The Media-Assisted Manufacturing of “Corbyn’s Anti-Semitism Crisis”

When I first heard British Labour Party MP Ken Livingstone‘s comments about Jews, Zionism and Adolf Hitler on Vanessa Feltz’ radio show, they instinctively struck me as problematic and offensive.

The words of the exchange, which specifically related to remarks a fellow party MP, Naz Shah, had made about Jews and the state of Israel, were as follows:

Ken Livingstone: “[Naz Shah is] a deep critic of Israel and its policies. Her remarks were over-the-top but she’s not anti-Semitic. I’ve been in the Labour party for 47 years; I’ve never heard anyone say anything anti-Semitic. I’ve heard a lot of criticism of the state of Israel and its abuse of Palestinians but I’ve never heard anyone say anything anti-Semitic.”

Vanessa Feltz: “She talked about relocating Israel to America, she talked about what Hitler did being legal and she talked about the Jews rallying. And she used the word ‘Jews’; not ‘Israelis’ or ‘Israel’. You didn’t find that to be anti-Semitic?”

Ken Livingstone: “It’s completely over the top but it’s not anti-Semitism. Let’s remember when Hitler won his election in 1932, his policy then was that Jews should be moved to Israel. He was supporting Zionism – this before he went mad and ended up killing six million Jews.”

Before I go any further; it is important that we do not conflate anti-Zionism, which is criticism of the state of Israel and/or its policies, with anti-Semitism, which is hostility or prejudice towards the Jewish people. Not all Zionists (they generally being advocates for the state of Israel as Jewish homeland and/or its policies) are Jews and not all Jews are Zionists.

The two concepts are not synonymous; if they were, it would not be possible to criticise Israel, its nature, its policies or its actions without being necessarily accused of demonising or disparaging Jews, and that would simply be an absurd non sequitur.

We must be freely able to criticise Israel when it is appropriate. To be morally prohibited from questioning its conduct would be tantamount to the enforcement of a sort of blind “patriotism”.

The rhetorical equation of anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism can be seen then as a convenient but insidious means of attempting to impose a taboo over critical discourse relating to the Middle Eastern state.

Jewish critic of Israel Noam Chomsky (who was banned from entering Israel in 2010 on account of his views of the state’s conduct) discussed the distinction between the two concepts and the disingenuousness of attempts to conflate them at the UN in 2014:

It should be noted, however, that if a critic was to apply unique standards to Israel that he or she would not apply universally, that might very well be an accurate indicator of anti-Semitism, but, as I say, criticism of Israel should not ipso facto be assumed a necessary indicator.

Over the past few days, various Jewish commentators, including the Jewish Socialists’ Group, Independent Jewish Voicesmembers of rs21, Norman FinkelsteinJamie Stern-Weiner (writing for Jews for Justice for Palestinians), Sam Kriss and Charley Allan have rejected the idea that the British Labour Party has a pervasive anti-Semitism problem. Kriss actually went as far as stating that if any party has an anti-Semitism problem, it is the Conservative Party.

Charles B. Anthony, also of Jewish descent, is of the opinion that “what [Livingstone] said, no matter how cack-handily, was actually, believe it or not, based in truth”. Anthony is, of course, referring to the truth that was the 1933 Haavara (Transfer) Agreement (and presumably Livingstone was too in a round-about way).

This was a pragmatic “collaboration” between Zionists, including Zionist German Jews, and the Nazi government’s ministry of finance that was regarded by both parties as being mutually beneficial to their respective interests insofar as it sought to facilitate or encourage the relocation of German Jews to Palestine by enabling the emigrants to take portions of their assets with them to their refuge.

An appropriated Palestine was, of course, where many Zionists ultimately aspired to establish their desired Jewish state, so as to have it correspond with the biblical conception of the Land of Israel.

The agreement then, formulated under the looming threat of persecution, was drawn up by the Zionist Organisation in tandem with the Zionist Federation of Germany and the Anglo-Palestine Bank (under the directive of the Jewish Agency) to help save German Jews from animus and aggression in an increasingly-hostile Germany whilst simultaneously attracting them to Palestine.

