Monday, 7 November 2016

Is Freedland's claim of antisemitism on the left, aimed at undermining Jeremy Corbyn?

Guardian Journalist - Jonathan Freedland

Labour MP's on the right of the Labour Party, are continuing with their relentless campaign to discredit and undermine Jeremy Corbyn's leadership of the party, in spite of him being elected twice by a massive majority of Labour Party members in all three categories. Under his leadership, there have been accusations of bullying, misogyny, homophobia, sexism and anti-Semitism. The latter charge led to the Labour Party setting up an inquiry into anti-Semitism chaired by former Liberty director, Shami Chakrabarti, who was given a peerage and elevated to the shadow cabinet.

Many people remain dubious about these claims which they see as tendentious and aimed at smearing Corbyn's  leadership of the Labour Party. Among those who have been most vocal against Corbyn's leadership have been the virulent anti -Corbyn' hater and Guardian journalist, Nick Cohen, who speaks of Corbyn's 'gun club', which he insists, his targeting Jews, lesbians and homosexual's for de-selection. Fellow Guardian journalist, Jonathan Freedland, has also claimed that anti-Semitism is rife on the English left. However, a recent cross-party home affairs select committee report, stated that there was no reliable evidence to suggests that anti-Semitism was greater in the Labour Party than other parties.

Although many Jewish people oppose the racist policies of the Israeli government  vis-a-vis the Palestinian people and Zionism in general, there is a subtext which lies behind many of these accusations of anti-Semitism by the pro-Israeli lobby.  What it seems to say to many, is that if you oppose what the Israeli state is doing to the Palestinian people, then you are an anti-semite and pro-Palestinian activism, is anti-Semitic. Or anti-Semitism is whatever we want it to mean! As Noam Chomsky says: "Whoever captures the language captures the argument."

Many people may have objected to Ken Livingstone's remark that Hitler supported Zionism in the early 1930's,  but did this automatically make him an anti-semite ? Jewish representatives from the Board of Deputies, certainly thought so and called for his expulsion from the Labour Party. Jim Allen's play 'Perdition', also alleged collaboration between Zionist leaders and the Nazis. Just 36-hours before the opening night, the play directed by Ken Loach, was cancelled at the Royal Court theatre. By the late 1980's, Loach couldn't get anything commissioned or shown.

Over the years, there have been accusations that the English writer George Orwell, was anti-Semitic, because in April 1945, he wrote in the 'Contemporary Jewish Record' the following:

"Many Zionist Jews seem to me to be merely antisemites  turned upside-down."

Likewise, in his 'The Lion and the Unicorn', Orwell also wrote:

"Sir Oswald Mosley, a man barren of ideas- hollow as a jug. He (Mosley) started his movement with Jews among his most prominent followers."

Although a staunch anti-Fascist, this hasn't stopped the accusations against Orwell that he was antisemitic, misogynistic, and homophobic. Now-a-days, with no-platforming, safe-spaces and trigger-alerts, it is doubtful Orwell would have got published or even Evelyn Waugh.

We are publishing an article by local Tameside health campaigner and Labour Party member, Rod McCord, which is a response to the article written by Jonathan Freedland and which deals with some of these matters in more detail. To read the full article click on the link - READ MORE.

No comments: