Categorized | ZIO-NAZI, UK

A response to UK Labour Party Zionists’ disinformation and double standards

Zion strangles UK

Binary thinking for binary times? If opposing racism is binary thinking then anti-racists will be guilty of it

*Jon de Rennes writes:

This is a response to an article published on the Jewdas website on 23 September 2019 and circulated by Jewish Voice for Labour (JVL) a couple of weeks later. 

The author of the Jewdas article, Matthew Aaron Richmond, included the above image that we from LAZIR displayed outside this year’s Labour Party conference. Although he doesn’t say so, we have assumed he agrees with the ridiculous assertion, made by the Zionists who repeatedly and violently attacked it, that it’s in some way anti-Semitic. Sadly, this was an assertion disgracefully backed up by (former?) Palestinian rights advocate Jeremy Corbyn. We will say a bit more about the banner at the end.

In its introduction to Richmond’s article, Jewdas said:

The following piece was contributed by Matthew Aaron Richmond @mattyrichy. This is a serious piece of journalistic analysis so, if you came here to laugh and were disappointed, all we have to say is that this is our website and if you don’t like it you can get out.

This seems to be quite an aggressive introduction to an article that purports to be a rallying cry for rapprochement by people who, I argue, have no interest whatsoever in rapprochement. As for the serious journalistic analysis part, it’s nothing of the sort. It’s quite long so I might not be able to deal with every point raised, but I will attempt to rebuff its apparent overall argument.

I should begin by saying what I thought was good about the article, although there wasn’t much of that. I guess the idea of finding common ground is commendable, but when it appears to imply common ground with racists, that is unacceptable It also contains some obvious common sense arguments with which I wholeheartedly agree, but they seem so obvious to me that they hardly need saying. Not only that, but some of them are also assumed to be ideas that some of us on the anti-Zionist left, who the author seeks to take to task over our implied racism, espouse when as far as I am aware none of us do. 

Let’s begin our analysis with the 2012 mural which (with hindsight probably mistakenly) Corbyn defended. Was it anti-Semitic? The author says it was, but I think it’s debatable as Jonathan Cook and Martin Odoni have argued. To quote from the Odoni article: 

If you see a picture of rich men with large noses and your immediate assumption is “Jews!!!!” that may say more about your own prejudices than it says about the artist’s.

In the author’s defence, he does acknowledge the overall spuriousness of the mural and other accusations of Corbyn’s supposed anti-Semitism. So this part of the article is not the problem. The problems start when Richmond starts to talk about those of us on the anti-Zionist left.

Immediately after his apparently somewhat justified criticism of Chris Williamson MP, Richmond begins to refer to the witch hunt in the Labour Party in inverted commas. The obvious implication of the quote marks is that there is, in fact, no witch hunt when quite clearly there is. Also, I found his dismissal of Noam Chomsky and Norman Finkelstein as “a Jewish person that agrees” pretty bold and also possibly anti-Semitic. The same applies to his dismissal of our Jewish comrades on the anti-Zionist left (presumably the author thinks all these people are the wrong kind of Jews – he wouldn’t be the first). For the record, it turns out Finkelstein doesn’t entirely agree with us anyway.

With regards to Richmond’s apparent dismissal of the witch hunt, I would recommend that he watches this documentary by John Pullman. And in terms of the existence of an orchestrated Zionist smear campaign against Corbyn, which Richmond also seems to call into question I would recommend the AlJazeera documentary about the Zionist lobby in the Labour Party. I would also recommend the Dispatches documentary, “Inside Britain’s Israel Lobby”. Clearly, the Dispatches documentary has nothing to do with Corbyn, but it would seem to back our claim of longstanding interference in UK politics by the Zionist lobby. The other interesting point is that 10 years ago the UK’s mainstream media were prepared to screen this whereas today they are utterly unwilling to do so and I think we need to ask ourselves why this is so.

One of Richmond’s main criticisms seems to be that we are guilty of binary thinking, to which I have a couple of responses. First, I think that the situation in Israel/Palestine is binary and people that try to frame it as otherwise risk enabling the current horrendous status quo. The Richmond also states that our kind of binary thinking is useful when confronting real far-right racists in the street. Here I would argue that what we are confronting here is the real rise of global far-right racism from the US to Europe, Israel, Brazil, the Philippines and beyond.

Richmond also seems to imply that we believe that any (Jewish) person who has interpreted anything Corbyn, Williamson (or anyone else on the left) has said or done as anti-Semitic “are knowingly part of a smear campaign”. However, I am pretty confident that very few, if any, of us would ever make such an argument. I certainly would not. After all, the whole point of the coordinated smear campaign that we are being subjected to is to convince unwitting people that we are racists. The fact that the campaign, with the full support of the UK establishment and their shills in the mainstream media, has succeeded in convincing many people (whether Jewish or otherwise) should come as no surprise.  Therefore, I would not argue that such people “are knowingly part of a smear campaign”; quite to the contrary, I would argue they are victims of it. 