For the Nazi government, it presented a “solution” to what they regarded as a “Jewish problem”. According to Rainer Schulze, “signing an international agreement was further proof [for the Nazi government] of [the Nazi state’s] legitimacy, broke the Jewish movement of boycotting German goods, and helped the recovery of German exports at a time when the German economy was still in the depth of depression”. It was not an expression of affection or support (in the sentimental sense of the word) for Zionism or for a right of self-determination for the Jewish people. As far as the Nazis were concerned, it was to pave the way for effective mass deportation rooted in ethno-religious hatred.

Admittedly, the Haavara Agreement was something of which I had been unaware when I had first heard Livingstone’s comments. Anthony and plenty of others are of the feeling that its existence vindicates Livingstone.

I, however, based on what I understand to be the historical reality, would still perceive Livingstone’s use of the word “support” as fundamentally troublesome. That is not to dismiss the opinions of the aforementioned Jewish commentators who were not bothered by it, nor is it to suggest that they are wrong.

Their contributions to the debate are invaluable – they carry a lot more weight than mine – but perhaps a large part of it comes down to how one would interpret the term “support”.

Whilst Livingstone did later clarify his comments, taken literally, use of the word in the context in which he used it could easily be interpreted as a suggestion that Zionists or German Jews had colluded or were in ideological cahoots with Hitler in some way, or that they were morally complicit in Nazi policy, or perhaps even that Hitler once had Zionist or Jewish interests at heart when, of course, the reality was that he sought to rid Germany of any Jewish character it possessed because he was, after all, an explicit anti-Semite who regarded Jews as a security-threat.

If Livingstone’s intent was not to suggest that Hitler was a Zionist – and, according to later comments, it appears that it was not – his phrasing was certainly ill-advised. He was at least careless and crass with his wording.

Adam Ramsay points out that “[s]ometimes, criticism of the state of Israel, by using terms like ‘Zionist’ as a dog-whistle proxy for ‘Jew’, can be antisemitic or perpetuate antisemitic ideas”, although it did not appear that Livingstone was deploying the term “Zionism” in such a malicious or loaded manner.

Whilst some Jewish commentators have professed to have taken no offence at his remark, I can still certainly see why others might have interpreted it as an insult to their community. (Indeed, Livingstone’s accompanying excusing of Shah’s ethnically-charged “the Jews are rallying” comment did him no favours.) It is important that people, especially those in the public eye, are careful with their language for this reason; every word one uses has significance and connotations. Words are the building blocks of our thoughts, after all.

Livingstone has also been criticised (originally by the BBC’s John Sweeney) for having brought the incendiary topic of Hitler up in the first place, but it should be noted that it was actually Feltz, his interviewer, who first referenced the former Nazi leader during their discussion.

Still, one might ask why the MP even went there or dived into what was already a highly-sensitive minefield if he did not have the time or will to deal with the topic delicately there and then; was it to attack Zionism as guilty by association with Hitler or was he simply trying to furnish Feltz with what he felt was relevant information in respect of the paraphrased claim of “what Hitler did being legal” (which, to be fair to Shah, isn’t necessarily a claim that assigns any particular moral status, one way or the other, to Hitler’s actions anyway)? That is up for debate. Either way though, Livingstone provided his political adversaries with plenty of ammunition in the process.

Separately, within the past week or so in British politics, the following things have happened:

