“Thanks for nothing, Mr Wakeford – you’ve had your pound of flesh” – some thoughts, David Hirsh

In response to JC 26 January, “Thanks for nothing, Mr Wakeford – you’vehad your pound of flesh” 

Angela Epstein accuses Christian Wakeford, the Tory MP who joined the Labour benches, of a ‘stinging act of disloyalty’ and ‘hypocrisy’; she says he is ‘dishonourable’ and ‘duplicitous’ and that he has betrayed the Jews who voted for him against Jeremy Corbyn.

Wakeford ‘made us feel we were safe’ she writes. But we had little choice. Many of us felt forced to vote vote only as Jews against antisemitism and so for the Boris Johnson Brexit Party that we did not support. This did not make me feel safe. Epstein says she feels the ‘Jewish vote amounts to a pound of flesh after all’ but we should also reflect on the harm done by reducing us to a ‘Jewish vote’.

When Jews are accused of ‘wanting their pound of flesh’, they are being accused, in the  language of the blood libel, of lacking Christian generosity and of enforcing our bare rights in violation of decency and justice. She aims this usually antisemitic jibe at Wakeford, who is not Jewish but who is supportive of the fight against antisemitism.

Angela Epstein twice employs language generally associated with the devil. She says Wakeford is now ‘supping’ with Corbyn’s former comrades and that he has ‘sold his soul’ to save his political career.

I resigned from the Labour Party on 21 February 2019. There were good reasons to ‘stay and fight’ and many who did feel vindicated by events. If Luke Akehurst had not stayed, how would the proposal at Labour’s NEC to restore the whip to Corbyn have been defeated? If Adrian Cohen had not stayed, what would have happened to Labour Friends of Israel? If Keir Starmer had not stayed, and in Corbyn’s shadow cabinet, if he had not sidestepped some of the specific issues relating to antisemitism, who would be the challenger to Boris Johnson today?

I resigned because I was treated as a traitor: to the party, to decent values, to the left, to Britain. I was treated as an ‘Israeli asset’ and a closet racist, pretending to be on the left while really trying to help its enemies.

In a two party system, everybody has to pretend that one is a community of decent people while the other is morally corrupt. When antisemitism happens ‘over there’, it is symbolic of their moral corruption; but when it happens ‘over here’ it is only the odd bad apple.

It might not have gone so well for the ‘stayers and fighters’, even the ones who actually did fight. Many of them had promised to take a stand when they realised the antisemites had taken control. But when Luciana Berger, Chuka Umunna and the other five left on 19 Februry 2021, and Joan Ryan two days later, and a few brave Tories too, many MPs stayed in their comfy seats and portrayed themselves as the fighters; even Tom Watson, Corbyn’s deputy, who had sung Am Yisrael Chai to show how much he opposed antisemitism, who might have led a critical mass of Labour people, and who in the end went without a word about why.

And remember that the Tories were also a Zombie party at that time, killed, hollowed out and re-animated by a populism that was anathema to the values that the Conservative Party had embraced for decades. It also turned on its own MPs, like Anna Soubry, Rory Stewart and David Gauke; Even Ken Clarke; and made them pariahs. The Johnson Tories tried to close down Parliament, they denounced educated, hard working people as unpatriotic, they exhumed the totalitarian language of ‘cosmopolitans’, ‘metropolitans’ and the ‘liberal elite’; and they denounced high court judges as ‘enemies of the people’.

Politics is a dirty game. Maybe it was smart to hold tight, weather the storm, and position yourself for when it passed. Tom Tugendhat came into the Commons quietly, with the cohort of Brexiters who replaced the unperson Tories. Tugendhat was there to make his iconic speech against the Biden-Trump-Johnson agreement to leave Afghanistan to the Taliban.

Christian Wakeford was another in that cohort. While Luciana Berger was offering Finchley and Golders Green the chance to vote for an MP who opposed the mob politics of both Johnson and Corbyn, Wakeford was slipstreaming into Parliament proclaiming his readiness to vote for a ‘no deal Brexit’.

Today, Berger and Ummuna are forgotten and Wakeford is a proud Labour MP.

It is time to move on from the language of betrayal. Jews who have been active in the labour movement, or scholars or students in the humanities, or cultural producers in the arts, or teachers in our schools: most of us are pretty sick of accusations of disloyalty.

