The established media narrative, relentlessly reiterated regularly for several months now, is that Labour is the party riddled with anti-Semitism. Many allegedly reputable pundits, as well as Julia Hartley Dooda, have lined up to suggest that Jeremy Corbyn - a lifelong anti-racist - is somehow anti-Semitic himself. All the while, the Tories have been getting a free pass. But recent events suggest that might not be a wise move.
That’s because The Blue Team has its own anti-Semitism problem; in some ways, little has changed since the infamous Tory Action pamphlet sneered at two senior members of Margaret Thatcher’s 1980s cabinet, calling them “Lithuanian Leon and Latvian Lawson”.
First signs that the Tories may not be entirely free of anti-Semitism came when their MEPs voted to support Hungarian leader Victor Orbán, who duly thanked them for their kind efforts: “Addressing the vote in the European Parliament in a letter to Conservative MEPs, according to Yahoo News, Mr Orban said he would like to express his ‘gratitude for your support during the vote on the report on the situation in Hungary”.
Why should this be a problem? “His letter comes after a row over the Tory MEPs' vote in the European Parliament earlier this month to stop the Hungarian leader being censured for widely-condemned behaviour, such as violating press freedoms and waging an antisemitic campaign against a leading Jewish businessman” The Soros dog-whistle.
But that was a mere hors d’oeuvres for a much more potent entrée: now has come news from Vice of “The 'Deeply Worrying' Far-Right Booklets Distributed at Tory Conference … The booklets, handed out at a conference fringe meeting, reference ‘the Great Replacement’ and the anti-Semitic conspiracy theory ‘cultural Marxism’”.
Who might be behind this publication? Well, it appears to draw on material from an old Zelo Street favourite: “The Salisbury Review is a conservative journal that says it dislikes ‘rampant political correctness’, and has published such luminaries as Enoch Powell. More recently, it published Paul Weston, who was part of the British Freedom Party – an abortive EDL-linked far-right political project”. Until recently, this publication was also in favour of what used to be called “repatriation” for people who are not white.
Could it get worse? As if you need to ask: “Tory students are being investigated for posing in offensive outfits - including a T-shirt saying ‘f**k the NHS’ and a drawn-on Hitler moustache. Others, believed to be members of the Plymouth University Conservatives group, had the Star of David drawn on their necks - the religious symbol used to signify Jews in Nazi Germany”. And that was not all, as Aaron Bastani noted.
“Many of the same civil society organisations which attacked Jeremy Corbyn are silent on a young Tory activist having the word 'Jude' written on his throat while making a white power gesture … The double-standard is dangerous, the political nature of such criticism absurd”. What was that about Labour having the anti-Semitism problem?
Anti-Semitism is unacceptable wherever it rears its head. Including the Tory Party.
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