  1. Jeremy Hunt forced an unprecedented “all-out” juniors doctors’ strike on account of his unwillingness to negotiate a safe and fair contract with the medics. Public support for junior doctors has risen as the dispute has worsened.
  2. Tory MPs voted to turn away 3,000 desperate Syrian child refugees stranded in mainland Europe.
  3. The Tories were accused of electioneering fraud and are currently being investigated by the elections watchdog, which has been in touch with fifteen police forces throughout Britain in relation to possible further action.
  4. Theresa May attempted to drum up support for a potential UK opt-out from the European Convention on Human Rights (no doubt motivated in part by the fact the UK remains in continued violation of its obligations in respect of ensuring state killings and allegations of state collusion from the conflict in the north of Ireland are investigated effectively, transparently and independently).
  5. The thirteenth round of talks relating to the rather concerning Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership concluded.
  6. Racist mayor of London, Boris Johnsonattacked Barack Obama’s “part-Kenyan” heritage by assenting to the notion that the US president might have removed a bust of Winston Churchill from the White House upon taking office on account of an “ancestral dislike of the British empire” (as if all those whose ancestry once fell under the remit of the British empire are deserving of such contemptuous suspicion, as if Obama’s decisions revolved around Britain or as if criticism of the British empire couldn’t be legitimately rooted in a reasoned analysis of Britain’s imperial actions rather than in some sort of petty inherited grudge). Implicit in all of this was a further conspiracy theory-style insinuation that Obama’s advising of the UK to remain in the EU ahead of next month’s EU referendum – Johnson supports British withdrawal from the EU, of course – could be plausibly explained and thus dismissed away by this alleged harbouring on the part of Obama of a desire to see the decline of Britain.
  7. David Cameron, the prime minister, was guilty of Islamophobia as he tried to discredit and portray as suspect or untrustworthy the Muslim Labour candidate for London mayor, Sadiq Khan, by suggesting (under parliamentary privilege) that Khan associated with an imam who Cameron incorrectly alleged was an ISIS-sympathiser. The obvious and scurrilous intention was to lazily use Khan’s (perfectly acceptable) religious-cultural background or perceived “otherness” against him and stereotypically depict him as a “radical” or as “soft on extremists”; a textbook case of poisoning the well. Khan’s Tory mayoral election opponent, Zac Goldsmith, has also been engaging in the same type of dirty tricks.

Éoin Clarke has outlined further issues that have been pressing or developing in Britain over the past month.

These aforementioned matters are all serious in nature and the Tories are in government, after all, so it is reasonable that one might expect they would bear the brunt of most of the media and public’s attention and scrutiny.

Why is it then that an idiotic and inappropriate comment by a Labour MP has been blown up into a three-day “Labour Party anti-Semitism crisis” headline-story by the mainstream media?

Livingstone was already reprimanded by his party on Thursday within hours of making his remarks, so there were hardly valid or serious journalistic reasons to continue prioritising the story and drawing it out. (Naz Shah was also suspended after having made a parliamentary apology for her remarks.)

Might I suggest then that the saturated and disproportionate level of coverage devoted to Livingstone’s transgression is because the Labour Party’s right-wing Blairite faction have strong media connections and they would rather undermine the left-wing leadership of Jeremy Corbyn in the run-up to this week’s local elections than they would the governing Tories.

Those on Labour’s right would depose Corbyn at the drop of a hat if they were able and had the opportunity. Throwing accusations of anti-Semitism, whether real or fabricated, at Corbyn’s party colleagues is a handy and opportunistic means of discrediting the leader, who can then be portrayed as having a major and unruly problem on his hands.

In the view of the Jewish Socialists’ Group, “[a]ccusations of antisemitism are currently being weaponised to attack” the party, whilst Charley Allan has described the affair as a “witch hunt”.

I’m not dismissing or denying the existence of anti-Semitism on the left or in the Labour Party – indeed, it exists and education would be worthwhile and warranted when it is encountered – but the reaction to Livingstone’s words all seems a little extraordinary and disproportionate given the fact there doesn’t appear to be any evidence to suggest that anti-Semitism has actually increased in the party under Corbyn’s leadership.

As Adam Ramsay points out:

In fact, many of the incidents which are being used to attack him seem to have taken place before he was leader, or are online comments from people who joined the Labour party before he ran for leader.

Each alleged incident of antisemitism in the Labour party has been dealt with quickly, yet the party is still being accused of moving too slowly.

The video below features a section of Thursday’s BBC News‘ top-story throughout the day – the Livingstone issue, of course – narrated by John Pienaar.

In the scene, we see the bullish John Mann, a Blarite MP, confronting – or harassing, even – Livingstone and rather theatrically and unjustifiably accusing him of being a “Nazi apologist”. Mann is followed by an eager troop of journalists and camera-people.

We are expected to believe that John Mann just happened to be heading into the same building as Livingstone, at the same time, with multiple television and media crews on the scene and at the ready to capture the animated confrontation.

