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UK Labour’s Big(otry) Issue

Written By: - Date published: 9:45 pm, July 30th, 2018 - 36 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, International, israel, Jeremy Corbyn, racism, uk politics - Tags: , ,

At a time when UK Labour should be confidently demolishing the shambles that is the Conservative/DUP Government the party finds itself unable or unwilling to defend itself against charges of anti-Semitism.

Clearly Jeremy Corbyn is no bigot. He’s spent his whole adult life opposing racism. Yet he’s just been called a “fucking anti-Semitic racist” on the floor of Parliament by one of his own MP’s, Margaret Hodge.

UK Labour is avowedly anti-racist and has a solid history of walking the talk.

So is there a problem in the party?

Well, yeah.

The anti-Semite claims are not going away and they’re not being dealt with well. For example, the recent Labour Party decision to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of anti-Semitism, but censor the examples of anti-Semitism that normally accompany it, was inept at best. At worst, it just provides ammo for those that want to do Corbyn down.

The IHRA definitions include claims that it’s anti-Semitic to compare Israel to Nazi Germany, or to claim that the foundation of the Jewish state was a racist endeavour or to use classic anti-Semitic images to criticize Israel. Hard to argue with the latter, though the first two are debatable points.

Labour said they rejected those definitions because:

“Discourse about international politics often employs metaphors drawn from examples of historic misconduct. It is not anti-Semitism to criticize the conduct or policies of the Israeli state by reference to such examples unless there is evidence of anti-Semitic intent.”

Here’s the nub of the problem. Labour is technically correct in its response. However, it’s poor optics and not helping one little bit.

Look, lets be frank. The State of Israel sucks.

They’ve just formally introduced apartheid inside their own self defined borders after decades of similar abuse of their fellow Semites, the Palestinians. They’ve been keen students of the practicalities of ethnically based population confinement from the days when they were racist South Africa’s only friend.

That line about Israel being the ‘only democracy in the region’? Straight from the South African segregationist playbook.

And, yesterday, just for kicks, the Israeli state kidnapped a New Zealand citizen, Mike Treen.

It is not antisemitic to criticize the actions of the Israeli state. It is not antisemitic to reject the racist Zionist philosophy.

It is not antisemitic to offer the opinion, as I’m about to, that the state of Israel is like the battered child that goes on to beat its own children.

No, the problem for UK Labour, and for us,  is that we live in a bizarro world where the right’s favourite party trick is to call virtue a dirty word and to claim our empathy with the exploited majority of this world’s peoples is actually anti-western prejudice.

The right can embrace racism with gusto, but god help the left if we express our exasperation inexpertly. One slip of the tongue and we’re The Worst Bigots Ever.

There’s no easy answer for Corbyn’s Labour Party. They need to crack down swiftly and transparently on those members who are guilty (and, yes, it appears there are a few) and they need to acknowledge the genuine anger of MP’s like Margaret Hodge and Ian Austin who are challenging the party’s failure to act.

Much better to front foot this matter now. Corbyn should acknowledge that the Labour Party has not dealt with the issue well and do whatever it takes to make it go away. For a start, that means accepting that the criticism is not just some Blairite plot.

While the next general election is not scheduled until 2021, there looks like a real chance the May Government will fall well before then. The Tories are in even worse shape than Labour and a Brexit based snap election cannot be ruled out.

Perhaps somebody should explain to Jeremy Corbyn the benefits of a dead rat diet?

Better to swallow now than choke later.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

36 comments on “UK Labour’s Big(otry) Issue ”

  1. Ed 1

    It’s just a lie.
    The real reason is that Corbyn is leading the polls.
    And the Blairites would do anything to stop Jeremy becoming PM.

  2. Stuart Munro 2

    Short answer is to dump Hodge.

    The Phil Quins of this world are playing their own game, however inexpertly. It’s important not to let them overdramatize an issue simply for personal notoriety – not on the Left’s dime anyway.

    • tc 2.1

      +100 clearly Hodges isn’t acting in the party interests and belongs elsewhere.

      This is where internal discipline is crucial as the moles start to surface.

    • Adrian Thornton 2.2

      @Stuart Munro +1

      • cleangreen 2.2.1

        100% Stuart Monroe,

        We have an eqivilent to Hodges ‘ isn’t acting in the party interests’ right here inside our labour party with Clare Curran.

        She is causing more damage as we speak and isn’t acting in the party interests due to her current position as “Minister of Broadcasting”.

        She needs to be removed from any position imeadiately she is a National mole inside Labour in NZ.

  3. Sanctuary 3

    The charges of anti-semitism should be seen for what they are, a vile and despicable identity politics smear from the Labour right – a group that is utterly isolated socially, politically marooned in the 1990s and suffering from such an exceptionalist delusion of their own moral rectitude that they are quite incapable of moderation or self-reflection – Margaret Hodge is now playing the victim for being subject to party disciplinary procedures for screaming in parliament that Jeremy Corbyn is a “fucking anti-semite”, as if such an action should be accepted as her right.

