Any passing BBC people should read the following by Maajid Nawaz (which I've arranged from his Twitter feed into a short 'pamphlet') explaining why the lazy or disingenuous attempts at drawing equivalence between Labour antisemitism and Conservative 'Islamophobia' are wrong, deeply misguided and downright dangerous:
I’m getting rather tired of the equivocation around this Labour antisemitism issue, so here’s a thread for confused pundits & voters. Some smart people out there have been hoodwinked by dishonest political hacks, or are simply too tribal to accept the difference in the following (written on twitter so apologies for the choppy style).
People of any political persuasion must acknowledge:
1) Every party will have some policies you don’t like.
2) Every party will also have rogue members, or leaders, who said nasty things too.
3) Usually, if a party has policies you disagree with, you simply don’t vote for them.
4) For Britain’s Jews & their allies, the issue with Labour Party is none of the above. I repeat: it is *none of the above*. So Corbynists, pls stop obfuscating, strawmanning & deflecting.
5) The issue is Labour Party stands accused of being *institutionally antisemitic* (racist).
6) This is *very* different to finding individual policies you hate, or representatives who utter bigotry.
7) For a body to be institutionally racist (ironically, a phrase coined by a 90s Labour gov. inquiry) *not every member* is necessarily a racist, nor necessarily is the leader.
8) For a body to be deemed *institutionally racist*, intention & individual behaviour isn’t a primary issue. Rather outcomes are considered. If the totality of this body’s procedures, institutions & structure lead to *racist outcomes*, then sincerity & individual intent is no defence.
9) This is why 90s Lab government’s McPherson inquiry (rightly) deemed police ‘institutionally racist’ after unpunished racist murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence. They were not calling all police officers racist. Nor did it mean that other UK orgs didn’t suffer racism too.
10) So, back to the Labour Party: British jews and their allies are accusing this Labour Party under Corbyn of being ‘institutionally antisemitic’. This means precisely that the party’s mechanisms, procedures and institutions lead to racist outcomes against its Jewish members.
11) This does *not* mean every Labour member is racist. It also does not necessarily imply that even Corbyn is (he might be). Rather, it points to the failure of Corbyn’s ship, with him as captain, to steer away from antisemitism. Sincere individual intent is not a condition here.
12) What British Jews are (correctly) alleging is that the Labour Party discriminates against them, as a party machine. That the outcomes in that party no longer protect them against racism. This is an *institutional* failure.
13) So, back to my opening line about political tribalism: any instinctive defence, “Whataboutery” response, or even allegations of hypocrisy, like “why aren’t you doing more to address racism in your own party?” entirely miss the nature & seriousness of what is (accurately) alleged:
14) British Jews and their allies are *not* in a state of alarm because Labour has individual racists in it (which is bad enough as it is). No. The Tories, Lib Dem’s, Brexit party & others all have bad apples. I repeat: the issue isn’t the existence of bad apples.
15) The issue very precisely & seriously is under Corbyn, Labour seems not only to have ignored the problem, or denied it, but in many cases doubled down on it & worse even blamed the victims for reporting it. In other words: the Labour Party machine has been co-opted by racism.
16) If one understands the nature & seriousness of the allegation, then one would never reply by saying, by way of example: “but what about Johnson and niqabi Muslim letterboxes?” Bad thing to say, but not evidence that the Tory party *machine* discriminates against Muslim members.
17) Also, it’s very important to recognise that criticising ultra-Conservative Muslim dress is a political right, because the ‘choice’ to adopt fundamentalist dress is a valid societal choice that must equally be subjected to scrutiny - like any religious conservatism must be.
18) No. Racism is not the same as criticising my religious choices, or lack thereof. You can (politely) criticise my religion, because it’s an idea. All ideas must be scrutinised. But one cannot insult another’s race, without being rightly deemed a racist.
19) Jews are both a people and a religion. European antisemitic tropes against Jews concern their supposed habits as a ‘people’, not their religion. So, it's racism to suggest that all Jews are secret greedy capitalists, or have large ugly hooked noses, for example.
20) No serious Jewish voice or organisation has ever said it’s racist to criticise Israel. None. I repeat, none. This is a complete Strawman. I criticise Netanyahu’s policies regularly and know many Jews and Israelis who do so too. The issue is about:
a) traditional European antisemitism flooding back into Labour (eg: East London ‘greedy capitalist’ mural that Corbyn defended),
b) holding Israel’s Jews to higher standard than the world,
c) an obsessive focus on Israel for errors that are far worse elsewhere,
d) supporting or otherwise praising genocidal, jew-murdering terrorist groups.
21) Some examples for all of the above can be (non-exhaustively) found here: https://twitter.com/thegolem_/status/1191348844375740416…
22) So, people like Tory Baroness Warsi, who seems to have made a career of late out of deflecting over this antisemitism issue in Labour, to attacking her own party instead over “Islamophobia” (sic) totally miss the point:
23) Johnson, or any rogue Tory MP or member, can and do say racist or proto-racist things, but does the party with a Muslim-origin Chancellor really discriminate against Muslims institutionally? Does it then double down & deny its racism (I repeat: blasphemy is not racism).
24) This Muslim believes not. And I have *never* voted Tory in my life, and will not do so this time either. There are problems in the Conservative party, yes. I disagree with them, yes. But they are yet to meet the test of being *institutionally* anti-Muslim.
