‘Anyone but Corbyn’: For Britain’s Jews, Fear of a Labour Government Is Now Overwhelming

In that very British polite yet passive aggressive way, UK newspapers have recently been inundated with letters offering quietly strident opinions about the Jews.

One group of showbiz and arts luminaries wrote they would not be voting Labour because of its failure to grapple with anti-Semitism; a letter in response by different showbiz and arts luminaries declared Corbyn and Labour had done more than any party or leader at any time to address anti-Semitism. 

And now the UK’s Chief Rabbi has intervened, an unprecedented act by a faith leader before national elections, warning that "a new poison – sanctioned from the very top – has taken root in the Labour Party…[Jews] have been treated by many as an irritant, as opposed to a minority community with genuine concerns…It is not my place to anyone how they should vote. I regret being in this situation at all. I simply pose the question: what will the result of this election say about the moral compass of our country?"

It seems almost unbelievable, not least for members of the UK's tiny and historically timid Jewish community, that in the lead up to general elections on December 12th, "the Jews" are everywhere. 

In newspaper and magazine articles, in online arguments, on television screens – nonstop vocal rows about Jews. Supporting them, smearing them. Turning them into metaphors and political bullets. As subjects of solidarity, and as targets of conspiratorial theories about their "real" motives. As objects of reasoned political discourse – and of unmeasured hate. As triggers to call others liars, racists and apartheid-lovers. To slap them down and shut them up.

And then there are the threats which, in contrast to a lot of the noise, is careful to individualize the Jewish subject, like the warning I received, which read: "The Jews are bringing this upon themselves. History repeats. Be very careful or you’ll regret your words." 

In these cold, dark and damp days, in the run up to the worst and most frightening election of my lifetime, this British Jew would quite like to hide from the world under my duvet. How nice it would be if I would then wake up and see this had all been a dark nightmare.