It’s correct only in the limited sense that Hitler did negotiate to expel Jews to Palestine to form a Jewish state, likewise he considered such a state in Madagascar. But you’re right - it’s not correct in any sense, other than through some stupid technicality.
Livingstone’s tone and actions afterwards are not proof of anything other than Livingstone’s general stubborn and belligerent tone and actions. Tone is not any way enough to condemn someone of anti-Semitism. You need actual words, which state or imply it over time, or demonstrated through policies etc.
To the best of my knowledge, Ken Livingstone as London Mayor had a strong history of supporting the Jewish community. The problem for Ken is that at some point he developed a deep dislike for Israel, and therein lies the root of the problem.
I’m willing to accept that there is anti-Semitism within the Labour Party, but it must be low numbers, and probably less than in the Conservative Party which has a long, long history of demonstrable racism.
On balance, it’s weaponised anti-Semitism because those who frame the narrative don’t want a socialist government.
BTW - I think Ken Livingstone was defending Jackie Walker, who had just been expelled for anti-Semitism, and she was Jewish and Black.
The thing is these days people are starting to conflate fair critic of Israel as anti semitism. Going as far as saying saying to disagree with they actions and the way the country is anti semitism. So is critiquing Mugabe and Zimbabwe anti black and racist? Its got to the point when they say someone is anti Semitic I want evidence first which you hardly ever get
I think it was Naz Shah wasn’t it, who had re-tweeted anti-Israeli tweets during the genocide/ethnic cleansing in Gaza. One of the Shah’s tweets the anti-semitism crowd jumped on was actually a sketch from a Jewish Atheist who opposed Israeli’s human rights record. Another was comparing Israel’s actions to those of Nazi Germany.
The problem here is obviously the objection to genocide of the great state of Israel, not the actual genocide itself.
Corbyn should of grown some balls and Shah should of told the Israel lobby to get to fuck.
It’s amazing how little investigation our journalists undertake on a story these days. When the Ruth Smeeth issue broke, a quick check online revealed her constituency party had only just received £5k from influential Israeli lobbyists. It took me 2 minutes to find. These people found it too.
For the record, I’m a member of the Green Party, I abhor bigotry of any kind but have serious concerns over the Israel’s political regime.
It’s another power grab by BICOM. Remember that Ruth Smeeth incident? What you remember about it is far different to what happened. Someone accused her of colluding with The Telegraph. She kicked off screaming about him picking on the Jewish (?!) and he responded that he doesn’t deny Labour have a long way to go to be fully inclusive.
Fast forward 24 hours and it’s Smeeth who’s been victimised. It all felt a bit strange until I found that Smeeth’s constituency party had received £5,000 from the head of BICOM only days before the “incident”. Her subsequent comment that she’d had 25,000 death threats turned out to be…er…2 from UKIPers.
The last Conservative MP to suggest that Israel were a bit heavy handed with their carpet bombing of Gaza was William Hague. Weeks after the head of BICOM gave the then PM David Cameron a £30,000 donation and Hague was stood down from the Cabinet.
The connection in all this (for you Google truth seekers) is ex-arms dealer Poju Zabludowicz. It’s his job to blur the lines between criticism of Israel’s government (who are currently accused of human rights abuses) and the Jewish faith in order to keep their little Palestine land-grabs and bombing of Gaza out of the news… It is an odious and corrupt way to behave.
Before you ask, Hamas are just as bad, they just have smaller weapons.
Marc Wadsworth is the man you refer to, and the main thing I had in mind in my post above when I spoke about Labour affiliated people being flimsily accused of antisemitism.
He accused her of colluding with The Telegraph, a traditional “enemy” of the Labour Party, in order to undermine the leadership. This then got span as being antisemitic because of the well worn trope about international Jewish conspiracies controlling the media etc. Which is obviously a vile trope, but all he did was accuse one person of helping a right wing newspaper undermine the leadership of the party (something plenty of "moderates"have done to Corbyn), it was a pathetic leap to then try and smear him as being an antisemite. Quite disgraceful in fact.
Things like this, and the fact that people have genuinely been smearing Corbyn since day one, lead a lot of people to dismiss anything negative about him out of hand. Some would dismiss everything as a smear anyway, no doubt about it, but due to the campaign levelled against him since day one a lot of reasonable people find it hard to believe a bad word said about him, and feel inclined to reflexively defend him no matter what the situation is.
