There remains a seemingly bottomless pit of grainy handheld videos showing people asking UK Labour Party chief and Leader of the Opposition Jeremy Corbyn questions pertaining to Israel, Zionism, the Middle East, or other topics and him answering with candid vitriol toward the country that seems to be his eternal gadfly. And above that bottomless pit is an infinitely tall tower of individuals and organizations that condemn him and call for him to “address” the issue of anti-Jewish activity within Labour.
Those people can keep talking, but it’s not going to amount to a hill of beans because they are not convincing the multitudes of young Labour voters that joined the party due to his sensational success in the 2015 leadership campaign that saw him earn 215 thousand votes, more than the total vote in the previous contest in 2010. Jeremy Corbyn among those voters is a cultural meme and progressives not just in Britain but across the world drink his words down like sweet nectar of the ears. I hear this continuously from a far-left YouTuber whom I have spoken to named Jamarl Thomas who has repeatedly panned every revelation as Israeli meddling.
There is no convincing someone like that of the madness of Corbyn leading Britain in the future, because for them he is the golden child that they have been waiting for. I respect Jamarl for his consistency and for in many ways being more honest in criticizing those on his own side of the left that betray his ideals. But I’m not going to pretend to indulge the idea that Jeremy Corbyn’s motives are built on a foundation fighting for the rights of the economically depressed as well as the humanitarian suffering of the Palestinian Arabs.
Are the claims by the Jewish community in Britain that Corbyn poses an “existential threat” to the UK Jewish community hyperbole? In a recent column in London’s Jewish Chronicle Daniel Sugarman makes a compelling case that it is not, even for skeptics like me. He compares the behaviour of the hard left anti-Zionist Corbyn to the Polish communist ruler Wladislaw Gomulka after the Six Day War. During a recent conversation with a friend, one far more active and enthusiastic about the pro-Israel cause than the author, I posed the question: “Is he really an existential threat?” My friend responded like this from what I can remember:
“Will he actually put Jews into ovens? Highly unlikely. But for those Jewish citizens that find themselves to be the victims of physical attacks or illegal discrimination they are unlikely to get any help under such leadership.”
And this is where I am torn, because the fact is that in Britain it is currently a problem now, under the “Conservative” Party of Theresa May for not only Jews but other British citizens to get a fair hearing from law enforcement and the courts. In a certain sense, Corbyn’s vision of a social justice centered state and media has already been fulfilled without him even coming to power. The BBC, Mirror, The Guardian, and other major British media outlets are frequently featuring up front the opinions and policies of people that do not believe in the traditional British and western liberal ideas of the presumption of innocence, freedom of expression, or equality of all citizens before the law. The British media is now more inclined to champion its social vision than it is on giving the most truthful news reporting that they can. In this respect, British society as a whole could be ready for the type of Corbyn leadership that my friend describes, because it deeply transcends the issue of Jews and anti-Semitism. If you do not believe me see the following examples:
- In May 2017 sociologist Jennie Bristow wrote an op-ed in The Guardian that claimed “Pregnant women don’t need a blanket ban on drinking. They need the facts“. But the only fact she presented was that in clinical testing women had not been tested for “light drinking” during pregnancy. Nevertheless she concluded that women should not be advised against consumption of alcohol during pregnancy. Bristow’s opinon was bolstered by The Guardian‘s health editor Denis Campbell among others. Not to be outdone, the nominally conservative broadsheet The Daily Telegraph also chimed in claiming “Telling women not to drink during pregnancy sexist“. Again, the source was Dr. Ellie Lee, who was not a physician but a feminist sociologist at the University of Kent in southeast England. In the United States, the National Organization for Fetal Alcohol Syndrome holds that there is no “safe drinking level” during pregnancy citing clinical studies by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). So how do these opinions get published?
- In February some of Britain’s “Remoaners”, those that oppose abiding by the June 2016 Brexit referendum, formed the Renew Party with the express intention of overturning the democratic referendum that passed with a 51-48 margin to take Britain out of the European Union. This is alongside attempts by the courts, members of parliament, demonstrators, and peers in the unelected House of Lords to attack a democratically held referendum under the Remainer PM David Cameron.
