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A question for the Independent’s Yasmin Alibhai-Brown about Carlos Latuff’s Holocaust cartoons.

Posted by Richard Millett

The Independent’s Yasmin Alibhai-Brown doesn’t check facts. In 2012 she defended British politician Jenny Tonge. Baroness Tonge had declared in a talk to students that “Israel won’t be here forever in its present performance” for which Tonge was eventually forced to resign from the Liberal Democrats which supports a two-state solution.

When considering the context of her talk Tonge had obviously meant that Israel won’t last because it, in her view, behaves badly. But Alibhai-Brown, like some other lazy commentators who didn’t check my clip, wrote that Tonge had simply said “Israel won’t be here forever in its present form”, which would have been defensible because countries do change form (see Ukraine and Russia). The Independent eventually had to change the wording of Alibhai-Brown’s article to reflect Tonge’s actual quote.

Now, in her latest Independent article Alibhai-Brown criticises those who accuse Jeremy Corbyn of being “an anti-Semite”, but she offers no evidence that Corbyn has been so accused by any serious commentators. She obliquely accuses “The Jewish Chronicle, some MPs and various sections of the media”. But the JC has merely reasonably asked Corbyn to answer for his dubious support for Hamas, Hezbollah, Stephen Sizer, Paul Eisen and Raed Salah,

In fact the opposite is often true. James Bloodworth has raised similar concerns to the JC about Corbyn but goes out of his way to write “I genuinely believe that Corbyn does not have an antisemitic bone in his body…”

And Alibhai-Brown continues her manner of parading Jews who reject Israel as “conscientious and ethical”. In yesterday’s article these two people are the late Mike Marqusee and Ken Loach. At a meeting she chaired in 2012, in which the ex-BBC journalist Tim Llewlynn claimed that “Zionists are scattered at strategic points throughout British business”, Alibhai-Brown told the audience that Professor Hugh Blaschko had complained to her that “Israel will bring the worst out in us Jewish people.”

It’s a shame that Alibhai-Brown attaches so much respect to the likes of Marqusee, Loach and Blaschko by dint of their Jewishness. Is she really saying that Jews supportive of Israel, the vast majority, are unethical? That’s the sad implication from someone who should be concerned with racial harmony considering her forced flight from her homeland of Uganda.

And no Jew has a problem with Loach for being “a fierce defender of Palestinian rights”. The problem Jews have with Loach is that, just like Jeremy Corbyn, he seems to want the only Jewish state finished, destroyed, dead. Most reasonable people don’t see that as a “conscientious and ethical” position.

But the most telling part of her article is about Carlos Latuff. It seems that either she just doesn’t understand anti-Semitism or that she prefers to turn a blind eye to it.

True to form she looks for a Jew or a Jewish organisation that supports the view that Latuff’s cartoons are not anti-Semitic. On Latuff’s Wikipedia page she finds “the Jewish daily Forward” mentioned. You won’t be surprised to learn that, once again, Alibhai-Brown has not checked facts. As Honest Reporting reports this is not the view of the Forward itself but of one Forward commentator, Eddy Portnoy, in his book review about anti-Semitic cartoons for the Forward. Honest Reporting continues:

“Portnoy’s statement is the one and only reference on Latuff’s Wikipedia page that opposes the consensus view of Latuff by many Jewish organizations and experts that the cartoonist is, indeed, anti-Semitic.”

Alibhai-Brown raises Latuff because she says Corbyn “shared a platform” with him. I am not aware that this is true although we know that Corbyn was due to share a platform with Latuff next weekend but has since pulled out. Maybe Corbyn has finally re-evaluated Latuff’s work.

How can any supposed reasonable commentator, Portnoy aside, consider someone’s work which compares the plight of the Palestinians to the plight of the Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto and Auschwitz as anything but anti-Semitic. The Guardian’s Ian Black accuses Latuff of “drawing, without inhibition, on judeophobic stereotypes in the service of the anti-globalisation movement.”

Corbyn, by cancelling his appearance alongside Latuff, has possibly understood these objections to Latuff’s work while Alibhai-Brown carries on blissfully unaware.

So the main question for Alibhai-Brown is: Would you really not consider it tantamount to religious or racial hatred if the most horrendous massacre of Muslims, possibly at Srebrenica, possibly by ISIS, was portrayed in a manner similar to the way that Latuff portrays the Holocaust?

