Gerry Downing whose foolish utterances gave Zionists comfort this week
What Chalmers really meant was that the Labour club, like
many others, had decided to support Israel Apartheid week, i.e. it was giving
support to the Palestinians who are and have been living under a military
occupation for nearly 50 years. Some of
Oxford’s privileged Jewish students i.e. those who support the racist state and
wouldn’t know what oppression was if it hit them objected. Most people would say ‘tough’.
Paul Eisen – Jewish Holocaust Denier banned from Palestine solidarity movement- used to smear Jeremy Corbyn
And then there was the affair of York University’s Palestine
Society which was accused of ‘anti-Semitism’ for putting on the play 7 Jewish Children, which is incidentally on the Guardian’s
own web site. A thought provoking and stimulating play, only
10 minutes long, it draws a linkage between the Jewish child in the ghetto at
risk of being murdered and the Palestinian in Gaza who is also in danger of
being murdered. None of which stopped
the Jewish Chronicle running
with a story Pro-Palestinian students perform ‘antisemitic’ play as part of Israel Apartheid Week,]
Of course Jewish students supporting the play was not
news. Maybe that’s also a form of anti-Semitism. Making certain Jewish people invisible. But as they don’t support the Israeli state
they don’t count of course being ‘race traitors’ and ‘self haters’.
It is a theme that the famous socialist and Jewish folk
Gary Spedding – the self-styled Palestinian activist & narcissist who no one has heard of playing the Zionist game
Stephen Pollard – the Jewish Chronicle’s Editor from the Gutter – Freedland’s partner-in crime.
There has also been the trivial matter of one Vicky Kirby
which Freedland and others have blown up out of all proportion. She is or was a member of the Labour
Party. Someone who believes that Jews have
big noses and believes that Hitler is the god of the Zionists, needs help
rather than expulsion. The fact that she
believes that Jews and Israel are synonymous might have a lot to do with some
of the people that Jonathan Freedland keeps company with.
Indeed Freedland himself argues in his latest article in
the Guardian Labour and the left have an antisemitism problem that ‘A recent survey found that 93% of
British Jews said Israel formed some part of their identity’ thus
suggesting that it’s not possible to criticise Israel or the existence of Israel
as a racist Zionist state without it being anti-Semitic. It’s a case of Freedland having his cake and
Freedland’s article is the usual superficial stuff one has come
to expect. He is like the drunk who
leans on a lamp post, not for illumination but support. He skims the surface of every issue he
touches, raising suspicions and caveats without ever managing to tackled a
single issue meaningfully. Never, not
once, does he attempt to tackle the question what is anti-Semitism. He makes triviality into an art form. Freedland is almost a living example of the
decline of the Guardian as a newspaper.
Questions such as whether the allegations of anti-Semitism that
have been made are genuine or whether they got up by people with an entirely
different agenda elude Freedland. He
informs us that the Oxford University Labour Club Chair resigned after saying
the club was riddled with racism. But
what was this racism? The only example he
gives is where apparently one member of the Labour club ‘organised a group to
Zionist” at a Jewish student whenever they saw her.’ When clicking the link this allegation is
sourced to one Aaron Simons,
in another Guardian Comment piece ‘It’s time we acknowledged that Oxford’s student left is institutionally antisemitic’ . Yes the Guardian has had a deliberate
Mail-style strategy for some time to inflate Zionist allegations of ‘anti-Semitism’. Simons states that ‘It has been alleged that
another OULC member organised a group of students to harass a Jewish student
and to shout “filthy Zionist” whenever they saw her.’
We have no indication of who made the allegation, what the
name of the student is who organised this shouting or indeed the alleged
victim. Bearing in mind that Jewish students
who support the Palestinians are regularly abused with the terms ‘traitor’ ‘self-hater’
it is pretty small beer, even assuming there is any truth in it.
But having spread the smear Freedland moves on leaving
people none the wiser.
