The British writer David Baddiel’s polemic, Jews Don’t Count outlines his critical observations of politically progressive minded people during Mr. Jeremy Corbyn’s stewardship of the Labour Party between 2015 and 2020. Baddiel’s thesis is that progressive people, at the very least, are beholden to a stubborn anti-semitic blind spot. How is it that progressives jump aghast at the slightest slight towards any given racial, religious or sexual minority but are amiss when people of Jewish faith are maligned or grotesque anti-semitic tropes are instrumentalised to score political points. Ipso facto Baddiel legitimately asks, “why is there not a level playing field around racism?”
First of all, lets the scene. Jeremy Corbyn was overwhelmingly elected as Labour Party leader in September 2015 to the dismay of all wings of the British establishment. Corbyn had opposed the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya and domestically always battled for the less privileged in British society. In the leadership race, there was a phenomenal 40 per cent difference between Corbyn and his closest rival. Yet, Corbyn was seen as a hopeless and hapless figure for the next 18 months. In the run up to the June 2017 General Election opinion polls showed the Labour Party trailing Theresa May’s ruling Conservative Party by up to 20 per cent. Pollsters were projecting a shoe-in for May, an increase in the Conservative slim parliamentary majority and a welcome trouncing for Corbyn. Instead, Corbyn’s Labour defied expectations and eliminated the governing Conservative’s majority. He increased the Labour Party vote to the highest it had been since Tony Blair’s first election victory in the 1997.
Many of the episodes Baddiel chronicles in his polemic occurred after the 2017 election. This review will highlight some of those episodes and also focus on its main shortcoming.