FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Why Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis is Wrong About Labor Anti-Semitism

The Tories strategy for ‘hiding’ their deep-rooted racism involves them perpetuating gratuitous acts of racism so regularly that they are effectively normalised. Nothing to report here apparently.

Yet the corporate-owned, Tory-supporting media can’t stop discussing Labour’s alleged racism, which has them furiously salivating over Jeremy Corbyn’s covert anti-Semitism.

The main reason for this focus revolves around Corbyn’s legitimate criticisms of the far-right government that maintains an iron rule over Israel. But these views are not Corbyn’s alone and are well-supported by the public and by hundreds of thousands of Labour members.

Hence it is significant that the Labour Party’s current manifesto pledges that a Labour government would “immediately suspend the sale of arms” to Israel, halting the flow of weapons that are currently being used to violate the human rights of Palestinian civilians. This pledge also extends to suspending the provision of arms to Saudi Arabia (with reference to their use in Yemen), and as the manifesto adds: Labour will “conduct a root-and-branch reform of our arms exports regime so ministers can never again turn a blind eye to British-made weapons being used to target innocent civilians.”

Such bold actions clearly enrage all those uncritical supporters of Israel, which is why the Tory-supporting Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis made headlines today with his unfounded accusations that Corbyn was a dangerous anti-Semite.

This smear campaign of course informed the lead story on BBC Radio 2’s flagship news program, with Jeremy Vine allowing ex-Labour MP Ian Austin (and longstanding supporter of the Israeli government) to meld nearly all of the false accusations of anti-Semitism that have been laid against Corbyn into his own diatribe.

Compared to the previous day’s radio show — where Vine had two Tories attack Corbyn and the Labour manifesto under the guise of discussing the release of the Conservative Party’s manifesto — Austin’s anti-Corbyn hate-speech was at least countered by a Labour supporter. Thus Jonathan Rosenhead, a representative of Jewish Voice for Labour, successfully refuted some of Austin’s lies. And importantly, when Vine asked Rosenhead why Corbyn had been slow on kicking people out of the party, he pointed out:

“What happened in the early days was that the party machine was still staffed by people who were employed under Tony Blair and were actually undermining Corbyn, and they held-back on those disciplinary cases [concerning anti-Semitism] to make the Labour Party look bad. I am afraid that there are people in the Labour Party who have been trying to make sure that Corbyn does not become Prime Minister.”

This Blairite problem is far from over, and a large proportion of Labour MP’s and councillors still oppose both Corbyn and the socialist policies backed by the vast majority of the Labour Party’s membership. This is precisely why socialists have continually raised the need for the reintroduction of mandatory reselection processes within the party to allow genuine working-class fighters to replace many of the right-wing leaders still ensconced in positions of leadership many of whom are keen supporters of the actions of the Israeli government.

Irrespective of the contorted views of such Labour right-wingers, there are many good reasons why many people in both Britain and Israel fight against the brutal actions of the Israeli state, and it is certainly not anti-Semitic to oppose the oppression of the Palestinian people. Indeed, the deep-seated nature of this problem reared its head again in yesterday’s news when it became clear that the Israeli government had decided to deport the local Director of Human Rights Watch from Israel because his organisation has urged businesses to stop operating in illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank. Hardly a reason for a so-called democratic state to deport someone!

The Tories of course do not take issue with such anti-democratic actions that are being carried out by the Israeli government, which is why in their own latest attack on British democratic rights their manifesto commits to “ban[ning] public bodies from imposing their own direct or indirect boycotts, disinvestment or sanctions campaigns against foreign countries.” This pledge is clearly focused upon Israel, which is precisely why Conservative Friends of Israel were so quick to welcome the Tories commitment to “ban[ning[ councils from boycotting products from Israel.”

Besides the ongoing tragedy’s in the Middle East, there is much injustice across the globe, which is why electing a Labour government will help provide much-needed sustenance to people fighting oppressive regimes all over the world. Corbyn has already pledged to end our government’s involvement in supporting human rights abuses worldwide which would represent a massive step forward for working-class struggles everywhere, and Corbyn’s policies to foreground workers’ rights and to nationalise key industries will no doubt continue to inspire socialist action globally.

