The BBC isn’t the only channel that’s inviting members of Jewish Voice for Labour to derail genuine discussions about Labour’s antisemitism problem. Yesterday Channel 4 brought in an ill-prepared and inarticulate member of JVL named Ian Saville to debate Ruth Smeeth. Pointless, time-wasting and insulting to the people with genuine concerns about antisemitism in society as well as in Labour..
This morning Tina Daleley had to deal with Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi. In the current, virulent anti-Blair climate, showing the clip from Tony Blair’s interview on last night’s Newsnight was not helpful, though he is quite right on this issue.
With Tina Daheley in the studio and Ms Wimborne-Idrissi who thinks the whole thing is a “massive smear campaign against Jeremy”, were Wes Streeting MP and Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain.
One has to wonder whose idea it was (j’accuse all our broadcasting organisations) to introduce spokespersons from Jewish Voice for Labour into the debate when they collectively deny the existence of antisemitism in Labour, even after it has been admitted, acknowledged and apologised for. To what end? Is it a kind of concerted effort of the “innocent face” variety on the part of the media to delegitimise the topic altogether? It’s like a bringing in a member of the flat earth society to debate Nasa on the ethics of space travel. (Or if you can think of a better analogy, please submit it.)
I wonder how Shami Chakrabarti is feeling these days.
If Wes Streeting sincerely believes that Jeremy Corbyn is a mere critic of Israel’s “policies” rather than an antisemite, and praises his record in ‘standing up to racism’, how does he explain Corbyn's rejection of that invitation from the Israeli Labour Party in the context of various invitations to his other 'friends'?
Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi’s histrionic behaviour (let’s call it “doing a Yasmin Alibhai Brown”) during a panel-like debate was disgraceful, even apart from the ridiculous allegations she made, which I’ll leave for another time. Andy McDonald has just been on the Daily Politics denouncing all those who insist it’s all a smear and an attempt to deny us a socialist PM.
Let’s look back a bit. David Collier exposed the antisemitism in that closed Facebook group of which Jeremy was a member. The report made a minor splash in pro-Israel blogs and websites, but looked set to disappear from view. It wasn’t until muralgate raised its ugly head that the media stood up and took notice, and now it’s up in arms, all worked up and excited that there’s a fresh scandal to obsess about for a few days. Perhaps not quite so much ‘here today gone tomorrow’ as here for a couple of days or maybe a week, then on to the next new thing.
People are perplexed about the conflation with antisemitism and anti-Zionism. While they might accept that the word Zionism itself should not be used as a pejorative, they still think that Israel is so undeniably guilty of a special Jewish kind of monstrousness, therefore the only ‘good Jew’ is the anti-Zionist Jew.
As the BBC has been demonising Israel for decades, this is hardly surprising, and the BBC should not even think about denouncing antisemitism before it gets its own house in order and pigs fly.
Just look at the long and sad record of forensic deconstructions of the BBC’s anti-Israel reporting by BBC Watch, UK Media Watch, (ITBB,) Camera, Memri, Honest Reporting and countless individual journalists like Douglas Murray and even lefties like Rod Liddle and Dan Hodges. The BBC still has its own way of reporting every single Middle East related incident. Seen ‘through Palestinian eyes’, every story comes to us from a Palestinian ‘human interest’ perspective. Israelis are routinely dehumanised or selectively chosen for their anti-government or fanatical religious views.
The BBC’s chief Middle East editor has a personal grudge against Israel, Yolande Knell appears to have been a member of Palestine Live and her reports have always been problematic as far as impartiality is concerned.
Coupled with this, the BBC has air-brushed out all references to the antisemitism at the core of Islam and at the very heart of the Israeli Palestinian conflict, which means that Islamic antisemitism is barely acknowledged, particularly in connection with this latest crisis in the Labour party.