Enough is Enough!

Enough really is enough.

Although we enjoy the anonymity, it is a fairly open secret that nearly all of us in Jewdas are synagogue-going Jews, most with either paid or voluntary positions within our communities. With members across the country, for the last thirteen years we have been the only place many people could come to be both left-wing and religiously Jewish.

That is not because nowhere else was interested. That is because, across the Jewish community, synagogues had made the decision to actively push out everyone on the far left. Philanthropists tried to assimilate radical Jews into their structures, and, in the cases where they failed, declared that the people who refused to conform were beyond the pale. Critics of Israel were shunned by their friends and families. A narrow Conservative clique took over our major communal bodies, newspapers and schools. (If you think they don’t all know each other, check the guest list for the President’s Club event where women were sexually harassed and assaulted.)

Most of the remaining left-wing Jews either disappeared into nothingness or found each other in niche Trotskyist factions or single-issue campaigns. Groups like Jews for Justice for Palestinians, Free Speech on Israel and Jewish Voice for Labour are, whatever you think of them, the remnant of radical Jews who have been forced out of their own communities.

In 2005, a small group made the decision that, this generation, we would not be forced out. Despite our deeply held beliefs in opposing capitalism and nationalism, we wanted to remain loyal to our own community. We wanted to stay members of synagogues and be part of our communities, full of all the complications and contradictions that would involve. We wanted to be able to persuade people of our opinions and, where we couldn’t, we would accept the joy of being in diverse spaces. Most of all, we wanted to be able to laugh at ourselves, each other and the Anglo-Jewish establishment. We wanted to have fun. And we tried.

But now enough is enough.

Over the last decade, because of our position straddling the left and the Jewish community, Jewdas has been the only radical faction that took antisemitism seriously. When we joined pro-Palestine marches (which we did, proudly), we brought with us leaflets explaining how to criticise Israel without being antisemitic. We called out offensive placards and engaged in constructive conversations with people who held them.

When the entirety of the left engaged in circle-jerks about free speech after the Hyperkasher killings in Paris, we were the only group on the left to denounce those acts of terrorism as attacks on Jews.

When neo-Nazis marched through Stamford Hill, we were the only group to go out and protest them. When the same group marched on Parliament, we managed to convince the Campaign Against Antisemitism (though not the Board of Deputies) to join us.

We lost plenty of friends when we were the one of the only left factions to call for Ken Livingstone’s expulsion.

Time and time and time again, we have denounced antisemitism, left and right. We have always stood up for our community.

But now enough is enough.

What has happened over the last week is anything but an attempt to address antisemitism. It is the work of cynical manipulations by people whose express loyalty is to the Conservative Party and the right wing of the Labour Party. It is a malicious ploy to remove the leader of the Opposition and put a stop to the possibility of a socialist government. The Board of Deputies, the (disgraced for corruption) Jewish Leadership Council and the (unelected, undemocratic) Jewish Labour Movement are playing a dangerous game with people’s lives.

What triggered this was an antisemitic mural. There is no question that the mural was antisemitic. Michael Segalov can give you the rundown of why it was. Six years ago, that mural got taken down. At the time, Jeremy Corbyn consoled the artist who drew it. Inconsiderate? Definitely. Dodgy? Yeah. Racist? Maybe.

But is it a communal crisis that the leader of the Labour Party posted an unthinking comment on a Facebook post six years ago? Only if you’re a hired troll whose job it is to dig up dirt on left-wing politicians to force them out of office. Only if you’re an outgoing president of the Board of Deputies with a special place in your heart for Trump, Bibi and May. Only if you’re a disgraced wannabe-politician that is being investigated for financial corruption and you need a distraction. Only if, ultimately, your goals have nothing to do with combatting antisemitism and everything to do with ousting the first successful socialist in a lifetime.

Certainly, there are some useful idiots who are willing to go along with this charade. Centrist dads who’ve been complaining that nobody represents whiny middle-aged small business owners anymore probably sincerely believe that Monday’s amateur dramatics were akin to storming the Bastille. There are no doubt some people who have joined in with these protests out of a wildly misplaced loyalty to the Jewish community, despite knowing that they are being treated as pawns. But the engine behind this bout of faux-outrage is greased with hypocrisy and opportunism.

