Neviim Tovim, blogs by Gillian Gould Lazarus

Labour’s New Leaf

Posted on: July 26, 2019

Last Sunday, I received an email from Team Labour, in Jeremy Corbyn’s name, as follows:

The struggle for liberation of all people is never complete and must always be renewed. As a movement, we educate ourselves and each other to better stand in solidarity with and unite all those facing oppression and discrimination.

That’s why we are launching education materials for our members and supporters to help them confront bigotry, wherever it arises. Over the coming months, the party will produce educational materials on a number of specific forms of racism and bigotry. Our first materials are on antisemitism, recognising that anti-Jewish bigotry has reared its head in our movement.’

I was sceptical although the email looked quite praiseworthy. I read the educational materials and, without agreeing with every point, I thought that they were helpful, particularly this paragraph:

But opposition to the Israeli government must never use antisemitic ideas, such as attributing its injustices to Jewish identity, demanding that Jews in Britain or elsewhere answer for its conduct, or comparing Israel to the Nazis. Many Jews view calls for Israel to cease to exist as calls for expulsion or genocide. Arguing for one state with rights for all Israelis and Palestinians is not antisemitic, but calling for the removal of Jews from the region is. Anti-Zionism is not in itself antisemitic and some Jews are not Zionists. Labour is a political home for Zionists and anti-Zionists. Neither Zionism nor anti-Zionism is in itself racism.

If only these thoughts could be taken on board by Labour supporters, there would be hope  at least for a more peaceable time in the Labour movement.

Within a day or two, there was no missing the fact that Dame Margaret Hodge was once again a bête noire par excellence for many of Mr Corbyn’s supporters, inspired by an article in the Skwawkbox, headed thus:

HODGE SUBJECT OF FORMAL ANTISEMITISM COMPLAINT BY ORTHODOX JEWISH MEMBER

There had been a row, apparently between Dame Margaret and a Charedi man called Mr Stern, about the teaching of sex education, including LGBT topics, in schools. Mr Stern was firmly against this and, if I understand correctly, had penned complaints about Margaret Hodge and also The Jewish Chronicle. 

It was as if the ‘anti-Zionist’ Corbynists had found an ingenious way of turning around the promise of more stringent measures against antisemitism. They could accuse their Jewish adversaries of antisemitism and request their immediate expulsion from the Labour Party.  The narrative of JVL, for example is that all who accuse Labour of antisemitism do so in bad faith – the Livingstone Formulation, as coined by David Hirsh. *

jvl on hodge.jpg

I no longer  have access to closed Labour forums online, for reasons not unrelated to this blog, but I looked at The Prole Star which, like JVL, has a public forum on Facebook.

prole star hodge 22 july

It was undeniable that they were pleased by the thought that the rules against antisemitism could be used against Jews. The denial of antisemitism is part and parcel of its contemporary manifestation.  On The Prole Star forum, one member cites the Book of Revelations, 2:9:

I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.

prole star revelations

Accustomed as I am to the mindset of these forums, I do not doubt that the person who quoted Revelations would insist that this is merely criticism of Israel. The view that the ‘Khazars’ are Satanic false Jews is attested on all the Corbyn supporting forums I have ever seen.  By Khazars, they mean Ashkenazic Jews such as myself, whose grandparents came from Europe – Russia and Poland in my case.

I then found that the case against Margaret Hodge was raging (again) on Twitter. I saw this tweet from Wes Streeting, one of the Corbynsceptic Labour MPs whom I esteem:

I will say publicly what I said privately: only @jeremycorbyn and his team could be so incompetent to organise a cynical ‘my best friends are Jewish’ stunt with someone who supported the Birmingham protesters.

I replied, as shown below to Wes Streeting. It is true that I used the name Skankbox when I know full well that the news blog is called Skwawkbox.

The Corbynists are making a cause célèbre of Mr Stern, in the same way that they do with JVL & using him to attack Margaret Hodge. Something they read in the Skankbox.

I was then troubled by hostile tweets coming my way, more voluminously than is usual. One account, opened just two months ago, accused me of rampant antisemitism, as has happened also this week to Margaret Hodge, the Jewish Chronicle and many more. The Chief Rabbi congratulated the new Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, and he is accused of racism in multiple replies.

Time was when Emile Zola said ‘J’accuse’ and saw results. The Corbynist method is ‘Accuse back. Whatever they say you are, say it back to them. Who’s to know?’

Thus, following my reply to Wes Streeting, I received a barrage of tweets from this particular account:

freeman grotesque

Mr Freema1 (try giving that name at hotel reception) has also reported me to Twitter for hateful conduct – and he has a result!

freeman add media Not convinced that I have seen his tweet, Mr Freema1 tries again:

add media 2

Meanwhile, I am receiving some more unwanted attention.

tully add media

It seems that, on the back of a broigus between Margaret Hodge and Shraga Stern, I may find myself suspended from Twitter and – who knows? – even in the dock, if Mr Tully can persuade the police to prosecute me. It would be a departure from the quotidian, to find myself under arrest. It’s true that I have incurred more parking penalties than I can remember, but that is the totality of my life of crime.

Mr Tully is also very angry with Chief Rabbi Mirvis, so I can comfort myself that I am in the best of company. I always am, in point of fact. I have met so many lovely, supportive people on Twitter and in many cases, they get a lot more hassle than I do.

Who knows if my account on Twitter can last?

Remember that if the communications go down, you can find me here, on @neviimtovim.com.

 

* Contemporary Left Antisemitism by David Hirsh

Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (7 Aug. 2017) ISBN-13: 978-1138235311

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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