Saturday, 30 April 2016

Labour and anti-Semitism revisited

Since my last post the issue of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party has reached a level of hysteria that clearly is no longer an issue of Oxford University Labour Club and a few slightly unhinged individuals.
It has become a full scale attempt to destabilise the leadership and to force a crisis in the party and to try and topple the first Party Leader elected by a huge landslide on an avowedly socialist platform.
Without going over my last blog,where my views are as clear as I can possibly make them,it is time for socialists to take stock of what is happening and understand that this is no existential crisis of a handful of disgruntled,'grunts' but rather a concerted effort to break the will of the majority of Party members and go back to the past and restore a modified Blair-lite Labour party.
Lets get the anti-Semitism out of the way first.
There have been rumblings going on for weeks, the nonsense,largely unproven about in a university Labour Club became the catalyst of something allegedly  dark and sinister in the undergrowth of the Party.
Then there was the constant sniping by MP's and others of Jeremy sharing platforms with unsavoury elements.Whilst of course all this guilt by association has been going on nobody much noticed some Labour MP's happily sharing platforms with Farage and others of the far right.
Nor was much said about Blair and others sharing friendly little tete-a-tetes  with people like Rupert Murdoch and other enemies of the people (or do we politely forget Rupe's newspaper 'the Sun' and the vile comments about Liverpool and Hillsborough ?)
I may not be a sophisticated worldly wide statesman like Blair,but I'd rather share a platform with an elected leader of Sinn Fein than a seriously corrupt newspaper billionaire or his monstrous lackeys.
But no matter.
Then of course there was the stream of rich men,'donors' to the Labour party who promised never to open their bulging wallets again until Jeremy was gone and a cute pro-business leader was installed.
Well bye-bye Lord Sugar,you won't be missed and can we have our peerage back and give it to someone more deserving,like a junior doctor or a hospital porter.
In case you haven't noticed,Bernie Saunders is doing just fine with contributions from millions of ordinary citizens-no fat cats thee to call the tune.
So the story rolled on, and someone unearthed a facebook post by Naz Shah,the young bradford MP that she posted a couple of years ago,at the height of the last bombing campaign against Gaza by the Israeli government.At the time she was not an MP.
But that was enough, and all hell broke out ,she had to resign an unpaid PPS job with the shadow chancellor and was subsequently suspended from the Party.

In hindsight as a post it was a bit daft, but it was NOT anti-Semitic, it was a reference to the Israeli government and at a stretch Zionism.It was aimed at a political target, not a racial,religious or any other target.
She is the sort of young woman the Labour Party should be rejoicing in having as an MP, a fiesty woman who stood against patriarchy in her Muslim community and is brave and outspoken, in my view a bit like Mairi Black of the SNP-the future of British politics, not a time serving Party hack.

And then we have ken Livingstone.I had hoped that he would use his ability to mount a serious defence of Naz, however as so often happens with people like Ken, the ego got in the way.Astonishingly  even George Galloway sounded more diplomatic and stuck to the point.
But of course ken's shorthand of history,and somewhat confused at that,played into the hands of every Blairite that ever there was.
As an aside,if ken has been suspended for bringing the party into disrepute, how come John Mann, hurling public abuse at a fellow Party member with carefully orchestrated TV crews in tow,has got away with a knuckle slap.
it does appear there are two parties at work at the moment,and the slogan appears to be right-right,left-wrong !

I know many comrades feel that the creation of Israel was a mistake back in 1948.That might well be true,and the then Labour Government didn't exactly cover itself in glory,of course when you had a dubious anti-Semitic Foreign Secretary in Ernie Bevin chaos was bound to be the order of the day.But that was then,
There can only be one solution left and that is the two nation solution.As a Scot I find it hard not to support the right of small nations to self-determination, and it would be hypocritical if I argued that for Scotland and Palestine and not for Israel.The state exists-end of!
And it is wrong for the left to see Zionism as one homogenous block,one ideology,one size fits all solution.Right from the start of the Zionist movement there was a progressive wing as well as a reactionary religious wing.many European socialist and trade unionists who were Jewish believed in a national homeland, and were also happy to work and live with their Arab neighbours,and of course there is a sizeable number of Arabic Jews -after all they are all Semitic people.
So forget the hysteria,ignore the siren voices who are using this narrative to undermine the leadership of the Labour Party.There is far too much feigned outrage and far to little comradeship on display.

just in case you forget what it's all about listen to Ruthie Gorton's song on YouTube'To Understand Oppression is to be a Jew-so Free Palestine Now'.

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