The New Statesman & the Perpetuation of the Myth of Labour ‘anti-Semitism’
The New Statesman & the Perpetuation of the Myth of Labour ‘anti-Semitism’
Carrying on a tradition – The New Statesman, Zionism
New Statesman article that complains about anti-Semitism being used as a political football and then does exactly that!
Kingsley Martin – NS’s longest serving editor refused to print Orwell’s dispatches from Spain because they criticised the Stalinist attacks on the Anarchists and POUM – the NS was an apologist for both Stalinism and Zionism in the 1930’s
The New Statesman was founded in 1913 by the
Fabians and the Webbs. [see New Statesman] As such it was always a paper of that wing of
the British establishment that saw the role of the British Empire as one of educating the natives into gradual self-government. Sydney Webb himself, as Lord Passfield, was
Colonial Secretary from 1929-31 in the government of Ramsey MacDonald.
Owen Jones – the Guardian’s resident leftist who writes for NS – has trouble deciding who to support in current leadership battle – has conducted a sympathetic interview with Smith
Except for a very short period of time, the
New Statesman has been explicitly supportive of the Zionist settler-colonial
movement seeing in the Jewish only Kibbutzim some form of socialist
collectivism, whereas they were stockade and watchtower settlements whose
purpose was to expand the borders of the future state.
Julia Rampen – editor of Staggers continues the tradition of New Statesman Zionism
Zionism appealed to the Fabians and much of the
Labour left. They talked the language of
social democracy even though the Labour Zionists were fiercely anti-socialist,
rejecting any suggestion of joint co-operation with the Arabs vs the colonial
power, Britain. That was hardly
surprising given that Zionism was dependent on an alliance with British colonialism
as envisaged in the Balfour Declaration.
Although the Fabians and the New Statesman preferred to avert their eyes, the Zionist movement sheltered behind British bayonets every bit as much as their white cousins in South Africa. They fiercely opposed any measure of self-government because, as settlers, they were in a minority.
Simon Johnson of Jewish Leadership Council lied when claiming that when Owen was booed for saying that anti-Semitism was rife in Labour Party this was an example of ‘anti-Semitism’ rather than incredulity at his absurd claims
The Fabians and the New Statesman espoused an
ideology that held that the Empire was a form of trusteeship, holding the
colonies in trust for the natives who were judged not to be ready for self-government. The Conservatives of course were somewhat
more honest and people like Churchill, the bitter enders, refused to
countenance Indian independence or accept the idea of decolonisation.
The NS had an influence on people like Andrew
Cohen in the Colonial Office who mapped out during the Attlee government a
programme of gradual decolonisation. In
Southern Africa these Fabians sponsored the ill-fated Central African Federation which
was intended to perpetuate white domination in the colonies of Zambia, Rhodesia
and Malawi. It ended in the Unilateral
Declaration of Independence in 1965 in Rhodesia and the ensuing guerilla war.
Lord Passfield aka Sydney Webb – Fabian founder of NS
Although after the Lebanese invasion of 1982 the
NS became more sympathetic to the Palestinians and paid lip service to their
fight against occupation, it never dropped its support for Zionism. It remained true to the Zionism of one of its associate editors and later a Minister under Harold Wilson, Richard Crossman.
It is no surprise that today the NS has given
full support to the ‘anti-Semitism’ allegations against Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour
Party. It is a continuation of the same racist and imperialist tradition, except that they dress it up in the language of anti-racism.
Laurie ‘Red’ Penney is becoming more of a Pink Penney
anti-Semitism as a political football is damaging for both Labour and the
Jewish community Simon Johnson of the unelected Zionist Jewish Leadership
Council, argued that ‘we are no closer to
ridding political discourse on the left of anti-Semitism’. What he meant by this was clear when he
wrote of the Chakrabarti and Royall reports that ‘neither report came to grips with the vexed issue of anti-Zionism and
how the denial of the right of Jewish people to self-determination in a Jewish
State could well be anti-Semitic as well.’
Anti-Zionism may indeed vex racists and Zionists because they would prefer that there was no opposition to
Israel’s continuing colonisation, not only on the West Bank and its stifling
and murderous blockade of Gaza but inside Israel itself. As Israel lurches ever further to the Right,
today attacking even liberal Zionist human rights groups, Zionist supporters like Johnson
complain about the denial of ‘Jewish self-determination’ as if Israel’s settler
colonial racism was somehow a manifestation of Jewish identity.
Indeed it is an anti-Semitic argument to argue that it is inherent in Jewish identity to support Israel’s war crimes but you don’t get appointed to edit ‘Staggers’ the New Statesman blog, because you are an intellectual.