Left and right populism will be back, in Europe and America. The structures of the Labour Party have been cleaned up, it has formally recognised what it did and apologized, not least to its own whistle-blowers. The leadership is not antisemitic and Corbyn is not a Labour MP. Last year’s conference voted for the right motions against antisemitism but then it voted for the politics that underpins antisemitism: that Israel is apartheid and it should be boycotted and dismantled. There are reasons to worry about the right, too: its rhetoric about refugees and Muslims, its thirst for conflict with the European Union, its willingness to stoke the ‘culture wars’.

I do not forgive the Labour Party for the way it subjected me to antisemitism, and for the way it threatened British Jews. I will not rejoin but I could vote for it; other Jews are free, now, to make other judgments.

But Angela Epstein seems to have forgotten that it was Labour people like, for example Richard Gold, the Councillor in Bury, who understood the antisemitic threat most clearly. He has fought it for decades. Bury Labour did as much to fight Corbyn as Christian Wakeford did. We need a more engaged and reflective politics than ‘one side is good and the other is bad’.

David Hirsh
Senior Lecturer, Goldsmiths, University of London

London Conference: 21st Century Antisemitism

Antizionist propaganda in the USSR: a film and a discussion

Film screening and discussion of an antizionist Soviet propaganda film: “The Hidden and the Apparent: The Goals and Exploits of Zionism”

The film will be available to watch online from Saturday 19 February and the Discussion between Izabella Tabarovsky and David Seymour will be on Zoom at 19.00 (UK time) on 22 February

In 1973, the Soviet Union produced a pseudo-documentary purporting to illustrate a secret and sinister role that Zionists supposedly played in world affairs, “The Hidden and the Apparent: The Goals and Exploits of Zionism.” Made with support from the KGB, the documentary turned out to be so obviously antisemitic and inflammatory that it was never screened in front of broad audiences. But the film hardly contained any “antizionist” ideas that were not part of an ongoing Soviet effort to demonize Zionism and Israel at home and abroad, many of which survive to this day. What made this documentary so unacceptably antisemitic, as opposed to simply antizionist,” in the eyes of the authorities? To what extent was it the visual medium that helped reveal the antisemitic nature of officially-sanctioned Soviet antizionist narratives? And, finally, what is the legacy for these ideas and images for today’s antisemitism and antizionism?

The event is free, but please register on Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/antizionist-propaganda-in-the-ussr-a-film-and-a-discussion-tickets-243130859947


Support Group for Jews Experiencing Antisemitism

Follow this link for a flyer for an online support group of Jews experiencing antisemitism online or not.

Sheffield Hallam UCU says David Miller was a victim of “malicious and unfounded allegations” of antisemitism

UCUHallam on Twitter: "There are 8 student occupations in solidarity with  the UCU strikes - Nottingham, Cambridge, UAL, Royal College of Art,  Edinburgh, UCL, Exeter, and Brighton. 👏✊"

The following motion was passed today, by Sheffield Hallam University UCU, with 18 votes for, 16 against and 11 abstentions:

Lesley Klaff, a member of the branch, proposed an amendment, but the Chair, Camila Basi, a member of the Trotskyist group ‘Alliance for Workers’ Liberty’, said that it could not be put as an amendment because the branch is not used to amendments. She said that it should be put as a separate motion and the motions should be voted on separately at the end, after all the arguments had been heard. In fact Camila sent her apologies and gave the Chair of the meeting to a comrade who had signed the big open letter which had defended Miller’s work. The motion in defence of Miller was debated and passed, and only then did the branch go on to consider the motion that was critical of the first motion. Basi then circulated the motions, but she came back to Klaff saying that the motion was too long, and could she shorten it. It was then a shortened version of the motion that in the branch voted down.

The Klaff motion did not say that Bristol U was right to sack Miller. And it did not say that Miller or his work is antisemitic. It urged caution: the branch shouldn’t declare Miller’s work definitely not antisemitic, nor should it say that Miller was the victim of a deliberate Zionist smear. It condemned antisemitism and it supported academic freedom; and it stated that there may be difficult judgments to make.

This very tame, careful and moderate motion was rejected by Sheffield Hallam UCU: 5 votes for, 12 against and 14 abstentions. Here is the full motion, as it was originally submitted:

For a PDF of the amendment, follow this link:

Amendment to the motion: “Academic Freedom and the Sacking of Professor David Miller”

Delete all and insert:

This branch notes that:

  1. David Miller said that his aim is “to end Zionism as an ideology, as the functioning ideology of the world.  And that’s the thing that worries me most about the idea of freedom of speech, is that it diverts our attention from … the material realities of the jackboot on the neck of the Palestinians.”

