The morning after the day before: Antisemitic candidate Daniel Jadue is defeated in Chile’s primaries

This report is written by Daniel Chernilo, who is speaking in an online event on Wednesday 21 July in English about Jadue’s candidature and the left wing antisemitism that he embodies. Please follow this link to register for a free ticket: Chile’s Corbyn? Daniel Jadue and left antisemitism.

Jews in Chile have been worried over the past few months. For the first time ever, there was an openly antisemitic candidate positioning himself as a serious contender in this year’s Presidential election.

Communist party member Daniel Jadue, who was running as part of a braoder left wing coalition, has made a career out of making antisemitic remarks. The rhetoric is poisonous and familiar: Jews are Zionists, right-wing and dishonest. In this narrative, Zionism is a particularly perfidious ideology, Israel has no right to exist as a Jewish state and accusations of antisemitism against Jadue are made in bad faith in an effort to de-legitimise his radicalism and his ‘criticism of Israel’.

One of his special favourite defences against the charge of antisemitism is that he is a grandson of Palestinians, and so is himself a ‘Semite’. This defence takes away from Jews even the ability to name the hatred which would exclude them from membership the community of decent people.

Jadue was widely expected to win the primary, but he lost it against his only rival. Gabriel Boric, a 35-year-old MP from the southern region of Magallanes, beat Jadue 60-40 and will now compete in November, hopefully as the only presidential candidate of a united left. Boric’s gentle manners, self-critical attitude and positive vision for the future contrasted heavily with Jadue’s bad temper and authoritarianism.

Boric’s victory has produced a huge sigh of relief for most Jews. They may or may not vote for him, but a much greater danger has been averted for the moment. Many hope that because Jadue’s antisemitism was so mainstream and so clear, people will have learnt to recognise it and to avert the danger in the future. Chile, and in particular the Chilean left, may have learnt from the experience, and from the discussions and debates which they have been through, to eradicate the insidious presence of antisemitic rhetoric.

This report is written by Daniel Chernilo, who is speaking in an online event on Wednesday 21 July in English about Jadue’s candidature and the left wing antisemitism that he embodies. Please follow this link to register for a free ticket: Chile’s Corbyn? Daniel Jadue and left antisemitism.

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