Friday, January 17, 2020
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Schools keep Corbyn’s anti-Semitic fires burning

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A new opinion poll testifies to the success of our educational establishment, the Blob, in conniving at, or even promoting, anti-Semitism. Only 33 per cent of recent school leavers (18-to-24-year-olds) consider that Jeremy Corbyn is failing to tackle anti-Semitism within some parts of the Labour Party. This is in great contrast to the perspective of an older generation, schooled before our education revolution really kicked in three decades or so ago. Some 71 per cent of those aged 65 and above do not believe that Corbyn is tackling the problem of anti-Semitism within his party well at all. ComRes / Jewish News July 20-22

Overall, 48 per cent of those polled felt that Corbyn was failing. What is especially noticeable is that the younger a person happens to be, the more support for Corbyn’s policy towards Jews increases. Recently the prominent Labour MP, Dame Margaret Hodge, declared unequivocally in the Commons that her party leader is a ‘racist and anti-Semite’. Labour has informed her that she faces a disciplinary inquiry as a consequence.

At worst, Hodge is standing up for a widely accepted definition of anti-Semitism produced by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). It is a definition accepted in the UK by the police, by 130 local councils and by the Crown Prosecution Service in particular and the judiciary in general.

The Labour Party’s new code of conduct in relation to anti-Semitism re-words or omits some key examples from this IHRA definition. Claiming that the existence of Israel is a ‘racist endeavour’ is left out and, therefore, no longer seen as anti-Semitic. Effectively given the green light, too, is comparing Israeli policies to Nazi policies.

Equally insidious is Labour’s decision to dilute the IHRA recognition that anti-Semitism includes declaring our fellow Jewish citizens to have ‘dual loyalties’. This makes them into potential fifth columnists.

Whatever is going on here does not constitute the Labour Party tackling anti-Semitism within its ranks. It has moved significantly from its position of two years ago when a move towards accepting the IHRA position on anti-Semitism seemed to be a formality.

Perhaps its adoption would make life too uncomfortable for Corbyn’s Praetorian Guard and, indeed, undermine its core principles. After all, as recently as 2016 the Labour leader’s director of strategy and communications described the creation of Israel as a ‘crime’.

The Conservative peer, Daniel Finkelstein, has recently suggested that Corbyn’s stance on Israel is anti-imperialistic rather than anti-Semitic and that this has blinded him to racism within his party.

Valid or not, any excusing Corbyn on the basis of his ignorance is not acceptable. He should have woken up and grasped this particular nettle a long time ago. Anti-Semitism is, sadly, too deep-rooted to be explained away. The latest opinion poll shows it is being firmly embedded amongst young people.

Public life in Britain today is characterised by, above all else, a claimed commitment to tolerance and multi-culturalism. Both are central to the ‘British Values’ that schools are required to promote. How has it come about, then, that anti-Semitism is growing with youth rather than with age?

I recall a specimen question for the GCSE History examination when it was introduced back in the late 1980s. It asked pupils to imagine that they were one of the PLO hijackers of an Israeli passenger plane and that they were threatening to blow it up. This, of course, was based on real events. The candidates were required to empathise with the terrorists and to provide the terrorist point of view. To avoid charges of anti-Semitism the mark scheme required candidates also to reflect the point of view of the Israeli passengers.

What were examiners supposed to do with candidate answer scripts that cogently explained why they were going to mass-murder Jews whilst fully understanding the perspective of those they were about to kill? Award the candidate a top grade or send them to a psychiatrist?

The anti-Semitic rot set in a long time ago in schools. Asking children to empathise with ISIS killers has been a more recent turn of events in the classroom.

When the TES surveyed mock general election results in schools at the time of the last election it discovered that Jeremy Corbyn was the overwhelming winner. Only 15 per cent of pupils voted for May and the Tories, with 76 per cent opting for Corbyn and Labour. In other words, the vast majority of pupils back a party leader who is heavily criticised by the Jewish community and by members of his own party for being anti-Semitic.

The TES also discovered that only 8 per cent of teachers were committed to voting Tory, whilst 68 per cent were Corbyn supporters.

Albeit sometimes inadvertently, schools have been fanning the flames of anti-Semitism for some decades. Children have now demonstrated that the future belongs to Corbyn. The latest poll showing strong support amongst the younger generation for his handling of the anti-Semitism row shows clearly the direction in which we are travelling. Metaphorically it is the sound of smashing glass.

Within the anti-Semitic context this is not the first time that a younger generation have reminded us that tomorrow, and all it brings, belongs to them.

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Chris McGovern
Chris McGovernhttp://www.cre.org.uk
Chris McGovern is the Chairman of the Campaign for Real Education. A retired head teacher with 35 years’ teaching experience, Chris is a former advisor to the Policy Unit at 10 Downing Street under two Prime Ministers.

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