Enough is enough.

This is not about dealing with antisemitism. Jonty Liebowitz has rightly complained in the Times of Israel that the Jewish communal leadership and the leader of the Labour Party are now in open opposition to each other for the first time in history. That is true. But it is a result of conscious decisions that the Jewish communal leadership have made.

When David Cameron decided to withdraw from Merkel’s centrist grouping in the European Union to team up with Holocaust deniers, white supremacists and unreconstructed fascists, our communal leadership decided that they could work with him. Whatever his faults, they’d influence him. This was not a communal crisis.

When Donald Trump declared to a room full of Jews that they wouldn’t like him because they couldn’t buy him, and hired Steve Bannon as his Chief Strategist, Jonathan Arkush tweeted his warm congratulations. He nearly fell out of his seat celebrating when the same President risked World War Three by declaring Jerusalem the eternal capital of Israel. This was not a problem for the Jews.

But decades ago our communal leadership decided that any criticism of Israel was beyond the pale. People could flirt with Nazis and threaten our communal life all they wanted, as long as they stood up for Israel. Far right evangelical Christians were our friends, while Jewish public figures like Gerald Kauffman, Hugo Gryn and Avi Shlaim were denounced as antisemites. As far as they were concerned, Corbyn was already beyond the pale before he started. They would not have needed any evidence to attack him. The evidence was already there in the fact that he championed the cause of the Palestinians.

But they did find evidence. He has met with people who are anti-Semites. He used ill-advised language. Somebody close to his dog-walker once said something problematic. They reached through every last bit of his history and uncovered what they could. Some of it was compelling. Some of it less so. All of it was treated as if it was a new edition of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

Now, in the build-up to local elections where Labour were expected to make significant gains, they have turned rumours and half-truths into a narrative that pretends that another Holocaust is round the corner in Britain. Unfortunately, some fools even believe them.

Enough is enough.

This is not even just about Israel.

This is about people of a certain age, class and political persuasion who have no idea how to function in a system where every political party isn’t pandering to their views exactly. It is about the threat that the possibility of nationalisation, rent caps and redistribution of wealth poses to the people whose ‘philanthropy’ funds our community. We have allowed our community to be dominated by middle- and upper- class people who are actively opposed to our material interests for way too long.

Enough is more than fucking enough.

The next steps from here are usually predictable. A non-Jew like Wes Streeting, Luke Akehurst or Stephen Pollard will appear on TV and claim to be the sole representative of the Jewish community, who they will say will settle for nothing less than the sacking of the entire shadow cabinet to be replaced by their friends. They will be contested. A cranky Jew will sit on the other side of the news table assuring everybody that there is no such thing as antisemitism and that the Holodomor Famine never happened.

Then our communal leaders will rally together and tell all the Jews who disagree to shut up. And denounce all the Jews who continue to disagree as traitors. And proclaim all the Jews who still disagree are not really Jews. That only the Jews who agree with them are Jews. And, because only the Jews who agree with them are really Jews, the whole community is unanimously united behind the vomit-inducing ‘progressive Zionist consensus.’ Already now, the Jewish Chronicle is flipping its lid that a politician has acknowledged the existence of a Jewish group that isn’t on their list of ‘correctly Jewish’ organisations.

The Labour leadership will recover from this mess, but this fiasco may well leave scars that cannot be healed within the Jewish community. We refuse to follow the script that has been prepared for us. Enough is enough. We are not going anywhere. We are not going to accept this second-rate leadership. We are not going to be treated as idiot pawns in politicians’ turf wars.

We are not going to shut up. Not this time.

Enough is enough. Fuck you all. Chag Pesach sameach.

 

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69 thoughts on “Enough is Enough!”