    It needs to be be crystal clear that these attacks emanate from the Labour right – the ring leaders are a roll call of Blairism – Yvette Cooper, who notoriously extended benefit sanctions and was embroiled in the expenses scandal, Ian Austin, leader of the Labour Friends of Israel (now a rallying point for the Labour right and virulently pro-Israel) who shouted abuse at Corbyn when Corbyn criticised the 2003 Iraq war, or the previously mentioned Margaret Hodge, who submitted the letter of no-confidence that triggered the infamous “chicken coup” in 2016.

    These people are mostly given oxygen in the mainsteam liberal media – the Guardian and the BBC – to attack Corbyn via (currently via the charge anti-semitism), but beyond the attacks do not seem to be resonating much beyond the pink neoliberal echo chamber of the Guardian elites. One barely reads of them of them in the red tops in the way the Guardian in particular gives the Labour right a platform to relentlessly smear Corbyn as an anti-semite.

    Beyond the sheer, mind boggling recklessness of cynically crying wolf in order to use anti-semitism as a political football, the attacks have to be seen as illustrative as to exactly WHY the Blairite Labour right is so bitterly opposed to Corbyn and so determined to prevent a Corbyn led Labour from winning a general election. Corbyn would lead a government that would criticise Israel. That is the true crime here, not anti-semitism. This is a political position that is 100% at odds with the accepted ambient cultural and political views of the current governing neoliberal elites and the entire political and media establishment. And the virulence of the attacks on Corbyn – not just on this issue but on others as well – show precisely how difficult it is to mount a genuine challenge to the political status quo that currently dominates the west and which had, until the advent of Corbyn, completely colonised the decadent co-opted institutions of the British political system.

    • Bill 3.1

      Good piece at “The Canary” echoing some of those sentiments Sanctuary.

      In contrast to The Guardian’s arm waving, it points out that the IHRA definition of antisemitism is far from accepted.

      …when Labour approved the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition of antisemitism on 17 July – with updates to the parts that could have gagged legitimate criticism of Israel – Hodge and others were outraged. Even though 36 international Jewish groups had clearly expressed their own serious reservations about the IHRA definition’s ambiguity on Israel.

      More here and here.

      edit. And for good measure, here’s a link to what “Jewish Voice for Labour” have to say about the IHRA and Labour’s Code of Conduct.

  4. SaveNZ 4

    The reason Labour is not in power right now, is that some self motivated and closet Tories in Labour are more interested in attacking and marginalising their own leader and making up fake news to get themselves attention and browny points with the right, than winning the election for Labour.

    Don’t forget the current obsession with antisemiticism is after a long line of other fake allegations about Corbyn, such as he is an IRA sympathiser or a communist.

    Funny enough, because he has called out and continued in the face of such hostility from the political establishment in particular his own Labourites, has actually endeared him around the world (like Sanders) as a person of honesty and integrity for voters and his popularity in the UK soared.

  5. Hooch 5

    Hard to know what to make of it. Is this the last line of attack they have left after years of throwing everything they could think of at Corbyn for no impact?

    It seems they keep trotting this out whenever the government is looking shambolic which would explain its near constant reappearance in recent times.

    What do they hope to achieve though? What percentage of the voting public are Jewish, of that percentage who would vote labour and of that percentage again who would believe or be swayed by this?

    Possibly the most ridiculous article I have seen about it asks whether Corbyn should lose his allotment over it. That’s not scraping the bottom of the barrel, it’s smashing a hole through it.

  6. Chris T 6

    As Labour’s friends in government, the Greens would say

    Is it time for this rich, old, white male Corbyn to move on?

    • Siobhan 6.1

      Yeah, that Owen Smith is a real poster boy for diversity.

    • SaveNZ 6.2

      Possibly throw away identity politics comments (which of course are going to follow them around and taken out of context) are why the current Greens are not doing as well as they should in the polls…

  7. Adrian Thornton 7

    It is a real shame that Corbyn didn’t try and cut out the cancer of blairite liberals from Labour when he was riding high on his first wave of popularity, but I guess that just isn’t his style, I think he really is genuinely inclusive…unlike me.
    Unfortunately for Corbyn, it turns out that Liberals believe in their ideology as much as Corbyn does his…and they are plainly not compatible.

    But what I think is really interesting for anyone who hopes to see a genuine left/progressive project happen in their own western country, is seeing right out in the open, what lengths the establishment in politics and the media will go to to protect unfettered liberal capitalism as the unquestioned status quo..there must not be an alternative narrative for the public to consider.

