Jacob F. Farr
Naked Politics Co-Editor
To deny that anti-semitism is a reality within the Labour Party is to well and truly bury your head in the sand. Anti-semitism is on the rise across the western world and the Labour Party does not escape from this ancient scapegoating of Jews.
In 2017, The Community Security Trust, a charity that works with the Jewish community and British police to record anti-semitic incidents, found that 1,382 incidents had occurred that year – the highest count on record. Of these incidents, one in five occurred online. It is, therefore, unsurprising to suggest that some of this abuse came from Labour supporters.
After all, it has been commonplace in certain Leftist circles to theorise about conspiracies that involve a ruling Jewish elite that controls the globe through a ‘New World Order’. Leftists can match the Far Right in their animosity towards those who practice the Jewish faith.
Take the case of Luciana Berger, for instance, she details how she was branded a “dirty Zionist pig” by a leftist Labour member online; or Ruth Smeeth and John Mann who were also targeted by Corbyn supporters with vile behaviour and personal threats. The problem is real and has been since the inception of the party. Labour can no longer pretend to have the moral superiority on such issues when the evidence is there for all to see.
Nonetheless, Frank Field’s decision to cite anti-semitism as the reason for his resignation has to be seen for what it is; a sham. This is no social justice warrior clad in golden armour, nor is it a genuine concern for anti-semitism in the party. Let’s not forget, as Owen Jones states, that Field’s feeling of belonging in the Labour party was in doubt before Corbyn ever came to power. Cast your memory back to the Miliband days and one can vaguely remember Field challenging the then Labour leader on the role in which Labour played with regards to immigration.
Field’s fear of the other has been intensely evident whenever he has spoken about Brexit. His challenge to Miliband was merely a sign of what was to come.
Rumour has it that Field jumped before he was pushed, an idea that had come to him during the rise of Momentum and Jeremy Corbyn’s popularity. Field’s local constituency party in Birkenhead unanimously conducted a vote of no confidence in the former Labour whip. The vote took place shortly after he had handed the Conservatives a huge win on their confusing customs bill; a move that went a long way to keeping a Conservative government in power.
For Field to adopt the anti-semitism cause as his reason for stepping down is an insult to everyone involved with Labour or the Jewish community. However, it is no surprise that he reached for such a low hanging fruit considering the tirade of accusations inundating Jeremy Corbyn.
It is declarations such as Field’s or inaccurate stories like those reported by the Daily Mail and subsequently repeated by Israeli PM, Benjamin Netanyahu, that take away from the genuine concerns that have been tabled towards Corbyn. Take, for instance, his re-tweet of the anti-semitic mural, or his use of the term ‘friend’ when discussing Hamas, or the lack of speed in which Labour has responded to anti-semitic incidents. All of the above constitute serious concerns that some feel are yet to be addressed.
Frank Field cannot be taken seriously when citing Britain’s place in fighting fascistic behaviour when his fear of the other has been a cornerstone of his modern political career. Do not be duped by the emotional words of a politician that has lost the confidence of those he represents.
Corbyn and Labour may have issues to address from their past and their near future but nonetheless, Field is not the man to hold them to account.