    He said this on 15 February 2021 and a recording of his speech is here, on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrAlJl73NCQ.
  2. jackboots are military leather boots which extend above the knee. They were worn by the Sturmabteilung, the military wing of the National Socialist Party in Germany and by the Totenkopfverbände (Death’s Head Units) of the Waffen-SS, which ran the extermination camps and the other infrastructure by which six million Jews were selected for their alleged racial impurity, and murdered. Jackboots were also worn by the forces of the USSR and the DDR, both of which enforced antisemitic policies in the name of socialism.
  3. Israeli forces have never worn Jackboots.
  4. the Supreme Court of Israel (Levi v. Southern District Police Commander [May 13, 1984]) ruled that freedom of speech is recognized as belonging to the freedoms that characterize Israel as a democratic state.
  5. Israel is about 415Km long by 15Km at its narrowest and 115Km at its widest. Its population is less than 7 million, which is about 0.09% of the world’s population.

This branch believes that:

  1. saying Zionism is ‘the functioning ideology of the world’ is to inflate the allegedly malevolent influence of Israel in a way that is reminiscent of the antisemitic practice of inflating the allegedly malevolent influence of Jews into a globally dominating force.
  2. because of the use of the word ‘jackboots’ in this context, David Miller’s audience may come away with the idea that Israel is comparable in its evil to the big twentieth century totalitarian movements.
  3. Israel is not comparable in its evil to the big twentieth century totalitarian movements.
  4. it is not a material reality that there is a jackboot on the neck of the Palestinians.
  5. refugees from the big twentieth century totalitarian movements and refugees from anti-Jewish movements across the Middle East and North Africa played a significant part in building Israel and defending it against attempts to invade it and to drive out its Jewish citizens.
  6. the idea of freedom of speech, as embedded in UK law and as articulated in the preamble to the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is a material reality that UCU fights hard to extend, guarantee and preserve, and that freedom of speech does not divert attention from other material realities.

This branch notes further that:

  1. on the same occasion as David Miller said the words quoted above, he also said that we will be faced with a “Zionist case for suggesting that there is a serious problem of antisemitism or Judeophobia in this country when there isn’t a serious problem of antisemitism or Judeophobia.”
  2. the Union of Jewish Students, the Jewish Labour Movement, the Chief Rabbi, the President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Community Security Trust have all said that there is a serious problem of antisemitism in this country, and that David Miller’s work and teaching practice is an example of it.
  3. a principle was established by the Macpherson Inquiry that if members of a racialized group report that they have experienced racism then any investigation should begin with the assumption that the report of what has been experienced is made in good faith.
  4. David Miller says that the organisations named in (2) above should not be recognised as representative Jewish communal organisations but as “Zionist” and therefore racist institutions; that they should be regarded as “Israel’s assets in the UK”[1] whose job is to promote Islamophobia and racism at Israel’s behest.[2]
  5. in its report on Labour antisemitism, the Equalities and Human Rights Commission described the following as “types of antisemitic conduct that amounted to unlawful harassment:

    “Labour Party agents denied antisemitism in the Party and made comments dismissing complaints as ‘smears’ and ‘fake’. This conduct may target Jewish members as deliberately making up antisemitism complaints to undermine the Labour Party, and ignores legitimate and genuine complaints of antisemitism in the party.”
  6. David Miller, in the same speech in February claims that the Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs is “behind the whole antisemitism crisis”.
  7. The Ministry of Strategic Affairs was closed down this summer by the new Israeli Government.

This branch believes further that:

  1. the organisations listed in (2) above are pluralist, inclusive, Jewish, cross communal institutions.
  2. it is a violation of the Macpherson principle to assume that when Jews say they have experienced antisemitism that they are really lying because they are secretly assets of Israel, in Britain to silence criticism of Israel and secretly to promote racism and Islamophobia.
  3. the way in which David Miller talks about Jewish communal organisations, including the Jewish Society at his own university, of which some of his own students are members, is similar to the conduct described as ‘unlawful harassment’ by the EHRC, quoted in (5) above.
  4. usually, when Jews say they have experienced antisemitism, the reason they’re saying it is that they genuinely believe that they have experienced antisemitism.

This branch notes further that:

  1. in the same video referred to above, David Miller said that there is an “all-out onslaught by the Israeli government… on the left globally” adding “it’s not something to do with the Labour party really, the Labour Party is a mere detail of this attempt by the Israelis to impose their will all over the world.”

This branch believes further that:

  1. no Israeli Government has ever had the power or the political and organisational talent to successfully organise an all-out onslaught on the left globally.
  2. Labour’s failure to win the 2017 and the 2019 General Elections was not engineered by Israel.
  3. the quotes by David Miller in this motion are a tiny but genuinely representative sample of Miller’s discourse about Jews in Britain and about Israel.

This branch notes further that:

  1. the Organisation for Propaganda Studies, of which David Miller is a leadership figure, has repeated conspiracy fantasies as though they are true, about the September 11 terrorist attacks, the shooting down of the airliner over Ukraine in 2014, the White Helmets humanitarian rescue group in Syria, the antivax movement and the origins of the coronavirus.
  2. Syrian refugee and journalist Oz Katerji has said that David Miller is part of campaigns to support President Assad of Syria and his backers in Russia and Iran. Katerji and many other refugees from Assad’s human rights abuses in Syria have spoken out against David Miller’s demonization of the ‘White Helmets’ as al-Qaeda affiliates.

This branch believes further that:

  1. antisemitism is a conspiracy fantasy that it is based on false information and it is often embraced by those who are also attracted to other conspiracy fantasies that are based on false information.
  2. to blame the sacking of David Miller on “external political pressure”, to say that it is based on “malicious and unfounded allegations”, or to claim that Miller’s criticisms of Israel and of Zionism have been portrayed in bad faith as antisemitic, would not be an accurate description of what has happened or why.
  3. it would be unwise for a UCU branch to assert unequivocally that none of David Miller’s “professional judgments”  constitute antisemitism or other hate speech.
  4. there is no reason to believe that report of the QC who investigated the David Miller case for Bristol University, which has not been published, says that Miller has not written or said antisemitic things. The university has said that the QC reported that “Professor Miller’s comments did not constitute unlawful speech.”
  5. there is agreement between supporters of the IHRA definition of antisemitism and many of its opponents that Miller’s work is antisemitic. In the video above, Miller denounces the “Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism” as itself a “liberal Zionist” plot to pretend that criticism of Israel is antisemitic.

Sheffield Hallam UCU:

  1. reaffirms its commitment to the principles of academic freedom as outlined in the 1997 UNESCO recommendations here: https://en.unesco.org/news/protecting-academic-freedom-relevant-ever
  2. reaffirms its commitment to the principles of academic freedom as outlined by UCU in January 2009 here: https://www.ucu.org.uk/academicfreedom
  3. reaffirms UCU’s commitments to opposing antisemitism as well as all other forms of racism. This helpful advice from our union reminds us that: “UCU members should:
  • avoid language that might be well meaning but could actually be patronising; respect a person’s religious, non religious or belief structure but do not treat people as ambassadors for their religion or ethnic group
  • not make assumptions about an individual’s beliefs, religious practices or belonging based purely on their nationality or background
  • make sure you think about the balance between the right to freedom of expression and sensitivity to individuals’ religion or belief
  • acknowledge the diversity among people who identify as Jewish – a wide range of cultures, experiences, religious (and non-religious) beliefs and practices, traditions and lifestyles…

    Antisemitism, whether it is intentional or not:
  • undermines confidence and self-esteem
  • is offensive
  • makes work an unsafe place
  • means treating someone differently and unfairly
  • can be viewed as a potential or actual hate-related offence
  • is unlawful and contrary to the rules of UCU.

    Employers have a duty to prevent harassment and provide remedies if it occurs…

    Managing freedom of speech within the law: the right to freedom of expression must be balanced with sensitivity to an individual’s religion or belief”

    This Branch reaffirms that two key UCU principles may sometimes require some difficult balancing and negotiation:
    • we must remain vigilant to ensure that campuses never become hostile environments for groups of students or staff on the basis of any protected characteristic

      and also
    •  we must defend and protect freedom of speech and academic freedom on campus and we will defend members of the scholarly community if they are harassed or fired on the basis of their scholarly or scientific work or research, or their political opinions.

