For some years now the Muslim community has complained of a small fringe, whose opinions were completely at odds with the mainstream, being granted a media platform incommensurate to their numbers. Yes, I’m talking about the likes of Maajid Nawaz, Ed Husain (although he’s since disappeared), Iram Ramzan, Sara Khan and more recently Adam Deen and Amina Lone. I’m going to cut to the chase – we allege it’s for the sole reason that they parrot a narrative amenable to the establishment (namely that normative Islam is regressive, in need of secularisation and that loyalty to British strategic interests trumps allegiance to an outdated notion of ‘Ummah’). They are constantly thrust to the fore of the public debate having their voices purposefully amplified by the mainstream media and implicitly characterised as “the good Muslims”.
Ever since his departure from Hizb ut-Tahrir in 2007, Maajid Nawaz (putative head of the UK ‘reformist Muslim’ movement) has been invited onto Newsnight, Question Time, countless panel discussions and even into the chambers of 10 Downing Street. Not to mention being gifted endless column inches in both broadsheet and tabloid publications. Every time Muslims complained the standard rebuttal was “but he’s Muslim also”. For his part Mr Nawaz has stated that he is standing up for a ‘minority within a minority’ and denounced his detractors for regarding him as “not Muslim enough”. He has been robust in his opposition to Muslim community representative groups declaring that no person or organisation should presume to represent the entire community in all its diversity. His opinions and activities have garnered considerable support from groups and individuals known for their pro-Israel sympathies and recently he was awarded a “communal ally of the year” accolade by the Jewish News.
Jeremy Corbyn’s vocal opposition to Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians is well known. He has never made a secret of it. He has denounced its brutal practises on numerous occasions and his support of the right of Palestinian self-determination is a matter of public record. Which as a left wing back bencher was nothing extraordinary and didn’t warrant the attention of the Zionist lobby (yes it really does exist and no I don’t own a copy of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion nor even do I suppose “The Rothschilds” rule the world by proxy). But now, in 2018 as the Leader of the Opposition and someone with a very real chance of becoming the next Prime Minister, his anti-Zionism has become a matter of grave concern. And so they have set about the task of dethroning him or at the very least inflicting serious political damage upon his leadership. Trawling through years of Facebook posts to find a solitary image (which though not explicitly referencing Jews did carry clear anti-Semitic overtones) he once commented favourably upon is indicative of just how desperate they are to achieve their aim.
Let me make it clear, I have no love for Mr Corbyn. Unlike most of the Muslim community I disdain socialists and neo-cons in equal measure. But nonetheless it’s clear that the fierce campaign being waged against him is motivated by his anti-Zionist animus rather than by genuine concerns over anti-Semitism. Many of Corbyn’s supporters are themselves Jewish. There is a pro-Corbyn Jewish group within the Labour party and just the other night he accepted an invitation from another Jewish group, Jewdas, to attend their seder dinner. All of which has left the Zionists in a bit of a quandry. How can they denounce other Jews (especially observant ones) as anti-Semitic except by stripping them of their Jewishness? I don’t know what the equivalent of takfir is in halakhic law? Anyone?
Suddenly many of the same people who were so vocal about standing up for the right of “minorities within minorities” are busy denouncing “fringe”, “unrepresentative”, “radical” groups who don’t speak for the “mainstream community”. It seems that it’s ok to denounce Jews who are “not Jewish enough” or “self haters” (or some other such epithet). Mr Nawaz recently tweeted talking of “the Jewish leadership” which he clarified as the two groups The British Board of Deputies and The Jewish Leadership Council. If the irony isn’t obvious then go back and read this short piece again from the beginning. Well I for one will be lending my support to the beleaguered minority Jewish voices standing up for justice and hope to see some of them appearing with greater regularity on Newsnight, Question Time, Radio 4, Channel 4 News etc. I hope they are accorded as much column space in The Sunday Times, Telegraph and Daily Mail as our “reformist Muslim” minority receives.
I recommend the following communique by Jewdas which thoroughly refutes the smears of some of the “mainstream” (read Zionist) Jewish organisations: https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:teGABITu8rUJ:https://jewdas.org/enough-is-enough/+&cd=2&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=uk
For what it’s worth (yes, I know that would be nothing to you Harry’s Place readers) I have nothing against Jews, either as individuals or as a community, over and above the fact that they aren’t Muslims (which is my stance towards all non-Muslims). That crude anti-Semitic caricatures and canards of secretive cabals pulling the levers of power are sometimes peddled in anti-Zionist circles (as well as on the right) is not in question, and yes it is fair to raise the issue. Again, though I reiterate that what is inspiring this current campaign against comrade Corbyn is not the fear of anti-Semitism but rather the fear of having an anti-Zionist steering British foreign policy. There is a very real fear in some quarters that Britain’s growing Muslim population and their political mobilisation will render it increasingly difficult to continue with what hitherto has been a policy of slavish deference to Israeli desiderata.
It’s worth bearing in mind that anti-Semitism was historically a European Christian problem – a recent Pew research showed it at alarming levels in Eastern Europe, a part of the world with a negligible Muslim population – not a Muslim one. I am and always will be, unashamedly anti-Zionist and implacably opposed to the state of Israel, its policies and its very being. May Hashem hasten its demise. Amen.