Between 2015 and 2020 the Labour Party was riven by allegations that the party had tolerated antisemitism.
For the Labour right, and some in the media, the fact that such allegations could be made was proof of a moral collapse under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership. Sections of the left, meanwhile, sought to resist the accusations by claiming that the numbers of people accused of racism were few, that the allegations were an orchestrated attack, and that those found guilty were excluded from the party. This important book by one of Britain’s leading historians of anti- fascism gives a more detailed account than any yet published of what went wrong in Labour. Renton rejects those on the right who sought to exploit the issue for factional advantage. He also criticises those of his comrades on the left who were ignorant about what most British Jews think and demonstrated a willingness to antagonise them.
This book will appeal to anyone who cares about antisemitism or left- wing politics.
Table of Contents
2. The Uniqueness of Antisemitism
3. Naz Shah and the Cause of Palestine
4. Ken Livingstone and the Crimes of Zionism
5. Jews and the Slave Trade
6. Seeing No Evil: Trump and the US Right
7. Seeing No Evil: Corbyn and the Mear One Mural
8. Jewdas and the Figure of the Bad Jew
9. The Labour Left and the Israel Lobby
10. The Labour Right and Anti-Zionist Jews
11. The Bullying of Luciana Berger
12. Fighting the Rich, Without Fighting Jews
13. From the Edge of the Anti-War Movement
14. Israel’s Eastern European Allies
15. On Gatekeeping
16. Antisemitism and Black Emancipation
David Renton is a British historian and barrister. His other books include No Free Speech for Fascists: Exploring ‘No Platform’ in History, Law and Politics (Routledge 2021) and Never Again: Rock against Racism and the Anti- Nazi League 1976– 1982 (Routledge 2019).
"Many on the left won’t like this book, but everyone should read it if we are to do better in future." Mike Phipps, LabourHub.
"The definitive work for me on this most vexatious of subjects by the longstanding leftwing writer on fascism and antifascism, David Renton. Definitive in scope, politics and writing style this is a hugely impressive piece of writing and puts the Keir Starmer era Labour Party’s own pitiful efforts at antisemitism training to shame." - Mark Perryman, Philosophy Football.
"Renton’s book has a kind of elegiac quality...As Renton shows, what Labour under both Corbyn and Starmer shared is an obsession with disciplinary processes and an absence of a more thoroughgoing educational effort....I hope that David Renton’s book encourages open self-criticism on the Labour left regarding antisemitism." - Keith Kahn Harris, author of Strange Hate: Antisemitism, Racism and the Limits of Diversity.