This Writer is not a huge fan of Jeremy Corbyn’s Guardian article, replying to last week’s accusations of anti-Semitism – but it did perform a useful service in encouraging some of the real villains of this affair to reveal themselves.
Ignoring what should be welcome announcements in the piece, people like Jewish Chronicle editor Stephen Pollard attacked Mr Corbyn because the Guardian released the article at 5.30pm yesterday (Friday, August 3) – only three hours before the start of the Jewish sabbath. The claim was that this would leave Jewish people struggling to respond, as they are not allowed to use phones or travel during their holy day.
Unfortunately, Mr Pollard seemed to have forgotten that he himself tweeted a link to an article on this subject – Jonathan Freedland’s silly smear piece last weekend – at 7.57pm on Friday, July 27, less than an hour before that week’s sabbath was due to begin. What about the response from Jewish people to that?
Skwawkbox has more details. Visit the article here.
The attack on Mr Corbyn’s article is indicative of the bad faith in which his critics operate. Also known to have complained are Labour’s Blairite faction, Progress.
Personally, I cannot understand why. In many ways, his article shows him caving in to their demands.
“I do acknowledge there is a real problem that Labour is working to overcome. And I accept that, if any part of our national community feels threatened, anxious or vulnerable, not only must that be taken at face value but we must all ensure those fears are put to rest,” he wrote, completely failing to acknowledge what is really happening.
If anybody has a right to feel threatened, anxious or vulnerable, it is members of the Labour Party who wish – for example – to criticise the Israeli government’s military persecution of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank. Such people have attracted nonsense accusations of anti-Semitism from loud-voiced and influential organisations including the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the Community Safety Trust, the Jewish Leadership Council, the Campaign Against Antisemitism, Labour Friends of Israel, the Jewish Labour Movement, Progress, the Jewish Chronicle, Jewish Telegraph and Jewish News.
You will notice that these are all either Conservative-led organisations, representatives of right-wing Labour, or supporters of the Israeli government’s aggressive Zionism that seeks to expel Arabs from anywhere within what they see as the historic borders of Israel, rather than the land they were gifted by the United Nations back in 1948.
Also in the firing line are those who use reasoned arguments to defend people who have been accused of anti-Semitism for speaking out against this tyranny.
I fall into this category. I was accused in May last year and am still going through Labour’s long-winded and biased disciplinary process that ignores the fundamental principles of British justice by assuming that anybody who is accused must be guilty and demanding that they prove their innocence, rather than the other way around.
It is because Labour’s process runs contrary to natural justice that I am crowdfunding for legal action in the courts. Please visit my JustGiving site if you can help.
“We were too slow in processing disciplinary cases of antisemitic abuse, mostly online, by party members,” wrote Mr Corbyn. “And we haven’t done enough to foster deeper understanding of antisemitism among members. So we are developing an education and training programme throughout the party.” Run by whom? The Jewish Labour Movement that engages in entrapment of Labour Party members (think of Jackie Walker), and that has deep ties with the Israeli government, one of whose representatives was caught conspiring to undermine the UK government early last year (Shai Masot)?
If I recall correctly, Mr Masot stated very clearly that his government was helping UK-based organisations to build cases against people in the UK that it wanted to target for political reasons. None of the groups he mentioned – or that have been implicated since – have faced any kind of investigation by the Labour Party, to the best of my knowledge. Why not?
It is because Labour relies on those who make false accusations of anti-Semitism to police the party against this offence that I am crowdfunding for legal action in the courts. Here’s the link to my JustGiving site again.
“Cases are now being dealt with much faster. High-profile cases have almost all been resolved,” wrote Mr Corbyn. Mine hasn’t!
“Denying the continuing problem doesn’t help. Labour staff have seen examples of Holocaust denial, crude stereotypes of Jewish bankers, conspiracy theories blaming 9/11 on Israel, and even one individual who appeared to believe that Hitler had been misunderstood,” he continued. I wonder how many of those were genuine cases. Remember, Labour currently assumes each defendant is guilty, unless and until they can prove themselves innocent. And how many have been accused, but have not yet had a chance to defend themselves? Think of the two councillors whose cases Luciana Berger prejudiced by using them as examples of proved anti-Semitism in the party last week. When will she face disciplinary action and why has her party membership not been suspended for prejudicing an investigation?
Or have I just explained the reason: Labour assumes every defendant must be guilty, just because they have been accused?
“Our party must never be a home for such people, and never will be. People who dish out antisemitic poison need to understand: you do not do it in my name. You are not my supporters and have no place in our movement,” wrote Mr Corbyn. And he is right – genuine anti-Semites should be expelled from the Labour Party, and there are certainly examples of it, as any member of the party’s National Executive Committee can affirm.
Nor should the Labour Party be a home for those who would falsely accuse their political opponents in order to have them expelled under false pretences. Mr Corbyn and the party must acknowledge, not only that this happens, but that those who engage in such abuses must also be punished.
And he cannot deny that such false accusations take place. Only last week, he was accused of anti-Semitic behaviour in three different ways. The Campaign Against Antisemitism directly accused him in a complaint to the party – and got short shrift from a spokesman who said, “False and partisan attacks like this undermine the fight against anti-Semitism.”
Mr Corbyn should ask himself why he should get the benefit of the doubt while he presides over a party that assumes rank-and-file members must be guilty.
Don’t get me wrong; there is much to be praised in Mr Corbyn’s article.
He wrote: “I do not for one moment accept that a Labour government would represent any kind of threat, let alone an ‘existential threat’, to Jewish life in Britain, as three Jewish newspapers recently claimed. That is the kind of overheated rhetoric that can surface during emotional political debates.”
And he stated: “The far right is on the rise across Europe and North America. Antisemitism is being given free rein by nationalists in Hungary and Poland. And Tommy Robinson supporters are giving Nazi salutes on the streets of London, threatening black, Muslim and Jewish communities alike. That is a clear and present danger.”
Correct. It is a danger that is being stoked by the false accusations of anti-Semitism against prominent anti-racism, pro-peace activists in the Labour Party.
That is why Mr Corbyn must reintroduce fairness into Labour’s disciplinary system and penalise not only the guilty, but also the vicious liars who falsely accuse the innocent.
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