The latest Labour Party shenanigans show more clearly than ever that members need an opportunity to select new Parliamentary candidates, to replace the backstabbers.

Current press reports indicate that Labour will gain its largest share of the London vote in 50 years after the polling stations close on May 3.

So of course, right-wing Labour (the so-called ‘moderates’) had to try to sabotage it, didn’t they?

So we had Owen Smith’s Guardian article, deliberately contradicting party policy on Brexit in what can only be seen as a challenge to the leader’s authority. More on that in another article but, for now, suffice it to say that Mr Corbyn wasn’t having any of it and sacked Mr Smith as Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary.

The retaliation came almost instantly. It seems someone had dug up a Facebook post made by Mr Corbyn around six years ago, that could be interpreted as supporting anti-Semitism, and used it to resurrect the daft lie that the Labour leader approves of anti-Jewish sentiment. Here‘s The Guardian:

In a Facebook post in 2012, Corbyn offered his backing to Los Angeles-based street artist Mear One, whose mural, featuring several known antisemitic tropes, was due to be removed after complaints.

Mear One said on his Facebook page: “Tomorrow they want to buff my mural Freedom of Expression. London Calling, Public art.”

Corbyn replied: “Why? You are in good company. Rockerfeller [sic] destroyed Diego Viera’s [sic] mural because it includes a picture of Lenin.”

“In 2012, Jeremy was responding to concerns about the removal of public art on the grounds of freedom of speech,” said a statement released by the Labour party on Friday. “However, the mural was offensive, used antisemitic imagery, which has no place in our society, and it is right that it was removed.”

The mural, which was subsequently scrubbed off, pictured several apparently Jewish bankers playing a game of Monopoly, with their tabletop resting on the bowed naked backs of several workers.

Labour MP Luciana Berger raised the issue with Corbyn’s office after screenshots of the Facebook post emerged. She said on Friday afternoon that she was not satisfied with the statement issued by the Labour press office.

Corbyn’s office then released a second statement – shortly after announcing the sacking of the shadow Northern Ireland secretary, Owen Smith. In it, Corbyn said he had made, “a general comment about the removal of public art on grounds of freedom of speech”.

He said the case he cited, in which a mural by Mexican artist Diego Rivera in New York’s Rockefeller centre was plastered over, was “in no way comparable” with the mural in the Facebook post.

“I sincerely regret that I did not look more closely at the image I was commenting on, the contents of which are deeply disturbing and antisemitic,” he said. “The defence of free speech cannot be used as a justification for the promotion of antisemitism in any form. That is a view I’ve always held.”

So it was an honest mistake; he read the words but didn’t register the significance of the image and responded accordingly. Here’s a typical response to the criticism:

Of course his critics weren’t going to accept the common sense explanation. Perhaps the most ill-advised attack was this one:

People in glass houses, and all that; Mr Johnson is well-known for having made racist comments, as Evolve Politics made clear:

This defence is good, even against Tories who aren’t Boris Johnson:

Mr Timothy might need to rethink his comment about Tory leaders. The Conservatives have a much longer and deeper history of anti-Semitism than Labour. Consider the following list, courtesy of Dorset Eye:

1) British Brothers League. 1902. Antisemitic, anti-immigrant group formed by Captain William Stanley Shaw and Conservative MPs William Evans-Gordon and Samuel Forde-Ridley.

2) British Fascisti. First group in Britain to self-define as fascist. Stewarded and canvassed for the Conservative Party. Included Tory members like future MP Patrick Hannon.

3) Britain Union of Fascists. Major anti-semitic fascist group who regularly goose stepped through the East End chalking “Perish Judah” onto synagogues and intimidating Jews. Total fucking pricks. Donors included Conservative peers and ministers such as Wyndham Portal, Henry Drummond Wolff and W. E. Allen.

4) January Club. A front organisation for the British Union of Fascists. Included many Conservative members.

5) The Liberators. Private “Nazi army’ set up by Conservative MP for Tottenham North, Edward Doran in 1933.

6) The Link. Pro-Nazi organisation set up in 1937 with supporters including Conservative MP Sir Lambert Ward.

7) The Right Club. Far-right group set up by Conservative MP, Captain Archibald Maule Ramsay in 1939 to rid the “Conservative Party of Jewish control”.

8) The Monday Club. Conservative group founded in 1961 with strong links to the fascist National Front, more recently seen seig heiling on the streets of Dover.

9) Fast forward to 2009. David Cameron breaks with a centre-right political group in the European Parliament to form a new “anti-federalist” bloc called the European Conservatives and Reformists. The group includes the Latvian For Fatherland and Freedom party whose members regularly participate in an annual march to remember Latvian-SS Legion vets in Riga. In 2014 the group also votes to admit the far-right Danish People’s Party and the far-right True Finns, two parties riddled with islamophobes and anti-semites.

10) 2011. Bunch of Oxford toffs in the University Conservative Association sing Nazi songs at 10 grand “port and policy” night.

11) 2013. Jacob Rees-Mogg eats dinner with the extreme right Traditional Britain Group.

