Guardian letter claims Corbyn is an “ally in fight against antisemitism”

This week, eight MPs quit the Labour Party, the biggest split in the party since four senior members quit in 1981 to form the Social Democratic Party.  All the defecting MPs cited antisemitism in the party as one of their reasons for leaving, with several, including MPs Luciana Berger and Joan Ryan, calling the party institutionally and irredeemably antisemitic under Jeremy Corbyn, who a full 85% of British Jews believe is personally antisemitic.

Enter the Guardian, which published a letter yesterday by 200 pro-Corbyn British Jews, in the context of the MP defections.

Here’s an excerpt:

We believe that the Labour party under the progressive leadership of Jeremy Corbyn is a crucial ally in the fight against bigotry and reaction. His lifetime record of campaigning for equality and human rights, including consistent support for initiatives against antisemitism, is formidable. His involvement strengthens this struggle.

Evidence of Corbyn’s antisemitism is ubiquitous, and includes: his support for countless anti-Semites and violent antisemitic extremists; his initial defence of an antisemitic mural; his co-sponsoring of a bill to eliminate Holocaust Memorial Day because it was ‘too Jewish’ in its focus; his othering of British Jews as not quite English; and his seeming indifference to the cesspit of antisemitism and antisemitic bullying by Labour activists. 

The letter makes another point which requires more analysis: 

It is in this context that we welcome the Labour party’s endorsement of freedom of expression on Israel and on the rights of Palestinians. Labour is correct to recognise that while prejudice against Jewish people is deplorable, criticism of Israel’s government and policies can and must be made.

The reference to “Palestinians” and “freedom of expression” is important in understanding what lies at the root of this argument, as it sets up the implicit suggestion in the subsequent sentence that Jews who oppose Corbyn are motivated by a desire to stifle “criticism of Israel’s government”.  However, in order to more fully understand its significance, you have to go back to the debate last September within Labour over the question of whether to adopt the full IHRA Antisemitism Working Definition, and Corbyn’s proposed amendment, which was rejected by the party’s National Executive Committee. 

Here’s the key element of Corbyn’s proposed amendment.

“It [should not] be regarded as antisemitic to describe Israel, its policies or the circumstances around its foundation as racist because of their discriminatory impact, or to support another settlement of the Israel-Palestine conflict.”

First, there’s nothing in the IHRA definition prohibiting characterising Israeli policies as racist.  But, IHRA does define as antisemitic “denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination…by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor”.

Corbyn’s wish to retain the right to call Israel’s very “foundation” – that is, 1948, not 1967 – racist, represents a wish to retain the right to say that the State of Israel is (inherently) “a racist endeavor”, and his desire for the right to advocate for “another settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict” is a euphemistic call to protect the ‘right’ to reject the Jewish people’s “right to self-determination”.

In other words, Corbyn and his supporters – including those on the Guardian editorial board, who published an editorial at the time agreeing with Corbyn in stating that the IHRA definition stifles the “Palestinian narrative” – wish to remain free to assert the extremist view that ‘Zionism is racism’ and that, therefore, ‘Israel has no right to exist’. 

This in part explains why, no matter how much his defenders try gaslighting British Jews, an overwhelming majority within the community will continue to see the Corbyn-led Labour Party as “institutionally antisemitic”, and a potential Corbyn-led government as nothing short of an existential threat to Jewish life. 

Related Articles


64 replies »

  1. Are these pro-Corbyn Jews in denial? After all that’s gone on and all that far left Labour has said and continues to say that is downright racist against the Jewish population, I find the attitude of these Jews incomprehensible.

    • Labour quitter Ian Austin says ‘poison’ has bred generation of antisemites
      Ian Austin said that people who previously would “never have found Israel on a map” were now “spewing” antisemitic abuse
      A new generation has been “sucked into the poison” of antisemitism through blind loyalty to Jeremy Corbyn, according to the ninth MP to quit Labour.
      Ian Austin said that it was “really upsetting” that people who previously would “never have found Israel on a map” were now “spewing out” vile antisemitic abuse online.
      In an interview with The Times Red Box podcast, the Dudley MP also spoke movingly about being challenged over his Labour membership by a Holocaust survivor during a trip to Auschwitz.

