Tony Greenstein | 30 March 2018 | Post Views:

What is the purpose of
Momentum if, during a political crisis, it remains silent?

Was the most recent false-antisemitism crisis really caused by an erased 6 year old mural?

gives a good background to what is happening at the current moment.  The right-wing of Labour, led by Chuka
Ummuna, Wes Streeting and other nonentities, is determined that Corbyn must be
ousted.  The only quandary they face is
how and when.

events this week when around 50 Labour MPs joined a Zionist rally outside
Parliament, which masqueraded as a Jewish rally against Anti-Semitism, are
significant.  This rally had at its core
not only the far-Right of British Zionism, people such as David Collier and
Jonathan Hoffman – both of them collaborators with Britain’s neo-Nazi right,
but more mainstream reactionaries such as Norman Tebbit, Sajid David and the
anti-Catholic Democratic Unionist Party. 
Under attack
is the totalitarian make-up of the Zionists that they want to make criticism of
this rally a disciplinary offence in itself! 
Just about everyone who displeases them is now an ‘anti-Semite’.  It is now seriously argued that denying Jews (not
anti-Zionist Jews of course) the ‘right to define’ their alleged oppression, is
itself anti-Semitic.  Soon coughing in
public could become a form of anti-Semitism.
Jewish Labour Movement and Labour Friends of Israel (which don’t hesitate to
demonstrate alongside outright fascists who support Israel) seems to forget
that Israeli standards of democracy haven’t yet been imported into Britain!  The Daily
cites a letter from the Board of Deputies and the Jewish
Leadership Council to Corbyn saying that it was a “disgrace” that people who joined this demonstration had
been subjected to “abuse and
.  In fact it was the other
way around.  It was the anti-Zionist Jews
who were abused. I was called a ‘traitor’ on 2 occasions (Zionists assume that
all Jews owe an automatic loyalty to Zionism and Israel even if you are British).
Momentum’s leader Jon Lansman
would be difficult for the Right to attack Corbyn over austerity.  The cuts are not that popular and Corbyn has succeeded
in shifting Labour away from things like cutting benefits to the poor in favour
of taxing the rich.  The supporters of
neo-liberalism in the PLP such as Chris Leslie find it difficult to motivate
people behind the privatisation of the NHS. That is why ‘anti-Semitism’ is such
a useful weapon.  Who could possibly not
oppose anti-Semitism?  All the Zionists
have to do is to redefine anti-Semitism as opposition to or criticism of Israel
and hey presto, they can attack the Left with impunity.
An article I wrote at the time of the last anti-Corbyn coup
only problem the Zionists face is that most people refuse to accept the
ridiculous International
Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism
– a treatise
consisting of 450+ words if you include 11 illustrative examples, 7 of which
relate to criticism of Israel.  To most
ordinary people anti-Semitism is simply hatred or hostility to Jews as Jews.  That is why the demonstration by an alleged
1,500 people last Monday (it was nearer 500) has left most people unmoved.  No one in their right mind accepts the lie
that anti-Semitism is on the increase and is now a major danger.  Most Jews let alone non-Jews don’t accept it
and that is the problem for the Labour Right.
is also why Jeremy Corbyn should get a backbone and stop apologising all the
time to these racists.  He should stand
up to their attacks and defy these creatures to do their worst. If that
provokes outright rebellion from within the PLP so much the better.  It is better to get rid of sewer rats like
John Mann before rather than after an election. 
Corbyn should not hesitate to call out those whose real goal is to
remove him from the leadership. 
Lansman entirely at home (for once)
is a pitiful spectacle to watch Corbyn demeaning and humiliating himself,
making repeated
for not having recognised that a disputed mural, erased 6 years
ago, might have been anti-Semitic.  It is
not at all clear that it was directed against Jews at all.
built an organisation of 36,000 members, Momentum has proven totally useless in
this crisis. Why? Because Momentum is the plaything of one man, Jon Lansman and
a handful of cronies on the National Coordinating Committee, the majority of
whom are not elected.   Momentum has no
democratic internal structures, no policy making conferences, no regional
structures, no liberation strands (Black, Women, Youth etc.) and it is owned by
one person – Jon Lansman.
Labour’s ghost from the past
is why after this self-inflicted crisis is over people have to demand the
democratisation of Momentum and an end to the rule of one man.  If Lansman is seriously concerned with
supporting  the Corbyn leadership as
opposed to promoting the interests of the Israeli state, then he will bow to
the will of the members.  Because there
is no doubt that the Right in the PLP is going to strike again – the only
uncertainty is whether it is before the election or after it.  That is why we need to be serious about reselection.  If Corbyn wins the election and becomes Prime
Minister then he is going to be even more at the mercy of the likes of Hilary
Benn.  Either we force them out now or
they will force Corbyn out later.
also include an excellent article by Israeli based journalist Jonathan Cook The
sharks circling around Corbyn scent blood
Inside the pro-Israel campaign to
crush Labour’s left-wing insurgency.
May 6, 2016,
5:30 AM GMT