If Alibhai-Brown responds we will let you know. In the meantime here are some examples of Latuff’s work:





And some more here

14 replies »

  1. He most definitely is an Anti-Semite and the proof is on the table if the alleged views of MP Corbyn. He has declared his full support for Hamas and also allegedly embraces their ideologies. If all this is indeed correct this would mean that by extension he supports the Hamas Charter that calls for genocide of all Israelis, wiping the country Israel off the map AND the murder of every Jew Worldwide wherever you may find them. If Corbyn does fight for that savage terrorist then he is an Anti-Semite

    • @lehi48 –

      “He most definitely is an Anti-Semite and the proof is on the table if the alleged views of MP Corbyn. He has declared his full support for Hamas and also allegedly embraces their ideologies. If all this is indeed correct…”

      But it’s NOT correct. Here is what Jeremy Corbyn told Channel 4 News (see for fuller verbatim report):

      Did he agree with Hamas and what it does? “No.”

      Did he agree with Hezbollah and what they do? “No.”

      And he went on: “I think to bring about a peace process, you have to talk to people with whom you may profoundly disagree.

      “There is not going to be a peace process unless there is talks involving Israel, Hezbollah and Hamas and I think everyone knows that….

      “I have met Hamas in Lebanon and I’ve met Hezbollah in this country and Lebanon….Hamas and Hezbollah are part of a wider peace process. Even the former head of Mossad says that there has to be talks involving Hamas.

      “I’ve also had discussions with people from the right in Israeli politics who have the same view possibly that the state of Israel should extend from the river to the sea, as it is claimed people from the Palestinian side do [about Palestine’s state borders].”

      In a supplement to that TV interview – a more broadly-based response to Jewish Chronicle claims about him – Corbyn’s campaign team issued a statement saying he “absolutely rejected antisemitism and had not accepted an invitation to speak at a conference alongside an antisemitic cartoonist”. (See Guardian story headlined ‘Jewish Chronicle accuses Corbyn of associating with Holocaust deniers’.)

      “Jeremy is proud to represent a multicultural constituency of people from all over the world and to speak at every opportunity of understanding between Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and other faiths. He has delivered this message in all places of worship. No place of worship should ever be attacked and nobody’s right to practise their faith in peace should ever be prevented.”

    • So we can expect for Corbyn to publicly, unequivocally refute and make a statement of disgust for the HAMAS Charter? The PLO Charter never rescinded its’ demand for the destruction of the State of Israel and broadcasts on PA TV and radio in Arabic reflects this position. So, I understand MP Corbyn will likewise issue a statement disassociating himself from the PLO Charter. Both Web Sites have Maps of the ME but they don’t include the Internationally recognized State of Israel. When he reads his public Statements (BBC) he should also query his charge why they have such a Map on their Web Site. I believe all of thIs is quite fair since ethnic cleansing of Jews from Israel will be the ultimate of Anti-Semitism.

  2. so we are learning that
    1. much of the anti-semitism in the West is effective rather than stated.
    2. a second distinction would be between opinions that are untrue, and those that are simply disproportionate.
    3. we should also be aware of a form of prejudice directed toward the israeli state, which can also be described as anti-semitism.

    therefore, discrimination that is 1.) merely evidenced in its ultimate effect, or 2.) that is simply disproportionate, or 3.) that is directed toward a country rather than a person or race, ofcourse will slip through our sensors a little bit easier.

    and thus
    – it can be actively engaged in OR
    – it can perhaps be practised unwittingly by someone.

    the destruction that they produce is, ofcourse, equally consequential.

  3. It is about time we all stopped considering cartoons (and often even to comedy in general) as ever offering serious political comment. They generally offer a one-sided bigoted view of the world, designed to appealed to other like minded bigots, in order to gain support for their bigoted aims. They offer no real opportunity for counter-argument, and lower the tone of the debate such that the truth (whatever that may be) is unlikely to be uncovered.
    Unfortunately, there is no way of stopping this particular abuse of free speech, but we must avoid as much as possible sinking to this level, and try to maintain the argument on as rational basis as we, as fallible humans, are capable of.

  4. Corbyn consistently lays claim to being anti-racist. This does not however stop him support followers of islam, which is consistently racist, not only in its explicit anti-semitism, but also in its fundamentally racist perspective towards all non-muslims.