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Antisemitism, Islamophobia and the sad state of politics

Written By: - Date published: 9:46 am, August 9th, 2018 - 68 comments
Categories: immigration, International, uk politics - Tags: , , , , , ,

This week UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn responded to ongoing accusations of antisemitism in the Labour Party, issuing this public video statement.

Meanwhile the Conservative Party face renewed accusations of Islamophobia after Boris Johnson’s comments about women in Burka’s caused considerable offence.

 

Image result for May and Corbyn

The political Establishment need to show leadership and stand up to racism.

The media has been reporting  both antisemitism in Labour and Islamophobia in the Conservatives all year. Some journalists and commentators have speculated as to which of the two major parties is worse for their bigotry. The simple answer is that both are an absolute disgrace, and these sorts of discriminatory and xenophobic prejudices should have no place in modern politics. But sadly it does.

Racism is nothing new, it has existed throughout human history. And racism is out there in society. Politicians are elected by the people, and yes there is a market for racist politics. The rise of the far right throughout much of Europe globally is evidence of this. But this doesn’t make it inevitable. The two main political parties in the UK need to show leadership and stand up to racism. Both May and Corbyn have come out against racist remarks made by party members. But in both cases, a stronger stance was needed much sooner. Not just by the leaders, but by all MPs and people in leadership roles. And most importantly by party members.

The UK is far from alone from having problems of racism in politics. But in the UK this issue has come to ahead in 2018. There is nothing good in what has come out, but this can be an opportunity for the political establishment in the UK to draw a line in the sand. If from this Labour and the Conservative’s to vow to take a much stronger stand against racism and bigotry within their parties, this would be a very positive development. Whether this happens remains to be seen…

 

68 comments on “Antisemitism, Islamophobia and the sad state of politics”

  1. Bill 1

    I was scratching my head about the supposed anti-semitism of UK Labour and/or it’s members. Then I remembered that there are a lot of conspiracy theorists who attach themselves to a leftist perspective who routinely run on an anti- Jewish angle.

    That said, the bullshit micro-criticisms of language that’s going on is completely fucked up. And the deceitful campaign by Labour MPs and sections of the media needs to be knocked on the head.

    The Islamophobia is a far more difficult one. It seems to have been completely normalised (as per these tweets from the Guardians ex political editor).

    Then there’s the utter racism in the UK towards “Pakis”. Anyone want to convince me that Islamophobia doesn’t fuel that nonsense? (Yes, I know that Indians are not Pakistanis and that Hinduism isn’t Islamic.)

    Meanwhile, Tommy Robinson’s been making hay off the back of grooming gangs that would appear to be more prevalent in Asian communities than in others. Is that anything more than drugs gangs tending to be in South American communities? And if that’s the case, then shouldn’t it be acknowledged and resources thrown at suitable people and organisations within Asian communities so they can tackle the root cultural drivers of what’s going on (if it’s going on to a degree markedly different to within other communities)?

    That won’t happen because of (drum roll) paternalism and notions of cultural superiority…the very things that the Molyneaux’s of the world promote and that people desperately deny exists. (All that racist tripe that gets thrown at the Whaunau Ora initiative? Anyone?)

  2. Anne 2

    It’s part of the modern trend and it is deeply troubling.

    I have only semi-followed the situation in the UK, but it seems to me to be yet another manifestation of the current rise in political demagoguery everywhere. I doubt either Party will take a sufficiently strong stand because the population in general has allowed itself to become so manipulated by polarising forces, they will be scared of losing large chunks of their votes.

    What both Parties should do is bang their heads together and come up with a joint solution but they won’t.

  3. Kevin 3

    Its getting to the point that even a sideways glance at anything even remotely jewish (whatever that means) will get you labelled as anti-semitic.

    The Jewish state should not consider itself beyond legitimate criticism and anyone who does criticise it should not be labelled antisemitic.

    I applaud UK Labour for not kowtowing to the IHRA.

    • Puckish Rogue 3.1

      Maybe the Jewish population have a point:

      https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/feb/01/antisemitic-incidents-in-uk-at-all-time-high

      ‘Antisemitic hate incidents have reached a record level in the UK, with the Jewish community targeted at a rate of nearly four times a day last year, figures indicate.

      There were 1,382 antisemitic incidents recorded nationwide in 2017 by the .

      This was the highest tally that the trust, a charity that monitors antisemitism, has registered for a calendar year since it began gathering such data in 1984. The figure rose by 3%, compared with a total, in 2016, of 1,346 incidents – a tally that itself was a record annual total.’

      • Kevin 3.1.1

        Compared to hate incidents against any other minority?

