The Persistence of Anti-Semitism on the British Left
Much of the recent analysis of leftist anti-Semitism focuses on developments
since the outbreak of the second intifada in September 2000. This
article, which takes Britain as a case study, seeks to situate what is
commonly referred to as the "new" anti-Semitism in a historical context,
arguing that many of the anti-Semitic themes currently present in leftwing
and liberal discourse have been observable in the past. The article
analyzes the evolution of leftist anti-Semitism, concentrating in particular
on the motif of delegitimization that marks discussions of Zionism
and Israel. It concludes that the organizational alignment of leftist and
Islamist organizations, and the ongoing integration of Islamist and leftist
attitudes toward Jews, represents a qualitative shift in the nature of leftist
anti-Semitism in Britain.
Although egalitarian, cosmopolitan, and internationalist principles
are common to all variants of socialist doctrine, these have not
immunized the Left from anti-Semitism. What the German socialist
leader August Bebel denounced as the "socialism of fools" is as old
and as resilient as the Left itself, even if its original thesis, famously
expressed in Kautsky's prognosis1 that the Jews would disappear with
capitalism's demise, has turned out to be a fallacy.
Like other forms of anti-Semitism, left-wing anti-Semitism has
survived by mutating; whereas once the Jewish question (or problem)
was viewed through the prism of economics, now it belongs to the
realm of politics. The orthodox Marxist notion2 that the Jews - as
an economic agent - perform a distinctive function within a system
designed for the extraction of surplus value has been replaced by
the anticolonialist notion that the Jews - as a national collective - are
integral to the maintenance of American hegemony on a global level.3
Accordingly, there has been a conceptual shift on the Left from the
politics of class to the politics of identity; and, again accordingly,
a practical alignment with those forces, most notably the Islamist
movements, opposed to this hegemony.
As a result of this alignment, three points warrant consideration.
First, visceral opposition not to Israel's security policies alone but to
its very legitimacy means that, as in Islamist discourse, the terms
"Jew," "Israel," and "Zionist" are increasingly interchangeable in contemporary
left-wing discourse; second, this discourse has been standardized
and globalized;4 third, this discourse is increasingly finding
recognition outside the activist margins, for example, among politicians
broadly described as "progressive," among prominent academics,
and in liberal media outlets.
In the United Kingdom, the phenomenon of left-wing anti-Semitism
has been somewhat overshadowed by the attention paid to similar
problems elsewhere in Europe, particularly in France, Belgium, and
The Netherlands. Nevertheless, the anti-Semitism of the British Left
deserves closer examination, not least because Britain was the former
Mandate power in Palestine and a Labour government was in office
when the State of Israel was created in 1948. The aim of this article,
therefore, is to take a long view of the development of anti-Semitism on
the British Left. While much of the analysis concentrates on attitudes
toward Zionism, it needs to be stressed that in the United Kingdom,
as elsewhere, hostility toward Zionism and Israel often functions as
a Trojan horse for anti-Semitism.
The primary argument underlying this article is that the classic
anti-Semitism associated with the xenophobic Right and its leftist
version are linked by a profound enmity toward the empowered, autonomous
Jew. For the extreme Right, anti-Semitism is based on a dark
fantasy about the malign effects of Jewish power, which integrates the
financial and the political spheres. In the leftist imagination, the only
good Jew is the invisible Jew, one who is assimilated totally by his
surroundings; by contrast, Jewish national consciousness is, a priori,
reactionary, supremacist, and politically aligned with imperialism. For
many on the Left, the concrete expression of this consciousness, the
State of Israel, is the last colonial outpost in the world.
Origins of the "New" Anti-Semitism
"Why do you come to me with your special Jewish sorrows?" wrote
the Polish Jewish revolutionary Rosa Luxemburg5 to a comrade. "I
feel just as sorry for the wretched Indian victims in Patanago, the
Negroes in Africa....I cannot find a special corner in my heart for the
ghetto." Those who would position themselves as Luxemburg's heirs
have, perhaps, taken her sentiments a step further. Jewish suffering is
relativized or denied outright, while the supposed crimes of Jewish
nationalism are seized upon with gusto. Moreover, in the collective
heart of the modern Left there is a "special corner" for the Palestinians,
whose particular narrative of exile has elevated their trials far above
those of other unfortunate nations.
