The Establishment, after pollsters predicted the biggest local election landslide for Labour in fifty years, has latched onto Jeremy Corbyn’s Facebook comment about a mural that was about to be destroyed – and is hammering it with every ounce of desperation, hypocrisy and dishonesty it can muster.
It might save the Tories a seat or two – and it’s certainly a handy distraction from the government’s Cambridge Analytica embarrassment, its embarrassment over funds from Russian oligarchs, its incompetence and its abandonment of even the attempt to pass legislation in its weakness.
In this, it has been aided and abetted by equally desperate right-wing Labour figures who see an opportunity to appear relevant again, as well as to undermine Labour’s election fortunes and therefore Corbyn’s leadership:
Perhaps the most succinct expression of the utter mendacity and cynicism of the ploy is this:
Corbyn didn’t even defend the mural – nor attack the plan to destroy it.
The Facebook furore stems from a complaint by a US artist that a mural he had painted on a house wall in London was about to be destroyed by the local council.
The council considered the mural antisemitic. The artist insists it is not.
But none of that is in his Facebook post:
No defence of the mural, its themes or subject. It would be a stretch even to claim it contains any explicit criticism of the plan to destroy it. And in case anyone’s confused or misinformed, Rockefeller was not Jewish.
The exchange amounts to:
MO: They’re going to destroy my mural.
JC: Oh bad luck. Why? A socialist artist once had a mural destroyed by a billionaire.
As has been widely observed on social media, Jeremy Corbyn has as good a record as anyone in defending Jewish people and condemning antisemitism in Parliament. In fact, he has a better record than almost anyone – and a peerless track record of fighting all kinds of bigotry and prejudice outside parliament:
Anyone who has followed Jeremy Corbyn's career will know that he has spent it fighting all forms of racism. No one is perfect, but his record speaks for itself. pic.twitter.com/NDY0k0KHCZ
— EL4C (@EL4JC) March 25, 2018
I’m Jewish, the son of a Holocaust survivor. I support Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party. The Tories, & their media supporters, have a long history of intolerance, racism & anti-semitism. @jeremycorbyn has opposed racism of any sort his entire life, which is why he opposed apartheid https://t.co/YZf9j76LAH
— Andrew Feinstein (@andrewfeinstein) March 21, 2018
But the Establishment is desperate and will stoop to any depths if it thinks it can score a hit with the help of its media arm.
Fewer than six months ago, a Jewish campaigner against antisemitism wrote this:
One of the most noble causes, of which I can think, is the anti-racist one. Over many years, a number of parliamentary champions have fought to speak and act against racism in society. Where it comes to Jews, parliamentarians such as Lord John Russell, Eleanor Rathbone and of course, Sir Winston Churchill paved the way for Jewish emancipation: opposing the notorious ‘Aliens Bill’, assisting Jewish refugees, and advancing religious equality. Thankfully that tradition continues today and Sir Eric Pickles, John Mann and a number of other MPs across the parties have faced down anti-semitism with full-force.
Regrettably, though, antisemitism can be, and sometimes has been, used for partisan or political purposes.
The author of those words was Danny Stone – and he was writing for one of the leading Tory sites.
Yet now we have the ugly scene of the Tories attacking one of the leading parliamentary champions against racism being targeted with smears of antisemitism exactly “for partisan or political purposes”.
Mr Stone – Director of the Antisemitism Policy Trust – went on to explain the danger he perceived in such a course:
..the point I am making is a simple one. The use of anti-semitism for political purposes simply draws the Jewish community into the midst of a battlefield in which it is most likely to be wounded.
..Resist the urge to politicise anti-semitism, and instead continue the trends of Churchill, Mann, Pickles and others in working with others to defeat racism. If anti-semitism becomes a political football, perversely, it will be the Jews that lose.
Mr Stone’s words are a condemnation to the Establishment, to Corbyn’s opponents on the back benches – and to the Jewish groups who have ‘piled on’, in some cases for the very political motives Daniel Stone warned about.
By choosing to manufacture outrage out of a simple comment that neither defends antisemitism nor even criticises the plan to remove a painting considered offensive, they risk harming the very community they say they want to protect.
I am Jewish
I support Labour and Jeremy Corbyn
I am angered by what Theresa May said at #pmqs – “ if you want to tackle antisemitism there is no place for you in the Labour Party”
1. A lie
2. A deeply cynical lie that undermines the necessary fight against antisemitism
— Tom London (@TomLondon6) March 21, 2018
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