1. Exquisite Tweets from @Samfr, @rafaelbehr

    PreoccupationsCollected by Preoccupations

    I'm sure that Corbyn is genuinely horrified at the idea he could be antisemitic. And that if a far-right group attacked a synagogue or something the condemnation would be real.

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    Samfr

    Sam Freedman

    The problem is that for decades he's been on the fringes of British politics, especially on foreign policy.

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    Samfr

    Sam Freedman

    Sometimes his positions have cross over with mainstream progressive positions like anti-apartheid or opposition to the Iraq war. But often he's been in a tiny minority (Falklands, Kosovo, supporting awful regimes as long as they're anti-American etc).

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    Samfr

    Sam Freedman

    Inevitably this means he's had to take allies where he can get them. And equally inevitably many of those allies are pretty eccentric conspiracists. Because of the nature of the causes he's backed some have been antisemitic.

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    Samfr

    Sam Freedman

    As he has had so few allies he's felt he has to back them against opponents who've pointed out their antisemitism. And over time he's become blind to their behaviour (if he ever saw the problem).

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    Samfr

    Sam Freedman

    The mural isn't a one off example. It's happened time and time again and been reported. To show he really understood the problem he'd have to start by acknowledging this. But I don't hold out much hope.

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    Samfr

    Sam Freedman

    And so many people are now invested in his leadership that I see little hope of people who should know better acknowledging all of this. It's horribly depressing.

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    Samfr

    Sam Freedman

  2. I think you are generous to him. There is a form of antisemitism - the "malevolent 'Zionist' global dimension to Imperialism' - that is embedded in some hard left ideology going back a long way ...

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    rafaelbehr

    Rafael Behr

    It's part of his political base. Not a major one perhaps, but a section. And he is a politician who never challenges his base. There is a structural contradiction between Corbyn leadership and the ambition to deal with antisemitism in Labour.

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    rafaelbehr

    Rafael Behr

  3. I think that's what I'm saying. It's not clear he believes that but it is clear he won't challenge (and will defend) others that do. And without acknowledging that he can't get past this problem.

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    Samfr

    Sam Freedman