Chris Mullins’ 1982 political thriller, A Very British Coup,
introduced British readers to a Marxist former steelworker named Harry Perkins
who sends his country’s political elite into a frenzy by winning a dramatic
election for prime minister. Desperate to foil his plans to remove American
military bases from British soil, nationalize the country’s industries and
abolish the aristocratic House of Lords, a convergence of powerful forces led
by MI5 security forces initiate a plot to undermine Perkins through
surveillance and subterfuge. When their machinations fail against a resolute
and surprisingly wily politician, the security forces resort to fabricating a
scandal, hoping to force him to abdicate power to a more pliable member of his
own party.
Joan Ryan – who claimed the maximum expenses in 2006/7 and was runner up in 2005/6
Adapted into an award-winning 1988 television mini-series, Mullins’
script closely resembles the real-life campaign to destroy the Labour Party
leader Jeremy Corbyn. A left-wing populist with pronounced anti-imperialist
leanings, Corbyn is seen by his opponents in much the same light as Perkins was
in Mullins’ treatment: “You’re a bad
dream. I could always comfort myself with the thought that socialism would
never work,”
Percy Brown, an aristocratic MI5 chief sworn to the prime
minister’s ruin, told his enemy. “But
you, Mr. Perkins, could destroy everything that I’ve ever believed in.”

After years as a backbencher in parliament railing against Tony Blair’s
business-friendly agenda and mobilizing opposition to the invasion of Iraq,
Corbyn emerged last summer as a frontrunner for Labour leadership. Against
vociferous opposition, he stunned his opponents with a landslide victory,
winning nearly 60% of the vote with help from a grassroots coalition of Muslim
immigrants, blue-collar workers and youthful left-wing activists.
Just as Corbyn’s success stunned the party establishment, his rise
infuriated the country’s powerful pro-Israel forces. Corbyn’s parliamentary
office has served as a hub for the Palestine solidarity movement and his name
has been featured prominently on resolutions condemning Israeli atrocities. At
an election
 convened last year by the Labour Friends of Israel, Corbyn
redoubled his support for key components of the boycott, divestment and
sanctions (BDS) movement that is pressuring Israel to respect the human rights
of Palestinians while Blair’s favored candidate, Liz Kendall, said she would
fight it with “every fiber in my body.”
Just after Corbyn’s victory, Chris Mullins predicted that Labour’s new
leader would face a blizzard of smears not unlike the kind
Perkins confronted. “The media will
go bananas, of course,”
Mullins told the
Independent. “There will be attempts to
paint [Corbyn] as a Trot[skyite]. I think that may already have started. Every
bit of his past life will be raked through and every position he has ever taken
will be thrown back under him. Former wives and girlfriends will be sought out.
His sanity will be questioned.”
Distracting from inequality

Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron set the tone for the coming
smear campaign when he tweeted a day
after Corbyn’s election, “The Labour
Party is now a threat to our national security, our economic security and your
family’s security.”