There was another Labour expulsion this week, of Gerry
Downing. The obvious point to make is that
the expulsion is a disgrace. Downing was
expelled by post, with no notice, not told what the charges were, not invited
to present a defence and told he had no right of appeal against the
decision. A Kafkaesque affair. Freedland omits to mention all of that.
I don’t personally agree with Downing on the position he
takes but I have no doubt, having met Downing, that he is not personally anti-Semitic. The problem is he is politically confused, a
confusion caused by the Zionist insistent that support for Israel is bound up
with being Jewish.
Downing is wrong to think that there is a ‘Jewish Question’
or that it has any bearing on the issue of Israel. His belief that there is a separate Jewish component
of western ruling classes is absurd and can lead in an anti-Semitic direction,
but who is it who raises the question of Jews every time Israel is mentioned
but Jonathan Freedland’s good friends in the Zionist movement? Does not Israel call itself the Jewish state? Does Israel not appropriate historic Jewish religious
symbols like the Star of David as its own nationalist emblems?
Freedland reluctantly accepts that opposition to Israel ‘isnot always
problem is that having conceded the point he goes on to make the opposite case
viz. that anti-Semitism is equivalent to anti-Zionism.
Freedland tells us that when Jews pray they face east towards
Jerusalem and that they have done so for 2,000 years. Yes the holy land held a certain religious
symbolism for Jews but it had no political significance. When the Zionist movement first arose the
fiercest opposition to it came from the Orthodox Jews. They held it was forcing the hand of god who
had exiled the wicked Jews. In fact they’d
voluntarily left for pastures anew. The
fact is that Jews never sought to go to Palestine until the colonial era came
along, anti-Semitism increased and Christians urged them to settle in the area
of Palestine and build a state which would protect the Suez Canal. And even then most Jews desired to go
anywhere but Palestine (between the mid 19th century and 1914 of the
2½ million Jews who fled Czarist Russia some 2% went to Palestine).
Like a dog returning to its vomit, Freedland returns to his
hobby horse – Jeremy Corbyn and anti-Semitism.
Apparently Corbyn attended a fundraising concert for DYR in 2013 after Paul
Eisen had been outed as a holocaust denier.
As I explained to Freedland, who queried this in an email to me. Corbyn was never aware of the bona fides of
Paul Eisen, didn’t meet with him, simply paid for a ticket, knew nothing about
DYR and further it’s not at all certain that Eisen had anything to do with the
concert in question anyway. In other
words the kind of McCarthyist guilt by association technique that one has come
to expect of Mr Freedland and his accomplices.
Freedland’s other point is even more dishonest. Corbyn ‘praised Islamist leader Sheikh Raed
Salah’. He may well have, but
so what. Contrary to Freedland’s
assertions the British court was in no position whether or not to find that
Raed Salah had ‘deployed the blood libel’.
It heard no witnesses to this event.
The passing comment of the court that in its opinion Saleh had referred
to the Jewish blood libel was obiter
dicta, irrelevant to the real finding that Raed Salah’s detention was
illegal and he was freed as a consequence.
The Court, the Upper Immigration Tribunal also found that the evidence of
Saleh having written an anti-Semitic poem was in fact faked by the Jerusalem Post
and the Zionist Community Security Trust.
Freedland is being thoroughly dishonest in his assertion. The Jerusalem Magistrates Court found Salah
not guilty of racial intent precisely because it accepted that he hadn’t used as
a rhetorical device the Jewish blood libel.
On the contrary he said his reference to blood libel was to the Spanish
Inquisition and its murder of children.
The decision was reversed on appeal in a nakedly political attack on
Salah who has been one of the main leaders of Israeli Palestinians and a thorn
in the government’s side. The Israeli judiciary
are not neutral where Palestinians are concerned. They are part of the apartheid state. The attack on Saleh in Israel is a racist
attack on a Palestinian leader who has defended the Temple Mount against Jewish
fundamentalists who would destroy the Golden Dome and Mosque of Omar.
In short there is no substance at all to Freedland’s
arguments. The whole issue of ‘anti-Semitism’
in the Labour Party is a wholly contrived and got-up affair. It is the creation of journalists like
Freedland and his counterparts on the Daily Mail. It has no basis in reality. The real agenda is defence of the Israeli state.
