Author: Eric Heinze

Labour in Meltdown – But What Is Anti-Semitism?

Simmering tension within the British Labour Party over claims of antisemitism has boiled over. First MP Naz Shah was suspended; now the party’s former London mayor, Ken Livingstone has joined her. It’s an ideal moment to consider what antisemitism actually is. Many probably – perhaps secretly – gave up puzzling over antisemitism long ago. They’ve moved on to some other issue, like battery hens, where the oppressors are shamefaced and the victims can’t speak. The first step towards conquering antisemitism fatigue is to admit that you have the problem. I need to do it every day. Perhaps Shah and Livingstone, and a few others, might do so too. Allow me, if I may, to return to a few basics for deciphering our perennial “Jewish problem”. Semitic cultures and languages, largely traceable to the Middle East, include both Arabs and Jews. Unsurprisingly, people often bristle at the very phrase “antisemitic”: how dare the Jews act as if they’re the only Semites, let alone accuse Arabs of antisemitism? Indeed, how dare the Jews even pose as victims …