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The BLP’s anti-semitism problem… August 10, 2018

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Thinking about the issue of anti-semitism in the BLP. In some ways it seems to me to be overstated, and I’ve some sympathy for just why the party would be a bit hesitant about some aspects of the definition of anti-semitism that it is adopting (there seem to me to be political issues relating to criticism of the political complexion of governments of Israel or their policies that are quite distinct from arguing that Israel has not right to exist, that latter being a line I would be adamantly opposed to). And an interesting reminder that when Ed Miliband was attacked by the Daily Mail by proxy though his father’s reputation – and in terms that some thought had the appearance of toying with anti-semitism (‘betraying Britain’ etc) it was one J. Corbyn who came immediately to the defence of Miliband when others remained remarkably quiet.

But then I read this and that and I wonder…

Tom Watson has vowed to face down a campaign to oust him as Labour’s deputy leader as the party was forced to suspend a veteran activist who made antisemitic remarks criticising Watson’s intervention.
It swiftly suspended George McManus on Monday hours after the Momentum-backed candidate for the national policy forum (NPF) posted a Facebook comment about Watson’s “Jewish donors” and compared him to Judas being paid to betray Jesus.

I’m no great fan of Watson, but what possesses people inside the BLP to make comments and statements and remarks that at the very kindest could be judged to be problematic and having at least a tinge of anti-semitism. The same was true of the statements the previous week at the NEC. There’s a sort of cloth-eared unwillingness to understand that simply because some people believe they have the best of intentions that therefore this is self-evidently so to all others and that what they say comes with a free pass.

Or some of the examples here. Of course they don’t mean the BLP is anti-semitic. Of course that doesn’t mean that the issue is widespread. Of course they don’t mean that all the criticisms made are fair. But even that a small number of supposedly intelligent thoughtful people cannot see how counterproductive this stuff is.

At any time such statements would raise an eyebrow, at this time… by the by, interesting to read in the above link that the party’s ‘left-wing bloc including Momentum’ was much keener to take action that others…

Comments»

1. Barnes - August 10, 2018

Iistening to a debate recently they had a comment about the risk someone would smuggle in jesus i.e. at some point a person would shoehorn faith in and lo and behold it turned out you were talking to a god freak all along.

Looking at the fairly common questionable comments, at least more frequent than would allow labour to say we are free from blemish, I see a common theme.

Don’t call it AS because thst might undermine the good guys labour, facilitate the baddies. So the most benign interpretation is the start point. The other thing is the fear of Zionism smuggling. The idea that to even call out this as a type of AS is to end up playing the game of Zionism and its right wing supporters.

Jewish money is simply a home run for anti semitism if it came out of anyone elses mouth but because he is left wing he gets the presumed benefit of the good guy pass and also gets the benefit of the suspicion of those who say it it anti semitism – are they Blairite, hmm is this Tory/press agitation, is this because the person believes israel uber alles and hates Palestinians.

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2. GW - August 10, 2018

I was hoping not to get sucked into this one, but it’s Friday so here goes:

This campaign was exquisitely designed to damage the BLP because it played to Corbyn and Milne’s tactical rigidity. They are not the kind of political fighters who can see a right hook coming and sway onto the back foot to avoid it. Instead they just stay put and wait for the left hook to arrive.

At this stage the best thing would be simply accept the whole IHRA definition with the tendentious and superflous ‘examples’ for now, and get on with more important business. The next few months, are, after all, a window of opportunity to get a new general election.

I’m not sure how much electoral damage this will cause outside Jewish voters – excluding those who can see through this anti-Corbyn campaign. Compared with the refusal to back a people’s vote on Brexit it’s probably fairly minor.

None of the above is to deny that the State of Israel is now – since the new national law – officially and in law the apartheid state it has been for decades in practice. Nor is it to deny the Israeli state’s daily and systematic human rights abuses and breaking of international law, or to abandon solidarity with Palestinians.

Telling it like it is about this real existing Israeli state is not antisemitic.

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GW - August 10, 2018

I’d just like to add the Friday obvious – that when the BLP gets into government, it will be in a much more powerful position to provide effective support for the Palestinian cause.

Whether the BLP’s Director of Strategy especially is capable of being sufficiently tactically flexible on the big issue in the UK – Brexit – to achieve and win an election is still very much an open question.

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Barnes - August 10, 2018

But what about the guy who talked about Jewish money. What about him. You’ve made no mention at all.

There is mention of the plot to undermine labour and also the focus on Israel’s crimes and an assessment of how does this affect the labour project.

This is pretty much the main approach I’ve seen in response to labour’s problems.

Ignore the specific example, defend the party, earn about the enemy plot and rope in Israeli crimes and perhaps after some prompting say of course everyone regards a phrase like Jewish money as contemptible.