  1. so refreshing as Corbyn appears to me to be inept, as he is often caught out by inappropriate remarks as leader of a party, but idea that he is antisemitic is madness and can only be used as a political weapon

  2. So in summary, you are a small sect within a small sect within a small religion, and you are upset that there are not many of you.

    That’s a fair point. I sympathise.

    Most people aren’t far Left. I think that’s the basic problem.

  3. So, out of interest, what leadership are you planning on providing for the Jewish community that you appear to despise so much? I presume some sort of Momentum-style takeover of the BoD? Maybe pack out the shul Boards and deselect anyone who doesn’t agree with your political education programme?

    Please don’t shut up. Keep shouting. Just don’t expect many Jews outside of your very small clique to care a huge amount.

    Chag Sameach to both of you.

  4. Communism will win

    Same changes in the Muslim community with takfiri gatekeepers taking over, denouncing others as the wrong sort of Muslim. Seems like chances of peace are slipping away. Shalom.

  5. Extremely well put, to the extent may I enquire why can’t you get a job with The Guardian, which certainly requires decent writers and journalists expressing themselves in a manner that’s both enjoyable and informative.

    Many thanks for reinforcing my belief that the UK’s Jewish community is highly diverse and full of differing opinions, which applies in equal measure to most communities here in the UK.

    Great stuff and looking forward to the next Blog post.

  6. Correction, 5 bankers and one satanist – Rothschild, Rockefeller, Morgan, Carnegie, Warburg, as well Aleister Crowley

  7. Good article thanks just a question you called for Livingston to be expelled was it because his comment that Hitler was Zionist or is it something else it’s just I’ve read several books saying that at beginning he was or was using it as propaganda thank you

  8. Stephen Bellamy

    Corbyn won’t recover from this mess. His letter to Arkush was a suicide note. Condemned forever as a spineless wimp

  9. The Board of Deputies and Jewish Leadership Council’s letter to Jeremy Corbyn, about their pre-conditions for meeting with him, contains the following clauses:

    Education
    The Party should circulate the IHRA definition of antisemitism, with all its examples and clauses, to all members and branches. The Party should work with mainstream Jewish community organisations to develop and implement education about antisemitism. This should include a clear list of unacceptable language, based on the full IHRA definition and on the examples included in your letter of 26 March.

    Engagement
    Public confirmation that the Party will seek to understand and engage with the Jewish community via its main representative groups, and not through fringe organisations who wish to obstruct the Party’s efforts to tackle antisemitism.

    So go to shul as often as you like, comrades, but dream on if you think that Jewdas is not going to be forced to join the other ‘remnants of radical Jews who have been forced out of their own communities’.

    I wish it wasn’t so, I’ll join you in any efforts to pull the mainstream community round, but I’m not holding my breath. And a gud yomtov to you, too.

  10. What an excellent, heart wrenching article. We firmly stand with you. Any true socialist will always back any group who’s views are suppressed for any reason. Thank you for your courage in writing this and in all of the work that you do ❤️

  11. Rebecca Lissak (Bristol and West Progressive Jewish Congregation)

    Totally agree and thank you so much for this!!!

  12. Jabotinsky’s ghost

    Seriously, how do you guys decide who gets to be the wicked son at the Jewdas Communal Seder.
    #Yevsektsiya

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  14. You have never opposed antisemitism. Jewdas is a tiny group of anti-Israel narcissistic Jews who attempt to subvert events organised by Jewish Community organisations. You tried to sabotage the Cast Lead Rally and ended up with egg all over your faces.

    No doubt you will respond with defamation of me because you cannot dispute the substantive point.

  15. Yup, that’s the way to get your views across and win hearts and minds. Kol hakavod to you. A litany of some truths, half truths and lies. A “passing over” (see what I did there?) of why Corbyn and his cohort are inherently hostile to the Jewish community. Despite decades of eveidence, nothing to see here, guv.

    Chag sameach to you too.

  16. interesting analysis and refreshingly open and honest I will share around left groups I admin. thank you.

