So the Labour Party is now “an existential threat” to Jews in Britain…? Really? I mean, think about what that language is actually supposed to imply or evoke.
An existential threat suggests something with the potential to grow into the Nazi movement. I mean, that has to be the intended implication – that the Labour Party in Britian could end up the new Nazi Germany in terms of its treatement of – or attitude towards – Jewish people and that Jeremy Corbyn (the most consistent anti-racism campaigner of his time) could potentially be a new Hitler-type figure in the future.
Granted, he has made some bad decisions and, granted, he’s quite bad at PR (actually he’s pretty awful at PR) – but this is surely the most over-the-top, ridiculous chapter yet in this overwrought ‘Anti-Semitism Crisis‘.
On the matter of the “existential threat” meme, there is another, bigger reason this language is being deliberately evoked and it has nothing to do with Corbyn or the Labour Party – I’ll come back to that at the end, because it provides a much bigger context to all of this that most commentary always misses.
And there also doesn’t seem to be much Corbyn can do or say to shake off the recurring onslaught of anti-Semitism accusations – and there probably never will be.
That’s probably the point.
I’ve gotten bored of writing about the ‘Anti-Semitism’ crisis in the Labour Party (see here, here, and here): but it just won’t go away. To date, about 150 members of the Labour Party have been expelled for alleged anti-Semitism: and Corbyn himself has on multiple occasions issued statements condemning anti-Semitism within the party. But it doesn’t seem to be enough.
They also never, ever mention the Jewish Labour Party members who support Corbyn and don’t buy the Anti-Semitism thing: and, as was clear years ago, many of the left-wing activists who were subject to the earliest complaints were themselves Jewish.
I was noting that two years ago: but that trend of ignoring some Jewish people in order to focus on the complaints of other Jewish people has continued to this day. Note, for example, that when the highly publicised protest against Corbyn by select Labour Party members and members of the Jewish community was garnering so much media coverage a few months ago, hardly any coverage was given to the *counter protest*, which was also by Jewish members of the Labour Party – and, according to some sources, was a lot bigger than the anti-Corbyn gathering.
As some pointed out, the MSM was basically being highly anti-Semitic in its dismissal of certain Jewish voices.
One of the earlier cases, for example, was Jackie Walker – a black British Jewish activist in the Labour Party, who was labelled an anti-Semite and suspended because she wanted to debate the issue of Zionism and had also talked about including discussion of other tragedies alongside the Holocaust during Holocaust Remembrance. She was also disparagingly referred to as a “court Jew” – which denotes a kind of second-rate Jew in the eyes of more superior-minded Zionists: and which, frankly, sounds pretty racist to me (and if she is Jewish, shouldn’t it also qualify as Anti-Semitism anyway?).
Given examples like that, it’s obvious how much bullshit is in play here, with the media falling into line with Israeli lobbyists’ policy of presenting an entirely one-sided view of Jewish opinion by pretending that the entirety of the Jewish population in Britain is somehow of one mind and are all outraged by Jeremy Corbyn.
I’ve written here multiple times about how so much of this is in fact designed to bait Jewish people who aren’t invested in Israel or who aren’t passionate Zionists: first by excluding them from the equation entirely as if they don’t exist, and second, by trying to play up the perceived Anti-Semitism so that non-Zionist Jews eventually feel threatened by Anti-Semitism.
That Corbyn has been targeted for smear campaigns is fairly obvious and was reinforced by the Al-Jazeera programmes that exposed Shai Masot and the Israel lobbyists’ campaign to undermine the Labour Party leadership – a scandal that Emily Thornberry had requested an investigation into. As Wall of Controversy noted in his piece earlier this year on this anti-Semitism scandal (which is much better than mine): ‘The media has since shown no interest whatsoever in digging deeper and following the trail of evidence for what now ought to be known as ‘Israelgate’…’
In fact the media mostly seems intent on ignoring as much as possible any evidence of Israeli interference in British politics.
The Jewish Labour Movement has been the key player in maintaining the attacks on Corbyn’s leadership, but it is improtant to note that the JLM is closely tied to the Israeli Embassy, which renders it completely unreliable.
And so every few months the established meme simply gets rebooted. A few months ago it was over Corbyn having expressed support (back in 2012) for a piece of street art – a piece of street art that, in my opinion, was genuinely Anti-Semitic. But it was from three years before Corbyn was elected leader of the Labour Party and it was an incredibly easy, casual mistake to make if someone isn’t paying enough close scrutiny to something. Also, someone was clearly digging far back to find something – anything – to bring to the fore in the anti-Corbyn operation.
But go back far enough on any politician’s timeline and you’re bound to find something questionable or ill-advised they did, said, tweeted or liked. Give Boris Johnson a try.
The current assault on the Labour leadership stems from the Labour Party last week publishing its code of conduct against Anti-Semitism, which was formally adopted by the national executive.
The problem is that, while the new rules adopt most of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definitions of Anti-Semitism, it rejects the one clause that was designed to label as ‘Anti-Semitic’ anything that accuses Israel of being a racist state or criticism of the Zionist ideaolgy.
