Douglas Carswell

29 APR 2016

The Left cannot deal with anti-Semitism until it makes peace with Israel

What is it with Labour and anti-Semitism? All parties have bad eggs – mine is no exception. But anti-Semitism is a persistent problem on the British Left. Why?

Part of the issue is political opportunism. There are sectors of the electorate where taking an ostensibly anti-Israel, essentially anti-Semitic, stance is a vote-winner. The Left is not immune from pandering to prejudice.

But let's face it: plenty of those caught out in recent weeks weren't pandering. They said what they actually believed.

The problem is that the postmodern, post-nationalist Left has an issue with the idea of national self-determination. And no modern country embodies that more than Israel.

Right now, Jews are celebrating Passover. Every year, for over two millennia, Jews have marked it with the words "next year in Jerusalem." With the foundation of Israel in 1948, that hope finally became a reality.

But Israel isn't just the fulfilment of an ancient national project. It's also an incredible modern success story. 60 years ago, it was a developing, agricultural country. Today, it has a sophisticated, high-tech economy – making Intel microchips and cutting-edge cancer drugs. Its GDP per capita is over six times higher today than it was in 1950.

Israel's success is the reason many left-wingers hate it. Israel has gone from strength to strength. Many on the Left saw national self-determination as an outdated relic. Israel has proved them wrong.

Jeremy Corbyn claims he'll deal with anti-Semitism in his party. But until he deals with the endemic anti-Zionism nothing will change. If the Left is serious about stamping out anti-Semitism, it needs to make peace with the idea of national self-determination.

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