It is at the farthest reaches of the Left, where there is a fixation
with the Palestinians, that we find the brashest expressions of anti-
Semitism. Among the mosaic of groups that compose the "antiglobalization"
movement, as well as among the remnants of the
New Left, anti-Semitic rhetoric and symbolism is rife. The UN
World Conference against Racism in Durban in September 2001,
the conferences organized by the World Social Forum in India and
Brazil, and the marches in several European cities against the U.S.-
led intervention in Iraq are all examples of public events where Jews
have been actively denigrated. Such displays have commonly been
presented as manifestations of the "new anti-Semitism," generally
dated back to September 2000, when the second Palestinian intifada
began. Decidedly, this "new" anti-Semitism, which would deny selfdetermination
to the Jews even as it celebrates this principle for
other nationalities, is driven by the Left, and not the Right. Even
so, it is far from new.6
In the British case, it should be borne in mind that contemporary
manifestations of leftist anti-Semitism are loosely related, if at all, to
the hostility - rooted in a conflict between indigenous and immigrant
workers rather than opposition to Zionism - that Jews encountered
from sections of the British labor movement at the turn of the 20th
century. In addition, among some British social democrats there is a
parallel tradition of solidarity with the Jews and Israel. As in other
countries, the adversarial position toward Zionism was the effect of
an encroaching New Left agenda during the 1960s and 1970s, so
that by 1982 W.D. Rubinstein could state: "Fringe neo-Nazi groups
notwithstanding, significant anti-Semitism is now almost exclusively
a left-wing rather than a right-wing phenomenon."7 Rubinstein also
identified the factors that distinguish current leftist discourse as anti-
Semitic, in particular the questioning of Israel's legitimacy as a state.
This strategy of delegitimization was accompanied by a steady buildup
of pro-Palestinian opinion. In a case study of the United Kingdom,
Rubinstein noted that as early as 1969, pro-Palestinian groups were
being formed within the Labour Party; by 1978, one-sixth of Labour's
parliamentary contingent was identifiably pro-Arab. These developments
reflected the growing influence of the far Left within and outside
the party's ranks.8
Much of the ire directed toward Zionism on the British Left drew
strongly on motifs found in Soviet propaganda, specifically the equation
of Zionism with Nazism and the accusation that the Zionist
movement collaborated with the Nazis or even engaged in the killing
of Jews to further its own ends. Rubinstein cites the example of the
British Anti-Zionist Organization (BAZO),9 a left-wing group active
on university campuses during the late 1970s and early 1980s. In an
especially insidious example of the collaboration charge, BAZO
claimed that the Struma, a ship carrying Romanian Jewish refugees
to Palestine that was sunk by the Soviets in 1942, was in fact destroyed
by Zionists because the sole survivor, David Stoliar, went on to fight
for the Haganah.