Rather than obediently swallowing the whole IHRA rule-book on what qualifies as Anti-Semitism, the Labour Party under Corbyn has adopted its own version which maintains the right to criticise Israel state policy or Zionist extremism without acknowledging such criticism to be Anti-Semitic – unless there is a clear evidence of Anti-Semitic ‘intent’.
Hence, the renewed outrage over Corbyn and the rampant Anti-Semitism in the Labour Party – simply because Corbyn isn’t playing ball.
While I personally believe there is genuinely a trend of uncomfortably Anti-Semitic tropes among some sections of the Labour membership, it’s always been clear that the attacks on Corbyn in particular were part of a long-playing plot against the Labour leadership – with the whole thing also being a strategy to stifle or demonise any non-racist criticism of the Israeli government, the Zionist extremists or events in Gaza or the Occupied Territories, by lumping them all together and making people wary of ever addressing the subject.
Of course, what most coverage hasn’t bothered to point out is that 40 Jewish organisations from various countries – including the Jewish Voice for Labour – have also openly rejected the IHRA definition of Anti-Semitism, which makes it patently ridiculous to cite Corbyn’s interpretation of the IHRA as an anti-Semitic action.
You can see Jewish Voice for Labour’s analysis of the IHRA here.
Coming back to the initial point: about Corbyn’s party being labelled “an existential threat” to Jews in Britain. That kind of extreme language is without doubt intended to evoke certain historic alusions and thus either scare people away from Corbyn or just generally discredit his leadership.
JVL coverage of the current campaign highlights the contrived, very selective nature of the propaganda: ‘Jewish newspapers harmonised their front pages this week to condemn Labour… Jewish groups have claimed a Corbyn government would be an ‘existential threat’… Many Jewish people have spoken out against these claims… Mainstream media have largely ignored those voices in their presentation of the issue… A Jewish professor spoke four months ago predicting this ‘MSM’ treatment and said the media would be treating all Jewish people as if they are the same – a common antisemitic trope…’
But it’s not just about Corbyn, it’s also serves another key purpose and it is this: any contemporary campaign to portray the ‘Jewish community’ (as if it is one all-encompassing community that represents all Jews somehow) as being under existential threat in any country is designed to reinforce the necessity of Zionism, the need for the ‘Jewish State’ and a contrived, urgent need for Jewish people to abandon their place of residence and go to Israel.
That’s what it’s about: and note that I said contemporary – I’m not talking about the past, only what’s going on in the present. You could see this clearly three years ago, when all the talk was of the rampant Anti-Semitism in France: and where, immediately following on from the Charlie Hebdo false-flag operation, Benjamin Netanyahu inserted himself into France’s public mourning and public solidarity events – despite having been specifically told by the French government not to come to Paris at that time.
I covered some of this back then here: Netanyahu was immediately calling for French Jews to leave France and emigrate to Israel, where it would be safe for them.
Some French Jews did, while others seemed to resent the whole thing. But the point was that the perceived threat to Jewish people was a massive boost for the Israeli government and for the idea that Jews belong in Israel and not anywhere else.
The fact is also that it gave more power to the contnuing illegal settlement constructions in the Occupied Territories, because the state could claim it needed to build more settlements for newly-arriving Jewish settlers who were fleeing ‘persecution’ in other countries.
Thus, it becomes a perfect circle or cycle: shift your focus from France to Britain and we’ll probably see the same thing playing out here eventually – you can see the way being paved here clearly.
The more this sense of “existential threat” to British Jews gets amplified, the more Israeli agencies can urge non-Israeli Jews to abandon their lives elsewhere and come to Israel where they’ll never suffer Anti-Semitism again.
The more that happens, the more the Israeli government can justify both its actions and its need to provide sanctuary. In other words, the more perceived Anti-Semitism there is in Britain – or the more perceived hostile environment for Jewish people there is – the more power is fed directly into the veins of the Likud Party and the Zionist-nationalist fanatics who currently hold power in Israeli government.
The fact that, in this case, a known critic of Israel – Jeremy Corbyn (who they certainly don’t want to see as a future PM) – happens to be the focal point just makes it a double-incentive to keep pushing this agenda forward.
The other problem, one suspects, is that this IHRA system, far from stopping Anti-Semitism or anti-Semitic perceptions, is just as likely to inflame them further: since the particular stipulations in question (the ones the Labour Party omitted) are so obviously designed to stop criticism.
Professor David Feldman, an expert in historical Anti-Semitism and prejudices faced by Jewish communities in different countries, writing in The Guardian in 2016, was wary of the IHRA attempt to set in stone the classifications of Anti-Semitism: ‘I am sceptical,’ he wrote. ‘Here is the definition’s key passage: “Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred towards Jews.” This is bewilderingly imprecise. The text also carries dangers. It trails a list of 11 examples. Seven deal with criticism of Israel. Some of the points are sensible, some are not. Crucially, there is a danger that the overall effect will place the onus on Israel’s critics to demonstrate they are not antisemitic…’
And that’s exactly the problem the Labour Party had in mind when it adopted its amended version of the IHRA.
Jeremy Corbyn will now find himself permanently in a position where any criticism he makes of any present or future Israeli state policy or action will be automatically spun as stemming from his innate Anti-Semitism. There is no way out of that anymore.
But Corbyn probably knows that by now himself: which might be why a lot of his response now tends to be luke-warm.