Labour Antisemitism

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Scallywag
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Jul 11 2019 18:28
Labour Antisemitism

Is there any truth to the charges of antisemitism within the labour party?

It sounds like a smear campaign against the labour party and more broadly because labour is seen to be associated with socialism, a smear campaign against the left and the concept of socialism itself. As if antisemitism is a common sentiment to socialism and therefore people shouldn't support it.

I bet this has the strong backing of israel, meanwhile in the UK the government and right wing politicians get to use this as a distraction and to turn people off anything remotely resembling socialism.

The media has repeated the story over and over again for years now to the point where its just accepted as a fact that labour is antisemitic. The stories now focus on if labour is doing enough against antisemitism without any analysis of where these charges are coming from and if they are justifiable.

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Noah Fence
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Jul 11 2019 20:21
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the UK the government and right wing politicians get to use this as a distraction and to turn people off anything remotely resembling socialism.

Hmmm, not sure how that works - I mean, it’s not like Labour even slightly resemble socialism.
Anyways, if there is a smear campaign against Labour then it’s all good - it saves me the bother of letting everyone know that Labour are a bunch of fucking shitbags and furthermore it might give us a rest from the permabashing that the equally putrid Tories get from gullible fools that somehow think Labour’s capitalism will somehow be any better. Perhaps if they spent their time studying Labour’s history rather than blaming those evil Tories for everything from a late train to an ingrowing toenail, they would realise that Corbyn and co are nothing more than a false hope obstacle to class consciousness.

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darren p
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Jul 11 2019 20:28
Scallywag wrote:
Is there any truth to the charges of antisemitism within the labour party?

Yes, in the average Corbynista leftbook groups it is easy to find anti-Semite and Strasserist memes and themes.

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I bet this has the strong backing of israel

Well the Jewish globalists would be behind it wouldn't they.

Scallywag
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Jul 11 2019 20:38
darren p wrote:
Well the Jewish globalists would be behind it wouldn't they.

So what you support Israel then?

The UK is defacto ally's with Israel. Israel is a ethno-nationalist genocidal state. It makes sense that they would want to ensure their existence as a state, and therefore it makes sense that they would strongly pressurise their allies to support their 'right to self determination' and existence as a state by making it 'anti-semitic' to be anti-Israel, which they have.

Scallywag
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Jul 11 2019 20:47
Noah Fence wrote:

Hmmm, not sure how that works - I mean, it’s not like Labour even slightly resemble socialism

You know what I mean Noah. To you and to me they are not socialism. In the media they are. To right wingers Corbyn is a Communist.

And this doesn't give us a rest from the idea that labour are the champions of the left. If anything it creates the idea that they must represent true socialism because of how much they are under attack, and that if the Tories, the government, the BBC and Israel stopped with the anti-Semitic smear campaign that labour would get into government and bring about socialist reform.

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darren p
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Jul 11 2019 21:08
Scallywag wrote:
So what you support Israel then

Of course not.
But there is some me truth to the Corbynista - antisemitism link, and various state actors are trying to exploit that to their advantage.

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Noah Fence
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Jul 11 2019 21:28

Anybody clueless enough to think that Labour and anti-semitism are truly socialist are no concern of ours - I doubt that Labour’s anti-semitism or anything else about them are the main reasons they won’t be joining us on the barricades.
Anyway, my post was just an exercise in flippancy, your OP had a strong whiff of anti-Toryism, as distinct from anti- parliamentarianism which is something that really gets my goat. If I’m wrong I apologise but I’m guessing that you particularly hate the Tories and that it would be better to vote Labour in as the lesser of two evils? Well fuck that, Johnson or Corbyn, it’s all the same to me. Same goes for the spiv like John McDonnell or Jeremy Hunt. All slippery bastards and even the ones that aren’t(and there are some seemingly decent people on both sides), are not there to look after the working class and couldn’t act on our behalf even if they wanted to.
So no, in relation to how anarchists/socialists/communists are viewed, the shenanigans of the political class are less than meaningless. Anti-Semite or not, fuck Labour, they can go to hell, and in particular, fuck parliamentary partisanism amongst anarchists. It’s fucking bollocks.

