The decision by the Mizrahi leader of Israel’s Labour party to sever ties with Jeremy Corbyn’s British Labour party over its antisemitic views throws into focus the gulf between the Corbynistas’ misconceptions about Israel – and the reality.
Avi Gabbay, leader of Israel’s Labour party, born in Israel of Moroccan parentage.
The Guardian reports:
The leader of the Israeli Labor party has said he will cut ties with Jeremy Corbyn and his office over the handling of antisemitism, but would preserve the link with the party as a whole. Avi Gabbay, the chair of the centre-left Labor party, which is the main opposition to prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s rightwing Likud, said he would sever all relations with Corbyn on the eve of Israel’s Holocaust Memorial Day.
Gabbay said in a letter sent to the British Labour party leader on Tuesday that it was “my responsibility to acknowledge the hostility that you have shown to the Jewish community and the antisemitic statements and actions you have allowed”. In the letter, Gabbay said Corbyn had expressed “very public hatred of the policies of the government of the state of Israel, many of which regard the security of our citizens and actions of our soldiers – policies where the opposition and coalition in Israel are aligned”.
This comment, by Point of No Return reader L., sums up the paradox neatly:
“It is going to be very awkward for the Corbyn cultists to continue labeling Israel as a ‘white European colonialist’ state after this episode — since there is nothing white or European about Avi Gabbay, the leader of Israel’s Labour Party.
“Gabbay is the son of Moroccan Jews. Like the other 850,000 Jewish refugees from the Middle East, Gabbay’s parents were driven out from their homes from several Arab states after WW2. And like the Middle Eastern Christians who have been persecuted and oppressed in recent years, Jews were indigenous to the region, and pre-dated the arrival of Islam by many centuries. Jews from Arab lands, and their descendants, now comprise over 53% of Israel’s 6.5m Jewish population. In effect, they were forcibly expelled from one part of the Middle East to another. That is how they ended up living in a narrow sliver of land — as little as 9 miles wide in parts — along the eastern Mediterranean coast. It is offensive to call them ‘colonialists’, when they were driven out of their own homes by colonialists.”
In her Times of Israel/Jewish News blog Lyn Julius argues that more needs to be done to dispel common postcolonial myths if Israel is not to lose the support of the non-Jewish young altogether:
All this comes from a post-colonial world view that ignores or downplays Arab and Muslim crimes. To give a flagrant example, the Taubira law memorialising slavery (adopted in France in 2001) mentioned the 11 million victims of the transatlantic slave trade, while ignoring the 17 million slaves trafficked by Arabs and Muslims. How did people get it so wrong? It is time that some of the misconceptions, that the left especially has been labouring under for decades, were exploded.