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John Chuckman



Please, we all, most of us, have suffered bullying or prejudice in our lives, and it is tiring to keep seeing tales of it like this rather self-indulgent piece.

The piece is not without a sense of insincerity too, coming as it does after weeks of what I can only describe as an around-the-clock McCarthyite witch hunt, a witch hunt, not for communists lurking in the halls of government, but for “anti-Semites” lurking in the Labour Party.

I do not need to explain to open-minded readers why that is a completely unfair thing to do.

The origins of this prejudice – for that is what it is, a prejudice, or you may fairly call it a reverse-prejudice – are in the views and attitudes of the government of Israel. It has always condemned “liberals” as hating Israel and its members frequently uses the term “anti-Semites” to belittle and silence criticism.

But the entire history of genuine liberalism has to do with trying to right inequalities and injustices, so how can it be otherwise? Recent history’s publically-labelled “anti-Semites” include men as honorable as Jimmy Carter, Desmond Tutu, and Nelson Mandela, just to name a few.

It can never be fairly called “anti-Semitic” to criticize Israel, any more than it was Russian-hating to condemn the Soviet Union.

If Israel is to be a state like any other state, then it must abide by the norms expected of other states, but it plainly does not do so, and instead, people appalled by its behavior are heaped with name-calling.



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