It was supposed to be the moment Labour finally woke from its antisemitic slumber.
Tuesday’s meeting of the party’s NEC was a chance to shove the Jew-hate gremlin kicking and screaming back in its bottle and crack on with the important business of humiliating the Conservatives — a task simpler than shooting fish in a barrel for a semi-functioning opposition.
Credit where it’s Jew. The party seized the day, fully adopting the IHRA international standard definition of antisemitism which clearly states that, like any democracy, it’s open season on criticising Israel’s parliament, policies and prime minster — just steer clear of calling Zionists Nazis or ranting about Israel’s existence being a racist endeavour.
The party couldn’t resist squeezing in a cheeky caveat stating IHRA should not “undermine freedom of expression on Israel or the rights of the Palestinians”, but, fair’s fair. It was, more or less, job done.
Now, let’s put this whole silly business behind us and nail those toiling Tories on Brexit, the NHS, knife crime, public transport, the cost of living and my beloved local library closing down.
But, of course, this is rabid far-left antisemitism we’re dealing with. There can be no compromise with a movement obsessed with the moral failings of the Jewish state. So Jeremy Corbyn, in his finite wisdom, decided Tuesday’s truth and reconciliation session was the perfect time and place to assert it should not be regarded antisemitic to call Israel, or its foundation, racist.
Chew on that, comrades. After three painfully traumatic years for British Jews, Dear Leader wants a definition of antisemitism that makes space for antisemitism. A definition of Jew hate that allows for denial of the Jew state (where’s the facepalm emoji on this keyboard?).
It seems that the Labour leader doesn’t get English irony, despite having lived in this country for a very long time.
On Sky News discussing Labour’s IHRA decision…
His wretched proposal failed to gain the necessary support so did not go to a vote.
Make no mistake. The man most likely to be our next prime minister is as ideologically opposed to Israel as much he is America, Trident, denouncing Russia or bowing to the Queen. Enthusiastically sharing platforms with those who wish to see Jewish state destroyed leaves no room for doubt.
His claim to be a broker for peace in the Middle East can no longer stand the weight of its own absurdity. Honest intermediaries don’t fanatically back one side while fantasising about the other’s annihilation.
At the start of the week Mr Corbyn had two options left to start repairing the damage inflicted on his relationship with Britain’s Jewish community. The first, least drastic, was to support the adoption of IHRA in full without reverting to sinister small print. In this endeavour the Labour Party has, more or less, succeeded, but Mr Corbyn has shown himself to be intransigent.
In his failure, he’s revealed himself to be the problem — the prime mover in this almighty mess. The only choice still open to him is option two: circumcision.
• First published by The Times