There was a similar and equally inaccurate article in Ha’aretz,
the normally liberal Israeli paper. It
is error ridden but I copy it below for reference. What is most interesting about it is that a
Mr Gary Spedding, who I have tangled with before, passes himself off as ‘a
veteran pro-Palestinian activist, who said he has been ridiculed and subjected
to anti-Semitic abuse’.
Spedding isn’t Jewish.
He is an Orthodox Christian from Newcastle who joined the Northern Ireland Alliance party which is Unionist. [see below for his response to this post!] So how he can be a victim of anti-Semitism is
puzzling, although there is a certain logic to his claim. Under the ‘new anti-Semitism’ that has grown
up in the USA opposition to war mongering, the arms trade, support for human
rights etc. is considered anti-Semitic as it is inimical to Jewish interests! The assumption being that being Jewish means
supporting Israel and as Israel is a nasty, militarised, racist state being
opposed to any of the aforementioned means being anti-Semitic!
Spedding is a fully blown narcissist who is unknown to
anyone in the Palestine solidarity movement.
His only ability seems to be to blow his own trumpet and he is in good company
there – with the anti-Semitic Jazzman Gilad Atzmon.
mounting number of recent incidents and accusations of anti-Semitism has party
members and Jewish leaders wondering if Labour is still welcoming of Jews.
Daniella Peled Mar 17, 2016 1:41 PM
Britain’s opposition leader Jeremy
Corbyn listens to speakers at the annual Labour Party Conference in Brighton,
U.K., September 28, 2015.Reuters
U.K. Labour party
suspends activist for saying Jews have ‘big noses’
highlights heated British debate over anti-Semitism and Zionism
Corbyn declines to say
‘Israel’ at U.K. Labour meet – and keeps people guessing
A series of
anti-Semitism scandals has hit the U.K.’s Labour movement in what some Jewish
activists say may be a turning point for the party.
controversies include the re-election of a Vicki Kirby to vice-chair of her
local Labour party branch. Kirby was suspended in 2014 after a series of
tweets, including one in which she suggested Hitler might be “the Zionist God.”
Another tweet asked: “What do you know about Jews? They’ve got big noses
and support [London soccer team] Tottenham Spurs lol.” She has since been
suspended again, and an inquiry is pending.
previous week, party activist Gerry Downing, whose Socialist Fight website has
published articles on “the Jewish Question” and who himself has been accused of
questioning the Holocaust, was thrown out of the Labour party for the second
mid-February, Alex Chalmers, co-chair of the Oxford University Labour Club
(OULC) resigned after the body decided to support Israel Apartheid Week,
claiming that many OULC members “have some kind of problem with Jews.” The
scandal deepened after the Oxford Jewish Society released further allegations
of harassment against Jewish students.
reflect an on-going internal struggle between a more radical left wing of the
Labour Party and a more moderate sector of the party, and the conversation has
spilled beyond the Jewish community, grabbing national headlines in the
country’s major papers.
This clash has
been encapsulated by differing views on Israel and the Palestinians, not least
due to party leader Jeremy Corbyn’s decades-long record as a pro-Palestinian
campaigner. He has famously described representatives of Hezbollah and Hamas as
For Tal Ofer, an
Israeli immigrant who ran as a Labour candidate in local elections in 2014, the
trend is worrisome. “I feel sickened as a British Jew, as these are not the
values of my party, the value of inclusivity and social justice,” he said.
Ofer added that
he had raised his concerns with numerous senior party figures, including deputy
leader Tom Watson.
elements of the hard left inside the party now whose anti-Semitic views are
clear,” Ofer said. “As long as the party doesn’t act against those
anti-Semites, they feel that they have legitimacy to carry on with these
John Mann, chair of the all-party group on anti-Semitism, claimed the situation
had deteriorated with the influx of hard-left newcomers to the party following
Corbyn’s election last year.
