The thing is that contemporary antisemitism always lurks, it’s never explicit, it’s never frank. Very often the visible battles are second degree: they’re about how we recognise antisemitism and how we define it.
Jews are relentlessly told not that they’re wrong but that they’re making it up. They’re lying. Why would they lie? Because they’re playing a dirty game. They believe that the ability to designate who or what is antisemitic is powerful.
But if they’re not just wrong but lying, then they must be in it together. The Jewish Press, the CST, the BoD, the JLM, UJS, JLC, Chief Rabbi, the journalists, the activists, the academics… they could be wrong independently but if they’re lying, then that’s a conspiracy.
And there are many ostensibly non-antisemitic ways of accusing Jews of this.
They are accused of ‘weaponizing’ antisemitism.
They are accused of conducting a witch-hunt. (No woman was ever really a witch; no socialist ever really slipped into antisemitism).
They are accused of Smearing Jeremy because he couldn’t be bought or because he threatened capitalism.
It is said that those who make these ‘fake’ allegations of antiemitism are really the Zionist or the pro-Israel lobby – in a clean repeat of the now dirty ‘Jewish lobby’. The word ‘lobby’ de-legitimizes’ agency and activism. It makes it transactional and dishonest.
When Jews insist that the IHRA definition is an important set of guidelines for judging what antisemitism is, they respond that IHRA is a fiendishly constructed Zionist document which is so good at silencing criticism of Israel that it even contains a clear statement that criticizing Israel is not antisemitic.
The EHRC report has now ruled that all these secondary accustions of dishonesty and conspiracy are antisemitic.
It’s a recognition that the these apparently ‘meta’ debates – about false motives and definitions are also the thing itself. They are the antisemitism.
The EHRC ruling has re-told the story of the Livingstone Formulation in the language of UK Equality law.