Tony Greenstein | 17 February 2023 | Post Views:

The Labour Left Will Never Recover Until It Understands That ‘Anti-Semitism’ Was a Lie Designed by Racists to Defeat Anti-Racists

Keir Starmer’s ‘patriotism’ is the last refuge of a scoundrel – Corbyn must declare his candidacy now
Kendall Savages Jeremy Corbyn

Last Tuesday in that good socialist newspaper The Times Keir Starmer declared war on what’s left of the Labour Left, declaring that Jeremy Corbyn would not stand as a Labour Candidate in Islington North. I think everyone bar Corbyn himself knew that.

Like the charlatan he is Starmer wrapped himself in the flag declaring that ‘my Labour’, because to all intents and purposes, the ruling class, whose puppet he is, owns the party, would follow his dictats.

Not for nothing did Samuel Johnson declare that ‘patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel’. For if there is one thing that Starmer is, without a doubt, it is a political scoundrel.

  • Starmer promised to support public ownership and end outsourcing in the NHS and now he supports further privatisation.
  • Starmer promised to support public ownership and end outsourcing in the NHS and now he supports further privatisation.
  •  Starmer promised to defend migrant rights and now criticises the Tories for not deporting more people.
  • Starmer promised to reverse the Tory cuts in corporation tax and when they did reverse them he opposed them!
  • Starmer promised to put human rights at the heart of foreign policy’ and ended up supporting the Spycops Bill which grants immunity to state agents who torture people.
  • Starmer promised to ‘Promote peace and human rights’ and ended up as the advocate of NATO and more arms to Ukraine.
  • Starmer even broke the promise to provide ‘Effective opposition to the Tories’ as he pledged allegiance to Boris Johnson’s Covid strategy and supported the attack on the right to protest.

But it is on the issue of ‘anti-Semitism’ that Starmer has proven that the one quality he does have, lying, he has in spades. You might think that if Starmer was genuinely concerned about anti-Semitism then the last people he would suspend and expel would be Jewish members.

But you would be wrong. If you are Jewish in the Labour Party then you are 5+ times more likely to be expelled. Take 82 year old Diana Neslen, a former anti-Apartheid activist from South Africa. Labour’s witchhunters accused Diana of antisemitism over a single tweet from 2017, which said that “the existence of the state of Israel is a racist endeavour and I am an antiracist Jew”. It was only when Diana threatened legal action that the investigation was dropped.

Diana Neslen wasn’t the only Jewish anti-Apartheid activist from South Africa who was targeted. Riva Joffe, who died soon afterwards, was expelled outright. Of course this is understandable. Being a ‘Zionist without qualification’ Starmer has a fondness for apartheid.

You might think that even Starmer would think twice about persecuting a Jewish holocaust survivor. Think again. When Stephen Kapos, a child survivor of the Nazi occupation of Budapest, agreed to speak on Holocaust Memorial Day for the Socialist Labour Network he was threatened with expulsion leading him to resign.

It should be blindingly obvious that when Starmer talks about ‘anti-Semitism’ what he really means is anti-Zionism and opposition to the persecution of the Palestinians.  A persecution that involves house demolitions, torture, the burning of Palestinian crops and even the tear gassing of young children. All of this and more Starmer is quite happy to support as part of Britain’s alliance with the United States.

Starmer gives a clue as to his thinking when he describes anti-Semitism as a form of racism that

spreads like an infection. … those who call themselves “anti-racist” who are most blind to it.

If anti-racists are blind to it that might be because what Starmer describes as ‘anti-Semitism’ is opposition to racism. That is why Starmer pinned all this hopes on an adverse verdict by the EHRC. So eager was Starmer for an adverse verdict that he bought off former staff members who brought a libel action against the Labour Party, despite legal advice to the contrary. In the end a shoddy report by a far-right commissioner Alisdair Henderson, found just two instances of ‘anti-Semitism’ and both related to political criticism of false allegations of anti-Semitism.

It is no surprise that Starmer says

‘I knew we were getting it right… when Louise Ellman, a Jewish former Labour MP who under the previous leadership had suffered appalling abuse, came to Labour Party conference in 2021.

I met Ellman on a BBC Big Questions programme. A more unimpressive Dalek it is hard to imagine. She speaks in staccato and repeats like a mantra all the usual Zionist phrases. When the House of Commons debated Israel’s abuse of Palestinian children as young as 12, such as being woken and arrested in the middle of the night, blindfolded, beaten, denied food and access to a lawyer – Ellman got on her hind legs and justified their treatment. She spoke of:

the context in which these situations occur is an organised campaign conducted by the Palestinian authorities of incitement, to try to provoke young Palestinians to carry out acts of violence towards other civilians, some of which result in death, including the death of young children?

Ellman repeated the lie that Palestinian children are ‘incited’ to resist Israel’s occupation.  Nothing about a Military Government that has ruled the Palestinians for over half a century. A situation where their homes are demolished, land stolen, checkpoints and settler attacks.  To Ellman the Palestinians should be grateful for the Occupation!

