Labour and the Jews

Stan Anson
Apr 14, 2018 · 15 min read

Labour voters

What do the surveys actually say? In addition to the two commissioned by the Campaign Against Antisemitism in 2014/15 and 2017 and “obtained” by Skwawkbox, let’s also look at a couple undertaken for Professor Tim Bale in 2014 and 2016. All of these polls were conducted by YouGov.

Labour members

None of this is controversial. Jews worried about Labour’s drift know perfectly well that few Labour voters are anti-Semites; many of them are Labour voters themselves (or have been until now). It’s the anti-Semitic culture that appears to have taken hold in the party itself that causes alarm, along with the inescapable sense that the leadership has allowed it to flourish — whether from sloth, greed and pride or from some other combination of deadly sins.

Israel

Attitudes to Jews in the Labour party (and elsewhere) are inextricably bound up with attitudes to Israel. Howard Jacobson has written of how the atmosphere changed for British Jews after the Six-Day War, when some on the left felt that the new conditions in the region gave them licence to denounce Israel as a colonial imposition. The pro-Palestinian Labour Middle East Council was established in 1969 by Christopher Mayhew, then MP for Woolwich East, and support within the party for Israel and the ideal of a Jewish homeland — once Labour orthodoxy — has been receding ever since.

Outlook

It is impossible to say how many of the two or three hundred thousand extreme anti-Semites on the British left are also members of the Corbyn movement, but there is clearly some overlap. In the JPR study, 74 per cent of those who identified as very left and 70 per cent of those who identified as fairly left also identified as Labour. Whether it is one in a hundred or one in ten, Jeremy has thousands of Jew-haters in his pocket.

Acknowledgements

Tim Bale (Queen Mary University of London) and Alex Turk (ICM Unlimited) generously shared data. As mentioned in the text, the European Social Survey bit was swiped from Michael Colborne. Glen O’Hara (Oxford Brookes University) alerted me to the perceived perpetrator data from the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights. The post was revised to include this on 1 May 2018.

Stan Anson

Written by

Mostly politics. Past lives: political science, commercial writing and editing, Australian Labor speechwriter. @moutajup

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