Saturday, August 04, 2018

Jewish Society and British Politics

The ongoing criticism of sections of the Labour Party including its UK leader Jeremy Corbyn, concerning their attitude to those people who are Jewish, puzzled me because the creation of the state of Israel  took place  years ago after WWII and surely the world and politics have moved on since then?

My parents both came from the East End of London at a time when apart from Cockneys most neighbours there were Jewish or Irish.  In the years that have passed since WWII, the Irish and Jewish inhabitants of the East End have become more wealthy and moved to outer London or beyond, with their places being taken by poorer people from for example, the Indian sub-continent. 

The East End has been a home for refugees for centuries, thus as long ago as C17 the Hugenots who were being persecuted by the French -  they were Protestant in that Catholic country - were offered sanctuary in England with many of the 50,000 who came, settling in the East End.

The criticism of Jeremy Corbyn's attitude to Jewish people or is it politics mystified me not least because  many Jewish people I thought, tend to vote Labour in elections. 

The Times today has  two page spread about some of  the history of Israel and Jewish people in the context of Labour's problems, entitled "Corbyn has led Labour into  nightmare of his own making", with an headline point reading " 2012 Mr Corbyn questions why a mural in London, which depicted Jewish bankers playing a game on the backs of naked people, was destroyed."

The Times article is interesting as regards the history of Zionism about which I know little although  dad's East End of London roots meant that he had many Jewish friends. The movement for the establishment of a Jewish state was given momentum by the horrors of the Holocaust in WWII. 

Previously the Jewish state had ceased to exist in Roman times when Judea was conquered by Pompey of the Roman Empire. Thus its recreation in C20  must have been controversial with some.

It appears however that the Labour Party's Nye Bevan was the conscience for what the Times calls "The New Jerusalem" as well apparently as being hugely involved with the plans for setting up the UK's NHS. 

In any event, in 1947 the United Nations which is the only really globally recognised entity of nations working ostensibly for the common good of all of mankind, adopted a partition plan for Palestine which would create the state of Israel. This triggered  war with Palestinians but sadly no state of Palestine was created at that time.

Then according to Wikipedia:

King Abdullah I of Jordan annexed the West Bank, granting citizenship to the Arab refugees and residents against the wishes of many Arab leaders who still hoped to establish an Arab state. Under Abdullah's leadership, Arab hopes of independence were dealt a severe blow. In March he issued a royal decree forbidding the use of the term "Palestine" in any legal documents, and pursued other measures designed to make the fact that there would not be an independent Palestine clear and certain.

So the UN or its predecessor agreed to the setting up of  the new state of Israel but fighting and presumably the annexation by Jordan of Palestinian lands, precluded the setting up of the new state of Palestine that had been intended. The above timeline  may be slightly incorrect but the gist is clear enough.

The history thus seems incredibly complicated but does not explain the attitude being reported about Mr Corbyn and  Jewish people, hence the, at least mine, failure to understand the criticisms by Mr Corbyn of today's Israeli and Israelis if not Jewish, people.

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