Israeli Labour leader’s letter provokes more inaccuracy on anti-Semitism from The Guardian

The Israeli Labour party leader, Isaac Herzog, wrote to Jeremy Corbyn on 30 April about antisemitic remarks but has not heard back [Image: Rob Stothard/Getty Images].

The Israeli Labour party leader, Isaac Herzog, wrote to Jeremy Corbyn on 30 April about antisemitic remarks but has not heard back [Image: Rob Stothard/Getty Images].

It would certainly be a black mark on Jeremy Corbyn if it turns out he hasn’t responded to Mr Herzog’s letter.

However, the response may not be one that the leader of Israeli Labour would want, if the Graun‘s claims about what he wrote are accurate.

In case everybody has forgotten, no instances of anti-Semitism by senior Labour party officials have been proved, so it is inappropriate for Mr Herzog to be “shocked and outraged” by them.

Mr Livingstone was indeed suspended over his controversial remarks about Hitler and Zionism, but his suspension was in order to establish whether any anti-Semitism was intended or occurred anyway, and his remarks have been proved to be accurate.

Early Nazi policy did, indeed, include transporting Jews to British Mandate Palestine (the location of the current state of Israel).

Mr Herzog’s invitation for Mr Corbyn to witness that the last time Jews were forcibly transported “it was not to Israel but to their deaths” is inappropriate as Mr Livingstone was not referring to the last time Jews were forcibly transported.

It seems to This Writer that Mr Herzog was setting a trap with his letter, and Mr Corbyn wisely avoided it. Accepting the invitation would have implied acceptance of criticisms which are not supported by the facts.

The Labour leadership would have been well-advised to respond by pointing out that allegations that there was anti-Semitism in the words used by Mr Livingstone, and Naz Shah before him, will be fully explored in a forthcoming inquiry.

No guilt has been proven yet, so it would by inappropriate for Mr Corbyn to accept any invitations made on that basis.

The Graun goes on to repeat a false claim that Mr Livingstone’s LBC radio show has been cancelled because of the anti-Semitism row. There is no evidence to prove this – quite the opposite as his co-host, David Mellor, has also been dropped by the station, suggesting that this decision would have happened in any case.

There is an attempt at providing balance in the notification that a Labour activist, Jackie Walker, has been cleared of anti-Semitism after she had allegedly written about “the African holocaust” and Jews as “chief financiers of the sugar and slave trade”.

This Writer does not have enough knowledge about the subject matter to provide educated comments, but it seems clear that whatever she wrote was found to have been accurate.

She is, of course, absolutely right to denounce her suspension as an attack on free speech, the right of everybody in the UK to speak “openly and frankly about matters of grave political and historical importance”, and to claim that her suspension was “the lowest form of ‘attack politics'”.

Free speech is indeed the issue here. Nobody should be allowed to rewrite history – including Isaac Herzog.

Jeremy Corbyn faced fresh criticism over his handling of antisemitism allegations after Labour’s sister party in Israel said it had had no reply to a letter its leader sent to him a month ago expressing dismay and inviting him to Jerusalem to see the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum.

Labour MPs said they were shocked that no response had apparently been sent and added that it was further evidence of the party leadership’s slow and inadequate response to the crisis.

After Ken Livingstone was suspended from the Labour party at the end of April for making highly controversial remarks about Hitler and Zionism, Isaac Herzog, leader of the Israeli Labour party, wrote to Corbyn, saying he was “appalled and outraged by the recent instances of anti-semitism by senior Labour party officials in the United Kingdom”.

Livingstone said on the Vanessa Feltz Show on Radio London last month: “When Hitler won his election in 1932, his policy then was that Jews should be moved to Israel.” Corbyn was forced to suspend his ally for the remarks.

Herzog invited Corbyn to bring a delegation to Yad Vashem to witness that the last time the Jews were forcibly transported “it was not to Israel but to their deaths”. An Israeli Labour party official confirmed that it had “not had a reply” after rumours circulated in the Jewish community in London that no response had been received in Jerusalem or issued from London.

Now it has emerged that Livingstone’s Saturday morning radio show has been dropped by LBC in the wake of the controversy. He had presented the politics show for eight years with David Mellor. LBC, which is owned by Global Radio, the UK’s largest commercial radio operator, decided not to renew the contracts of both presenters.

Source: Jeremy Corbyn ‘failed to reply’ to Israeli Labour on fears of antisemitism | Politics | The Guardian


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5 thoughts on “Israeli Labour leader’s letter provokes more inaccuracy on anti-Semitism from The Guardian

  1. grahamstocks

    It seems to me that just about everyone is studiously avoiding mention of the Haavara Agreement, which Mr. Livingstone mentioned purely as a matter of historical fact – that’s all. This Agreement was struck between the Nazi Party and German Zionists. Non-Zionist German Jewish people weren’t generally in favour of this and Hitler himself was reported as being ambivalent in this matter at the time. This was prior to the outbreak of WWII.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Correct. I covered this very thoroughly when the row first erupted and will produce a book, or booklet, on the subject very soon.

  2. Steven E James

    Parents obviously don’t read the Aesop Fables to their kids these days at bedtime.
    Too many newspaper reports these days are no more than “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” articles aimed at distracting people from the real important matters.

  3. mohandeer

    “Nobody should be allowed to rewrite history – including Isaac Herzog.”
    This is yet another attempt by Israel to conflate anti apartheid and Human Rights issues with anti Jewish sentiments. The two are unrelated as all right wingers and zionists know. Free speech should not be attacked simply to appease a hostile government’s discrimination against a religious ethnic sect of the population whose lands they have forcibly occupied. One of the saddest indictments against the Israeli government is the recent announcement made by BT’Selem – a Jewish Human Rights group who report on violations in the occupied territories of Palestine – that they will no longer co-operate with the government because in their words, why give the Israeli government a gun to shoot them(Palestinians) again with. If Herzog thinks that those of us who concern ourselves with the atrocities Israel is committing against Palestinians, will care one bit whether he is “outraged” and we will all suddenly desist from our attempts to stop the Human Rights violations, he has his head screwed on back to front. If anything, it will serve to strengthen our resolve in what is blatantly another attempt at bullying (something Israel excels at).

Comments are closed.