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Hector - August 10, 2018

Was there not ‘Jewish money’ supporting this campaign? An unfortunate choice of words but a statement of fact. There will be a growth in anti Semitic sentemient if the people using this subject to further an anti progressive agenda are not halted soon – that is the unfortunate outcome of a vicious section of largely well off ethnic miniority community trying to destroy the one hope the working class has in the UK. And these are the sentiments of a non practicing religiously still proud Jew.

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WorldbyStorm - August 10, 2018

Given this is an anonymous medium, largely, best of luck in your quixotic effort to convince others of the rightness of your cause by recourse to your Jewishness, etc. But using such loaded terms as vicious, largely well off, etc, isn’t exactly helpful in this discussion. Indeed they play right into the hands of those who would do down the BLP – because they can be read as being… well, borderline anti-Semitic whether you are Jewish or not.

And the basic problem is that this can be stopped dead in its tracks by simple resort to adopting the guidelines. I think they’re flawed, as noted in the OP, but I think that it’s possible to get around the major flaws and provide a reasonable critique and criticism of Israeli government action.

So what I find puzzling is why the need to make all this heat that reads as borderline anti-Semitism? Is this really the hill to die on?

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Barnes - August 11, 2018

Damn it man its like they are stabbing the working class in the back at the very moment a real alternative could take power.

That won’t be forgotten.

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3. GW - August 10, 2018

Stephen Sedley, the British Jewish lawyer, is well worth reading in this regard.

In his piece in the LRB about the IHRA definition of antisemitism he notes:

Along with the classic tropes about a world Jewish conspiracy and Holocaust denial or dismissal, the IHRA’s numerous examples include these:

– Manifestations might include the targeting of the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity. However, criticism of Israel similar to that levelled against any other country cannot be regarded as anti-Semitic.

– Applying double standards by requiring of [the state of Israel] a behaviour not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.

– Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g. by claiming that the existence of a state of Israel is a racist endeavour.

The first and second of these examples assume that Israel, apart from being a Jewish state, is a country like any other and so open only to criticism resembling such criticism as can be made of other states, placing the historical, political, military and humanitarian uniqueness of Israel’s occupation and colonisation of Palestine beyond permissible criticism. The third example bristles with contentious assumptions about the racial identity of Jews, assumptions contested by many diaspora Jews but on which both Zionism and anti-Semitism fasten, and about Israel as the embodiment of a collective right of Jews to self-determination.

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4. Miguel62 - August 10, 2018

I don’t think for a moment that Corbyn is the slightest bit anti-Semitic. Fact remains that this has been bungled by the BLP leadership, probably for understandable reasons, but bungled nevertheless. There is a tiny, tiny minority of anti-semites in the party and they should have been dealt with swiftly. Instead, the party bureaucracy has moved at a snail’s pace and in so doing, has handed Corbyn’s enemies a glorious stick to thrash him. This needs to be brought to a swift conclusion before further internal damage is done at a time when the Tories are self-destructing and the focus needs to be on bringing down the government. The party needs to adopt the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism in full. Initiating disciplinary action against Margaret Hodge and Ian Austin – both had relatives killed in the Holocaust – for calling out anti-Semitism in the party was a grotesque error., Even if their criticism had an element of opportunism, it was also legitimate in its own right. The party, and the leadership in particular, also need to be very careful about who they associate with. Anti-Israeli Government and anti-Semitism are separate and distinct viewpoints but unfortunately the Venn diagram has a large area of overlap. My enemies enemy is not always my friend.

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Barnes - August 10, 2018

Yup

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Yehar-Baal of Byblos - August 10, 2018

To continue Miguel’s set-theoretic representation, there are plenty of covert antisemites who support the actions of the current State of Israel. Bibi’s good mate Orbán would be one, and all the end-time fundamentalist Christians for whom Armageddon has to start in the middle East, who are such enthusiastic supporters of Israel, right or wrong.

Similarly the European fascist right have become in the last decade big fans of the state of Israel because of its ethnicist militarism, while maintaining a tradition of antisemitism tactically hidden for now.

The function of some of the examples added to the IHRA definition is give grounds to conflate being opposed to the actions of past and current Israeli governments (and their armies and spies) with antisemitism.

In other words, to get back to Venn diagrams, it is implied that opposing the Israeli government is a subset of antisemitism. Which just won’t wash intellectually whichever way you dice it.

That being said, Miguel is right that there there are many who oppose the existence of Israel from antisemitic motivations, and a good bit of that happens within Muslim fundamentalisms.

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5. 6to5against - August 10, 2018

I think its pretty clear that this could have been better managed by the BLP. And its also clear that some people within the party have made clearly offensive remarks. But not for a moment do I believe that the focus on this is anything other than an attempt to undermine a genuinely left political party.

