Anti-Semitism in the British Labour’s Party ranks, characteristics and consequences

  • O. V. Кozerod I.F. Kuras Institute of political and ethnic studies of the National Academy of sciences of Ukraine
Keywords: Jews, Labour Party, Great Britain, Policy, Anti­Semitism, European Union

Abstract

In the British policy and British establishment, the antisemitism issue is not a new one, and it has been discussed by a wide range of European experts and researchers for quite a long time. Latest events in the UK in recent months have proved topicality of the issue and have become a challenge for country leaders and the political elite. It should be noted that in the second half of the 20th century antisemitism became quite a widespread occurrence among British politicians, especially among a younger generation of politicians. First of all, it stemmed from the ideas of Arthur Toynbee who studied at Balliol College, the University of Oxford, where he lectured, therefore his ideas were mainly popularized among the student elite. Formally, the antisemitism-related scandal in the party started in March 2016 after an official statement delivered by the Chair of Oxford University Labour Club (OULC). He warned the public about antisemitism spread among students who managed the Club. The parliamentary committee was appointed immediately to investigate the facts. As a result, Conservatives urged Labourists to stop antisemitic statements. For long decades of the British two-party system, it was the first time when the Conservative leader publicly reproached the Labour leader for antisemitism in the Labour Party. Generally, one should note that the key political effect of the wider social antisemitic discussion in the press, Parliament and many political clubs was a decreased amount of citizens ready to support Labourists in the election, particularly the Jewish voters. Thus, according to the opinion poll taken by the Jewish Chronicle editorial office in May 2016, barely 8.5% British Jews would vote for Labourists if the national election took place the next day. Certainly, sharp antisemitism growth in the British Labour became one of the key events in the UK political life this year and a big surprise for the majority of Labour leaders. For decades, such a phenomenon has not been observed within one of the two most influential political parties. However, due to the proper and quick reaction of the society and leaders of the ruling Conservative Party in particular, the process has been successfully stopped. Leading policy-makers, foreign relations and xenophobia experts diagnosed this problem in due time, and the society and elite representatives started settling it. In our opinion, it may set the pace for political elites and parties of other European states using antisemitism statements in their activity quite often during elections and even put their antisemitic ideas on the election agendas.

Author Biography

O. V. Кozerod, I.F. Kuras Institute of political and ethnic studies of the National Academy of sciences of Ukraine
doctor of historical sciences

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Published
2016-05-25
How to Cite
КozerodO. V. (2016). Anti-Semitism in the British Labour’s Party ranks, characteristics and consequences. Grani, 19(6), 73-79. https://doi.org/10.15421/171622
Section
HISTORY