Those who abandon Livingstone today will abandon Corbyn tomorrow – Stand Up for Free Speech on Israel and Palestine

Those who abandon Livingstone today will abandon Corbyn tomorrow – Stand Up for Free Speech on Israel and Palestine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Post-Blog

Why it’s time to boycott the Guardian and say no to liberal McCarthyism

Jonathan Freedland as Comment Editor ensured that the False Anti-Semitism Campaign met no opposition in the pages of the Guardian  

Ever since Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader of the Labour Party, the Guardian has launched one vicious assault after another on him.  Jonathan Freedland led the original charge accusing Corbyn of associating with Paul Eisen, a holocaust denier. Labour & the left have an antisemitism problem
Along the way the attack broadened out.  It included the late Gerald Kaufman MP, Jackie Walker, Ken Livingstone and myself.  
The Guardian abandons any notion of free speech or democratic debate – as it lines up with the Zionists and Progress
The Guardian is pulling out all the stops to have Livingstone expelled
It is therefore no surprise that the
war-mongering Guardian/Observer has been to the fore of the McCarthyite attack
on Ken Livingstone.  In a particularly stupid Leader, The Guardian
view on Labour and Ken Livingstone: wrong decision, terrible message
we are told
that it is simply a matter of ‘decorum’ that people use the term ‘Zionist’
rather than ‘Jews’.
Yet another attempt to besmirch Livingstone by an erstwhile supporter
In other words, being a Zionist and a Jew are synonymous.  Perhaps John Hagee, the Christian Pastor who heads Christians United for Israel, a million strong group of Evangelical Baptists in the USA is also a Jew?  Because he is certainly a strong Zionist as well as holding the quaint belief that Hitler was a messenger from god!
One among so many anti-Corbyn Guardian Opinion pieces – 
In actual fact there is no contradiction between being a Zionist and an anti-Semite.  Both believe that Jews belong in Palestine/Israel not in the countries of their birth.  From its very inception, Zionism has been most strongly supported by anti-Semites – Edoard Drumont, Henrich Class, Alfred Rosenberg, Reinhardt Heydrich and today people like Geert Wilders, Marine Le Pen, Donald Trump and Steve Bannon.
Indeed to equate being Jewish with being a Zionist is to associate all Jews with the barbarous deeds of the Apartheid Israeli state.  Which is certainly a good example of anti-Semitism.
The Zionists,
assorted reactionaries and the Labour Right have gone mad because Livingstone
wasn’t expelled as they hoped and expected. 
Livingstone faced a disciplinary hearing before the National
Constitutional Committee.  He was, quite
outrageously, suspended for another year from membership of the Labour
Party.  Not satisfied with this the
Zionists have demanded that he be expelled.
This is of
course understandable.  The Right
expected the NCC to acts as it normally does – a rubber stamp.  However Livingstone brought fairly heavy
legal guns to bear, in the form of Mike Mansfield QC and the Committee reached in essence a compromise.  However we should not lose sight of the real
issue at stake here for the Guardian and its rabid right supporters.
Racist reactionaries such as Sir Trevor Chinn, former CEO of Lex Garages and the RAC – venture capitalist and all round member of the Establishment
The Jewish Labour Movement’s Ella Rose explaining how peaceful Zionism is
The Witch hunt is about defence of Israel, the US’s Racist
Rotweiller in the Middle East.  The Jewish Labour Movement which
has pioneered the attack on Livingstone is, by its own description, the sister
party of the racist Israeli Labour Party. 
A party whose leader, Isaac Herzog, proclaims that his party should not
be seen as an ‘Arab lovers’ party.  The
National Front used to accuse people of being ‘Jew lovers’ or ‘Nigger lovers’.  This is the kind of group that is leading the
witch-hunt of Livingstone. It is a party that when in government implemented
the forcible expulsion of ¾ million Palestinians in 1948.
Nothing
Livingstone said was in the least anti-Semitic. His only offence was to tell
the truth about the history of Zionism. 
Today Zionists attack their opponents as ‘anti-Semites’ – not because
they hate Jews but because they hate what Israel does to the Palestinians.  In other words what the Zionists mean by
anti-Semitism is opposition to Zionist racism which results in
Palestinians living as barely tolerated guests in their own country.
So pleased were the Nazis with the visit for 6 months to Jewish Palestine by Baron von Mildenstein, the Head of the Gestapo’s Jewish Desk, that on his return they struck a medal with a swastika on one side and the Star of David on the other!
Defending
Israeli Racism and Denying History
To
give but one example.  Francis Nicosia, the Raul Hilberg Professor of Holocaust
Studies at Vermont University wrote in his book Zionism and Anti-Semitism in Nazi Germany (pp.118/9) that: 

‘Throughout the 1930’s, as part of the
regime’s determination to force Jews to leave Germany, there was almost
unanimous support in German government and Nazi party circles for promoting
Zionism among German Jews’. 


Even recounting such facts is now deemed
antisemitic.  It would be churlish
to quote other historians to the same effect but for Ken to quote the same, to
say that Hitler and the Nazis supported Zionism is somehow anti-Semitic.  It is as if it is anti-Semitic to tell the
truth.
Cartoon in the Zionist press about Ha’avara – Don’t be upset Hitler the Jews r helping u
According to the
Pew Information Centre’s Israel’s Religiously Divided Society 48% of Israeli Jews, a plurality, support the
physical expulsion of Israel’s Arabs. 
This is the same solution that the Nazis first proposed to the Jewish
Question.  Israel is a society where a
cold-blooded killer of a severely injured Palestinian, Elor Azaria, has become
a national hero.  It is a society where,
in January, the Bedouin village of Umm al Hiran in Israel’s Negev, which had
already been relocated once, was physically destroyed in order that a Jewish
town could be erected in its place. 
Israeli police opened fire on a Palestinian school teacher and murdered
him.  Never, not once, have Israeli
police ever opened fire on Jewish demonstrators.  The racism of Israeli apartheid is never
ending but in the Labour Party it is its supporters, the JLM and LFI, who call the shots.
Corbyn’s Cowardice
The fact that
Jeremy Corbyn has capitulated to the witch hunt is to his eternal shame.  He knows as well as anyone that Ken
Livingstone is not a racist or anti-Semite. 
After all he has also been called such by the defenders of Israel.  Corbyn thinks that by bowing to the racist
tide he will therefore save himself and his leadership. 
He doesn’t seem to realise that allowing the expulsion of Ken
Livingstone may well be the final nail in his own coffin.
The Guardian and False Anti-racism
The Guardian has
played a particularly iniquitous role.  In
the course of its attack on free speech, the Guardian has invented a new
principle.  Apparently it should be the
party’s ‘default position… to define
racism as its victims would like it to be defined.’
  Presumably when the National Front and
British National Party launched their Rights for Whites campaign, we should
have deferred to their view of themselves as victims of racism.  British imperialism in its campaign of
pillage, plunder and rape through India and Africa also saw themselves as the
victims of racism.
Racism is an
objective phenomenon.  Of course false
allegations of racism are made.  The fact
is that many Jews today are not Zionists and do not accept the myth of ever
increasing anti-Semitism in British society. 
We do not accept that we are victims of racism in a society where it is
anti-Black and Muslim racism which is institutionalised in the state.  Jews are not economically discriminated
against.  There are no Jewish deaths in
custody or as a result of racist attacks. 
Jewish synagogues are not attacked. 
Jews are not over represented in prison but they are over represented in
Parliament and in business because they are a well-off section of the White community.  Those are facts, borne out by statistical
evidence.
To compare Jews
in Britain today to Black or Asians is to trivialise racism.  It is to the Guardian’s eternal shame that it
ignores racism against Black people in this society but focuses on racism
against a White minority, Jewish people. 
The Guardian, because of its own profligacy is now trading at a
loss.  There was a time when people on
the Left, despite their irritation at it, recognised that it was a paper that
was politically different from the rest of the pack.  Today the Guardian is a racist, war-mongering
paper of the Blairite Right.
The Guardian is now putting out the begging bowl as the Corporate Media appeals to the values of social solidarity
The time has come to boycott the Guardian.
Below is a
letter I sent to the Guardian’s editor, Katharine Viner, with a copy to
Jonathan Freedland, the Guardian’s Zionist gatekeeper.  Below that is a link to an excellent article McCarthyite
Anti-Semitism Smears and Racism at the Guardian/Observer
by Gavin Lewis which I recommend you read, despite it being on
the Counterpunch site.
Its anti-Semitic to mention this book by right-wing Zionist Edwin Black

Dear Ms VinerI notice that the Guardian has
once again jumped in, with both feet, into the false and concocted moral panic
around ‘anti-Semitism’.  This time attacking Ken Livingstone.  
According to your current leading
article, Labour has put Ken ahead of a fundamental principle.  I can’t
imagine which principle you are referring to.  Free speech?  
The principle that you placed to the fore when Muslims protested at the attacks
on their religion?  Or is this just another bout of Guardian hypocrisy? 