  17. I’m not Jewish, indeed you don’t need to be Jewish to see what is going on in the Labour Party. The ‘establishment‘ are absolutely shit scared of Corbyn, of the fact he can’t be bought, and he has a very good chance of being a socialist PM. He’s said some silly things yes, but they pail into insignificance to the evil that is being done by this stinking Tory government. This article is well written and researched. A heartfelt peace. Good luck.

  18. Sympathetic to most, but throwing in a few F***s is surely weakening rather than strengthening your credibility. And will unfortunately stop me sharing an otherwise interesting piece on my Twitter account or mailing to Jewish relatives. Sorry, but I have an absolute rule not to use swear language on my account or to share anything that does. So much anger and hate on SM, one has to draw a line somewhere to avoid reflecting the morass and sinking into the same habits.

  19. So if I am on the left, and can see Corbyn is a useless leader (and always thought that), and is handling a terrible situation badly, I am pawn of the Tories and Blairites?
    As for the rest of your points, I don’t live in London so I can only assume this is a metro bubble thing… Chag sameach.

  20. I would give me the utmost pleasure to see this manipulative, corrupt government brought down. Why are they allowed to pass laws to protect themselves as they scheme and plot , the legal system in Britain should not allow this. The Labour party needs to sort itself out if there is to be any future for it. For me Tony Blair was the ruination of the Labour party , a Tory in disguise.I am glad to see Jewish people protesting against the government for trying to use antisemitism as a ploy to destroy Labour and using it as a screen to hide it’s own corrupt behaviour.
    The Daily Mail supports them by printing pages of Corbyn and antisemitism.

  21. Corbyn is not inept but he is human! He is in a very difficult situation. A large part of his own back benches are constantly plotting against him and they have chosen to use “antisemetism” as their main basis for attack.

    I have been in the Labour party since the 70’s and have not recognised any antisemetism in the 3 constituency parties I have belonged to. Not saying it wasn’t but I didn’t spot it!!

    As a child I lived in a community that had a number of Jewish families in it. I spent as much time in Jewish homes as I did in my own! I don’t think I am antisemetic but according to some any criticism of Israel makes me a raving Antisemite. Someone in my situation feels that they cannot express their views.
    For example that mural!! The artist says it was anti capitalist. Hooked noses are mentioned and then it’s downhill all the way. My very non Jewish daughter has a slightly hooked nose btw – you guys don’t have a monopoly on those!

    I support Jeremy – I want a left wing Labour government that will rescue the people of this country from a level of poverty not seen since the end of world war 2. So how do we deal with this?

  22. christine child

    brilliant passionate depiction of the awful situation Palestine/Israel is now in…….tarnished unfortunately by unnecessary swearing….so can’t share….. Corbyn is sincere and supports all pain.

  23. Corbyn is continuously and consistently misrepresented, and all because ‘they’ are so afraid of the real change that he can bring to to the Jewish community and greater society.

  24. Thank you so much for this article. It has been a confusing, troubling and frustrating week. Every time I have asked for clarification from writers condemning all Labour members as ‘anti Semites’ I get told ‘you are in denial’. I have felt guilty without knowing what I am guilty of. What you have explained in your article has provided an insight into what is really happening. I feel better informed and better educated. Thank you, again.

  25. Actually he isn’t “often caught out” . Opposition to him , mostly from within the disgruntled right of the party, daily trawl anything he may have said past or present to find comments to get indignant and self righteous about and then parade around the news rooms pretending they are saddened and disappointed and had wished they could rally behind him. The refreshing thing about Corbyn is that he’s happy to admit to being human and whilst making errors nonrhelsess acknowledges them and reaches out to people. Throughout his whole political career he has been consistent in his approach in believing and acting upon the believe that dialogue is the only way to deal with disagreement and conflict . So yes he has shared platforms and met with some extreme people who hold very difficult views . But he’s never denied it and never done it covertly. You have to engage to find common ground or at least to agree to peaceful dispute. He has never abondoned his guiding principles for social justice. He has been proved right in his judgements time and time again most recently with the Russian poisoning case when he was vilified for counselling caution in the rush to judgement and called for a proper investigation. Lo and behold May has now ( no doubt grudgingly ) acquiesced to that and suddenly the press is quiet and no foregrounding of Corbyn as a Russina Stooge (for now). Because of cause he’s an anti Semite now and doubly is also probably responsible for all the other ills of the world. I am not Jewish and cannot pretend knowledge of the various groupings and differences within Jewish Communities so Jewdas, I am grateful for your insights and applaude your evident honesty and courage in the statement .

