If Momentum is to serve any further purpose Lansman has to depart
If Momentum is to serve any further purpose Lansman has to depart
Jon Lansman Waves the White
Flag of Surrender on Radio 4’s Today Program
One reaction to the ‘revelations’ that Corbyn meets Jews
The full malevolence as well as
the pathetic ignorance of the fake news ‘anti-Semitism’ campaign was on display
in all its glory with the uproar over Jeremy Corbyn’s attendance at a Passover seder
hosted by the Jewish group Jewdas. An ‘exclusive’
by the Tory Guido Fawkes it was eagerly taken up by the mass media and
right-wing Labour MPs. Corbyn was guilty
of another example of ‘anti-Semitism’ because he had chosen the wrong Jews to
sit down and have a meal with! Instead
he should have paid homage to the Tories at the Jewish Board of Deputies and the
Jewish Leadership Council. He should
have supped with Jonathan Arkush, President of the BOD who effusively welcomed
Donald Trump and his anti-Semitic retinue of Bannon and Gorka to power.
had Angela Smith MP, the non-Jewish MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge, tweeting her outrage about Corbyn’s ‘seber’ – the idiot couldn’t even
spell the word properly before spilling her venom all over Twitter.
this episode should demonstrate to people is that there is no logic or
rationale to the ‘anti-Semitism’ attack other than the removal of Corbyn as
Leader of the Labour Party. Even a child
should be able to figure that one out. Unfortunately
this simple truth escapes Jon Lansman, who is an open Zionist. The real concern
of the defamers and libellers is not anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, in so
far as it exists, but the existence of the Corbyn leadership itself.
example of this was the Sunday Times ‘Corbyn – Factory of Hate’ and other
papers’ focus on pro-Corbyn Facebook groups which have no connection either to
the Labour Party or Momentum itself. The
Sunday Times claims that they are cesspits of ‘anti-Semitism’ but even by their
own account there are just 2000 questionable posts and most of those are anti-Israel
rather than anti-Semitic. As Jewish Voice for Labour’s excellent post The
truth about Corbyn supporters’ Facebook groups states 2000 posts represents
less than 0.05% of the total content on these groups.
Moshe Machover has distributed a very simple Q&A on Anti-Semitism as a
helpful guide to the current situation.
This question is like the question “Are
there zebras in Norway?” The answer is “Yes,
there are a few. In fact, the Oslo zoo seems to have had a few too many.”
But Norway, unlike the Serengeti, is not the natural habitat of zebras. The claim
that the LP is a habitat of antisemites like the Serengeti is a habitat of
zebras is a malicious lie.
In other wordsthe whole issue of ‘anti-Semitism in the Labour
Party’ is a lie whose sole purpose is to destroy the Corbyn leadership. It began with the Daily Mail ‘expose’
of Corbyn’s association with holocaust deniers and has continued via Oxford
University Labour Club, the long erased mural
in the East End of London and washed up on the shores of Angela Smith’s ‘seber’
All of these things should be obvious to anyone with half a brain, still
less someone who calls himself a Corbyn supporter. Momentum, whose sole purpose is to support
Corbyn, could therefore be expected to be the first to staff the barricades in
his defence and to call out the false anti-Semitism smears for what they are.
Instead, having kept completely silent for nearly two weeks as the
renewed ‘anti-Semitism’ attacks gained traction, it eventually came out with a statement
which conceded everything to the defamers and accusers.
Labour Against the Witchhunt has to fulfil the role that Momentum should be carryingn out
It spoke of the ‘numerous cases of antisemitism in the Labour
Party’ and the ‘apology for the pain
caused both to Jewish members of the Labour Party and to the wider Jewish
community’. It stated that ‘Momentum’s NCG believes that accusations of
antisemitism should not and cannot be dismissed simply as right wing smears nor
as the result of conspiracies.’
Momentum’s only nod to the fact that this campaign has been wholly
driven by the Right and a press determined to see an early end to Corbyn’s
leadership was its acknowledgment that ‘some
of Jeremy Corbyn’s political opponents are opportunistically using this issue
as a way to undermine his leadership.’
