Analysis comment Guest article

Guest article: Palestine, Corbyn and the Labour left

In the first in a three-part series, former LOTO staffer Phil Bevin looks at the apartheid, ‘systemic brutalisation’ and ‘culture of militarism’ of the Israeli government – and Corbyn’s ‘act of real bravery’ in refusing to apologise for stating a fact

Jeremy Corbyn, the left and Palestine

Last Wednesday, respected Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was shot in the head by the Israeli Defence Force, while reporting on one of its military operations.

The outrage has been widespread, to the point that even Labour Party MPs associated with Labour Friends of Israel have felt compelled – if sometimes belatedly – to condemn her killing. Tragically, this high-profile death is one of a great many killings of Palestinian civilians regularly perpetrated by the IDF. The individual crime is an expression of a wider culture of cruelty and oppression that characterises life in the apartheid state and its occupied territories.

‘Systemic brutalisation’

Mainstream politicians and media will likely present this as an individual outrage rather than the product of systemic brutalisation it really is, and Israel’s militarism will continue to be exported to other domains of the Anglo-Saxon Empire for some time yet.

The illegal military occupation of Palestine by Israel has not only blighted the lives of Palestinians for decades; the development of a security state around the occupation has built up a culture of militarism within Israel itself, which – as we have seen with regards to IDF interrogation techniques – is then exported abroad to allied states who are looking to find novel ways of imposing “law and order” on their peoples.  

In the UK, for instance, the manufacture of weapons to be sold for use in the slaughter of Palestinians increases the reliance of our own economy on arms production. In certain parts of the country, the war industry is relied upon to provide employment. This, in turn, influences the priorities of politicians representing those constituencies, as well as trade unions, and incentivises the further consolidation of UK manufacturing around weapons for export. Israel is not a lone actor but an integral part of an Empire that spans the “West” and it therefore has the full support of the USA/UK global military-industrial complex, into which it is integrated and according to whose colonial practices the apartheid state is itself modelled.

The IHRA ‘definition’ and the freedom to criticise

The freedom to meaningfully criticise Israel is therefore essential to not only bring about the liberation of Palestine but also the introduction of meaningful change to the peoples of Israel and the UK as well; we are all subjects of the same empire.  If follows, then, that, if socialists in the UK are to make progress and restore a measure of democracy to our nation, we must be free to criticise all actors within the Empire’s military and financial complex. To refrain from scrutinising Israel prevents us from seeing the truth about the Empire as a whole and the way it functions, impeding our ability to challenge it; we cannot defeat what we don’t properly understand. Moreover, if socialists will not even seek to win an argument when the facts support their point of view, such as the question of whether Israel is an apartheid state, they can defend nothing at all, let alone advance.     

This is one reason why Labour’s adoption of the IHRA definition of antisemitism, and all of its clarifying examples in 2018 was such a disastrous mistake by the party’s left. It is also why Jeremy Corbyn’s decision not to retract the comments he made upon the release of the EHRC report in 2020 marked a significant line in the sand.

To be clear, the IHRA examples do inhibit criticism of Israel and this is explicit: “claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour” can be considered antisemitic under the IHRA definition.

The ‘capitulation’ of the ‘wider left’

During the “antisemitism crisis” of 2018, Labour socialists might have expected that their movement’s leaders, who had previously spoken out forcefully for Palestinian rights at public rallies, would hold to their long-espoused positions and steadfastly resist any move to equate antisemitism with criticism of Israel. However, the left-majority NEC capitulated to right wing pressure and decided not only to accept the IHRA definition but all of its clarifying examples.

Without the support of the NEC on this issue, Corbyn’s only recourse was to make a statement to the ruling body, which emphasised the importance of protecting people speaking up for Palestinian rights, in the hope that it would be agreed. Reportedly, this did not receive majority support and so was not pushed to a vote.

The Labour left’s failure to hold firm on this signal issue revealed that Corbyn’s left majority on the NEC was only ever theoretical. The notional unity of the left could be torn apart by the application of the smallest of pressures. Outnumbered by “allies” who did not share his internationalist politics, Corbyn would be forced into bargaining to get anything like his preferred agenda through: the left’s disunity and therefore weakness eventually extended to the question of Brexit and splits over this issue would lead to defeat in the 2019 general election.