  26. An excellent most refreshing article. ….solidarity. …chag Sameach. …I’ll look on your website

  27. As a Gentile it would be inappropriate and counter productive for me to to involve myself with you. I can only wish you good luck and hope you will work with the Jewish Voice for Peace in North America.

  28. Evangelical Christians care more about Trumps success, than staying true to their faith.

    And you are exactly the same.

    You’ll protest like hell about anti-semitism. Until it’s Corbyn. Then you stop.

    So don’t mock evangelical Christians supporting Trump. Because you’re exactly the same as them

  29. MIke Malkovitch

    It seems to me that any group that tweets Israel “needs to be properly disposed of” needs itself, to be “properly disposed of”. You may disagree with many aspects of Israeli governmental politics – as do I – but to deny the right of the Jews to have their own homeland – is – on its face – anti-semitic.

  30. In the light of this morning’s Daily Briefing in The Guardian may I suggest that Jewdas writes an open letter to The Guardian challenging Jonathon Arkush of the Board of Deputies – or any other accusers – to a public televised/livestreamed debate.

    I think this is now essential. It is outrageous that one privileged part of the Jewish community should marginalise and dismiss another part of the community as traitors and non-Jews for having the temerity to challenge the Right’s stranglehold on communal affairs.

    Graham Russell The Guardian

    Jeremy Corbyn has faced renewed criticism of his handling of antisemitism allegations against Labour after last night attending a meeting of a radical leftwing Jewish group called Jewdas, which has criticised mainstream Jewish organisations. A Corbyn spokesman said he was meeting Jewish people from his constituency in a personal capacity but the Campaign Against Antisemitism described it as “a very clear two-fingered salute at mainstream British Jewry”.

    It follows Momentum’s statement that claims of antisemitism in the party “cannot be dismissed simply as rightwing smears”, and that it runs deeper in the party than many had thought. The grassroots group said it was not down to just a few “bad apples” but a more widespread unconscious bias, and criticised Labour for failing to deal with the issue. Yesterday it also emerged another Labour local election candidate, Roy Smart, had been suspended after apparently sharing Facebook posts urging people to question the Holocaust.’

    Now let’s have a real debate.

    Let the best arguments win.

    Solidarity

  31. Wow! Of course, the problem with Jewdas is that they are a radical left wing group who just happen to be Jewish, rather than a Jewish group who happen to be radically left wing. If push ever comes to shove it is blindingly obvious they will go marching off into the sunset with their red banner held high together with the Trots and other radicals. Their Jewishness will always come second, or third, etc.

    I’m a shomer Shabbos Jew who voted Mertetz when I lived in Israel, and would Meretz again, were I living there today. I don’t need to compromise on my religion nor on the mainstream Jewish company I keep, because of my distaste for the Netanyahu government and its policies.

    It’s the vitriol thrown at the State of Israel, and the desire of some Jewdas members that Israel be destroyed that reveals their true nature. What do these people really think would happen to the six million Jewish inhabitants of Israel were the state destroyed/disbanded tomorrow. Yep, their radical left wing credentials will always take precedence over the freedom and wellbeing of Jews.

    Grow up! Fight and campaign against the many injustices that go on in the world; Jews have always been at the forefront of fighting injustice. But at least behave like menschen.

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  35. I’m sure Corbyn isn’t so naive as to be unaware of the reactionary political maneuvering against him by our class enemies some of whom are in his own party. His willingness to engage with groups like Jewdas and learn whilst sticking to his core principles is highly commendable for a political leader. The MSM is trying every dirty trick in the book to undermine his and Labour’s popularity and I’ve no doubt we’ll see more of it in the coming weeks.

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