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Still Smearing Jeremy Corbyn

Photo by Garry Knight | CC BY 2.0

My previous piece in CounterPunch indicated how Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of UK’s opposition Labour Party, has in recent weeks endured several media-driven accusations about being a Czech spy in Cold War days; that he is a “Putin stooge” for wanting detailed evidence when a Russian double agent, exiled in the UK, and his daughter visiting from Russia, were attacked by toxic nerve agent;  and that Corbyn is somehow “a figurehead for antisemitism” or has a “blindspot for antisemitism” where his party is concerned.

The Czech spy charge resulted in Corbyn’s main accuser, a Conservative MP, settling out of court for damages.

The “Putin stooge” accusations have subsided for now.  In a pointed editorial in Le Monde Diplomatique (now republished in CounterPunch), titled “License to Kill”, Serge Halimi mentioned that Russia is only one among several countries using “extraterritorial assassination” as a way to liquidate supposed traitors or opponents.

Few of these countries, apart from Russia, have incurred international condemnation.

Foremost among the deployers of “extraterritorial assassination” are Israel and the US (Obama, the winner of the Nobel Peace (sic) Prize, alone authorized more than 2,300 such killings during his presidency).

Other countries resorting to state-sponsored assassinations include France (at least one a month during the presidency of the “socialist” Hollande), Germany, and Chile.

Orlando Letelier, a minister under the assassinated Chilean president Salvador Allende who subsequently took up exile in the US, was murdered in Washington DC by a car bomb placed by agents of Allende’s killer Augusto Pinochet.

It was later revealed that the CIA had advance knowledge of the attempt to be made on Letelier’s life but did nothing to stop Pinochet’s henchmen.

The murder of Letelier, and an American co-worker who was a passenger in the bombed car, did not stop Margaret Thatcher from visiting Pinochet for afternoon tea and presenting him with a silver platter when the dictator was under house arrest in London, while he was being charged in a Spanish court with responsibility for the murders of Spanish-Chilean dual citizens during his brutal dictatorship (the UK’s Labour government was respecting the terms of an extradition agreement with Spain).

No one today seems to be reminding the current prime minister, Theresa May, of her Tory predecessor’s sordid admiration for the assassin Pinochet.

Putin, if he was responsible for poisoning the Russian exile and his daughter, was only emulating the example of someone enshrined in the pantheon of rightwing dictators long admired by UK Conservatives.

However, there still remains no conclusive evidence that responsibility for the attack on the two Russians in the UK lies with Putin and his associates.

The UK government’s chemical and biological weapons establishment at Porton Down has just said there is no decisive evidence that the toxic agent originated in Russia.

Meanwhile, Corbyn and his associates continue to be accused of “antisemitism” by the media and the Blairite cobras in his own party.

While it is impossible to deny that there are some antisemites in the Labour Party, and that every effort must therefore be made by the party to sever links with them, it is equally clear that Corbyn is being smeared by his accusers.

Hardly a month goes by without some member of the UK elite being discovered to have a fondness for Nazi uniforms (or hanging-out with those who wear them) or being caught enjoying the company of proven antisemites.

The latest in this line of antisemitic infamy is Jacob Rees-Mogg, an antediluvian Tory MP widely referred to in the media as “the Hon Member for the 18th Century”, but somehow viewed as a leading contender to replace the hapless May the Maybot as the next Tory leader.

Rees-Mogg, whose self-caricature is that of an upper-class twit in a Monty Python skit (somehow we Brits just love these types in real life!), has a deep personal enthusiasm for off-shore tax dodging schemes, wants abortions to be outlawed even for those who are victims of rape and incest, and has said that health and safety standards which are “good enough” for India would be just fine for molly-coddled British workers.

If only a Bhopal-standard chemical plant could be built right next to Wentworth House, the twit’s palatial country mansion!

Rees-Mogg was reported in The Mirror newspaper in January this year as “deeply regretting” attending a dinner five years ago at which he was photographed sitting next to Gregory Lauder-Frost, vice-president of the Traditional Britain Group.  Rees-Mogg had been warned beforehand of Lauder-Frost’s open racism and antisemitism, but still chose to sup with him.

According to The Mirror, Lauder-Frost had been caught on tape referring to the anti-racist campaigner Baroness Doreen Lawrence (whose son Stephen was murdered by a white racist gang in 1993) as “a n*****”, and saying of the broadcaster Vanessa Feltz: “She’s a fat Jewish s**g, she’s revolting, revolting. She lives with a negro. She’s horrible”.

Such disclosures about Rees-Mogg have not been taken-up en masse by the UK’s mainstream media, and the Hon Member for the 18thCentury continues to be a frontrunner to replace the Maybot.

Rees-Mogg, who consorts with known antisemites, is of course a prominent member of the Conservative Friends of Israel– as I mentioned last week, pro-Zionism and antisemitism are not mutually exclusive, and can and do accompany each other in American and European rightwing politics.

Also not publicized by the mainstream media are the links rightwing UK Conservative politicians have with their equally rightwing antisemitic counterparts in Poland and Hungary.

UK Conservative politicians who are members of the European parliament bloc-vote there with openly antisemitic rightwing parties from Hungary and Poland in the European Conservatives and Reformists Group.

The above was pointed out by the more than forty senior UK-based academics, including CounterPuncherNeve Gordon, who wrote to condemn what they view as an anti-Corbyn bias in media coverage of the “antisemitism” debate.

Further indication that the charge of “anti-semitism” is a cloak used to stigmatize Corbyn for his longtime anti-Zionism came from the criticism he incurred this week for spending the Passover Seder with the radical-left and anti-Zionist Jewish group Jewdas.

Corbyn’s attendance at the Jewdas event was portrayed in most of the media as the equivalent of a finger-flip to “mainstream Jews” — as if to imply that principled opposition to Israel’s illegalities vis-à-vis the Palestinians, which lies at the heart of the anti-Zionism of a Jewish group like Jewdas, is somehow incompatible with being a “mainstream Jew”.

Moreover, if Corbyn is an “antisemite”, why would he attend an important event in the Jewish religious calendar?

Rees-Mogg, endlessly fawned over by the media, would probably not be seen dead at a Passover Seder!  Dining with white English xenophobes and racists is clearly more his sort of thing.

The controversy over Jewdas lets the proverbial cat out of the bag.  Many of us know that accusations of “antisemitism”, and worse, are used by Zionists to let Israel off the hook for its grievous breaches of international law.  It is impossible to state the matter in a more obvious way.

Meanwhile, The Huffington Post reports that membership of the Labour Party, already the largest in Europe, has grown by nearly 1,000 since the antisemitism protest in Parliament Square on March 26 (though 470 actively quit in that time).

Also noteworthy is the silence of the Labour politicians who accuse Corbyn of being “soft” on antisemitism, regarding last week’s Land Day demonstration in Gaza, where the Israeli army killed 18 Palestinian civilians and wounded 773 more, many reportedly shot in the back.

A second demonstration in Gaza this week resulted in the deaths of another 8 unarmed Gazans (including a journalist covering the protests) with scores injured.

Shooting unarmed protesters resisting the illegal occupation of their land is a clear violation of international law, and yet the Labour politicians accusing Corbyn of “antisemitism” have not spoken out about this deadly breach of international law, which of course is only one of many tens of thousands since Israel declared its illegal independence in 1948.

This silence speaks volumes about the priorities of these de facto pro-Zionist Labour politicians.

More articles by:

Kenneth Surin teaches at Duke University, North Carolina.  He lives in Blacksburg, Virginia.

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