This sort of awkward argument takes place all the time in any large political grouping – be it a party or a union. And its totally legitimate that it should do so. But how often are these arguments considered worthy of mainstream media coverage?

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EWI - August 10, 2018

I think its pretty clear that this could have been better managed by the BLP. And its also clear that some people within the party have made clearly offensive remarks. But not for a moment do I believe that the focus on this is anything other than an attempt to undermine a genuinely left political party.

It’s a transparent effort by the Blairites, in cahoots with traditional enemies of Labour such as the Tories, Fleet Street and even the DUP(!). No coincidence either that a murderous, apartheid-loving Likud government is in power in Israel.

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WorldbyStorm - August 10, 2018

Agreed 6 to 5… but I guess the broader background noise, Trumpism, Brexit, etc, gives an edge that otherwise might be absent. If this was – say, 1997, as noted above the tiny number of anti-semites would be despatched rapidly and no more made of it than that. But I guess at this point in time there’s a sense of something more in the air – I can’t blame people for that – Eva Wiseman in the Guardian had a fantastic column a year or so back on how matters had changed in her perception (not iirc relating to the BLP but more broadly).

I think this is one they just have to move on from. As also noted above. A BLP government can do an awful lot of good – for both peoples.

Somewhat disagree EWI. There’s an element of that, opportunism is everywhere, but there’s also clearly a small number inside the BLP whose anti-Zionism has shaded over into very very toxic territory and whereby there’s a sort of lack of sensitivity about simple discussions on the topic a bit wider than that. And there’s a further point, that if this is a weapon to use against Corbyn et al the most curious aspect is the ineptitude of the party in just simply dealing with it. That ineptitude isn’t something those opposed to Corbyn et al can be blamed for.

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EWI - August 10, 2018

Somewhat disagree EWI. There’s an element of that, opportunism is everywhere, but there’s also clearly a small number inside the BLP whose anti-Zionism has shaded over into very very toxic territory and whereby there’s a sort of lack of sensitivity about simple discussions on the topic a bit wider than that. And there’s a further point, that if this is a weapon to use against Corbyn et al the most curious aspect is the ineptitude of the party in just simply dealing with it. That ineptitude isn’t something those opposed to Corbyn et al can be blamed for.

But there’s absolutely nothing at all comparable to what we’ve seen inside the Tories, US Republicans etc. – and that’s before we get onto their opinions on ethnic minorities, Muslims etc. By taking this seriously, you’ve taken the bait.

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WorldbyStorm - August 10, 2018

But the point isn’t look over there, not over here – the fact is that yes, for reasons fair and foul the media has looked over here. And again that’s not simply down to Blairite manipulations. Stories die when they don’t have something to chew on.

None of this is binary – ie evil Blairite plot but no hint of anti-semitism, or anti-semitism and no hint of Blairite or opportunism.

Look at the record, let’s call them unforced errors, but the character dissing Watson using anti-semitic language, the guy on the NEC. These aren’t clever, they’re utterly stupid things to say, particularly at a time when anti-semitism is on the rise in the UK and more broadly and when Jewish people would have reason to be hugely sensitive about such things.

And worse they perpetuate and exacerbate the problem. So it’s not a question of taking baits. I’ve held back on commenting on this before precisely because of that, but when people inside the BLP who should know better feck up in that way then it’s pointless to pretend it’s not happening.

Again, I don’t think, and I say this as a member of the BLP when I lived in the UK and with friends still in it, that the BLP is anti-semitic, but I’m not going to pretend that there aren’t a small number who are anti-semitic. And there’s another thing, there’s that awful grim person who Morrisey likes so much, the leader of For Britain who, almost inconceivably, was a member of the BLP who sought to become a candidate of the party.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anne_Marie_Waters

The point isn’t that she is anti-semitic, anti-Islam seems to be her noxious thing, but that clearly the BLP like all organisations has a through flow of a small minority of people whose attitudes are clearly rotten and this needs to be addressed.

It is a bit exhausting to have to keep up a facade of ‘nothing to see here’ when even in the three examples given above, some being minor and easily dealt with without resignations or expulsions but instead education, etc, some not, there’s a pattern of behaviours that simply are not acceptable in a left progressive organisation.

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6to5against - August 10, 2018

I sort of agree with both EWI and WbS on this.. The comments made were obnoxious, and they should be dealt with. But I can’t buy the idea that this would be leave us free to move on. . Because several big players in this don’t want to do so.

The issue of Israeli brutality isn’t going to go away anytime soon, and while it is still there, there will be people on the left (and elsewhere) who while opposing it either (a) choose their words poorly and use language that is unmistakably insulting to all Judaism rather than critical of Israel, or (b) leave themselves open to that accusation.

