It would appear today that the actress Maureen Lipman has left the Labour Party once again, she left it a few months ago but it seems,well according to the Mail on Sunday that she has decided to leave again.
Fine, there are a lot of people I think the Labour Party could lose, not least Blair,Mandelson,Danzuck and loads of others that should never really have been in the Labour Party,but I'm strangely sorry to see Lipman leave again.
I'm sorry not because I think she is a great loss but the reason she has given for her departure. It is an accusation of anti-Semitism that I find disturbing,and it's one that appears to be gaining currency on the more irrational fringes of pernicious anti- socialism.
It is interesting that whilst they link it to Jeremy Corbyn all the critics are at pain to explain that they do not believe that Jeremy himself is anti-Semitic but it is the trope of guilt by association, you're not an anti-Semite but you know someone who is.
I've written about this topic before and I'm sure I will again, but I think it is an argument worth repeating as often as necessary and as in the past I prefix it with a quote from a wonderful song by Ruthie Gorton:
"TO understand oppression is to be a Jew,
so Free Palestine now."
At a time in the world's history when millions are travelling the world dispossed of their homes,dying in dreadful conditions,suffering unimaginable hardship and being victims every which way they turn it's worth casting our minds back to the last great exodus of people all over Europe.
When World war Two ended millions wee fleeing persecution and cruelty from countries they no longer felt safe in. Most ofvthe refugees then were displaced Jewish families,victims of the holocaust without a state and without any prospect of finding one.
many went to America but a large number wanted their own homeland and the prospect of the State of Israel offered a sanctuary.
The Jewish homeland had beeen a dream of Zionists since the 19th century and of course that homeland was located in Palestine.
That was of course the big problem, because Palestine was already occupied by Palestinian Arabs who had settled for centuries.A difficult problem but frankly not an intractable one, after all the people were all Semitic and had a great deal in common, Arab tribes and Jewish tribes had lived peaceably foe centuries and indeed many of the early Zionist pioneers saw no great difficulties.
But of course what people saw and what great power politics wanted were two very different things.They was a world view,not a full blown conspiracy theory but one that recognised that the Middle East was the most important region in the world because it was the most important source of oil and anything that could keep the region volatile could allow for 'intervention' at any time.
Afterv all the theatre of war in WW2 was not about a few million miles of sand, it was about controlling the oil fieldsfor the future.Britain,France and the United States had powerful oil companies and they wanted a degree of instability in the region that would ensure their presence.
Since the end of WW2 thee has been turmoil and chaos in the region, the West has pursued an aggressive policy of supporting Israel financially and militarily, and at the same time picking and choosing various client states like Saudi Arabia,Quatar, and so on and encouraging division amongst Moslem people.
The Middle East has never had a days peace since the end of the last war, and the people throughout the region have paid a very heavy price .
What has been done cannot simply be 'undone', we see on a daily basis what is the human price of intervention-remember the WMD that Saddam was supposed to have and the consequences.
And our flexible approach to human rights violations, Assad is a cruel tyrant yet the Saudi Royal family are pussy cats who deserve all the high quality armaments we can flog to them!
But we are where we are, and as far as I can see the only long lasting solution lies in the two state option,guaranteed by effective United Nations action.
And any two nation solution must look beyond the current boundaries.It is intolerable that the palestinian people are confined to two overcrowded and insufficient ghettoes.Any permanent settlement must spread beyond current borders and must involve land annexed from other parts of the region.Saudi Arabia is a vast empty land that could easily accommodate large Palestinian communities-mind you that might mean them having to give up some oil reserves and embrace human rights,but I think they owe it to the Palestinian people.
I believe that the only solution is one of co-operation and the building of secular states throughout the region.Of course I'm aware of the reluctance of the great powers to give up their power bases, and the religious maniacs on all sides to abandon their primitive beliefs and a kinder vision of politics that places human worth and solidarity above all else.
And to do that most effectively we need to defeat the worst and greatest scourge of the human species-racism in all its forms!