It was around this time that allegations about Labour’s “antisemitism
problem” began to gain steam. As this week’s local elections approached, the
chorus of outrage erupted into the mainstream, with outlets from the Daily
Mail—the tabloid still owned by the Rothermere family that supported the
British Union of Fascists and expressed
 for Hitler during the 1930s—to the liberal Guardian howling about
a plague of Jew hatred spreading through the ranks of Labour since it opened up
to the so-called Corbynistas. Even the Israeli government has gotten in the
act, with its ambassador denouncing Corbyn on national TV while Israel’s Labor
Party threatens a boycott of its sister party in the UK.

Behind the manufactured scandal is a real struggle over the future
course of Labour. The right-leaning elements empowered by Tony Blair are
determined to suppress the influence of an increasingly youthful, ethnically
diverse party base that views the hawkish, pro-business policies of the past
with general revulsion. With the British middle class in shambles after three
decades of constant benefit cuts and a new generation in open revolt, Labour’s
Blairite wing has embraced a cynical strategy to shatter the progressive
coalition that brought Corbyn to power.
By branding the solidarity with the Palestinian cause flourishing among
British Muslims and radical leftists as a form of antisemitism, the elements
arrayed against Corbyn have managed to manufacture a scandal that supersedes
more substantive issues. Right-wing bloggers have been dispatched to trawl
through the social media postings of newer Labour members to dredge up evidence
of offensive commentary about Israel and Jews or invent it when none exists. In
the paranoid atmosphere Corbyn’s foes have cultivated, virtually any fulsome
expression of anti-Zionism seems likely to trigger a suspension.
For Prime Minister Cameron, the scandal generated by Corbyn’s
intra-party foes provides a chance to distract from the row over his
family hiding its
 in an offshore tax shelter, the chaos over
the Brexit debate
 and the disastrous
 of his Islamophobic attacks on the Muslim candidate for London
mayor, Sadiq Khan. Among the most eager to join the pile-on was London Mayor
Boris Johnson, who claimed “a virus of antisemitism hangs over Labour”
just days after ranting that
Barack Obama’s “part-Kenyan” heritage
gave him “an ancestral dislike of the
British Empire.”
Suddenly, Corbyn and allies who launched their careers in grassroots
anti-racism struggles find themselves on the defensive about bigotry—and from a
few accusers who have actual records of racist rhetoric. With nearly 20 party
members already suspended for supposedly antisemitic comments, the witch
hunt claimed
Jackie Walker
, a veteran black-Jewish anti-racism activist and leftwing Labour
stalwart. Walker’s sin was harshly condemning the transatlantic slave trade as
the “African holocaust.” Filched from
her social media postings and publicized by a group called the Israel Advocacy
Movement, her comments triggered an immediate suspension. “If they can do this to me,” Walker said, “then they can do it to anyone.”

Those behind the escalating crusade will not be satisfied until they
claim Corbyn as well. Indeed, the manufactured scandal around antisemitism
appears to be just one step on the way to a bloodless coup.
Fabricating a scandal

Far from the gaze of the mainstream British media, a researcher named
Jamie Stern-Weiner has conducted perhaps the most
thorough investigation
 into the claims of an “antisemitism problem” within Labour. Stern-Weiner found that out of
400,000 party members, perhaps a dozen had been suspended for supposedly
antisemitic remarks.
Surveying the individual cases, he discovered that many, if not most, of
the offending comments related to Israel and Israeli policy, not Jews per se.
Stern-Weiner went on to demonstrate that Guido Fawkes, the right-wing gossip
blogger responsible for a substantial number of the antisemitism outrages that
erupted in the British media, had doctored passages from Labour members’ social
media postings to make them appear more offensive than they actually were.
The chasm between this proffered
evidence and the sweeping condemnations which have appeared in the press…is
truly vast,”
Stern-Weiner concluded.
“Even were all the above charges true, what would it prove? The social media
postings of a handful of mostly junior party members have no necessary
representative significance, and plainly do not demonstrate widespread