According to your Leader it is
‘only for decorum’s sake’ that the word ‘Zionist’ is used instead of
‘Jew’.  It is difficult to know where to begin when face with this type of
ignorance and sheer stupidity.  Perhaps Steve Bannon, the anti-Semitic
Trump Advisor and ex-Breitbart CEO, should be called a Jew instead of a
Zionist?  Or perhaps Pastor John Hagee, of Christians United for Israel,
who is of the opinion that Hitler was a messenger sent from god, should also be
called a Jew rather than what he, an anti-Semitic Zionist.  Jonathan
Freedland is perfectly well aware that  Michal Kaminski, the former Polish
MEP, combined anti-Semitism and Zionism in equal measure. 

It may be anti-Semitic to mention it, but the Zionist Federation of Germany’s paper, Judische Rundschau, welcomed the `1935 Nuremberg Laws

I find it amusing that the Guardian
has now invented a new principle viz. that all allegations of racism, even by
racists, have to be taken at face value.  Apart from the fact that the
British in India and Africa considered they were the victims of Black racism
(the ‘Black peril’) if you had any acquaintance with racism you would know that
British fascists have long campaigned on ‘Whites for Rights’ arguing that White
people are the real victims of racism. 

The Zionist movement has long
attacked opponents as anti-Semitic.  It also has a long record of working
with anti-Semites.  From William Evans Gordon MP, founder of the British
Brothers League in this country to its fulsome welcome to Trump and his
anti-Semitic entourage.  Unfortunately this included, as even Zionist
historians like David Cesarani, Lucy Dawidowicz and Frances Nicosial concede,
Nazi support for Zionism.  The examples are legion and if you say that
even mentioning this is ‘anti-Semitic’ you are engaging in a form of political
terrorism. 

You have today also carried an
article by David Baddiel, ‘Why Ken Livingstone has it so wrong over Hitler and
Zionism’.  What it fails, as the Guardian has consistently failed to
mention, is that Ha’avara, the trade agreement between the Nazis and the
Zionist movement was made in order that the Jewish and International Boycott of
Nazi Germany could be destroyed.  It was treachery to German Jews and
allowed the stabilisation of the Hitler regime at its weakest point. 

Are you prepared to allow a reply
by me of equal length or are you going to carry on your tradition of the past
18 months of refusing to carry any article or opinion piece criticial of the
false anti-Semitism campaign?  A campaign motivated by the desire to
remove the Corbyn leadership of the Labour Party.As someone who took the Guardian
for 40 years it is sad to see the Guardian’s fine traditions of journalism
being destroyed as you campaign to destroy free speech on Israel and Palestine,
which is the real reason for the current attacks.  There was a time when
people like David Hirst wrote for the Guardian that the paper evinced real and
genuine sympathy for the Palestinians, the real victims of Zionist accusations
of anti-Semitism. 

The article ‘McCarthyite
Anti-Semitism Smears and Racism at the Guardian/Observer
‘ on Alex
Cockburn’s old site, Counterpunch, substantiates the persistent and consistent
bias of the Guardian/Observer.  

Many people on the Left now consider
the Guardian & Observer, with Islamaphobic columnists like Nick Cohen,
already beyond the pale.  Perhaps an organised boycott of a paper whose
agenda today is little different to the Tory tabloids is the way ahead?