Right and wrong always matters. But the issue of rights or wrongs are simply not relevant in this argument because many of those complaining about the anti-Semitism don’t care about it at all. They are using it as a stick with which to attack, and/or undermine Corbyn.

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WorldbyStorm - August 10, 2018

It’s going to be tricky, no dispute, and you and EWI are absolutely right there are those who are using this in certain ways. But the key thing is now to hold those who say the adoption of these guidelines doesn’t constrain entirely justified criticism of the Israeli government and actions it initiates or condones to their word. They’ve been very clear that that is the case – they’ve gone to enormous trouble to underscore that. Now they have to live up to that and ensure that critiques and criticism can be made.

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EWI - August 10, 2018

But the point isn’t look over there, not over here – the fact is that yes, for reasons fair and foul the media has looked over here. And again that’s not simply down to Blairite manipulations. Stories die when they don’t have something to chew on.

None of this is binary – ie evil Blairite plot but no hint of anti-semitism, or anti-semitism and no hint of Blairite or opportunism.

As 6to5 says, though, you’re not understanding the game being played here. Giving any legs to talk of ‘anti-semitism’ in the BLP – which is surely no worse than that in any of the other UK parties – is to enable the continued playing of the (media) refs.

We see this in the US, where the Democrats are beaten black and blue in electoral terms in places like Florida by falsely being labelled anti-Semitic by their opponents – who, it needs be pointed out, have a Christian fundamentalist base who are absolutely gung-ho for Armageddon (and the slaughter of the Jewish people).

There is no winning against ‘have you stopped beating your wife?’. The only response to such dirty tactics is to fully repay in kind and call it a draw at best. Get the focus back on the Tories, who are appalling on every score they accuse the BLP of.

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WorldbyStorm - August 11, 2018

My or your discussing it online is nothing, indeed it’s egocentricity to think that after the stable door has been opened and the horse has bolted that anything on a site like this or anywhere else would add negatively to this. You’re ignoring the reality of the desperately poor responses of some in the BLP, and the fact that Momentum and the unions want this sorted. And of course they do. They want it off the table.

What you’re essentially buying into is magical thinking that somehow an act of individual will can stop the media or other people making the weather of this and complaining that people taking the bait on this in censorious tone when this is being discussed and poked over on social and MSM is missing the point on an heroic scale (as well as a neat line in blaming people who aren’t to blame). The media and other attention exists. It’s existed for ages and it’s been assisted in that by the pisspoor responses noted above.

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EWI - August 11, 2018

Let’s be very clear here. The real target is Corbyn, who has even been attacked in the past for visiting the ‘wrong’ sort of Jews for a seder.

This campaign originates with a lash-up between the Tories, various right-wing activists and the Israelis, and the prime motivation from the latter is his espousal of the Palestinians. You can scoff all you like, but Israeli officials have been caught on camera in journalistic stings in the recent past admitting that they are carrying on these activities.

There is no good faith here to deal in, and it’s utterly pointless to pretend that there is. Deal with message discipline and party policies on racial remarks all you like – but off-camera, and Labour proxies on-camera should be delving into the anti-Jewish, anti-Muslim and anti-Irish Catholic of our lovely friends, the Tories. ‘Anti-semitism’ is nothing to do with this present campaign of monstering Corbyn, which will continue regardless, and pretending otherwise is just feeding it.

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WorldbyStorm - August 11, 2018

Firstly you’re clearly having a discussion with someone else, I’ve not scoffed once at the idea that there are people who are trying to use this to get at Corbyn. I’ve noted it from the off that opportunism does power some of this.

But not all of it and that is quite separate from the fact that there was enough noise on the margins to give the charge legs. One can complain about the bad faith of some making those charges, but not dealing with it once it has hit critical mass in the broad media is politically stupid and given that the cost of dealing with it is so incredibly low, ie accepting a bunch of definitions, I’m literally baffled why that hasn’t been done up until now (and again both the unions and Momentum are fully behind doing so). By not doing so it ramps the story up and up and up. That may be unfair, but it’s a political reality. And complaining that political reality is unfair to the left is a bit like complaining that Ireland is has more than its fair share of showers all things considered, true but pointless.

When one goes ‘my party good – everyone else wrong, nothing to see here’ when there are some clear problems, that to me is literally indistinguishable from the nonsense one has to put up with the fractions where no failure, no mistakes, no errors can be admitted publicly because almost the most import thing is presenting an image of infallibility to the rest of the world (even more important sometimes than actually engaging usefully with that world). I don’t think the BLP loses from saying yeah, there are people who have held problematic opinions but we have dealt with it openly and fairly and we’ve moved on. And as Miguel62 notes below it gives added authority to the BLP to criticise Likud etc… anyhow we’re obviously not going to agree on this.

