It is not the first or even the tenth most important aspect of the horrifying events currently unfolding in Israel, but the past few days have been a salutary reminder of why so many people, regardless of any disappointments in the years that followed, will never regret voting Conservative at the 2019 general election.
Under Jeremy Corbyn, the cordon sanitaire between Labour and the ugliest fringes of the extreme left had broken down; whether or not the former leader was an antisemite himself, he was prepared to turn a blind eye towards those whose hatred of Israel was such that any enemy of the Jewish state, no matter how fascistic or murderous, would do.
Sir Keir Starmer deserves credit for how far he has brought Labour since then. His explicit and unequivocal condemnation of Hamas stands in stark contrast to his predecessor, who even now has continued to wriggle away from the same.
(Corbyn’s line – “I don’t support any attacks, therefore I criticise them all”, per the Independent – reflects his previous insistence on deploring “all forms of racism” whenever he was challenged over anti-Jewish hatred.)
Yet there is still work to be done. Whilst Corbyn himself is not at the Labour conference in Liverpool, due to having lost the whip, Starmer for some reason seems unwilling to take a similarly muscular approach to other far-left MPs who share that ugly mindset.
According to the Daily Telegraph, a spokesman for the Labour leader has said Apsana Begum, the MP for Poplar and Limehouse, will face no disciplinary action for campaigning with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign because the organisation is not proscribed by Labour.
But that just raises the question: why not? There must, surely, be avenues for campaigning on behalf of the Palestinian people that draw a distinction between that cause and Hamas, and do not think an appropriate response to the latter’s murderous offensive (of which the centrepiece so far has been the slaughter of 260 people at a pro-peace music festival) is a protest outside the Israeli embassy?
Then there’s the fact that David Lammy is reportedly scheduled to appear tomorrow at a Labour Friends of Palestine reception alongside Husam Zomlot, head of the Palestinian Mission to the United Kingdom, who in interviews determinedly blames the slaughter on Israel.
Now the PMUK is not a fringe organisation; it was actually upgraded to a full mission in 2011 by William Hague, then-Foreign Secretary. It is about as official as it gets. Perhaps that illustrates the practical difficulty in drawing a clear line between engaging with the Palestinian cause and the tactics of its wilder elements.
As for Begum, it may be that she represents, in the minds of Labour officials, an unhappy but necessary compromise with the sentiments of parts of the Muslim electorate; one of the predecessors of her constituency was Bethnal Green and Bow, which returned George Galloway to Parliament in 2005.
Foreign policy does not decide elections, and there are probably relatively few voters who are going to cast their ballot next year on this issue.
But the Corbyn era is not distant history, and antisemitism has not been banished just because the man himself has lost the whip. The past few days have seen open street celebrations over what is unfolding in Israel, and at least one kosher restaurant has been trashed. It matters to some people, especially the UK’s Jewish community, an awful lot.
Given the state of the polls, and the likelihood that Labour will form the next government, Starmer has a special responsibility to make sure that his party finishes the work of consigning the radical left’s antisemite fringe back to the wilderness where it belongs. Suspending the odd councillor in Newport is not enough.