The two faces of Ed Miliband are revealed by the Rebecca Long-Bailey row

Ed Miliband has claimed his boss Keir Starmer was right to sack Rebecca Long-Bailey – while also claiming the party isn’t purging itself of left-wingers.

The two claims are incompatible. Long-Bailey was the continuity left-wing candidate in the party’s recent leadership election and Starmer has used a flimsy excuse related to anti-Semitism to sack her.

Many other left-wingers are either being suspended for the same flimsy reason or have already been expelled (like This Writer) – but Miliband is insisting that there is no purge.

He has just incinerated any credibility he had left. Nobody should believe a word of it.

Look at this nonsense:

Miliband, the shadow business secretary and a former party leader, said Long-Bailey was a decent person and not antisemitic but that Starmer was right to sack her.

The reason the Maxine Peake interview was a problem “is not that it had a criticism of the state of Israel. I’m a big critic of what the Israeli government has done on a number of occasions. It was that it was a false criticism of the state of Israel, or rather the Israeli Defence Force, linked to the death of George Floyd, wrongly, saying that somehow tactics that killed George Floyd were linked to the Israelis,” Miliband told the BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show.

“The problem is that over the centuries when calamitous things have happened, Jews have been blamed. That’s why there’s an antisemitism issue in relation to this and that’s why I believe Keir took the right decision. I think she made a significant error of judgment.”

Notice the wording: “When calamitous things have happened, Jews have been blamed.” Not “Jews have been wrongly blamed”.

It would be anti-Semitic to blame Jews – in this case, Jewish people working for the Israeli police or military – for something they haven’t done.

But we know that police from many US states have been trained by the Israeli police and/or military. And we have photographic evidence of the Israeli police/military – well, see for yourself:

Choke hold: Israeli armed forces using the same ‘knee on neck’ technique that was used to kill George Floyd. But we’re being asked to believe Israel never taught that technique to US police and it is anti-Semitic to suggest that one country’s armed forces could teach such techniques to another’s police.

It is in the face of this evidence that the Israeli authorities – not the Jews – are claiming their forces don’t teach these methods to US police.

It is not a credible position, therefore neither is Miliband’s.

So his other claim – that left-wingers in the Labour Party aren’t being subjected to a purge – must also fall. He said on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show:

Allies of Ms Long-Bailey who have criticised her sacking – such as former shadow chancellor John McDonnell and ex-party chair Ian Lavery – would not be disciplined for doing so.

He dismissed concerns expressed by some on the left of the party that this was a prelude to a further distancing from the Jeremy Corbyn-era and that legitimate criticism of Israel would be frowned upon.

“I heard something… about how Keir wants to purge these people. He is not about purges. He wants to change the country by not having the Labour Party mired in issues which, frankly, provide a stain on us. Keir took very strong action [against Ms Long-Bailey] and now we need to move on and deal with the issues of anti-Semitism we face.”

This Writer doesn’t believe that for a moment.

By sacking Long-Bailey and forcing left-wingers to reconsider whether they have a future in the Labour Party, he has plunged Labour even deeper into the mire.

He has not proved that criticism of Israel over this issue is not legitimate. All the evidence suggests that it has a very strong factual basis but Starmer seems determined to put his hands over his ears, shut his eyes, shake his head and mutter, “No, no, no,” like a petulant schoolboy whenever anybody tries to point this out. I have no doubt that Miliband will do the same.

It is this attitude that worsens Labour’s position. In refusing to take serious issues seriously, the party makes a mockery of its own position on anti-Semitism; how can it take a firm stand on the issue if it can’t accept the difference between anti-Semitism and justified criticism of a foreign government?

Left-wingers – including many who have not yet been smeared with accusations of anti-Semitism that are based on Labour’s bizarre misinterpretation – are quitting the party in large numbers, or seriously considering it, because of this pig-headed idiocy.

If there is a stain on the party, it is on Starmer and – despite his own Jewish heritage – Miliband.

They could put a stop to it by admitting their fault, accepting that Israel does have a prima facie case to answer (even though we may never have accurate facts because it is in that government’s interests to lie if its forces have been providing the disputed training), and resetting their claims about anti-Semitism to fall in line with accepted definitions of it.

But they won’t. They simply aren’t mature enough.

Source: Ed Miliband: Starmer was right to sack Rebecca Long-Bailey | Politics | The Guardian

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  1. Andy Carter June 29, 2020 at 1:08 pm - Reply

    Hi Mike,

    Just one small clarification. I know that US police have been trained in Israel and that both US and Israeli police have used ‘knee on neck’ restraints, but is there any evidence this is one of the things taught in the training sessions?

    I’m not saying any of your other assertions are wrong, but this one seems somewhat dangerous until such evidence is produced.

    Best wishes

    • Mike Sivier June 29, 2020 at 11:42 pm - Reply

      Of course the Israeli authorities have denied that it is taught. They would, wouldn’t they? But if it isn’t taught, and if it isn’t in any Israeli military/police handbook, why have they been seen to use it indiscriminately across occupied Palestine? Read this article for just a few examples:

      Perhaps you would not agree that a programme teaching police in the US about procedures used by police in Israel might actually include a procedure that clearly is used by police in Israel, but I think you would be in a minority if you took that position.

      • Andrew Carter June 30, 2020 at 9:11 am - Reply

        Well, in your article you assert to be true that Israeli training of US police included ‘knee on neck’ restraints. However, in your reply to me you concede that actually it might be the case.

        That is the point I was trying to make. Given the already existing verifiable evidence, why assert something unproven? Surely it would have been better to use the word ‘might’ in the article, and let your (largely sensible) readership draw their own conclusions, rather than inviting criticism for inaccuracy?

        I completely agree with the point you are making but this is, as you know, a delicate topic.

        • Mike Sivier August 4, 2021 at 12:46 pm - Reply

          I didn’t concede anything. I said that the evidence suggested you were wrong in your claim.

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