        How about hate incidents against Palestinians?

        • Gosman 3.1.1.1

          I am not sure Palestinians have many hate incidents against them in the UK.

          • Kevin 3.1.1.1.1

            Think a little harder Gos.

            • Gosman 3.1.1.1.1.1

              Can you link to any hate crimes against Palestinians in the UK please?

              • Kevin

                Hate crimes go on EVERY day against Palestinians in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza.

                Are you really that dim?

                • Gosman

                  Hate crimes go on all the time against various ethnicities in various places around the globe ALL the time. We were discussing the UK though not other places.

                  • Kevin

                    It doesn’t matter where they occur. My original point stands.

                  • North

                    But NOT, Gosman, to the point where the whole world cries out at the disproportionality of the Zionist response to…….let’s see……..one example only……..resistance against the inhumanity and savagery of the historic and continuing blockade of Gaza.

                    Gaza Sports Tours Inc. Biennial slaughter-fest no less. Paid for by the annual three thousand million US$ of miltary aid to the zionist regime by successive US presidents. Incessantly to violate an area Titirangi to Gledowie down to Manukau City – that’s Gaza – 365 square miles – or ist kilometres, not sure.

                    The zionist regime is a clear case of the oppressed turned oppressor. Not at all surprised that you impliedly support that Gosman.

                    As evidenced by your foul sneak-out……..”We were discussing the UK though not other places.” Easy to take that route I guess when one is disposed not to accord Palestinians the humanity we accord ourselves. Fuck you ! May karma be unkind.

                • Stuart Munro

                  He is.

              • Siobhan

                Funnily enough, you can’t.
                But given Islamophobic hate crimes are by far the largest group in hate crimes in the UK, despite being massively underreported, its fair to assume that those figures include Palestinians.

                Though, interestingly, only 20,000 of the Palestinian diaspora have made their way to the UK, about the same number who have ended up in Peru of all places. Maybe the Palestinians aren’t too keen on living in the land that ‘gifted’ them the Balfour Declaration.

                btw despite the increased awareness and reporting of anti semitism, we can all take some consolation that there is a small trend downward in anti semitic incidents.

                ‘CST has just released the Antisemitic Incidents Report January-June 2018:
                recording the second highest 6-monthly total on record, despite a drop from 2017’s record high”

      • Bill 3.1.2

        And “the point” given that the same org points to an 8% drop in the first six months of 2018?

        And since it seems, alongside there being far more media platforms available these days, that the slightest lax use of language leads to changes of antisemitism…

      • weston 3.1.3

        I wonder why The Guardian hates Jeremy Corbyn so much ?

        • Dennis Frank 3.1.3.1

          1. He’s old, they’re young.
          2. He’s socialist. They’re pretending.
          3. He’s winning. They’re losing.
          Could be more…

      • corodale 3.1.4

        “A court in Tel Aviv has convicted a US-Israeli teenager of making hundreds of threats to bomb or attack Jewish schools, community centres and other institutions in New Zealand and other countries.”
        https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/world/360671/us-israeli-teenager-michael-kadar-convicted-of-threats-to-jews

    • Adrian Thornton 3.2

      @Kevin +1

  4. Gosman 4

    Islamophobia is a ridiculous term and has nothing to do with racism. Objecting to a full body cover for woman is no more prejudiced than objecting to a Swimsuit contest at a Beauty pageant.

    • Dennis Frank 4.1

      Fear of Islam is entirely understandable to anyone prone to paranoia (around half of any populace you take a look at). Like parents with kids living next to a neighbour with free-range dobermanns in their yard.

      You’re right that it has nothing to do with racism. Conflation by retards is the problem here. Boris observing that burkas look similar to balaclavas caused a Tory to suggest the whip be taken from him. Not to him. Genteel restraint.

      • Gosman 4.1.1

        Fear of Islam is no different to a rabid dislike of Neoliberalism or Anti-Communism. People are entitled to oppose a set of views of how we should live our life. Claiming someone is an Islamophobe is like claiming DracoTBastard is a Richophobe.

        • Stuart Munro 4.1.1.1

          By no means.

          Neo-liberalism is a destructive and antidemocratic set of beliefs that do not produce the economic benefits they allege. Objecting to neo-liberalism is entirely rational, something no-one would ever accuse you of, troll.

          • Bg 4.1.1.1.1

            Er I hate to state the obvious but “Neo-liberalism is a destructive and antidemocratic set of beliefs ” I would think applies more to Sharia law wouldn’t it?

            • Gosman 4.1.1.1.1.1

              Exactly.

            • Stuart Munro 4.1.1.1.1.2

              Not even slightly.