As if this was not pathetic enough, Lansman was yesterday interviewed
for nearly 15 minutes by Nick Robinson on Radio 4’s Today. Here was an ideal opportunity to lay some of
this nonsense to rest. He could have
laid into the malevolent and vituperative nonsense of those like Angela Smith,
Guido Fawkes and the press who saw something strange in him celebrating a
Jewish religious festival with progressive Jews rather than reactionary
Presumably the ‘#enoughisenough’ referred to idiot MPs such as Angela Smith
Not a bit of it. Lansman instead
made excuses pleading that it was Corbyn’s night off. He described Jewdas as ‘Orthodox’ Jews which,
from my knowledge of them, is not true.
They are whacky and irreverent but not Orthodox.
And then, when presented with the statement by one of their number that ‘Israel was a pile of sewage’ responded that ‘it’s
certainly not helpful to Jeremy or the Labour Party’. Calling a state, not its people, a ‘pile of
sewage’ is probably the kindest thing that can be said about those who
deliberately gun down unarmed demonstrators.
The quote that got Guido all steamed up
The rest of Lansman’s pathetic interview has been
transcribed below. It talks about ‘coded’ anti-Semitism, ‘unconscious’ anti-Semitism, the need for
‘training’ to overcome it. If anti-Semitism was a real threat in society
or even in the Labour Party then it should be combated in exactly the same way
as all racism is. It is precisely
because anti-Semitism barely exists that Lansman had to describe this phantom
in these terms.
As Jews for Justice for Palestinians note,
a survey by YouGov in 2017 for the Campaign
against Antisemitism found, the numbers of those endorsing at least one
antisemitic statement among Conservative and UKIP members was 40% and 39%
respectively. Among Labour and Liberal
members the figures were 32% and 30% respectively. By comparing results to the
2016 survey, YouGov also found that antisemitic attitudes have fallen
significantly in the Labour Party in the two years since Corbyn became Leader. I think these figures are too high in any
case and some of the statements put before people aren’t anti-Semitic for
example Jewish use of the Holocaust.
Black anti-racist the late Sivanandan distinguished between racism that discriminates and racism that kills
When it came
to the demonstration by the Board of Deputies a week ago outside Parliament
Lansman stated it should not be a pretext for deselecting an MP. Some 39 Labour MPs and peers attended. Nearly all of them were the equivalent of those
who John Major described as ‘the bastards’ – people who would be rid of Corbyn at
a moment’s instant.
demonstration was anything but an
antiracist demonstration. That Lansman
could seriously describe a protest attended by Norman Tebbit, the arch racist
who coined the ‘cricket test’ years ago to deny that British Pakistanis or
Indians were British (because they supported teams from abroad) or the DUP, the
party from Northern Ireland that was founded on the basis of Protestant
Supremacy (and therefore identifies with the Jewish supremacist State of Israel)
demonstrates just how far to the Right Lansman has come.
this fellow is a Jewish fascist with a photograph of Menachem Begin, who Einstein and Hannah Arendt accused of leading a Nazi-like party
demonstration consisted to a large part of overt racists and fascists chanting ‘Jeremy
Corbyn is a racist’ led by the guy in the picture in the Guardian (who has a
picture of Menachem Begin, was once described as leading a Jewish Nazi party by
Albert Einstein and Hannah Arendt in a letter
to the New York Times).
The irony of
all this is that the far-Right Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, which has
already submitted a second
complaint to the Labour Party that Corbyn is anti-Semitic has now also
called for Lansman to be disciplined
for anti-Semitism too!
is to return to its original purpose then Lansman has to be removed from its
leadership. If it accepts the false anti-Semitism
narrative then it is accepting the legitimacy of a campaign whose only purpose
is to get rid of Corbyn.
Transcript of Jon Lansman’s
Interview 3.4.18. on Radio 4’s Today Program
Q: Let’s start with the
dinner before we move on to your statement. What puzzles people is this. Last night Jeremy Corbyn went on TV to say,
as you do in your statement, that worries about anti-Semitism are genuine. He then sat down, had dinner with a group who
say that they’re not genuine, they’re in fact a conspiracy.