Antisemitism without evidence

Though British press has framed Labour’s “antisemitism problem” as a
recently discovered and entirely organic phenomenon, elements in the party have
been pushing it since the race for Labour leadership. And many of the offending
social media posts were published during Israel’s assault on the Gaza Strip in
2014, when the party was under the command of Ed Miliband, a Jew who
issued stern
 of Israel at the time.
The issue gained steam in February, when Alex Chalmers resigned last
February as the vice-chair of the Oxford University Labour Club. According to
, Palestine solidarity activists had taken over his school’s Labour
chapter and made life unbearable for Jewish students. He rattled off a litany
of incidents that constituted antisemitism in his view. Almost all of them
related to Israel, from angry remarks about its government and supporters to
chants in support of Hamas. Chief among Chalmers’ grievances was “members of the Executive throwing around the
term ‘Zio’”
— a shorthand for Zionist that he viewed as the very embodiment
of antisemitic rhetoric.
Chalmers provided no evidence to support his inflammatory allegations.
And none was required for the outrage to make its way across the Atlantic.
Within days of Chalmers’ resignation, his claims were repeated in the
opinion section of the New York Times by Roger Cohen, a pro-Israel columnist
who favors the permanent forced relocation of millions of Palestinians to
countries outside their homeland. Rehashing Chalmers’ unsourced accusations,
Cohen proclaimed that the Labour Party had become infected with “an antisemitism of the Left” under the
watch of Corbyn.
Unmentioned in Cohen’s column were the ulterior sectarian motives
Chalmers had deliberately concealed. As journalist Asa
Winstanley revealed
, Chalmers had been an intern at BICOM, the main arm of
the UK’s pro-Israel lobby, which recently published the following call to arms:
Save your pitch fork for Corbyn.”
Chalmers’ online bio noting his position at BICOM was mysteriously deleted
around the time he publicized his allegations about antisemitism at Oxford. When
Winstanley contacted Chalmers about the internship, he set his Twitter account
to “private” and went off the radar.
As Perkins reflected in A Very British Coup, “By the time you prove anything, the damage
is done.”

Red Ken’s coup de grace

In late April, the mounting witch hunt claimed its first high-profile
victims. First was MP Naz Shah, a rising star in Labour and outspoken Muslim
feminist. Shah was outed by a right-wing gossip blogger for promoting a
tongue-in-cheek Facebook meme that imagined the geopolitical benefits of moving
Israel to the United States. Following her suspension, Former London Mayor Ken
Livingstone, a standard bearer of the British left who helped lead the major
anti-racism campaigns of the 1980s, took to the airwaves to defend Shah.
(Livingstone was among the figures who inspired the protagonist Perkins
in Mullins’ novel.)
During an indisputably counter-productive and possibly
alcohol-influenced performance, Livingstone rambled that Hitler had, in fact,
provided support to the Zionist movement. Within hours, he too was suspended.
As with Shah, the allegations of antisemitism that followed his suspension
centered around impolitic commentary related to Israel, not Jews as a whole.
Livingstone might have been guilty of going off script, but he was not
necessarily incorrect. The history of Nazi Germany’s robust
 and political
 with the Zionist movement throughout the 1930s is widely known and
well-documented—even Elie Wiesel has openly
 at the record of Zionist cooperation with Hitler’s minions.
Ignoring the clear context behind Livingstone’s remarks, the Guardian
casually dismissed
 as “bizarre,” wondering
what point he was trying to make.”
MP John Mann, a backbencher from the right wing of Labour, went a step further,
hectoring Livingstone before a gaggle of cameras about his supposed ignorance
of Hitler’s evil. “There’s a book called Mein Kampf!” Mann
bellowed. “You’ve obviously never heard of it.”
A high-level ‘civil targeted assassination’

