In the British Labour Party, antisemitism springs from the top down – Update: antisemitic member readmitted

The nasty phenomenon of antisemitism in the British Labour Party is not leaving the news, and for a very good reason:

The indefatigable Douglas Murray of the Gatestone Institute explains that in the UK Labour Party anti-Semitism springs from the top down:

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has ordered an “independent inquiry” into the party’s anti-Semitism.

Anti-Semitism isn’t new to the UK Labour Party, and its recent anti-Semitic outbursts shouldn’t surprise anyone, says Douglas Murray of The Gatestone Institute. He explains in the video below that Labour’s anti-Semitism problem starts at top of the party and why he believes that this inquiry will not solve anything.

Just watch the following video:

“Jewish Labour Mole” expands on this theme in “Looking Down, Not Up“, (via Harry’s Place): (emphases are mine):

I was brought up to beware the following set of circumstances: an economic recession; the emergence of a populist leader with an antisemitic following and the inexorable flow downwards to an increase in antisemitic abuse, violence and murder. That sequence is no fable: it’s history on repeat, and it’s happening now.

It’s true that Antisemitism is a society-wide phenomenon: but it rarely flourishes unless sanctioned by leaders and institutions. The caveat in this classic narrative is that the conditions required for that evil to triumph is that Good Men Do Nothing.

I was given to believe that never again would ‘Good Men Do Nothing’. I was sold a pup.

On the day of Corbyn’s coronation as leader, we Jews waited to see how he would handle his well-known antisemitic inheritance, an inheritance that was news to the wider public, but not to Jews nor his fringe antisemitic fan-base. The Jewish Chronicle immediately published a list of some of those items on their front page. But in the weeks that followed, as Jews were engulfed by the ensuing overflow of antisemitic sewage online, we heard Yvette Cooper, for example, speak up about the rise in online misogyny: but there was no public defence of the Jews. Ditto Burnham. Ditto … all of them.

The silence of those first few weeks still stuns me, and makes me feel viscerally sick for having pledged my allegiance to Labour. It wasn’t so much the promotion of Corbyn & his tribe, whose Soviet-infused Marxism’s embrace of ‘Anti-Colonial’ Islamism had brought together two smouldering brands of antisemitism & re-kindled a phoenix-fire of Jew-hate: no, we knew about that. It was that mainstream Labour leaders were silent on the eternal hatred that they knew full-well was now encamped in their home.

I watched, knowing that Jewish leaders, senior members of the Labour Party and newspaper editors would have understood exactly what they had witnessed. What would they say?

The Board of Deputies spoke, but all they could coax from dry lips was to pronounce his statement ‘Deeply disturbing’. As for the rest of the polity:

Nothing.

As for the press, they continued to focus on the expendable apparatchiks of the lower orders, gleefully notching up their body count, but keeping their eyes averted downwards, not up. No demands were made of Jeremy, Diane or Len to withdraw their remarks. No-one called them out, save Jews.

Just read it all. It’s a horrifying and damning condemnation of the antisemitism within the Labour Party, and of those who turn a blind eye, or simply don’t want to rock the boat.

As for the much-vaunted Labour inquiry into antisemitism in the party, it appears to be not so much a damp squib as a whitewash. The British watchdog Campaign Against Antisemitism notes four fatal flaws with the Labour Antisemitism Inquiry:

Firstly, the inquiry’s scope only covers the rules in future cases of antisemitism. It will not examine existing cases that remain unaddressed, such as the case of Sir Gerald Kaufman.

Secondly, the Labour Party’s antisemitism problem is not so acute because the rules were too lax; it is acute because the Party’s leadership and structures have failed to identify antisemitism and condemn it. The inquiry should examine the conduct of the Party’s leadership, but it will not.

Thirdly, the Vice Chair of the inquiry is Professor David Feldman, who has already dismissed claims of antisemitism in the Party as “baseless” and “politically motivated” in an open letter. It is ludicrous to appoint as judge and jury someone who has already made up his mind in opposition to the vast majority of British Jews.

Fourthly, the inquiry seeks to concoct its own definition of antisemitism

A further two flaws are pointed out in the Daily Mail’s article on the inquiry. The head of the Labour inquiry, Shami Chakrabarti joined the Labour party on very the day she was appointed, admitting that she holds Labour’s interests at heart. In which case how can she, or the inquiry, be considered independent?

The chairwoman of Jeremy Corbyn’s inquiry into anti-Semitism in Labour deliberately joined the party on the day she was appointed to make clear her support for its ‘interests’.