I don’t doubt that there is an antisemitism problem in certain sections of Labour support, there are too many instances at a local/activist level to dismiss, and the leadership have done a poor job on that front. But I also don’t doubt that certain things are being exaggerated or misrepresented because lots of people don’t like this new direction Labour are taking policy wise under Corbyn. And the media rent being fair either. By all means have the BBC make their main story a discussion of antisemitism in Labour, but at the same time they’re doing that they had no story on members of our actual government, high ranking members at that, meeting with Steve fucking Bannon. A man who is verging on being an actual fascist, a man who told French racists to wear their racism as a badge of honour. How can you focus so hard on Labour and then not even mention that, something which is at least as big a deal (a bigger deal imo)?
I’d agree. Some of the stuff these labour councillors have been saying and guys like Willsman etc show it’s a problem that really could be dealt with better, then the chance of Corbyn getting smeared would be less
I hate the timing though, and lack of similar energy in combating other forms of discrimination, especially from the Tory party. That, coupled with the timing and you can understand why so many think it’s a smear
I think a vast number of people don’t really care about anti-Semitism in the Labour party, but bring it up as they know it’s a useful stick to beat Corbyn with.
Because of their actions, I worry people will not heed future warnings on anti-Semitism and dismiss them as smears because these cunts are using it as a political weapon.
I think it goes without saying I couldn’t possibly speak for all Jewish people and as Jewish person from the US my views are definitely going to be different than your average UK Jew. The Jewish community in the US is far more left leaning than the UK Jewish community in my experience.
As a starting point I think it’s important to point out that from where I sit in the US, it looks like there is a constant push back against Jewish people in the UK saying that they feel offended or marginalized by the Labour party. That push back often comes from people who aren’t Jewish. That creates a weird feedback loop in which a Jewish person feels that there are legitimate instances of Antisemitism within the party, they’re told that they’re wrong and that isn’t it just like the Jews to always stir up trouble and make things about themselves. That response makes Jewish people within Labour feel even more marginalized and want to be more vocal which creates an even stronger push back.
To be clear, Jews and Jewish people have the right to define what is or is not antisemitism. Full stop. I would never tell a Muslim person what is or isn’t Islamophobic because I’m not part of that group. I think a tiny part of why things in Labour have appeared to go out of control is because the Jewish community within Labour is looking around thinking, why won’t people just listen to us?
Now @JakeyBoy asked me to take a shot at what Corbyn did or didn’t do that could be perceived as anti-Semitic. Luckily for @JakeyBoy I did a thesis on this kind of stuff in a past life.
What is anti-Semitic? Saying something that targets Jewish people as a group because of their particular beliefs. Classically right-wing antisemitism painted Jews as an invasive species loyal only to themselves who would disrupt an otherwise homogeneous (read: White, Christian, Capitalist) society. Think medieval England which expelled Jews only to bring them back as a permanent underclass of money lenders because dealing with interest/usury was dirty business, or Nazi Germany which believed Jews were literally subhuman communist agitators bend on poisoning better bloodlines, or mayo sandwich eating racists in Idaho who fervently believe that Jews introduced jazz music to America in order to bring the white man down.
Classically left-wing antisemitism generally looks at Jews as greedy capitalists, clever speculators that made a shit ton of money trading slaves from the West Indies or war profiteers pulling the strings behind governments.
For example, Jeremy Corbyn once spoke out in support of this mural, which if you can’t be bothered to click on the link features a bunch of white men sitting around a Monopoly board that is literally propped up on a pile of people of color. In the background is the Illuminati pyramid with the floating eye, just like on the reverse of the US $1 bill. Is the mural anti-Semitic? Yes.
The mural draws on themes from a widely debunked pamphlet called the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. If you haven’t heard of it, the Protocols purports to be minutes from a secret meeting of Jewish leadership detailing their plans for global domination. It caught on like wildfire during the beginning of the 1900s. Henry Ford (yes, that Henry Ford) was a huge fan. None of it was true but it fueled wild speculation that Jews had both the desire and the means to achieve global superiority. And if you think that maybe the artist was just taking a shot at old white dudes with big noses in general in the mural, he had gone on record saying that he was attempting to depict The Rothschilds, a prominent Jewish banking family.
