When anyone questions the BBC over their bias to towards Israel, the BBC smugly points to the criticism they wear from the Israeli Embassy, or supporters of Israel like former BBC chairman Lord Grade, which is apparently proof that the BBC is absolutely impartial.
The current campaign against Jeremy Corbyn has the same purpose as the Embassy’s criticisms of the BBC. The charge that Corbyn is antisemitic is clearly nonsense, as Corbyn has made it clear he prioritises Jewish sensibilities above all others.
In recent years the Labour Party has been taking active measures to counter claims of antisemitism from lobby groups, in 2017 adopting a rule proposed by the pro-Israel Jewish Labour Movement, opposing a comprehensive list of prejudices and hostile behaviours including ‘racism, antisemitism, Islamophobia.’
The problem with itemising forms of racism is that the terms of reference are constantly being expanded: ‘antisemitism’ is a charge that is levied against anyone who ever criticises a prominent Jew, eg George Soros or Jacob Rothschild, or anyone who criticises Israel.
The Labour Party has been purging people for criticising Israel or threatening Israel’s interests, with the cardinal sin being anything deemed to undermining the holocaust narrative in any way. Activist Gill Kaffash for example, active in the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign, was suspended in April 2016 for opposing bans on holocaust revisionism (her opposition tantamount apparently to holocaust denial) and also asking, as others have, why ISIS never attacks Israel. Another activist Jackie Walker, of both African and Jewish descent, was suspended in May 2016 for comparing the African holocaust with the Jewish holocaust.
In March 2017 Corbyn suspended Ken Livingstone, former Mayor of London and loyal supporter of Corbyn, because he produced, in context, an unwelcome truth, that Hitler backed moving Jews to Israel. Livingstone remains suspended for the foreseeable future.
Jews who criticise Israel are also deemed to be antisemitic. In February this year the Party expelled, after a long period of suspension, Tony Greenstein, whose principal crimes seems to be repeated use of the word ‘Zio’.
Despite the party’s efforts, the charges of antisemitism within the Labour Party have continued, and gained new impetus when it was revealed recently that Jeremy Corbyn had not responded appropriately to a 2012 mural that showed a group of bankers in an unfavourable light, two of the bankers looking Jewish according to some, and with masonic symbols. (The explanation of the artist Mear One here, it seems he was targeting ‘turn of the century robber barons’, Jew and non-Jew alike.)
On 26 March 2018 an open letter from the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Jewish Leadership Council was addressed to Jeremy Corbyn, demanding that he take action on the question of antisemitism within the Labour Party. The contents of the letter are fairly thin, relying heavily on a Corbyn’s inadequate response to the 2012 mural.
Jewish Leadership Council was founded in 2012; the Board of Deputies dates from founded in 1760, one of its past Presidents being Lord Walter Rothschild (1925-6), to whom the Balfour declaration was addressed in 1917. Another president, Moses de Montefiore was, like the Rothschild family, closely involved in the founding of Jewish settlements in Palestine. Both these two organisations operate as defenders of Israel.
Corbyn’s Balfour Moment
In responding to the two organisations, Corbyn could have made a generic statement aimed at all minorities in Britain, but he chose to spell out his special affiliation with the Jewish community in his reply. Aside from the obligatory mea culpa over the mural incident, the salient features of his letter are:
Antisemitism is referred to some 15 times and racism and minorities (in general) not at all
Corbyn concedes that antisemitism has surfaced within the Labour Party, in contrast to many who disagree, such as trade union leader Len McCluskey: ‘In 47 years of membership in the Labour Party I’ve never been at a meeting where there was any anti-Semitic language’. Jewish Voice for Labour (JVL) declared the allegations against both Corbyn and the Party to be unfounded and unacceptable.
Comparing Israel to Nazi Germany is antisemitic Corbyn is compromising heavily on the question of criticising Israel: no matter how heinous the crimes of Israel, comparing Israel to the Nazis (and presumably Netanyahu to Hitler) is antisemitic.
Jewish bankers. Corbyn condemns the ‘idea of Jewish bankers and capitalists exploiting the workers of the world. Corbyn is absolutely right in that it is not only Jewish bankers that exploit the workers of the world; furthermore one should not assume anyone is dishonourable and exploitative simply because s/he is a banker. However the fact that some rich bankers are Jews is sometimes used as a justification for suppressing all criticism of the banking profession, and indeed criticism of any Jew for any reason is discouraged – no matter how many reasons there might be for querying the activities of George Soros, for example, his defenders are very quick to accuse his detractors of antisemitism.
Holocaust denial is ‘far right’ Corbyn declares that ‘antisemitism is an evil, and furthermore that holocaust denial is ‘a form of antisemitism on the far right of the party’. Corbyn is perpetuating the myth that the only people who question aspects of the holocaust are neo-Nazis with a propensity to violence, who secretly believe the holocaust happened but think it was a good thing. Linking holocaust denial with the far-right is a common practice, but Corbyn’s claim only serves to highlight the dishonesty of this association. A typical example of a ‘denier’ is holocaust sceptic and Jew Paul Eisen. In mid-2015 Eisen wrote several dozen articles and social media posts supporting Jeremy Corbyn as leader, because he saw him as a man of principle, he supported his stance on issues affecting working people, and he supported his stance on the Iraq war, e.g. Jeremy Corbyn the Finest Man in British Politics. Most people would describe Eisen as being on the left of the political spectrum, rather than the far-right.
A programme of political education to increase awareness and understanding of all forms of antisemitism (not racism). The forms of antisemitism will presumably be determined by pro-Zionist lobby groups.
Corbyn has continued to pander to the Zionist lobby, by declaring ‘antisemitism’ (not racism) to be ‘a cancer in our society which has surfaced in our party, Britain and Europe in recent years’.
Depending on one’s level of cynicism, one might argue that the purpose of the anti-Labour charges of antisemitism,
1) To rally the Labour troops, and the British people, around Jeremy Corbyn, given that the charge of antisemitism is clearly false;
2) To make it harder to talk truth about Jeremy Corbyn. To make it difficult for anyone accused of being ‘on the left’ to criticise Jeremy Corbyn. Questioning Corbyn’s fundraising for the White Helmets and his support for Muslim Brotherhood drew accusations of being the same as the Tories, or the corporate media. To suggest Corbyn is actually pro-Zionist would, no doubt, elicit a similar response.
In any case there is no doubt of the intention:
3) To make antisemitism the paramount issue: To keep the conversation going about ‘antisemitism’, and the importance of fighting ‘antisemitism’ despite the lack of evidence that antisemitism is an issue in the Labour Party, in order to instill the ideas of Jewish victimhood and Jewish exceptionalism;
4) To make it harder to talk truth about Israel or the activities of the Zionist lobby. To put pressure on the Labour Party to prioritise Zionist interests, not to criticise Israel, or question matters deemed to affect Zionist interests;
5) To garner acceptance for widespread suppression of freedom of speech, opening the way for further actual criminalisation of thought and research, both within the Labour Party and through legislation.