Michael Rosen and Labour Against Antisemitism

Once Upon a Time  — A Case of Selective Outrage

Once upon a time, the leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, in a welcome break from an arduous political campaigning trail, was photographed at the public reading of a book, in the corner of what looks like an infants’ school. 

The audience gathered at his feet, are, at once, attentive and enthralled – as only children can be when an adult speaks to them at their level, figuratively – and literally. It’s a charming, spontaneous picture: one the children will treasure later, when they come to understand the significance of the moment, and ponder the might have beens of their lives. 

As we admire the picture, the book title draws us in: “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt,” one of the many popular children’s books by the distinguished, gifted and much-loved Michael Rosen, educationalist and story teller. 

Fast forward to the present. A photoshopped version of the picture appears, with the book’s title changed. Now Jeremy is seen to be reading to the little innocents from the notorious “Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” another work of fiction, but this one tells a story of an ominous Jewish conspiracy to achieve world domination. It is credited with being one of the more influential tropes that fed into the modern European antisemitism leading to the horrors of the Holocaust. 

The plot thickens when it was discovered that the author of the egregious distortion was none other than a Director of the organisation, Labour Against Antisemitism

The  LAA was a prime mover in referring the Labour Party to the Equality and Human Rights Commission for an investigation into its alleged antisemitism, under Corbyn, which led, as we now know, to Corbyn’s suspension from the party and the subsequent withdrawal of the PLP whip. 

If there was any justice in the broken polity that is post-Brexit Britain, there would be outrage at a blatant attempt to perpetuate the narrative of Jeremy Corbyn as inveterate antisemite. But no: the objections of Michael Rosen, as to how both Jeremy and himself have been scandalously abused, have fallen on the deaf ears of those who choose to see anti-semitism everywhere but under their own noses. 

The moral of the story?  The doctored photo tells us much about the mentality and motivation of the LAA and allies and their faux crusade against antisemitism. We can only hope that others, in time, get wise to it too, and we can all get back from fiction to reality. And live happily ever after.

Mick Murray

Read Michael Rosen’s article on this outrage. This article was originally published by Michel Rosen on his blog on 23 May 2021 


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