The story of the takeover of the Labour Party by forces aligned with naked anti-Semitism begins with the aftermath of September 11 and the run-up to the Iraq war. In September 2002, three Jewish leftists who marched in a Stop the War demonstration described in a letter to the Guardian how they became increasingly uncomfortable with the “anti-Israel and anti-Jewish imagery” of their comrades: “Where does that leave us,” the trio wrote, “as Jews who totally oppose the war in Iraq but felt hostility or indifference from many of our fellow marchers?” The open link between leftist politics and the defenders of anti-Semitic terror in the Middle East was made clear by the way that the Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament, a Cold War–era radical leftist group, allied itself with the Muslim Brotherhood to form the Stop the War coalition, one of whose leaders was Jeremy Corbyn.
The evidence of growing Jew-hatred was there for all to see, and yet for years the left refused to carry out even the most basic hygiene at events such as these. Indeed, its panjandra waved away any expressions of concern. How, they demanded, could anyone from a political movement in which “anti-racism” was one of the few remaining certainties be connected with any variety of racism? The leaders and spokesmen of these movements denied evidence that was literally before their eyes. When cornered, they hid behind an insistence that anti-Zionism was a wholly different thing from anti-Semitism—and when that no longer worked, they were left to argue in effect that anti-Semitism was not anti-Semitism. At a loftier and more private level, senior Labour members of parliament aligned with the rival moderate factions led by Prime Minister Tony Blair and his eventual successor, Gordon Brown, consoled critics with the assurance that members of their party who helped propel such forces by attending and addressing their rallies were mere eccentrics and embarrassments: persons of no significance.
Well what a difference 15 years has made. Today the Blairites and Brownites who gave such assurances are almost to a man and woman in the political wilderness, reduced to lecturing dictators for cash or appearing on reality television shows. Meanwhile, the man who spent the years of Labour power outside the Israeli and American Embassies, or at the foot of Lord Nelson’s column in London’s Trafalgar Square hollering through a megaphone at the nation’s monomaniacs now leads their party.