Please stop pretending that the Burqa controversy is equivalent to Labour's anti-Semitism problem
Boris Johnson’s comments on the Burqa can be seen as a joke, a purposeful attempt to be inflammatory or a sign of passive Islamophobia. I personally believe that when you read it in the context of his article it was an attempt at humour by Johnson that ironically killed the conversation he wished to start before it was ever able began. Everyone should have a right to denounce the Burqa to as a pointless symbol of oppression, that said I also firmly support anyone who wishes to wear one for religious or cultural reasons. In the end freedom of expression is a fundamental right that should be enjoyed by all.
Nevertheless, In recent days have seen some rather disturbing comparison’s between these comments and the issues Labour is having with anti-Semitism. Please allow me to be clear: This is essentially comparing a bee sting to a bullet wound.
The Conservatives have been called out by some as an inherently islamophobia party in a classic demonstration of "whataboutism". It is undeniable that there is Islamophobia present within some elements of the British public. I will however must highlight that calling out grooming gangs, standing up to radical preachers and rallying against those who wish to see Sharia law implemented is not islamophobia. On the other hand, claiming that all Muslims are radical extremists and that by their nature they're an inherent threat to the United Kingdom is. Sadly, I feel the need to point out that most British Muslims are good, decent people. Just as British as anyone else. They see groups such as Isis in the same way Christians would see the KKK or IRA. In the end nothing is beyond criticism. Be it Judaism, Christianity, Islam or any other religion, fundamentalism is something that cannot be tolerated in our modern society. Those who would implement medieval ideas of radical social conservatism would drag society back to the dark ages in the process. Anyway I digress.
What separates the Conservatives from labour is that when Islamophobia is called out the Conservative party acts swiftly to route it out. Labour on the other hand seem unable to resolve such an obvious issue. It took months for Ken Livingston to be disciplined over his comments yet the witch hunt against Margaret Hodge after she stood up against Corbyn began almost immediately. Now it must be understood that Labour and the majority of its members are not inherently anti-Semitic. All but four MPs voted to adopt the IHRA’s definition of anti-Semitism and until recently one thing that Labour could never be accused of was racial or religious intolerance. The issue however lies in Corbyn and his personal crusade against the state of Israel.
The Israel question is one of the most complex issues of our time. I will not waste your time by discussing the ins and outs of how and why Israel became a nation-state nor will I discuss the arguments for and against its existence. Not because I'm not willing, but rather that it is such a fundamentally colossal topic that there is no feasible way for me to do it justice in one article.
Nevertheless, whether or not you agree with its creation is irrelevant. The fact of the matter is that Israel exists and attempting to take away its sovereignty will only end in disaster. I personally believe that the goal should be a two-state solution, resolved in a way similar to the Troubles in Northern Ireland.
Corbyn on the other hand seems to hold no such belief. While he can continually affirm how he is in ‘no way anti-Semitic’, his actions tell a different story: In 2010 Corbin hosted a panel where Israelis where compared to Nazis. In 2012 he rallied to the defence of an artist whose mural depicting Jewish bankers playing Monopoly in front of an Illuminati symbol, a good example of the horrendous double standards of anti-Semitism whereby Jews are portrayed simultaneously as the world's secret malevolent overlords while also being compared to vermin. Corbyn has also had a paid appearance on Iranian state television and has, in the past, been very public over his support for Hezbollah and Hamas. He even went as far as to call them "friends".
Yes, he may have said that these actions were wrong but when evidence of a new offense seems to be uncovered every week Corbyn’s credibility is eroded further. The recent photo of Corbyn laying a wreath at the graves of the Munich terrorists is a useful example of how actions speak louder than words. His supporters can claim that the Conservatives are more intolerant than them, the death is not only significant islamophobia in the conservative party but also an equal amount of anti-Semitism, but it is quite telling that the leader of the opposition has such a gargantuan array of evidence against him while no major Conservative MP has anything that comes close with regards to Islamophobia.
I have said it before and I'll say it again: Labour is a party whose past achievements should demand respect. Even now It possesses an arsenal of capable and highly talented figures. But Corbyn and his army of cronies are driving this once great party into ruin. In the end Corbyn cannot claim to be a champion for all when he treats British Jews with such contempt. So long as Corbin remains leader the labour Party truly is 'for the many, not the Jew'.