That’s Funny, You Don’t Look Antisemitic: an anti-racist analysis of Left antisemitism

Submitted by Zac Muddle on 4 August, 2020 - 3:35 Author: Steve Cohen
Book cover: That’s Funny, You Don’t Look Antisemitic: an anti-racist analysis of Left antisemitism

Steve Cohen's "That’s Funny, You Don’t Look Antisemitic: an anti-racist analysis of Left antisemitism", first published in 1984, was a seminal work. Workers' Liberty is selling copies of the third edition, published in 2019: 212 pages for £5, plus postage.

This now classic book should be read by everyone active on the left. It looks at the history of Left antisemitism from a socialist perspective.

Get the book

Buy the book for £5, plus postage (£1.50 UK, £5 international), from Workers' Liberty.

UK postage

International postage

eBook and PDF

You can buy the ebook here.

The second, 2005 version, can be downloaded as a PDF here.

The book

"For years, the left - revolutionary or otherwise - has glibly held up its hands in horror at the very idea that it might be anti-Semitic. Anti-semitism is rarely mentioned except as an afterthought to ward off criticism from Zionists.

"Yet synagogues are attacked, even bombed; Jews continue to be persecuted in large parts of the world; and the left not only fails to mobilise people against the scourge of anti-semitism, but persists in using 'world conspiracy' arguments in its analyses of the Middle East conflict.

"Whilst few men on the left would insist that they are not at all sexist, few white people would deny any anti-black racism whatsoever, and few heterosexuals would deny any trace of homophobia, rare indeed is the left-wing gentile who admits the possibility that s/he might have inherited any of the deep-rooted antisemitism in western culture.

"Steve Cohen's book confronts all these issues, and exposes the latent (or not so latent) anti-semitism in much of what the left says and does.

"Its main point should be taken on board by all socialists: anti-semitism is a real and persistent problem' and the labour movement needs to be mobilised against it and in defence of the Jews. Antisemitic ideology is deeprooted in Western (Christian) culture, and has permeated many views on the left."

Clive Bradley, 1984, a a review and brief debate from when it was first published.

From the early Labour movement's support for the Aliens Act 1905, the Left's inability to stem the influence of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion to the antisemitism that rears its ugly head in social justice organisations, the Labour Party and among anti-Zionists – Cohen charts it all.

Cohen wrote “It is intolerable that the socialist movement has never been prepared to look at its antisemitism in a self-critical way.”


  • Foreword to 2019 edition, by Tom Cohen
  • There Must Be Some Way Out Of Here — Foreword to the 2005 edition, by Steve Cohen
  • Introduction
  • The Socialism of Fools
  • The Anti-Semitism of English Socialism’s Formative Years
  • The Left Returns to Zion
  • The Left’s Advice to Jews — Assimilate and Stop Being Jewish
  • Left Responses
  • How The Left Does Not Fight Anti-Semitism
  • The Non-Jewish Question
  • Bibliographical Sources


Steve Cohen died in 2009. Read these obituries: by Bruce Robinson, by Sean Matgamna, and by Dave Landau.

For more on Left antisemitism, see our pamphlets Left antisemitism: what it is and how to fight it and Two Nations, Two States: socialists and Isreal/Palestine: related videos here and here respectively. Listen to our audio recording of "Labour and antisemitism" with Martin Thomas. More articles here.


“A comprehensive but accessible analysis of how antisemitism has historically manifested on the left." — Clive Lewis, MP for Norwich South, 16 July 2019

“Written in 1984, but plenty of lessons for today. Well worth a read.” — Momentum, 24 January 2019

"Steve Cohen’s insights predict both the rise of poisonous individuals like David Icke as latter-day evangelists for the heinous Protocols of the Elders of Zion and why someone like Icke can draw crowds of those who self proclaim as left-wing." — Marlon Solomon, Curator, Conspiracy Theory: A Lizard's Tale.

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