Aside from the facile logic involved here, claims like this one, and
those contained in the play Perdition discussed below, demonstrate
the difference between the anti-Zionism of the ancien Left and that
espoused by its new incarnation. As Robert Wistrich has argued, in
becoming a "code word for the forces of reaction in general," Zionism
has assumed a global importance for the contemporary Left that
not even Marx and Lenin could have foreseen. Consequently, "[t]he
extreme left in western societies not only denigrates Israel and
Zionism in a systematic manner, but its irrational hostility frequently
spills over into contempt or antipathy towards Jews and Judaism as
The Lebanon War of 1982 afforded many instances of leftist publications
in Britain engaging in ferocious attacks on Israel that drew
on classic anti-Semitic images and themes. These attacks bore striking
similarities to the anti-Semitic crudities evident during the formative
years of English socialism. In 1884, for example, Justice, the newspaper
of the Social Democratic Federation, railed against the "Jew
moneylenders who now control every Foreign Office in Europe."11
Almost a century later, the newspaper of the Workers Revolutionary
Party - an organization distinguished by the presence of the actress
Vanessa Redgrave among its members and for the generous funding
it received from Libya - employed similar terms when it opined that
it was "Britain who sold the Palestinian people out to Zionist money
power."12 Aside from the typical association of Jewish influence with
financial muscle, what is arresting about this statement is the exaggeration
of the power of Zionism to the extent that it, and not the British
Mandate, is the starting point for what passes as an analysis of the
origins of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
A related tendency is the ascribing of collective guilt for Israel's
actions. As this is an important feature of the "new" anti-Semitism,
it should be remembered that this was also pronounced during the
Lebanon War. A British anarchist paper captured the two prongs of
this argument - that all Jews are responsible for what Israel does and
that Jews are therefore responsible for their own misfortune - extremely
well.13 The massacres at the Sabra and Shatila camps, blamed
automatically on Israel, could not fail to spark "acts of revenge" across
the world; it was not fanciful to assume that the targets of revenge
would be Jewish communities. The consequent claim, namely, that
Zionism is the "monster" that fuels anti-Semitism, holds the Jews
themselves accountable for prejudice against them.
This recasting of Zionism as a causal factor of anti-Semitism,
rather than an authentic Jewish response to it, is a uniquely leftist
contribution to anti-Semitic doctrine. It is, moreover, intimately linked
to the accusation of Zionist collaboration with the Nazis. As
Rubinstein points out, whereas for the neo-Nazis the Shoah is a hoax,
for the far Left "[t]he Holocaust now emerges as the Jews (or Jewish
nationalism's) greatest crime - the autogenocide of the Twentieth
Perdition: A Dress Rehearsal
In 1986 the play Perdition,15 by the Marxist playwright Jim Allen,
brought the accusation of Zionist-Nazi collaboration to the British
public's attention for the first time. Until that point the Left's discussion
of Jews and Israel, like most of its discussions, had been conducted
internally, with leaders defining the doctrine and foot soldiers repeating
it to each other. Now, a thesis that had been dismissed by scholars of
the Shoah was suddenly granted a wider audience.
Perdition was based on a well-known trial brought to the Jerusalem
district court in 1954.16 The defendant in the trial was an elderly
Hungarian Jew, Malkhiel Grunwald, who was charged with defaming
the Hungarian Zionist leader Rudolf Kastner when he accused him
of collaborating with the Nazis as they prepared to exterminate Hungary's
Jews in 1944.Kastner's intent had been to negotiate a deal whereby
the German army would be supplied with ten thousands trucks in
exchange for a stay of execution. But according to Grunwald, Kastner
had facilitated, through his negotiations with Adolf Eichmann, the
destruction of Hungary's Jews while enriching himself personally. The
court found in favor of Grunwald. Kastner himself was assassinated
just before Israel's Supreme Court overturned the Jerusalem court's
In the hands of a talented dramatist, this story could have probed
the nature and limits of the moral choice confronting the leader of a
beleaguered community, as well as the complex motives of the survivor
who made these allegations. In Allen's hands, any nuances and subtleties
were purged. In his own words, Perdition was a tale of "privileged
Jewish leaders" collaborating "in the extermination of their own kind
in order to help bring about a Zionist state, Israel, a state which itself
The announcement by London's Royal Court Theatre that it intended
to stage the play sparked a furious public debate. Many Jewish
scholars and leaders pointed to gross distortions and inaccuracies in
the text, asserting that Perdition was little more than standard anti-
Semitic conspiracy theory with a leftist tinge. European Zionists, the
play charged, betrayed Europe's Jews while "all-powerful American
Jewry" (a line from the play) discreetly approved the strategy. Indeed,
the text was replete with lines that equated the power of Zionism with
that of Nazism ("the Zionist knife in the Nazi fist") and highlighted
the selfishness of Jewish leaders ("To save your hides, you practically
led them to the gas chambers of Auschwitz").
