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A Discourse of Delegitimisation: The British Left and the Jews

The relationship between the Left and the Jews has always been fraught

Ben Cohen

In this report:

The relationship between the Left and the Jews has always been fraught. There are many instances of mutual solidarity, and the extensive contribution of individual Jews to socialist thought and practice is well known. However, the abiding impression left by even a casual probing of the two groups’ joint relations reveals that these have frequently been adversarial.

What is often referred to in Britain and elsewhere as the ‘New Antisemitism' – its points of origin located in the Palestinian intifada of October 2000 and the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001, and its defining characteristics made up of uncompromising opposition to the legitimacy of Jewish national aspirations and contempt for Jewish concerns – is not particularly new.

The aim of this chapter is to examine the historical provenance of the Judeophobic attitudes which can be found across the continuum of the Left in Britain specifically, from the extremist fringe to the social democratic and liberal mainstream.

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