Okay, so I was wrong when I predicted that the BBC would tire of this antisemitism in the Labour Party malarky. The BBC hasn’t managed (yet) to move on because the ‘revelations’ about Christine Shawcroft have reignited the dying embers of the story.
The scare marks around the word ‘revelations’ are there for a very good reason, which is that the pro-Israel blogosphere was well aware of the darkly comical fact that when they appointed Shawcroft as chair of their disputes panel, (created to tackle ‘alleged’ antisemitism in the Labour Party) the far left NEC ousted from the post the reputedly efficient and popular Ann Black.
This is genuine ‘you couldn’t make it up’ territory; pure farce. Even the Guardian reported:
“another figure on the NEC said they believed the motivation for Tuesday’s vote had been to limit the number of Labour members kicked out of the party for antisemitic behaviour.”
Hired to limit the number of Labour members kicked out? Hired to eliminate them, I think you’ll find. (The numbers, that is, not the offending members.)
Christine Shawcroft was already known to be - if not actually antisemitic herself, (who is, ever?) then in sympathy with those who are. Yet she was appointed to do something about the awkward antisemitism problem in the party, a big ask for (an allegedly inadvertent) member of Palestine Live. Like hiring a fox to guard the chicken coup. If it weren’t for that ludicrous fiasco, perhaps the whole thing would have gone away.
So, where are we now? Even for people like Shawcroft and Jeremy Corbyn with his special anti-racist bones, barefaced Holocaust denial is beyond the pale. So, one might ask, if one were to acknowledge “the Holocaust”, refrain from using words like “Zio’ and rein in those innuendo-laden allusions to the Rothschilds, then you’re racist-proof enough to represent the Labour Party?
The answer is, not completely. In the current furore, where everyone is weaponising everything for political expediency, merely holding back on insensitive gaffes is not sufficiently contrite. At least you can prove you’re not antisemitic because you have Jewish friends. At any rate, you’re kind of friends with the folks from Jewish Voice for Labour.
In order to exonerate yourself from racism you now have to explain exactly why anti-Zionism / criticism of Israel is not antisemitic.
I’m fascinated by the cliche “criticising Israel is not antisemitic.” What does it mean, criticising an actual country? Does it mean arguing about whether a country has the right to exist? I’ve heard a Guardian reading ex-friend say ‘Yes, perhaps Israel has a right to exist, but it would be helpful if it was just - not there’ (in someone else’s land). He actually said “helpful”. I suppose that’s the Naz Shah manoeuvre, though it pre-dated Naz Shah’s infamous retweet by several years.
The whole concept of ‘someone else’s land’ is bizarre. (Who ‘owns’ land other than landowners who possess title deeds and so on?) It’s only vaguely understandable if you go along with Dār al-Islam and Dār al-Ḥarb while ignoring the Jewish people’s 3000 year historic connection with the region.
(You know, Judea…) Not only that, you have to have absorbed the hostile-to-Jews reinterpretation of the creation of Israel, easily done if you listen to the BBC.
Like my ex-friend whom I had fondly believed to be an educated person, and who sees himself as something of an intellectual, you’ll view the creation of Israel as illegitimate and choose to see the Nakba as the catastrophe in which hundreds of thousands of innocent indigenous families were forced from their houses at gunpoint by greedy, swaggering, self-regarding, interloping Jews who marched in and made themselves at home. Just like that.
This scenario is a-historic and implausible, but it’s peddled by a whole lot of people who really should have more sense. “We are all Hezbollah now!” they chanted, when Israel at last responded to years of rocket attacks from Gaza. “From the river to the sea Palestine will be free”. What can that mean?
Then there’s this: “Okay, Israel has the right to exist, but we oppose the policies of the Israeli government. Because of the way Israel treats the Palestinians.”
There’s a theory that Jews try to ‘get away with’ bleating about antisemitism, while all along their loyalty is to the evil Zionist state. Viz: They ask for it. Therefore sympathising with Jewish persecution must be mitigated. The perceived crimes of the Jewish State must be borne in mind. Hence Jonathan Dimbleby’s crass remark as recounted by Maureen Lipman.
“ It must never happen again. On the other hand, legitimate criticism of Israel must not be regarded as antisemitism.”
That, if you didn’t watch the video, was said by the BBC’s Jonathan Dimbleby at a Holocaust memorial event.
All we ask of the BBC is a level playing field. If it weren’t for one-sided reporting by the left-wing media, the audience might come to understand that the Israeli policies they oppose so heartily are borne of necessity. They may be harsh, they may be uncompromising, but they are reactive and defensive and not, as they are made to appear by Jeremy Bowen’s underlings, aggressive and unwarranted.
As so many defenders of Israel repeatedly pleaded - to deaf ears - during the Gaza wars, “What would you do? If thousands of rockets rained down on civilians in your country, how would your leaders respond?
(Of course, post terrorism, that question would hardly resonate. We’ve had a small taste of it and accordingly, the answer would probably be ‘with equivocation’)
But listeners to the BBC are largely unaware of the retaliatory nature of Israel’s actions because the provocation, incitement, antisemitism and outright dishonesty of Israel’s enemies is kept from them. BBC audiences are shielded from reality. So much so that they think they occupy the moral high ground and they believe they can demand “two states side by side” and an “end to the occupation” without the need to acknowledge the unthinkable consequences of what they wish for.
We have an example of this at this very moment. Hamas has orchestrated mass “peaceful’ demonstrations at the Gaza border, demanding ‘the right of return’. Israel has warned them that they will be treated harshly if they try to infiltrate or break through the border fence. in case you want to hear the other side of Yolande Knell’s story, here’s Caroline Glick, Memri, Israel Ministry of foreign Affairs and Times of Israel. For a level playing field.