And so farewell, Magic Grandpa. Suspended from the party he led in the General Election only months ago. An astonishing turn of events – imagine Tony Blair suspending Neil Kinnock.

You have to ask about those senior Labour figures like Sir Keir Starmer, who, only a few months ago, were hailing this evil anti-Semite as the next Prime Minister. They must surely have been aware of Mr Corbyn’s tendencies, and if they weren’t they were displaying criminal negligence.

That is if you actually believe Jeremy Corbyn is a racist, which I have to confess I do not. Nor does the Equalities Commission report actually say that he is an anti-Semite – only that he allowed the party to permit discrimination and vilification of Jewish people and failed to prevent the party acting unlawfully in its handling of those who complained about this.

But, hey, that’s surely bad enough. It is simply mind-blowing for the party that set up the Equalities Commission in 2010 to be condemned by it for acting unlawfully in its treatment of an ethnic minority, the Jews, who have not exactly been strangers to persecution in the past. The only thing more astonishing was the rapidity with which Starmer sacked his former boss and took away the party whip.

Some in the Starmer camp say it was not his decision but that of the party lawyers and officials, but we can dismiss that. There is no way that Jeremy Corbyn – who led Labour for five years after winning an unprecedented majority in a leadership contest –- could have had the whip withdrawn without the express authorisation of the current leader. This is Keir the killer, Keir the destroyer. An old-school communist could not have acted with more ruthless dispatch.

Many Corbynistas will surely follow. Starmer is determined, not just to draw a line under the Momentum era of Labor leftism, but to obliterate it completely. But this will surely be at the cost of civil war in Labour – a party so prone to fratricidal factionalism as to make the SNP look like the Quakers.

Corbyn has a huge following, especially among younger members who joined after 2015 and made Labour the largest mass membership party in Europe. He was not unsuccessful either. In the 2017 General Election, Labour came within two per cent of winning, returning 40% of the popular vote against David Cameron’s 42%.

Many Jewish Labour activists are appalled, like Glyn Secker of Jewish Voice for Labour and Rivkah Brown of Vashti media. Labour activists sincerely believe not just that anti-Semitism has been “exaggerated for political purposes” as Corbyn put it in his epistle, but that it has been cynically weaponised by the Blairite wing of the Labour Party to destroy the left.

Indeed, there is a weird echo in the Corbyn saga of recent events in the SNP. A beloved radical former leader is shunned and cast adrift for heinous offences of which they are innocent in the eyes of their supporters. Many of Alex Salmond’s admirers in the nationalist movement are convinced there was been a plot to remove him, to prevent him returning to active politics, and that the SNP leadership cynically weaponised sexual allegations to do him down.

Similarly, supporters of Jeremy Corbyn believe he became a target of the Establishment because he was too left wing rather than because of any racist tendencies, which they rightly say he has never exhibited in the past. Well, bar the odd wreath inadvertently laid on the grave of a Palestinian militant. Oh, and that Facebook “like” of an anti-capitalist mural that critics said was anti-Semitic.

The Equalities Commission is damning of Labour’s mishandling of complaints about anti-Semitism, and the alleged vilification of members who blew the whistle on it. Though when it comes to actual instances of anti-Semitism, it is less convincing. Indeed, the commission’s report concedes most of the cases of anti-Semitism were on social media, which Labour has always said it is unable to control.

Otherwise the commission criticises Labour for not adopting the Macpherson principle on hate speech. This is the recommendation in the 1995 Macpherson report into “institutional racism” in the Metropolitan Police which said that all claims of racism or discrimination made by members of an ethic minority, or on their behalf, should automatically be recorded as hate incidents. Whether they are actually racist or not is irrelevant.

Some forces, including Police Scotland, take this to mean that anyone claiming they have been a target of racism must be “believed”, whatever the facts of the case. This has been called the “Tommy Robinson Clause” because, in theory at least ,the police would have to believe his claims of anti-white racism and record them as hate incidents.

The Macpherson principle has been criticised for inviting spurious claims of racism and being an open invitation to members of minority groups to engage in a kind of war of competitive victimisation. For example, insisting that it is anti-Semitic to say that Israel is committing genocide in the Palestinian-occupied territories, or that it is behaving like the Nazis. That is one of the cases of anti-Semitism cited as racism by the Equalities Commission report.

Yet it is surely debatable whether this is expressing hatred of Jewish people or merely criticising Israeli foreign policy. It is commonplace for people to claim that everyone from Donald Trump to Recep Erdogan is behaving “like Nazis”. Boris Johnson once compared the European Union’s objectives to those of the Nazis. As Jonathan Greenblatt of the American Anti-Defamation League pointed out, it is just “the most available historical event illustrating right versus wrong”. Some years ago, the American lawyer, Mike Godwin, invented “Godwin’s Law of the Internet” – which holds that “as any online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1”. These are particularly objectionable comparisons when Jewish people are involved, but they are not necessarily anti-Semitic. After all, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on Human Rights, Richard Falk, accused the Israeli government of “ethnic cleansing and genocide” in the Palestinian territories.

The equalities report accuses the Labour MP Chris Williamson of “making public comments about anti-Semitism smears [and] supporting members expelled for anti-Semitism”. This is presumably a reference to his defence of Ken Livingstone and himself. But surely to defend yourself and others against allegations of anti-Semitism is not anti-Semitism in itself. There is no record of Williamson ever saying anything anti-Semitic.

Many Labour activists feel very strongly about this. They regard the Palestinian cause as the great moral issue of the age. Many believe that claims of genocide are reasonable and that they are being denied the right to criticise Israel. Jeremy Corbyn is now their martyr-in-chief.

“Sturmer” has been incredibly bold, or reckless, in taking him on. Of course, his suspension could in theory be lifted if Corbyn is sufficiently remorseful. But penitence isn’t Jezza’s style, and he’s not apologising. If Starmer allows him back, Labour will be accused of harbouring anti-Semitism. The Tories can’t believe their luck.