When I said that Louise Ellman was a supporter of Israeli child abuse I was accused at my disciplinary hearing of having ‘shamed’ her.  My response, that she was shameless.  But it’s no accident that Starmer has wooed this vile woman.

When Starmer says that ‘the Labour Party I lead is patriotic’ what he really means is that it is now a party which is subservient to the rich and powerful. Patriotism is for the poor. The rich owe no allegiance to anything but their own pockets.

Unsurprisingly Starmer declared that Corbyn wouldn’t be standing at the next election as a Labour candidate. No doubt Corbyn feels betrayed by someone who once declared that he was a friend as well as a colleague but if so he brought it on himself.

It is of course true that Starmer’s decision is a “flagrant attack” on democracy and that the attempt to block his candidacy is “a denial of due process” however the precedent was set by Corbyn himself when he and Jennie Formby barred Chris Williamson, his most loyal MP, from standing at the last election in 2019.

The question is whether Corbyn will stand and if so when he will declare his hand. According to the Guardian’s Deputy political editor and former Jewish Chronicle hack, Jessica Elgot this ‘would pose an existential dilemma for Momentum’ and what’s left of the Socialist Campaign Group [SCG]. If so then the sooner that Corbyn makes up his mind the better. There is no point in waiting for the inevitable.

Having led the left to defeat by trying to appease the right Corbyn owes it to his supporters to break free of Starmer’s neo-liberal Tory Party  Mk. II and create a new working class socialist party.

Of course this would pose a dilemma for the SCG but one thing is abundantly clear.  Either the SCG abandons what remains of their politics or Starmer will be rid of them. Indeed breaking from the Labour Party, if Corbyn played his cards right, could result in the downfall of Starmer who remains personally unpopular in the country not least because he oozes insincerity and is seen to stand for nothing.

But it is incumbent on Corbyn to come to terms with what happened during his 4 years leadership. It is time to face up to the fact that what Labour experienced was not anti-Semitism but an orchestrated campaign by the right, led by the Daily Mail and the Jewish Chronicle, to paint opposition to the Israeli state as ‘anti-Semitism’.

The problem with Corbyn, as his confrontation with Liz Kendall demonstrated, is that he is still wedded to the idea that the Labour Party had a problem with anti-Semitism when it didn’t. The very fact that Starmer has been expelling so many Jewish people testifies to that fact. When asked if he would apologise by Peston the obvious answer was ‘apologise for what?’.

It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to work out that if anti-Semitism had been a problem in the Labour Party then it is hardly likely that the Mail, Sun and Express, to say nothing of the Guardian, would have been so concerned about it. Corbyn could have made all these points and more but instead he tried to explain the difference between exaggerating the numbers of those expelled for anti-Semitism and exaggerating anti-Semitism.  A wholly futile exercise.

Similarly Justin Schlosberg’s points about Labour under Formby being better at expelling people for ‘anti-Semitism’ than Iain McNicol conceded the fact that ‘anti-Semitism’ was a problem when it wasn’t. It is irrelevant whether or not Corbyn interfered with the disciplinary process. If he didn’t he should have!

Corbyn above all should have known that when people support the Palestinians they are, as a matter of course, accused of anti-Semitism. He has been around the Palestine solidarity movement for 40 years yet instead of rebutting the accusation he took it personally. He never took the time to understand Zionism.

Instead from the very start Corbyn began appeasing the Right and the Jewish Labour Movement in particular. Yet they were unappeasable.  The only thing they were interested in was being rid of him.

So we had the absurdity on pages 306, 333, 346 of the Leaked Report  which stated that:

Jeremy Corbyn himself and members of his staff team requested to GLU that particular antisemitism cases be dealt with. In 2017 LOTO staff chased for action on high-profile antisemitism cases Ken Livingstone, Tony Greenstein, Jackie Walker and Marc Wadsworth, stressing that these cases were of great concern to Jewish stakeholders and that resolving them was essential to “rebuilding trust between the Labour Party and the Jewish community”.

Well we were all expelled or forced out and all that happened was that the Zionists came for more victims like Chris Williamson, Pete Willsman and Christine Shawcroft – all of whom were duly delivered up. And yet, far from saving Corbyn it merely ensured his defeat, not least because he apologised so much that he lost all credibility. You never apologise to your enemies you take the fight to them.

Anyone hoping that the SCG, which has split in two, would rise to the challenge is going to be disappointed. Diane Abbot has declared her support for NATO and Starmer. McDonnell has become a war hawk on Ukraine and there is disarray all round. The cowards are running for cover faster than greased lightening.

If Corbyn is going to salvage anything from the present situation he needs to break from Labour now and take steps to form a new socialist party.  This would allow trade unionist to pressure their unions to do likewise. The Labour Party is dead to the left.

Will Corbyn do it?  I wouldn’t advise you to hold your breath!

Tony Greenstein

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