In January 1987 the artistic director of the Royal Court, Max
Stafford-Clark, declared that his doubts about Perdition were grave
enough for him to cancel its performance. Although Stafford-Clark
made the decision on his own, left-wing activists were quick to point
to a Zionist "conspiracy."18 The film director Ken Loach, a close
colleague of Allen, claimed that the theater had caved in to pressure
from prominent British Jews such as Dr. Stephen Roth, Lord
Weidenfeld, and Lord Goodman; men, Loach said, "who can pay
For anyone exploring the recent history of anti-Semitism on the
British Left, the Perdition affair is seminal for at least two reasons.
First, the immense press coverage the affair generated meant that
extreme anti-Zionist claims won wider attention, particularly among
Britain's liberally inclined intelligentsia; as the past was interpreted
through the prejudices of the present - the perception of Israel as a
racist, militarist state - it is not surprising that these claims were given
serious and sometimes sympathetic attention. Second, the affair rehabilitated
the old canard of the nefarious, transcendental power of Jewish
individuals and organizations, whether manifested in wartime
Hungary (the subject matter of the play) or modern-day London (the
reason for the play's cancellation). Since 2000, a similar discourse of
uncompromising anti-Zionism, which carries both implicit and explicit
warnings about the dangerous extent of Jewish power, has resurfaced
in Britain. As has been demonstrated thus far, its authors belong
to the far Left, but those who echo it are spread, politically and
demographically, more widely.
Anti-Semitism and the Liberal-Left Elite
In January 2002 the New Statesman, an august journal of the British
Center-Left, published a cover story about the "Zionist lobby" in
Britain.19 The magazine's cover displayed a golden Star of David
stabbing a pliant Union flag and carried the legend: "A Kosher Conspiracy?"
In the days and weeks that followed, Jewish and non-Jewish
critics excoriated the New Statesman for its revival of anti-Semitic
iconography. The magazine eventually ran a qualified apology from
the editor, Peter Wilby, who conceded that the cover "used images
and words in such a way as to create unwittingly the impression that
the New Statesman was following an anti-Semitic tradition that sees
the Jews as a conspiracy piercing the heart of the nation" (emphasis
Wilby's assertion that the New Statesman did not realize the historical
import of the imagery it used must be regarded as disingenuous.
Is it really credible that no one among the culturally sensitive editorial
staff of a political weekly would have been struck, in examining the
cover before it went to press, by the echoes of the Protocols or the
agitational rhetoric of Maurras or Streicher? That no one at the New
Statesman was aware of the Left's own anti-Semitic idiom, from Fourier's
"parasites" to Stalin's "rootless cosmopolitans"? These points were
never addressed by the magazine.
The article on the Zionist lobby itself, by Denis Sewell,21 amassed
evidence for one conclusion and then ended with another. After writing
about the web of clients assembled by an Israeli arms dealer, including
the Shah of Iran and Indira Gandhi; after claiming that this same
arms dealer was financially supporting a pro-Israeli lobbying group
in London; and after pointing to instances of journalists at The Times
and the Daily Telegraph allegedly being censored by media barons
with Zionist sympathies, Sewell ended his piece with the argument
that the Zionist lobby was ineffective and "clueless" because it opened
itself up to criticism by accepting funds from a man involved in the
sale of weaponry.
No such sophistry was evident in the accompanying article by
John Pilger, the extreme left-wing journalist.22 Pilger has been a stalwart
critic of Tony Blair's project to remake "old" Labour as "new"
Labour, whereby many long-established socialist principles were abandoned
and a greater distance was placed between the party and the
trade unions. For Pilger, as for many on the Left, Blair's personal
sympathy with Israel reflects the party's sharp turn to the right, as
well as being emblematic of British subservience to American foreign
Indulging in the conspiracy theorizing beloved of the far Left,
Pilger identified Blair's friendship with "wealthy Jewish businessman"
Lord Levy, who also serves as his envoy to the Middle East, as the
principle reason for his support of the Sharon "regime." Hence, the
New Statesman gave us two contrasting views of Jewish power. For
Sewell, it is incompetent,whereas for Pilger, it is ruthless and proficient;
for both writers, though, Jewish power undoubtedly exists in the
shadows of political life, manipulating and shaping policy as it tries
to escape scrutiny.