    As far as this latest of the many attacks on Corbyn goes I concur with Sanctuary..
    “Corbyn would lead a government that would criticise Israel. That is the true crime here, not anti-semitism.”

  8. wouldn’t worry about the racist accusations. They are meaningless now & achieve nothing. The word racist is completely without meaning given its been so debased for political expediency. Much of the support for the plight of Palestinians is thinly veiled antisemitism though. That seems obvious.

    • Carolyn_Nth 8.1

      Just because you say “racism is meaningless” doesn’t make it so.

      You have resisted every clear explanation of racism in the last day or 2, then pronounced ‘racism’ is dead.

      Then you say anti-semitism is alive against clear evidence that anti-semitism has been used against Corbyn for political expediencey – ditto accusations of support for Palestinians being “anti-semitism.

      Your biases are showing.

      • Carolyn_Nth,

        No you’ve misunderstood my point rather judgmentally. Its simply about semantics. I didn’t say prejudiced views were non existent. Quite to the contrary. Just being more specific about them v.v Israel.
        If you asked 10 people what racism meant you’d get 10 different answers ..all would be wrong in my experience. Ive tried it. It was actually Christopher Hitchens who first pointed out how the word had been so debased by politics.

  9. Ed 9

    Craig Murray nails it.

    “I do not believe that the majority of journalists in the BBC, who pump out a continual stream of “Corbyn is an anti-semite” propaganda, believe in their hearts that Corbyn is a racist at all. They are just doing their job, which is to help the BBC avert the prospect of a radical government in the UK threatening the massive wealth share of the global elite. They would argue that they are just reporting what others say; but it is of course the selection of what they report and how they report it which reflect their agenda.

    The truth, of which I am certain, is this. If there genuinely was the claimed existential threat to Jews in Britain, of the type which engulfed Europe’s Jews in the 1930’s, Jeremy Corbyn, Billy Bragg, Roger Waters and I may humbly add myself would be among the few who would die alongside them on the barricades, resisting. Yet these are today loudly called “anti-semites” for supporting the right to oppose the oppression of the Palestinians. The journalists currently promoting those accusations, if it came to the crunch, would be polishing state propaganda and the civil servants writing railway dockets. That is how it works. I have seen it. Close up.”

    https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2018/07/the-ubiquity-of-evil/

    • Yes, unfortunately it is often all to easy to see who are the potential ‘camp guards’.

    • corodale 9.2

      Yeah, keeping the Jewish money flowing, could be defined as an issue of National Security, to by-pass democratic processes etc. Similar in NZ, where it seems the Social Credit movement has been black-listed by our security definition regarding economic stability.

      Stability of UK economy will be hinged on the corrupt Israeli satanists. Same can be said of NZ if we break from orthodox with BIS Basal etc.

      But looking forward to the new Mission Impossible movie. In military terms there is reasonable mathmatic modeling to suggest the core satanists are as few as 10,000 people. And in the modern age, where the digital world has all names and addresses (including mine, hahaha, oh), they had best learn some good behaviour, sooner rather than later.

      • corodale 9.2.1

        Mind you, if they where removed, who would replace them? The UN? Hmmmm, think I would rather continue to work on the garden, than risk that new style of totalitarianism.

  10. SPC 10

    It’s pretty clearly an attempt to exclude from the Labour Party membership people who are critics of the Jewish state of Israel, particularly those who connect this to apartheid.

    A few years ago now, I commented on the Haaretz site how cutting off water and power to Gaza was providing Palestinians with an experience of the Warsaw ghetto. Under terms Blairites demand for identifying anti-semitism, this would probably get someone banned from Labour Party membership. As would noting – fencing off settlements is not so much designed to protect Jewish settlements on the West Bank but disrupt Arab life via checkpoints etc so as to “ethnically cleanse” the wider area around them (provoking youth protests that result in their imprisonment, as per Ahed Tamimi, so that Arab economic community diminishes to a few major urban centres that become tomorrows Bantustans in association with Jordan).

    On one level it’s trying to drive the left who support Corbyn from the party, by accusing them of racist anti-semitism, and on another the objective is to tie UK foreign policy to the American (pro Zionist and anti Russia as a NATO core position – the us vs them core to defence spending) . By making it equally bi-partisan, which means excluding critics of Israel from both Tory and Labour governments of the UK.

    It’s Blairite, and a retaliation for the embarrassment on the Labour right over their (on-going) support for the PNAC foreign policy line.

  11. Adrian Thornton 11

    Here is a very good piece of analysis on this subject from The Jacobin…
    Corbyn Under Fire.
    https://www.jacobinmag.com/2018/04/jeremy-corbyn-antisemitism-labour-party

  12. AB 12

    Corbyn’s opponents will play hard and dirty. Complete inversions of the truth such as this attack aren’t surprising.
    But I’m not convinced it will actually work. The reflexive support of Israel that my parent’s generation had is long gone. Most people alive now have no memory of anti-Semitism, apart from the occasional loon defacing Jewish graves. In contrast, they have over 40 years of hearing about Israeli crimes in the region.