      Mr Austin, 53, said that he took the decision to quit the party, which he joined aged 18, because he felt “ashamed to be part of a political party led by Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell, Seumas Milne and Andrew Murray, lifelong communists”.
      He added: “I am very clear I don’t think Jeremy Corbyn is fit to be prime minister.”
      He decided to resign, in an interview with his local paper on Friday, having grown tired of colleagues urging him to help wrestle back control of the party.
      “People keep saying ‘stay and fight’ and that’s fair enough. But where’s the fight? Start fighting then! I was warning about the impact Jeremy Corbyn would have before he became leader in 2015. I probably underestimated the scale of the catastrophe,” he said.
      Mr Austin, whose adoptive parents were Czech Jewish refugees who lost relatives in the Holocaust, said that some of Mr Corbyn’s supporters found themselves “defending the indefensible” in the name of their leader. “The thing that I find really upsetting is that there are people who would never have thought about this stuff . . . for whom it would never be an issue, but because they think Jeremy is this wonderful decent guy, fought racism all his life or whatever, they can’t believe it’s true. So they end up defending the indefensible and some of them get sucked into this poison out of a desire to defend him.”
      He stressed that it was not only young supporters of the Labour leader who engaged in spreading antisemitic tropes and abuse online. However, he added: “People would not be spewing out this stuff on social media if it wasn’t because they were defending Jeremy Corbyn.”
      He argues that Mr Corbyn is “incapable” of dealing with the antisemitism problem because he “thinks he is the victim in all of this”. Asked if he thinks Mr Corbyn is antisemitic, he said: “I can’t look into his heart and see what’s in there. But I know he has definitely done and said things that are antisemitic. What do we normally call people who say or do things that are racist?”
      Last year, while taking part in the March of the Living walk from Auschwitz to Birkenau, Mr Austin was introduced as an MP to a Holocaust survivor. “He looked up to me from his wheelchair and asked: ‘Which party?’ And I said the Labour Party. His first words were: ‘Are you not ashamed to be in the Labour Party with all the antisemitism?’ The truth is I was ashamed. I could have left then. Deeply shocking.”
      Mr Austin blames Ed Miliband for denigrating Labour’s record in government and then changing the leadership rules, clearing the way for Mr Corbyn.
      Mr Miliband, the son of Jewish immigrants, has faced criticism from some quarters for not speaking out on the allegations of antisemitism.
      Mr Austin said: “I don’t think people should expect him to speak out because of that, because of his heritage or his background, but I think we all should be speaking out about it. Everybody in the Labour Party should be outraged. It is unbelievable to me that a political party with a fine reputation of fighting racism has become embroiled in this.”
      Tom Watson, Labour’s deputy leader, is a “good mate”. They met working for the party and are both MPs in the Midlands. Mr Watson knew in advance about the decision to quit. “I rang him to tell. He wishes it hadn’t come to this. But he understands why.”
      Mr Austin worked as a Treasury adviser to Gordon Brown from 1999 to 2005, when he became an MP and later minister in the Brown government. Mr Brown urged him not to resign during a phone call last Thursday night.
      During this interview, recorded during a walk in Green Park in Westminster, Mr Austin conceded that the battles between Mr Brown and Tony Blair during the New Labour years pale in comparison with the antisemitism row.
      Pausing outside the No 10 garden, he remarked: “I think it will be a long time before there will be Labour people working in there again.”

  2. “We are Jewish members and supporters of the Labour party concerned about the current rise of reactionary ideologies, including antisemitism, in Britain and elsewhere across Europe.”

    I suppose I should be inured to this, but it is still shocking to see the number of Jews listed as signatories to that letter supporting an anti-Semitic admirer of Hamas and Hezbollah, and leader of a party which more woke Jews are abandoning.

    I always go back to my belief that as Jews were herded into the gas chambers there were some Jewish intellectuals trotting along among them explaining why this was really a good thing for the rest of the world.

  3. The Guardian is enganging in classic disinformation, just like Russia in the USA. The Guardian like RT and RT’s evil sister disinfo org NOW THIS use the hard left wing dynamic against Israel and USA. In this nasty tweet, NOW THIS instrumentalizes the hot button issues in the USA to twist the knife against Jews, USA and Israel. Horrificaly IfNotKnow is a willing participant in this hate. Here we have the Russians, with the help of sub-Marxist US Jews stirr racism, Islam, antisemitism, USA and Israel.

  4. In this classic cult conversation a KGB defector talks about how the Soviets understood to unstrumentalize the Western left against the West. This was filmed in the 80s but Yuri told us then what would happen. And here we are. The Guardian and others are doing the work of the Russians. This should be required viewing for all.

  5. “We believe that the Labour party under the progressive leadership of Jeremy Corbyn is a crucial ally in the fight against bigotry and reaction”
    Actually, it’s the reason they gin it up in the first place. It works like the protection racket, except you pay with your vote. As if racism and bigotry were the number 1 problems facing the Britain and the West today. The problem, of course, is that such overt racism is in undersupply. No such problem with “anti-Zionism” though, at least not within certain precincts of the power structure. It’s always top down.

  6. “denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination” has been the racist endeavor of the Arab cause for more than one hundred years now, even before the advent of the more recent and racist “Palestinian movement”, which has had the same racist goal and outcome.

  7. If the Jewish people are a race then of course the foundation of Israel was a racist endeavour since the state gives Jews a privileged status. Hundreds of thousands of Arabs were expelled at the foundation for no other reason than that they were not Jewish. No group has a ‘right to self-determination’ in the sense of setting up an independent nation state; think Kurds, Catalans and Scots, who at least have the virtue of being indigenous to the lands they occupy, which was not the case for the majority of Israeli Jews at the time of independence.

    • How does the state give Jews a privileged status? Arabs have all the rights of Jews at all levels of society. Also, you ignore the documented evidence that Arab armies ordered the Arabs living there to leave so that they would not be in the cross-fire. And if Jews are not indigenous, how are Arabs? Jews (Yehudim) are from Judea (Yehuda), hence the name. Arabs are from Arabia, hence the name. Even Hamas has admitted this.

    • If Sencar had a brain then of course he would have read a book by now to either challenge his own preconceived notions or to support his own impressions. But what he chooses to do instead is waltz onto a Jew-centric webpage and start talking shit about Israel.

      Eat shit, Sencar.