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Noah Fence
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Jul 11 2019 21:33

Oh, and while we’re talking about Labour anti-semitism, am I the only one who’s noticed that Kier Starmer seems to model himself sartorially on Richard Spencer?

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jef costello
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Jul 11 2019 21:33
Scallywag wrote:
So what you support Israel then?

When I was a kid everyone expected me to pick between my two local teams, this is politics, we don't to do that.

There does seem to be evidence of anti-semitism in the Labour Party, that the Labour party is doing its best not to address. Quite clearly there is a strong right-wing lobby that is delighting in this, the same that use anti-semitism to cover anti-muslim behaviour and if they could get rid of the muslims would be after the jews next.

Just because a collection of people seek to exploit these allegations and publicise them in bad faith doesn't mean that they have no substance. Just because Labour is ignoring the problems and trying to avoid a divisive fight doesnt mean the party is completely anti-semitic.

Corbyn is bound to have dodgy associations because of the whole PLO chic lefty thing, regardless of his beliefs which I don't know much about.

We don't get involved in these squabbles because the goal is not really to deal with anti-semitism or not. Who knows if the Blairite is being entirely truthful about anti-semitism, but damn sure our support will advance that faction in the party rather than deal with anti-semitism in any real sense. Assuming our intervention would have an effect.

We don't pick sides because our whole politics is based on the fact that there should not be sides.

Scallywag
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Jul 11 2019 22:19
Noah Fence wrote:
Your OP had a strong whiff of anti-Toryism, as distinct from anti- parliamentarianism

No it didn't you just assumed I must be a leftist defending labour.

I can be flippant too wink

Nah I get it. Labour supporters are everywhere even among self described 'anarchists'.

Noah Fence wrote:
which is something that really gets my goat.

Yah me too. I knew a young 'anarchist' once who now is heavy into Marxism of some kind and I found them posting something strongly defending labour as the traditional party of the working class that has done more for the working class than any other party.

For all this talk about anarchists being too principled and inflexible there is a heck of a lot of 'anarchists' that are unprincipled and inconsistent, adopting whatever ideological label is trendy at the moment, and who don't understand the deep critique that anarchism has towards not just capitalism, not just the state, not just certain political parties, but the whole damn system, all its layers and all aspects that perpetuate it.

I've also started to notice that now 'libertarian socialist' has also become trendy and leftists of all sorts use it. Its has less to do with anarchy or left wing anti-statism now and more like a promise not to be as authoritarian as the USSR, but even authoritarians won't shy from using it believing that socialism is liberty or leads to liberty for the working class anyway. Most of all a lot of left liberals and social democrats are starting to use the term having no understanding that it is associated with anarchy and being anti-government.

Mike Harman
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Jul 11 2019 22:20

Not only is there anti-Semitism in Labour, but there's been anti-Semitism in Labour since Keir Hardie was going on about the Rothschilds and attacking Lithuanian migrants in Scotland just prior to founding the party. There was also anti-Semitism in Labour just prior to Corbyn getting elected too.

Part of the reason there are so many cases of members being anti-Semitic is because the party has rapidly absorbed over half a million members in the past 2-3 years. Because of that massive membership relative to other parties, even if 1% are posting anti-Semitic memes on Facebook that's still 5,000 people. But it's also because there's a faction of pro-Corbyn media like the Canary and Skwawkbox that see almost everything through a conspiratorial lens - every mis-step is shadowy forces rather than the structural biases of capitalist media.

This and prominent people like Chris Williamson (friendly with Galloway, ex-Breitbart writers, promoter of holocaust-denier associate Vanessa Beeley etc.) massively reinforce what might have been latent anti-Semitism from the membership by making everything about a plot to oust Corbyn - i.e. it's not only a right-wing campaign, but the defensive response from the left 'anti-racist party', 'life-long anti-racist' completely absolves Labour of it's past 100 years of strike breaking and colonialism/racism so works against any kind of confrontation or honest assessment of that history. All the while they're shilling for 10,000 more cops and 500 more border guards.