Tony
Greenstein

Over the
last few years, and as the corporate neoliberal project has started to unravel,
the Guardian/Observer news stable has devoted a considerable amount of space to
smears on re-emerging alternate sites of power, located in grassroots activism.
An early example was former Labour Leader Ed Miliband’s McCarthyite
‘reds-under-the-beds’ attack on trade unionists in Falkirk, propped up by yet
another New-Labour-type ‘dodgy dossier’ – the assertions of which were rejected
by the police who “concluded there are insufficient grounds to support a
criminal investigation at this time”.[1] This was followed by attacks against the
Labour grassroots, including the Corbyn campaign group Momentum, associated
Party societies, residents groups, co-operative supporters, trade unionists,
and other affiliates getting subsidised membership rates – with the implication
that Labour voting privileges should now be the exclusive preserve of the
affluent Guardian-reading middle classes.[2]
Similarly,
in the Guardian/Observer universe, peace activism of the ‘Stop the War’
movement type has been pejoratively labeled as ‘disreputable.’[3] Its editorial policy apparently presumes
that Labour supporters should embrace a pro-imperialist, pro-war position or,
as Labour’s social base frequently joke, a ‘Start-the-War’ movement – which is
in stark contrast to the reality of the Party’s actual history and grassroots
membership. For example historically, Prime Minister Harold Wilson’s Labour
government kept the UK out of the Vietnam War, and some trade unions have
continued to affiliate their members both to the official Party and to the
Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. Student activism of all types has also
repeatedly been smeared in articles across both papers. Obviously if, for
example, Black students are as successful as their grandparents in critiquing
the Cecil Rhodes model of racist-imperialism, then the status of those elitist
neoliberal politicians responsible for criminal debacles in Iraq, Afghanistan
and elsewhere, becomes questionable, even untenable.[4]
Like many
grassroots groups, students have increasingly turned their backs on the
orthodoxy of neoliberal corporate media hegemony, which defines politics as a
cozy deal between corporate lobbyists, bought professional politicians, their
spin doctors and the journalists who regurgitate the resulting pre-packaged
copy. Students in particular have been unwilling to accommodate, in their
social spaces, speakers who have a hostile corporate-media-supported profile.
The response by the Guardian/Observer has been to generate significant moral
panics about free speech being under attack, in alleged student No-Platforming’
incidents. This is clearly an attempt to force the influence of an oppressive corporate
media narrative into the social spaces that are rejecting it. It is a measure
of how heavy-handed this campaign has been that feminists and fairly innocuous
transgender activists have been amongst the victims caught in its crosshairs. A
letter of complaint about this moral panic and its attacks on student political
protest signed by hundreds of feminist supporters was published in the
Observer.[5] After being smeared for allegedly ‘no
platforming’ celebrity campaigner Peter Tatchell, transgender activists
supported by more than a hundred signatories felt the need to sidestep
Guardian/Observer hegemony by taking this specific aspect of their complaint to
the pages of Pink News.[6] Perhaps this was because hypocritically,
the Guardian/Observer’s own willingness to reciprocate by allowing fair equal
representation on its pages is strictly limited?
II
Despite
its ‘free-speech-under-attack’ smears, the Guardian/Observer practices its own
racist form of ‘No-Platforming’ where – even in its ‘hard news’ sections –
criticism of Israel particularly by Black and/or Muslim Britons is labeled as a
form of bigotry often accompanied by demands that the ‘perpetrator’ be driven
from public life. The most recent victims have been women of colour. Naz Shah,
a Labour MP of Pakistani origin, has been headlined as anti-semitic after a
two-year-old Facebook post of hers was found, which fancifully expressed a
desire for Israel to be relocated to the US. That members of Black diasporas might
yearn for a Middle East prior to white western imperialist intrusion, is hardly
surprising. Israel is a society only recently invented by the genocidal
colonial conquest of Europeans, Russians, White Americans and White
South-Africans who were non-indigenous to the region, and some of whom who were
obviously on their second attempt at segregationist white settler society
exploitation.
Previously
and inside the first week of her tenure, the National Union of Students first
Black and Muslim woman president Malia Bouattia and critic of Zionism was
similarly smeared. She has had the label anti-semitism put next to her name in
a number of Guardian headlines and this process seems to be ongoing. So far
neither she nor Naz Shah has been found to have expressed any pejorative views
about Jews. Neither woman has expressed sympathies that even exceed that of the
late Nobel Peace Prize winner Nelson Mandela who stated “If one has to refer to
any of the parties as a terrorist state, one might refer to the Israeli government,
because they are the people who are slaughtering defenseless and innocent Arabs
in the occupied territories, and we don’t regard that as acceptable”[7] and “We identify with the PLO because,
just like ourselves, they are fighting for the right of self determination.…
Arafat is a comrade in arms.”[8] But both women have been smeared anyway.
III
These
smears and contextual omissions are part of a broader conservative revisionist
rebooting of the news-outlets’ worldview. Absent from the Guardian/Observer’s
editorial practice of equating criticism of Israel with anti-semitism is any
sense of the country’s dubious standing within the global human rights
community. Israel is a society that another Noble Peace Prize winner Archbishop
Desmond Tutu, has repeatedly compared to Apartheid South Africa.[9] UN Special Rapporteur John Dugard
described it as “an apartheid regime … worse than the one that existed in South
Africa.”[10] Kgalema Motlanthe, the Deputy President
of South Africa and of the African National Congress described the Israeli
occupation as creating conditions worse than “for Blacks under the Apartheid
regime.”[11] In October 2012, Baleka Mbete Chairman
of the ANC also used the words “far worse than apartheid South Africa”[12] Moshé Machover of Matzpen, the Israeli
Socialist Organization has gone further, saying, “Apartheid can be reversed.
Ethnic cleansing is immeasurably harder to reverse; at least not in the short
or medium term.”[13] These findings have been supported by
Jewish activists, academic intellectual Noam Chomsky, and investigative
journalist Max Blumenthal.[14] In the current climate of corporate
media McCarthyism, all these prominent voices could now expect to be smeared as
anti-semites.
In the
case of the two most recent female victims smeared, the fact that the
neoliberal end of the corporate media expects that Black women should be
somehow ‘compelled’ to identify with Israel – a country in whose non-tourist
areas they’d be justifiably fearful of walking – raises a number of issues of
racist editorial policy. First, there is obviously a practice of privileging a
specific ethnic-religious ‘point-of-view’ within Guardian/Observer hard news
coverage. Second, there is also a news management policy which deliberately
either censors or dismantles reports of Israel’s ongoing racist policy offences
into isolated single-incident examples with no relationship to previous
historical and repeated ongoing transgressions. However, once you start to
reintegrate the data available even from within the corporate media, then the
exceptionalist nature of Guardian/Observer smears – even in the context of
broader media’s pro-Israel ‘anti-semitism’ moral panics – and the racist
enormity of what women-of-colour in particular, are expected to tolerate,
becomes all too apparent. Israel is a society built upon genocidal white
western expansionism. Even leaving aside the ‘ethnic cleansing’ horrors of the
Palestinian experience, Israel’s victims are largely Black and Indigenous and –
contrary to corporate media anti-semitism narratives – these involve processes
whereby Jews also racially oppress other Jews.
Violence
against Ethiopian Jews in Israel – including that committed by the police – is
a fact of life. Even after a 2015 incident in which a white police officer
shown on film assaulting an Ethiopian-Israeli soldier became international
news, the culprit as usual escaped prosecution. The Guardian highlighted the
race riots provoked by the incident but referred to the attack as a “scuffle” –
even Murdoch/Fox-owned Sky News permitted the word ‘assaulted’ in their
coverage – and the Guardian further failed to cover the subsequent scandal
caused by the lack of judicial prosecution.[15] By contrast, the resulting particularly
newsworthy protests were carried by the Jerusalem Post, ynetnews.com, the Times
of Israel, and other news outlets.[16] Unsurprisingly, the report on racism in
Israel presented to the UN by the researcher David Sheen and the resulting
numerous postings of video footage of mob intimidation and violence against
Africans in the country, was never allowed into the news-outlets’ coverage
either.[17]
For many
years donations of so-called ‘black blood’ by Ethiopian Jews have been dumped
by Israel’s hospitals and Red Cross. In 1996 this provoked the race riots
covered by the Independent newspaper, the New York Times and other news
outlets.[18] In 2013 a protest by the country’s main
Ethiopian-Jewish politician highlighted this practice and kept it in
international public scrutiny – subsequently featuring in the Daily Beast, the
Times of Israel, Haaretz, ynetnews.com and elsewhere.[19] Despite many years of controversy, the
Guardian only finally touched the story – after international embarrassment
