Monday, 3 September 2018
Antisemitism and the Labour Party: an outsider's view
I am not now and never have been a member or supporter of Britain's Labour Party , but I can't help thinking that the accusations of antisemitism in the Party are a well- orchestrated smear to distract them from their true purpose for most of the last six months. And a very successful one too.
Back in March this year, conveniently before the May Councils Elections, it was brought to the media's notice that Jeremy Corbyn had, six years earlier in 2012, praised a street mural which, among others, disrespectfully portrayed some bankers who may have been meant to be Jewish.. Mr Corbyn apologised, claiming that he hadn't looked at the cartoon sufficiently carefully.
Then, just before a crucial vote on Brexit in Parliament, it was drawn to our attention that Mr Corbyn had, four years ago in 2014, been present at a wreath-laying ceremony in honour of some Palestinian Martyrs. Then last week Lord Sacks, a former Chief Rabbi, reminded us all that in 2013, five years ago, Mr Corbyn has said that some Jewish persons had not understood English irony, a remark which, Sacks claims, was antisemitic.
It seems to me that some conservative, and possibly Conservative, forces, unable to damage Labour on Mr Corbyn's policies which are largely popular, (taking the trains back into public ownership, not replacing Trident, ending ideological government austerity etc. see here for 21 other examples) have trawled though Corbyn's long political history and concluded that his Achilles heels is his persistent support for the Palestinian cause and his consequent criticisms of the government of Israel, and so have chosen to attack him on that.
I suspect they may even have a list of superficially ambiguous statements and situations which they can drip, drip drip into their sympathetic media at opportune times, and whatever Corbyn and Labour do we shall not here the last of it for a long time.
It is called playing the man rather than the ball, or, if you want to be posh, ad hominem.
It has certainly been very successful, and Labour has been distracted throughout the summer from placing the emphasis on their policies to heal Britain's fractured economy and society. Those are what we should be constructively discussing.
And in the meantime our equally fractured and even more destructive Conservative Party ploughs on virtually unscathed.
I have several friends who are members of the Labour Party, and none are aware of any overt antisemitism, thought there may well be, as there are in the Liberal Democrats, fierce critics of the actions of the government of Israel.
The irony is that, historically, Jews in Britain have been largely Labour rather than Conservative supporters.
And the organisations which exhibited the most overt antisemitism, golf cubs and gentlemen's cubs in Pall Mall, which for years blackballed Jews, had a largely Conservative-supporting membership.
Hats off to the effectiveness of Tory black propaganda