Anti-Semitism has always been an issue that has run rampant amongst the hard-left for a long, long time. However, often the Labour Party has been free of such an ugly disease – yet recently many student Labour clubs have seen a sudden rise in anti-Semitic rhetoric, often deployed by members or people in positions of authority that has seen both Jewish members and the sane majority express their disgust or resign from their positions.
Indeed, recently the chair of the Stirling University Labour Club was forced to resign after it was revealed that she used an anti-Semitic slur in a conversation about Jewish members in the club, adding to the recent string of incidents in the past few months. Ed Miliband himself decided postponed an appearance at the Oxford University Labour Club, stating he was “deeply disturbed” by the allegations of intimidation that Jewish students faced. This led the co-Chairman of the Oxford club, Alex Chalmers to resign after he said that many of the grassroots student members “have some kind of problem with Jews”. The fact that a former Labour Party leader felt so unnerved that he had to cancel attending a meeting held by one of his own student club branches does not put Jeremy Corbyn in a good light.
It isn’t just a problem that the student branch of the Labour party has been dealing with – many CLPs (constituency Labour parties) have also reported such behaviour. Vicki Kirby, the Vice Chair of the Woking CLP tweeted anti-Semitic slurs in the past, and has been investigated over it twice as a result – she has been currently suspended as a result of the tweets.
The above three issues highlighted are three issues too many – the fact that it has seen students forced to resign over anti-Semitic intimidation is news one would not expect in the Labour Party of 2016. Anti-Jewish rhetoric is something one would expect to find amongst rife amongst the moronic foot-soldiers of the far right rather than in the organised centre-Left. But this recent emergence of such rhetoric and intimidation does not bode well for Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour movement. As Owen Jones stated, anti-Semitism does not belong in any progressive movement – and any party member found guilty of anti-Semitic rhetoric, or indeed bigotry of any form, should be suspended.
Hopefully, this is an issue that can be dealt with swiftly – as it has emerged with a curious ferocity since Corbyn was elected Labour leader, one could argue it has come with the anti-Semitism that almost seems normal amongst those in the far-left, as many members that have joined Labour previously made up the ranks of groups like the Socialist Workers Party, where anti-Semitism was commonplace. As a party member, I do however have faith in the leadership that they will come on down on this hard – as it does not bode well for any party if such bigotry was simply left to run rampant.
Image courtesy of PA