A good example that just came to light apparently was in 2011 Corbyn signed some sort of motion to have Holocaust Memorial Day renamed Genocide Memorial Day. Is it the worst thing in the world? No. Is it approaching antisemitism? Yeah,I’d say it is. Do I understand why people in the Jewish community are pissed about it? Absolutely. From their perspective it’s an attempt to take away or water down a day that was set aside to remember a specific event. I understand the impulse to collapse all genocides into a single category and say “hey, aren’t all of these awful?” And like I said, I don’t think it’s the worst thing in the world but it’s on the line.
Here’s a good example of something that isn’t antisemitic, in my opinion: BDS. If Corbyn wants to go on record saying that he supports BDS because he thinks the Israeli government sucks, their treatment of the Palestinian people sucks and BDS is a tool to punish the Israeli government with the hopes it changes its approach to dealing with Palestinians, then yeah… that’s not antisemitism. There’s nothing within that calculus that targets people for being Jewish. I’d actually wager that some of the most fervent supporters of the Israeli government are Evangelical Christians who believe that a strong Israel means Jesus is right over the next hill, ready to send us into the end times. Of course, they’re the same Evangelical Christians who would tell a Jewish person that they are 100% damned to hell for not being Christian, but tomato, tomahto, right?
The bottom line is, I think what Corbyn is most guilty of is silence. I don’t think him attending a sedar with JEWDAS, who once called Israel an “open sewer”, is a bad thing. He’s certainly not going to attend a sedar with the UK version of Friends of the Israeli Defense Forces (yes, it’s a real group in the US, look them up). You can read a lot into silence and I don’t know that I fault people for reading soft antisemitism into his silence.
As an aside I would say that left leaning Jews are often faced with a choice. Do we (I include myself in this) allow a certain amount of harsh language that verges on antisemitism? Do you say to someone who says that all Jews are pushy or greedy or good with money that it might be offensive to Jews to use that language? Or do you just let it slide because your politics are more aligned that not? Do you feel the need to show your left wing credentials by being a very loud critic of Israel to show that you’re one of the “good Jews”? Or, when at a meeting that has nothing to do with Israel or foreign policy, but you’re asked what your position is on Gaza, do you say that it’s a little weird or offensive to be put on the spot like that? I really dislike confrontation so I tend to keep my mouth shut. Just food for thought.
Hope that helped shed some light on things @JakeyBoy.
tl:dr --> Corbyn is more guilty of being silent when confronting very real antisemitism within Labour than he is of being overtly anti-Semitic himself in my opinion.
I hear what you’re saying, and I agree, but there are a lot of issues with that. BDS is a good example of something which is often described as being antisemitic, when it clearly isn’t. It’s a term that is used to shut down any criticism of Israel’s foreign/domestic policies.
The term antisemitic is used so often, that I feel it actually dilutes the term. And in my opinion it’s used incorrectly more often than not, which damages the fight against attitudes like this.
Much as Jakey has outlined above, I’ve seen the anti-semitism card played against Corbyn so much now, and there are certainly those in play whose motives in doing so are nothing to do with concern over anti-semitism and everything to do with keeping popular opposition to a terrible and vulnerable government at bay. Sometimes, as a non-Jewish person, its very easy to look at those headlines and just see the people trying to find a stick to hit Corbyn with rather than a genuine problem.
Your post above has to be one of the most outstanding pieces of writing I’ve read on this forum and I’m pleased I took the time to read it all because it was one of those times when a different perspective really helps to understand the issue. I’ve been a Labour member for years now, and I’ve never seen anything I considered anti-semetic in that time, but I can’t decide on the back of that that it doesn’t exist and listening, communicating and acting on concerns is so important in an issue like this and on that front there is an issue for Labour to address. I would stress I think it’s also an issue that society more generally needs to address because its not unique to Labour or the left.
You’ve said that Corbyn’s biggest crime on this issue is silence, and you’ve suggested ways be might go about things better. What would you want to see him do, so that left leaning Jews could, in all conscience, be more comfortable with the way politics on the left work in this country?