Scallywag
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Jul 11 2019 22:52
Mike Harman wrote:
This and prominent people like Chris Williamson (friendly with Galloway, ex-Breitbart writers, promoter of holocaust-denier associate Vanessa Beeley etc.) massively reinforce what might have been latent anti-Semitism from the membership by making everything about a plot to oust Corbyn.

Chomsky took to twitter to defend him as well.

Also thanks, I am not really aware of these things.

Here I thought I was being clever thinking the government and BBC must be lying about the whole labour anti-Semitism thing for the sake of turning people away from anything remotely resembling socialism, only that its more complicated than that and there is truth to the allegations.

And no I don't think the Tories are any worse than labour, but I do think its concerning how even if there is a whisper or pretense of socialism the media will come down hard on it and the right profit by portraying labour as socialists/communists and socialists as anti-Semitic.

zugzwang
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Jul 11 2019 22:51
Scallywag wrote:
Mike Harman wrote:
This and prominent people like Chris Williamson (friendly with Galloway, ex-Breitbart writers, promoter of holocaust-denier associate Vanessa Beeley etc.) massively reinforce what might have been latent anti-Semitism from the membership by making everything about a plot to oust Corbyn.

Chomsky took to twitter to defend him as well.

Also thanks, I am not really aware of these things.

Here I thought I was being clever thinking the government and BBC must be lying about the whole labour anti-Semitism thing for the sake of turning people away from anything remotely resembling socialism, only that its more complicated than that and there is truth to the allegations.

Chomsky's on Twitter?

Scallywag
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Jul 11 2019 22:55
zugzwang wrote:
Scallywag wrote:
Mike Harman wrote:
This and prominent people like Chris Williamson (friendly with Galloway, ex-Breitbart writers, promoter of holocaust-denier associate Vanessa Beeley etc.) massively reinforce what might have been latent anti-Semitism from the membership by making everything about a plot to oust Corbyn.

Chomsky took to twitter to defend him as well.

Also thanks, I am not really aware of these things.

Here I thought I was being clever thinking the government and BBC must be lying about the whole labour anti-Semitism thing for the sake of turning people away from anything remotely resembling socialism, only that its more complicated than that and there is truth to the allegations.

Chomsky's on Twitter?

Maybe not. I don't know. Now that I think of it I can't imagine he would use it, but there is a quote of him saying this:

“The way charges of anti-semitism are being used in Britain to undermine the Corbyn-led Labour Party is not only a disgrace but also … an insult to the memory of the victims of the Holocaust.
“The charges against Chris Williamson are a case in point. There is nothing even remotely anti-semitic in his statement that Labour has ‘given too much ground’ and been ‘too apologetic’ in defending its record of addressing ‘the scourge of anti-semitism’ beyond that of any other party, as he himself had done, on public platforms and in the streets.”

I thought it was posted to twitter.

ajjohnstone
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Jul 12 2019 03:26

The claims of anti-Semitism within the Labour Party only arose after Corbyn became its leader.

So you are left with two options

1. His election to Party leader enabled anti-semites to safely emerge from the closet where they had hid under Blair and Brown.

2. His possible victory in a general election and his personal support for the Palestinians would mean a shift in UK policy towards Israel so equate his anti-Israel position to anti-Semitism to ensure he is not given the keys to No.10.

And the media, none of which are pro-Corbyn, was very willing to go along with guilt by association accusations and there-defining of what anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism actually means and as to be expected, the public when it gets one-sided headlines and hear little of the counter-arguments, they assume ...no smoke without fire.

BTW, I always thought it was Israeli pressure that forced Robin Cook out of the foreign secretary job. On his visit to Israel where he condemned the settlements and had talks with Palestinians, spray-painted on the British Consulate, were the words "Robin Cook is an anti-Semite" - sound familiar?

