Tuesday 24 July 2018

Oh Jeremy Corbyn

Being a bit of an Islamophobe I used to regard Maajid Nawaz with a cautious amount of suspicion. Or a suspicious amount of caution - as you would, considering his history.
 Yes, I know, I know. But with one outstanding tweet, he’s brought me round. Hats off to you sir.
It seems that while his underlings were wrestling with the semantics of bespoke definitions of antisemitism that allow antisemites to be antisemitic without being racist, Dear Leader was elsewhere. Unless Guido was having a laugh with one of those Alison Jackson parody photos, Corbers and a companion were spotted carrying a pallet, the sort of thing one does when preparing for a house move.  Watch out, Theresa and hubby. (I’ve temporarily forgotten his name. It’s not Brian, is it?) 

I was thinking, long and hard (in the manner of a deeply introspective intellectual like James O’Brien) about self-inflicted wounds, some real, some not so much. 

In my (pretty little) head I was playing with the idea that the Labour Party’s shilly-shallying over these four examples of antisemitism that they find so troublesome, has become a self-inflicted wound, which appears as unnecessary and self-destructive as Israel’s recent Nation-State bill; the law that has caused so much consternation.

Labour says the NEC’s position is that it wants to strengthen the party’s ability to eradicate antisemitism in their ranks, rather than weaken it. They say the IHRA definition is all well and good, but it’s flabby, open to interpretation and unenforceable.

They claim that their ‘improved’ version tightens everything up and sets out what is and what isn’t acceptable. Clarifying their red lines, if you like, and creating a more enforceable mechanism for rooting out antisemitism in the party.   If that were the honest, sincere and genuine aim for rejecting the IHRA definition as it exists, it would be worth giving this argument the time of day, or even the benefit of the doubt. 

That excuse is weakened by the slightly contradictory claim that adopting the full IHRA definition of antisemitism would stifle legitimate criticism of Israel’s policies, which is such demonstrable clap-trap that I hardly need link to demonstrations by Israelis themselves against the Nation-State bill.

The Labour Party has yet to prove, or indeed show, that the intent behind this fiasco isn't just what I said before. Creating a bespoke version of the definition of antisemitism tailor-made to allow antisemites to be antisemitic without being thought racist. 

As Kier Starmer said the other day, why not just accept the one-size-fits-all definition and move on? If one agrees with that, this whole business is an unnecessary and self-inflicted wound and quite pointless. And obviously dumb enough to hand a propaganda victory to the other side.

There are two things that need pointing out here. Number one. The BBC has used unnecessarily inflammatory language when reporting the Israeli bill. Deliberately? Who knows.
They initially reported that the bill characterises Israel as an exclusively Jewish state, rather than a principally Jewish state, (which they duly amended on their website following a complaint.) The way the bill is being reported by the BBC clearly herds the viewer firmly towards one conclusion; that it’s an apartheid law - an apartheid law for an apartheid state.

I concede that we haven’t heard a great deal from Labour’s NEC in the form of justification for their apparently self-destructive stance, but we do at least know that they have some sort of defence, albeit one that lacks credibility.

I have yet to see much (anything at all) in the way of justification for Israel's Nation-State bill in the mainstream media.

Apart from on blogs. Don’t forget, Israel cannot afford to be as complacent about its national character as Britain appears to be (more fool Britain.) Britain assumes its ‘values’ are a given; now and forever. It’s not surrounded by openly hostile adversaries (arguably) and doesn’t feel threatened. At least it’s not being bombarded by hundreds of projectiles or hearing calls to wipe it off the map. It hasn’t got hundreds and thousands of Hezbollah rockets pointed at it, poised, ready to go, at the whim of the Ayatollahs. So far Britain hasn't got quite so many potentially hostile inhabitants who just might, one day, overturn its precious values.

However; much as we might understand the rationale behind such a bill, it is a slap in the face for diaspora Jews, and people like me who support Israel and have to defend it with the odds heavily stacked against us and exacerbated by inflammatory language and one-sided reporting from the BBC.

It’s interesting to see that, to date, the comments under each article are a mixed bag. The thing that the BBC never dares to mention (file it under ‘unmentionable’) epitomises double-standards and comes in the form of whataboutery. One example below:


  1. Pakistan defines itself as an Islamic Republic, as does Iran also...and I think Saudi Arabia considers it so obvious it is an Islamic country it doesn't even have to state it openly! Islam is the state religion of Iraq and its state motto is "Allah is the Greatest". The constitutions of Ireland and Germany address specifically the Irish and German people respectively. But the Corbynistas target Israel, Israel, Israel every time.

  2. Recognizing the "New Anti-Semitism"......Natan Sharansky

    Moreover, the so-called "new anti-Semitism" poses a unique challenge. Whereas classical anti-Semitism is aimed at the Jewish people or the Jewish religion, "new anti-Semitism" is aimed at the Jewish state. Since this anti-Semitism can hide behind the veneer of legitimate criticism of Israel, it is more difficult to expose. Making the task even harder is that this hatred is advanced in the name of values most of us would consider unimpeachable, such as human rights.

    Nevertheless, we must be clear and outspoken in exposing the new anti-Semitism. I believe that we can apply a simple test - I call it the "3D" test - to help us distinguish legitimate criticism of Israel from anti-Semitism.

    The first "D" is the test of demonization. When the Jewish state is being demonized; when Israel's actions are blown out of all sensible proportion; when comparisons are made between Israelis and Nazis and between Palestinian refugee camps and Auschwitz - this is anti- Semitism, not legitimate criticism of Israel.

    The second "D" is the test of double standards. When criticism of Israel is applied selectively; when Israel is singled out by the United Nations for human rights abuses while the behavior of known and major abusers, such as China, Iran, Cuba, and Syria, is ignored; when Israel's Magen David Adom, alone among the world's ambulance services, is denied admission to the International Red Cross - this is anti-Semitism
    The third "D" is the test of delegitimization: when Israel's fundamental right to exist is denied - alone among all peoples in the world - this too is anti-Semitism.


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