In their recent book Bad News for Labour, Greg Philo, Mike Berry, Justin Schlosberg, Antony Lerman and David Miller discovered that the British public believe 34 per cent of members of the Labour Party have been accused of anti-Semitism when the research indicates the real figure is 0.1 per cent. That’s out by a factor of 340. (You can read an interview with one of the authors here 

I don’t want to get involved in Richmond’s self-confessed highly problematic attempts to define racism, although I would suggest that dictionary definitions might suffice. However, the idea that calling Israel a racist endeavour could under any circumstances “be attached to fantasies about driving all Jews “into the sea” is, frankly, ludicrous. Calling Israel a racist endeavour is simply a statement of fact. 

As someone that was born and grew up in the UK and lived there until I was 38 I was interested in the Richmond’s observation about the apparent invisibility of the British Jewish community and our consequent disorientation on discovering its existence. Once again, I find such an argument a bit of a stretch at best. Throughout my education and professional career I had Jewish friends and colleagues and as an Arsenal fan have always been aware of the widely known Jewish community of North London, so the implication that we were disorientated by the sudden discovery that the UK has a Jewish community seems a bit odd to me. The UK has the seventh largest Jewish population in the world.

Even more ludicrous is the suggestion that we wouldn’t understand why Jewish people might be concerned about anti-Semitism “at all”. As anti-racists, we are opposed to any and all forms of anti-Semitism as we are to all other types of racism. Having said that, I think it’s important to note that Jewish people in the UK are not, in general,  subject to institutional racism in the same way that other minority groups are. Here I think it would be informative to focus specifically on the scourge of Islamophobia which is inextricably linked to the rise of global far-right racism I mentioned before. I think it’s informative how little media attention this receives in the UK (and elsewhere) compared with Labour’s supposed anti-Semitism crisis. 

It’s also worth noting how the (genuine) Islamophobia crisis has been fuelled by genuinely racist politicians such as Boris Johnson and Donald Trump and how in the case of the former this has been largely ignored by the UK mainstream media (almost completely compared to Labour’s supposed anti-Semitism crisis). Once again, I think we need to ask ourselves why this might be the case. When Sadiq Khan shamefully told the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM – formerly Paole Zion, reconstituted in 2015 in order to undermine Corbyn – see the AlJazeera documentaries) that there is a hierarchy in racism he’s correct, but in the complete opposite way than that which he implies. Apparently, he has no sense of irony, so perhaps Corbyn was correct about Zionists.

I think it’s also important to recognise the undeniable rise of anti-Semitism that we are seeing worldwide (I think the Tree of Life shooting and other recent murderous attacks against Jewish people are more than enough evidence of this). However, yet again I think it’s important to note where this is coming from. The answer, of course, is the far right, not the left. It’s also been enabled by racist far-right politicians (primarily Trump) and their supporters in the mainstream media (for example, Fox News in the US). However, these far-right (genuinely) anti-Semitic politicians who have enabled the murder of Jewish people are friends of the Zionists (many of them, from Boris Johnson to “Tommy Robinson” to Richard Spencer are themselves self-declared Zionists) and this fact seems to often get them a free pass in terms of their overt racism.We need to be asking some questions as to what is going on here and who the real anti-Semitic racists are. 

What angered me most was the implication in Richmond’s conclusion that those of us on the Corbyn-supporting anti-Zionist left are as much or more of a threat to the possible achievement of a Corbyn premiership as the Zionists. I find this argument ridiculous given that the Zionists are on record declaring they won’t stop until Corbyn has been replaced, declaring no-confidence votes in his leadership, telling people not to vote for him and a multitude of other attacks, too many to mention.  

Serious journalistic analysis? I think not. 

LAZIR chair Peter Gregson with the banner in happier days before it was attacked by Zionist thugs.

LAZIR chair Peter Gregson with the banner in happier days before it was attacked by Zionist thugs.

Bob Pitt has written an excellent defence of the banner. It’s also worth reading Pete’s own description of the events of that day.

In terms of binary thinking, I think the Zionists who repeatedly ND violently attacked the banner (three times in all) were a classic case of mob violence stifling open debate. Their binary thinking that any criticism of Netanyahu was anti-Semitic was exemplified by their fury at our making public his frequent denunciations of Corbyn. While they raged and ripped, Peter Gregson and his supporters resolutely repaired it each time it was damaged. Our claim that freedom of speech and expression was a right got nowhere when the police succumbed to the mob’s demand that the banner be removed. The Zionist mob violence has been condemned by no-one. 

Matthew Aaron Richmond ends his article by calling for “moral leadership [to] drive a process of cultural change, challenging unhealthy and counterproductive habits among parts of the membership”. These thugs were Labour members, Matthew. What about them? 

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