              Neo-liberalism has no moral or compassionate elements whatsoever – it is a psychopathic doctrine – enslaving people to the rule of money.

              Islamic morality is not intrinsically worse than Christian morality, but that depends on compassionate and sophisticated application.

              • Hongi Ika

                Neoliberalism was once described by an overseas academic as “the last pornographic orgasm of capitalism ?”

                Not sure whether I agree or not the jury is still Out ?

                Any comments ?

                • Stuart Munro

                  I think it should really be regarded simply as a PR job on the old liberalism first world countries gave the heave ho about eighty years ago. None of its promises have come true, and it’s about time it was systematically eliminated from the public services it has infested.

                  Trumpism is a kind of post-modern defense of it, employing dishonesty to squeeze out a few more terms of unjustifiable tax cuts after the truth won’t suffice to sell that kind of crap any more. It’s an endgame strategy though – you can’t keep lying forever without the voters starting to wise up.

                  NZ politicians being what they are (followers), expect Bridges or his replacement to go full Trump this time around – in spite of lacking thirty years of telepresence or an impoverished conservative religious rural heartland. Voters will say wtf.

              • Gosman

                In your opinion.

                • Stuart Munro

                  Do enlighten us Gosman, from the Godlike vanity you exhibit at every opportunity, just what it is you think you know about neoliberalism.

                  Or better yet, run off to an extreme right blog where you belong, and where your inadequacy will be welcome.

  5. Lettuce 5

    These ridiculous claims of anti-Semitism against Jeremy Corbyn (the UK’s most virulently anti-apartheid MP at a time when Thatcher offered unlimited support for South Africa’s racist regime) would dry up and disappear overnight if UK Labour chose another pro-Israel leader.

    There has never been a UK Prime Minister who was prepared to deal with the Israelis and Palestinians in an even-handed manner, and Israel’s supporters are determined to ensure there never will be.

  6. Don’t worry, I’m sure once they ‘roll’ Corbyn the likes of Liz Kendall, Chuka Umunna and Chris Leslie, not to mention the Guardian and the BBC will decide Labour doesn’t actually have an anti semitism problem.
    And everything can go back to ‘normal’.

  7. Lettuce 7

    These ridiculous claims of anti-Semitism against Jeremy Corbyn (the UK’s most virulently anti-apartheid MP at a time when Thatcher backed South Africa’s racist government to the hilt) would dry up overnight if UK Labour chose a new pro-Israel leader.

    There has never been a UK Prime Minister who was prepared to act in an even-handed manner towards Israel and the Palestinians; and Israel’s UK supporters are determined to ensure there never will be.

    • Bill 7.1

      Indeed.

      And I do wonder who, outside of media circles, actually gives a flying fuck about all the hoo-ha. The reason I wonder is that some Pew research Gallup Poll in the US apparently found that only 1% of US peeps gave a hoot about Russia.

      • SpaceMonkey 7.1.1

        Interesting percentage and not a coincidence, methinks. The other 99% are probably too busy trying to make ends meet each day.

    • Gosman 7.2

      Thatcher never backed South Africa’s Apartheid government to the hilt. She on numerous occasions criticised the policy of Apartheid and the lack of a non-racial democracy there.

      http://www.politicsweb.co.za/news-and-analysis/margaret-thatcher-on-apartheid-sixteen-quotes

        • Gosman 7.2.1.1

          That is your evidence for the contrary is it? The personal recollections of some public servant (which can’t be independently verified at all) and her position on the ANC (which did qualify as a Terrorist organisation by any definition of the term).

          • Lettuce 7.2.1.1.1

            Did you miss this?

            “The Reagan administration wasn’t alone in this fear, either — Margaret Thatcher’s conservative regime in Britain shared Reagan’s “constructive engagement,” anti-sanctions views regarding South Africa. (It probably helped that the U.K., like the U.S., was a major South African trade partner.) Years later, former Canadian prime minister Brian Mulroney would write a memoir that detailed his attempts to persuade Thatcher and Reagan to take action in South Africa.”

            Might be time to make trip to Specsavers…

            • Gosman 7.2.1.1.1.1

              Yes she was very anti-sanctions and it proved to be the right approach. The democratic government elected in South Africa in 1994 inherited a reasonably strong (but imbalanced) economy.

              • Dukeofurl

                So sanctions against North Korea and Iran are totally wrong then as a method of changing a governments policy?

                • Gosman

                  Yes.

                • Hongi Ika

                  You actually don’t blame North Korea wanting some protection from the USA especially after how they hammered them in the Korean War ?

                  • Gosman

                    ummm… you do know who started the Korean war don’t you?

