The latest "scandal" gripping Britain -- or to be more accurate, British elites -- is over the use of the term "Zionist" by the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, the head of the opposition and possibly the country's next prime minister.
Yet again, Corbyn has found himself ensnared in what a small group of Jewish leadership organisations, which claim improbably to represent Britain's "Jewish community", and a small group of corporate journalists, who improbably claim to represent British public opinion, like to call Labour's "anti-semitism problem".
I won't get into the patently ridiculous notion that "Zionist" is a code word for "Jew", at least not now. There are lots of existing articles explaining why that is nonsense.
I wish to deal with a different aspect of the long-running row over Labour's so-called "anti-semitism crisis". It exemplifies, I believe, a much more profound and wider crisis in our societies: over the issue of trust.
We now have two large camps, pitted against each other, who have starkly different conceptions of what their societies are and where they need to head. In a very real sense, these two camps no longer speak the same language. There has been a rupture, and they can find no common ground.
I am not here speaking about the elites who dominate our societies. They have their own agenda. They trade only in the language of money and power. I am speaking of us: the 99 percent who live in their shadow.
First, let us outline the growing ideological and linguistic chasm opening up between these two camps: a mapping of the divisions that, given space constraints, will necessarily deal in generalisations.The trusting camp
The first camp invests its trust, with minor reservations, in those who run our societies. The left and the right segments of this camp are divided primarily over the degree to which they believe that those at the bottom of society's pile need a helping hand to get them further up the social ladder.
Otherwise, the first camp is united in its assumptions.
They admit that among our elected politicians there is the odd bad apple. And, of course, they understand that there are necessary debates about political and social values. But they agree that politicians rise chiefly through ability and talent, that they are accountable to their political constituencies, and that they are people who want what is best for society as a whole.
While this camp concedes that the media is owned by a handful of corporations driven by a concern for profit, it is nonetheless confident that the free market -- the need to sell papers and audiences -- guarantees that important news and a full spectrum of legitimate opinion are available to readers.
Both politicians and the media serve -- if not always entirely successfully -- as a constraint on corruption and the abuse of power by other powerful actors, such as the business community.
This camp believes too that western democracies are better, more civilised political systems than those in other parts of the world. Western societies do not want wars, they want peace and security for everyone. For that reason, they have been thrust -- rather uncomfortably -- into the role of global policeman. Western states have found themselves with little choice of late but to wage "good wars" to curb the genocidal instincts and hunger for power of dictators and madmen.
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