I think this group Jewdas,
unlike other groups you might describe as far left fringe groups in the Jewish
community, are orthodox Jews, they’re embedded in their synagogue community and
that makes them very different. They are
very much part of the Jewish community.
They’re an Orthodox part of the Jewish community, that see themselves as
diaspora Jews, they perhaps don’t share the more secular approach to Israel in
an ideological sense.
Q: You speak with authority
because you’re Jewish yourself and you care about this. My question was more not an argument about
this group but does Jeremy Corbyn want to send a clear signal or not? If he does why does he not sit down with the
national leadership of the Jewish community, the Board of Deputies, the Jewish
Leadership Council not with a group who
have been clear that they think that this is a fuss about nothing?
Well he sat down with this
group for a Passover seder because they were people who lived in his
constituency and it was his night off.
He had nothing in his official diary. His office didn’t know he was
there. So I don’t think this is as
significant as it is made out and Guido isn’t known for his subtlety or nuanced
debate on any issue after all.
The Daily Mail – the paper wot supported Hitler was the first paper to launch the false antisemitism smears – attacked Ed Miliband Labour’s first Jewish leader for not eating a bacon sandwich correctly and because his father was a refugee from Nazi Germany
Q: This is the Guido Fawkes
web site that revealed it. But people
who have been at the dinner have also tweeted about it and have been
clear. I quoted one tweet saying Israel
was sewerage which needs to be disposed of.
In a sense, isn’t this precisely the sort of language and thinking which
you are now saying at Momentum has to stop.
Well it’s certainly not helpful to Jeremy or the Labour Party but I
haven’t seen the context of that and I think the main point is that Jeremy is
seeking to meet with mainstream Jewish organisations. He wants to meet, he’s very keen to meet and
has been since before the demonstration last Monday with the Board of Deputies
and the Jewish Leadership Council.
Q: You know him well. When you talk to him about this subject do
you think he always understood the problem with anti-Semitism, do you think
he’s beginning to understand the problem with anti-Semitism what’s going on in
is a lifelong anti-racist. It came as something of a shock to him to be described as some kind of a
racist, of harbouring people with anti-Semitic views in the Party that he now
leads. I think awareness has grown as it
has for all of us. In the statement from Momentum yesterday we talked about how
we are surprised by how widespread the problem is. The problem by the way is not that there is a
widespread problem of Holocaust denial or those forms of Zionism but there is a
widespread problem of unconscious bias.
In his interview Lansman pointedly refused to back up Christine Shawacroft
Spell out the bias. What is
fascinating about what you’ve said is that Jeremy Corbyn didn’t realize and you
are saying that you as a prominent Jew in the Labour Party, very much on the
Left but a Corbyn backer, someone whose been passionate about these issues,
perhaps even you didn’t realize until you looked at it how bad this was.
The longer this debate has
gone on about anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, the more I’ve noticed on my
Facebook feed for example and its particularly prevalent on social media,
people who dismiss anti-Semitism as an issue in a way you would not dismiss
Islamaphobia as an issue. I think that
reveals an unconscious bias that we’re all familiar with. We send people on training courses to become
aware of our unconscious bias as a result of sexism, racism, homophobia and so
on. But for some reason people in the LP
seem less aware of it in themselves in relation to Jews. [compared to sexism
Labour Against the Witchhunt puts out statement about anti-semitism being weaponised
Q: Are you arguing that many
people in the Labour Party, starting with the leader himself, need a form of
education about what is acceptable language to use when it comes to talking
about Jews and to talking about Israel?
I think we need a
widespread programme of education and training in the Labour Party about AS in
order to help people recognise the dangers of using certain words, language can
be very sensitive and words often mean something to other people different from
what they mean to you. People need to be aware of those things. Everybody in the Labour Party needs to be made
aware. Right up to the people who are investigating charges of anti-Semitism in
the Labour Party’s Compliance Unit. Down
to the people who are judging people in the National Constitutional Committee
that eventually decides the outcome of some cases.
Q: Just to spell this out a bit.
There may be people who will say unless you say you hate Jews then you
are not a racist. I think you are saying
there are all sorts of coded forms of racism using Zio or Zionist when you really mean
Jews. Saying Israel should be wiped off
the planet instead of saying you
disagree with the actions of this Israeli government. Is that what you’re talking about?
