Eleven years ago, I wrote a Saturday essay in this newspaper exposing a virulent new strain of anti-Semitism. It was based on what I had discovered while making a documentary for Channel 4, called The War On Britain’s Jews?
My thesis was that while the far-Right hadn’t gone away, most of the hostility towards the Jewish community was coming from an unholy alliance between those I dubbed the Fascist Left and Islamist fanatics.
I’ve returned to the subject occasionally over the past decade, as anti-Semitism has seeped from the political fringe to the poisoned heart of the Labour Party.
Back in 2007, despite the weight of conclusive evidence, it was difficult to get many people even to admit publicly that there might be a problem.
Ever since Jeremy Corbyn became Labour leader, anti-Semitism has gone mainstream. It can no longer be overlooked or played down
Though I received help from the Community Security Trust, a charity which provides protection for the Jewish community, there was a reluctance among prominent members of what we might call the Jewish establishment to take part in the programme.
Not that they were unsympathetic, just that they were understandably wary of making too much of a fuss, or blowing the issue out of proportion.
That’s what is so significant about last night’s unprecedented demonstration in Parliament Square, involving the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Jewish Leadership Council.
Ever since Jeremy Corbyn became Labour leader, anti-Semitism has gone mainstream. It can no longer be overlooked or played down.
The charge sheet was laid out in this newspaper yesterday, culminating in the latest revelation that Corbyn himself had defended a deeply offensive mural in East London, which depicted a gaggle of Jewish financiers playing Monopoly on the backs of naked black slaves.
Corbyn now says he ‘regrets’ supportive comments he made about the mural, but can’t bring himself to offer a full apology —merely acknowledging there are ‘pockets of anti-Semitism that exist in and around the party’.
Even though he has said ‘sorry’, it’s meaningless. Though he may consider himself not guilty of anti-Semitism, he promotes a world-view which traduces Jews, both in this country and around the globe.
Every time a fresh expression of anti-Jewish sentiment by a Labour activist is exposed, Corbyn wriggles and dissembles. The lame excuse about being anti-Zionist and opposed to the policies of the government of Israel, not anti-Jewish, simply won’t wash any more.
Labour MP Luciana Berger speaks during a protest against anti-Semitism in the Labour Party in Parliament Square, London, yesterday
Corbyn is typical of those on the Left who have convinced themselves that because they are the repositories of all goodness they can’t possibly be accused of harbouring any kind of prejudice.
But they should be judged by their actions, their words and deeds, not their self-serving propaganda. And the reality is that Jew-baiting still doesn’t constitute a hanging offence in today’s ‘anti-racist’ Labour Party.
Naz Shah, Labour MP for Bradford West, was quickly reinstated after a brief suspension from the party for suggesting that Israel should be relocated to America.
Serial offender Ken Livingstone, the former Mayor of London who once compared a Jewish reporter to a concentration camp guard, remains a party member.
In a strongly worded letter, Jewish leaders say: ‘Again and again, Jeremy Corbyn has sided with anti-Semites rather than Jews. At best this derives from the far-Left’s obsessive hatred of Zionism, Zionists and Israel.
‘At worst, it suggests a conspiratorial world-view in which mainstream Jewish communities are believed to be a hostile entity, a class enemy.’
Plenty of Jews oppose the policies of the Israeli government. But, unlike Corbyn, they don’t back Hamas and Hezbollah who are dedicated to wiping Israel off the face of the earth.
How the hell does Corbyn think his support for his terrorist ‘friends’ is going to play with the Jewish community in Britain, many of whom have family living in Israel and take holidays there?
It was bad enough when this kind of bigotry was confined to the outer limits of agitprop politics. But what’s horrifying is when it’s embraced by the leader of Her Majesty’s Official Opposition, someone who might conceivably become Prime Minister after the next General Election.
Last night’s unprecedented demonstration in Parliament Square involved the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Jewish Leadership Council
When small ‘c’ conservative organisations like the Board of Deputies feel they have no option but to take to the streets in protest, you know the problem has reached a critical level.