In the light of Johnson’s comments, the title of
his article, in which he complains that anti-Semitism is used as a political
football, demonstrates a degree of myopia and lack of self awareness that is quite amazing.
Julia Rampen, the New Statesman’s on-line editor is
unable to comprehend what is written on her own blog. She reacted with incredulity to my suggestion
that she allow a right of reply to Johnson’s article.
Rampen doesn’t feel that it is ‘fair at all’
that I suggest that the NS should carry a response from someone who is Jewish and
who is suspended for ‘anti-Semitism’ to yet another article alleging ‘anti-Semitism’
in the Labour Party. Johnson alleged that when Owen Smith was booed in Cardiff for alleging that anti-Semitism was
rife in the party, that this was an example of anti-Semitism. Anyone who wasn’t completely blind would
realise that people booed Smith because the allegation of anti-Semitism in the Labour
Party is a lie. It doesn’t exist.
It is interesting how Rampen raises a straw man (woman!) that I
am suggesting that racism doesn’t exist
in the Labour Party. The ‘anti-Semitism’
witch hunt is an example of the fact that racism is very much alive and kicking
– most of those suspended have been Black or Muslim members of the Labour Party. As for anti-Semitism, no doubt individual
members of the Party may have anti-Semitic prejudices but there is precious
little evidence of this. Virtually all the ‘anti-Semitism’
that has been alleged relates to comments about Zionism and Israel.
That is why the Jewish Labour Movement in its amendment to Party
rules dealing with ‘anti-Semitism’ switched tack to complaining that Zionism was
being used as a term of abuse. I copy below the correspondence between us:
Thanks for your feedback, but I don’t think that’s fair at all. As
mentioned, I would recommend you look up some of the recent op eds we’ve had
from John McDonnell and Diane Abbott, as well as pro-Corbyn pieces from Michael
Chessum and Liam Young. As for anti-Semitism, the Labour party has held an
inquiry into the subject so it is clearly an issue that some Labour members
feel is of concern. Unless you can show evidence that some of the comments
reported on in that inquiry or generally by reporters are fake, I’m unclear as
to how you could argue your case that it does not exist at all in the Labour
party. I would not commission a piece arguing there was “no racism” in the
Labour party in the wake of a report into such an issue, or “no misogyny” after
the current attacks on female Labour MPs. That doesn’t mean every incident is
necessarily true, and we have been selective on what we report on.
Of course there’s an argument that Labour is being unfairly singled out
when the Tories have had their own scandals over the years. But that’s another
From: Tony Greenstein Sent: 08 August 2016 12:05 To: Julia Rampen Subject: Re: What kind of cheap journalism allows the New Statesman to
Print False allegations of anti-Semitism?
strange that these opinion pieces always seem to reflect received wisdom of the
rest of the media. I’ve yet to see one piece in the NS which goes against
the only Jewish person to be suspended in the LP furore over ‘anti-Semitism’ I
challenge you to offer me the same space as Simon Johnson in order that I can
demolish the assumption that anti-Semitism is rampant or indeed exists in the
reaction of the audience in Cardiff showed what the opinion of the vast
majority of people bar your Progress supporters think. Let’s see if you
are willing to buck the trend as you once did
Thanks for your email. The article is an opinion piece from someone
representing 30 Jewish umbrella organisations. We publish articles from people
with many different opinions (we have recently published articles from
John McDonnell and Diane Abbott). If the Labour leadership wished to
write an article on this subject we would certainly consider it. We cannot
publish articles from every reader, but we do welcome constructive criticism.
From: Tony Greenstein Sent: 08 August 2016 05:22 To: Newstatesman Letters; Newstatesman Comments Subject: What kind of cheap journalism allows the New Statesman to Print
False allegations of anti-Semitism?
have been a reader of the New Statesman for nearly 40 years beginning with
Bruce Page. It is now as right-wing as it has ever been.
appears that the NS is determined to try and ensure the defeat of the first
genuinely left-wing leadership of the Labour Party. In so doing it is
happy to lend credence to the falsehoods and inventions of those alleging
‘anti-Semitism’. Has the NS ever actually investigated the
allegations? If it had it would understand just why this is an Orwellian
campaign that is determined to prove that Black = White.
a suspended Jewish member of the Labour Party I would like to have equal space
to rebut the utter tripe and nonsense of this poorly written article. But
I guess, given your lack of commitment to any real debate, that that would be
an absurd idea to entertain.
offer a letter by way of response. We shall see if you have the mettle to