Although the “wider left” did not support its leader at the time and has consolidated its weakness since he stepped down, Corbyn’s tenure as leader of the Labour Party resulted in some remarkable successes. One of these was to massively increase awareness of the Palestinian cause – had Jeremy Corbyn not become Labour Leader, I would probably not be writing about Palestine now. I believe that Corbyn’s promotion of the issue as a major point of public debate very likely contributed to the decision by Amnesty International to identify Israel as an apartheid state, a watershed admission from a relatively establishment-friendly organisation. Corbyn also – remarkably, given the pressures he faced – managed to get a commitment to banning UK arms sales to Israel into the 2019 manifesto, making it official Labour policy, to be implemented by a Labour Government.

These concrete victories by Jeremy Corbyn and their significance to wider political and social debate, would have been broken into pieces had he undermined his own reputation for integrity by caving under the immense pressure placed upon him and apologising for this factual statement he made upon the release of 2020 the EHRC report into Labour antisemitism:

“Jewish members of our party and the wider community were right to expect us to deal with it, and I regret that it took longer to deliver that change than it should.

One antisemite is one too many, but the scale of the problem was also dramatically overstated for political reasons by our opponents inside and outside the party, as well as by much of the media. That combination hurt Jewish people and must never be repeated.”

Pressure to capitulate came not just from opponents but also “allies” on the left. Some – Owen Jones and John Lansman, for example – publicly judged Corbyn’s response a mistake. Jones, for instance, criticised Corbyn for “a lack of emotional intelligence” and Jon Lansman claimed that he “wasn’t happy” with the words Jeremy used despite admitting that what Corbyn had said was factually accurate. Interestingly, this position echoes Current Deputy Leader Angela Rayner’s point of view that Corbyn’s comments were true, but nevertheless “unacceptable”.

Clarification and courage

Corbyn later issued a “clarification”, which explained that his comments regarding “exaggeration” and “overstatement” referred to the inflated impression of the numbers of cases cultivated by political opponents and the media, not the real hurt and concerns expressed by Jewish people. This point was of course clear from the original statement and some have argued that the issuing of the clarification was a climb down by Corbyn. In fact, it was the opposite. Despite the conciliatory tone, he was reemphasising his original point.

For Corbyn to stick to his guns, even to the point of risking his long-held place within the Parliamentary Labour Party and against the wishes of his allies, is an act of real bravery. It has further cemented his reputation as a man of honesty and integrity and underscored his stature as a serious politician with consistent, thoroughly reasoned views. This reputation also means that, when Corbyn talks about issues like Palestinian rights, important people at home and abroad take notice, even if they don’t agree with him or like what he says.

Speak out or shrink in stature

In remaining steadfast on this issue, Corbyn continues to give others, like myself, the confidence to speak out against the injustices perpetrated by Israel and the USA/UK Empire more widely, which has helped to extend the popular understanding of imperialism and how it undermines democracy across the world.

Corbyn stands taller as a result of the personal sacrifices he has made and risks he has taken to stay true to his principles. His influence in the real world outside of the Labour Party is expanding. He is being welcomed by other successful socialist leaders across the world and seems to be enjoying his freedom.

By contrast, the stature of those who urged him to apologise for speaking the truth, and have themselves followed the Labour party whip on issues of human rights and foreign policy in order to retain their place in the PLP, has shrunk in line with the Party’s membership, finances, tolerance of free speech,  and credibility under Sir Keir Starmer.

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28 comments

  1. Well this should stir the pot nicely with a few harsh words no doubt.I wish Corbyn all the best and it looking like he might be pursuaded to finish the job for the socialist revival.ITs obvious people are sick of the whole neo liberal alliance here and across the water in Ireland were Sinn Fein are odds on to win the General election and deliver a democratic socialist government in Ireland for the very first time.Wealth cannot be hoarded by the few “at the expense of the many.even in nominaly wealthy countries like Britain and Ireland.