12) 2014. Tory MP Adian Burley enjoys a Nazi stag party

13) 2014. MP Patrick Mercer resigns after saying a female soldier looked like a ‘bloody Jew’.

14) 2015. Tory Council candidate Gulzabeen Afsal says she won’t support “the Jew” Ed Miliband.

15) 2015. Conservative party run an entire campaign using Crosby-style coded racism to describe Jewish Labour party leader Ed Miliband as a “back-stabbing” “North London” klutz that can’t eat a bacon sandwich.

Notice the mention of former Tory leader (and later comedy prime minister) David Cameron in entry number 9.

This is far more pertinent:

Correct. In fact, Labour Party members (including This Writer) have been the victims of a sustained series of false, frivolous and vexatious accusations of anti-Semitism.

Let’s just bury the accusations against Jeremy Corbyn:

That should be that. The accusations against Mr Corbyn are utterly baseless and those making the false claims are the ones who should be investigated.

But we do have an opportunity here, and Owen Jones lays out half of it:

Yes, we do have a responsibility to fight anti-Semitism – in the same way we should be fighting all forms of racism, sectarianism, or offensive discrimination.

But we also have a responsibility to fight those who would misrepresent anti-Semitism, using false accusations as a weapon to discredit their political opponents.

On the day the Sunday Times libelled me as a Holocaust denier, I had a Twitter dialogue with TV personality David Schneider, who has a lot of good ideas, even if he did go away when I pointed out that we were in agreement about pretty much everything he was saying. He has commented on the current issue as follows:

I would agree, in part. It’s a depressing day to be a Jewish member of the Labour Party with false accusations of anti-Semitism blurring the issue left, right and centre. It is easier to deny, diminish or obscure anti-Semitism when people are deliberately accusing the innocent for their own political purposes (in this case, to discredit Jeremy Corbyn and make his Labour Party unelectable).

It is vitally important to continue to point it out, explain and educate – so more people will be able to distinguish between genuine anti-Semitism and a vindictive accusation.

If the mural had featured people who weren’t Jewish among the Monopoly-playing exploiters, then it might have been at least a little more acceptable, but it didn’t. Criticisms of the images showing classically anti-Semitic depictions of Jews might fall if they were accurate depictions of the people named by the artist, but I haven’t even bothered to check because the overarching theme is the classic stereotype of the Jewish conspiracy to rule the world, exploiting everybody else, and that’s enough to condemn the image, and the artist’s intentions.

I took this test in my conversation with Mr Schneider on February 4, answering as you see above: Yes, no, yes, yes.

The accusations against me came as a result of an investigation into an incident between Israel and Palestine in 2014, and allegations of anti-Semitism against others that arose from their reactions to it – so I know that allegations of anti-Semitism are used to shut down criticisms of Israel. Even the flawed IHRA definition of anti-Semitism allows criticism of Israel, though, so, again, Mr Schneider is right to suggest that those who accuse on that basis should be shut down.

I would go further: They should be investigated, their motives questioned and, ultimately, if they are Labour members, they should be expelled from the party if their motives are found to be dishonourable.

I diverge from Mr Schneider slightly, here. Labour does admit anti-Semitism exists in the party, and does address it in a robust way. The party’s disputes panel undoubtedly has records of plenty of anti-Semites who’ve been kicked out of the party.

Labour does not “dismiss it as ‘mood music’, nor does it “sort-of-justify it by pointing out the injustices against the Palestinian people”. That’s not how the process works. Believe me, I’ve been through it once and may have to go through it again later.

The impression in the minds of people like Mr Schneider – that Labour isn’t robust in the way it tackles anti-Semitism – is entirely due to the frivolous, false accusations of anti-Semitism levelled against members like myself. Faced with a quotemined, contextless accusation that simply doesn’t stand up, disputes panel members split between those who cannot, in good conscience, condemn the accused – and those who may, sadly, have a political axe to grind.

That’s what the false accusers want. It presents a false impression of Labour being soft on anti-Semitism that simply isn’t true. But it’s handy for propaganda purposes when you want to discredit the party and its leader – which is what is being attempted now.

This ‘Handy Guide’ is very good. Most people who falsely accuse others of anti-Semitism would fall foul of the very first statement. I was accused because I wrote articles supporting people who criticised Israel, for example.

The third statement, about using the word “Rothschild” to imply “Jews”, amuses me for a very particular reason: One of the accusations against me referred to a criticism I made of Liam Byrne, that he had worked for the Rothschild banking corporation. My point was that it was incongruous for a Labour MP to have worked for an organisation that is a symbol of capitalism. Clearly my accuser was equating “Rothschild” with “Jew”; clearly that person is an anti-Semite. Right?

I include the following for clarity:

In conclusion, there is a legitimate debate to be had – but it isn’t about whether Jeremy Corbyn should be condemned over comments he made in error, six years ago.

If we’re going to discuss anti-Semitism, we need to discuss what constitutes a legitimate complaint, what doesn’t – and how to handle the false accusers.


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