For the left, bashing Israel and supporting the Palestinians is a noble cause. So there’s no reason to suspect that anyone associated with it will be anything other than decent. This is to ignore the symbiotic connection between Israel-bashing and antisemitism. No, that does not mean criticism of Israel is antisemitic. It is as legitimate as criticism of any other country. The way in which Israel is treated, however, is totally unlike the treatment of any other country.
We’re talking here about demonisation: a unique campaign based entirely on malicious falsehoods, accusing Israel of crimes of which it is not only innocent but is in fact the victim, employing libellous and incendiary tropes such as deliberate child-killing and presenting it as a global conspiracy and menace to the world. These are all the markers of classic antisemitism through the centuries. So the links to the far right and white supremacists aren’t surprising.
The left, though, believes with perfect faith that it stands only for good things such as conscience and human rights. Accordingly, only the “right” can be antisemitic. The “anti-racist” left believes that it is itself utterly incapable of antisemitism. So it is blind to both its own behaviour and the noxious company it keeps.
To read my whole Times column (£), please click here.