forced Israeli President Shimon Peres into condemning the practice – when it
then could be conveniently spun as rapprochement.[20] A comparison between western white
settler society Israel and the multi-cultural UK demonstrates both the oddity
of the Guardian’s years of absented coverage of this scandal, and the obvious
scientific medical invalidity of ‘racial’ blood segregation. The British
National Health Service, as a matter of policy, rejects such segregation.[21]
Further
illustrating the plight of Africans in Israel, both The Jerusalem Post and
Ynew.com conceded that Ethiopian Jews – who are disproportionately constrained
to menial support jobs – were faced with neighbourhoods operating ‘whites only’
housing policies.[22] Again this was not integrated into
Guardian/Observer’s overall ongoing coverage of Israel. Far more disturbingly,
and echoing Nazi eugenics policies, Forbes, Haaretz and even the Guardian have
all had to acknowledge that Ethiopians in Israel were subjected to regular
forced injections of the long-acting contraceptive drug Depo-Provera – a policy
of temporary sterilization – that deliberately plummeted Ethiopian-Israeli
reproductive rates by at least 20%.[23] There is no evidence of any other
western country which accepted Ethiopian refugees pursuing such a policy. One
might hope that a story with such Nazi-like implications would feature on the
front page of a so-called progressive newspaper, but in the Guardian it was
largely buried on its inner pages. Imagine the front-page media storm if the
ethnic identities of victim/perpetrator had been inverted.
To the
brutal racism experienced by Ethiopians and Bedouins and obviously the
Apartheid horrors of Palestinian life, we can also add the ugly discrimination
experienced by indigenous Jews such as the Sephardi/Mizrahi. The complaints of
these groups now feature on their own ethnic-themed websites and have even been
explored on certain peripheral corporate media outlets such as Haaretz. The
Huffington Post’s David Shasha also returns to this issue periodically. On
different occasions he has complained of “the evisceration of the traditional
Sephardic Jewish heritage,” and written “most Israelis saw them as culturally
and intellectually ‘backward,’ like the Arabs in whose countries they once
lived. The Israeli political system forced many Sephardim to live at the
margins of society, where they often found themselves caught between the
warring forces of religious extremism and imposed secularization.”[24] However, for all the performed outrage
about anti-semtitism, you’ll struggle to hear about oppression of Indigenous
Jews within the Guardian/Observer stable.
African-American
and British-Caribbean Jews have also fallen foul of white-ethnic settler
sensibilities. Israel offers citizenship to Jews from across the western world
but for years has resisted allowing black converts to Judaism anything other
than temporary visitors’ visas. In some cases, even these won’t be honoured.
African-American Idit Malka intended to visit the country for a family event
but instead found herself and her family detained at an Israeli airport for two
days, and – she claims – racially insulted as a cushim (a racist Hebrew
word for black people) before being deported.[25] The issue of black entry to Israel has
had to be repeatedly contested on an individual case-by-case basis. In 2010 the
Jewish Chronicle noted that the Caribbean Levy family from South London were
denied ‘Aliyah,’ (immigration to Israel) “despite testimonials from British
rabbis and intervention by Israeli lawyers on their behalf.”[26] Regardless of a recent successful
campaign by the African-American Mosley family, which took very many years –
and against the context of a long nurtured historic Israeli paranoia about the
legitimacy of the so-called ‘Black Hebrew Community’ – it is yet unclear
whether any precedent has been set, which will spare other Black families the
same humiliation.[27]
Variants
of this ethno-religious exclusive ideology permeate the highest levels of
Israeli society. Recently Israel’s Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef – who
thankfully has no official government policy status – stated that “non-Jews
should not be allowed to live in Israel”. Given that prior to the recent
invention of Israel, Indigenous Jews, Christians, Muslims and other groups
lived with varying degrees of success alongside each other for hundreds of years
in the Middle East, you can only wonder what frightening strategy he has in
mind for achieving this demographic realignment. However, equally concerning is
his prescriptive requirement of ethno-demographic ‘exceptions’, constrained
within the boundaries of Israel but compelled to live by Jewish religious law,
without whom he asks “who, otherwise, will be the servants?”[28] It’s hard to read this other than as
desire to create a society where there is a class of masters and then a
pre-selected subordinate ethno-religious caste doomed to do nought else but
serve them. Certainly a Muslim religious leader making this statement would be
rigorously condemned as an extremist, which may explain why coverage of this
story was to be found – albeit without any form of critical interrogation – in
the Independent, but was apparently absented from the Guardian/Observer.
Significantly, even Israel Defence Force Deputy Chief Major-General Yair Golan
felt compelled when commemorating Holocaust Memorial Day to state “If there is
something that frightens me about the remembrance of the Holocaust it’s the
recognition of the revolting processes that occurred in Europe in general, and
in Germany in particular…and finding signs of them here among us, today, in
2016” (note: “revolting” could be “nauseating” depending on translation).[29] This story was covered by Haaretz, the
international broadcasters Aljazeera, Deutsche Welle and many other news
outlets but once again the Guardian only finally covered the story when the
General was forced to backtrack after heavy criticism from Prime Minister
Netanyahu – and then instead of being indicative of colonial racist
intolerance, the controversy could again be spun benignly.[30]
At the
level of inequality alone, and of the potential racist existential ethnic
threat to those who could be mistaken for any member of the ethnic groups
Israel oppresses – Ethiopian Jews, Indigenous Jews, or Palestinians – it is
inexcusable that Naz Shah and Malia Bouattia should face efforts to somehow
compel them to identify with Israel. As females, who could conceivably be
mistaken for Palestinian women, they have other escalating issues of potential
violence with which to contend. Racism in Israel also opens the door for
repellent forms of gender violence. In 2014, Bar-Ilan University lecturer
Mordechai Kedar publicly discussed the idea that the mothers and sisters of
Palestinians who take up arms against Israel ‘could’ be raped. “The only
thing that could deter a suicide bomber is knowing that if caught, his sister
or his mother would be raped… the knowledge that if he pulls the trigger or
blows himself up, his sister will be raped. That’s all. That’s the only thing
that will bring him back home, in order to preserve his sister’s honor.” Kedar
is not some peripheral figure to governmental authority but served for
twenty-five years in IDF Military Intelligence. Subsequent press releases have
attempted to downplay his comments, but the fact that rape is intimidating is
so self-evident, that it is difficult to imagine that floating the idea was
anything other than the most blatant incitement to sexual violence.[31]
Despite
Mordechai Kedar’s high profile, his rape comments are omitted from the
Guardian/Observer coverage. But his comments are far from an isolated form of
articulation from within the dominant settler culture, having been supported by
the frequently expressed public sentiment “go pound their mothers
and come back to your own mother”[32] which
according to Haaretz has also featured as a large banner in the town of Or
Yehuda.[33] In global debate Palestinian critics and
Israeli state apologists dispute whether this refers to sexual violence or
gender violence but the latter explanation is no more excusable – though sadly
it is an ongoing feature of the settler culture. In recent years members of the
Israel Defence Force and its veterans have been caught wearing t-shirts
featuring the image of pregnant Palestinian women in Israeli sniper gun-sights,
logoed ‘one shot two kills’ (to glimpse this reality, enter ‘Palestinian Women
Killed Checkpoints’ into your internet search-engine).   [34]
Despite
all this material being available in the public domain, none of the
Guardian/Observer’s coverage smearing Naz Shah and Malia Bouattia for their
critical relationship to Israel points out that proximity to the country’s
social spaces could pose a very real racist and misogynistic threat to their
existence. It also says something about broader issues of racism, hypocrisy and
Israel’s status as a site-of-power, that currently the British government, while
issuing cautions to Britain’s LGBT community about the difficulties of
travelling to North Carolina, broadcasts no such equivalent warning to Black
Britons about the very real dangers of visiting Israel’s non-tourist areas.
IV
A
significant factor in the generation of the Guardian’s ideological agenda is
the lack of demarcation between its Hard News coverage, its favoured sites of
power, and its own reporters who also frequently make up its public relations
driven commentariat. For instance the notion of peace activism being ‘disreputable’
originates with the right-wing Blairite MP Tristam Hunt who gets to situate his
smear in the Guardian with the ease of placing a gratis classified ad, which of
course in a way it is. But then sometimes a smear doesn’t have to be placed
because reporters are either already ideologically onboard and/or adhering to a
predetermined editorial agenda. Nowhere is this better illustrated than in the
context of the current ‘anti-semitism’ moral panics. Here, when reporting the smears
against the NUS’s Malia Bouattia, Guardian contributor Hannah Weisfeld
