gideon levy on the corbyn witch-hunt

The Contract on Corbyn
Gideon Levy, Haaretz, Nov 28 2019

The Jewish establishment in Britain and the Israeli propaganda machine have taken out a contract on the leader of the British Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn. The contract was taken out a long time ago, and it was clear that the closer Corbyn came to being elected prime minister, the harsher the conflict would get. On Tuesday it reached its climax in an article in The Times by the chief rabbi of Britain, Ephraim Mirvis, who has decided that the anxiety of British Jews over Corbyn is justified and he is not fit to be prime minister. He called on Jews not to vote for Labour in the election on Dec 12. Born in South Africa and a graduate of Har Etzion Yeshiva in the settlement of Alon Shvut, Mirvis is the voice of British Jewry. In Capetown, Johannesburg and Har Etzion, he should have learned what apartheid was and why one should fight it. His parents did so, but one doubts that he learned the moral lesson from the regions of disenfranchisement in which he lived in South Africa and the West Bank. As opposed to the horrid Corbyn, Mirvis sees nothing wrong with the continued occupation; he does not identify with the struggle for Palestinian freedom, and he doesn’t sense the similarity between the South Africa of his childhood, Har Etzion of his youth and Israel of 2019. That is the real reason that he rejects Corbyn. The Jews of Britain also want a prime minister who supports Israel, that is, one who supports the occupation. A prime minister who is critical of Israel is to them an exemplar of the new anti-Semitism.

Corbyn is not an anti-Semite. He never was. His real sin is his staunch position against injustice in the world, including the version Israel perpetrates. Today this is anti-Semitism. The Hungarian Viktor Orban, the Austrian Freedom Party and the extreme right in Europe are not the danger to Jews. Corbyn is the enemy. The new and efficient strategy of Israel and the Zionist establishment brands every seeker of justice as an anti-Semite, and any criticism of Israel as hatred of Jews. Corbyn is a victim of this strategy, which threatens to paralyze and silence Europe with regard to Israel. British Jewry might not be faking its anxiety, but it is certainly magnifying the danger. There is anti-Semitism, though less that what is presented, certainly on the left. About half of British Jews are considering fleeing if Corbyn is elected. Let them flee. The survey that showed this could actually encourage anti-Semitism: Are the Jews of Britain conditionally British? To whom is their loyalty? The future of all British Jews is much more secure than the future of any Palestinian living under the occupation, and even more secure than that of any Arab living in Israel. Jews are persecuted and are victims of discrimination and racism less so than the Palestinians in the Israel they hold dear. Moreover, Islamophobia in Europe is more common than anti-Semitism, but people talk about it less.

Mirvis presents no evidence of Corbyn’s anti-Semitism. It sufficed for him to note the fact that Corbyn described as “friends” those who “endorse the murder of Jews,” a reference to Corbyn’s comments on Hezbollah and Hamas. Corbyn is indeed a very harsh critic of the occupation, supports the boycott and compares the closure of Gaza with the sieges of Stalingrad and Leningrad. These are anti-Israeli positions, but not necessarily anti-Semitic. The Jews of Britain are blurring this difference as are many Jews throughout the world, intentionally. One can (and should) be a harsh critic of Israel without being anti-Semitic. If the Jews of Britain and their chief rabbi were more honest and courageous, they would ask themselves: Isn’t Israel’s brutal occupation policy the strongest motive for anti-Semitism today? There is anti-Semitism, it must be fought, but it must also be recognized that Israel supplies it an abundance of excuses and motives. The Jews and Israel’s true friends should hope that Corbyn is elected. He is a statesman who can change international discourse about the occupation and the struggle against it. He is a ray of hope for a different world and a different Israel, and what more could we want.

UK’s chief rabbi aids right-wing campaign against Corbyn
Jean Shaoul, WSWS, Nov 28 2019

On Tuesday, as Jeremy Corbyn launched Labour’s “race and faith manifesto,” a hitherto unknown group, the Community United against Labour Party Anti-Semitism, set up three billboards mounted on trucks and vans with messages, over a hashtag #NeverCorbyn, reading: “A vote for Labour is a vote for racism,” “Keep anti-Semitism out of Downing Street,” and “A home for holocaust denial and terrorist supporters.” The billboards had been crowdfunded well in advance of the event. As the Labour leader entered the venue, protesters held up placards reading “Racist Corbyn unfit to be PM” and chanted “Racist racist, Corbyn is a racist.” Corbyn was about to launch a manifesto that reads:

A Labour government will build a society and world free from all forms of racism, including anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.

The day before, the Murdoch-owned Times featured an hysterical attack on Corbyn in the form of an op-ed by Ephraim Mirvis, Britain’s chief rabbi. The piece was headlined:

What will become of Jews in Britain if Labour forms the next government?

Mirvis’ attack was unprecedented for an election campaign in the UK, where it is the convention for faith leaders to refrain from endorsing candidates. Accusing Corbyn of anti-Semitism, Mirvis wrote that the Labour leader was responsible for a “poison sanctioned from the top” taking root in the party. Jews were justifiably anxious about the prospect of the party forming the next government, Mirvis claimed. He wrote:

The Jewish community has watched with incredulity as supporters of the Labour leadership have hounded parliamentarians, members and even staff out of the party for challenging anti-Jewish racism.

Advising on how to vote, he declared:

How complicit in prejudice would a leader of Her Majesty’s opposition have to be to be considered unfit for office?

