whatever reason and 'genuine menace' seems to have taken place.
Yes, there are alarmingly frequent episodes involving the unhinged blowing themselves up, using vehicles as weapons or shooting/stabbing people (on both sides of wherever the divide is) but it's important to ask precisely what, if anything, they're trying to achieve and respond by doing the polar opposite - I'm not ruling out the possibility that some of these 'incidents' were staged or have been carried out by people under mind control, a possibility that would have been dismissed as 'mad conspiracy theory' not long ago, but a surprising number are now waking up to. That notwithstanding, if 'our way of life' is the target then how do we go about 'not letting them win' and defending it?
Condolences to all those who lost people they cared about in terror attacks, but it strikes me that my fellow writer Pete North was onto something when he said "it's the lack of giving a fuck that will defeat terrorism". If we allow the antics of losers, psychopaths and the unhinged to dictate to the rest of us what rights we have, enable the passing of pernicious 'anti-terror' legislation and the creation of a de facto police state then we have lost emphatically. It's regrettable and you and I might be among the victims next time, but a failure to acknowledge that 'shit happens', do nothing and shrug our shoulders leaves people offering the State an opportunity to attack all of us.
So...if by 'our way of life' we are referring to basic freedoms in the areas of expression, movement, association and protections like due process then the real threat to what we claim to value comes not from Jeremy Corbyn's 'friends' but from two very specific directions. One is the British State, who we now know have been 'forgetting' to disclose evidence that would have acquitted defendants in trials (yes they 'forgot', of course they did) and mining the personal information of individuals through third parties. No police officer will be sacked, let alone prosecuted and the surveillance state could simply pass legislation do what they are already doing covertly by more legal means.
But none of this can happen without the most dangerous menace to the rights of the individual that we currently face - namely ourselves. It was Benjamin Franklin who stated that "the individual who sacrifices his liberty for the sake of his security will lose both and deserves neither" and he was absolutely right. If we keep our cool when being instructed to panic and refuse to offer up the freedom of others on the altar of some contrived 'greater good' (see 'collectivism is selfish') then those cashing in on tragedy to make power grabs for themselves will get absolutely nowhere. You have to ask why the existing mountain of 'anti-terror' legislation hasn't stopped this stuff from happening.
In short, you can't legislate 'bad things' or 'bad people' out of existence and attempts to do so only hinder the law-abiding. We need to understand this propensity we have to damage ourselves.
To answer the original question...is the Labour Party anti-semitic? Probably not.
Anyway, that'll be me done for now - catch you in the week and feel free to suggest discussion points if you have any. Thanks for reading.