We are also expected to believe that Mann was unaware of the presence of the cameras. In fact, Pienaar expressly suggests it to us. He tells us that Mann is “seemingly blind to the cameras” despite the fact Mann can be seen looking around during the footage to ensure the cameras are filming and capturing his antics. He is clearly fully aware of their presence; the whole scene is a play for them.

Pienaar presumably overcompensates with what is evidently an untrue statement to dispel any possible viewer suspicion that Mann, likely in the knowledge that news crews were in the area and in order to provide the media with “newsworthy” footage for their reports on a budding “anti-Semitism crisis”, might have orchestrated the whole scene or that the scene might have been staged via a collusive tip-off of the media corps by the Labour right.

Despite Corbyn’s innocence in respect of the entire affair, Pienaar was also sure to draw a tenuous, but loud and explicit, connection between the party leader and the under-fire comments of his fellow party members by referring to Livingstone as a “friend and ally of the leader” and dubbing Shah a “Corbyn ally”.

The whole report was so obviously an anti-Corbyn stitch-up, it would have been laughable if the Blairite faction weren’t so conniving and, worse, the BBC weren’t so keen to indulge them. Of course, the BBC have form in attempting to discredit the establishment-challenging Corbyn and have no doubt been more than happy to oblige again over the past three days.

The opening of Thursday night’s Question Time with a question on the affair (“In light of the remarks made by Ken Livingstone, is there an issue surrounding anti-Semitism within the Labour Party?”) was merely further proof of the BBC’s tendency to tread or at least establish an uneven or narrow platform for the advancement of an anti-Corbyn line under the guise of debate. None of the matters listed above in this article were discussed on the show even cursorily.

A fortnight ago, when Corbyn was “accused” by his critics of having changed his once-sceptical stance on the EU by coming out in favour of the UK continuing its membership as the state approaches June’s referendum on the matter – a fairly minor issue insofar as we are all surely entitled to change our minds on particular matters over the course of our lives – the opening question on that week’s Question Time directly and personally challenged Corbyn’s sincerity: “On the scale of one to ten, how genuine is Jeremy Corbyn’s new-found support of the EU?”

For comparison, the week before that, on the very day David Cameron had admitted that he had profited from his father’s tax-avoiding offshore trust, the show was a full 25 minutes in by the time someone on the panel finally got round to just about mentioning Cameron’s name in the context of a broader, generally-focused question about paying taxes. The explosive Panama Papers issue wasn’t even covered in the opening question.

The BBC has often been accused of having a pro-Israel bias or of cow-towing to Israeli pressure, especially in respect of the broadcaster’s treatment of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

This Livingstone saga, where the otherwise-clear lines between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism have certainly been blurred by many of Corbyn’s political opponents, will be seen by cynics as merely complementing that trend, if not purposefully serving to muddy the general debate on Israel by deflecting or distracting from the actual actions of the state – which include occupation, war-crimes and ongoing violations of UN resolutions – via a shining of the glare of exposure back onto the perceived or apparent faults of Israel’s critics.

Indeed, there was an odd moment on Friday night’s Newsnight when presenter Emily Maitlis, amidst a discussion on the topic of “when anti-Zionism becomes anti-Semitism” entering into the territory of criticising Israel’s actions and human rights abuses, seemed to try and coax Ghada Karmi into focusing her criticism onto other states besides Israel despite the fact the outlined theme of that night’s show was supposed to be criticism of Israel and how or if that was related to anti-Semitism.

Maitlis reacted incredulously to the notion that she might have been raising a red herring and seemed keen to impress upon Karmi that there was a problem with her manner of criticism because she “[hadn’t] mentioned any others”. Karmi was naturally puzzled as to why she was being expected to deviate from the topic under discussion and mention states like “China or Iran”.

Israel’s defenders often argue that there is a disproportionate level of attention devoted to the Middle Eastern state by its critics compared to that devoted to other states that too commit human rights violations – that may well be true – but what distinguishes Israel from other “pariah” states or states in the world that frequently breach international law and universal humanitarian principles, is that Israel professes to be a shining beacon of liberal democracy in the Middle East, yet it hardly lives up to such grand claims. It is not even subtle about it.