Behind the furore over Israel criticism lay a constellation of political
forces exploiting the issue to suppress the grassroots insurgency in Labour.
Under Blair’s watch, powerful pro-Israel elements entrenched themselves
in the party, reversing the strong support Labour demonstrated for the
Palestinian cause during the Thatcher era. Membership in Labour
Friends of Israel
 (LFI), a pro-Israel lobbying faction, became a must for members of
parliament seeking ministerial positions under Blair and his successor, Gordon
Brown. Among LFI’s most generous funders is Baron Sainsbury of Turville, a
reclusive billionaire who is heir to the Sainsbury supermarket fortune.
Sainsbury is also a key funder of Progress, the faction established by
pro-Blair elements to promote his agenda in the mid-1990s.
Members of both LFI and Progress have led the crusade to paint Corbyn
and his allies as a band of raving antisemites. Lord Michael Levy, a former
special envoy to the Middle East under Blair and top funder of LFI, has
amplified the attacks with a series of media appearances in which he accused
Corbyn of weakness in the face of anti-Jewish bigotry. A new and unusual line
of attack
 holds Corbyn responsible for an alleged dearth of donations to
Labour from “Jewish donors” like Levy.
The panic that spread through Labour’s right wing on the eve of Corbyn’s
election reverberated in Jerusalem, where the Israeli government has vowed a
campaign of “targeted
civil elimination
” (code for character assassination) against Palestine
solidarity activists. By taking the helm of Labour, Corbyn became arguably the
most high-profile supporter of BDS in the world. The Israeli government had
placed him at the top of its political kill list and was bound to open fire at
an opportune moment.
The moment arrived on May 1, as the BBC’s Andrew Marr hosted Israeli Ambassador
to the UK Mark Regev for a lengthy
. Anyone who watched international news coverage of any of Israel’s last
three assaults on the Gaza Strip will remember Regev as the face and voice of
Israeli propaganda, spinning massacres of
besieged civilians as acts of self-defense without batting an eye.
Seated across from an exceptionally receptive host, Regev unleashed a
tirade against the pro-Corbyn wing of Labour and the left in general, declaring
it had “crossed a line” into
antisemitic territory, even accusing it of “embracing
.” Playing on the innuendo that has painted Corbyn as a supporter of
Islamist insurgents, Regev demanded that Corbyn send an “unequivocal message” rejecting Hamas and Hezbollah. Marr piled on,
baselessly claiming that Corbyn’s press secretary, Seumas Milne, had declared “it is a crime for the state of Israel to
” It took Marr over
half an hour to retract his falsehood. By then, as usual, the damage was done.
The spectacle of a foreign diplomat from a country with one of the
world’s worst human rights records injecting himself into a local electoral
contest to brand the leader of a major political party as a bigoted cheerleader
for terrorism perfectly crystallized the nature of the campaign against Corbyn.
Conceived by failed politicians backed by billionaire Lords and
publicized with negligible skepticism by Fleet Street, those leading the charge
against Corbyn recalled the devious aristocrats Perkins singled out during his
final televised appeal to voters: “You
the people must decide whether you prefer to ruled by an elected government or
by people you’ve never heard of, people you’ve never voted for, people who
remain quietly behind the scenes….”

There has been no such defiant address by Corbyn. Instead, he has
convened an independent inquiry into antisemitism within his party,
inviting further
 even as he acceded to political pressure.
Redefining anti-Semitism for political ends

The upcoming investigation will only be the latest in a series carried
out in recent years. In January 2015, the Parliamentary Committee Against
Anti-Semitism published a detailed
 outlining its findings on anti-Jewish bigotry in the UK. It was
authored by David Feldman, a leading expert on the history of British Jewry and
the director of the Pears Institute for the Study of Anti-Semitism at Birkbeck
As soon as he was chosen to serve as vice-chair of the new inquiry,
Feldman fell under
 from the pro-Israel press. His opponents were particularly piqued
by the working definition of antisemitism he adopted in his 2015 report, which
he sourced to Jewish philosopher Brian Klug: “A form of hostility towards Jews as Jews, in which they are perceived
as something other than what they are.”