This stress on the intersection of Jewish power with Jewish wealth
was evident during the furore over Perdition, demonstrating that it is
one of the more favored anti-Semitic themes of the Left and is easily
revived. Indeed, in 2003 the veteran Labour MP Tam Dalyell told a
Vanity Fair journalist that Blair's views on the Middle East had been
subverted by a "Jewish cabal" that included, along with Lord Levy,
Peter Mandelson, a key ally of the prime minister, and Jack Straw,
the foreign secretary (both Mandelson and Straw have Jewish ancestry,
but neither is Jewish).23 Moreover, this highlighting of Jewish influence
is not restricted to the British Left's appraisal of their own country's
Middle East policy. Numerous denunciations of American foreign
policy under the Bush administration have dwelt upon the Jewish
origins of the neoconservatives in Washington. In 2004, a former BBC
Middle East correspondent was even more brazen. At a speech in
Glasgow, Tim Llewellyn accused President Clinton's former Middle
East envoy Denis Ross of hiding behind "a lovely Anglo-Saxon name."
He went on to say that Ross is "not just a Jew, he is a Zionist...a
The passage of the anti-Zionism of the extreme Left to the Center-
Left, along with its attendant disdain for Jewish concerns, is visible
in other media outlets. A good deal of attention has been paid to
the BBC, which, despite a public broadcasting remit and "Producer
Guidelines" that are meant to enforce impartiality, has been consistently
biased in its reporting on the Middle East. One analyst has
suggested that to understand why this is the case, the BBC's own
culture needs to be examined: "It is full of reporters holding left-wing,
so-called 'liberal' viewpoints, including very negative ones about Israel.
They then recruit people under them who have a similar outlook. In
this way, the liberal left-wing system propagates itself."25
Similar criticism has been directed at the United Kingdom's two
main liberal dailies, The Guardian and The Independent, both of which
regularly publish comment questioning Israel's legitimacy and portraying
it as a pariah state.26 Although both papers have, on occasion,
acknowledged the Jewish community's anxieties about their reporting,
they have also, on occasion, been dismissive.27 For example, Paul Foot,
Britain's leading leftist commentator until his death in 2004, wrote in
his Guardian column: "Especially pathetic on the part of our apologists
for Israeli oppression is their bleating about anti-semitism. For the
sort of oppression they favour is the seed from which all racialism,
including anti-semitism, grows."28
This brief survey of attitudes toward Jews on the British liberal-
Left would not be complete without some mention of the campaign
for an academic boycott of Israel, begun in April 2002 by the biology
professor Steven Rose. As in the media, liberal and leftist viewpoints
are disproportionately represented in Britain's universities. Despite the
profusion of human rights crises around the world, from Sudan to
North Korea, it is the Palestinian cause that has seized the imagination
of Britain's leftist academics and has fueled calls for a boycott; one
practical result has been the reporting of a number of cases of discrimination
against Israeli scholars and researchers in British academic
institutions. The boycott campaign is perhaps the most transparent
illustration of the Left's determination to depict Israel as the ultimate
The Red-Green Alliance
The spillage of anti-Zionism into anti-Semitism noted by Wistrich
is an increasingly perilous feature of British political life, as it is
elsewhere in Europe. This tendency has manifested itself everywhere
from the literary pages of liberal newspapers to resolutions on the
Middle East passed by trade unions, as well as in the escalating
calls for an academic boycott of, and economic sanctions against,
Israel. It has been argued here that any examination of anti-Semitism
on the British Left without a strong sense of historical context is
compromised, but it is equally true that the conditions that enable
the expression of anti-Jewish sentiment on the Left have never been
as permissive as they are now. To understand why this is the case,
it is necessary to explore in greater detail an issue raised at the
beginning of this article: the growing intimacy between the Left and
The very existence of this alliance represents a critical shift for
the Left. Radical socialism and radical Islam are far from obvious
bedfellows, and a strict focus on the key texts of both does not
yield any synergies. Even so, text and doctrine cannot be regarded
as the sole substance of politics. Otherwise, one cannot explain why
the left-wing mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, known for his
previous support of feminist causes, would enthusiastically host an
obscurantist Muslim cleric, or why a party claiming allegiance to
Trotskyism would join forces with a group identified with the
Demography partially explains this shift. There are approximately
1.5 million Muslims in the United Kingdom, and the population is
growing. Many British Muslims originate from Pakistan and Bangladesh,
and their ranks have been swelled by arrivals from other Muslim
countries, notably in the Arab world. In tandem, there has been a
corresponding political radicalization. Some British Muslims identify
with groups like Al Muhajiroun, which openly declares its support
for Osama bin Laden (indeed, the first foreign homicide bombers to
carry out an operation in Israel were two British Muslims). Many
more identify with the ostensibly moderate Muslim Association of
Britain (MAB), which, despite forswearing terrorism, proudly declares
its support for Hamas.