This is why it is so critical that at this current juncture that we work towards building vibrant mass movements to help elect a Labour government, and build the necessary groundswell of popular support that will enable an incoming Corbyn government to make good on its socialist promises. Moreover, if we are serious about the restructuring of society along democratic and socialist lines then there is no doubt that we will need to go further than Corbyn has so far been willing to go in his manifesto demands, including not least the nationalisation of the finance sector under democratic workers control. Now let’s get on with the task of electing a Labour government and work towards building a mass movement for socialist change that will really have the Tories quaking in their boots!

For further discussion of the anti-Semitism smears, see my earlier articles:

The Hypocritical Roots of the Anti-Semitic ‘Mear One’ Smear Against Corbyn” (March 25, 2018)

How Corbyn’s Critics Use the Accusation of Anti-Semitism As a Weapon to ‘Embarrass the Left’” (July 28, 2018)

Corbyn Attack-Piece in The Times Inadvertently Traces Anti-Semitism to the Tories” (September 2, 2018)

The Blairite Roots of the IHRA Controversy” (September 5, 2018)

 

More articles by:

Michael Barker is the author of Under the Mask of Philanthropy (2017).

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
January 29, 2020
Jefferson Morley
Weakest Link: Impeachment and National Security
Peter Lackowski
Venezuela, January 2020: Hardship and Resistance
Kenneth Surin
BoJo Johnson’s Brexit Fantasies
Ron Jacobs
The Swamp That Trump Built
Scott Corey
A Different Impeachment
Peter Cohen
How to Survive this Election
Manuel García, Jr.
Mutually Assured Madness: Immunity to the 25th Amendment
John Kendall Hawkins
Soviet Hippies: The Grass is Greener on the Other Side
Chandra Muzaffar
The International Court of Justice and the Rohingyas
John Grant
Iran is Not Responsible for US Deaths in Iraq
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
The World Demands Us Out of the Middle East
Shawn Fremstad
Marital-Status Discrimination Reduces Fertility in China
Lawrence Wittner
Could the Climate Crisis be “The Good News of Damnation”?
Tom Engelhardt
The Fate of the Earth (See Page Five)
Myles Hoenig
Why the Green Party isn’t the Problem
January 28, 2020
Patrick Cockburn
China’s Coronavirus Outbreak Reminds Me of the Irish Polio Epidemic I Survived
P. Sainath
Making Rebellion Attractive: Why the Establishment Still Hates John Reed
Geoff Dutton
Where Was Rudy Giuliani When Democrats Needed Him?
Sam Pizzigati
The Evolution of “Davos Man” into . . . Trump Fan!
Jeremy Kuzmarov
Truth a Major Casualty of Impeachment Hearings
Michael Welton
Autobiographical Roots of Habermas’ Thought
Greta Anderson
Remove the Livestock, Not the Wolves
Nick Pemberton
Sorry Chomsky and Friends, The Green Party isn’t the Problem
Jack Rasmus
Trump’s Feeble Phase 1 China-US Trade Deal
Mike Garrity – Jason Christensen
Natural Gas Pipeline Corridor Threatens Imperiled Species and Inventoried Roadless Areas
Daniel Falcone
Make America Radical Again: A Conversation with Harvey J. Kaye
Binoy Kampmark
Split Hearings: the Assange Extradition Case Drags On
Eric Toussaint
Greece: a Chronology From January 25, 2015 to 2019
Nino Pagliccia
An Open Letter to Justin Trudeau on Venezuela
Robert Hunziker
Reflections of a Scientific Humanist
Jeffrey St. Clair
Who Cares If It Leaks? An Afternoon at Hollyhock House
January 27, 2020
Peter Harrison
Adani and the Purpose of Education
Dean Baker
Can Manufacturing Workers Take Many More of Trump’s Trade “Victories”?
Robert Fisk
Trump in Davos: US isolationism is Reaching Its Final Narcissistic Chapter
Ariel Dorfman
The Challenge for Chile and the World
Victor Grossman
The Misuses of Antisemitism in the UK and the USA
Thomas Knapp
Bernie Sanders, Joe Rogan, Human Rights Campaign, and Truth in Advertising
Fred Gardner
NewsGuard Can Save You From Putin!
Lawrence Wittner
A Historian Reflects on the Return of Fascism
Rose Miriam Elizalde
Cuba: a Matter of Principle
Bob Topper
The Better Moral Creed
George Wuerthner
Giving Cover to the Abuses of Big Ag
Christopher Packham
This is Really Happening
Negin Owliaei
Americans Need to Hear More From Iranians, Here’s Where to Start
Ted Rall
Corporate Crap That Doesn’t Kill Bernie
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail