Labour: Zionists renew offensive

Labour Deputy Leader Tom Watson and Israeli Ambassador Mark Regev, 2018

The election of Boris Johnson as leader of the Tory Party and therefore as Prime Minister piles pressure on Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to embrace the European imperialist project as the only way to defeat a hard Brexit. But while tensions within the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) between those who represent Brexit-majority constituencies and the pro-Remain majority of Labour MPs remain unresolved, Zionists – in an unholy alliance with right-wing sections of the party for whom even Corbyn’s mild anti-austerity policies are anathema – have stepped up their campaign to isolate Corbyn and drive him from the Labour Party leadership. Their actions threaten to tear the PLP apart as dozens of Labour MPs and peers unite with the most reactionary forces outside the Labour Party to demand the expulsion of anyone suspected of the slightest sympathy with the Palestinian people. Fabricated allegations of anti-Semitism have become the norm, with the BBC lending them credence during an unashamedly biased edition of Panorama. ROBERT CLOUGH reports.

Throwing Chris Williamson to the wolves

The first step in the renewed Zionist campaign came with the decision to end the suspension of Labour MP Chris Williamson on 26 June. Williamson had been suspended on 26 February for allegedly claiming that the Labour Party had been ‘too apologetic’ for its supposed anti- Semitism. In fact the Zionists and the media just told bare-faced lies about what Williamson had in fact said and its context. He was actually arguing that the party was challenging anti- Semitism, but added that in the face of claims that it was doing little or nothing about the issue: ‘we’ve backed off far too much, we’ve given too much ground, we’ve been too apologetic…We’ve done more to actually address the scourge of anti- Semitism than any other political party.’

It was absolutely clear that he was not defending anti-Semites or anti- Semitism. But as a Corbyn supporter he was fair game for the Zionists and their supporters in the media. The Labour right wing went into overdrive. Millionaire warmonger MP Margaret Hodge said ‘It is appalling, outrageous and unacceptable that he should be allowed back into the party. It’s a cynical move... and we will have Jew haters sitting as Labour MPs under Jeremy Corbyn.’ Hodge was supported by Boris Johnson, a renowned racist, who felt able to weigh in to say that it is ‘shameful that Labour have reinstated this key Corbyn ally back into their party after his appalling remarks. We must never allow these apologists for anti-Semitism anywhere near government’.

Once again, the left of the Labour Party treacherously attacked Williamson. Owen Jones said ‘Chris Williamson could always show he’s learned why he’s caused distress and then acted on that: I’m yet to see evidence of it.’ Novara Media’s Ash Sarkar, the Toytown ‘communist’, said ‘This outcome is indefensible.’ Momentum leader Jon Lansman claimed that Williamson had shown ‘not one iota of contrition nor any acknowledgement of wrongdoing following a further formal warning from the Labour Party for behaviour grossly detrimental to the party. Such contempt for the party’s verdict! He has to go!’ These supposed left-wingers are beneath contempt: Lansman’s support for Zionism has never jeopardised his position within Momentum whose cowardice on the issue seems limitless. On 8 July, The Guardian, a cheerleader for the Zionist campaign, took down a letter signed by 100 prominent Jewish figures supporting Chris Williamson from its website without explanation. This followed a complaint by the Zionist Board of Deputies of British Jews that questioned the credentials of five of the signatories, alleging falsely that two, Tony Greenstein and Jackie Walker, had been expelled from the Labour Party for anti- Semitism.

Once the pressure was on, it was no surprise that Labour capitulated – it has become an automatic response to any accusation of leniency towards those who have stood up against Zionism. Seventy Labour Party staff members wrote a letter of complaint. Then, backed by over 100 Labour MPs and peers, Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson, who himself receives money from Zionist sources (see FRFI 269), demanded that Williamson be suspended once again. The National Executive Committee duly obliged on 28 June.

There is no shame in these people – any fabrication, any political trick will do in their drive to ensure that pro-Palestinian sentiment is driven out of the Labour Party. Look to their allies: not only Johnson, but Jeremy Hunt, who said ‘When I went to Auschwitz I rather complacently said to myself, “thank goodness we don’t have to worry about that kind of thing happening in the UK” and now I find myself faced with the leader of the Labour Party who has opened the door to anti-Semitism in a way that is truly frightening.’ That he was essentially accusing Corbyn of preparing for concentration camps and a new Holocaust was, in the words of Media Lens, ‘a moral depravity’. Yet there has been no protest from the Labour Zionists at this outrageous claim, nor from Ash Sarkar, Owen Jones or Jon Lansman.

BBC joins the witch hunt

A few days later, the BBC joined the feeding frenzy with an edition of Panorama entitled ‘Is Labour anti- Semitic?’ broadcast on 9 July. There was not the slightest pretence of impartiality:

  • The programme was fronted by John Ware, who was responsible for a 2006 Panorama which alleged without basis that the Palestinian charity Interpal was responsible for funding terrorism, and a 2015 stitch-up of Corbyn’s leadership campaign.
  • Interviews with former Labour Party employees were interspersed with comments from Alan Johnson, a Zionist who is on the right wing of the Labour Party and an employee of the British Israel Communications and Research Centre, and Dave Rich, Director of Communications at the pro-Zionist Community Security Trust, whose board includes Labour Zionist MPs such as Ivan Lewis, John Mann and Louise Ellman.
  • Ellman, a ruthless Zionist and imperialist who supported the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan, and the onslaught on Libya, and who has justified every Israeli onslaught on Gaza, cast herself as a bullied victim of local pro-Palestinian forces to gain viewer sympathy.
  • Two unnamed Labour Party activists who expressed their ‘distress’ at Labour’s alleged anti-Semitism were identified by Electronic Intifada as Ella Rose and Adam Langleben, both members of the Zionist Jewish Labour Movement (JLM). Ella Rose is both a former employee of the Israeli embassy and a former paid director of JLM.
  • Another interviewee was Alex Richardson: Panorama did not disclose that Richardson is a member of the JLM executive and a close associate of Labour Friends of Israel chair Joan Ryan.