Since the end of the Cold War, the Left has been groping for a
mass response to the "New World Order"; by allying with the Islamists
it may have found one. Of all the marches held in Europe in 2003
opposing the Iraq War, the largest took place in London, involving
over one million protestors. An outgrowth of this march was a new
political party, Respect, sponsored by the Socialist Workers Party,
MAB, and George Galloway, a Scottish MP expelled from the Labour
Party in part because of his links with Saddam Hussein's regime.
Although Respect failed to win any seats in the 2004 local and European
parliamentary elections, it enjoyed a strong showing in those
areas of the country, such as East London and the Midlands, with
large Muslim populations.
Galloway, in particular, is known for his detestation of Israel; of
only a handful of principles expressed in Respect's founding document,
solidarity with the Palestinians is one. At the same time,
Galloway has rejected accusations of anti-Semitism.31 Such denials,
however, ring ever more hollow for the following reason: despite all
the demonization of Israel and Zionism that the British Left has
engaged in for the last four decades, leftist groups stopped short of
organizational alignment with anti-Semites. With the advent of Respect,
this is no longer the case. MAB's admiration for Islamist
ideologues such as Sayid Qutb and Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, who
expressed their loathing for Jews as Jews and not as Zionists, has
begged some sort of clarification from its left-wing partners; but
none has been forthcoming, save for the standard response that the
participation of several Jews in the Palestinian solidarity movement
renders accusations of anti-Semitism inadmissible. What is not recognized
is that these Jews, whether acting as individuals or through
organizations such as Jews for Justice for Palestinians,32 have no real
base inside the British Jewish community and only identify as Jews
for the purpose of disavowing Israel.
Fear of alienating Muslim activists and voters is certainly one
reason for the reluctance to acknowledge and condemn Muslim anti-
Semitism. Mindful of the importance of the Muslim vote in London,
Ken Livingstone, the mayor of London, offered his hospitality to
the Egyptian Muslim cleric Yusuf Al Qaradawi, who visited the
British capital in July 2004. Despite being confronted with Al
Qaradawi's anti-Semitic pronouncements - he has declared, for example,
that there can be no dialogue with Jews "except by the sword
and the rifle"33 - Livingstone continually dismissed objections to his
presence in the United Kingdom as "Islamophobia." Gay rights
activists, once an important base of support for Livingstone, were
similarly dismissed when they expressed displeasure at Qaradawi's
visit. Thus did the new Islamist-leftist constellation in Britain reveal
those political constituencies that are excluded as well as included:
Muslim distaste for those issues that were at the heart of the Left's
agenda, such as women's emancipation and homosexual rights, has
finally won out.
