Before you gasp with wrath, let me reassure you that anti-Semitism doesn’t figure on my list of virtues. Anti-Semitism in general, that is.
However, in particular, we have to be grateful for Labour anti-Semitism. It’s thanks to that charming bias deeply felt and avidly fostered by Corbyn and his entourage that we just may be spared the most evil government in British history.
Eight Labour MPs have left the party in disgust, and more will doubtless join the independent group they’ve formed. Even though three Tory MPs, all dripping wet and Remainers, have followed suit, Labour will probably suffer greater attrition.
Then, much to Tony Blair’s fear and my delight, Corbyn’s wicked party may well become unelectable for a generation.
Though I rejoice, I can’t add my voice to the dithyrambic chorus about the magnificent eight, with Daniel Finkelstein as both soloist and choir master.
First, their action had an element of jumping before being pushed – all those moderate MPs (moderate by Labour standards, that is) were about to be deselected anyway.
But that apart, I’m amazed that anti-Semitism seems to be the only thing they dislike about Corbyn’s party.
By inference, they don’t mind the class war the Corbynistas are trying to conflagrate. They are happy with their economic policies, which aren’t just likely but absolutely guaranteed to beggar the country in a matter of weeks. They have no objections to Corbyn hating all our friends and loving all our enemies (as a kind man, I shan’t give you the list of the latter so close to night-time).
They may be a bit unhappy about Corbyn’s dislike for the EU, but that by itself wouldn’t have made them leave the party and scupper its electoral chances. Only the virulent and burgeoning Labour anti-Semitism could do that – so thank goodness for Labour anti-Semitism.
Another thing I find astounding is that so many people are surprised at this little trait rearing its head within the ranks of a socialist party. They wouldn’t be so surprised if they understood the nature of both socialism and modern anti-Semitism – and how the two enjoy a symbiotic relationship.
The most immediate link comes from the socialists’ deeply held belief in the intrinsic injustice of capitalism. Since Jews manifestly succeed within that system better than just about any other group, they have to be seen – and hated – as transmitters and propagators of injustice.
Moreover, pushing that logic to its extreme, a success within an unjust system can only be achieved by unjust means. Hence the Jews do so well because they collude to trick everybody else, cheating them out of their birthright.
This is roughly what Marx, the patron saint of socialism, preached, and he did use the words ‘Jew’ and ‘capitalist’ interchangeably. Such is the most immediate impulse to Jew-hatred, which naturally flows out of the very essence of socialism.
(I’m specifically talking here about modern Jew-hatred, the most virulent form of anti-Semitism. Many other forms exist too, such as the petty snobbery often displayed by clubbable gentlemen, or the contempt exponents of other religions feel for infidels.)
Yet there are also deeper, less obvious impulses, those that explain why in modern times the worst anti-Semitic atrocities have been committed by socialists, of either a national or an international hue.
All such ideologies see mankind collectively, as an agglomerate of friendly or hostile groups. The key word there is neither ‘friendly’ nor ‘hostile’, but ‘groups’. International socialists define these by class; national ones by nation or sometimes race.
Both presume homogeneity within each group, or at least enough commonality to reduce any individual differences to trivial idiosyncrasies. Both swear by the good of a strong state, sometimes reduced to the personality of the leader.
Reduction, in this and many other cases, spells seduction. Ideologues of collectivism (or populism, which is its variant) use simple slogans to overcome the resistance of potential recruits.
For resistance can be fierce. Western civilisation lives and breathes an entirely different ethic, one based on the unique, sovereign value of each individual, no matter how meek and insignificant, or how rich and strong, or how foreign and alien.
Collectivists’ survival then depends on their ability to introduce a different ethic, which is impossible to do without consigning the other one to oblivion.
That other, formative ethic of our civilisation rightly goes by the name Judaeo-Christian. It was vouchsafed to Jews who then, after some essential Christian refinements, spread it all over the world.
Hence zoological hostility to Judaeo-Christianity, especially the first part, is a collectivist’s quest for survival. He knows – or simply senses instinctively – that, for his ethic to live, the other ethic has to die.
That’s why when Jews become socialists, they have to renounce their Judaism. Marx’s anti-Semitism was thus nothing but logical, and he isn’t the only example.
During the Russian civil war, a delegation of Russian Jews begged Trotsky, as a Jew himself, to stop the pogroms being perpetrated by the Reds. “I’m not a Jew,” replied Trotsky, “I’m a Bolshevik”. He too was logical. One precluded the other.
This doesn’t mean that people who vote Labour or even belong to the party are all anti-Semites. Far from it. But it does mean that the inner logic of their ideology escapes them.
Most of them don’t think their politics through. They just respond to some vague signals emitted by Zeitgeist-shaping propaganda.
To their thoroughly scoured minds, socialism equates general share-care-be-aware goodness, a condensate of Christian virtue, mercifully minus Christ. They may be good people, but they’re bad socialists.
Of all schools of political thought, only conservatism, tightly defined and properly understood, is incompatible with anti-Semitism. Scratch an anti-Semite, and you’ll always find a collectivist.
For example, though I defer to no one in my admiration of Belloc and especially Chesterton, their anti-Semitism was directly linked to their politics of distributism, a sort of vulgar Christian socialism.
However, when the evil of anti-Semitism can stop the evil of Corbyn, one is perversely grateful. Small favours indeed, but favours nonetheless.