- The British populist left, which Corbyn represents, defends his civil liberties as an advocate for workers and Palestine, but not those of their bogeymen like the English anti-Islam activist known as Tommy Robinson. In May 2016 when Robinson was arrested on the dubious charge of “breaching the peace” in Leeds, the far left crowed in amusement. They argued that his reporting on a gang rape charge had jeopardized the fair trial of a grooming gang there. However, they never objected to his detention with a media gag order, solitary confinement, movement to a hostile prison, or general violations of his own civil rights while in the custody of Her Majesty’s Prison Service. On the contrary, pop Marxist columnist Owen Jones wrote in The Guardian that Robinson was “No martyr for freedom of speech“, this despite the fact that his paper no longer even allows reader comments on its articles. The British progressive left wants to tell you what freedom of speech is, and then denies the option to respond by exercising it.
- Classical liberal vlogger Carl Benjamin, better known by his YouTube channel Sargon of Akkad was recently physically threatened along with Yaron Brook, the Israeli American director of the Ayn Rand Institute during a joint discussion/debate on the welfare state at King’s College of London. None of the individuals involved were ever prosecuted for their violent disruption of a peaceful assembly, and it is unknown why the hired security staff failed to bar the entry of the Antifa members.
If you’re asking yourselves what this has to do with Jeremy Corbyn and anti-Semitism, maybe you should consider that this irrational and emotionally punitive mindset is the mainstream thinking of British media and the public toward British citizens not included among the so-called minorities and oppressed. Is it any wonder then that Mr. Corbyn has an effective freshwater stream to hide his sea monster of dubious associations in due to the general attitudes of the new multicultural Britain? The record of Corbyn’s statements suggests that the delusion of his believers surpasses that of any media portrayal of the gullible Donald Trump supporter:
The “political wing” myth
In the mind of many Corbynistas, Hamas and Hizbullah are not armed organizations but political parties. They are encouraged in this sentiment by ideological Marxists including the Jewish American Princeton professor of political science Norman Finkelstein. In a May interview Prof. Finkelstein stated that Hizbullah chief Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah “is probably the shrewdest political analyst of the Middle East. He’s very, very sharp.” He then proceeded to state the false assertion that Israel did not invade Lebanon in 2006 because they are scared of war. In reality, Israel did invade part of southern Lebanon at the time, as even the far-left anti-Israel blogger Alastair Cooke stated in Counterpunch. Regardless, Finkelstein’s revisionist opinions are lapped up by the adoring international left. In this movement, the facts and circumstantial situation take a backseat to the cause and its rhetoric.
Dovetailing with this delusion is the semantic exercise that Corbyn’s supporters engage in of claiming that they do not condone violence of any side. If that were to be the case, why did Jeremy Corbyn in 2012 willfully praise over a thousand released Hamas detainees as “brothers”, many of them convicted of violent offenses or murders?
“I would never said what you heard me say”
Corbyn stated this weekend that he “would never compare Israel to Nazi Germany“, but he has done exactly that several times. According to Jordanian English daily Al-Bawaba he even compared the siege of Gaza to the WWII sieges of Leningrad and Stalingrad during a 2010 public appearance. Who besieged those cities? It wasn’t the Romulans or the Orcs. Whether one agrees with the Corbyn perspective, to deny that Corbyn made the comparison would mean assuming he picked the metaphor at random without caring about its weight or the irony. It is standard fare in such circles where the comment was made to denounce Israeli military policies towards Gaza as akin to Nazi policies, and Corbyn as a veteran of those forums could not have been unaware of that.
“I don’t know why he would say that . . .”
Not to detract from his consistency, Corbyn also has a selective memory with regard to his relationship with the Provisional Irish Republican Army. In a 2017 interview one of the BBC’s most hard driving television journalists Andrew Neil took Corbyn to task for inviting IRA officials to the House of Commons for tea following the Brighton Bombing of 1984. In that attack, five people died during a Tory conference in which Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was in attendance. Neil also asked why Corbyn attended a 1987 meeting honouring several deceased IRA bombers. Corbyn also denied meeting IRA members at all, engaging in the traditional act of mental games claiming that the IRA political wing Sinn Fein was not the same thing.
Whether one agrees with the IRA’s goal of a united Ireland or not, it is mystifying that common Britons do not see a problem with having as a leader a man who has fraternized with an organization that has planned and executed the deaths of British military, police, and civilians as part of his support for world revolutionary struggle.
The Zionism issue – Corbyn is Labour, and Labour is Corbyn.
Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters continue to ferociously deny any assertion that he holds bigotry to Jews per se, but rather that he opposes Zionism as a political movement. But Corbyn has admitted that there is a problem of bigotry towards Jews within the Labour Party. The party has suspended such luminaries as Ken Livingstone, Naz Shah, and further local activists for comments disparaging towards Jews, but was never actually willing to cut ties with them permanently.
The reason that Corbyn will not expel the members permanently is that Labour’s activist base fully agrees with the entire spectrum of both anti-Zionist and anti-Jewish sentiments that he now denies expressing. At a recent rally to support the besieged opposition leader Israel Advocacy Movement founder Jospeh Cohen, an individual with whom I’ve had past online clashes, and his colleagues were denied entry and then repeatedly denounced or accosted by staunch Corbynista Labourites. This included a physical assault in which a female colleague was placed in a headlock, and a woman that attempted to snatch Cohen’s camera. A young Corbynista taunted Cohen by making disparaging comments about Kabbalah, a Jewish mystical literature that has no connection to political Zionism. Another one claimed that he supports Sheikh Nasrallah as he wore a gay pride t-shirt with a pink triangle while wielding a communist flag. An older woman claimed that Cohen and his female colleague were motivated by money.
Will these individuals continue to be welcome in the halls of Labour Party meetings? Corbyn’s own “Faith and Race Manifesto” of 2017 states:
“People continue to be treated unfairly
due to their gender, ethnicity, faith,
sexuality, gender identity or disability.
The recent rise in hate crimes,
including Anti-Semitic, Islamophobic
attacks and increased attacks against
other faith communities, underscores
how far we still have to go.”
Don’t be the frog in the pot – leave while you still can.
There is a certain point where even the skeptic and devil’s advocate such as myself (and I take this position not out of sympathy to Corbyn but out of the presumption of innocence) have to concede that Cohen has filmed something horribly wrong with the Labour Party even if its members deny it. The individuals featured by Cohen in the video were not Arab or Pakistani Muslims, but white and West Indian supporters of Corbyn, so this cannot be attributed to Muslim-Jewish tensions. The Corbynista version of anti-Jewish rhetoric, whether you include Corbyn himself in it or not, is something that even the socialist New Statesman called a continuation of a left-wing tradition that has for generations been called the “Socialism of Fools” for its obsession with Jewish bankers.
In the past few weeks I have documented a parallel process of entryism from the far-left into the Democratic Party that portends troubled times for Israelis in their relations with the party in the future. Like with Democratic Party’s ongoing process, Corbyn’s rise was motivated in part by the valid objections of his supporters to the betrayal of the party’s pro-worker ideals by a centrist corporate-backed icon that sold them out. Here in the USA it was Barack Obama with the bank bailouts and Wall Street donations, in Britain it was Tony Blair and his support for the Iraq War.
So what does a British Labourite objecting to Corbyn’s deceptions do? Much discussion has been had, but very little action has been taken. Finally this weekend MP Michael Gapes, a non-Jewish veteran member from the London constituency of Ilford South, announced that he would leave the party. Gapes’ departure, if confirmed, would be a start but not a significant change. Labour members and MP’s like Luciana Berger and Margaret Hodge that object to Corbyn must accept the fact that even if his behaviour and opinions are despicable to them, he now represents the future direction of the movement. They should join Gapes in defection to a new independent group or union with a compatible movement like the Liberal Democratic Party. Most importantly, the new forum must stand for something besides opposition to Jeremy Corbyn or the preservation of the Labour Party such as they saw it. Those that think the answer to unwanted change is clinging to a dying institution may end up buried with it in the past.
In the past it was Jewish Labourites like Margaret Hodge, herself a Jewish German refugee born in Egypt, that warned that the party’s multicultural agenda was giving the racially oriented British National Party an opening to gain support among young disaffected British white youth. Rather than heed her words hard-core left-Labourites like then Mayor of London Ken Livingstone denounced her and supported her deselection. Despite their duplicity Hodge won an overwhelming victory in the 2010 election standing against among others the BNP’s national leader Nick Griffin in her Barking constituency. Now Griffin and American Ku Klux Klan figure David Duke are supporting . . . you guessed it: Jeremy Corbyn. With this type of change sweeping over the party, is there any incentive left to stay?