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


  1. yes the Tories with their right wing controlled press do/can pull off propaganda activities and a slow drip of false news!? can disorientate .As you say theTories as aresult of their media pals can get away with murder. As a growing party we must guard against smears being pointed in our direction. It happened with Tim Farron and took our campaign off the news.We must avoi.d pitfalls

    1. Yes, whenever Tim appeared in the media he was harassed by questions on his religious views, but Mrs May, whose ostentatious church-going is emphasised almost weekly by photos in the press, is never asked for her views, especially with regard to the Magnificat and the bits about fulling the hungry with good things,putting down the mighty from their seats and exalting the humble and meek.

  2. Why do people comment without the effort of investigation. Go online and see the very many groups supporting Corbyn with such awful antisemitic street brawl language, worthy of the worst of far right , worse than alt right.

  3. As the title says, this I how it seems to me as an outsider. I admit I haven't trawled the "Twittersphere" - I'm not sure how - but I have consulted several friends who are long-term members of the Labour party