blatantly goes to bat for the Israel lobby. “Bouattia says she has a problem
with ‘Zionist politics. Zionism, at its core, is the belief in the right of the
state of Israel to exist. Whether Bouattia likes it or not, connection to
Israel is a key part of Jewish identity for an overwhelming majority of Jews in
21st-century Britain. In nearly every synagogue around the world, on Shabbat
and major festivals, Jews pray for the safety of the state of Israel.”[35]
What is
really telling about this passage is not simply that this argumentative
polemical construction is infecting a Hard News story, nor is it simply
that religious fundamentalism is being used to justify white settler conquest
in a manner that would be regarded as intolerable in the case of violent ‘gay
men should be stoned to death’ homophobia. But by comparison, if any Black
and/or Muslim Briton similarly tried to excuse violent conquest and ethnic
cleansing by what went on in their place of worship, the police would arrest
and prosecute, and it would be demanded that a government ‘Prevent’ team be
quickly in attendance. Not for the first time, you simply you have to invert a
Guardian narrative, for the racism and white privilege to stand revealed. Also
absent from the Guardian’s coverage, as part of its pro-Israel historical
revisionist rebooting, is the fact that the very western colonialist ideology
that Weisfeld is being allowed to champion here was condemned by UN General
Assembly Resolution 3379 which in 1975 “determine(d) that Zionism is a form of
racism and racial discrimination”[36] (this Resolution from the era of black
liberationist global culture, lasted until in 1991 US President George H.W.
Bush strong-armed a new UN vote).[37]
This
editorial positioning even infects the material selected for the Letters
sections. Reference to the actual practices of ‘Apartheid’ and ‘Ethnic
Cleansing’ in Israel – unless supported by mass signatories or a contributor
with a very high media profile – is becoming less and less permissible, as is
the citing of pre-conquest indigenous population levels of Palestine that
therefore might indicate extermination or mass displacement.[38] Words like ‘white settler’ and
‘conquest’ are starting to become taboo in favour of ‘Jewish’ and ‘Israel being
formed’ designed to invert the obvious indigenous victim vs foreign aggressor
representational dynamic. In the aftermath of Muhammad Ali’s death Guardian
letters permitted a couple of critical tributes. No reference to Ali’s historic
outspoken criticism of Zionist white settler conquest was allowed, which might
have risked normalising the positions of Naz Shah or Malia Bouattia. By
contrast, when supporting a pro-Israel position it’s amazing just who and what
gets published on the Guardian Letters page. In August 2015 the paper printed a
letter from the recently released jailed expenses thief and disgraced former MP
Denis McShane who, given that he was articulating a pro-Israel position
accusing Iranians of “pervasive Jew-hate” and practicing an “anti-Jewish
ideology,” was now apparently to be treated as a respectable commentator.[39] The blatant flaw in McShane’s smears is
that there are Iranian Jews too. As news outlets as diverse as the BBC, The
Independent, and Electronic Intifada point out, Iran has the largest Jewish
population in the Middle East outside of Israel, numbering up to 20,000 and
served by some 60 synagogues.[40] The irony is that once again, it is
those invoking the smear of anti-semitism in defence of a settler culture who
find it convenient to refuse to recognise the identity of indigenous Jews.
V
Black
feminist academic bell hooks, in her books Talking Back (1988) and Black
Looks
(1992), refers to the practice, dating back to slavery, of creating a
social taboo which prevents Black and Indigenous people from ‘talking back’ to
challenge the authority of the dominant white group. Obviously this notion is
relevant to the case of the two women caught in the Guardian’s oppressive
anti-semitism moral panic. But it also appears to be a persistent tactic. After
anti-semitism attacks on the historically anti-racist politician Ken
Livingstone, the Black Labour MP Diane Abbott appeared on Sunday television
condemning the pervasive smearing of ‘decent working-class Labour supporters’
as anti-semites. Unusually, almost every news outlet headlined the story
neutrally by using her comments. The Guardian initially did the same running
‘Diane Abbott says claims of antisemitism within Labour are smear’ but within a
matter of hours relabeled the link from its homepage to exactly the same story
as ‘Calls for Corbyn to take tougher action after Abbott dismisses crisis as
smears.’[41] This relabeling is editorialising, which
manages to simultaneously imply that Abbott’s ‘talking back’ behaviour is
questionable and elevate claims about anti-semitism into being a ‘crisis’
without offering any evidence of either.
This
manipulative binary process of privileging a certain ethno-religious identity
while suppressing legitimate black voices and grievances, becomes all the more
apparent when applying any form of comparative sociological or statistical
demographic analysis. Reports on racism and ethnic demographics presented by
the academic, Dub poet and musician Benjamin Zephaniah on behalf of the Newham
Monitor Group show that Black Britons are nearly 6 in every 100 people. By
comparison we know that British Jews are 250,000 out of a population nudging 65
million – or only 1 in every 260 people, which means they are outnumbered by
black Britons by a ratio of nearly 15 to 1. If we add in the number of people
of Arab origin, the number of Black Britons is even higher. For convenience
sake we could underestimate these numbers and call the ratio 16-1. Despite the
demographic spread, the Guardian/Observer’s moral panic – as increasingly
stimulated by its commentariat – exclusively focuses on the smaller, privileged
middle-class, and quite obviously less oppressed white ethnic group, and
constructs any criticism of white settler oppression as an offence against
them.
Yet the Black
experience of racism is far more significant. The Zephaniah/Newham Monitoring
Group material cites multiple instances where police officers were caught on
recording equipment racially abusing suspects to quote, “the problem with you
is that you will always be a nigger,” telling a suspect they’ll “smash his Arab
face in” and many more such incidents without any serious disciplinary action
taken.[42] It’s also noted that “African-Caribbean
and Asian people together make up 5.6% of the population but 16% of the prison
population.” Similarly in further contrast to white middle-class Jewish life
experiences, not only are Black Britons marginalised from continuing education,
the better forms of employment, and housing, but they also experience very
serious state and societal racist violence. In December 2015, during the period
when the Guardian/Observer was concerned with the ‘alleged anti-semitism’ of
the ‘talking back’ taboo-type, Black Briton Jermaine Baker was shot dead by
police – his family claim – while sleeping in his car. Previously, the dubious
circumstances of Black mixed-race Mark Duggan’s death at the hands of the
police and subsequent media misrepresentation provoked race riots. While doing
his supermarket shopping, Sikh dentist Dr Sarandev Bhambra suffered horrific
injuries in an attempted beheading incident perpetrated by a racist shouting ‘white
power,’
who had mistaken Dr Bhambra for a Muslim.[43] An 82-year-old Muslim, Muhammad Saleem
Chaudhry was stabbed to death on his way home from Mosque in a racist attack.[44] His murderer also “planted three bombs
near three mosques in the West Midlands.” Locals complained “If these had been
placed by bearded Muslim men, Cobra [the government’s emergency committee]
would have been enacted and the country’s media would have descended on us.
Instead the media almost had to be pushed into coming along.”[45] There also has been an epidemic of
attacks and abuse aimed at Muslim women, particularly those wearing the Niqab –
even to the extent that a man boasted on twitter of abusing a Muslim woman
after the Paris attacks.[46] Plus, two successful further arson
attacks on Finsbury Park,[47] Bishopbriggs mosques.[48]
What is
especially amazing is that if you wade through the last few years of the
Guardian/Observer’s anti-semitism moral panics while asking where are the
equivalent victims, you’ll find it’s extremely difficult to find one. This
omission is particularly obvious when you examine the listed articles of the
three journalists prominently foregrounding the theme of anti-semitism in their
work on a repeated basis – the Observer’ Nick Cohen, the Guardian’s Jonathan
Freedland, followed by the paper’s tamed house Labour Party supporter Owen
Jones. Jones, despite significantly lesser output, has written articles at such
strict regular intervals[49] that rather than a reaction to genuine
events, the impression given is of a topic that is a type of statutory
contractual requirement or of regular commissioned work. By comparison to the
prioritisation given to the largely unsubstantiated theme of anti-semitism, if
you search the back catalogue of articles of all three men, you’ll struggle to
find mention of the killed Jermaine Baker, Mark Duggan, or Muhammad Saleem
Chaudhry, maimed Dr Sarandev Bhambra or equivalent output on issues of Black
equality. But you will find the words ‘Anti-semitism, the Left’ and ‘Labour
Party’ and on occasion ‘Jeremy Corbyn’ hurled together in largely evidence- and
incident-free narratives or in reference to criticism of Israel (obviously the
real issue is, that the potential restoration of its traditional socialist
anti-racist/anti-imperialist identity to the Labour Party, after the short
period of entryist neoliberal service-to-power, is perceived as a threat to the
powerful pro-colonialist Israel lobby). Cohen’s writing in particular has
become so free of evidence and cited incident that he appears to have resorted
to self-plagiarising melodramaticism, with critics observing that his sudden