  2. “By contrast, the stature of those who urged him to apologise for telling the truth, and have themselves followed the Labour party whip on issues of human rights and foreign policy in order to retain their place in the PLP has shrunk in line with the Party’s membership, finances, tolerance of free speech and credibility under Sir Keir Starmer.”

    Bang on! It’s almost as is several of Labour’s MPs have completely disappeared. But, as is also argued, the Palestinian State is gaining wider recognition once again. Thanks, Jezza!

  3. Really encouraging to know that people like Phil were working in Jeremy’s office. Made my day reading your post Phil: great antidote to bollocks from Mason, Jones and the like and a sharp reminder to members of the SCG what it means to be a socialist.

  4. Which UK politician was invited to give the fiftieth anniversary Bloody Sunday commemoration lecture?

    Answers on a postcard (that gives my age away!) to D. Evans, General Secretary, Labour Party, …

  5. One democratic state, right of Palestinian refugees to return, respect for all religions, peace for all in the region. The US is not an honest broker, it puts its interests – oil, arms sales, capitalist inward and outward investment first. Corbyn would have been an honest broker.

  6. Jeremy Corbyn, a man of principle who can’t be bought, bullied or intimidated.

  7. It is not some accident that Israel is apartheid.
    When Winston Churchill supported the idea of colonialism in Palestine to the Peel Commission, he did so on the basis of white supremacy and in full knowledge that the worst practices of white settler conquest would be repeated.

    “I do not agree that the dog in a manger has the final right to the manger even though he may have lain there for a very long time. I do not admit that right. I do not admit for instance, that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America or the black people of Australia. I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher-grade race, a more worldly wise race to put it that way, has come in and taken their place”.
    Churchill (1937)

  8. Prepared to hear the counter-argument but

    To be clear, the IHRA examples do inhibit criticism of Israel and this is explicit: “claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour” can be considered antisemitic under the IHRA definition.

    this may not surmount an antisemitic bar but is at best prejudicial and likely inciteful. There may justifiably be no love in the room for Israel as is, any more than some may feel for Russia right now (and feel free to contribute other rogue states as your beliefs see fit) but that is distinct from denying their right to exist regardless of the governance of the country.

    1. It is worth recalling that postwar decolonisation was the norm. For various reasons India, Kenya, Uganda, Malaysia, Singapore & more were taken back by their peoples from the UK. Algeria, Morocco, Mali resulting also in statehood for Senegal, taken from France.
      That left us with three racist white settler projects – Rhodesia, South Africa, and Israel – as abnormalities bucking the trend.
      But when Blair attacked Iraq – for the establishment – this normalised white politicians/westerners, once again killing indigenous peoples and exploiting them.
      And if Blair could be media portrayed as respectable after his offences, then Zionists clearly thought they could too.
      Prior to this opposing Zionism was like opposing any other form of colonialism – normal! Israel isn’t different to Rhodesia or Apartheid South Africa and actually armed the latter.
      As for US/western imperialism, previously large parts of the public accepted the young Muhammad Ali’s definition that it was…
      “simply to continue the domination of white slave masters of the darker people the world over.”

      Clearly we need to take some rhetorical ground back.

      1. Muhammed Ali was a racist who identified all white people as devils. You believe that the struggle for social justice in Palestine is about white supremacy? It is a race war but not based on skin colour. Israel is the beating heart of America transplanted into Arab lands.

      2. To quote America’s Monthly review…
        “The term racism, used to describe what is experienced by Black groups, has a very specific meaning. It has replaced words such as ‘bias, prejudice, and bigotry’ to point more precisely to the structural condition of the Black experience—a people who were once owned and colonized; whose original lands, culture, languages, and more were taken by force; and who, in modern society, have little or no collective institutional or financial power to combat their ghettoization in, predominantly, the lower reaches of Western class systems”.
        In other words people like Muhammad Ali – living as he did in a country that had segregation, lynching and 17 states or a third of the country that had banned even interracial marriage – could have resentments, but those feelings could not be classified as ‘racism’. Put simply they were not backed-up by power.