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Barnes - August 10, 2018

Again, while the plot has been detected the problem seems to have been sidelined. A momentum backed candidate for a higher up post warning about the threat of jew gold can’t be written off by saying look our enemies are only too keen to exploit this.

Nobody wants to tackle that because:
(1) labour are good guys and don’t sabotage the good guys.
(2) it’s an enemy plot and don’t give succor to the enemy.

The guy was talking like he was borat. It’s that simple. The reason the right get to exploit this is because there is a reluctance to call a spade a spade and actually be able to move on.

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6. Barnes - August 11, 2018

Maybe this is particularly hard because we on the left tend to believe our own press, especially about ourselves. Thr bad guys are over there. We have different criteria to identify them and very quickly we can move from i disagree with what you said to you are outside the pale. We can do that because we are the good guys and we fight for good. its not even questionable. So, when faced with a scenario where there seems to be a pattern of taint there is a tendency to look at it from every angle bar the one where people go this is a problem.

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7. Barnes - August 11, 2018

if this were the position:
Muslim donors buy off tory politcians in ultimate betrayal!!!

Bloody hell, we’d all know what we have here.
It turns out to be at least factual since Saudi Arabia is bunging tories with gifts and perhaps that’s why they can treat Yemen like it’s Gaza.

Of course Muslim has been thrown in as a loose proxy for Saudi Arabian people.

This is what we are dealing with here and while many labor members won’t have an issue with calling out the Jew instead of saying Israeli it seems many tories also probably won’t worry about Muslim being used instead. Even Muslims donating to a candidate might indicate there lack of loyalty.

It’s dirty business and calling it dirty doesn’t stop anyone for working for Corbyn who I don’t think is anti Semitic but at the worst seems to think a lot like many of his supporters in terms of good guys and bad guys, and whatever you do don’t undermine the good guys ir aid the bad guys.

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8. Miguel62 - August 11, 2018

I think this is fairly simple both from a principled and tactical point of view. If you want to be free to criticize the Israeli government then you need to be able to do it without being blunted by any whiff of anti-Semitism. That’s a good tactical position and a morally correct principled position also.
Throw in the fact that the Corbyn haters will seize on any ant-semitism in pursuit of their own agenda and it becomes an absolute no-brainer. Deal with it, get back to attacking the Tories and taking legitimate issue with the Likud led coalition.

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Barnes - August 11, 2018

I’d strip it back even further because wanting to criticize Israel makes it sound like an expedient measure required to lay the ground. It’s seems purely tactical rather than principled.

If labour or it’s supporters wants to point out racism in others then it can’t see all the angles to a comment like Jew money, well all the angles except the one where the guy saying Jew money gets his knuckles rapped.

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9. Barnes - August 11, 2018

The view from America.
https://www.vox.com/world/2018/3/29/17168320/labour-corbyn-anti-semitism-mural

Titled Labour’s anti semitism crisis. Thats bad press.its from March

It refers to an incident where Corbyn seems to have defended a protocols of Zion type mural that was up in London and about to be scrapped.

There will come a point where this saga will damage labour or Corbyn. It may be that the problems of the tories or brexit keep it away from being a central issue.

In that case labour and Corbyn will be fine but damage will be done to society and at some point someone is going to say how are you to condemn BoJo.

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FergusD - August 12, 2018

Corbyn has made mistakes, the mural issue was one. Some BLP members have come out with some comments that do have the smell of ant-semitism about them but this campaign, and there is one, is NOT about genuine concern about anti-semitism in the BLP. It IS about a campaign by right wing BLP MPs and allies to unseat Corbyn. There are using this anti-semitism charge in a disgusting cynical fashion. An academic study has shown anti-Semitic views are far less common in the BLP than the other main U.K. parties. The campaign also involves pro-Israel individuals and groups who see Corbyn as a potential threat to the UKs unstinting support for Israel. To say this signals to some that you are a ‘Jewish conspiracty’ nut. I am not. I don’t know what the majority of U.K. Jews feel about this controversy but many Jews in the BLP see it as I do, hence the foundation of the ‘Jewish Voice of Labour’, which gets very little airtime on the MSM.

What Corbyn can do about this I don’t know. My feeling is the bulk of BLP members just don’t understand what is happening as they are very unlikely to ever heard an anti-Semitic comment in the BLP. I am a member of the BLP.

