Leftist anti-Semitism Leftist Apologizers for Islam Manfred Gerstenfeld

Dr.Manfred Gerstenfeld: A Panoramic View of UK Labour Antisemitism…


 

Dr.Gerstenfeld’s article ‘A Panoramic View of UK Labour Antisemitism’, was originally published by the Begin Sadat Center, and republished here with the author’s permission.

 

A Panoramic View of UK Labour Antisemitism

Manfred Gerstenfeld

In the past decades, many Western European social democrat politicians and parties have been among the most extreme inciters against Israel. In several cases, there have also been expressions of antisemitism. Leading socialist politicians such as the late Swedish Socialist Prime Minister Olof Palme1 and the late Greek Socialist Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou have accused Israel of Nazi practices.2

 

Only in the past two years however, has a European socialist party been exposed for its widespread and extreme anti-Jewish incitement. Classic antisemitic remarks or the newer anti-Israeli ones by elected representatives have been published on a more or less on-going basis. An analysis of the British Labour party provides an almost panoramic view of many aspects of socialist anti-Jewish hate mongering.

In September 2015, extreme leftist Jeremy Corbyn, became the party’s leader. A few months later, the first accusations about antisemitism concerning the Oxford University Labour Club became widely known. . The party’s National Executive Committee chose to reveal only a limited summary of the findings exposed by Labour peer Lady Royall. Several months later the entire report was leaked to the press.3

Once the “antisemitism in Labour” issue started to interest the British media, it slowly became clear that extreme antisemitic expressions in the party began prior to Corbyn’s appointment. One example: under Ed Miliband, its previous leader, in 2014 Naz Shah, proposed — before she was elected as MP in Bradford — that Israel should be relocated to the United States.4 At that time apparently nobody was interested in bringing this statement to the public domain.

Among the antisemitic hate remarks by elected representatives, a disproportionate number has been made by Muslims. This was the case during Miliband’s leadership and continues under Corbyn.5 Despite hundreds of articles on antisemitism in Labour, the specific Muslim aspects remain taboo in the British media. Miliband also steered the party to propose recognition of a Palestinian state.6 This was possibly done to gain support of Muslims — during the May 2015 elections — since an estimated 4.5% of the British population are Muslim.

Corbyn mixes with antisemites. He has donated money and attended gatherings of a charity headed by Holocaust denier Paul Eisen.7 Corbyn has also referred to the genocide promoting Hamas and Hezbollah terrorist organizations as his ‘friends.’8 When he came to power he promoted antisemites, including Ken Livingstone, to senior positions.9 This former London mayor was later suspended after his repeated claims that Hitler supported Zionism in the 1930’s. Livingstone resigned from the party in 2018.10

If one analyzes Corbyn’s statements and acts according to the International Holocaust Remembrance Association definition of antisemitism adopted by the UK Government, it is not easy to identify which of his acts fall squarely within this definition. In May 2018, Jonathan Arkush, outgoing President of the Board of Deputies, the umbrella organization of British Jewry – claimed that Corbyn held antisemitic views. He mentioned that the Labour leader had been chairman of the Stop the War organization which is known for some of the worst anti-Israel discourse.11

When media pressure concerning antisemitism in Labour became an issue, Corbyn appointed human rights activist Shami Chakrabarti in April 2016 to investigate the accusations. Her report was poorly written and unprofessional.12 Shortly afterwards Corbyn proposed Chakrabarti for a peerage after which she became a baroness. Corbyn also appointed her as the party’s Shadow General Attorney for England and Wales. Nevertheless, one has heard little from this supposed expert about ongoing Labour antisemitism.