Others say that
it is simply symptomatic of a trend infecting British politics.
journalist Nick Cohen argued in his 2007 book “What’s Left?” that
blind anti-imperialism was transforming the left-wing into a profoundly
illiberal movement. Nothing about the
current anti-Semitism scandal was surprising, he told Haaretz.
mainstream – the far-left have taken over. People like me were screaming about
this years ago and were always told that it was just about fringe groups,”
“It’s not just
Corbyn or a clique in the Labour party,” he continued. “The same attitudes are
all across the left, any charity, any university, any vaguely middle-class and
concepts of this ideology, he said, are: A belief that the West was the main or
the sole source of global conflict, that the only reason for trouble in the
Middle East was Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians, and that radical Islam
should be excused rather than confronted. There was also “a rather racist
cultural relativism, especially around women’s rights” and a conspiracy of
Jewish control of American and European foreign policy.
In this context,
Cohen said, anti-Semitism was being excused or dismissed if it appeared in a
wider context of outspoken criticism of Israel.
the national chair of the Jewish Labour Movement, said he saw a distinct trend
towards the “denial of anti-Semitism,” particularly among pockets of the
disciplinary system is often not robust enough to deal with this,” he lamented.
“At a structural level in the party the rhetoric of zero tolerance has to be
followed and matched with processes.”
Even those with
strong pro-Palestinian credentials are not immune. “Some among the left have
the misguided belief that anyone raising concerns of anti-Semitism are part of
a Zionist ploy or pro-Israel conspiracy to discredit and defame,” said Gary
Spedding, a veteran pro-Palestinian activist, who said he has been ridiculed
and subjected to anti-Semitic abuse when he identified anti-Semitism within the
that pro-Israel activists willingly blur criticism of Israel or Zionism itself
with anti-Semitism for their own political ends.
Socialists’ Group told Haaretz in a statement that they were “proud” to count
Jeremy Corbyn as a longstanding and reliable ally and had “every confidence”
that he would continue to deal effectively with any instances of anti-Semitism.
The group said
Corbyn, when running for office, had faced a “vicious smear campaign based
on lies, distortions and innuendo, which tried to brand him as an anti-Semite
or friend of anti-Semites.” The group charged the “right wing
media,” “cynical opponents” within Labour, and some “right
wing Jews, who oppose Jeremy Corbyn’s longstanding support for Palestinian
rights,” with orchestrating the campaign.
leaders agree that Corbyn has done little since his election to squash
controversies and try to build bridges with the Jewish community. For example,
the party’s initial investigation into the Oxford affair has yet to be
published, and Labour MPs have expressed concern that it will be subsumed into
a wider enquiry about student affairs.
Corbyn did issue
a statement this week after shadow cabinet minister Luciana Berger was
inundated with offensive tweets after announcing that she would be attending an
anti-Semitism conference in Berlin. Corbyn called the abuse
“unacceptable,” and said “It has no place in our society.”
however, complain that the leader won’t touch Israel-related anti-Semitism
“with a barge pole,” as one parliamentary aide put it. “He fulfills his
obligations by making short condemnations without any attention to nuance.”
As a result, the
aide continued, many Jewish Labour activists “are actively cutting up
this, saying he did not predict a mass exit of Jewish support from Labour.
Rather, “people have redoubled their efforts to fight this within the party,”
“If I don’t
fight for my party’s future, who will do it?” said Ofer. “These are
really difficult times to be a Jewish member… many people ask me to quit the
party, but then how can I influence it from outside?”
Spedding’s Response as emailed to me
I have no idea why you
continue to write nonsense about me and I’m further puzzled as to why
you include me in email threads as if this upsets or annoys me in any
All you have done is
demonstrate exactly why members of the Jewish community feel so worried
about the trivialisation and dismissing of their concerns regarding
anti-semitism. You have dedicated entire articles
to such aims and objectives and I frankly find your own anti-semitism
The reality is that nobody
in the mainstream Palestine solidarity movement wants to work with you
anymore. These wild statements you make about me more accurately
It is clear you are craving
my attention or attempting to bait me in some way and so I’ll not feed
the troll as the expression goes.