This information is from Dan Hodges of the Mail, so I advise you to take it with a pinch of salt.
He says Labour Party representatives are already trying to justify their loss of the Batley & Spen by-election, even though it hasn’t happened yet.
And they’re doing it with rampant Islamophobia:
‘We’re haemorrhaging votes among Muslim voters,’ one senior Labour official tells me, ‘and the reason for that is what Keir has been doing on antisemitism. Nobody really wants to talk about it, but that’s the main factor. He challenged Corbyn on it, and there’s been a backlash among certain sections of the community.’
Remember the old saying that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”? By that token, Hodges is saying that his Labour official told him Muslims (or at least those who live in Batley & Spen) are all anti-Semites.
That is a viciously Islamophobic attitude.
Hodges goes further by saying he received a WhatsApp message (he doesn’t name the source) circulating among Muslim groups, listing five reasons not to support Labour’s candidate, Kim Leadbeater. One of them is this:
‘Her party leader Keir Starmer is pro-Israel and pro-Zionist. He needs to get a clear message in Batley and Spen.’
If this is being used as justification for the claim that all Muslims in the constituency are anti-Semites, then it is thin gruel.
Starmer is pro-Israel and pro-Zionist. Neither of those statements are anti-Semitic, for obvious reasons (not all Jews are Israelis; not all Jews are Zionists; and obviously a person can be pro-Israel and pro-Zionist without being Jewish). And just because a message is distributed around some Muslims, that doesn’t mean all Muslims agree with it.
It doesn’t even mean all Muslims who received the message agree with it.
In fact, Muslims in the constituency have many problems with current Labour policies but it seems the party doesn’t want to engage with those. Why should it, when it can simply tar all local Muslims as anti-Semites?
In doing so, of course, Labour would be taking a leaf out of the Israeli government’s handbook – where every criticism is attacked as anti-Semitic, no matter what it is.
Labour’s own institutional Islamophobia is discussed in a useful Skwawkbox article that states:
Labour’s contempt for Muslim voters and the Islamophobia deeply ingrained in the party’s right have long been obvious – and were condemned last year by a Labour Muslim Network (LMN) report.
Long before that, the party reacted to a recording of vile Islamophobic abuse against a left-wing Muslim member – by protecting the perpetrator and suspending the victim. For more than three years, with the process of expelling him ongoing.
And just after the publication of the LMN report, the party suspended a member of its National Executive Committee (NEC) of Moroccan Muslim heritage – for a statement of solidarity with Palestinians.
Acting general secretary David Evans claimed the party would implement the report’s recommendations in full – but … that has been exposed as nothing but lip service.
The LMN report was damning. As This Site reported last November, it found a whopping one-third of people of their ethnicity have witnessed Islamophobia within the party.
Worse, 44 per cent said they do not believe the party takes Islamophobia seriously and 48 per cent have lost confidence in the party’s complaints structures, according to the Labour Muslim Network investigation.
And worst of all, 59 per cent of Muslims surveyed said they did not feel well represented by the party.
In response, I wrote, “the party leadership that ignores the persecution of Palestine has made a perfunctory comment, promising to implement the report’s recommendations in a not-very-sincere way.
“The wording is cut-and-pasted from press releases about anti-Semitism and both Starmer and his deputy Angela Rayner come across as not having thought about this as a serious issue at all.”
Their promise to implement the report’s recommendations appears to have been nothing but hot air.
There is a very clear conclusion to draw from all this.
While the words of Dan Hodges may be questionable, his article has highlighted institutional Islamophobia in the Labour Party.
Both Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner were made aware of it and rather than take action they have sat on their thumbs.
If Labour loses Batley & Spen because the Muslim vote moves elsewhere, they will only have themselves to blame.
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