25) Truth is, there is only one major political party right now that has had senior former cabinet members resign over this (correctly) alleged *institutional* racism. There is only one party that is being investigated by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission over said racism. That party is the Labour Party.
26) AND THIS IS WHERE I GET UPSET: if Boris Johnson, Jo Swinson, or anyone other party leader, let alone individual MP, had SHARED A PANEL in Parliament with members of the now banned violent NEO-NAZI UK-based TERRORIST group National Action, you would all be going ballistic now.
27) Yet Corbyn not only shared platforms with jew-killing Hizbollah & Hamas TERRORISTS, he not only called them friends, but took £20K from their sponsor: holocaust denying theocratic dictatorship of Iran. Now..imagine you’re Jewish, and then imagine Corbyn in No.10 as PM. Precisely.
After all the above has been digested & recognised as a unique problem only with Labour right now, then add that Corbyn is a Brexiter too & may bargain away the UK with SNP (allowing Scotland another vote) just to become PM, you’ll get why we say #NoToAppeasement & #NeverCorbyn.
After the holocaust we vowed in Europe #NeverAgain - then Bosnia happened. Europe is not immune to repeat-offending. We must never be too arrogant to think we are. Brexit or Remain, we do have choices other than Labour. We must not betray our Jewish cousins over a tribal vote.
After all this, if we still choose Labour, at least let’s stop pretending we are “progressives”, or that we care about racism & minorities or that we “listen to victims when they tell us we’re hurting them”. It’s all BS. Just admit that you really don’t give a damn about Jews.
BBC Politics: "Unfortunately Islamophobia is a serious problem, it’s endemic, it’s institutional within the Conservative Party”. Muslim Council of Britain’s Miqdaad Versi says “no action has been taken” and the party has a “structural problem”.Your MCB is dominated by Jamat-e-Islami Islamists (Muslim Brotherhood equivalents in South-Asia) so it’s no surprise you’d say this. Oh & only 2% of us British Muslims actually think you represent us politically. So stop pretending you do.
The day Boris Johnson calls neo-Nazi black & Muslim killing terrorists his friends (he hasn’t) & accepts funds into his personal account from a neo-Nazi endorsing state, is the day you get to equivocate like this.
Media: stop gaslighting Jews.
My dear media pundits:
On Labour antisemitism, I understand that you’re generalists, who have to be abreast of everything, and therefore can’t be on top of everything, but I’ve been engaged in these issues of political extremism *all my adult life*, literally from opposing sides.
So at least (please) do me the favour of reading a thread I write *before* repeating the cliche back to me that “all racism is bad, and the Tories are racist too” (as if I - a Muslim survivor of violent racist attacks, and the War on Terror era - hadn’t thought of that angle).
I’m not saying you have to agree with everything I say, I’d be worried if you did, but on this (clearly my forte) please (for my sanity) read my view in any given thread first & then disagree (preferably without repeating an objection that I’ve already addressed in the thread).
Or better yet *ask* me instead of *telling* me about a topic I’ve spent the last 25 years and 2 additional Islamic languages learning.
Honestly, before responding please pause to consider if it’s slightly patronising, in any way at all for you to respond with tried & tested cliches about Tory ‘Islamophobia’ (sic) when the issues are disgustingly incomparable.
Aside from that annoying misnomer ‘Islamophobia’ (which really reinforces a ‘death for blasphemy’ taboo in my parents’ country Pakistan & here in UK) the comparison of Tory anti-Muslim bigotry would only be appropriate if Boris Johnson had called the Neo-Nazi Christchurch killer his “friend” and had taken money, personally, from a state that funded that killer (as Corbyn did with Hamas while taking up to £20K from Iran).
So, until the day Boris Johnson flirts with actual Muslim-killing terrorists it’s disgusting to draw such analogies, because they are deeply insensitive to our Jewish friends.
What’s also disgustingly insensitive is to compare any policy of the Israeli state with a terror group. Again, the appropriate comparison with Hamas & Hezbollah is to the Christchurch anti-Muslim neo-Nazi killer, not Netanyahu (despite my fierce disagreements with his policies). Netanyahu is a state leader, not a genocidal anti-Muslim terrorist. Only political amateurs and/or morally bereft obfuscators equivocate & confuse statecraft (agree or disagree with it) with genocidal terrorism that eg: targets babies.
So pls, do try to assume I’m not as stupid as you may think I am (no matter how hard that may be) and consider that I may have already thought of what you’re about to say regarding the very real presence of Tory ‘Islamophobia’ (sic).
I dunno, just maybe, during the 4 years I spent studying & debating these issues as a political prisoner in Egypt when surely I had time to rethink many of the political assumptions you now may hold & advocate (that I used to fiercely advocate too), maybe that time allowed me to arrive at a slightly unique perspective? Maybe?
Thank you and forgive me, this isn’t meant to sound like a whinge. It’s just so morally wrong to equate Corbyn’s moral & institutional support for terrorism with ‘mere’ Tory bigotry or crudeness.
And before anyone says it, no, I don’t vote Tory. I’m voting @LibDems. Thank you.
I’m really sorry for this, but you won’t believe the amount of ‘splaining I have to put up with.