Yes, there are those who simply condemn Israel as “evil” – personally, I feel such pontification carries little moral weight as morality is a subjective realm and anyone can moralise about anything to anyone ultimately – but when most critics challenge Israel on its actions, they are attempting to hold the state to its own held or professed (but failing) moral standards. In my view, such an approach holds much greater moral and persuasive force than simple or absolute condemnation rooted solely in one’s own moral compass.

It should also be noted that those other states are not given remotely the same degree of moral, political, economic and military backing by Western governments as Israel is given. In fact, they are often castigated and sanctioned whilst Israel’s actions are tolerated. Thus, our governments are complicit in Israel’s conduct. Not only do they merely allow or enable Israel to do what it does; they often support it (and, as citizens of Western states, that support is extended in our name).

Noam Chomsky’s explanation as to why he focuses most of his time on criticising the crimes of his own US government and its client states rather than on those of its enemies is pertinent:

My own concern is primarily the terror and violence carried out by my own state, for two reasons. For one thing, because it happens to be the larger component of international violence.

But also for a much more important reason than that: namely, I can do something about it. So even if the US was responsible for 2% of the violence in the world instead of the majority of it, it would be that 2% I would be primarily responsible for. And that is a simple ethical judgment. That is, the ethical value of one’s actions depends on their anticipated and predictable consequences. It is very easy to denounce the atrocities of someone else. That has about as much ethical value as denouncing atrocities that took place in the 18th century.

As CP MacLochlainn says, this is “a key moral truism roundly rejected by Western media and intellectual discourse”, but it is the reason why Israel finds itself under many of its critics’ spotlights.

To conclude, the incisive and persuasive words of Simon Wood on the Livingstone matter (and where it fits into the grand scheme of things) are worthy of consideration:

The lesson is simple: the moral crusaders that spend days loudly condemning Livingstone for an ill-advised (in the insane modern media soundbite environment) comment that he later clarified in a way that made it clear that he was absolutely not being anti-Semitic utter nary a squeak when Israel bombs schools or murders children on a beach; remain silent in the face of the documented day-to-day atrocities of the Israeli government and its soldiers with Western-supplied equipment in Gaza, including the killings of pregnant women and children.

Misconstrued comments by a lifelong anti-racist: one, murdered children: nil. That there in a nutshell is the moral standing of Livingstone’s critics. And if you’re still assigning them credibility, it might be time to seek analysis elsewhere.

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20 comments

  1. Livingstone’s words were stupid, the Blairites’ actions were clever, and the hidden agenda in the Labour Party is not an anti-semitic one – it is an anti-Corbyn one. The Labour establishment, from MPs to media luvies, want him out.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Brilliant and rigorous and balanced – a Daniel come to judgement indeed….Maith thú- well done!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree with most of what you say here, but I wonder tangentially how you square your own statement “morality is a subjective realm and anyone can moralise about anything to anyone ultimately” with your evidently approving citation of CP MacLochlainn’s endorsement of Chomsky as having uttered a “key moral truism”..

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    1. Thanks for your thoughts, Doctor Hyde.

      My approval of Chomsky’s idea might superficially appear to contradict my earlier statement, but I don’t see any necessary inconsistency. I’ll try and explain in three points which I believe to be true and reconcilable:

      i) Morality is ultimately subjective; that is to say that we define it for ourselves and there is no ultimate, absolute, objective, eternal or external moral truth insofar as what is “right” or “wrong”. (That is in my view anyway. I’m an agnostic atheist. Those of faith will be likely to feel differently, but as I see no evidence for the existence or notion of an omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent moral arbiter, I don’t feel I have any reason to believe or assume such an entity or being exists.)

      ii) When treating the conduct of others, for which we are not morally responsible; holding others to a professed moral standard – pulling them up on observed hypocrisy – is more persuasive and thus of greater weight or force than simple moralisation, pontification or condemnation based simply upon how we would wish them to behave. I think it is fair to say this is self-evident as one is appealing to their standards as a means of guiding or influencing their conduct. It should follow that if they profess or advocate a particular way of action, that is logically or morally how they should aspire to act. I don’t think there’s a logical leap or non sequitur there in coming to such a conclusion.

      iii) When adjudging and taking responsibility for our own conduct in the social or political context; we may form our personal moral code and it will indeed be subjective, but if it is to be a credible, consistent, coherent and universally-applied code with structural integrity (the definition of a moral code, I would argue), the following should be self-evident and thus constitutes a truism: if we deem some act to be right for us, it must logically follow that it is also right for others; if we deem some act to be wrong for others, it must logically follow that it is also wrong for us. If that is not our position, then we are automatically or necessarily guilty of double standards and that inherently compromises or undermines any notion of possessing a consistent code, which wouldn’t be a true moral sense. By definition, hypocrisy or lack of universality compromises or falsifies its integrity or purported trueness.

      Chomsky elaborates on that third point here:

      Andy Price provides some practical examples of what Chomsky is referring to here:

      What is right for us is right for others: if it is right for our Western governments to reserve the right to attack a sovereign nation for either perceived crimes committed or possible future crimes, then it is right for the enemy to do the same. In this case, Iran would be well within their rights to attack the US, pre-emptively, now. The patent aggression being openly directed towards Iran, mirroring the aggression shown toward pre-invasion Iraq, under our elementary moral truism becomes a valid policy avenue for Iran itself. Inversely, if we declare that it is right for us to have security, not be under external threat, to guarantee the prosperity of our citizens, then it is also a right for the government of Iran. Ideological differences apart, dedication to our notion of liberal democracy apart, it should not be on the personal judgement calls of our leaders, or on the desires of our business communities that a regime is deemed different to us, and therefore subject to different courses of action, but on our commitment to a moral integrity, based on our elementary moral truism.

      What is wrong for others is wrong for us: similarly, if it is wrong for Iran to develop its nuclear capabilities, then it is wrong for us to develop our nuclear capabilities. How can we transgress the Non-Proliferation Treaty, year after year, and then deem it a threat or inherently wrong for Iran to do the same? More widely than Iran, if it is wrong for the Russians or the Chinese to supply Iran with weapons, as has been the case recently (think of President Putin receiving a mild scolding from President Bush earlier this year), then it is also wrong for us to sell weapons to nations that on any truthful indicator would fall behind Iran in terms of human rights (think Indonesia).

      What is wrong for others is wrong for us: perhaps the most important area of all, at the level of the state, is the commitment to the belief that it is wrong to kill civilians, irrespective of the cause. The atrocities of Baghdad, London, Bali and New York are all hideously wrong. But so too are the atrocities across Iraq and the Middle East committed by our own governments. All doublespeak about ‘collateral damage’ aside, if we are to have any moral integrity stemming from our elementary moral truism, then the death of civilians anywhere is wrong. Whether they are targeted or not is irrelevant; and the line between targeted and non-targeted civilian death incredibly hard to discern – who can deny that the disgracefully named ‘Operation Shock and Awe’ was not aimed at the entire Iraqi population, a show of brute force to dissuade (for untold thousands, by force of death) one and all from resisting the initial invasion?

      For what it’s worth, Chomsky, if I understand him correctly, rejects post-modernism and the notion moral relativism in practice and believes our nature – the ability to sense, interact and will to survive – will, in offering a “fixed basis”, provide us with a sort of “innate” moral sense via experience and that all these senses will be found within a range on a spectrum rather than our cultural and moral choices being completely random or arbitrary.

      He discusses those ideas in greater detail here:

      I’m not sure I completely agree with him on everything, whilst I do simultaneously have a lot of time for Sartre’s notion that “existence precedes essence”. Maybe the two notions can be reconciled somehow. I can accept that we aren’t a total blank slate from birth – we will each possess a genetic make-up that will provide a base-line, if you will – but it doesn’t necessarily pre-determine our entire nature or being in that we act within an environment of circumstances and take more significant meaning from that, insofar as definition of our essence is concerned. I think, through consciousness, we create our own values and determine a meaning for our lives as we do not possess any inherent identity or value. We create that identity or value. By processing or performing the acts that constitute us, we make our existence meaningful. So, accepting the base-line (which will naturally limit us within the confines of human capability at a particular point in time), from there I think our existence and what we do defines our essence rather than an essence defining our existence.