My documentary was originally planned to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Cable Street, when trades unionists, Labour activists and members of London’s Jewish Community combined to stop a march through the East End by Oswald Mosley’s fascist Blackshirts. More than 80 years on, the real fascists these days are to be found on the Left.
In 2007, there were plenty of people ready to accuse me of only raising the question of anti-Semitism as a convenient stick with which to beat Leftists and Islamists.
Many of them are using the same argument today, claiming that the demonstration outside Parliament is just part of a vast, Right-wing and media conspiracy aimed at discrediting Corbyn.
More than a decade ago, only a few brave Labour MPs would speak out on the subject, most notably Bassetlaw’s John Mann.
Today, others are prepared to stand up and be counted, calling on Corbyn to make a proper apology over the mural and rid the party of the cancer of anti-Semitism once and for all.
But we’re talking leopards and spots here. Corbyn might regret the ‘pain’ caused to the Jewish community, but he’s not going to change his beliefs, nor denounce his terrorist ‘friends’, nor kick visceral anti-Semites out of the party.
The only good news is that 11 years after my documentary, the problem is at last being taken seriously. Let’s hope this week marks the beginning of the end of the hard-Left’s war on Britain’s Jews.
A man with a one-bedroom flat was not allowed to foster a cat because his home is considered too small.
Joe Lines, 32, was told in a letter from the Battersea Dogs & Cats Home that the moggy would need its own room: ‘Although we do not doubt your commitment to animal welfare, it is a requirement that foster carers can provide the cat/kittens a secure, comfortable spare room of their own.’ That’s a new one on me. Our old labrador, Ossie, used to sleep on our sofa until we turfed him off and bought him a proper dog bed.
Given half the chance, I’m sure he’d have loved his own bedroom.
But since when have cats needed their own room? Most of them spend all night on the tiles, so why would they care?
Anyway, that most famous of felines, Top Cat, wasn’t so fussy.
He lived in a dustbin.
Facebook users are busily deleting their accounts after discovering, in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, that their data is being harvested.
Why is anyone surprised that their private information is not secure?
I’ve just been rewatching an old episode of the U.S cop/lawyer show Law & Order, which airs here on several different channels. It’s called Access Nation and revolves around the prosecution of a data mining company misusing so-called private information from the internet.
Executive Assistant District Attorney Jack McCoy isn’t aware of the scale of the problem, until his young sidekick says she’s been doing some research into him, using a different firm. She tells McCoy he banks at Citibank, she knows his account balances and all the websites he’s visited.
Facebook users are busily deleting their accounts after discovering, in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, that their data is being harvested. Pictured: Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg
He’s taking a migraine medicine, reading a biography of Eleanor Roosevelt, should really stop using his grandmother’s maiden name as his password, and has a ‘very weird obsession’ with the Clash.
That was first broadcast in 2002. No one can claim they weren’t warned.
On Friday, I brought you news of a chap in Southport who was refused entry to a rubbish tip because the permit was in his wife’s name. He was allowed to enter after telling the security guard he was identifying as a woman.
Two days later, a letter appeared in the Sunday Telegraph, from Captain James Mallard, in Oxfordshire.
After a training exercise in London, Capt Mallard took his troop of 30 male squaddies to a pub. They were stopped at the door by a bouncer, who said large groups of men were not admitted.
A quick-witted young soldier said: ‘Actually, we identify collectively as a mixed-gender group and as a gender non-binary adult I find your remarks most offensive.’
The bouncer backed down immediately. Capt Mallard wrote: ‘Not only were we allowed in, but Happy Hour was extended all night on our behalf.’
A six-man moped gang held up traffic on Putney Bridge, in South-West London, while they tried to steal a £250,000 camera erected by the BBC to film the Boat Race.
They left empty-handed after being confronted by an off-duty policeman. Given that this was 5pm, during the rush hour on one of London’s busiest river crossings, I don’t suppose they thought there was ever any danger of them being interrupted by an on-duty policeman.