Jonathan Ofir writes in Mondoweiss:
The faux ‘Labour anti-semitism problem’ has been a central feature in the fight of the conservative, pro-Israel establishment, against Jeremy Corbyn’s progressive (and pro-Palestinian) agenda, since he was elected to lead Labour in 2015. It culminated in an attack by the UK Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis this week, on the pages of The Times. The Zionist rabbi, who learned his Torah at one of the Israeli Jewish settler-colonies in the West Bank, has now claimed that “the overwhelming majority of British Jews are gripped by anxiety”.
The rabbi cannot distinguish between Zionism and Judaism. “One can no more separate [Zionism] from Judaism than separate the City of London from Great Britain”, he asserted in 2016 – just as he apparently thinks that the illegal settlement of Alon Shvut, where his yeshiva of Har Etzion is based, cannot be separated from Israel.
The “Labour anti-Semitic problem” has been virtually non-existent, but then was made out to be a huge problem after Corbyn came to lead Labour. Not that it didn’t exist in the Labour fringes: 0.06% of the members were accused of anti-Semitism in cases which were deemed to merit a disciplinary hearing. But even that figure is lesser than on the right. In 2017, Al Jazeera aired a documentary called “The Lobby”, uncovering how secret Israeli operatives in the Israeli Embassy intervene in British politics, plotting to “take down” politicians critical of Israel, working with organizations in Labour to counter Jeremy Corbyn and maintain a strong Israel-loyalism.
This is the real “anxiety” that these people are gripped by. It’s not about anti-Semitism, it’s a fear that Israel may be taken to task for its violations. Indeed, Labour affirmed on its platform that it will halt weapon sales to Israel for its violations:
We will immediately suspend the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen and to Israel for arms used in violation of the human rights of Palestinian civilians, and conduct a root-and-branch reform of our arms exports regime so ministers can never again turn a blind eye to British-made weapons being used to target innocent civilians.