As well as the electoral imperatives of local politics, geopolitics is
another explanatory factor for the Left's startling shift. Opposition
to the United States is axiomatic to the Left's credo, even if that
means joining with other currents with which there is little ideological
commonality. This necessarily affects the Left's attitude toward the
Jews. In this regard, the "socialism of fools" derided by Bebel might
be said to have given way to the "useful idiots" phenomenon derided
Much has changed, but much has stayed the same. The denial of
victimhood to the Jews, the plundering of the Shoah to condemn
Israel,35 the conspiratorial portrayal of Jewish power and the inherent
illegitimacy of Jewish self-determination, are all constants. However,
the anti-Semitism distinctive to the British Left has integrated, ideologically
and organizationally, with its Islamist counterpart. Consequently,
British political discourse in the mosque, the street, and the
salon has been infected. This last assertion is not intended to subsume
peculiarities and differences into a single framework; rather, the aim
has been to discern a general pattern of leftist anti-Semitism in Britain
that, ominously, continues to develop.
* * *
* * *
1. Kautsky argues that the disappearance of the Jews is also a desirable outcome:
"We cannot say we have completely emerged from the Middle Ages as long
as Judaism still exists among us. The sooner it disappears, the better it will
be, not only for society, but also for the Jews themselves." Karl Kautsky,
Are the Jews a Race? (Jonathan Cape, London, 1926), also available at: http://
2. For a classic exegesis of this view, see Karl Marx, "On the Jewish Question,"
in Early Writings (London: Penguin, 1992).
3. The view that Zionist imperatives control U.S. policy in the Middle East is
increasingly finding favor on the Left, as several scholars have noted. See,
for example, Shlomo Lappin, "Israel and the New Anti-Semitism," Dissent,
4. See Daniel Goldhagen, "The Globalization of Anti-Semitism," Forward, 2
5. Quoted in Walter Laqueur, A History of Zionism (New York: MJF Books,
1997), p. 435.
6. For an incisive perspective on the novelty of the "new" anti-Semitism, see
Anthony Julius, "Is There Anything 'New' in the New Anti-Semitism?"
in Paul Iganski and Barry Kosmin, eds., A New Anti-Semitism? Debating
Judeophobia in 21st-Century Britain (London: Profile Books, 2003).
7. W.D. Rubinstein, The Left, the Right and the Jews (London: Croom Helm,
1982), p. 9.
8. Ibid., p. 56.
9. Ibid., p. 110.
10. Robert Wistrich, "Left-Wing Anti-Zionism in Western Societies," in Robert
Wistrich, ed., Anti-Zionism and Anti-Semitism in the Contemporary World
(London: Macmillan, 1990), p. 48.
11. See Steve Cohen, That's Funny, You Don't Look Anti-Semitic: An Anti-Racist
Analysis of Left Anti-Semitism (Manchester: Beyond the Pale Publishing,
1984), p. 20.
12. Ibid., p. 42.
13. Ibid., p. 53. The newspaper in question was the now defunct Big Flame.
14. Rubinstein, The Left, p. 115.
15. Perdition was published in 1987 by the anti-Zionist publishing house Ithaca
16. See Leora Bilsky, "Judging Evil in the Trial of Kastner," Law and History
Review, Vol. 19, No. 1 (2001).
17. Quoted in David Cesarani, "The Perdition Affair," in Wistrich, Anti-Zionism
and Anti-Semitism, p. 54.
18. Ibid., p. 57.
19. See Winston Pickett, "Nasty or Nazi? The Use of Antisemitic Topoi in the
Liberal-Left Media," in Iganski and Kosmin, A New Anti-Semitism? pp.
20. The New Statesman, 11 February 2002.
21. Ibid., 14 January 2002.
23. Dalyell later said: "I am fully aware that one is treading on cut glass on this
issue and no-one wants to be accused of anti-Semitism, but, if it is a question
of launching an assault on Syria or Iran . . . then one has to be candid." See
24. Jewish Chronicle, 25 June 2004.
25. Trevor Asserson, "What Went Wrong at the BBC," Jerusalem Viewpoints,
No. 511, 15 January 2004. Asserson's detailed research is available at
26. See, e.g., Gerald Kaufman, "The Case for Sanctions against Israel," The
Guardian, 12 July 2004. Kaufman is a Jewish Labour MP who has become
a virulent opponent of Israel.
