Umunna’s ‘call off the dogs’ demand is hugely offensive to both Jews and Labour Party members

Was Chuka Umunna trying to be as offensive as possible to the largest number of people in his latest speech?

Why did he think it was appropriate to characterise Labour Party members as “dogs” while bemoaning the motions of ‘no confidence’ called against Labour Friends of Israel chairperson Joan Ryan and Gavin Shuker, both of whom had attacked party leader Jeremy Corbyn over the anti-Semitism row?

According to BBC News: “Labour MP Chuka Umunna has accused leader Jeremy Corbyn of driving centre-left MPs like himself out of the party.

“The MP … urged Mr Corbyn to “call off the dogs”.

“In a speech to the Blairite campaign group Progress, the former frontbencher said MPs were being targeted for standing up for zero tolerance of racism.

“He said: “My message to our leadership: it is within your power to stop this, so call off the dogs and get on with what my constituency, one of the most diverse communities in the nation, demands we do – without equivocation, fight this Tory Brexit.”

It is not credible to think that he does not know that characterising human beings as “dogs” is dehumanising behaviour, designed to strip people of their dignity – as European Jews discovered during the 1930s and 40s, when the Nazis in Germany called them “vermin”.

Nobody would suggest that Mr Umunna wants to exterminate opponents of Labour MPs who seem more interested in supporting the interests of the Israeli government than their own party and people, but it is clear that this is an exercise in “othering” – making perfectly legitimate members of the Labour Party appear to be enemies.

The word has also been used as a slur against Labour left-wingers, who have also been described as “Trots” (Trotskyists) – as Joan Ryan did in a tweet after she lost her own ‘no confidence’ vote – and “rabble”.

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell condemned Mr Umunna’s words as “unacceptable” –

– and he is absolutely right.

Already, social media colleague Martin Odoni has created a template letter of complaint to be submitted to the Labour Party. You can find it here.

Mr Umunna has tried to strike a more reasonable note on Twitter – and failed:

For example, Mr Umunna’s claims about Labour’s left are further undermined by the facts about Joan Ryan, who faced deselection attempts in 2015 – before Jeremy Corbyn became Labour Party leader and the anti-Semitism row was manufactured as a stick with which to beat him:

Check out the other responses:

Oh – and this turned up as a response to Joan Ryan’s ‘no confidence’ vote: Owen Smith tweeted that the Iranian channel Press TV was live-streaming Labour Party meetings as part of a propaganda campaign… against Israel.

How interesting.

Of course, the ‘no confidence’ vote was partly triggered by allegations that Ms Ryan has been using her position as chair of Labour Friends of Israel in the interests of the current Israeli government.

That last point about whether Mr Smith was equally outraged when a fellow Labour NEC member recorded Peter Willsman speaking on anti-Semitism accusations is excellent. This is all about double-standards.

After all, Mr Umunna was displaying his own double-standard when he dehumanised left-wing Labour members using language that he would never have employed if he had been referring to Jews.

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6 thoughts on “Umunna’s ‘call off the dogs’ demand is hugely offensive to both Jews and Labour Party members

  1. Zippi

    Och, the hypocrisy! Systematic targeting… that sounds like the attempts to get rid of our democratically elected leader, Mr. Umunna. Perhaps, if you don’t like democracy, you should move to a dictatorship. There’s a name for people who claim victimhood, when they’re the bullies but I can’t remember what it is. Disingenuous, at any rate. This man wouldn’t know the truth if it ran up to him, wearing a t-shirt that says “I am the truth,” whilst shouting, “I am the truth” and poked him in the eye! Put it this way, based on the evidence of his observations, he’d make an appalling witness in court.

  2. Jeffrey Davies

    centre-left ouch he’s more right than a lot of tories how quaint is chucka outer the better then he can cross the floor jeff3

  3. Allan Howard

    The implication of what he said – and putting aside the use of such a derogatory term as “dogs” – is that Jeremy Corbyn was behind the decision by local party members to table such a motion and, as such, put them up to it. And it simultaneously implies that – having done THAT – he can “call off” OTHER “dogs” in OTHER CLPs from doing the same if he wants to. And given the widespread media coverage that HE and his fellow plotters knew it would get, it was no doubt concocted and designed to deter other party members from tabling such a motion against their local MP – ie MPs who have conspired to sabotage Jeremy’s leadership AND demonise him and the left (as anti-semites and bullys and thugs etc, etc) during the course of the past three years or more.

    1. Zippi

      That much, we know. Jeremy Corbyn cannot do anything without somebody in that camp accusing him of some crime against humanity. These people were well aware that the membership would not appreciate what they were doing and were bound to call for their reselection; cue Mr. Umunna et al, to blame Mr. Corbyn. What so you sow so shall you reap. Judge a man by his works. Mr. Umunna, what have you done? How will your constituents judge you?

    2. Allan Howard

      Insinuating, as Umunna DOES, that JC put local party members up to tabling a motion of no confidence in their local MP – ie that JC and they were complicit in a conspiracy to table such a motion – is NOT only a slur against Jeremy himself, but also a slur of the LP members who tabled the motion. And THIS aspect of it should be included in any complaint made to the LP about Umunna. And perhaps those members should seek legal advice to determine if they have grounds for taking legal action against Umunna for defamation (and crowdfund to finance such an action if they HAVE).

  4. Pam

    I really hope Chuka’s constituency will do the right thing and deselect him…he doesn’t seem to understand that its the people who vote Labour that keeps him in his job.

Comments are closed.