It seems Labour’s Richard Burgon lied about saying Zionism was “the enemy of peace”. Does anybody blame him?
An investigative journalist called Iggy Ostanin put the evidence together in this tweet:
Exclusive: Richard Burgon repeatedly lied to @afneil when he denied saying “Zionism is the enemy of peace”. He said over and over that he wouldn’t have said that because it’s not his view. This video I discovered shows him saying just that in 2014. Watch the whole thing. pic.twitter.com/RRW1M6yxzz
— Iggy Ostanin (@magnitsky) April 16, 2019
Shame on him for lying about it – but, as I say, does anybody blame him?
The Labour Party is currently in the grip of a witch-hunt in which anybody accused of anti-Semitism is immediately condemned as guilty without trial – unless they are themselves members of the witch-hunt, or are high up in the Labour hierarchy. We’ve all seen evidence of it; we know it to be correct. Right?
Zionism itself is just an ethno-political ideology. It relates to Jewish people but you don’t have to be a Jew to be a Zionist. In its current iteration is it extremely unpleasant as it supports the theft of Palestinian land and the brutalisation of Palestinian people.
This is in opposition of Labour Party policy, of course. Labour claims to support the right of all peoples to self-determination. In practice, this seems to apply only to the Jewish people in Israel. Palestinians are routinely denied that right in the name of – guess what? Zionism.
The Jewish Labour Movement was formerly Poale Zion – “Workers of Zion” – and still identifies itself as a Zionist organisation (although the Labour Party tried to deny this when I was accused of anti-Semitism and dismissed from the party. The charge didn’t stick because it was false, but I was expelled anyway). Non-Zionists are not welcome there.
Labour Friends of Israel is a group within the party that specifically states that it supports the current Israeli government in its policies of hatred towards Palestinians, motivated by – guess what? Zionism. So it is understandable that Mr Burgon would say what he did about that organisation, and about Zionism, in the video that Mr Ostonin found.
Zionism is, of course, mixed with Judaism by the witch-hunters – falsely.
And in that atmosphere of hatred and ostracism of anyone who dares to question these false links between Zionism, Judaism and, yes, Israel, is it any wonder that Mr Burgon, confronted with this accusation by Andrew Neil on a BBC politics programme, denied it?
That’s why I tweeted this to Mr Ostanin: “Of course, Zionism is an ethno-nationalist political ideology and it could be argued that it is causing much of the harm between Israel and Palestine now. I would suggest that he denied saying it in fear of the witch hunt that falsely equates Zionism with Judaism.”
I followed it up with this: “So my question is, are you trying to suggest that Mr Burgon is an anti-Semite? Or are you trying to suggest that he was afraid of the witch-hunters? In the first instance I would suggest you were making a false accusation. In the second, wouldn’t you be?”
There’s been no reply at the time of writing. People like Mr Ostanin seem content to cause mischief but are unwilling to stick around and justify it.
If he thought he’d stir up anti-Burgon sentiment, he’s had a nasty shock:
Zionism = an ethno-nationalist political ideology.
Judaism = a religious/cultural identity.
Anyone attempting to convince you otherwise *is* engaging in antisemitism (and intellectual laziness, frankly) https://t.co/t0oB7mmWwb
— Kerry-Anne Mendoza 🏳️🌈🏴 (@TheMendozaWoman) April 16, 2019
If Zionism means stealing illegally vast swathes of Palestinian land & shooting them dead for protesting, then yeah, Richard Burgon is indeed correct.
Zionism is most certainly the enemy of peace!
— True Labour (@EnjoyFascism) April 16, 2019
Leading Israeli historian Benny Morris wrote that ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians was "inevitable and inbuilt in Zionism". Burgon said "Zionism" is "the enemy of the Palestinian people". Should Burgon have described the Palestinians' ethnic cleansers as their friends?
— JamieSW (@jsternweiner) April 16, 2019
If I was a Palestinian farmer who had been kicked off his land to make way for Jewish settlers from Albuquerque, I'd probably call Zionism the enemy of peace too. In fact, I'd call it what it is: fascism. #IStandWithRichardBurgon
— Frank Owen's Legendary Paintbrush (@WarmongerHodges) April 16, 2019
Perhaps we should all do that. How would the witch-hunters like to be equated with fascists?