Friday 20 July 2018

Getting Labour to adopt the full IHRA definition of antisemitism is not the answer.

Brexit aside, I’d quite like to see a job-swap between Theresa May and one of the three main Leave Guys whose appeal lies mainly in the plain their verbal agility. Boris, the Gover and J R-M.

Come on. Think about all the fun and jokes at PMQs. Corbers would be demolished. With luck and a following wind, he might shrivel up and atomise into very fine particles or droplets. Jus’ like that.

On a closely related theme - verbal agility, f**king antisemitism, the prospect of Corbyn as your PM  Melanie Phillips has written a penetrating piece about Corbyn’s Labour junta. "Institutionalising Antisemitism in the British Labour Party"

Melanie’s verbal agility is so hypnotic that one often finds oneself agreeing with everything she writes. But I have one quibble with supporters of Dame Margaret Hodge “whose relatives were murdered in the Holocaust”.  It’s that label. It’s always, always present in the preamble and I find it gratuitous. Labels are often used to delegitimise the subject. This time it’s there for the opposite reason; to give her accusation legitimacy.

The horrific fate of Dame Margaret’s relatives is not a necessary factor in this context.  Or shouldn’t be. It looks as though one needs an extra justification to make accusations of antisemitism. It’s another version of AsaJew. 

I have no record of murdered relatives. In fact, there are no available records at all, probably because they perspicaciously fled from Eastern Europe in the 1800s. Hence me.  My ‘who do you think you are’  would end abruptly two generations back.

But whether or not any of one’s ancestors were unfortunate enough to have been caught up in Hitler’s industrialised genocide, it doesn’t give me, you or the lamppost more ability to recognise an antisemite when we see one.

Apart from that, I wholeheartedly commend Melanie Phillips’s words to this house.

“It has not prevented the media failing to report the hundreds of rocket attacks against Israeli civilians and weeks of incendiary airborne devices setting fire to acres of Israeli farmland, while misrepresenting Israeli air strikes in response as aggression. It did not prevent an interviewer on BBC Radio’s Today program the other day berating an Israeli spokesman for killing children in Gaza. 
The key point is the refusal to acknowledge that the campaign of irrational, mendacious and obsessive incitement against Israel is the new form of antisemitism. 
Yet although Israel has been attacked in this way for years, virtually no one has called this out. The Anglo-Jewish community leadership ran a mile from it. […] 
“The real agony for them is that the climate in Britain has deteriorated to such a point that Labour feels licensed to treat British Jews – as Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis has said – with unprecedented contempt. 
They plan a continuing campaign to get Labour to adopt the full IHRA definition. But that is to continue to avoid confronting the elephant in the room. 
This is the fact that so many on the progressive side of politics have swallowed the Big Lies about Israel. […] 
“ The real task, therefore, is not to adopt the IHRA wording. It is to start telling the British public that virtually everything they hear about Israel from the media and intelligentsia is a lie; that anyone who supports Palestinianism is endorsing the most profound and demonic kind of antisemitism;”


  1. I agree with Melanie P that "irrational, mendacious and obsessive incitement against Israel is the new form of antisemitism". I don't see how one can conclude otherwise. When you look around the world at Iran, Pakistan, Libya, Congo, Morocco, N Korea, China, Russia...singling out Israel for opprobrium to the exclusion of other countries make no kind of sense.

    Of course anti-semitism on the Left is not a new phenomenon. Karl Marx, Ferdinand Lassalle,Henry Hyndman, and Josef Stalin to name a few all expressed strong anti-semitic opinions. Some people feel Corbyn is not anti-semitic. But you have to ask what the hell he was doing taking the Ayatollah's shilling on Press TV if that is not the case.

    But I think Melanie is being a little disingenous in not referencing as a significant factor Islam or indeed the huge growth in the Muslim population in the UK and Muslim representation within the Labour Party. It is this new social reality that is feeding anti-semitism and its close bedfellow, the anti-Israel obsession.

    I don't agree the IHRA definition which seems to say you cannot ever accuse anyone ever of split loyalties. But we know for instance as a matter of historical record that a number of supporters of Israel did, without permission, smuggle arms and materials from the British Armed forces to the Jewish milita in Palestine, some of whom then attacked British forces. Is stating this to be made a hate crime? Split loyalties have been witnessed in lots of communities over the years all around the globe: people of Irish descent in England, Germans and Italians in the USA, Japanese in Hawaii...there are plenty of "Chinese" citizens who don't feel very loyal to China.

    Treating one community on an exceptional basis is never a good idea. We have seen how the legislative promotion of Beth Din courts provided an "in" subsequently for Sharia courts which can now also have a role in statutory divorce procedures.

    1. An historical aside: Hyndman, who initially formed the Social Democratic Federation, later founded the British Socialist Party and then, when that split - wait for it - the National Socialist Party...and that party then affiliated to - wait for it - the Labour Party!! They've kept that quiet! :)

  2. I listened to the interview on Radio 4 this morning with Margaret Hodge. Martha Kearney to some extent did play Devil’s advocate but Margaret Hodge was not overly interrupted and on the surface it was a fair interview. There are lots of elephants in rooms at the BBC, but this is a pretty big one. The BBC is hugely complicit the rise of anti-Semitism for all the reasons Melanie Philips correctly identified. Margaret Hodge is completely right to attack Corbyn over IHRA, but until someone in her position has the courage to take on the MSM and the left leaning anti-Israel academic institutions nothing will change. The BBC will continue to lie about Israel. Even if Labour grudgingly accepts the full terms of IHRA, anti-Semitism in the ranks of Corbynistas will carry on unabated.


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