Having been associated with a number of political parties over 20 years, including a decade with the Conservative Party, these days I am largely unmoved by party politics. I have voted Labour, Liberal and Tory at various points and I have found virtue and vice in all three political parties.
At my wedding in 2010, there were members of all three main parties present and we were all united in friendship and love. This is not to say that I never experienced acrimony during my “political” years – politics could be quite rough at times.
Fortunately, I never experienced anything like the behaviour outlined by John Mann MP on account of his support for Israel, although I did receive hate-mail on account of my own pro-Israel writings in a local newspaper. I will never forget the sting of anti-Semitism as I read the warped rantings from Bilbrook (he put his address but not his name!).
Despite other failings, I have never been an Anti-Semite although in my youth I knew one or two. I can find no justification or excuse for anti-Semitism. Experience has taught me that anti-Semitism, as Christopher Hitchens pointed out, is the never-failing sign of a sick and disordered mind. I am happy to say that over subsequent years I have known many Jewish people, as colleagues, mentors and friends.
To me, Judaism is the very manifestation of courage. It took courage to be a Jew in the 11th and 12th Centuries in defiance of the crusaders. It took courage to be a Jew in the 20th Century in defiance of the Nazis. It appears that it will take courage in 21st Century Britain in defiance of Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party.
I almost hesitate to make such a statement. Yet, as I listen to the reports of John Mann and Luciana Berger, I can draw no other conclusion. Who would have thought that, in 2018, the British Political Party most tainted by anti-Semitism would be Labour?