angry conversion noted in his Observer March 2016 article “Why I’m becoming a
Jew and why you should, too” is strikingly similar in theme to his 2009 Jewish
Chronicle article “Hatred is turning me into a Jew.”[50]
The
absent equivalent commentary on black and Muslim experiences of racism does not
appear to be an accident. The Middle-Eastern commentator Jonathan Cook observed
that Jonathan Freedland and other white panelists addressed the issue of
anti-semitism while appearing on the BBC political discussion show ‘Question
Time’. When the issue of the effaced representation of Muslim victimisation was
raised by pro-Palestinian MP George Galloway, Freedland and panelists had a
pre-prepared sound-bite position about not wanting to get into an ‘arms race’
on oppression.[51] After the show Freedland was apparently
still trying to obscure the inequality in the representational dynamic, writing
“Jews and Muslims are not in competition over who is hated most: that’s not a
competition anyone would want to win.”[52] However it’s not just that black and
Muslim experiences of racism are being effaced from representation. Guardian
contributor David Cronin has claimed “the Guardian has told me to steer clear
of Palestine.”[53] Nafeez Ahmed has similarly claimed he
was ‘censored’ and ultimately had his blog ‘discontinued’ for referring to
Palestine.[54] Significantly, whenever anecdotes of
this type are made public, the name of editorial writer Jonathan Freedland
often features prominently – accused of being linked to this repression either
as a direct participant or as the originator of managerial policy.
In total
the Guardian/Observer’s anti-semitism moral panic coverage has almost entirely
been an application of the racist ‘talking back’ taboo, mobilised against those
critical of Israel.[55] A search of the Guardian/Observer’s
website suggests that this coverage is now greater than that afforded terrorist
Brixton bomber David Copeland, whose explosive devices targeted Caribbeans of
South London, Gay men of Soho, and Asians of East London.
VI
Breaking
the pattern of the Guardian’s recent attacks on politicised students, has been
the uncritical prominence given to the claims of Oxford University pro-Israel
student-activist Alex Chambers and his colleagues that “Labour have some sort
of problem with Jews” – this because of criticism of Israel.[56] Similarly it’s unquestioningly taken at
face value that an Oxford University pro-Israel student-activist campaign,
threatening to leave the NUS after the election of Black Muslim woman President
Malia Bouattia, has no racist dimension.[57] By comparison, in the case of Oxford’s
Black students campaigning to remove the statue of Cecil Rhodes, the Guardian
has permitted rigorous repeated criticism, even to the point of suggesting that
notions of “racist…structural violence” were in fact questionable, and designed
to shut down debate.[58] The Guardian has similarly given
prominence to the complaints of New Labour Blairite pro-Israel peer Michael
Levy “Lord Levy warns he could quit Labour over anti-Semitism.”[59] All of which is not evidence of
equivalent oppression but of exceptional White Privilege. In these examples,
you have a peer of the realm, white ethnic Jewish students who have been able
to enter one of Britain’s most expensive and elitist institutions in such
numbers as to be able to threaten to change its policies, plus white middle-class
Israel-supporting journalists with lead columnist and editorial power such as
Cohen and Freedland claiming they are victims. This is particularly interesting
in Freedland’s case because in apparent violation of the norms of equal
opportunity employment policies, his father Michael also gets occasional
columnist work at the Guardian that could alternately be open to Black or
working-class applicants. To these numbers we can also add writers such as
Hadley Freeman and Hannah Weisfeld also indiscriminately invoking anti-semitism
in support of Israel. Now ask, that for every student Israel supporter at
Oxford University, every powerful pro-Israel Levy figure in the house Lords,
Cohen at the Observer, and Freedland et al on the Guardian editorial writing
desk and across the paper, where are the representative 16 Black Britons
enjoying similar status? This is how disproportionate the privilege being
mobilised is and how different it is from the black experience. Scandalously,
rather than provoking embarrassment, simply identifying in this way the
unrepresentative presence of the Israel lobby will routinely incur, in the
British media, accusations of Jewish-conspiracy-type anti-semitism.
Given
that anti-semitism does exist, this form of partisan and often misleading
victim narrative coverage does grave ‘boy-who-cried-wolf’ disservice to genuine
future victims. In March 2015 the Guardian reported an attack on a Stamford
Hill synagogue stating “A group of men tried to break into a synagogue
overnight in north London in an anti-semitic incident, police have said.”[60] Missing from this article is the
statement of Rabbi Maurice Davis who, much to his great credit, told the Jewish
Chronicle, “There was a party happening across the road. We think a Jewish boy
at the party ran out and got into a fight with other party-goers on the street.
He came into the shul and it got out of hand, that’s when the other people
smashed the windows. We want people to know it wasn’t an anti-semitic incident.
Tottenham is such a wonderful place to live we have tremendous social cohesion
here, and everybody gets on and we haven’t had any experience of antisemitism.
We have had support from our local mosque, our local churches.”[61] Rabbi Davis was similarly quoted by the
BBC, the Daily Telegraph, the Evening Standard but his statements never made it
into the Guardian, nor were used to update the existing story.[62]
The fact
that this McCarthyite moral panic came to a peak just before British local
elections has caused a number of commentators to argue that this was a coup
d’état attempt designed to wrest control of the Labour Party from its social
base and their democratically elected leader Jeremy Corbyn. This is certainly
consistent with the Guardian’s ongoing attacks on grassroots social movements.
The Huffington Post and even the Telegraph have reports of this being an
attempt to bring down Corbyn, but adversarial critics could argue that these
originate from within the Corbyn camp.[63] However the Financial Times previously
predicted a summer coup attempt, without similar tame reliance on any of
Corbyn’s inner circle but calling on largely rightwing neoliberal sources.[64] Jewish academic and Holocaust scholar
Norman Finkelstein agreed, citing the natural relationship between neoliberals
who pursue racist-imperialist ‘wars-for-oil’ and advocates of
racist-colonialist white settler conquest: “You can see this overlap between
the Labour Right and pro-Israel groups personified in individuals like Jonathan
Freedland, a Blairite hack who also regularly plays the antisemitism card. He’s
combined these two hobbies to attack Corbyn.”[65]
Like a
lot of the corporate media, the Guardian’s pro-Israel agenda and overt
prioritising of an anti-semitism moral panic hit a peak around the time of
world condemnation of Israel’s 2014 bombing of Gaza’s children and was clearly
designed to overwrite this critical reaction. However once again, the Guardian
went further than many other news-outlets, publishing the notorious ‘Blood
Libel’ advert alleging Palestinians were using children as human shields – an
advert that even Rupert Murdoch’s Times refused to run.[66] The Blairite neoliberal capture of the
paper goes back considerably further. So jarring was the sudden wrenching move
to the right and the consequential dumbing-down, that in the late 90s staffers
dubbing themselves the ‘Farringdon Therapy Group’ (after the paper’s London
publishing site) advertised in the London Review of Books for submissions of
critical commentaries on the process, intended to be published in a book called
Reading the Guardian – which subsequently failed to materialise on its
2000 Verso publication date, prompting accusations of suppression.[67]
Over the
years the Guardian/Observer has provided unfailing and manipulative support for
this neoliberal capture of the Labour Party, frequently marketing the ending of
free education, welfare cuts and workplace casualisation as ‘achievements.’
Whatever isolated incidents of progressive coverage the paper featured were
largely an institutional hangover from the Guardian’s establishment-questioning
past and – as exampled in the Snowden revelations – were prioritised at
historical moments which did not inconvenience the paper’s favoured New Labour
ruling elite. A similar strategic application of editorial policy ensures that
scoops/coverage arising from its previous progressive value system and which
reflect negatively on Israel’s offences – such as Israel providing the armament
technology that Apartheid South Africa used to oppress its indigenous people[68] – are now never referred to.
Both the
Guardian and Observer were also pro-war. There are reports of the Observer
inverting its 3-2 anti-Iraq-war postbag to make support for imperialist western
conquest seem more normal.[69] Even now, the papers present Tony Blair
and other ‘senior’ (?) politicians, who have shared cabinet responsibility and
complicity for torture – not to mention the killing of civilians – as credible
and acceptable voices in political debate.
When it’s
not saying ‘the left has a problem with Jews,’ the news stable is similarly
asserting that ‘the left has a problem with women.’ This despite the fact, that
the most recent sexist incidents involved neoliberals. New Labour neoliberal
knight Richard Leese spent 20 hours in cell after assaulting his 16-year-old
stepdaughter.[70] MP Simon Danczuk was found to have sent
sex-texts to a teenage job applicant and was recently “put in a Spanish jail
cell after an alleged holiday row with his estranged wife led to her being
taken to hospital.”[71] In a historical context these claims
