chapter  3
29 Pages

The crescendo of antisemitism in Corbyn’s Labour Party and the Chakrabarti Inquiry

ByDavid Hirsh

In the spring of 2016, antisemitism in the Labour Party became an issue in the mainstream of British political discourse. The form of words by which Jeremy Corbyn supports the academic boycott of Israel requires a little convolution. There had always been people around the Labour movement who held antisemitic worldviews and who, on occasion, said antisemitic things. What Shami Chakrabarti did not do in her report was explain how to recognize contemporary left-wing antisemitism. She did not describe it, how it operates, how it is sometimes hidden and what its key tropes are. The inquiry was her opportunity to do this in a way which could be easily understood because her inquiry was precipitated by a number of examples of left-wing antisemitism. She could have gone through them and explained why they were antisemitic. Chakrabarti needed to consider the ways in which political antisemitism had been moving into the mainstream.