                    • Blazer

                      How did war break out between North and South Korea?
                      The 38th parallel was a clumsy, makeshift solution, “hastily drawn with pencil using a National Geographic map by two junior American officers in President Truman’s White House”, according to a 2013 article by author Clancy Sigal for The Guardian. Conflict was all but inevitable.

                      The core problem was that both North and South viewed the division of the peninsular as temporary, and both Kim and Rhee viewed themselves as the legitimate leader of a united Korea.

                      “Neither dictator was content to remain on his side of the 38th parallel, however, and border skirmishes were common,” says the History Channel.

                      Finally, with approval from Moscow, the invasion of the South was launched.

                      The 75,000-strong North Korean army, well trained and armed by their Soviet and Chinese communist allies, made short work of the poorly prepared South Korean defenders. Three days after crossing the border, Pyongyang’s forces entered Seoul.

                      How did the US become involved?
                      The rapid advance of North Korean forces alarmed US leaders, who viewed South Korea as a bulwark against the spread of Soviet communism in the Asia Pacific, says Time.

                      Two days after the invasion began, President Truman announced that the US was to commit its military forces to protect South Korea.’-‘The Week’.

                    • Gosman

                      Yes, the North invaded the South with the approval of the Soviet Union. Any action the US took against the North was entirely justifiable.

              • North

                That response doesn’t deal with your Trumpian scale lie that Thatcher was somehow appalled by apartheid, Gosman. The vile old crone was right into psychotic inequality. No wonder they had street parties when she shuffled off.

      • Adrian Thornton 7.2.2

        @Gosman
        Come on don’t give us that revisionist bullshit about Thatcher,,she was a pro colonialist hard core liberal fundamentalist that is just a fact.

        Even as late as 1986 she had to be dragged screaming and biting to the table to even impose limited ”immoral” sanctions against SA..
        https://www.nytimes.com/1986/08/05/world/thatcher-accepts-limited-sanctions-on-south-

        Margaret Thatcher believed South Africa should be a ‘whites-only state
        https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/margaret-thatcher-south-africa-whites-only-state-patrick-wright-a8171356.html

        Margaret Thatcher advocates a relaxing of sanctions and has taken steps to do so…
        https://www.nytimes.com/1990/04/17/world/mandela-urges-support-for-sanctions.html

        Her husband refereed to South Africa as “God’s Own Country”
        https://www.independent.co.uk/news/obituaries/sir-denis-thatcher-bt-36663.html

        And lets not even get into Thatchers despicable support of The brutal Chilean dictator Pinochet.

        Fuck Margret Thatcher go and rehabilitate her somewhere else, I am with the poms who had street parties and handed out cake when they heard she died.
        https://reason.com/blog/2013/04/09/thatchers-death-prompts-street-parties-a

      • Marcus Morris 7.2.3

        I wonder why she referred to Nelson Mandela as a terrorist. I don’t recall Thatcher taking one initiative that would have led to the down fall of apartheid. There would have been huge British investment there which would have favoured the status quo. I must do a bit of research.

        • Marcus Morris 7.2.3.1

          1000+Adrian – I posted before I saw your piece.

        • corodale 7.2.3.2

          Ummm, easy to say apartheid was bad, but what is good? Yes NM was convicted and imprisoned for plotting terrorism, so say all my South African friends n family. Was this just propaganda and lies?

          Now the country is trapped in a corrupt one party system. The living standards for the average black man has not improved.

          From my brief experience working in SA with NGOs around 15 years ago, the average Township was still not in a state of education adequate for effective democracy. The whites where not simply wrong to hold-on to power, SA was a serious military power, so a very dangerous toy to hand-over to black terrorists. Unfortunate that there wasn’t a better transition phase, but there where other considerations regarding issues on regional foreign policy (look what happened to Zimbabwe!) so not such an easy call as you pc-lefties paint it.

          (But yeah, Maggie was better as maggots, I’ll give ya that.)

  8. Wilfrid Whattam 8

    Please read Jonathan Cook’s blog: Labour’s crisis is over Israel, not anti-semitism. Cook was a highly respected Guardian journa!ist, who now writes independently on Middle Eastern matters, in particular the Palestinian/Israeli conflict, and he lives in Nazareth. You will find, Nick, that Jeremy Corbyn is no anti-semite, and that the whole shemozzle is a manufactured crisis from the the right of the Labour Party, purely designed as part of continuous efforts to oust Corbyn.

    I am not sufficiently well informed to comment meaningfully on islamophobia.

    • KJT 8.1

      Exactly.

      The British establishment is running scared, that their hold on wealth may be affected.