27. Upholding its liberal principles, The Guardian ran a fairly critical review of
a book by the Israeli journalist Daphna Baram, Disenchantment: The Guardian
and Israel, which the newspaper itself published. The reviewer, Bryan
Cheyette, observed that Baram had "something of a tin ear when it comes
to the experiences of Jews as a minority in the diaspora." Brian Cheyette,
"What Became of Zion?" The Guardian, 24 July 2004.
28. Paul Foot, "In Defence of Oppression," The Guardian, 5 March 2002.
29. See especially Dave Hyde, "Europe's Other Red-Green Alliance," Zeek, April
2003, available at http://www.zeek.net/politics-0304.shtml.
30. Anthony Browne, "This Sinister Brotherhood," The Times, 11 August 2004.
31. In a 2002 speech at Cambridge University, Galloway declared: "We shouldn't
allow a group of gangsters called Zionists to hold us to ransom on the
issue of anti-Semitism." See http://www.cambridgeclarion.org/Galloway.
32. Many British Jews were scandalized when, in December 2003, Jews for Justice
for Palestinians held a Christmas-carol service in central London. Among
the carols they sang was "Little Town of Bethlehem," rewritten to condemn
IDF operations in that town.
33. See http://www.memri.org/bin/latestnews.cgi?ID>SD75304.
34. Lenin (supposedly) referred to those western leftists who unconditionally
defended the USSR as "useful idiots."
35. A notorious example of the abuse of Holocaust imagery involved the poet
and critic Tom Paulin, who, after telling Al Ahram in 2002 that "Brooklynborn"
Jewish settlers should be shot, wrote a poem that described Israeli
soldiers as the "Zionist SS." See David Cesarani, The Left and the Jews, the
Jews and the Left (London: Profile, 2003), p. 75.
BEN COHEN is a London-based writer and broadcaster. A former
producer and reporter with the BBC, he now works on a freelance basis for a
number of international broadcasters. He has also worked as a consultant on
media development projects in the Balkans and Asia.
The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect
those of the Board of Fellows of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
The above essay appears in the Fall 2004 issue of the Jewish Political Studies Review, the first and only journal dedicated to the study of Jewish political institutions and behavior, Jewish political thought, and Jewish public affairs.
Published by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (http://www.jcpa.org/), the JPSR appears twice a year in the form of two double issues, either of a general nature or thematic, with contributors including outstanding scholars from the United States, Israel, and abroad. The hard copy of the Fall 2004 issue will be available in the coming weeks. This issue focuses on "Emerging Anti-Semitic Themes."
From the Editor - Manfred Gerstenfeld
Foreword by Natan Sharansky
Foundations of an Israeli Grand Strategy Toward the European Union by Yehezkel Dror
Anti-Zionism and Anti-Semitism by Robert Wistrich
Watching the Pro-Israeli Media Watchers by Manfred Gerstenfeld and Ben Green
Abusing the Legacy of the Holocaust: The Role of NGOs in Exploiting Human Rights to Demonize Israel by Gerald M. Steinberg
International Organizations: Combating Anti-Semitism
in Europe by Michael Whine
Confronting Reality: Anti-Semitism in Australia Today by Jeremy Jones
Anti-Semitism in Canada by Manuel Prutschi
Anti-Semitism in Germany Today: Its Roots and Tendencies by Susanne Urban
Iceland, the Jews and Anti-Semitism, 1625-2004 by Vilhjálmur Örn Vilhjálmsson
The Persistence of Anti-Semitism on the British Left
by Ben Cohen
Suing Hitler's Willing Business Partners: American Justice
and Holocaust Morality by Michael J. Bazyler
A Case Study: Madison, Wisconsin, U.S.A.: A Battleground
for Israel's Legitimacy - by Joel Fishman
An Analytic Approach to Campus Pro-Israeli Activism
Case Study: John Hopkins University by Yonit Golub
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