Meanwhile Margaret Hodge is personally extremely abusive to Corbyn and no disciplinary action is taken.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/labour-antisemitism-latest-margaret-hodge-investigation-jeremy-corbyn-confrontation-a8480301.html

I am very pessimistic about all this. Any rational discussion about what anti-semitism is and how it can be combatted, what Israel is and what attitude we should have to it and to Palestinians, is practically impossible. Even the far right denounce Labour as anti-Semitic while Tommy Robinson is pictured on a tank in Israel! Bizarre.

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/world/former-edl-leader-tommy-robinson-pictured-holding-gun-on-israeli-tank-near-syrian-border-a3393256.html

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Barnes - August 12, 2018

That’s the other part that I find really odd.
The idea that the obvious relish the right is taking in this is proof that it’s a plot isn’t sustainable.
Of course they love seeing labour in trouble. However, has it originated with them or are they just running with every ball that labour kicks to them.

I don’t think Corbyn is anti Semitic but clearly he has hungout with people who were (Hamas) and appears to have suspended any critical faculty about that. I don’t think labour members are anti Semitic in general but I think some are, and some are so wise to Israel’s tricks that they know all the angles which makes them sound like anti semities, be a bit tone deaf to anti semitism, and not capable of , as owen Jones puts it, chewing gum and walking at the same time i.e. opposing anti semitism and Israel’s occupation.

The problem here is that as disgusting as Israeli behavior is Hamas is still deeply anti Semitic and sure fatah aren’t better. They are also homophobic and misogynistic and reactionary beyond belief. There is a dissonance required to handle this situation and frame it in good guys and bad guys terms. That hasn’t been reconciled so the left has ended up having to accommodate or ignore some fairly odious people in the name of opposition to the occupation.

Yeah, calling Hamas out as a fascistic entity is likely in the Short term to do Israel and it’s illegal occupation a favor but the cost of silence is heavy.
Labour has learned to accommodate some fairly wrong views because otherwise you are a pro Israel anti PaLestinian but that comes at a cost. Maybe, at such a cost that you no longer recognize a elders of Zion mural as racism.

I don’t know how they square that one but they have a big job ahead of them.

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EWI - August 12, 2018

There is a dissonance required to handle this situation and frame it in good guys and bad guys terms. That hasn’t been reconciled so the left has ended up having to accommodate or ignore some fairly odious people in the name of opposition to the occupation.

I hate to have to be the one to point this out, but no real justice system in the world discriminates based on whether or not you like the person the crime is being committed against.

As for the rest of it, the Tories are not just ‘associating with’ the DUP but are actively making efforts to make decisions and implement policies pleasing to this homophobic and misogynistic and reactionary beyond belief political party.

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Barnes - August 12, 2018

So the standard is to be the same as the tories?
They do it so it’s okay when we did it.

The point about the judicial system doesn’t follow since deciding to ignore some fairly problematic aspects about a group like hamas isnt subject to any court. It seems like a redirect.

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EWI - August 12, 2018

So the standard is to be the same as the tories?
They do it so it’s okay when we did it.

There is no particular racism issue with Labour, certainly not in comparison with the Tories (of all people). This is not the same at all as saying that there is no problem that needs to be addressed in general.

The point about the judicial system doesn’t follow since deciding to ignore some fairly problematic aspects about a group like hamas isnt subject to any court. It seems like a redirect.

You’re the one who claims a get out of jail free card on Israel because you don’t like some of their representatives (who merely mirror a good chunk of Likud in what they say); I would suggest that it’s you who has the problem, and no-one else.

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Barnes - August 12, 2018

” You’re the one who claims a get out of jail free card on Israel because you don’t like some of their representatives (who merely mirror a good chunk of Likud in what they say); I would suggest that it’s you who has the problem, and no-one else.”

Come again? A get out of jail card about Israel? Mirroring Likud? Who in God’s name are mirroring Likud. If they are mirroring Likud then they are a shower of cocks but who are you talking about.

Are you saying Hamas are a shower of right wing pricks like Likud. Sure, they are .

As for it being me who has the problem with Hamas. Well who couldn’t. They are as nasty as anything in the Israeli side. Oris it only me who has a problem with what looks like a labour party obsession about bumbling through this saga. That doesn’t make sense either.

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EWI - August 12, 2018

As for it being me who has the problem with Hamas. Well who couldn’t. They are as nasty as anything in the Israeli side. Oris it only me who has a problem with what looks like a labour party obsession about bumbling through this saga. That doesn’t make sense either.

I could as just point to Lieberman, who has made comments about getting rid of all Palestinians. Please learn to distinguish between reality and fantasy. It’s the Israelis who are kicking the Palestinians right now and have been for seventy years, with hob-nailed boots on.

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Barnes - August 12, 2018

The Israelis act like savages in Gaza. They are scum bags.

You really think if we call Hamas scum bags that we are flying the flag for the IDF?
You again shift the focus to another side: Libermann – well fuc’ him too for saying that type of thing. Hamas are no better than Libermann or Likud or the dup.