      Why I say “at a particular point in time” above is because evolution, and thus our nature too, is potentially or theoretically “infinite” (albeit, practically, this will be confined to within the laws that govern our world/universe and the limits of what type of living state or being can survive/reproduce in a particular environment) in the sense that humans in the future could theoretically evolve to possess a totally different nature with different physical and mental attributes to those we possess now, as we are defined. This would provide us with a different base-line, which is why I feel it would be a mistake to describe this base-line as an absolutely or ultimately objective constant.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. The keep · · Reply

    I wonder if a unionist came out with Livingstones remarks would you be so quick to defend that individual somehow i doubt it. Since your relative Jude Collins likes this article it immediately has to be suspect.

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    1. Ah, bitterness, whataboutery, prejudice and the association fallacy of “it must be bad if my adversary likes it” thrown in for good measure; the building blocks of political unionism. Thanks for such a constructive contribution…

      Did you actually read the piece or just automatically assume it was “suspect” because Jude liked it? (What’s your gripe with Jude anyway?)

      I’ve been critical of Livingstone. I certainly wasn’t defending him. Where did you get the impression I was defending what he said? I had harsher things to say of his words than many of the mentioned Jewish commentators did. I just don’t think the remarks warranted being blown up into the three-day headline-news affair, but it’s clear why that happened.

      Sure, tell me what you think a “unionist equivalent” might be and I’ll let you know my thoughts on it.

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  5. Joe kelsall · · Reply

    These anti Corbyn attacks are just foreplay to the future actions of a man called Freiberg who masquerades as Mark Regev, the new Israeli ambassador to the UK. Regev is an obnoxious character who changed his name when he ‘blew in’ from Australia because Freiberg was too Germanic for an Israeli. Regev is here to try and ensure that Corbyn never becomes PM of the U.K. As Corbyn supports human rights for Palestinians. Don’t underestimate the degrees to which Regev will descend to complete his task.

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    1. What has Regev been doing up to this point and what do you foresee him doing in the future? I’ve encountered him on television, but not all that familiar with him otherwise.

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  6. Anti-semitism is the tired old tool out of the propaganda tool box of the presstitute MSM stooges. The hasbara crowd in their hebrew as a first language techniques fail to use the term anti-jewish. Knowing full well that would fully expose them as the propagandist that they are – anti-semitism is a hammer to cover criticism which is actually anti-zionist/oligach/neo liberal/racist/capitalist/reactionary/etc..etc. It is all a front to cover the rich – a thinly veiled disinformation machine that has gone off the rails by barrelling through the propaganda dead end and straight into the absurd.
    Of course Hitler was a zionist – a zionists stooge at that…it all worked out great for the zionists. Russia and Germany in ruins with Europe turned into a comprador vassal compound run by Washington and their bankster masters.
    Corbyn is either in on the joke or should actually focus on bringing down the entire UK banking system – not to mention purging the monarchy into oblivion.

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  7. Stupid choice of words by Livingstone, which were pounced on by the Blairites within his party who seem to have huge media influence.

    However the term anti-Semitism is thrown so casually and so often now that it has lost meaning. It seems that anyone who disagrees with anything Jews and Israel do is anti-Semitic. Some people just love to be offended.

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    1. The construal of criticism of Israel as anti-Semitic is a concerning means of stifling debate by smearing or shaming those who seek to criticise. It’s a disingenuous defence mechanism really, but a dangerous one because criticism of Israel’s conduct is very much valid. Palestinians are suffering as I type.

