1/ This is very interesting. Apparently there is a missing section from Corbyn’s speech which was edited out of the YouTube video. It actually clears things up in my mind. It’s much simpler now and the ambiguity has basically gone (short thread)
2/ I haven’t seen a full video but assuming this is correct, this makes it very clear, in my mind, that Corbyn was in fact, referring to British Jews in general when he later spoke of “Zionists”. It makes much more sense in the context.
3/ He’s making a broad historical sweep - from the good Jews of the early 20th century, who were “Jewish trade unionists and Jewish people in the East End of London” to the bad Jews of the 21st Century, the Zionists. It’s very clear.
4/ “Zionism that drove them into this sort of ludicrous position they have at the present time” - the “them” and “they” is British Jews, who have been poisoned, in Corbyn’s narrative, by Zionism, just like the “progressive Jewish element” warned them it would all that time ago
5/ So the good jews (the left wing poor Jews - like my family in the East End 100 years ago as it happens) turned into the bad Jews, the Zionists.
6/ And if the connection and sweep wasn’t clear enough, then he says “for example, the other evening we had a meeting...” and he goes on to relate the story which although it refers generally to “Zionists” is according to his defenders all about a few guys or even just one
7/ And the example illustrates the point he was making. Look at the “Zionists” now. They don’t even understand English irony. Look how they have debased themselves from the good Jews of the trade unions.
8/ I was actually very skeptical that Corbyn was referring to British Jews generally when he spoke of Zionists. But now I have read the full transcript this is much worse and far clearer in my mind.
9/ As people are objecting to the square brackets (fair enough) I’ll tweet the transcript which as far as I understand is accurate. If this is the example which follows the section quoted above then clearly he is using it to prove a general point. That’s why he said “for example”