It is by now abundantly clear that Corbyn has little desire to confront antisemitism in his party other than through general statements. As a result, whitewashing of antisemitism in Labour has become a significant problem. In March 2018, a poll of paying Labour members found that 47% said antisemitism is a problem, but the extent of the problem was exaggerated “to damage Labour and Jeremy Corbyn or to stifle criticism of Israel.” A further 30% said that antisemitism was not a serious issue. Sixty one percent thought Corbyn was handling the antisemitism claims well. Only 33% thought he was handling them badly.13

 

The confrontation with antisemitism in one of the country’s two major parties has had an important impact on the Jewish community. Many of them no longer vote for Labour. Some Jewish donors have stopped donating.14 An unprecedented demonstration of the Jewish community against antisemitism in Labour took place in London outside a Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) meeting.15 In a letter to the chair of the PLP the Board of Deputies wrote: “Again and again, Jeremy Corbyn has sided with antisemites rather than Jews.”16

 

In parliament, several Jewish and pro-Jewish Labour MPs have reported the huge harassment they have been subjected to.17 Labour’s attempt to conquer the London constituency of Barnet – the most Jewish borough of the U.K. — failed in the May 2018 local elections.

 

The modest increase in Labour seats nationwide during these elections disappointed the party’s expectations and was seen partly due to the antisemitism debate. Arkush went farthest stating that Corbyn’s views could drive Jews to leave Britain if he were to become prime minister.18 He was one of the Jewish leaders who met Corbyn in April 2018, a meeting which they found disappointing.19

 

Small groups on the Jewish left are enthusiastic supporters of Corbyn. He continues to provoke and attended a Passover Seder at Jewdas. This organization called Israel a “steaming pile of sewage which needs to be properly disposed of.”20

 

In March 2018, Corbyn said that since he had become party chairman, there have been 300 complaints about antisemitism. He also mentioned that among those accused, 150 people have either been expelled or resigned. Corbyn stated the backlog of complaints to be 60 cases.21 However, the Daily Mail reported a backlog of 74 cases and added that MP John Mann said he knew of another 130 complaints. One source in Labour told the paper: “Many of these cases include the most shocking and blatant antisemitism that would make even a committed Nazi blush.”22

 

The disappointing local election results may have been the impetus for Labour’s announcement that it will speed up dealing with the complaints with the intention of clearing the backlog by the end of July.23 In view of the party’s checkered past under Corbyn, one has to wait to see whether this promise will indeed be met.

 

Footnotes:

 

1 Per Ahlmark, “Palme’s Legacy 15 Years On,” Project Syndicate, February 2001.

2 Moses Altsech (Daniel Perdurant, pseud.), “Anti-Semitism in Contemporary Greek Society,” Analysis of Current Trends in Anti-Semitism, 7 (Jerusalem: Hebrew University, 1995), 10.

3 www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/161468/baroness-royall-report-reveals-oxford-labour-students-engaged-antisemitism

4 www.newstatesman.com/politics/staggers/2016/04/naz-shah-resigns-labour-frontbench

11 www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/jeremy-corbyn-has-antisemitic-views-says-jonathan-arkush-1.464806

12 www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/19195

14 www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/mar/31/labour-jewish-donor-michael-garrard-quits-party-antisemitism; www.timesofisrael.com/jewish-donor-to-uks-labour-compares-corbyn-backers-to-nazis/

15 jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/community-to-demand-enough-is-enough-in-demo-against-labour-anti-semitism/

1 Per Ahlmark, “Palme’s Legacy 15 Years On,” Project Syndicate, February 2001.

2 Moses Altsech (Daniel Perdurant, pseud.), “Anti-Semitism in Contemporary Greek Society,” Analysis of Current Trends in Anti-Semitism, 7 (Jerusalem: Hebrew University, 1995), 10.

16 https://www.bod.org.uk/enough-is-enough-2/

17 www.jpost.com/Diaspora/British-MPs-fume-at-Corbyn-in-fiery-antisemitism-parliament-debate-551152

18 www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/jeremy-corbyn-has-antisemitic-views-says-jonathan-arkush-1.464806

21 www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5558867/Corbyn-reveals-Labour-received-300-anti-Semitism-complaints.html

22 www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5551289/Corbyn-deluged-74-allegations-shocking-anti-Semitism.html

23 www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-43889678

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