By rejecting the politicized
 introduced by pro-Israel forces, which considers the adoption of
“double standards” toward Israel to be a form of anti-Jewish prejudice, Feldman
deprived them of their favorite line of attack against sympathizers with the
Palestinian cause.
As Stern-Weiner clinically demonstrated, the vast majority of charges
against Labour members related to commentary about the state of Israel, not the
Jewish people. In order to paint anti-Zionist members of Labour as dangerous
antisemites, Corbyn’s opponents have had to resort to conflating Israel with
all Jews. Ironically, they have relied on the same conflation that actual
antisemites typically employ to indict world Jewry for Israel’s crimes against
Jonathan Freedland, a veteran columnist for the Guardian, has been among
the most aggressive employers of the conflation tactic. An outspoken liberal
Zionist, Freedland has insisted on his
right to call out antisemitism as he pleases and without any critical scrutiny
from Gentiles—just as “black people are
usually allowed to define what’s racism.”
By extension, he has sought
unlimited license to use “Jews” as a floating signifier for Israel and Zionism,
to arbitrarily fuse the Jews of the world with a self-proclaimed Jewish state
that only a minority of them inhabit.
Echoing Freedland, Ephraim Mirvish, the chief rabbi of the UK, declared that
Zionism “can be no more separate from
Judaism than the city of London from Great Britain.”
Mirvish insisted that
non-Jews were out of bounds by challenging the conflation of Jews with the
political project of a Jewish state, ignoring opinion
 showing that a full third of British Jews identity as anti or
John Mann, the member of parliament who chased Livingstone down a
hallway while shouting about Hitler, has said that “it’s clear where the line is” on anti-Jewish bigotry. But during
his testimony at an unsuccessful tribunal on “institutional antisemitism” on campus, Mann was harshly
 for his inability to locate that line.
Even as they avoid putting forward a coherent working definition of
antisemitism and exploit identity politics to silence those who do, Labour’s
pro-Israel elements are pushing a new rule that could amount to a pro-Israel loyalty
A coming coup?

Back in April, members of the right wing of Labour proposed a rule change that
would allow the party to ban members for expressing opinions deemed to be
antisemitic. Leading the
 were Jeremy Newmark, chair of the pro-Israel Jewish Labour
Movement, and Wes Streeting, a member of parliament and former employee of the
Blairite Progress faction.
When the furore over Livingstone’s comments about Zionist collaboration
with Nazi Germany erupted, the call for a rule change
, inadvertently revealing its actual objective: To establish a lever for
purging anti-Zionists from the party ranks. If implemented, the rule change
could function as a de facto oath of pro-Israel loyalty for new Labour members
and might even result in a series of tribunals for those who fail to toe the
ideological line.
Though Labour performed
far better
 in the May 5 local elections than a generally hostile media
predicted, Corbyn’s opponents are determined to paint him as unelectable, just as they
 during last year’s campaign for leadership.
Even before votes were counted, they were dead-set on sacking him. “We have got to get rid of him. He cannot be
allowed to continue,
” a Labour member described as “moderate” by the Daily Express said on the
day of local elections.
The positive results may buy Corbyn some time, but his foes have
signaled their intentions. They are determined to bury him in the same way the
fictional villain Sir Percy Brown attempted to with PM Harry Perkins. “In South America they’d call this a coup
,” Perkins protested when Brown presented him with scandalous
documents forged by his security services.
But no firing squad,” Brown
explained with cool confidence. “No
torture, no bloodshed. A very British coup, wouldn’t you say?”

Max Blumenthal is the award-winning author of Goliath, Republican Gomorrah, and The 51 Day
. He is also the co-host of the podcast, Moderate Rebels. Follow him on Twitter at @MaxBlumenthal.
26 March 2018
Jonathan Cook – married to a non-Jew
After a short reprieve following Jeremy Corbyn’s unexpected
success in Britain’s general election last year, when he only narrowly lost the
popular vote, most of the Labour parliamentary party are back, determined to
bring him down. And once again, they are being joined by the corporate media in
full battle cry.

Last week, Corbyn was a Soviet spy. This week we’re in more
familiar territory, even if it has a new twist: Corbyn is not only a friend to
anti-semites, it seems, but now he has been outed as a closet one himself.

In short, the Blairites in the parliamentary party are
stepping up their game. Corbyn’s social justice agenda, his repudiation of
neoconservative wars of aggression masquerading as “humanitarianism” – lining
the coffers of the west’s military-industrial elites – is a genuine threat to
those who run our societies from the shadows.

The knife of choice for the Labour backstabbers this time
is a wall mural removed from East London in 2012. At that time, before he
became Labour leader, Corbyn expressed support on Facebook for the artist,
Kalen Ockerman, known as Mear One. Corbyn observed that a famous
anti-capitalist mural by the left-wing Mexican artist Diego Rivera was
similarly removed from Manhattan’s Rockefeller Centre in 1934.

