Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Known knowns, known unknowns, unknown unknowns and the propagation of antisemitic disinformation


We can’t write about everything the BBC doesn’t report. We’d be here all day. But there’s one thing that the BBC hasn’t reported that I think is worth mentioning, because it’s in the Times, the Independent and the Express. Not that that’s a very good reason, but it concerns the Labour party and antisemitism, topics I think the BBC is interested in, especially if it can find a way to sensationalise them. 
Like, putting it on The Big Questions. Having it on the Daily Politics. Getting Laura Kuenssberg to tell us what to think about it. 
Labour rocked by antisemitic claims as frontbencher warns party could 'lose soul' “
and the Independent has:
 Over-zealous attacks on Israel 'anti-semitism by proxy', says Labour MP Chris Bryant”
Antisemitism threatens soul of Labour, shadow minister warns” 
Labour risks losing its reason to exist if it allows “antisemitism by proxy to prosper in our midst”, a frontbencher has warned. 
Chris Bryant, the shadow Commons leader, called for the British left to be “vigilant about antisemitism” after a spate of allegations about party members. His remarks, made in The Times today, are likely to be viewed as a caution to Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, that he must do more to stamp out what MPs and peers have identified as a growing problem in the party.”
That’s from the public bit of the Times piece, the rest is behind the paywall. 

Oddly enough, the Express and the Independent have illustrated their articles with some bizarre visuals. The Express has a series of weird pencil drawings labelled “Remembering the Israel-Gaza conflict.” Goodness knows what that was supposed to add. The Independent has a slideshow entitled “Gaza Conflict” featuring photos of injured Palestinians, some of which are of highly questionable origin. Like, allegedly “staged”. Goodness knows what that was supposed to add. (Well, we do know, don’t we)

So, in the Times, Chris Bryant’s actual article is presented under the ‘opinion’ label, within a feature called “Thunderer”. P 24.
“John McDonnell was absolutely right to say last week that there is no room for people with antisemitic views in the Labour party” 
he begins.
“A belief in equality and determination to fight religious and racial prejudice is at the heart of what Labour stands for.” 
He lists a number of well-known Jewish Labour MPs from the past, like Sydney Silverman, Manny Shinwell and Leo Abse. (Didn’t mention Kaufmann, though) 
“... that’s why we on the left need to be so vigilant when it comes to discussing the Middle East and the State of Israel.”
Then, in a giant font:
 “People let their concern for the Palestinians lead to total attack on Israel.” 
However, this is where he starts to wobble.
“Of course, the Israel (sic) is not blameless. Benjamin Netanyahu is a right-wing bully. The Israeli settlements are illegal and must stop.” 
“All too often the Israeli government has made it impossible for the Palestinians to build homes, develop infrastructure or even have access to basic utilities”
Hang on a minute, Chris, old bean. “People let their concern for the Palestinians lead to total attack on Israel” did you just say only a moment ago? What are you like?
 Has Chris Bryant been reading some of that ubiquitous “anti-Israel” propaganda? Reading it without even knowing that it is what it is? 
I won’t transcribe the rest of it, but here’s the final paragraph.
“What we cannot allow is antisemitism to prosper in our midst. the moment that happens the Labour party will have lost its soul and its very reason to exist.”

I can see how he’s got his knickers in a twist about the lost soul and all that. If “the determination to fight religious and racial prejudice is indeed at the heart of what Labour stands for”, he’s stymied from the get-go. In other words, if he can’t mention the antisemitism that’s at the heart of the eternal Israel-Palestine conflict for fear of committing a form of racism inaccurately called “Islamophobia”, we’re never going to get anywhere.  Neither is John McDonnell, Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour party, or the BBC.

Ignorance is at the heart of much of the anti-Israel rhetoric that can be seen in the comments in the Independent, the Express, and probably behind the Times paywall .
So, who’s perpetuating all this ahistorical anti-information? Why, the BBC. The trouble is, they don’t really know that that is what they’re doing.  Unknown unknowns as Donald Rumsfeld so rightly stated.

1 comment:

  1. One Jewish Labour MP not mentioned: Red Ed Miliband. It's curious that a Jew was allowed to be leader for so long with minimal outcry. Union power and money overrides the other stuff, I guess. Is that why some of these Jew-haters weren't in the party? What's the common denominator now? Momentum and Corbyn. Suddenly they're all coming out of the woodwork and being brought back into the fold.

    The BBC won't dare touch this for fear of being called Zionist shills. The problem lies with the dishonest attempts to stifle any connection between anti-Semitism and anti-Israel. We've had this discussion a million times, I know. But Tim Willcox's slip brought it out into the open, no matter how much they pretend he simply misspoke.

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