  9. Concerning Jeremy’s statement – it did not even
    refer to the EHRC report so far as I can
    remember?

    All it did was pose the kind of question which was
    discussed in the R4 program “More or Less”. This
    is an excellent Educational program which
    supports “Functional numeracy”.

    So far as Winston Churchill is concerned he was
    part of an Establishment (British and others) who
    lied to both sides about the proposed State of
    Israel though it was not called that. They promised
    the Palestinians their Independence if
    they gave their support to the Allies in WW1
    and they promised the Zionists something
    different.

    As an example of the lies of Churchill please
    read Times report of speech made by him to
    Moslim (sic), Christian and Arab Clubs. The
    Times Report is titled “Justice for Arab and
    Jew” and was originally printed on
    2nd April 1921 – and reprinted on
    2nd April 2021. He says that Palestine should
    be for ” ..scattered Jews.. a national home ..
    and centre .. not THE national home ..”.
    (The Article is behind the paywall”)

    Churchill by the way was responsible for
    sending the notorious “Black and Tans” to help
    keep the peace in Palestine in 1922.
    See
    https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/books/winston-churchill-sent-the-black-and-tans-to-palestine-1.3089140

    You coudn’t make it up ..

  10. You forgot to mention N.Ireland in your own backyard that was still denied civil rights at the time of Harold Wilson government.When ian smith leader of the UDI Rhodesia said. “You give your catholics the vote in N.Ireland and civil rights I will give our blacks one man one vote” Harold Wilson a brilliant politician and probably a good man new he couldn’t deliver the vote in the partitioned Ireland without insurrection in parliament and the streets of Belfast…..and its looking very much like Johnson is in the same corner of the status quo doesn’t change.and the 1st minister elect Michelle O’Neill has to twiddle her thumbs whilst the DUP dictate the opposition to the protocol and the Good Friday agreement..The DUP canvassed for brexit and Sinn Fein won the vote on remain with the majority of the population…again though the status quo ruled and neither the DUP or the conservative and unionist party are happy with either of the international and binding agreement.they signed.

    1. I certainly had Northern Ireland in mind – but did not want too
      lengthy a post.

      Communities do not speak with one voice and an example
      is the Christian Community: thankfully we have learned
      to be friends and – in the case of NI at least tolerate each
      other but the process is ongoing. During the 1940s and
      onwards there was a lot of prejudice and sectarianism in
      the North West of England ( due to Ireland
      and the partition) but that has largely disappeared. My
      theory is that Thatcher united both sides – but that is
      disputed.

      To single out the Jewish Community being allowed only
      one voice and set of opinions is – to my mind – anti-semitic.
      Starmer stated when he came to office he would be as
      “Zionist as possible..” which is all very well as his opinion
      but *not* OK if it presages intolerance and persecution of
      those holding a different view. Of course it is the latter which
      has happened .. imagine if Starmer had said “I will be as
      Nationalist as can be” or “As Unionist as can be” in
      relation to NI.

      As for what is going on now in NI and the Unionists and
      Johnsons so-called “oven ready” plan would take me far
      far too long.. Needless to say the Unionists have stuck to
      their very narrow view of the relationship between NI and
      the rest of the UK – but to have a border half way across
      the Irish Sea is ridiculous and they have a post. The only
      solution is to have the rest of the UK in the Single Market
      etc .. Johnson as usual was lying over his solution ..and
      the population were fooled.

    2. Now conflate Socialism with ‘Remain’ voters, therefore ‘Brexit’ voters are………………? When’s the 2nd ‘Confirmatory’ Referendum?

  11. Hi,

    I want to take up one of the threads of this article, specifically whether “Labour’s adoption of the IHRA definition of antisemitism, and all of its clarifying examples” amounted to a “disastrous mistake” or whether it was in fact a further example of Jeremy Corbyn’s principled approach to politics.

    Readers will understand that we on the Left have long accepted the idea that racism and its effects cannot be determined by people who do not suffer from it but who instead adjudicate from ivory towers whilst living in positions of privilege. Instead we believe that the effects of racism are suffered by people of minority ethnicity and those are the only people who can decide whether laws, practices and institutions have racist effects. JC has been a luminary of the anti-racist Left for very many years and his (and his advisors) support for these elementary propositions cannot be denied.