Interestingly, the issue of Corbyn’s support for the mural
– or at least the artist – originally flared in late 2015, when the Jewish Chronicle
unearthed his Facebook post. Two things were noticeably different about the
coverage then.

First, on that occasion, no one apart from the Jewish
Chronicle appeared to show much interest in the issue. Its “scoop” was not
followed up by the rest of the media. What is now supposedly a major scandal,
one that raises questions about Corbyn’s fitness to be Labour leader, was a
non-issue two years ago, when it first became known.

Second, the Jewish Chronicle, usually so ready to get
exercised at the smallest possible sign of anti-semitism, wasn’t entirely
convinced back in 2015 that the mural was anti-semitic. In fact, it suggested
only that the mural might have “antisemitic
” – and attributed even that claim to Corbyn’s critics.

And rather than claiming, as the entire corporate media is
now, that the mural depicted a cabal of Jewish bankers, the Chronicle then
described the scene as “a group of
businessmen and bankers sitting around a Monopoly-style board and counting
By contrast, the Guardian abandoned normal reporting conventions yesterday to state in its news –
rather than comment – pages unequivocally that the mural was “obviously antisemitic”.

Not that anyone is listening now, but the artist himself,
Kalen Ockerman, has said that the group in his mural comprised historical
figures closely associated with banking. His mural, he says, was about “class
and privilege
”, and the figures depicted included both “Jewish and white Anglos”. The fact that
he included famous bankers like the Rothschilds (Jewish) and the Rockefellers
(not Jewish) does not, on the face of it, seem to confirm anti-semitism. They
are simply the most prominent of the banking dynasties most people, myself
included, could name. These families are about as closely identified with
capitalism as it is possible to be.

There is an argument to be had about the responsibilities
of artists – even street artists – to be careful in their visual
representations. But Ockerman’s message was not a subtle or nuanced one. He was
depicting class war, the war the capitalist class wages every day on the weak
and poor. If Ockerman’s message is inflammatory, it is much less so than the
reality of how our societies have been built on the backs and the suffering of
the majority.

Corbyn has bowed to his critics – a mix of the Blairites
within his party and Israel’s cheerleaders – and apologised for offering
support to Ockerman, just as he has caved in to pressure each time the
anti-semitism card has been played against him.

This may look like wise, or safe, politics to his advisers.
But these critics have only two possible outcomes that will satisfy
them. Either Corbyn is harried from the party leadership, or he is
intimidated into diluting his platform into irrelevance – he becomes just
another compromised politician catering to the interests of the 1 per cent.

The sharks circling around him will not ignore the scent of
his bloodied wounds; rather, it will send them into a feeding frenzy. As hard
as it is to do when the elites so clearly want him destroyed, Corbyn must find
his backbone and start to stand his ground.


This piece in the liberal Israeli newspaper Haaretz by
their senior columnnist Anshel Pfeffer sums up a lot of the sophistry
(intentional or otherwise) underscoring the conflation of leftwing critiques of
neoliberalism and globalism with rightwing ultra-nationalism and anti-semitism.
Pfeffer writes:

The conspiracy theories of globalist bankers utilizing
mainstream media and corrupt neoliberal politicians to serve their selfish
sinister purposes, rather than those of ordinary people, are identical whether
from left or right.
And on either side, most of the theorists will never admit
to being anti-Semitic. They are just “anti-racist” or “anti-imperialist” if on
the left, or “pro-Israel” on the right. And most of them really believe they
have nothing against Jews, even while parroting themes straight out of the
Protocols [of the Elders of Zion].

Notice the problem here. If you are a radical leftist who
believes, as generations of leftists before you have done, that military,
political, media, and financial elites operate in the shadows to promote their
interests, to wage class war, then not only are you a conspiracy theorist,
according to Pfeffer, but you are by definition anti-semitic as well. If you
believe that an Establishment or a Deep State exists to advance its interests
against the great majority, you must hate Jews.

The logic of Corbyn’s critics has rarely been articulated
so forthrightly and so preposterously as it is here by Pfeffer. But make no
mistake, this is the logic of his critics.

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Tony Greenstein

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