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Jul 12 2019 07:27

Fwiw, people may (or may not) find some of the discussion on this older thread from an earlier installment of the saga useful: http://libcom.org/forums/theory/labours-anti-semitism-scandal-conclusive...

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Entdinglichung
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Jul 12 2019 08:37

some interesting stuff on the webpage and the facebook feed of ‘Socialists against Antisemitism, they’re a group of some left-wing Labour members who think (to ny perception correctly) that antisemitism is indeed a serious problem in parts of the left

https://www.saasuk.org/
https://www.facebook.com/socialistsagainstantisemitism/

Spikymike
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Jul 12 2019 14:31

There are several older discussion threads around this issue including a few with very useful linked analysis but I can't lay my hands on them just now without a functioning search facility on this site or otherwise a lengthy search through my old favourites list!
It's difficult for us Labour Party outsiders to get a full handle on all this but from what I have followed in both the left and right-wing press coverage I'd say the internal battle-line in the LP between committed supporters of the Israeli state and committed supporters of the Palestinian cause is the underlying issue with claims of anti-semitism both real and false being, as they say, 'weaponised' in the fight for party control. Different state factions outside of the UK political scene also have interests in supporting one or other faction within the Labour Party now as in the past.

Mike Harman
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Jul 12 2019 09:27
ajjohnstone wrote:
The claims of anti-Semitism within the Labour Party only arose after Corbyn became its leader.

Interesting concept because Luciana Berger raised it in 2005. That episode has been conveniently forgotten by everyone on all sides of this.
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1487989/Labour-should-have-fough...

ajjohnstone wrote:
So you are left with two options

1. His election to Party leader enabled anti-semites to safely emerge from the closet where they had hid under Blair and Brown.

Membership of UK political parties report wrote:
Labour has around 515,000 members (including party members and
affiliated supporters – see section 2.5 for further details), as of July
2016, according to figures published by Labour Party’s General
Secretary Iain McNicol.
17 This is the highest number since the late
1970s. Recent media estimates suggest a further 181,000 people have
signed up as registered supporters ahead of September 2016’s
leadership election.18
Party membership rose immediately following General Election 2015.
422,664 of people voted in the September 2015 leadership contest, in
which 59.5% voted for Jeremy Corbyn.
19 In December 2015 Labour
party had 388,000 members, according to party accounts submitted to
the Electoral Commission.20
There was a fall in membership during Labour’s time in office between
1997 and 2009, but it increased again in 2010. In each year between
2010 and 2014 the Party’s membership has held level at approximately
190,000 members.

https://esrcpartymembersprojectorg.files.wordpress.com/2016/07/hoc_party...

Do you really think that if 3-400,000 people join Labour in the space of a year or so (I can't decipher how many it is, but it's hundreds of thousands) that even a small percentage of those won't be anti-Semitic? Of course there are going to be more examples because there are more people. You then have the combination of right wing bad faith on one side and Chris Williamson/Galloway/Canary et al on the other making everything about Corbyn.

Mike Harman
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Jul 12 2019 09:31
Scallywag wrote:
I thought it was posted to twitter.

There was an uncited screenshot of that quote going around when Chris Williamson got re-suspended. Chomsky of course wrote this about holocaust denier Faurisson:

Chomsky wrote:
putting this central issue aside, is it true that Faurisson is an anti-Semite or a neo-Nazi? As noted earlier, I do not know his work very well. But from what I have read — largely as a result of the nature of the attacks on him — I find no evidence to support either conclusion. Nor do I find credible evidence in the material that I have read concerning him, either in the public record or in private correspondence. As far as I can determine, he is a relatively apolitical liberal of some sort.

https://chomsky.info/19801011/

So all that says is that if you write an e-mail to Chomsky asking him to defend someone 'left wing' who's under attack from the right, he'll sign whatever open letter or public statement to defend them regardless of whether they're reactionary shitbags or not.