A further problem is with the inquiry itself, as it has been diluted from being an inquiry into antisemitism into an inquiry into all kinds of racism:

Ms Chakrabarti today issued a call for evidence for her inquiry, seeking written submissions on ‘anti-Semitism and all forms of racism including Islamophobia‘ by June 10. 

Why can’t antisemitism be addressed on its own “rights”? If Islamophobia were to be investigated, I’m willing to lay bets that antisemitism wouldn’t be included in the inquiry.

As what of Ms. Chakrabarti’s deputy, Prof. David Feldman, who was named by the CAA? Despite his Jewish name his history on antisemitism is rather questionable, as this Jewish Chronicle article notes:

Prof Feldman is a signatory to Independent Jewish Voices (IJV), a group of Jewish academics who are critical of British Jewish communal institutions.On Sunday, IJV released a statement which expressed concern “at the proliferation in recent weeks of sweeping allegations of pervasive antisemitism within the Labour Party.”

It added: “Some of these allegations against individuals are, in our view, baseless and disingenuous; in other cases, ill-chosen language has been employed.”

Sarah Brown at Engage Online has a more detailed history of Prof. Feldman’s  activity. While I don’t agree with everything she writes, she points out some of the major flaws in Feldman’s  submission to the All Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Antisemitism.

However the single most controversial element in Feldman’s report is his refusal to recognize the use of Nazi imagery in anti-Israel discourse as antisemitic. He does concede that carrying a placard saying ‘Hitler was right’ was antisemitic – indeed his explanation seemed superfluous. 

However simply drawing parallels – say between Warsaw and Gaza – is not antisemitic in Feldman’s book, even though he fully acknowledges that such parallels are hurtful and inaccurate.

One absent presence in Feldman’s report was any reference to the blood libel. This trope would seem to fit under his first chosen definition of antisemitism as it relies on a lurid false claim of Jewish difference.

As for the head of the Labour inquiry, Shami Chakrabarti has admitted that she holds Labour’s interests at heart. In which case how can she, or the inquiry, be considered independent?

The chairwoman of Jeremy Corbyn’s inquiry into anti-Semitism in Labour deliberately joined the party on the day she was appointed to make clear her support for its ‘interests’.

Shami Chakrabarti

A further problem with the inquiry itself is that it has been diluted from being an inquiry into antisemitism into an inquiry into all kinds of racism:

Ms Chakrabarti today issued a call for evidence for her inquiry, seeking written submissions on ‘anti-Semitism and all forms of racism including Islamophobia’ by June 10. 

With all this in mind is it any wonder that the pro-Corbyn grassroots organization Momentum branch planned an anti-Semitism debate – on Shabbat.  The fact that after protests from Jewish members, the start time was brought forward by one hour to accommodate religious Jews neither compensates them, nor is it a satisfactory response to something that should have been blindingly obvious.

Update: A vice-chair of the above Momentum movement, Jackie Walker, was earlier suspended from Labour for a revolting antisemitic facebook post where she accused the Jews of heavy involvement in the slave trade:

walker

This was disproved as an out and out libel. as Geoffrey Alderman in the Jewish Chronicle.

We should thus be outraged, but probably not be surprised that Walker has now been readmitted to Labour as Sarah Brown writes at Harry’s Place. Brown brings some particularly nasty examples of the glee with which Walker’s supporters greet the resignation of members disgusted with Walker and the antisemitism in the party.

Unless the Labour Party makes a truly genuine effort – and not just pay lip service with meaningless inquiries – to root out antisemitism from its ranks it’s hard to imagine they will retain much of their Jewish membership. Sadly, with the rot starting right at the head, I can’t see change happening any time soon.

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5 Responses to In the British Labour Party, antisemitism springs from the top down – Update: antisemitic member readmitted

  1. Pingback: In the British Labour Party, antisemitism springs from the top down – 24/6 Magazine

  2. Brian Goldfarb says:

    With apologies for repeating myself (probably), Ken Livingston’es exact words on the Andrew Neil Show were “… “a real antisemite doesn’t just hate the Jews in Israel, they hate the Jews in Golders Green…”
    So someone who ONLY hates the Jews in Israel isn’t a real antisemite? And that lets Livingstone off the hook?
    Please imagine the omitted rude words. I’m with John Mann, MP, here, when he confronted Livingstone on the stairs of the radio station when the latter had just made those comments.

    The Labour Party has real problems which clever opponents will exploit during elections while this boil is not lanced.

  3. Pingback: Labour investigates its own antisemitism, finds nothing, insults Israel and Jews | Anne's Opinions

  4. Pingback: Labour – the Nasty Party | Anne's Opinions

  5. Pingback: Guest Post: The Left’s Jewish Problem | Anne's Opinions

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