Sunday 25 March 2018

Tom Watson on the Marr Show

They used to say “It takes all sorts” and here’s where Craig and I see things a bit differently. I didn’t find Andrew Marr’s interview with Tom Watson satisfactory at all. I was glad that Marr brought the subject up, but hey, I don’t regard being grateful for small mercies especially pleasing. 

After the recent hooha about Jeremy’s memberships of not one but two antisemitic Facebook groups, to ignore the matter of the mural in a ‘flagship’ politics show would have made the BBC look positively complicit. 

Andrew Marr did indeed quiz Watson on the mural debacle, but treating each example of  antisemitism in the Labour Party as a separate incident minimises the gravity of the case. Jeremy Corbyn’s record in particular in that regard needs to be seen as a whole.  

“It is not only women whom Momentum doesn’t seem to like very much, of course. There are also Jews. Jeremy Corbyn resists the charge of anti-semitism, as you might well expect — heaven forfend, Jews are absolutely bloody marvellous, he will announce when challenged on this issue — but his other utterances, and indeed actions, tend to give the game away.[…] 
He has called the genocidal racists of Hamas and Hezbollah his “friends”, for example. He could not bring himself even to meet the Israeli prime minister last year (which must have really disappointed Benjamin Netanyahu), and a recent Labour Party fact-finding tour to Israel disdained to meet any Israeli politicians who don’t want to give their country over to the Palestinians first thing Monday morning.[…] 
Then there’s the other stuff. The extraordinary tolerance shown by the party leadership to people who have said the most outrageously anti-semitic remarks. The whitewashed report into anti-semitism within the party. Jezza is also a member of a virulently anti-semitic Facebook group that accuses Jews of controlling the media, of wishing to establish a New World Order and of harvesting organs from Syrian prisoners. 
Corbyn latterly claimed he’d been added to this forum without his knowledge. How’d that happen, Jezza? Most recently there’s the mural, a ghastly painting, titled Freedom for Humanity, by a talentless American graffiti artist called Mear One. It was commissioned in 2012 for a wall in east London (presumably at your expense somewhere down the line), then swiftly removed because of its quite astonishing anti-semitism. A cabal of hook-nosed money men playing Monopoly, the table resting on the backs of naked workers.

That was an excerpt from Rod Liddle’s piece in today’s Sunday Times (£). I deliberately left out the paragraph about Israel because that throws up another aspect of the situation, which should be addressed all by itself. 

The BBC-educated (un)intelligentsia see Israel as a racist project, which vindicates the Labour Party’s anti-Zionism and enables them to say with a ‘clear conscience’ that they’re against racism  in all its forms when and wherever they find it. Which is what they do, over and over again. They are able to get away with it because, through ignorance and bigotry, the consensus is largely with them.

Back to Andrew Marr. If you look at the show’s Twitter - many of the comments below the clip that actually try to defend Jeremy Corbyn do so by saying that they don’t see anything antisemitic in the mural. Too late! He’s admitted it, folks! He even said he regretted making that error-strewn comment on Facebook. That’s a rerun of Ken Livingstone denying the antisemitic nature of Naz Shah’s offensive retweet even after she had admitted  it was antisemitic and apologised most sincerely, folks.

This is not a matter of people making moronic comments about people’s noses. It’s about scurrilous antisemitic tropes as per The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, an early example of FAKE News from 1920. Unbelievably, it’s actually available from Amazon for as little as £3.29. The blurb says:
“The Protocols has been proven to be a forgery.The forgery contains numerous elements typical of what is known in literature as a "False Document" a document that is deliberately written to fool the reader into believing that what is written is truthful and accurate even though, in actuality, it is not.”
I wonder how many people who purchase this item keep that in mind.

Andrew Marr didn’t even flinch at the mention of the Chakrabarti whitewash. The reward bestowed upon her for that was a scandal that the BBC barely batted an eyelid at. Tom Watson mentioned measures that have been ‘put in place’ to tackle antisemitism in the party. What are they? I didn’t hear Andrew Marr press him on that.

No, I don’t feel pleased about that interview at all.

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