    When the issue of antisemitism in the Labour Party was raised it was therefore a given that it had to be taken seriously just because it would be the most blatent hypocrisy to do otherwise. For this reason the determination of antisemitism, and its definition, was left to “Jewish representatives” as a matter of principle. I put “Jewish representatives” in scare quotes because, fairly obviously the BOD does not represent “Jewish opinion” in any realistic way, at most a section of it and it has no democratic mandate whatsoever even for that.

    Of course the reports Phil Bevan mentions of the alarm at the implications for discussion of Palestinian issues were real and clearly understood at the time. But in the absence of an organised push-back by sections of the party having Jewish heritage and supporting other, better definitions of antisemitism the eventual acceptance of the IHRA definition was a given and as I say above, a principled decision based on long-established Left positions.

    That is not to say that the IHRA definition of anto-semitism is a good one, on the contrary it is dreadful in every way and was very obviously explicitly designed only to try to prevent criticism of Israel and it’s behaviour towards its Palestinian population in Israel and the occupied territories. But in the absence of an alternative with substantial Jewish supported, as I say, it was a given that it would be accepted and that was a principled decision.

    There is no reason now, however, that with substantial Jewish support the IHRA definition should not be replaced within the Labour Party by, for instance, the Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism (JDA) as described here : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerusalem_Declaration_on_Antisemitism

    Thanks for the great article,

  12. Yes you are correct David J about an alternative
    definition.

    I think there was a confusion in Corbyn’s mind
    about different points of view in the Jewish Community.
    Maybe it is because he is not a person of faith? Those
    of us who are people of faith and whose faith is divided
    understand this point of view better.

    My ancestors were – partly – from Ireland and partly from
    NW England “recusant” stock (ie still Catholic in spite of
    reformation). Thus until 1829 (ish?) we were not entitled
    to the vote*** The recusant part of the family felt there
    was still prejudice against Catholics even after 1829 and
    felt this lack of justice very keenly. In turn they were not
    exactly without prejudice themselves – as was the case
    of the whole Catholic Church ..

    Going back to the EHRC “definition” I think this is nothing
    of the sort but an attempt to extend the definition by means
    of examples. These in turn are ambiguous and confusing
    for the “Israel” referred to as the first example is not itself
    defined. However it intuitively does not include its
    Government just as we in the UK are not defined by OUR
    Government. In contrast the Israel which is occurs in the
    rest of the examples certainly does include its Government
    and their political decisions .. and we note that in recent times
    it has been difficult to form a government in Israel.

    *** Though I doubt we would have been anyway as we were
    non land owners or whatever ..!

  13. Re: a comment by Tim White in which he refers to the right of a state to exist.
    My view is that it is nonsense to talk about the right of a state to exist. A state is a concept through which people living in a defined area order their lives. Since it is only human beings (and, many would say, animals) that can have rights, it means that a state (a concept) cannot have rights. Only its citizens can have them. Ergo, no state has the “right” to exist.
    This is one of many nonsensical ideas within the IHRA “definition”.
    Whether the nonsensical ideas in the IHRA were included through lack of rigour in drawing up the document or whether they were used deliberately to cloud debate, the result is a document that is useless in helping to identify who is involved in a campaign of racial antipathy, but is of great use in stifling debate around the foreign and domestic policies of Israeli governments.

    1. Absolutely right!
      A nation state is a social construct and has no right to exist. If such a right existed the first priority would be restoring the 6 counties to Ireland – and/or getting to the bottom of who & why Yugoslavia was subverted.

      And of course arbitrarily inventing a state out of 2,000yr old religious mythology, denies Palestine the right to exist as an Arab state – a form that was 1300yrs old.

      1. …………all countries are constructs, as with culture & identity. In Britain we are part of an island chain where blood has intermingled for thousands of generations.. My dad born in Ireland; my Mum in Wales; I have a half brother in Scotland (although born in Ireland) & I was born in England. I am British, but not proud of it, just an accident of fate like the colour of my skin.;

  14. Phil Bevin (article) “Mainstream politicians and media will likely present this as an individual outrage rather than the product of systemic brutalisation it really is, and Israel’s militarism will continue to be exported to other domains of the Anglo-Saxon Empire for some time yet.”