[1] https://www.theguardian.com/education/2021/oct/01/bristol-university-sacks-professor-accused-of-antisemitic-comments

[2] https://electronicintifada.net/content/we-must-resist-israels-war-british-universities/32391

NB. There was disagreement about one David Miller quote in the *amendment that was taken after the motion it sought to amend was already passed*. The quote was this: ‘David Miller said that his aim is “to end Zionism as an ideology, as the functioning ideology of the world…”‘

In fact the video recording of David Miller is indistinct, and it actually says: “…to end Zionism… as functioning ideology of the world.”. Miller’s defenders in this debate insisted that he had said “…to end Zionism… as a functioning ideology of the world.” But the only meaning that is coherent is that he said he wanted to “end Zionism…as the functioning ideology of the world.” The former makes no sense, what is “a functioning ideology of the world”? What are the other “functioning ideologies of the world”? But of course a standard antisemitic meaning would be conveyed by the wish to “end Zionism as the functioning ideology of the world”. The proposer of the motion allowed them to change to “a”, for fear of having to sit through a long and bizarre argument about it.

Statement by David Hirsh to the new ‘SOAS Charter on Racism, Antisemitism and All Forms of Cultural, Ethnic and Religious Chauvinism’ which appears to have been published in response to questions about institutional antisemitism at SOAS

This statement is available on a pdf, please follow this link to download.

SOAS received a complaint from a Jewish student that it had a toxic antisemitic environment. SOAS did not investigate the claim, and when the student appealed, SOAS was told to investigate it by its own appeals panel. SOAS paid the student £15,000 in compensation apparently for the harms that he had alleged, but it still refused to investigate whether his claim was true or not, and therefore whether he had in fact suffered those harms, or not.

Now SOAS has been asked whether it has a toxic antisemitic culture but it cannot answer that question because it has not carried out an inquiry. The specifics of the inquiry that it should have carried out were detailed and agreed unanimously by its own appeals panel. [See below]*

Instead of finding out whether it has an antisemitic culture, SOAS has now published a new policy which states that it abhors ‘all forms of chauvinism and discrimination’ and that it stands ‘against antisemitism and all other forms of cultural, ethnic and religious chauvinism’.

Writing a new policy on antisemitism does not tell SOAS whether it is, or is not, a hostile environment for Jews. First it must determine what the situation actually is, only then can it write policy to address the problem, if there is a problem.

It is not appropriate to respond to a specific claim about institutional antisemitism, with policy referring to ‘all forms of’ chauvinism, discrimination, and other forms of cultural, ethnic and religious chauvinism. SOAS needs to address the specifics of the claim relating to antisemitism.

SOAS ought to have understood that the ‘antisemitism and all other forms of racism’ formula, which is familiar from its routine deployment by the Corbyn led Labour Party, would ring alarm bells in the Jewish community. It was a formulation which always accompanied angry but meaningless denials of the specific charges of antisemitism.

Antisemitism is not a form of ‘cultural, ethnic and religious chauvinism’.

The new policy says:

Political advocacy may use the legitimate demands of… calls against antisemitism… to deflect from critical academic and political scrutiny…. Religious fundamentalists may equate religion and state, and demand not only acquiescence from all those within their nations who oppose their agendas but also silence others including scholars and journalists who subject their actions and words to critical reflection and scrutiny. Ethnic and racial chauvinists across the world act in a similar manner to shield themselves from criticism.

Insofar as this new policy is a response to the claim that there is a toxic antisemitic environment at SOAS, this part of it could all too easily be read as the standard antisemitic denial and counter-accusation that I have name the Livingstone Formulation. This is a standard response specifically at SOAS, frequently deployed both by staff and by students there. In the context of this specific claim, that there is a toxic antisemitic environment at SOAS, this response could all too easily be interpreted as an accusation made against the student who made the claim, that he did so dishonestly, in the course of pro-Israel political advocacy, in the hope of shielding Israel from criticism, and not because he believed it to be true. If the policy is interpreted in this way it could constitute a serious violation of the Macpherson principle. It could also be a violation of the Principle’s re-statement specifically relating to antisemitism, in the EHRC report on Labour antisemitism. The EHRC report singled out this kind of treatment of people who say they have experienced antisemitism as one of the key ‘types of antisemitic conduct that amounted to unlawful harassment’:

Labour Party agents denied antisemitism in the Party and made comments dismissing complaints as ‘smears’ and ‘fake’. This conduct may target Jewish members as deliberately making up antisemitism complaints to undermine the Labour Party, and ignores legitimate and genuine complaints of antisemitism in the party.

