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May 10, 2016 6:32 am

The Labour Party’s Denial of Antisemitism Will Be Its Undoing

avatar by Jonathan Fenton-Harvey

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Labour Party head Jeremy Corbyn's leadership is being called into question over allegations of antisemitism within his party. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Labour Party head Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership is being called into question over allegations of antisemitism within his party. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Anyone who pays attention to current events in the UK will be aware that the Labour Party has been the center of much controversy. Even so, the party itself doesn’t even seem to acknowledge the problem that is infecting it from the inside — which will perhaps be its ultimate undoing.

Cases of individuals in the Labour Party making antisemitic comments or displaying toxic views about Israel arise almost daily. It happens so frequently now that it is more surprising when a few days pass without such comments being made.

Much of the British public has reacted with a profound level of abhorrence towards this outbreak — with much justification. Within the party, comments have been made comparing Nazism to Israel; suggesting Jews should be deported from Israel; suggesting Hitler was a great man and a “Zionist;” and supporting groups that call for the genocide of Jews.

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What makes this all the more dire is that it is not appropriately challenged by the party’s leadership.

Yes, certain candidates have been suspended (a temporary dismissal, mind you). But to believe that much of the suspensions are reluctantly made, one only has to look to Jeremy Corbyn’s dismissal of antisemitism being a problem, or the fact that Ken Livingstone described not just his own suspension but the entire outbreak of accusations as “nonsense.

A clear level of apathy exists towards the issue, which will likely make it harder to confront.

Not only is it a problem that prominent figures in the party fail to grasp this issue, but many of the party’s staunch supporters echo the same chorus. Many of them don’t care about the comments, or — quite frankly — agree with them.

I can see why many within the Labour Party do not want to accept this reality. After all, the party champions itself as a beacon of pluralism, and an advocate of social justice. Therefore, the reality that a form of discrimination against a particular people occurs within the party would obviously be hard to stomach; it would tear the party’s anti-racist narrative to pieces.

Yet how is the issue of antisemitism to be dealt with appropriately when a major political party doesn’t even acknowledge the reality of it?

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