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FergusD - August 12, 2018

Well the left should make plain its views on homophobia and anti-semitism to Hamas etc, but it is still right to support the Palestinian struggle for rights. And this campaign to denigrate Labour, which dominates the media in the U.K. at times, is not about Hamas etc, or about a few anti-Semitic or possibly anti-Semitic comments by Labour members. Let’s be clear about that. It is a disgusting cynical use of the charge of anti-semitism by some, mostly non-Jewish, Labour MPs for their political purposes, aided by the media. Also involved are the pro-Israel groups in the LP, JLM and LFI, which contain many of these right wing non-Jewish MPs.

However, this, largely successful, campaign to slur the BLP as endemically anti-Semitic has the potential to be self fufilling. What if The BLP loses the next election and it seen to be due to this by members and supporters? If it is anti-Semitic is deserves to lose, but I don’t believe there is evidence to support that claim.

Who is the ‘you’ you refer to in the penultimate paragraph? I never saw that mural at the time or commented on it. I think I do understand the difference between anti-semitism, anti-Zionism and anti-capitalism. Corbyn’s mistake, as I understand it, was to comment on the removal of the mural without seeing it. I think Corbyn is aware of the Jewish bankers/conspiracy crap and knows well it is crap.

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10. Barnes - August 12, 2018

So he was saying don’t remove the mural without seeing the mural?

That suggests he didn’t even ask whats it about this mural i am defending. A rather silly mistake given even Richard Spencer would have said fuck sake lads that’s over the top.

The problem with Hamas is tricky given Hamas is only acceptable because it’s resisting occupation. It’s an absolutely bigoted misogynistic and homophobic lot.bi don’t know the answer to that question.id like to see a left leaning Palestinian resistance in Gaza rather than a far right wing one but how does that happen.
But let’s call a spade a spade and lay out the problems as they are.

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Barnes - August 12, 2018

https://www.google.ie/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/mar/28/antisemitism-open-your-eyes-jeremy-corbyn-labour

The mural with the bankers and the enslaved workers upon whose backs they deal.

At the best one could say a baffling series of very stupid moves are to be observed

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EWI - August 12, 2018

The problem with Hamas is tricky given Hamas is only acceptable because it’s resisting occupation. It’s an absolutely bigoted misogynistic and homophobic lot.bi don’t know the answer to that question.id like to see a left leaning Palestinian resistance in Gaza rather than a far right wing one but how does that happen.

The PLO was a ‘left-leaning Palestinian resistance’. They were still treated as pariahs (much as SF in 1918-21) by the dictates of international realpolitik and killed with gusto by Israelis, while doubtless their militancy was lamented by inteterate hand-wringers.

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Barnes - August 12, 2018

Well, it’s a pity they are gone then. Yes, indeed they were boxed and ignored like the rest. I’m not sure what your point is though. It’s hardly that the left leaning PLO weren’t tough enough so the far right had to step up.

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EWI - August 12, 2018

Well, it’s a pity they are gone then. Yes, indeed they were boxed and ignored like the rest. I’m not sure what your point is though. It’s hardly that the left leaning PLO weren’t tough enough so the far right had to step up.

My point is that the hand-wringing is utter BS, and needs to be treated as such.

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Barnes - August 12, 2018

What do you mean by habd wringing?
People worried about Hamas being far right are just hand wringing? They should be happy that the people who are fighting the occupation are even as scummy as Likud. They may be bastards but they are our bastards?

Should not there be a bit of hand wringing about a crowd like Hamas?

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WorldbyStorm - August 12, 2018

I’d tend to agree. I don’t see why progressives and leftists need to be in the slightest bit shy about saying precisely what Hamas is. This doesn’t mean Hamas may not change, or may not be part of solutions in the future. Though they’d have to change a lot for that to seem plausible, but at this point they’re not someone I’d waste an ounce of political capital on. The PLO are an entirely different proposition – not that they’re not without significant flaws or open to critique – but quantitively they’re entirely different in their politics, orientation, etc.

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EWI - August 13, 2018

Should not there be a bit of hand wringing about a crowd like Hamas?

Great, you’ve now been successively deflected onto an irrelevant side issue for another year while the Israelis continue to kill as many Palestinians as they please, and bulldoze everything else in sight.

Tell me how you’ve achieved anything apart from political impotency from a rather transparent ploy by Israel and its friends?

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EWI - August 13, 2018

*successfully

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Barnes - August 13, 2018

Perhaps this is true.
In all these comments
on this thread what’s been most striking is how the original remark about Jew money hasn’t been called out as disgusting.