While it is possible that an inquiry might, in the end, have determined that the claim of antisemitism was indeed made in bad faith and for political reasons, this is not possible in this case, since there was no inquiry.

* The appeals panel unanimously agreed to specify that SOAS should carry out its investigation into the claim that it has a toxic antisemitic environment in the following ways:

4. This Stage 2 Appeals Panel understands the term ‘toxic, antisemitic environment’ to refer to ‘institutional antisemitism’. The Macpherson Report gives the following definition of ‘institutional racism’ which should function as a model for ‘Institutional Antisemitism’:

6.34 ‘Institutional Racism’ consists of the collective failure of an organisation to provide an appropriate and professional service to people because of their colour, culture or ethnic origin. It can be seen or detected in processes, attitudes and behaviour which amount to discrimination through unwitting prejudice, ignorance, thoughtlessness, and racist stereotyping which disadvantage minority ethnic people.

The new Stage 1 Investigation should also draw upon the Equality Act (2010) and the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Definition of Antisemitism for its understanding of ‘toxic, antisemitic environment’ and ‘institutional antisemitism’. [If the appeals panel had sat after the EHRC report into Labour antisemitism, it might have included that document also in this list.]

5 This Stage 2 Appeals Panel recommends that the new Stage 1 Investigation should be carried out by a panel of three people.

6 To decide whether there was a ‘toxic, antisemitic environment’ at SOAS and/or its Student Union, an external process is required because it would not be appropriate for SOAS or its Student Union to investigate their own cultures. The members of the new Stage 1 Panel should not be associated with SOAS or with its Student Union.

7 Following the Macpherson principle, the members of the new Stage 1 Panel should all be people who can command the confidence of the Jewish community and its leading institutions. They should be selected in consultation with the Union of Jewish Students and with the Government’s Independent Antisemitism Advisor.

8 This Stage 2 Appeals Panel recommends that the new Stage 1 Panel should include an academic who is familiar with the academic research and debates on contemporary antisemitism and it should include somebody of stature and experience in public life who would add to the public confidence in the process.

12 SOAS and its Student Union may, at this stage, decide to come to a settlement with Noah but if they do, they should still go ahead with an independent investigation, as defined in this finding, of the key issues at stake in this case.

The appeals panel were also specific about the following:

11 SOAS, in consultation with the new Stage 1 Investigation, may decide that this new investigation into an alleged ‘toxic, antisemitic environment’ at SOAS and/or the Student Union should not limit itself to the precise time frame of Xxxxxxx’s attendance but should come to a judgement about the issue to the present day.

Video of the Daniel Chernilo event about “Chile’s Corbyn”, Daniel Jadue

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.

Event Wed 21 July: Chile’s Corbyn? Daniel Jadue and left antisemitism – Daniel Chernilo

Chile’s Corbyn?

It’s a free online event, but we ask people to register: For details and to register, follow this link

Chile is experiencing its own Corbyn moment. Daniel Jadue, the leader of the Chilean Communist Party, is a serious candidate for President.

Progressive Chileans who oppose antisemitism are warning of the danger of Daniel Jadue. The leader of the Chilean Communist Party embraces a similar left antisemitism to that of the Jeremy Corbyn movement, which rose, and then fell, on the British left.

In a radio interview, Jadue said that some of the “alternative media in the country are being bought by the Zionist community of Chile.”

And, as we have come to expect, he has supporters who are ready to accuse the Jewish Community in Chile of inventing antisemitism in a bad faith attempt to silence his ‘criticism of Israel’ and to sabotage him:

Daniel Chernilo will tell the story of Jadue’s campaign for President, and of the antisemitic support that he is galvanizing.

Daniel is Professor of Sociology at Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez in Chile and of Social and Political Thought at Loughborough University. He writes on nationalism, cosmopolitanism and social and political theory. His latest book, ‘Debating Humanity: Towards a Philosophical Sociology’ was published by CUP in 2017. He has just finished, together with another former student of Robert Fine, translating Robert’s ‘Political Investigations’ into Spanish.

		Chile's Corbyn? Daniel Jadue and left antisemitism - Daniel Chernilo image
Daniel Chernilo

It’s a free online event, but we ask people to register: For details and to register, follow this link

For Daniel’s piece about Daniel Jadue’s candidacy, follow this link