Of those pundits passing severely adverse comment on the Labour leadership over allegations of anti-Semitism within the party, none has been as righteous, and indeed tedious with it, than the Mail on Sunday’s not even slightly celebrated blues artiste Whinging Dan Hodges. Desperate Dan has pursued Jeremy Corbyn with such zeal that his own blasé attitude to previous anti-Semitic episodes has been all but forgotten.
He's desperate, Dan
Also forgotten - but only temporarily, you understand - is Hodges’ recent lapse when he described a Jewish Labour member as a “useful Jewish idiot”, and later was ridiculed for “Goysplaining”. I suspect the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism may have something to say about that. Deciding which Jews are “acceptable” is in itself a form of anti-Semitism.
But there he was yesterday, the low moaning noise unmistakable: “This is the key issue. Strip everything else away. Corbyn personally stated his office did not intervene in anti-Semitism cases. But they did. It was a lie … The obvious problem with introducing a rule that auto-excludes Labour members who have a ‘prima facie case to answer’ on anti-Semitism is it would immediately lead to the exclusion of the leader of the party”.
There was more. “I actually think the response of the Corbynites to ‘Panorama’ has been more revealing than the program itself. They have finally shattered the pretence they care about the issue or can have any role in resolving the issue”. But here a problem enters.
Hodges, quite apart from his all too revealing attempts to decide which Jews were good, and which were not, was more than happy to ignore anti-Semitism even when it was staring him in the face. That was in the aftermath of the Daily Mail’s vicious, and blatantly anti-Semitic, attack on Ralph Miliband in order to get at his younger son.
After the Mail ran “The Man Who Hated Britain”, thus exhuming the age-old anti-Semitic trope of the “Disloyal Jew”, Hodges blithely mused “Ed's always talking about the influence his father had on him. And Ralph M was a public figure in his own right … I thought it was a fairly sober analysis of Ralph Miliband's possible political influence on his son”.
Martin Bright, writing in the Jewish Chronicle, was not so blasé: “I have always been wary of calling this dark undercurrent ‘antisemitism’, but the Daily Mail’s leader about the Milibands and Marxism (headline: ‘An evil legacy and why we won’t apologise’) dripped with the nastiest kind of prejudice”. Linda Grant was also unhappy with the Mail’s attack.
“I do not know exactly what Paul Dacre’s intentions were when he passed this story, or whether Geoffrey Levy volunteered it or was put up to hit by his bosses, but bursting forth out of it ... has been a revival of the ‘Jews can’t be trusted because of their divided loyalties’ genre of anti-Semitism”. Jonathan Freedland felt “queasy at the Daily Mail’s attack”. John Mann MP saw a “classical age-old antisemitic smear about disloyal Jews”.
Simon Rocker, writing in the JC, noted that “Rabbi Danny Rich, chief executive of Liberal Judaism, said that the newspaper was ‘playing with fire’”. Maurice Glasman saw echoes of McCarthyism, which had been “overwhelmingly anti-Jewish”.
Yet Dan Hodges, scourge of Labour anti-Semitism, saw nothing. I wonder why.
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