Whatever Shenker’s motivations, his failure to seriously explore the tsunami of anti-Jewish racism in the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn represents a stunning journalistic abdication.
His email provides yet more evidence that, even by Guardian standards, Bell is an extremist in his hatred of Israel and what appears to be his utter contempt for the values and concerns of British Jews.
Even for those who avoid employing explicit classic antisemitic tropes while vilifying Israel, the acceptance of the view that the Jewish state isn’t merely a state that’s flawed as all states are, but, rather, represents, as the late Robert Wistrich phrased it, a singularly “organic obstacle to peace and progress” necessarily vilifies Jews qua Jews.
The Guardian is now indistinguishable from the very antisemitic organs that the newspaper itself used to hate
Though the Guardian occasionally acknowledges – albeit perfunctorily – the profound fears of the Jewish community amidst a Labour Party that has become institutionally antisemitic, their editorial decisions more often than not suggest an ideological inclination to legitimise those racist voices within the hard left who believe the entire row is some sort of anti-Corbyn plot hatched by embittered ‘Blairites and Zionists’.
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.
Cross posted by Jonathan Hoffman George Galloway wants to be readmitted to Labour. He was interviewed on Sky News this morning (20 February). He referred to the 8 MPs who recently left […]
It’s hard not to see troubling parallels between Jeremy Corbyn’s loyal band of anti-Semites and antisemitism deniers and the Guardian contributor’s rush to defend Ilhan Omar against charges of antisemitism whilst questioning the motives of her accusers.
This morning, CST published their latest antisemitic incidents report showing that 2018 saw the highest levels of antisemitism on record – an increase, CST noted, was driven in large measure by the ongoing Labour Antisemitism row. Yet, the Guardian’s report on CST’s latest figures used a photo from Gaza to illustrate the piece, as we noted in a tweet to their photo editor minutes after it was published.
Though he’s referring to the American political debate, the accusation that supporters of Israel engage in false charges of antisemitism to silence criticism of the state is a smear used by many of Jeremy Corbyn’s most ardent supporters to deflect charges that he’s hostile to Jews.
Yesterday, @GasherJew, a twitter account that’s been doing extremely important work exposing antisemitism in the Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour Party, tweeted a long thread containing an A-Z of examples of Labour antisemitism. The list is especially useful for journalists and pro-Corbyn activists who deny that there’s a serious issue in the party with antisemitism, or suggest that the problem has been greatly exaggerated by the British Jewish community
Corbyn and his supporters – including those on the Guardian editorial board – wish to remain free to assert, in some form or another, that “Zionism is racism” and that “Israel has no right to exist” with moral impunity – a fact which explains why the overwhelming majority of British Jews will continue to see the current Labour Party (as well as the pages of the Guardian) as a “hostile environment” antithetical to their values.
In smearing Israel, Jonathan Sacks and – by association – most British Jews, Steve Bell has attempted to grant Jeremy Corbyn and his cult-like band of acolytes the ultimate political get-out-of-jail-free card the times – lifetime moral impunity for expressions of anti-Jewish racism.
Despite a brief moral throat-clearing, in his Guardian op-ed, on the need to fight ‘real’ antisemitism, by impugning the motives of those calling for the full definition’s adoption, and using dog whistles about ‘Zionist power’ in the UK, Ash Sarkar appears to be as committed to fighting anti-Jewish racism within Labour as the party leader his publication so enthusiastically supports.
The real ‘irony’ is that Corbyn’s own words vindicate the work of Millett, which is premised upon the understanding – based on sound empirical evidence and their first person reports over the years – that there’s a strong correlation between antisemitic and anti-Israel attitudes in the UK.
Whilst it would be wrong to blindly accuse journalists and editors of being personally antisemitic, some within the top echelons of media group – though at times condemning antisemitism in the abstract – seem, much like Corbyn himself, to hold the values and concerns of the mainstream British Jewish community – united in the belief that Labour Party leader represents, as The JC phrased it, “an existential threat to Jewish life in the UK” – in utter contempt.
The Guardian’s Deborah Orr was widely mocked for her bizarre argument that the Shalit prisoner swap with Hamas demonstrated Israeli racism, and she was eventually forced to offer an ‘apology’ of sorts. Corbyn’s 2012 comments on Press TV mirror Orr’s, and provide another illustration of the truly warped thinking which animates many anti-Zionist activists in the UK.
When, in May, the Board of Deputies’ outgoing president Jonathan Arkush met with Jeremy Corbyn, he asked the Labour Party leader: “Why is there nothing good you can say about Israel? According to Arkush, Corbyn didn’t respond, but remained silent – a silence likely driven by the same “mythical Israel” that continues to haunt the political imagination of Guardian editors.
In fairness, the Guardian – over the last few years – has been a bit more vigilant in avoiding antisemitic language, and we’re certainly glad that their editorial position on the antisemitism scandal currently engulfing the Labour Party is morally clear. However, it would benefit their readers – and help contextualise the problem of antisemitism on the British Left – if senior editors would show a bit more self-reflection by acknowledging their own troubling history of sanctioning toxic rhetoric historically used by anti-Semites.
Written by Jonathan Hoffman. The original version of this post was published at Jewish News. Professor David Feldman is the Director of the Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism in London […]