Anti-Zionists like British Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn, who has been photographed in front of a Hezbollah flag in the past, vehemently deny they are anti-Semites. They have lots of Jewish friends, they say, which proves that they only hate Zionists.
In their progressive minds, irrespective of what Israel actually does, a Jewish state is racist by definition, and therefore justifiably hated. At the same time, public demand for a Jew-free Palestine doesn’t seem to bother people like Corbyn, who will curse Israel while blessing a “state” that, unlike Scotland and Ireland, has never existed.
British antagonism toward Zionism is almost as old as Zionism itself.
Sure, it was Great Britain that first agreed that the recently-conquered Ottoman province known as Palestine become once again a national homeland for the Jewish people. But this decision met strong domestic opposition from the outset, and was effectively annulled by Neville Chamberlain’s infamous 1939 White Paper.
Appeasing an Arab world that at the time was looking to the Nazis to free them from British rule, and thereby harming Allied interests, became the pretense for transforming the UK’s subtle antagonistic attitude toward the Jewish people into official policy.
The White Paper aimed at ending Jewish immigration to Mandatory Palestine and partitioning the area originally designated for a Jewish state, which also included Jordan, into small discontiguous areas within what is now the State of Israel. This new policy had made the prospect of a Jewish state practically impossible.
Though the British White Paper policy finally collapsed in 1948, its spirit remained alive.
Corbyn represents the strata of British society that has always resented Zionism – essentially a movement to realize the Balfour Declaration – and has used excuses like appeasement or the new, more “sexy” cause of human rights to cleanse their conscience of otherwise indefensible behavior.
Whatever grudges those like Corbyn hold against Zionism, the root of it was and remains anti-Semitism. Otherwise, emphatically Muslim states like Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the envisioned “Palestine” would have long ago been on the receiving end of their self-righteous anger.