None of the contributors spoke of the violent expulsion of 750,000 Palestinians necessary to create the Israeli state in 1948; nor of the 2018 Nation Basic Law which legally enshrines the de facto position of Palestinians as racially oppressed; nor of the thousands who have died in wars on Gaza or as result of its continuing blockade. Nor was there any mention of the tens of thousands of Palestinians shot down in Gaza since the Great March of Return started in March 2018. But then neither Jeremy Corbyn nor Momentum have tackled the anti-Semitism propaganda blitz with a ringing defence of the rights of the Palestinian people; nor have they been prepared to condemn the racist core of Zionism. Far from it: a Labour Party ‘educational webpage’ (now a pamphlet) endorsed by Corbyn and published on 21 July says ‘Neither Zionism nor anti-Zionism is in itself racism.’ But the essence of Zionism is racism because of its demand for exclusive rights for Jewish people in historic Palestine and this racism is the ideological foundation of the Israeli state. It has now reached a stage where just to call for the right of the Palestinian people to a decent life is seen to be anti-Semitic and the credentials of anti-Zionist Jewish Labour members such as Jewish Voice for Labour are trashed.

And now the Equality Commission investigates...

The decision of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) to investigate the Labour Party announced on 28 May maintains the pressure on Corbyn and the Labour left. The announcement followed complaints made last year by the Campaign against Anti-Semitism (CAA) and the JLM. CAA is if anything an even more virulent Zionist organisation than the JLM and nakedly Islamophobic. Set up in 2014 during the Zionist onslaught on Gaza which killed 2,140 Palestinians, it has a record of distorting facts and figures to ‘prove’ that Labour is riddled with anti-Semitism. Its chair Gideon Flater is a board member of the Jewish National Fund UK. The Jewish National Fund is central to ethnic cleansing in Palestine. Cue yet another pro-Zionist storm:

  • A group of artists and writers wrote of their ‘bewilderment and disgust’ that in their view Labour has proved to be so riddled with anti-Semitism that the EHRC felt it necessary to launch its investigation, claiming that ‘It is clear this is not just about Jeremy Corbyn, but the pernicious world view of a faction that has – temporarily we hope – taken control of Labour.’
  • 67 Labour peers paid for a full-page advertisement in The Guardian on 17 July stating that Corbyn was personally accountable for ‘allowing anti-Semitism to grow’ within the Labour Party and claiming that ‘Thousands have resigned and thousands more feel unable to attend party meetings because of the toxic culture you have allowed to divide our movement’, and concluding that ‘this is your legacy Mr Corbyn.’ Such hyperbole is the norm for these reactionaries.
  • Without explanation on 17 July, The Guardian pulled a cartoon by Steve Bell portraying Watson as an ‘Anti- Semite Finder General’ pursuing Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu as an ‘anti-Semitic trope’.

The failure of Corbyn and his allies to mount any serious defence of the Palestinian people is political cowardice. They hide behind the fiction of a two-state solution, a fiction because the Zionist state is never going to allow the creation of a dependent Palestinian state, let alone one with the real trappings of sovereignty. Meanwhile Israel acts with impunity, demolishing Palestinian homes in Jerusalem, shooting dead nine-year-old Abd Al Rahman Shtaiwi on 12 July and then lying about its use of live fire, and preventing the import of fuel into Gaza as a collective punishment for the resistance’s continued release of incendiary kites and balloons. Labour politicians say they are free to criticize the Israeli state under the IHRA rules it approved in 2018, but they never do so in a way that has any practical consequence.

If the Zionist campaign topples Corbyn, there will be a massive loss of Labour Party membership as, under the domination of a rampant right-wing, Labour moves to abandon even the semblance of an anti-austerity standpoint. But Corbyn’s weakness merely encourages the Zionist lobby to hit harder. Drawing the obvious conclusion, Asa Winstanley, himself suspended from the Labour Party due to Zionist allegations of anti- Semitism, writes in Electronic Intifada:

‘If Jeremy Corbyn and the rest of the Labour leadership cannot even fight back and defeat the Israel lobby within their own party, what hope is there that, in government, they could successfully take on the far more powerful combined forces of British – and American – capitalism?’

There is of course no hope that Corbyn will challenge the British ruling class: that is not his intention, and anyway the reactionary forces within the Labour Party would prevent him from doing so should he ever try. He has been Labour leader now for four years, and the Labour Party has not become the radical force that his supporters promised. Corbynism is a dead-end, and socialists have to draw the lesson that the Labour Party cannot be changed, and that the new movement that has to be built will be both outside and against it.

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! 271 August/September 2019


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