We found that out in 1939. Chamberlain tried to appease Hitler. He kept giving in to Hitler’s demands – the more he gave in, the more Hitler wanted.
We have a similar situation now with the “weaponisation” of antisemitism against Labour. Antisemitism is a complex thing but at its heart it is very simple. What makes it complex is that there are people and groups who consider criticism of the actions and policies of the Israeli government to be antisemitic. It isn’t, and all attempts to define it as such must be resisted.
Since 87% of Jews do not vote Labour – we have a “tail wagging the dog” situation. Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader is the lightning-rod for much of the abuse. He has made it clear that there is no place in Labour for antisemitism and the vast majority of Labour members agree with him. There seems to be little understanding that we Labour members are also upset by the accusations.
We know that the weaponisation is being used by the Conservative party and the right wing controlled media (Express, Mail, Sun etc.) to distract attention away from important issues where the Conservative government is failing. We know that Israeli diplomats have sought to undermine UK politicians. We know that some in the PLP have jumped on the antisemitism bandwagon to trying discredit Jeremy Corbyn.
JC is now being accused of attending Seder in his constituency with Jewdas who are now being labelled “bad jews”! You couldn’t make it up.
People who have known JC for a long time say there isn’t a racist bone in his body and one of the reasons he has the overwhelming support of Labour members is his integrity. He has been right on many issues (Iraq, Salisbury) where others were wrong. He is wrong on Brexit – but that will change – 70% of the members oppose it.
So whilst it is right for him to meet the Board of Deputies (again) and other Jewish groups who wish to meet him, JC should remember Chamberlain – appeasement doesn’t work. He knows that, like Hitler, they will continue to make demands.
A report has determined that the Labour party is no more antisemitic than any other party. I would hope that we are less antisemitic. There needs to be due process with legally-trained people reviewing the most serious cases. I can understand Ken Livingstone’s anger at being accused of antisemitism when he claimed Adolf Hitler “was supporting Zionism before he went mad and ended up killing six million Jews”. He was arguably correct and if he was expelled and it were to be taken to court he would probably win.
I am not Jewish, I am white middle-class and have never suffered discrimination. My father, growing up in Wapping, saw it first-hand. The discrimination we have to fight is against poverty, disability and lack of opportunity faced by many in our society. That should be our focus. Antisemitism is one form of racism – all need to be opposed. The antisemitism issue is a distraction that has blown out of all proportion.
Chamberlain deserves a degree of sympathy – the first world war left a huge emotional scar (as it did on France and Germany) and the mood here was very much against another war. Churchill was one of the few who realised early on (his “wilderness yeas”) that Hitler was evil and had to be opposed. Appeasement was wrong.