    The attacks on Corbyn are not going to stop – if he ever looks like winning an election, he would be well advised to wipe his door handles..

  13. Ad 13

    When Corbyn can’t “convincingly demolish” their worst Conservative Prime Minister since the 1930s, his own problems are bigger than this.

    Clearly it’s not enough to sit back and watch your opponent stumble.

    He needs to get his team to write the post-Leave plan.

    With a snap election possible and 8 months to March exit, they arent the government-in-waiting.

    • Dukeofurl 13.1

      You’ve never heard of major then.
      Blair didn’t demolish him for 3 years… At a general election…yes they still had those
      Near the end he was dependent on Ulster unionist support, but of the old fashioned kind not the Paisley ites.
      The Tories will do what they did with Thatcher, wait till nearer the end before replacing May

  14. Dennis Frank 15

    At the risk of seeming erudite, I could question whether anyone who uses anti-semitic as an epithet actually knows what semitic means:
    1. relating to or denoting a family of languages that includes Hebrew, Arabic, and Aramaic and certain ancient languages such as Phoenician and Akkadian, constituting the main subgroup of the Afro-Asiatic family.
    2. relating to the peoples who speak Semitic languages, especially Hebrew and Arabic.

    So an anti-semite would be someone opposed to a selection of ancient middle-eastern tribes. Gibberish used by the make it up as you go along brigade? No, they use clause 2 to include current jews & arabs. However users exhibit their propensity for being illogical by not applying anti-semitic to arabs. Why are they discriminating against arabs? To be racist, I presume.

    • SPC 15.1

      Calling bigotry/racism against Arabs anti-Semitic would “queer the pitch/PC field of battle” too much.

      It could be argued that the “Ashkenazi” colonial project in Palestine is anti-Semitic, as it involves migrants from Europe engaged in the subordination and exploitation of local Arabs and Sephardim/Mizrahi Jews (just look at the distribution of income and wealth within Israel).

      More seriously Europeans are accused of longstanding racist discrimination against Jewish Semites and also Moslem migrants – not all being Arabs and not involving Christian Arabs so much. Thus the original defintion has not been expanded to include the later group even though it includes Arab Moslem immigrants. In fact some of these immigrants are accused of being anti-Semitic for their attacks on Jews in Europe and the Zionist state.

  15. swordfish 16

    In terms of UK Labour voters

    YouGov polls show anti-Semitism in Labour has actually REDUCED DRAMATICALLY since Jeremy Corbyn became leader

    Contrary to the narrative portrayed by the media furore surrounding Labour’s reported ‘problem’ with anti-Semitism, data curated by YouGov actually shows that since Jeremy Corbyn became leader of the Labour Party in 2015, anti-Semitic views amongst Labour party voters have actually reduced substantially.

    Not only does the data show a marked decrease in the number of Labour voters in 2017 agreeing with anti-Semitic statements compared to those in 2015, the statistics show that all other political parties (apart from the Lib Dems whose results are comparable to Labour’s) have a far bigger problem with their voters agreeing with anti-Semitic statements.

    In August 2017 YouGov asked 1614 adults from across the political spectrum whether 5 different stereotypical anti-Semitic tropes about Jewish people were either ‘Definitely true’ ‘Probably true’, Definitely not true’ or ‘Probably not true’.

    And, when comparing the responses to those given by 3411 respondents to almost identical questions in 2015, the results were profound.

    Analysis of both surveys shows that anti-Semitic views held by Labour voters had declined amongst every single statement from 2015 until 2017.

    In 2015, 22% of Labour voters agreed with the statement that ‘Jews chase money more than other people’, whilst in 2017 the number of Labour voters agreeing with the statement had declined to 14%.

    These results compare with 31% of Conservative voters who agreed with the statement that ‘Jews chase money more than other people’ in 2015, whilst in 2017 this had declined slightly to 27% who still agreed with the statement.

    The answers given for YouGov’s first statement show that not only are anti-Semitic views amongst Conservative voters significantly higher than Labour voters in general, the rate of decline for anti-Semitic views amongst Labour voters is more than double the rate of Conservative voters – falling 8% in two years for Labour voters compared to a 3% decline in anti-Semitic views among Tory voters.

    Furthermore, the stark difference in results between parties from the first statement holds firm throughout the comparison.

    https://evolvepolitics.com/yougov-polls-show-anti-semitism-in-labour-has-actually-reduced-dramatically-since-jeremy-corbyn-became-leader/

  16. Aaron 17

    Surely screaming the f-word at Corbyn in parliament will result in more support for Corbyn and a lot less for Hodge. I mean it’s kind of unprecedented – in my lifetime anyway.

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