Antisemitism charges: commercial and political vested interests attempt to counter Corbyn-Labour’s growing popularity
Strange bedfellows, the Murdoch press and Labour Friends of Israel, fear they have much to lose if they cannot reduce the growing Corbyn-led Labour Party lead in the YouGov polls (below) and the ever-growing support for the Labour leader, overtaking David Cameron this month.
Two days after John Wight’s widely appreciated Herald Tribune article was republished, Danny Cohen, the former director of BBC television, (left) mounted a weak and insubstantial attack on Jeremy Corbyn in the Times, asking Jews not to support him.
Described as a prominent figure in London’s Jewish community, Danny Cohen asserted that there was a growing problem of antisemitism in the Labour party which would make it impossible for Jewish people to support it under the present leadership: “I am deeply troubled that our main opposition party is having such frequent problems with anti-Semitism”.
Cohen’s reference can only be to a few low-profile individuals of the kind each political party will have, whose influence is minimal compared with the Labour Friends of Israel, whom he completely failed to mention.
LFI members are drawn from the former Blair establishment – many of the party’s most senior politicians, officials, and donors – who appear to believe that Israel is ‘a beacon of democracy in a region beset by extremism and barbarism’ – rather than a selective democracy in a repressive colonising regime.
UK and USA governments and most of their institutions and corporate masters see a huge commercial advantage in unconditional support for Israel regardless of its repeated violations of international law.
As Wight puts it at some length: “It is the fact that Israel’s brutal subjugation of an entire people for the crime of daring to exist is allowed to go on year after year, with the support and connivance of the political mainstream in the UK and throughout the West, which leaves us in no doubt that those who have extended themselves in exposing and rooting out antisemitism are complicit in that subjugation”.
He regards charges of anti-semitism as a response to the growing support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign and its success in highlighting the injustice that describes the day to day reality for the Palestinians and in breaking through the political cordon sanitaire around Israel that had long prevented any serious challenge to its right to exist as an apartheid state.
When Jeremy Corbyn emerged as the frontrunner in the Labour leadership election last year than he was subjected to an unprecedented media assault for speaking at public meetings attended by representatives of Hamas and Hezbollah while still a backbench MP.
Though Corbyn was usually not directly labelled an antisemite, Wight saw that the inference was clear enough.
London’s Jewish community judges for itself – opposite.
Members of a Jewish family, current and former constituents of Jeremy Corbyn, wrote to the Guardian to say:
“The accusations of antisemitism are, of course, political manipulations. Influential sections of the Jewish community, maybe guided by their Israeli contacts, are frightened that a notable critic of Israel’s policies and actions might attain a position of prominence in British politics”.
They drew attention to the deliberate conflation of anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism and the ‘hysterical pressure to desist’ on anyone who wants to talk to Hamas and Hezbollah, as being “so destructive to the prospects of peace”.
To date, vested interest prevails: sadly, that which destroys peace is vitally important to the prosperity of prospective party donors: the multinational arms industry and its host of ancillary suppliers.
Corbyn would probably agree that a foreign policy based on subservience to the United States is a source of deep shame for many Britons
A reader sends this link to an article by Peter Oborne. The following highlights may tempt readers pressed for time to open it.
With barely two weeks to go until the election of a new Labour leader, a British establishment project has been launched to stop Jeremy Corbyn at any cost. Most of the mainstream media as well as the majority of Labour MPs and party donors are part of this conspiracy to nobble the front-runner.
The Western powers always assert that they support democracy. But the truth is different. Mr Corbyn’s critics always claim that they want democracy. But do they really? They only want democracy, so long as it does not threaten the interests of their powerful backers.
Some Labour strategists envisage that Jeremy Corbyn should be duly defenestrated if he becomes Labour leader in 15 days time – so that Labour supporters can be made to vote again. I am not a Labour voter, let alone a member of the Labour Party with a vote in the current election. However, I am certain this would be a disaster for British public life.
If he wins, he must be allowed to lead his party and to make his case.
Mr Corbyn is the most interesting figure to emerge as a leader of a British political party for many years. This is because he stands for a distinct set of ideas and beliefs which set a new agenda in British politics. If he wins on 12 September, he will be the first party leader to come from right outside the British mainstream since Margaret Thatcher in 1975.
Corbyn is mounting a direct and open challenge to the British system of government of international alliances as they have worked since Tony Blair became Labour Party leader.
For two decades both main parties have shared the same verities about British foreign policy. They have regarded Britain as automatically subservient to the United States. This in turn has meant that we have interpreted the partnership with the Gulf dictatorships – such as Saudi Arabia and UAE – as central to Britain’s Middle East focus, while taking the side of the Israeli state against the Palestinians. In the Middle East this approach has ensured that we are confronting a growing terrorist threat in the region with an ever-decreasing base in popular support, and actually hated by an ever-growing population who identify Britain with their oppressors.
No matter which party was technically in power, British foreign policy has remained unchanged. David Cameron is indistinguishable in foreign policy terms to Tony Blair. (Indeed, the former prime minister has become one of Mr Cameron’s most valued foreign policy advisors.)
Jeremy Corbyn would smash this consensus.
Most people would agree that on the most intractable foreign policy issues of our time Corbyn has tended to be right and the British establishment has tended to be wrong. What Corbyn does or thinks today is likely to be vindicated a few years later. Hard though it is for the British establishment to stomach, Corbyn’s foreign policy ideas have generally been more balanced and far-sighted than those of his opponents.
This certainly does not mean that he is always right. I believe that he has been naïve about Vladimir Putin, ruler of an authoritarian state which is founded on corruption and violence. He has been unwise to contemplate British withdrawal from NATO.
Corbyn is our only current hope of any serious challenge to a failed orthodoxy. Blair and Cameron have both adopted a foreign policy based on subservience rather than partnership with the United States, which has done grave damage to British interests.