    Just like every gunman (and even a policeman responsible for taking the knee on the neck of George Floyd * ) responsible for shooting down a school is a “solitary’ loon, never a member of, or sympathiser with a right-wing cause. Never a systemic actor always a ‘loon’ with personal or mental-health issues.

    ____
    * Hadn’t Minneapolis Police Dept. (including Derek Chauvin, the murderer of George Floyd) been trained by Israeli Military, just as an Amnesty Report and Maxine Peake claimed?

  15. Well it’s tempting of course to rewrite history to make oneself feel better but this is utter revisionist nonsense. For the first 2 years Corbyn barely mentioned Palestine causing the Palestinian Ambassador to London Manuel Hassassian to ask what had happened to Corbyn.

    Fact is that Corbyn never, at no stage, had any understanding of the attack on him. From the start he appeased the Jewish Labour Movement not realising that they had been refounded with the express purpose of removing him.

    I declare my hand. I was the first Jewish person to be expelled from the Labour Party. Not for ‘antisemitism’ but I had been targeted by the JLM. I wrote to Corbyn at the time but I received no response. I wasn’t alone. I, Jackie Walker, Marc Wadsworth and Ken Livingstone and later still Chris Williamson were thrown under the bus.

    What is the truth about what happened as opposed to this revisionist nonsense?

    Let me quote from p.306 of Labour’s Leaked Report:

    Jeremy Corbyn himself and members of his staff team requested to GLU that particular antisemitism cases be dealt with. In 2017 LOTO staff chased for action on high-profile antisemitism cases Ken Livingstone, Tony Greenstein, Jackie Walker and Marc Wadsworth, stressing that these cases were of great concern to Jewish stakeholders and that resolving them was essential to “rebuilding trust between the Labour Party and the Jewish community”.

    Or page 333
    On 17 October 2017 Laura Murray, LOTO Stakeholder Manager responsible for relations with the Jewish community, emailed Stolliday, with other senior LOTO and GSO management in cc, with requests for information including:
    could we have an update on the current status of the cases of Ken Livingstone, Jacqui [sic] Walker, Tony Greenstein and Marc Wadsworth and a clear timetable of when they will all be heard by the NCC and when a final decision will be made on them. The Jewish Labour Movement expressed frustration that these cases have taken such a long time to be heard, as they feel that it is difficult to begin the process of rebuilding trust between the Labour Party and the Jewish community whilst we have still not dealt with these cases.
    She noted that Corbyn and Jeremy Newmark from the JLM were meeting next week “and both are really keen that we deal with all these outstanding issues as soon as possible”.

    Corbyn met with Newmark, the corrupt Zionist out to get him but he refused to meet with Marc, Jackie and me.

    In his debate with Owen Smith staged by the JLM Corbyn did his best to appease the Zionist audience. Asked what he liked about Israel he said the ‘verve’ of their cities, forgetting to mention that most were Jewish only. Or maybe despite over 30 years work around Palestine he still wasn’t aware of this fact.

    He also mentioned the independence of the Israeli courts. This really angers me even now The Israeli courts have presided over the continued theft of Palestinians land, not only on the West Bank but in Israel itself. They explicitly reject international law when it conflicts with Israeli law.

    Fact is that Corbyn betrayed his supporters and appeased his enemies. Why else did he have the human rights monster Starmer in his shadow cabinet.

    To be blunt Corbyn is a fool and he has not changed.

  16. I submitted a response about this revisionist nonsense. I quoted 2 extracts from Labour’s Leaked Report showing that the problem was that Corbyn and his office appeased the Jewish Labour Movement not understanding that the ‘antisemitism’ campaign was confected and malevolent from the beginning with 1 aim – the removal of Corbyn.