It is. Even the word Zionism itself means different things
to different people. To some people it means the policies of the current Israeli
government. We’ve seen what’s happened in Gaza in the last few days and that
disturbs lots of people, me included.
Q: But are you saying to
your supporters don’t attack Zionists when you criticize what’s happening in
Gaza attack Netanyahu?
Precisely. There’s nothing wrong with attacking
Netanyahu and the rest of the Israeli government. But Zionism to the Jew in the street means
only there being a Jewish state in Israel, safe and secure, nothing more than
that. It’s not a discrete ideology, the ideology of Benjamin Netanyahu.
Q: You speak not just as the
founder of Momentum, the most powerful organisation in the Labour Party, but
you are now a member of Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee. Take the example of Christine Shawcroft – she was on the NEC – she’s resigned now, having
defended someone who did deny the Holocaust.
She always said she didn’t really read the Facebook thing but her
instinct was to defend someone not to look at the evidence. She is still on the Executive of
Momentum. Does she have to go now?
Christine Shawcroft didn’t
see the photographic evidence that was so damning and she made a very bad
misjudgement defending someone without seeing the full evidence. It’s one thing
when you are in opposition when someone else is making the final decision about
a case to take up a case about someone who feels they’ve been mistreated but
when you’re chair of the committee you should see the full evidence. So she made that bad judgement and she
resigned not just from the Chair of the Committee but also from the NEC.
Q: But she’s not gone from
Momentum. Should she go?
We are in the middle of
elections and she’s not standing in those elections.
Q: Are you saying, because
you may be making a more general point, that her instinct, defend my people, be
tribal, I’m on the Left, I’m a Corbynite, I’ve got to argue for my side, is the
wrong instinct when it comes to anti-Semitism because it can mean that you
defend the indefensible?
I certainly think we should
not approach anti-Semitism and accusations of anti-Semitism in the way we
approach cases which are factionalised, because a lot of cases that come before
the National Executive are the result of in-fighting within the Labour Party. You should certainly not approach them in
that way. We have to deal with every
case of anti-Semitism on its merits. We
have to be trained in order to understand the issues properly.
Q: Here’s another test for
you. There’s members of Momentum around
the country summoning their members of Parliament to meetings to explain why
they attended an anti-Semitism rally and the implied threat is that they could
be deselected. As the founder of
Momentum are you prepared to say today do not do this. You should not need to explain why you go to
an anti-racist rally.
I do agree with that. You should not have to defend why you go to
an anti-racist rally and that’s why many Labour MPs did go there.
Q: So Thangam Debbonaire has
been summoned to her Constituency Labour Party by Momentum activists in
Bristol. She should not have to answer
It’s fair enough to answer
a question it’s not fair enough to deselect someone for attending an
anti-racist demonstration about anti-Semitism because it is clear that there is
real concern within the Jewish community about anti-Semitism and we have to
take that serious and we have to take every allegation of anti-Semitism
seriously even if people sometimes opportunistically seize upon anti-Semitism
as an issue to undermine Jeremy. It doesn’t
matter you’ve still got to take the allegation seriously.
Q: Let me end where we began
with your view of Jeremy Corbyn. There
are some people in the Jewish community who will say look we hear the language
but we also hear him call Hamas and Hezbollah friends. We also hear him call a man who said Mossad
carried out the 9/11 killings a very honoured citizen. We also hear him praise groups who have
criticized the Israelis and have dinner with groups who have criticized worries
about anti-Semitism. Are you sure, have
you asked yourself in your own mind that Jeremy Corbyn agrees with you that
anti-Semitism is a scourge and is different from many of the other charges laid
at his feet?
I absolutely am. He apologized in his letter to the Jewish
community on Monday for the pain and suffering caused to people in the Labour
Party and to people in the Jewish community.
He has said that he is an ally in the battle against anti-Semitism and I
do believe that.
Q: In a word he has changed
Well I think we’ve all
realized the extent of the problem.
We’re all I think tired of too many people arguing that its all
smears. It isn’t. We have to deal with all cases of
anti-Semitism or investigate them when charges are made.