I fear for the future but the future has arrived.
Labour’s success at the recent General election has produced various analyses, the most pertinent so far I have seen has come from Stephen Pollard, who writing in the Daily Telegraph, wrote that the millions of people who voted for Jeremy Corbyn, a man who tolerates antisemitic hatred, scares him because the wall to wall coverage of the Labour leader’s views and alliances with Hamas, the IRA, Stop the War as well as antisemitism in the Labour Party in the election campaign had no effect on the final outcome.
It is not as if people, young in particular didn’t know. Many of the constituencies which swung to Labour and Corbyn in particular were university towns like Canterbury. These are not uneducated people, the very opposite in fact, these are educated University students, who while admittedly would like a ‘no fee ‘education are intelligent to know that Corbyn’s sums don’t add up.
I have been working within my union, the University and Lecturers Union (UCU) since 2002 trying (and failing) to stop the pro-Hamas, pro-BDS, and anti-Israel rhetoric. The UCU disagreed that our definition of antisemitsim, which is now called the IHRA definition was the ‘real deal’ and substituted a mishmash of platitudes, which they have no intention of acting upon anyway since they hold similar views to Jeremy Corbyn especially when it comes to Israel and Hamas.
What has worried me and I have said it many times is that the young people at Universities whose lecturers peddle falsehoods about Israel are infecting the politics of Britain which will lead to an increase in antisemitsim. How right I was, these young people at our universities who man the anti-Israel mock wall during ‘Israel Apartheid Week’ with pretend guns, dressed in battle fatigues pretending to hold ‘poor Palestinians’ at ‘mock gunpoint’ are now saying ‘yeh, Jezza, lets overturn the stale boring Tory politicians and grab the future’ Of course Jezza didn’t do it on his own, he had Teresa May helping him by denying older wiser people their triple lock pensions as well the ‘dementia tax’ - together they have made very worrying times ahead.
One final thought, I have frequently said that the current generation of students are being brought up on a diet of ‘Israel is a racist apartheid state’ and that we will have a problem in 20 years’ time when they will be in positions of power and influence as the opinions and attitudes they form now will be with them for the rest of their lives. Clearly I was wrong because they are already influencing our lives right now, this week. Can we change things or is it already too late?
Dr. Ronnie Fraser
Academic Friends of Israel