The knives are out for Jeremy Corbyn, the first leader of the British Labour Party not to subscribe to the imperious, hegemonic values that underpin the British state.
Corbyn has a long record of support for the Palestinian people and other justice causes. His landslide victory in the Labour Party’s leadership election in September 2015 was a humiliating defeat for the Zionist lobby, in the shape of the Labour Friends of Israel group, which up to that moment had been in complete control of Labour’s leadership. As Asa Winstanley put it, in an article in Electronic Intifada,
For career-minded, rising Labour MPs, joining Labour Friends of Israel was long seen as the place to be…
Under Blair, Jeremy Corbyn was a backbench MP, and a gadfly of the big business- and war-friendly clique that had captured Labour’s leadership. He voted against Blair’s party line hundreds of times.
The scale of Corbyn’s victory – almost 60 per cent of 422,664 voters – last summer put the right on the back foot.
So now they are resorting to ever more desperate tactics, blaming alleged “anti-Semitism” in the party on Corbyn’s leadership.
In an open, democratic society, it is the duty of the media to scrutinise and question politicians and others who hold positions of power, so that the public can make informed decisions.
However, Britain is a democracy in form only, not in substance. True, people go to the ballot box every few years to vote for the party of their choice in national and local elections. But many do so in ignorance, not so much informed as brainwashed and manipulated by right-wing media – some openly right wing while others, such as the Guardian and the Independent newspapers, disguising themselves as progressive liberals.
In the ongoing row over alleged “anti-Semitism” in the Labour Party, no mainstream media outlet – no major newspaper or broadcaster, whether the BBC or Channel 4, the UK’s supposed public service broadcasters – has seriously challenged the accusations that have been levelled against members of parliament Ken Livingstone and Naz Shah or Labour councillors and ordinary party members up and down the country. Not one media outlet has bothered to do even the most basic research into the accusers and the accusations they are making.
Instead, it has been left to relatively small, independent online media, such as the Electronic Intifada and the Middle East Eye, and campaign groups, such as Jews for Justice for the Palestinians and the Jewish Socialists’ Group, to do what the mainstream media should have done: to challenge, scrutinise and correct the questionable information that has been put in the public domain.
In his article in the Electronic Intifada, Winstanley reminds us that smears of “anti-Semitism” against Corbyn started even before he was elected.
During his leadership campaign in the summer of 2015, the establishment media worked itself into a frenzy of anti-Corbyn hysteria, led more than any other paper by the liberal Guardian.
One of the recurring themes in this campaign was Corbyn’s long-standing support for Palestinian human rights.
Because of this, attempts were made to say outright, or to imply, that Corbyn was a secret anti-Semite, or that he associated with, or tolerated “notorious” anti-Semites.
Although these hit jobs gained some traction, they were soon debunked, and ultimately seemed to have little impact on the leadership election.
This dishonest theme is now being revisited, and the culprits are visible for anyone willing to see.
A key player in the campaign to smear pro-Palestinian activists in the Labour Party, Alex Chalmers falsified stories about “anti-Semitism” and hid his own affiliation to the pro-Israel lobby.
Photo Caption: Alex Chalmers posing with failed Labour Party deputy leadership bidder Caroline Flint
In a public Facebook posting in February, Chalmers, the co-chair of the Oxford University Labour Club, resigned his position over what he claimed was anti-Semitic behaviour in “a large proportion” of the student Labour club “and the student left in Oxford more generally.”
As “evidence”, he cited the club’s decision, in a majority vote, to endorse Oxford’s Israeli Apartheid Week, an annual awareness-raising exercise by student groups supporting Palestinian rights.
“This connection was clearly designed to smear Palestine solidarity activists as anti-Semites – a standard tactic of the Israel lobby,” Winstanley correctly notes in his Electronic Intifada article.
What Chalmers does not disclose is his affiliation to Britain’s Israel lobby.
Chalmers has worked for BICOM, the Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre.
Funded by the billionaire Poju Zabludowicz, BICOM is a leading pro-Israel group in London.
Chalmers once listed an internship with BICOM on his LinkedIn profile, although the page was deleted some time in February.
The same day Ken Livingstone was suspended from the Labour Party, BICOM posted a tweet with the words: “Save your pitch fork for Corbyn.”
Chalmers has been accused of disseminating a false allegation that a left-wing Labour student at Oxford had organised people into a group to follow a Jewish student around campus calling her a “filthy Zionist”, and that he had been disciplined as a result.
However, as Winstanley points out, the accused student said she had reason to believe Chalmers may have been behind the dissemination of this smear.
Moreover, Paul Di Felice, the current acting principal of the Oxford college in question, confirmed to the Electronic Intifada the authenticity of a statement from its late principal denying all the allegations. “I have found no evidence of any allegations being made to the college about” the student “involving “anti-Semitism”, or indeed anything else, during his time at the college,” the statement read.
Another key “anti-Semitism” smear monger who has been at the heart of the witch hunt for Labour left wingers is Jeremy Newmark, the chairman of the Jewish Labour Movement.
Jeremy Newmark is the chairman of the Jewish Labour Movement, affiliated to the World Zionist Organisation
The Jewish Labour Movement is affiliated to the UK Labour Party, the Israeli Labour Party and the World Zionist Organisation which, according to the UN, pumps millions into building in the occupied West Bank through its settlement division.
Newmark also worked as chief executive of the Jewish Leadership Council, an anti-Palestinian lobbying group behind numerous attacks on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS).
A right-wing Labour MP and Israel lobby stalwart, Wes Streeting has participated in Israeli government efforts to cast the Palestine solidarity movement as “evil”. He also featured on the radio, together with Newmark, where he claimed that Labour has “now got a problem” and that people think the party is “apathetic to “anti-Semitism”.
Wes Stressing is a loyal Israel stalwart
Streeting is a longstanding member of Progress, a right-wing faction within Labour which continues to support former Prime Minister and war crimes suspect Tony Blair.
In 2009, when Streeting was president of the National Union of Students, he attended an anti-BDS working group in occupied Jerusalem.
The visit was organised by the Israeli Foreign Ministry.
Louise Ellman, Labour MP for Liverpool Riverside, is Chair of the Jewish Labour Movement and Vice-Chair of Labour Friends of Israel
Louise Ellman is a veteran rabid Zionist
She frequently appears on TV warning of Labour’s problem with “anti-Semitism”, without offering a shred of evidence.
In 2009, while the Gaza Strip was being destroyed by the Israeli Wehrmacht, she said at a pro-Israel rally: “We should stand together to stick up for Israel.” She said “nobody is entirely innocent” in Gaza, not even children.
A rabid warmonger, Ellman voted “very strongly for” the Iraq War, “very strongly against” an investigation into that war and “very strongly for” renewal of Trident, Britain’s nuclear weapons programme.
The biggest enemies of Jewish people
Ironically, by conflating Israel and “the Jews”, the smear mongers mentioned above are in fact among the biggest enemies of the Jewish people. As Jamie Stern-Weiner says,
When Israel’s hated prime minister declares himself ‘representative of the entire Jewish people’; when Israel’s apologists cast wholly legitimate criticism of Israel as anti-Semitic; and when leading Jewish communal organisations take every opportunity to come out in support of Israeli war crimes – in short, when Israel and its supporters systematically blur the boundary between Israel and Jews – they cannot complain if some people take them at their word.
So, if you are genuinely against racism – all forms of racism, including anti-Jewish racism – now is the time to take a stand against these bigoted stooges and pimps of Zionism.