As I write this, we’re just a few hours away from finding out if this Iranian state-television host will become Prime Minister of the United Kingdom:
Corbyn’s chances of winning are slim, but after 2016, who can rule it out?
Bret Stephens acknowledges that many, maybe even most Labour voters aren’t antisemitic. But by their actions, they’re showing that they don’t think antisemitism is a deal-breaker:
…a ballot for Trump did not automatically mean that his voters shared his bigotries. Nor did it necessarily mean that they weren’t embarrassed by them.
It just meant that those bigotries weren’t deal-breakers. If their candidate was a birther, they could live with it. If he thought celebrity was a license for sexual predation, they could live with it. If he wanted to impose a religious test on immigrants; or discredit a judge on account of his ethnic background; or characterize the bulk of Mexican immigrants as “rapists” — that may all have been very unfortunate.
But, again, they could live with it. To adapt a line, they proved that the only thing necessary for bigots to be normalized is for the unbigoted to shrug.
As with Trump’s voters, there are all sorts of explanations and excuses for why Britons might vote Labour. Some feel disgusted by Johnson, who (like Hillary Clinton) stirs deep personal antipathies. Some see a Labour government as the likeliest way of stopping Brexit. Some are convinced that only Labour can save the country’s National Health Service.
The rationales vary and multiply. But they stop at this: Under Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Party has become, in the words of many of its own members (or former members), “institutionally anti-Semitic.” Dwell on the word “institutionally”: It means it isn’t just a matter of some bad apples. The question for the British electorate — and for anyone else who takes a rooting interest in the country’s politics — is whether or not they seriously care.
The latest evidence comes in the form of a recently leaked 53-page document by the 2,500-member Jewish Labour Movement (J.L.M.) to Britain’s Equality and Human Rights Commission. It chronicles “relentless” and “daily” incidents of anti-Semitism within the party.