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Why Gideon Levy's Attack on Jews Who Fear Corbyn Is So Disturbing

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It's hardly controversial to note that Jeremy Corbyn has been a longstanding supporter of the Palestinian cause, and that he has never sympathized with the right of Jews to national self-determination.

But these well-known facts are, for many Corbyn supporters, proof that accusations of anti-Semitism within the party are really overhyped criticisms of Corbyn’s policy on Israel-Palestine, "framed" in the language of anti-Semitism.

When Britain’s Chief Rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, felt compelled to make an unprecedented election-time intervention to criticize Corbyn, because he could no longer ignore the fear and alarm within his community, many of the Labour leader’s supporters pushed the line that the Chief Rabbi’s attack was wholly motivated by Labour’s support for a tough position against Israel’s occupation, recognition of a Palestinian state and an embargo on arms sales to Israel.

When Haaretz columnist Gideon Levy announces that "the Jews of Britain" reject Corbyn because they "want a prime minister who supports Israel – that is, supports the occupation," and "The new and efficient strategy of Israel and the Zionist establishment brands every seeker of justice an anti-Semite," he is reiterating the claim that the Jewish community is solely motivated by their hysterical opposition to a pro-Palestinian political leader.

That has, he claims, led them (in close concert with Israel’s state "propaganda machine") to target Corbyn, "taking out a contract" on him, no less.

This is all nonsense. It is as if previous UK governments have never embargoed arms sales to Israel, or supported Palestinian independence.

#OnThisDay 1973 Douglas-Home and Heath's arms embargo on Israel during the Yom Kippur War prompts this elegant indictment from Lord Hailsham pic.twitter.com/O4udTDPJZu

During the 1970s and 1980s, in particular, British governments were unwilling to sell arms to Israel. Most controversially, it was a Tory government, led by Edward Heath, which prevented arms reaching Israel during its hour of need in the Yom Kippur war of 1973. In 1980, Israel’s prime minister Menachem Begin wrote to Conservative prime minister Margaret Thatcher urging her to reconsider Britain’s restrictions on arms sales to Israel. She rebuffed him.

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During this period, Britain acquiesced in the Arab boycott of Israel, and refused to sell it oil. This policy was motivated largely by the need to stay on good terms with the Arab world. The Board of Deputies of British Jews, the umbrella organization of the UK........

© Haaretz