Mike Harman
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Jul 12 2019 10:09
Scallywag wrote:
Mike Harman wrote:
This and prominent people like Chris Williamson (friendly with Galloway, ex-Breitbart writers, promoter of holocaust-denier associate Vanessa Beeley etc.) massively reinforce what might have been latent anti-Semitism from the membership by making everything about a plot to oust Corbyn.

Chomsky took to twitter to defend him as well.

Also thanks, I am not really aware of these things.

This isn't perfect (some of the sources used are themselves highly questionable people), but it documents Williamson's dodgy links and behaviour. This doesn't mean Williamson's an avowed anti-Semite, I personally think he's just extremely opportunist/stupid and with no real politics at all which results in him boosting this stuff. If you look at the right wing of Labour or the Tories or Lib Dems you'd find all kinds of horrible examples of course, the only point here is that the Labour Left is not somehow immune from this.

http://brockley.blogspot.com/2019/06/whats-wrong-with-chris-williamson.h...

And more on Beeley and related people here: https://libcom.org/library/investigation-red-brown-alliances-third-posit...

Spikymike
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Jul 14 2019 11:23

So did find this useful earlier thread worth another look here:
https://libcom.org/forums/theory/does-left-wing-thought-contain-inherent...
Some useful linked analysis including to Mike's blog piece at the end.

Edit: Also these are worth another look for those with the time. See here,
https://libcom.org/blog/anti-semitism-rooting-out-oppression-or-ruling-c...
https://libcom.org/history/impossible-reconciliation-contradictions-labo...

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Jul 12 2019 13:33

Some recentish commentary from the, for want of a better term, critical corbynists at New Socialist: https://newsocialist.org.uk/editorial-chris-williamson/

freemind
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Jul 12 2019 15:34

Some General points;
Reportage never goes into detail about the alleged Antisemitic incidents.
There seems a deliberate line coinciding with a Zionist view that all opponents of Israeli policy relating to Palestinians is anti Semitic.
No questions directed towards main accusers on their position on Zionism or the brutalising of Palestinians by Israel and the racist Settlers.
I think there are moves involving the Intelligence community to undermine a Leftist Corbin agenda by initiating an anti BDS pro Israel line invoking Antisemitism with the connivance of Israel
Labour and Corbiyn are dirt anyway but while I’m sure there are cases of anti Jewish bigotry I doubt it’s endemic.
Calling Israel Fascist is called Anti Semitic lol
Intrinsically that means Israel has Carteblanche
to do what it wants in murdering Palestinians.Is it Antisemitic to oppose the Israeli states history of terror Apartheid and Ethnic cleansing?
Jews are not a Race they are a Religious community.They are a people in the same way the Polish can be called a Catholic people.Any bigotry towards them should be opposed but on sectarian not racist grounds.
Israel is a biblical concoction that could have become a so called Jewish Homeland in Uganda or anywhere but the Zionists opted for Palestine and fought a terrorist war with a separatist racist agenda.Like all states it was built on murder and violence epitomised today by the fascist Settlers and bigots.I suppose in the eyes of Jewish Nationalism and Zionist Hegemony I’m a Nazi and anti Jewish according to the latest logic they are forwarding in the Media.

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Jul 12 2019 19:06

I was speaking to a local Momentum guy a little while a go about this. His view (paraphrasing) is that there is a problem with anti-Semitism with some Labour members, he named some people but I don't remember them. He also thinks that the recent upsurge in complaints from both the press and senior labour party members about this is largely opportunistic and motivated by hostility to Corbyn's potential policies, since many of them have vested interests in him doing badly and a lot of the anti semitic stuff has been around for years, but without much fuss being made until recently.

He also said he doesn't think its working very well as a smear, because in his view the political establishment and British society is itself highly anti-Semitic, and he isn't aware of the local party receiving any criticism over the assertion that Labour or the leadership are anti-Semites. He believes the claim that Corbyn is a supporter of the IRA has done more damage to the Labour vote.