Within hours, the chief rabbi’s slanders were followed by more smears from Justin Welby, the archbishop of Canterbury and leader of the Church of England, long known as “the Tory Party at prayer.” Welby tweeted about the “deep sense of insecurity and fear felt by many British Jews.” On Tuesday evening, amid McCarthyite-style media coverage, Corbyn was interviewed for 30 minutes on the BBC by the former editor of Murdoch’s Sunday Times, Andrew Neil. Neil opened the interview by citing Mirvis’ comments, saying that he was right and repeatedly insisting that Corbyn apologize to British Jews. Corbyn’s efforts to defend himself and his party prompted a second round of front-page headlines and editorials denouncing him as a “hard left” danger.

Everyone should be clear about what is going on. The persecution and hounding of Corbyn is a coordinated right-wing political destabilisation operation aimed at preventing his election and facilitating his subsequent removal as Labour leader. Pindostan is orchestrating this black propaganda campaign, in cahoots with Israel’s lobby groups and the security agencies of the UK and Israel. It is politically led by right-wing Blairites in Corbyn’s own party, the Lib Dems, the Conservative government and a pliant and corrupt pro-business media. The game plan for this offensive was revealed by Trump and Pompeo. Trump said earlier this month on LBC Radio to Farage that he opposed Corbyn being elected as prime minister. This followed an intervention in June, when Pompeo warned that Faschingstein would not allow a Corbyn-led Labour government to take office and would “push back” to prevent it. At the CPMAJO, Pompeo was asked whether he would be willing “to work with us to take on actions if life becomes very difficult for Jews in the UK,” should Corbyn be elected. Pompeo replied:

It could be that Mr Corbyn manages to run the gauntlet and get elected. It’s possible. You should know, we won’t wait for him to do those things to begin to push back. We will do our level best … It’s too risky and too important and too hard once it’s already happened.

The “push-back” is now underway. The Jewish Chronicle has played a central role. On Nov 7, it published a front-page appeal urging non-Jews not to support Labour, which was said to represent “an existential threat” to the Jewish community in Britain. Stephen Pollard, a free market advocate who is the newspaper’s editor, also writes frequently for the Daily Express, the Daily Mail, the Sun and the Daily Telegraph, the right-wing stable of Britain’s press. Jonathan Freedland of the anti-Corbyn Guardian stepped into the fray, suggesting:

British Jews will approach the coming election with a trepidation they have rarely known before.

The Guardian also featured a letter from opponents of Corbyn proclaiming that they would not vote for Labour in the Dec 12 general election because his leadership had made the party anti-Semitic. The signatories included Eurosceptic Conservative author Frederick Forsyth, self-identified “Tory scum” Tony Parsons, the actress Joanna Lumley, Tory businessman Ghanem Nuseibeh, who chairs Muslims Against anti-Semitism, and Maajid Nawaz, the founding chair of Quilliam, a think-tank with intimate connections to the state sheep dipping establishment for box six – RB.

All claims that Labour is an anti-Semitic party are filthy lies. The 2016 Chakrabarti Inquiry found “no evidence” of systemic anti-Semitism in Labour, while a cross party parliamentary Select Committee in 2016 concluded that “there exists no reliable, empirical evidence to support the notion that there is a higher prevalence of anti-Semitic attitudes within the Labour Party than any other political party.” Incidents of anti-Semitism within Labour account for 0.08% of its membership of around 500,000 people, one third the rate in the general population. More generally, a detailed study of attitudes towards Jews and Israel in Britain by the Institute for Jewish Policy Research found that the levels of anti-Semitism were among the lowest in the world, with just 2.4% expressing multiple anti-Semitic attitudes. This contrasts to some 70% having a favourable opinion of Jews. It added that only 17% had a favourable opinion of Israel, with 33% holding an unfavourable view. The Economist published a survey last month finding that the “very left wing” were the least likely to hold anti-Semitic views, while holding by far the most critical views of Israel. Most people made a clear distinction between Israel and Jews, and did not hold Jews responsible for the crimes committed by successive Israeli governments. In contrast, both the “right” and the “centre” tended to conflate Israel and the Jewish people.

Aside from a tiny number of fringe figures, those who are being targeted and accused of anti-Semitism within the Labour Party are anti-Zionists. As the Al Jazeera film The Lobby revealed, the Israeli embassy in London funded a campaign managed by the Labour Friends of Israel to undermine Corbyn because of his longstanding support for Palestinian rights. To this end, the Zionist lobby sought to brand any opposition to Netanyahu’s far-right government and its oppression of the Palestinians as anti-Semitism. Accusations that Corbyn is an anti-Semite and that Labour under his leadership is a threat to Jews must be unconditionally opposed. But those responsible could mount this filthy campaign only because of Corbyn’s refusal to mobilise the hundreds of thousands who joined the Labour Party based on his pledge to oppose austerity and militarism against the Blairite right wing. Instead, faced with slanderous attacks on key allies such as Ken Livingstone, Marc Wadsworth, Jackie Walker and Chris Williamson, Corbyn accepted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism, which declares calling Israel a “racist endeavor” to be anti-Semitic, and then threw his allies to the wolves. From that moment on, opposing the Zionist slanders became impossible under Corbyn’s leadership. In his BBC interview with Andrew Neil, Corbyn squirmed pathetically while accepting that the chief rabbi,” a fanatical Zionist who has described the anti-Muslim racist Boris Johnson as a “long-standing friend,” speaks for the “Jewish community.”

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