As the 2010 General Election approached, there was a hate campaign against Labour’s Prospective Parliamentary candidate for Cambridge, Daniel Zeichner, originating from his own party. The core of the campaign was that he was Jewish.
I’m glad he outlived the campaign to be confirmed as Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for the next election, because I’ve experienced a hate campaign and know how soul-destroying it can be. But a question remains: what would be so wrong in being Jewish?
In addition, Zeichner was accused of being a member of Labour friends of Israel in the Stop the War Hustings in the city’s Friends Meeting House. He denied it, and if it’s not true he’s right to. Again, though: what’s wrong in being a member of Labour (or any party’s) Friends of Israel?giving a Nazi salute in the Cambridge Union, and defended this by telling the Cambridge Union he was illustrating the Conservative Party’s decision to join with a Eurosceptic grouping in Brussels which included the Polish Law and Order Freedom Party, whose members he described as "fascists".
It would be unwise to reject his comments out of hand – post-WWII Poland continued to persecute Jews: witness the Kielce Pogrom of 1946. But might Zeichner not have explained this to the Cambridge News in describing his gesture as "a fully reasonable" action?
This comes to mind because Labour peer Lord Ahmed has blamed his imprisonment for dangerous driving – resulting in the death of Martyn Gombar – on "pressure placed on the courts by Jews 'who own newspapers and TV channels'".
As much as I condemn Zeichner’s use of the Hitler salute, at least he made an attempt to justify it. Will Ahmed try to justify his claim? Let’s hope he does so before the Levenson Enquiry and Labour shut down our free press.