make even less sense. On the left there has always been a revolving door between
feminists, anti-racists and worker-activists. And the left has no ideology
without the contribution of Jewish Marxists and sociologists.
VII
These
smears are really indicative of the incestuous relationship between the
minority entryist neoliberal right of the Parliamentary Labour Party and the
Guardian/Observer. In the New Labour era there was a marketing practice of
constructing a centralised narrative at central office, then asking party
officials or activists – who don’t declare their institutional status – to
front this regurgitated material to news outlets, their letter pages and public
opinion events. This is a process that the Guardian/Observer has been happy to
accommodate. By comparison, previous coordinated efforts by New Labour
officials marketing Tony Blair as a popular ‘political celebrity’
in BBC’s Radio4’s 1996 ‘Personality of the Year’ contest were
caught by the corporation and resulted in 4000 ballots being disqualified – for
‘multiple voting’.[72]
This
practice was more recently evident in the 2015 local and general election
campaigns. For example, in February 2015 the Observer’s letters page featured a
correspondent named Peter Atkinson stridently complaining about declining
public services under his local Green Party council.[73] The giveaway, suggestive of an
institutional narrative or press release, is that Mr Atkinson was regurgitating
a description of the ‘Winter of Discontent’ – a historical media critique
successfully aimed at the 1974-79 Labour government. This contribution exhibits
the signs of being written by someone who is aware that the Guardian/Observer
policy is to often replicate the ‘Loony-Left’ attack on grassroots movements
that brought Margaret Thatcher to power and that kept her there. A casual
search reveals that a Peter Atkinson was the Labour Party’s candidate in the
local council elections.[74] This accommodating institutional
interaction seems like a comparatively minor example, but what happens when
this process is used to over-write genuine calls for grassroots democratic
accountability?
Objections
to the neoliberal capture of the Labour Party crystallised around iconic issues
of class and representation – occasionally known as the ‘Toff-Labour’
phenomenon or the problem of nepotism. Former head of the Labour Party Ed
Miliband was the son of one Britain’s most prestigious academics. He served in
cabinet with his brother David, and husband and wife team Ed Balls and Yvette
Cooper. Prominent positions in the Party were also eventually found for Stephen
Kinnock son of former leader Neil Kinnock, Will Straw son of former cabinet
minister Jack Straw, and the children of former ministers John Prescott,
Harriet Harman and Jack Dromney. Stephen Kinnock had been parachuted into a
constituency as its candidate for MP, despite the fact he been embroiled in a
tax avoidance scandal in Denmark – where he and his wife, the Danish Prime
Minister, had given the national tax office conflicting information on his
residency status, thereby avoiding tax while simultaneously allowing him to be
eligible to buy property in the country.[75] Will Straw was forced into the
Rossendale and Darwen constituency as its candidate. He subsequently lost
amidst rumours that local activists wouldn’t campaign for an outsider. Ed
Miliband’s problems of downplaying his social advantages were compounded by
issues raised by his public appearances. He seemed unable to function in a
working-class café situation, unable to talk credibly to a homeless man, and
Miliband’s house – with its two kitchens – invoked notions of Upstairs,
Downstairs/Downton Abbey-
like privilege.
Labour
officials trying to combat this understandably negative impression were allowed
to present their press releases once again incognito on the Guardian letters
page. In February 2015, apparent ordinary citizen contributor Tim Daniel
attacked Green Party Leader Nathalie Bennet and congratulated Miliband on his
housing policy.[76] However a cursory search revealed that a
Tim Daniel was listed as Labour candidate for Wincanton & Bruton and
Vice-chair of his local Party.[77] Similarly Ian Flintoff wrote, “Ed
Miliband is the best possible leader for the Labour party and will also
be the best prime minister…I have never met him and have no incentive to
write this other than my deep and honest care for the people of Britain.”[78] Ian Flintoff states that he has ‘no
incentive to write’ but a casual internet search reveals he was Labour Party
parliamentary candidate in Plymouth Devonport, a Councillor in
Kensington & Chelsea, and is active in the Oxford Labour Party.[79] Again institutional allegiance is
allowed to be undeclared. Michael Hudson’s letter contribution is the most
worrying and the most familiar. “I’m disappointed you used the picture of Ed
Miliband eating a bacon roll…It seems to me the reason is the antisemitic
subliminal message: Ed Miliband is a Jew; he chokes on bacon.” However, if you
google contributor “Michael Hudson Chairman of Sleaford and North Hykeham Labour
Party”
you’ll get at least 7 references to Mr Hudson’s local Labour Party
chairmanship dating from at least 2009 onwards.[80]
Clearly
this anti-semitism narrative placed by Mr Hudson – if in fact he is the
originator of it – attempts to manage the bad publicity that Miliband’s awkward
café appearance generated. To work effectively, it demands acceptance of the
assumption that the entire British public are aware of Miliband’s
ethno-religious background. In fact such is the distaste for elitist political
corruption in Britain and the resulting voter disengagement, that three years
after Ed Miliband became Labour Leader a Yougov poll demonstrated that nearly a
quarter of the electorate still couldn’t recognise him.[81] If the reading of the data made by the
right-wing Daily Mail was to be believed, some people were actually confusing
him with a character from Sesame Street.[82] It seems unlikely therefore that large
numbers of people were seeking out information on his religious heritage.
Particularly, as juxtaposed against Black Britons, Miliband passes as simply
white, privileged and middle-class. Also attempts aimed at the more politically
aware voter, to establish a victim narrative for Miliband, can only succeed by
separating him from the rest of the Toff-Labour phenomenon of class privilege Sadly
on the Guardian letters pages it is now not unusual for the Miliband
anti-semitism narrative to be conveniently repeated as a form of orthodoxy.[83] Obviously this constructed placement
comfortably supports the ongoing elitist anti-semitism moral panic. The only
McCarthyite-type smear that did feature the then Labour Leader was aimed at his
late father Ralph Miliband who due to his background as a prominent Marxist
academic the Daily Mail headlined as ‘The Man Who Hated Britain.’[84] Ironically, were it not for the fact
that son Ed Miliband was a neoliberal, it’s entirely likely that the
Guardian/Observer stable would have joined in with its own ‘why do the left
have a problem with patriotism?’ narrative.
VIII
Overall
this campaign has not been without economic territorial cost. Just as previous
undemocratic neoliberal entryism cost the Labour Party millions of votes and
two thirds of its peak membership, it appears the Guardian/Observer’s
ideological war on its own natural readership base has been similarly damaging.
Currently the Guardian is soliciting donations from its readers to prop up its
ailing sales coffers. In 2015 the paper admitted to readership purchasing
falling by 9.5%.[85] Its web-traffic readership has also
declined.[86] The Observer has had comparable losses.[87] In 2016 the Guardian Media Group
announced losses of £173 million.[88] If these figures are representative of a
long-term decline – or of readers’ unconscious or even deliberate boycott – who
could argue with the socio-economic logic or justice of it? Apparently, rather
than perform a rudimentary representative function to their base demographics,
neoliberals both within the Labour Party and at the Guardian/Observer, are
prepared to risk killing off the institutions upon which they feed, in the
pursuit of their own elitist ideology.
This has
resulted in day-to-day practices that are politically and ideologically brutal.
The Guardian/Observer stable as represented by Cohen, Freedland, Jones,
Wiesfeld, Freeman and many others, is practicing a particularly pernicious
multi-layered form of racism. White settler Apartheid and Ethnic Cleansing is
being championed. Black and Indigenous voices are being smeared for ‘talking
back’ to power on the issue. Black grievances and experiences of racism are
being both effaced from representation and stolen by a white middle-class elite
who invoke the genuine suffering and marginalisation of others in order to
defend the undefendable. These offences are being committed by those who are
content to risk the viability of future complainants of anti-semitism being
reduced to the status of simple partisan political ploys, by their
‘boy-who-cried-wolf’ practices. These abusive practices are being indiscriminately
fielded because they also tie into larger strategic Blairite drives for power.
Not for the first time and particularly in the neoliberal media, the worst
racism is practiced by those careerists who hide in plain sight, masked in
respectable office apparel, and polite middle-class mannerisms.
Postscript
Like
other historical victims of McCarthyism before her, Naz Shah MP subsequently
found it necessary and in her self-interest to ‘recant’ – in her case
specifically on her previous posting about Israel. This allowed her to keep her
career position on the powerful Parliamentary Home Affairs Committee. However,
some months after the events reported in this article and just when it appeared
that the high point of the anti-semitism moral panic was over, yet another
woman of colour was smeared for her leftism and questioning of Zionism. This
happened across the broader media but with the Guardian prominently involved.
In the
tradition of ‘Black Lives Matter’ activism, Jewish-Jamaican Jackie Walker,