    The 2 quotes I posted were:

    (p.306 Labour Leaked Report)

    Jeremy Corbyn himself and members of his staff team requested to GLU that particular antisemitism cases be dealt with. In 2017 LOTO staff chased for action on high-profile antisemitism cases Ken Livingstone, Tony Greenstein, Jackie Walker and Marc Wadsworth, stressing that these cases were of great concern to Jewish stakeholders and that resolving them was essential to “rebuilding trust between the Labour Party and the Jewish community”.

    (p.333) LLR

    On 17 October 2017 Laura Murray, LOTO Stakeholder Manager responsible for relations with the Jewish community, emailed Stolliday, with other senior LOTO and GSO management in cc, with requests for information including:
    could we have an update on the current status of the cases of Ken Livingstone, Jacqui [sic] Walker, Tony Greenstein and Marc Wadsworth and a clear timetable of when they will all be heard by the NCC and when a final decision will be made on them. The Jewish Labour Movement expressed frustration that these cases have taken such a long time to be heard, as they feel that it is difficult to begin the process of rebuilding trust between the Labour Party and the Jewish community whilst we have still not dealt with these cases.
    She noted that Corbyn and Jeremy Newmark from the JLM were meeting next week “and both are really keen that we deal with all these outstanding issues as soon as possible”.

    Why was this taken down? Are the facts of what happened too awkward to sit alongside the attempt of Phil Bevan to rewrite the history of the Corbyn debacle?

    I also have a blog and I am intending to take up the Corbyn era shortly. I will now have to save this comment in case it too is censored ie deleted. If that is the case then I shall refer to this. I thought Skwawkbox was above this kind of thing

    Tony Greenstein
    tonygreenstein111@gmail.com

  17. First thank you for, belatedly, publishing my comments.

    I think there is a real danger of engaging in retrospective hero worship. The problem with this is it stops us seeing where Corbyn and those around him went wrong.

    As I mentioned Corbyn barely mentioned Palestine in the first 2 years. He went full on to appease the JLM not realising that they were unappeasable. When I was suspended in March 2016, right at the beginning, I realised what was happening straight away. A false antisemitism narrative was being confected, by hidden actors, with the aim of painting Corbyn’s Labour Party as antisemitic. Why?

    Well it was obvious. It was unacceptable to US Intelligence, the British and Israeli states to have someone who was anti-NATO, anti-war in charge of the second largest party in the US’s closest ally in Europe. Mike Pompei gave us a clue and no doubt when some earnest journalist in 30 yrs time submits an FOI request in America we will learn what really happened.

    I still don’t understand what purpose Seamus Milne, that scion of the Establishment served. As soon as this ‘antisemitism’ surfaced it should have been slapped down. Corby and McDonnell and others, but particularly Corbyn should have made a series of big speeches rebutting this false narrative. Along the lines of:
    i. I condemn antisemitism (according to the definition in the OED of hostility to or prejudice against Jews as Jews)
    ii. I condemn the weaponisation of antisemitism against those who are not antisemitic. Pointing out there isn’t a Palestine activist alive who hasn’t been accused of AS. When Amnesty brings out a report on Israeli Apartheid that’s antisemitic. When the European Court said settlement produce must be labelled as such that was antisemitic.
    iii. Corbyn should have asked why it was that those who were so concerned about ‘antisemitism’ were in the forefront of demonising asylum seekers – people like Tom Watson who had baited the Lib Dems in the Birmingham Hodshrove by election as being ‘on the side of’ refugees and want to take ‘your’ benefits.

    Let me stress that there was never an antisemitism problem or phenomenon. Of course there were a handful of antisemites who posed no danger to Jews but a problem? no. Labour is bound to have a few paedophiles statistically. Is it overrun by paedophiles? Of course not..

    Yet Corbyn at the end of 2016 voluntarily adopted the 38 word IHRA definition. Why? It is nonsense it says that ‘“Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”

    Antisemitism isn’t a perception, i.e. in peoples heads but something very concrete. And defining it in terms of hatred raises the bar very high.

    So why the hell did Corbyn adopt it? Why did he award the JLM an anti-racist prize against the wishes of the Asian family? Why does Corbyn STILL say that those who deny the ‘problem’ are part of the problem.

    The tragedy is that Corbyn went along with a narrative designed to destroy him. And no a mount of sophistry from Phil can change that

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