It’s been studiously ignored. Perhaps saying it was nasty would also just be furthering the Israeli agenda. Even though it’s a very small thing to say it was wrong and could be the slippery slope of undermining the labour party or giving aid to the settlers. I can’t get on board with that. I think if we ignore a fundamental problem like comments like Jew money or discrimination against women and minorities in Gaza then we are choosing a path that will have serious consequences rather than trying to figure out how to proceed. That might lead to hand wringing but the alternative is to ignore low level racism or to say women and minorities have to suck it up because there is a war on.

I think we’ve gone as far as we can with this.

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Barnes - August 13, 2018

A transparent plot by Israel and it’s friends.

Were they running the guy who was warning about Jew money?

The power, agency and deviousness of Israelis and their friends (does that Include Jews thr world over) should not be treated nas some set of mystical powers.

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WorldbyStorm - August 13, 2018

That struck me as well Barnes, Jewish money? FFS. And again the solipsism of believing that discussing something that is out there long since in the public domain somehow constitutes some sort of betrayal of… the BLP… or the Palestinians or whatever. And again, when it can all be fixed or at least ameliorated.

Quite apart from which is the incredible weight that is placed on the BLP. The expectation that it and it alone can and should bear the weight of breaking with a definition as if somehow that is going to alter matters one bit.

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Barnes - August 13, 2018

Well, just say the approach outlined in this thread is completely correct and that the concerns u and I mention are unfounded.

So, given Jewish money is something that is causing problems is it the money or the agenda they push. Well, it’s the agenda obviously. Money is a means of pushing an agenda.

So, should there not be a way of signalling whether the agenda is a Jewish one and all that implies about. What about the internet? Any thoughts ((World By Storm))?

Secondly, nobody here denies the brutality and the illegality of the war on Gaza. But what if we say instead that look at Saudi Arabia – a regressive, oppressive state which is engaged in killing children, and is currently enforcing starvation to compel surrender on an entire country. But the British media aren’t highlighting with enough emphasis that it’s British weaponry supporting them doing so. Has Sunni muslim money played a role? You have to wonder?

Ugly stuff. Is it qualitatively different?

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WorldbyStorm - August 13, 2018

“Well, just say the approach outlined in this thread is completely correct and that the concerns u and I mention are unfounded.

So, given Jewish money is something that is causing problems is it the money or the agenda they push. Well, it’s the agenda obviously. Money is a means of pushing an agenda.

So, should there not be a way of signalling whether the agenda is a Jewish one and all that implies about. What about the internet? Any thoughts ((World By Storm))?”

It’s tricky. There’s in my mind a crucial distinction to be made between Israeli government and proxies actions and policies and Jewish people (whatever their stance on the issues).

“Secondly, nobody here denies the brutality and the illegality of the war on Gaza. But what if we say instead that look at Saudi Arabia – a regressive, oppressive state which is engaged in killing children, and is currently enforcing starvation to compel surrender on an entire country. But the British media aren’t highlighting with enough emphasis that it’s British weaponry supporting them doing so. Has Sunni muslim money played a role? You have to wonder?

Ugly stuff. Is it qualitatively different?”

Again it comes back to the government of the states. Few would condone a blanket attitude to Saudi’s due to the machinations of the Royal family there and their proxies.

But I don’t see why it is impossible not to critique and criticise the Israeli government in the most trenchant terms. By the by I think that there’s a reason why Israel looms larger than Saudi not least because of links, familial, cultural to an extent, etc between the ‘west’ and Israel that don’t exist in quite the same way with Saudi. So I think that familiarity (of sorts) as well as a self-identification on the part of the Israeli state with the ‘west’ and as being part of the west means that Israel is seen as somehow less than other and this is why it is held to a different standard than say Saudi (rightly or wrongly).

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11. Barnes - August 12, 2018

Some anonymous account in Twitter has footage of JC saying being in Gaza is like being in nazi Germany in So fas as the harassment and malicious police/army abuses are concerned.

Thats not anti semitism. Thats fair description.

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FergusD - August 12, 2018

Great piece here, IMHO, by a Jewish group in Manchester:

https://mondoweiss.net/2018/08/labour-definition-semitism/

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Joe - August 13, 2018

Yep. Great piece. It says that opponents of Jez are creating a largely-mythical anti-Semitism ‘crisis’ in the Labour Party. I’d agree.
And it’s got acres and acres of print in the mass media. They, the establishment, really don’t like Jez.

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12. Daniel Rayner O'Connor - August 13, 2018

To step in, albeit tardily. The late AJP Taylor commented on the opposition to the Boer War, which was inclined to elevate the beleaguered but racist Boers as paragons of democracy, ‘They were wrong about the Boers, but [still] right about the war.’ something similar is true about the resistance to Israeli occupation and to the supporters of that resistance.

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