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      1. But people are scared to voice their opinions lest thy be accused of being anti-Semitic when in fact they are merely voicing an opinion on the actions of Israel. Here in Ireland there is a strong community of people who try to voice their concern for Palestinians and are branded as anti-Semitic for simply wanting a better life for those living in the horrors of Gaza.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Fred Monroe · · Reply

    Let’s imagine for just a moment that visitors from outer space arrive one day soon, intelligent enough to have developed the necessary technology but ignorant of the history of our planet. They quickly learn English and read in the news about Livingstone and the Jews. Due diligence informs them that since the beginning of recorded history a very small minority have encountered problems with almost all other groups with which they have come into contact, so that often they have been treated very brutally and even expelled from host nations to which they migrated. So harsh was their treatment in the last century that now every effort is made to protect them from attacks and criticism, going as far as making it illegal to say things that were in common usage for millennia. Still the mistreatment continues. The outsiders apply their logical minds to the problem and suggest that the root cause might lie in the behaviour of this minority.

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    1. The Keep · · Reply

      So its the Jews fault then that they have been massacred and harassed then? Have you no decency man?

      Liked by 1 person

    2. To what “behaviour” are you referring?

      Certainly, the conduct of the modern state of Israeli is highly suspect; it causes great harm and pain to others in the region who find themselves excluded from its Judeo-centric ideal. Unfortunately, that breeds misdirected hostility towards Jews generally, but Israel hasn’t always existed, so it’s not as if it has always been there to provide a supposed “excuse” or “justification” for hostility towards Jews from anti-Semites. What do you think might have contributed to the animus directed at Jews through history (before the foundation of Israel)? You can’t just surmise that they must be at fault because they’ve been historically loathed and victimised and then depart without providing anything to further substantiate what is nothing but conjecture disguised as “logic” (albeit alien logic).

      I think you’re engaging in further victim-blaming really. If we believe in fundamental liberty, then people generally are entitled to be diverse or different (so long as they’re not harming anyone else). If people are stigmatised, marginalised or are subjected to suffering simply because of their perceived difference, the responsibility for that is on the part of the party engaged in mistreatment. Minorities are often demonised and exploited as social scapegoats. This has been the case through time, but it doesn’t mean their behaviour has justified their being treated in that way. It just means they’ve been easy targets for bullies with agendas.

      Are you really suggesting that, at root, the Jewish people themselves were responsible for the Holocaust, simply because they behaved “differently” from the dominant culture in Germany?

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  9. George · · Reply

    I have always thought a British person following the Jewish faith is British, a German following the Jewish faith is a German etc. I did not realise the People behind the warped race theories later expounded by the Nazis were right in the end and there is a “Jewish race”. Remembering all the time that what we call semetic applies to the Arabs as well. The indigenous inhabitants of the part of the Middle East known as Palistine/Israel would then be either Palistinians of Islamic faith and Palistinians of Jewish faith. The other inhabitants of Israel would then be Immigrants of Jewish faith.

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    1. My understanding is that many Jews are uncomfortable with actually being classified as a race as it evokes cultural memories of being classified as such in Nazi Germany for the purposes of “justifying” the infliction of genocide. See here:

      In the 1980s, the United States Supreme Court ruled that Jews are a race, at least for purposes of certain anti-discrimination laws. Their reasoning: at the time these laws were passed, people routinely spoke of the “Jewish race” or the “Italian race” as well as the “Negro race,” so that is what the legislators intended to protect.

      But many Jews were deeply offended by that decision, offended by any hint that Jews could be considered a race. The idea of Jews as a race brings to mind nightmarish visions of Nazi Germany, where Jews were declared to be not just a race, but an inferior race that had to be rounded up into ghettos and exterminated like vermin.

      But setting aside the emotional issues, Jews are clearly not a race.

      Race is a genetic distinction, and refers to people with shared ancestry and shared genetic traits. You can’t change your race; it’s in your DNA. I could never become black or Asian no matter how much I might want to.

      Common ancestry is not required to be a Jew. Many Jews worldwide share common ancestry, as shown by genetic research; however, you can be a Jew without sharing this common ancestry, for example, by converting. Thus, although I could never become black or Asian, blacks and Asians have become Jews (Sammy Davis Jr. and Connie Chung).

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  10. Reblogged this on To Shay and commented:
    Add

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  11. Zionism is not healthy for the world. Its main aim is to swallow up Palestine against international law…it is illegal and illegitimate the rest is pure manure dedicated to complicate things. It is simple, get the hell out of Palestine NOW

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