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Jul 16 2019 09:00

Thinking about it, it's noticeable how attitudes to this question seem to form part of a sort of "party line" package, so people who think it's a real problem also tend toward being pro-EU/remain, very anti-red-brown to the point of seeing liberal centrists as a lesser evil vs people who are dismissive/defensive often being pro-Lexit/Brexit, anti-imperialist, super anti-centrists and "melts" and so on. This is just a broad generalisation, of course it's possible for people to be, say, pro-Brexit while also taking a hard line against antisemitism, but I think there's some truth to it.

ajjohnstone
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Jul 18 2019 01:59

MikeH, I do recall the furore within the NUS of its alleged anti-Semitism and Berger's central role in the accusations. If a game-play proves successful, why not repeat it later.

Wiki seems to suggest that all the anti-Semitism aimed at her was from the right except for the Labour constituency branch who levelled charges at her for support for Israel, her Zionist beliefs, her anti-Corbynism but mostly because she was not the MP they chose to represent them, having been parachuted in.

I take your point in the rapid enrolment of members to the LabourParty and I cannot deny that there would be members of the Labour Party who are anti-Semitic.

But there would also be those within the Tory Party and I detect no inquiry into its presence.( Too bust with Islamophobia?) Is that because its pro-Israel position exempts it from scrutiny?

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Jul 18 2019 07:25
ajjohnstone wrote:
I take your point in the rapid enrolment of members to the LabourParty and I cannot deny that there would be members of the Labour Party who are anti-Semitic.

But there would also be those within the Tory Party and I detect no inquiry into its presence.( Too bust with Islamophobia?) Is that because its pro-Israel position exempts it from scrutiny?

This last bit is deeply misguided IMO - the Tories don't get a free pass on antisemitism because of their pro-israel stances any more than they get a free pass on islamophobia because of their pro-Saudi Arabia position, they get an easy ride on those things because they were and still are the traditional favourite managers of British capital. No further explanation needed, I don't think.

Mike Harman
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Jul 18 2019 07:34
ajjohnstone wrote:
MikeH, I do recall the furore within the NUS of its alleged anti-Semitism and Berger's central role in the accusations. If a game-play proves successful, why not repeat it later.

In that particular article she's associating New Labour's pandering on anti-immigration rhetoric with an increase in anti-Semitism, there's no mention of Palestine. This was the year of the Tories' "Are you thinking what we're thinking" campaign, which shifted the gears on anti-immigration from refugees (New Labour's favourite target what with David Blunkett and 'swamping') to widen it to Poles as more countries began to join the EU. It was also the year that the Blair/Brown Labour Party portrayed Jewish MPs (albeit complete cunts, although so were Blair and Brown) as flying pigs and fagin in a poster campaign that was quickly withdrawn. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/labour-criticised-for-ant...

Do you think think that the outcry over the posters was because Blair and Brown were seen as a threat to Israel too?

ajjohnstone wrote:
But there would also be those within the Tory Party and I detect no inquiry into its presence.( Too bust with Islamophobia?) Is that because its pro-Israel position exempts it from scrutiny?

The Tory Party has closer to 100k members than 1 million and everyone expects them to be racists. Labour Party members slinging around 'anti-racist' party for a party with over a century's history of racism, and 'lifelong anti-racist' for people like Chris Williamson who voted for military interventions, leaves them wide open to charges of hypocrisy whether in good or bad faith.

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Jul 18 2019 14:48

meanwhile in the UK:

https://barthsnotes.com/2019/07/14/newspapers-amend-careless-phrases-in-...

Metro:

Iris Annabel was an heir to both the Goldsmith and Rothschild dynasties.

They are two of the most powerful families in the world who have had great sway over the UK’s political and financial worlds.

The Sun:

The two families are worth billions of pounds and they have maintained a powerful influence over Britain’s financial and political systems for decades.

Daily Mail:

Iris was heir to two of Britain’s, and the world’s, most powerful dynasties, the Goldsmith and Rothschild families. Together the two society bloodlines are worth billions of pounds and have had a powerful influence over the UK’s financial and political systems for decades.