Some articles I write to unpick lies or underhand dealings are long and involved, needing a lot of explanation to shine light on the subtleties of the wrongdoing. This one doesn’t.
Yesterday, my jaw literally dropped as I listened to Marcus Dysh of the Jewish Chronicle, describe in an interview how the Jewish community considers that Shami Chakrabarti’s report months ago on antisemitism within the Labour party was a ‘whitewash’ and just ‘a job application’ for her new position as Shadow Attorney General and that few Jews would now vote Labour.
It dropped because I keep up with events – and I’ve looked before, for this blog, at Jewish leaders’ response to the Chakrabarti Report. And that response shows the utter, cynical hypocrisy of those Jewish leaders currently impugning Ms Chakrabarti’s integrity.
The radio comments were from Mr Dysh’s Jewish Chronicle (JC) article, which quotes Marie van der Zyl, vice-president of the Jewish ‘Board of Deputies’ (BD)
We are disappointed, but sadly unsurprised, that once again Shami Chakrabarti and Jeremy Corbyn have spectacularly undermined her so-called ‘independent’ report.
We hoped her report would be a potent weapon in the fight against antisemitism. It now looks increasingly like the whitewash was a job application. She has sold out the Jewish community.
She was further quoted by the Telegraph:
She has sold out the Jewish community.
But what was the BD’s response to the Chakrabarti Report (CR) when it was published? In a response they published on their own website:
We appreciate the careful way in which Shami Chakrabarti has engaged with our community and that she took on board and addressed some of our concerns with commendable speed.
We hope that the implementation of this report will be rigorous and swift and the Labour Party will become again a welcoming space for Jews. We will continue to monitor the situation closely.
The BD was certainly not uncritical (as you’d expect) that the report was not unequivocal in its support for Israel (as if there’s nothing Israel does that is problematic), but commending her speed and care, as well as looking for the speedy implementation of her recommendations, certainly does not suggest that they considered Shami’s report a ‘whitewash’.
At least until it became expedient.
The BD was not the only prominent Jewish organisation to praise the CR when it was published. The Jewish Leadership Council also commended much of it and had warm words for its author:
We thank Shami Chakrabarti for her efforts and for her engagement with the Jewish community.
Thoughtful care and engagement and a ‘commendable’ report do not become a ‘whitewash job application’ in reality. But they might in cynical propaganda.
Mr Dysh’s article and the BD’s slur also ignore the fact that many Jewish people are keen supporters of Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party under him. The JSG (Jewish Socialists’ Group) submitted a document to the CR defending Labour against allegations of antisemitism and stating:
Many of the charges of antisemitism made against Labour Party members have been made or shared by conservative/Zionist bodies in the Jewish community, who have defined antisemitism according to their own ideological outlook.We urge the Inquiry Team to recognize that definitions of antisemitism are contested within the Jewish community and within the wider society.
Ms Chakrabarti is a lawyer and a former director of human rights advocacy group Liberty. Her qualifications for the position of Shadow Attorney General are obvious and indisputable and the BD’s vice-president, a lawyer herself, should know better.
All this is ignored, apparently in service of what the JSG terms above an ‘ideological outlook’ that appears, for the moment at least, to mesh with the desperate desire of right-wing Labour MPs and members to undermine and remove Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters from the Labour party and who are flailing and even indulging in crypto-racism and misogyny against the BAME (black and minority ethnic) women appointed by Corbyn to his new Shadow Cabinet, particularly Diane Abbott.
Jewish people have suffered hideously by vicious acts fuelled and justified by propaganda and slurs. By using propaganda and slurs for political ends – especially against someone from another minority community – those responsible have brought shame on themselves, their organisation and their community.
And the BBC’s willingness to swallow and regurgitate this kind of propaganda highlight’s even more the BBC’s bankruptcy as a reputable source of news.