These newspapers are tying themselves in knots over Jeremy Corbyn

Last Updated: March 2, 2023By Tags: , , , , ,

Jeremy Corbyn, writing about Jews including Roza Robota, Szmul Zygielbojm and Anne Frank, in the Holocaust Educational Trust’s book of remembrance.

What has been going on over at The Graun and Observer?

First Sonia Sodha wrote an almost fact-free article suggesting that Keir Starmer was right to say Jeremy Corbyn would not be allowed to stand as a Labour candidate in general elections again, as if Mr Corbyn was somehow responsible for the plethora of (mostly false) accusations of anti-Semitism against the party during his time as leader.

Then The Guardian ran an editorial that was pro-Corbyn.

And then the letters came in – from the usual suspects. The Graun ran a few of them on its letters page.

“It is simply neither sufficient or even accurate to say, as you do, that ‘Mr Corbyn has a formidable record fighting against racism and in speaking up for many persecuted peoples, but in this case he was too slow and too defensive. To show how much better he was than some of his critics allowed, he should have tried harder to engage with their criticisms,'” wrote crossbench Baroness and Rabbi Julia Neuberger.

“The truth is that he was not slow or defensive. He simply did not act. He failed to engage with those who pointed out how toxic the party had become for Jews. He consistently failed to accord antisemitism the status of racism – which it undoubtedly is. He has been selective in those causes he has taken up – and rising antisemitism, including within his own party, apparently was not worth worrying about. Meanwhile, due to his inaction and failure to understand, he made absolutely miserable the lives of several Jewish MPs in his own party. To name but a few, Louise Ellman, Luciana Berger, Margaret Hodge and Ruth Smeeth all had a terrible time and had to put up with the vilest of hate campaigns on social media. Some even left the party.”

None of the immediately preceding paragraph is true. Mr Corbyn did act. He launched a strategy to handle anti-Semitism in 2016 – but due to the reluctance of right-wingers in the party machine, had to wait until his choice of general secretary, Jennie Formby, was installed in 2018 before he could see it put fully into practice. He never denied anti-Semitism within the Labour Party – in fact he accorded it a great deal of importance. And if the named ladies suffered hate campaigns, how many of them were brought on because they had fabricated accusations of anti-Semitism? One example would be Luciana Berger’s claims against Liverpool Riverside CLP; she has yet to provide any evidence of anti-Semitism by any member of that organisation (to my knowledge).

Simon Sebag Montefiore wrote: “It is extraordinary that the Guardian should devote a formal editorial to defending Jeremy Corbyn only three years after his toxic crankery led to the unprecedented shame of an Equality and Human Rights Commission investigation into racism in the Labour party – and a Tory landslide.” His toxic crankery? The EHRC found that efforts to improve Labour’s response to anti-Semitism allegations had been hampered by right-wing factionalists (and did improve after Ms Formby because gensec)… and wasn’t that Tory landscape more to do with Labour’s policy on Brexit – that had been written by a rising shadow minister called Keir Starmer?

He continued: “To suggest his sole fault was that he was ‘too slow and too defensive’ would be laughable if it was not so deliberately dishonest.” I don’t know about deliberate dishonesty but it is mistaken. I’ve already mentioned the reason the Labour Party had been slow to take up Corbyn’s plan to better-handle accusations. As for defensiveness – unless I’m mistaken, several people directly accused Mr Corbyn of anti-Semitism. As he was and remains a lifelong campaigner against discrimination of any kind, it’s possible that he had a right to act defensively.

There was more of the same from Karen Pollock of the Holocaust Educational Trust and Mike Katz of the Jewish Labour Movement (which you don’t have to be either Jewish or a member of Labour to join, unlike Jewish Voice for Labour which, we’re told, is occupied by the wrong kind of Jew – whatever that means).

Only Glyn Turton of Baildon, West Yorkshire – who is not, apparently, a peer or a member of a campaigning organisation – was shown standing up for the former Labour leader.

Even then, the support was lukewarm. “One can surely ask more of Labour than to use up so much political capital in defining itself in opposition to its own past,” he wrote. “There is a graver threat to the country than the political ghost of Corbyn. It is the party currently in office that has brought this nation to the brink of ruin.”

Fortunately for balance, a couple of days later, Jewish barrister Geoffrey Bindman KC, chair of the British Institute of Human Rights and former legal adviser to the Commission for Racial Equality, appeared in the Graun letters page with a more substantial defence:

Here’s a video clip of him saying much the same as he stated above; that from 220 complaints the EHRC could find only two cases of unlawful conduct by people labelled as Labour Party agents – both of whom are challenging the findings in the High Court, that the findings of interference by the party leadership have been questioned in the Forde report, and that the party’s inadequate training of its staff was not a failing of Mr Corbyn:

And then former Labour MP Chris Mullin stepped into the fray to point out that, under Labour rules, Mr Corbyn is fully entitled to put himself forward as a candidate to stand for Islington North Labour at the next election:

So: Keir Starmer was wrong. Mr Corbyn’s detractors were wrong. And it seems Mr Corbyn and his supporters are right. Again.

Source: Do not forget Jeremy Corbyn’s failure on antisemitism | Labour | The Guardian

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  1. Martyn Meacham March 2, 2023 at 3:57 pm - Reply

    I just wish that Jeremy Corbyn would take the liars, slanderers and defamers to court and do them for every penny!

  2. John Smith March 2, 2023 at 6:52 pm - Reply

    “He launched a strategy to handle anti-Semitism in 2016 – but due to the reluctance of right-wingers in the party machine, had to wait until his choice of general secretary, Jennie Formby, was installed in 2018 before he could see it put fully into practice.”

    What? Please make this make sense. Why did he need a general secretary of his choice to be able to fight antisemitism? I don’t think you’re genuinely engaging the criticism of your detractors as they would argue he just did that so he could have the general secretary do his bidding and bury the notion of antisemitism in the party. Additionally what did the EHRC report say in regards to this? Your ambiguity and lack of clarity around this topic only comes off as you making a disingenuous argument.

    • Mike Sivier March 2, 2023 at 7:32 pm - Reply

      The previous general secretary, along with the disciplinary team at the time, were all right-wingers within the Labour Party and didn’t like Mr Corbyn, so they did everything they could to slow down the processes that he brought in. The EHRC noted that progress with A/S complaints became much faster after Jennie Formby became general secretary and it is now widely accepted that this was the reason; she made sure these processes went into practice after her forerunner didn’t.

      These facts are common knowledge. I wonder how it is that you’re not aware of them, “John Smith”.

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