Vice-Chair of the pressure group Momentum, pointed out that Jewish
entrepreneurs had been “financiers of the sugar and slave trade” and “the
African holocaust”.[89] She then followed this up by asking that
black victims of genocide be also included in Holocaust Day as she put it “In
terms of Holocaust day, wouldn’t it be wonderful if Holocaust day was open to
all people who experienced holocaust?”[90] Sadly, given that Nazi crimes against
humanity are frequently used to justify the Zionist conquest of Palestine –
this despite the fact that territorialist efforts on behalf of the Zionist
project precede the Nazi period – attempts at raising the previous historical
horrors of the western colonialist tradition and any challenge to the claimed
right of exclusivity of victimhood, are routinely and intensely contested by
the pro-Israel lobby. As consequence, as in previous cases, Ms Walker faced
calls for her sacking, and was resoundingly condemned by a powerful vocal
minority that the Guardian once again privileged in its reporting (see notes 88
and 89). In order to do this there were significant omissions in the news
stable’s coverage. The issue of Jews and their participation in the slave trade
is mentioned in Jewish histories prominently enough to often make it onto
news-sites but excluded from Guardian reportage. For example, to publicise his
book The Jewish Slave, Rabbi Lody van de Kamp gave an interview with the
Jewish Telegraphic Agency, describing Jewish owned slave plantations in Dutch
Guyana, “At one point, Jews controlled about 17 percent of the Caribbean
trade in Dutch colonies”.[91] Similarly, Rabbi Dr Marc Lee Raphael’s
1983 book Jews and Judaism in the United States: A Documentary History
is frequently cited on this topic and features on numerous websites. It
confirms Jewish participation in the Dutch slave trade, and observes that “in
all the American colonies, whether French (Martinique), British, or Dutch,
Jewish merchants frequently dominated.”[92] None of these very prominent sources
featured as a balance in the Guardian’s condemnatory reporting of Jackie
Walker’s comments.
But what
was far more worrying, was that in the Guardian’s service-to-power it was
actually willing to let the issue of comparable colonial genocide be viewed as
again questionable, despite the weight of historical evidence available. Adam
Hothschild (King Leopold’s Ghost, 1998) describes the death toll from
European colonialism in just a single African country – the Belgian Congo – as
10 million, while Caroline Elkins (Britain’s Gulag: The Brutal End of Empire
in Kenya
, 2005) describes Britain’s use of mass torture in colonial Kenya.
The British suppression of India’s uprisings of the 1850s is described by
historian Amaresh Misra (War of Civilizations: India AD 1857, 2007) as
“an untold holocaust” which caused the deaths of almost 10 million people over
10 years. And this is not even the entire history of the British Raj.
David Stannard (American Holocaust: The Conquest of the New World, 1994)
calculates 100 million indigenous deaths in the conquest of the Americas.
 While figures of ‘60 million and more’ have long been culturally accepted
as the numbers of victims of the Trans-Atlantic Slave trade – featuring in Toni
Morrison’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel ‘Beloved’ (1987) and cited by Paul
Robeson in his 1956 testimony to HUAC.
What is
significant is that a number of these sources had originally featured in
hangover coverage from the Guardian’s previous progressive incarnation, either
in its columns or on its literary review pages.[93] So this almost ‘black holocaust denial’
practiced in the reporting of Jackie Walker’s case cannot be written off as
simply base incompetence. Clearly the ‘new’ Guardian embraces a ‘black lives DO
NOT matter’ policy. As a consequence of the media frenzy, Jackie Walker
subsequently lost her position.
Footnotes
[6]
http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2016/02/22/academics-and-activists-condemn-bully-peter-tatchell-in-open-letter/
[8] 1990 Town Meeting City College
New York, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5TiUhhm7cQ
[11] Delegation of Arab Political
Leaders and Adalah Representatives in South Africa Meet with Lawyers from the
Legal Resources Center, Ministers and Government Officials to Discuss
Constitution Building and Human Rights, Adalah, 9 June 2008
[12] Mbete’s support for boycott of
Israel noted (The Citizen, 29 October 2012)
[13]https://web.archive.org/web/20081212200155/http://www.jewsforajustpeace.com:80/pages/opinion/machover_01.html
[14]
http://www.mintpressnews.com/noam-chomsky-israeli-apartheid-much-worse-than-south-africa/208936/;
http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/01/02/inside-israels-apartheid-state/
[17] http://www.davidsheen.com/racism/ Sheen’s video clips not only
demonstrate intimidation and violence against black people, but a repeated
trend of sexual threats directed against any white feminist woman who has the
nerve to be anti-racist. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_7dkF5UVx7Y, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gOomBSTTzrU, and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dKIiDeKRGQU. This recurring threat to black
Israelis, Palestinian women, and white feminists is frequently referred to –
even by right-wing deniers – as ‘Israel’s rape culture’. http://www.jpost.com/Blogs/The-Warped-Mirror/David-Sheen-knows-what-it-takes-to-demonize-Israel-379522
[21]
https://www.organdonation.nhs.uk/news-and-campaigns/news/call-for-black-blood-and-organ-donors-to-be-there-for-their-community/
[25] http://mondoweiss.net/2015/07/detains-american-because/ Israel detains and deports
American Jews because they are black
[38] https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/feb/16/peace-not-promoted-israel-boycott  Here in Guardian letters
Stephen Malnik boasts about permitting injured Palestinians into his medical
centre in the town of Ashkelon which as Mr Malnik admits now contains “lots of
Jews” and is subject to occasional rocket attack. No one is permitted to point
out, in rebuttal, that prior to al-Naqbar, 11,000 Arabs lived in this town
before being dispossessed by the violence of western colonists. http://www.alternativeinsight.com/Ashkelon_Speaks.htm See also ‘1948 and After:
Israel and the Palestinians’.
Benny Morris (1990/1994)
[49] Jones’s previous media work had
included mention of the plight of the Palestinians. Then, after sustained
pressure and harsh criticism from the Israel lobby, this suddenly changed.
Instead, in the month following the bombing of Gaza, Jones’s column gave a
priority to unspecified accusations of anti-semitism. This obviously functioned
to overwrite the outrage caused by the Gaza civilian death-toll. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/aug/11/anti-jewish-hatred-rising-antisemitism-meaning  A year later, when there
was a risk of commemoration of the Palestinian victims, Jones again instead
wrote about alleged anti-semitism. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/aug/26/antisemitism-left-racism-israel
[55] Jonathan Cook argues that
Freedland’s anti-semitism statistics “were compiled by the Community Security
Trust, a Zionist organisation that has a record of dubious political
activity…the great majority were classified as ‘harassment’, a broad category
that could include remarks against Israel.” http://www.jonathan-cook.net/blog/2015-02-09/guardian-editors-hypocrisy-on-anti-semitism/
[65] https://www.opendemocracy.net/uk/jamie-stern-weiner-norman-finkelstein/american-jewish-scholar-behind-labour-s-antisemitism-scanda  Finkelstein goes on to
cite his own experience of being smeared by Freedland “Incidentally, when my
book, The Holocaust Industry, came out in 2000, Freedland wrote that I was
‘closer to the people who created the Holocaust than to those who suffered
in it’. Although he appears to be, oh, so politically correct now, he didn’t
find it inappropriate to suggest that I resembled the Nazis who gassed
my family. We appeared on a television program together. Before the
program, he approached me to shake my hand. When I refused, he reacted in
stunned silence. Why wouldn’t I shake his hand? He couldn’t comprehend it. It
tells you something about these dull-witted creeps. The smears, the slanders –
for them, it’s all in a day’s work.”
[68] Former Ambassador for Israel
Alon Liel stated “We created the South African arms industry… When we were
developing things together we usually gave the know-how and they gave the
money… there was a love affair between the security establishments of the two
countries and their armies.” https://www.theguardian.com/world/2006/feb/07/southafrica.israel
[69] Socialist historian Keith Flett
wrote to the New Statesman at the time with information that the Observer had
been inverting its anti-war postbag, http://www.newstatesman.com/node/157085
[71] http://www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/mp-simon-danczuk-arrested-after-estranged-wife-karen-taken-to-hospital-in-spain-a3321301.html;
http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/dec/31/labour-mp-simon-danczuk-suspended-over-explicit-text-message-allegations
[80]
https://www.google.co.uk/?gfe_rd=cr&ei=o-KTVveUOYjW8Afg2bPIBw&gws_rd=ssl#q=Michael+Hudson+Chairman+of+Chairman%2C+Sleaford+and+North+Hykeham+Labour+Party%22+
[92] Jews and Judaism in the
United States: A Documentary History
(New York: Behrman House, 1983), 14,
23-25. cited on http://www.rense.com/general69/invo.htm
[93] See for example the work of ‘old
Guardian’ columnist George Monbiot (https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/cifamerica/2010/jan/11/mawkish-maybe-avatar-profound-important; https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/apr/23/british-empire-crimes-ignore-atrocities) and the review of Toni
Morrison’s ‘Beloved’ referring to the ‘sixty million and more’ victims of
slavery, https://www.theguardian.com/books/2006/jul/08/fiction.tonimorrison

 

 

 

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