Since his accession to leadership of the Labour Party, barely a day has gone by without the political establishment and mainstream media engaging in anti-Corbyn, anti-Leftist propaganda or questioning Corbyn’s ‘legitimacy’ as leader of the opposition.
It was clear from the start that the establishment media has been on a mission to eat away at Corbyn’s credibility and to portray him, his Labour allies, and all the scores and scores of people who voted for him as a danger to the country (David Cameron even used that very term to describe Corbyn not long ago). Just take, for example, stupid headlines like the one pictured above.
What we have seen recently, particularly around the issue of Ken Livingstone’s suspension from the party, appears to have been a largely manufactured media circus and contrived hysteria based on a ‘crisis’ that probably doesn’t even exist. It all seems designed to stigmatise the Left and to try to make the Labour Party seem more and more ‘unelectable’. Jeremy Corbyn’s initial denial that there was any ‘anti-Semitism problem’ in the Labour Party was spun by the media as an act of denial and/or cover-up: however, the reality is that he was simply telling the truth as he saw it.
The party has reportedly suspended 19 activists. Do 19 people (out of a membership of 400,000) really constitute ‘a crisis’?
Journalist Asa Winstanley has put up a very thorough analysis on Electronic Intifada to fairly convincingly demonstrate that the ‘anti-Semitism crisis’ in Corbyn’s party has been in large part manufactured by anti-Corbyn elements of the party and by Israel Lobby insiders, who have possibly been building to this for some time.
What is largely missing from the mainstream media narrative of this situation is that many of the target ‘offenders’ in this ‘anti-Semitism crisis’ are Jewish campaigners who happen to oppose right-wing Zionist activity in Israel.
One of the earliest was Tony Greenstein, who was been an ardent activist against Holocaust denial and general anti-Semitism – but who also happens to support Palestinian rights. Greenstein wasn’t even told what the reason was for his suspension. Labour activists, many of them Jewish, have hinted that accusations of anti-Semitism are being used as a strategic weapon against Corbyn by the party’s right-wing.
This wouldn’t be surprising, as the charge of anti-Semitism was being leveled towards Corbyn and the left-wing elements of the party from even before he was announced as the party leader. And where most of these (very few) instances of ‘anti-Semitism’ have been discovered, they weren’t things that simply happened and then got picked up on – they were things that were carefully *sought out*. Naz Shah’s controversial retweet, for example, was from several years ago. I don’t defend the sentiments expressed in that retweet – but someone had to have been specifically trawling Shah’s Twitter timeline to find it.
A number of left-wing Jewish activists are happy to suggest that anti-Semitism has become the “weapon of choice” against the left. Charley Allan, a Jewish Labour Party member has described the current atmosphere in the press and Labour Party as a “witch hunt.”
Influential author Johnathon Cook goes further in this piece on the subject, suggesting that ‘Labour is one step away from book-burning’. He adds, ‘We have also reached a point where the only major British political party with even a pretence of opposing imperialism and colonialism is creating taboos around the very issues needed to understand the colonial past of Britain and Europe’.
I posted already on the subject of how some of the most ardent anti-Zionism activists are Jewish – and therefore incapable of anti-Semitism.
In the same post, we reminded ourselves that Ed Miliband was even heralded by some newspapers back in the last election run-up as the man set to be the “first Jewish Prime Minister of Britain since Disraeli”. But Miliband – in spite of his Jewish heritage – had to face massive desertion by Jewish donors and supporters because of his supposedly “toxic” views on Gaza and Palestine. Specifically, Miliband was ‘warned’ by Jewish supporters that this desertion would occur because he had dared to criticise the 2014 Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip.
No one could accuse Ed Miliband of being ‘anti-Semitic’; in fact, perversely, while he was being condemned by members of the Jewish community, he was also being attacked by real anti-Semites for his Jewish heritage. His mother, Marion Kozak, a human rights campaigner and early CND member, is a Polish Jew who survived the Holocaust thanks to being protected by Catholic Poles, and his father, Ralph Miliband, was a Belgian-born Polish-Jew who fled to England during World War II. Essentially, Miliband was boycotted by parts of the Jewish community simply because he had voiced an honest opinion about the excessive use of military force on a civilian population.
Naturally, as the former Labour Party leader is Jewish, there was no ‘anti-Semitism’ in Miliband’s stance. Again, this was simply a case of boycotting a political leader because he wasn’t towing the line. A far more aggressive version of the same thing is basically being conducted against the Labour Party now too, this time aimed at stigmatising everyone on the Left and eventually forcing Labour back towards a Blairite, Centrist disposition.
To expand on the point Johnathon Cook made in his piece on the subject, we could actually go further and wonder if this whole mess could be perceived as a contrived campaign to cripple or eliminate not just the current trend of Leftist-inclined politics in Corbyn’s camp – but to discredit and eliminate any semblance of the Left entirely, and not just right now but for a generation or more to come (a process that might already have begun last year with the utter decimation of the Liberal Democrats in the elections).
Why try to do that? Simple – because the Leftist camp in the Labour Party is the only real form of meaningful opposition politics with any chance of getting into government. And the Establishment forces, which can happily switch allegiance back and forth between Labour and Conservative governments (so long as they’re basically centrist in outlook), don’t want a real or problematic opposition party to create impediments or challenges or to engage in too much of a genuine counter-narrative.