    • corodale 8.2

      Yeah, wow. That was a clear and detailed read. Excellent journalism.

    • Dennis Frank 8.3

      “Most reasonable observers, especially if they are not Jewish, instinctively recoil from criticising a Jew who is highlighting anti-semitism. It is that insulation from criticism, that protective shield, that encouraged Labour MP Margaret Hodge recently to publicly launch a verbal assault on Corbyn, vilifying him, against all evidence, as an “anti-semite and racist”.

      It was that same protective shield that led to Labour officials dropping an investigation of Hodge, even though it is surely beyond doubt that her actions brought the party “into disrepute” – in this case, in a flagrant manner hard to imagine being equalled. This is the same party, remember, that recently expelled Marc Wadsworth, a prominent black anti-racism activist, on precisely those grounds after he accused Jewish Labour MP Ruth Smeeth of colluding with rightwing newspapers to undermine Corbyn.

      The Labour party is so hamstrung by fears about anti-semitism, it seems, that it decided that an activist (Wadsworth) denigrating a Labour MP (Smeeth) was more damaging to the party’s reputation than a Labour MP (Hodge) vilifying the party’s leader (Corbyn). In this twisted set of priorities, a suspicion of possible racism towards a Jewish MP served to justify actual racism against a black party activist.

      But the perversion of Labour party values goes much further.” Holy Crap!! Like a robot with a ray-gun having taken a hit to its control system, gone rogue & now zapping its own side with random bursts…

  9. I reckon this is more ideological and economic than racial.

    It could be expressed as the ‘Three headed people against the Two headed people’,… you soon see what I mean. With both party’s pushing their particular ideological agendas.

    [ ‘ The two main political parties in the UK need to show leadership and stand up to racism. Both May and Corbyn have come out against racist remarks made by party members. But in both cases, a stronger stance was needed much sooner. Not just by the leaders, but by all MPs and people in leadership roles. And most importantly by party members ‘ ] .

    Which may be the case but the last sentence about party members is more difficult because they do not often have access to a public forum in the same way as the leaders do. And the middle rank and file often operate under another and do not feel qualified to go over the heads of their direct superiors.

    I think much of it is a classic human chink in an organization’s communications rather than ‘this party all believe that and are all inherently racists’.

  10. Cinny 10

    Watched a doco recently on Al Jazeera about how Islamaphobia from the ignorant can and does create terrorists. Could be applied to any religion/race/group etc.

    Here’s the link…. I found it fascinating, eye opening and rather saddening well worth a watch if you have time.

    https://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/specialseries/2018/08/victim-attacks-affected-muslims-europe-180801145915309.html

    • Yeah , but hanging the decapitated corpse of a guy that’s been crucified for being gay or attending political meetings that are anti govt and then parading it down Auckland’s Queen Street is kinda off the wall , dontcha think?

      https://www.businessinsider.com.au/saudi-arabia-crucified-man-in-mecca-while-calling-out-canada-human-rights-2018-8?r=US&IR=T

      Seriously that’s just going a bit too far.

      Maybe some of those characters need to really look at themselves.

      Howlin’ at the Moon – Hank Williams Sr. – YouTube

      • Cinny 10.1.1

        Did you watch the doco Wild Katipo?

        It’s not about Saudi Arabia, it’s about those living in Europe and are of the Muslim faith and how they were treated after the bombing in Madrid, and how the public reacted to Muslims living there at the time.

        It also touches on those responsible for the bombing and how they were isolated and manipulated by an extremist by using their faith.

        Well worth a watch.

        Maybe many from Saudi Arabia move to other places such as Europe because they (just like you and I) disagree with the extremes of the Saudi Government.

        There are extremists who manipulate religion for the use of power and control, no matter which faith it is. It doesn’t mean a certain faith is bad, it’s just bad people using a particular faith as a way of justifying their behaviour.

  11. SPC 11

    It is more a case of a growing tolerance for suppression of alternative opinion/free speech. Not so much hate, but the micro-aggression that criticism is hate.

    The attacks on the Labour Party are designed to force compliance to support for a high level of defence spending and silence criticism of the state of Israel.

    Then there is Boris Johnson, he supports the right of people to choose what they wear and decides against the position of France, Belgium, Netherlands and now Denmark banning the face veil. He also asserts his right of free speech to offer an opinion about such “fashion” choices.

    And now the irony, he is accused of hate speech.

    I recall a decade or two ago when the French and Italian ambassadors suggested women in New Zealand wore shoes for comfort rather than fashion, neither were accused of hate speech – is it because we were of the same “western” culture, whereas criticism of the fashion of others is seen as hate. How f’ing precious.

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