Sunday, 10 April 2016
The Labour Party and anti-semitism
The 'Mail on Sunday' is a newspaper,no,it is not a 'newspaper' it is at best a comic and at worst a salacious journal of misrepresentation and outright abuse.
It has of course a long history of misrepresentation,lies and campaigning for the wrong cause at the wrong time.
Lest we ever forget, Lord Rothermere's paper in the 1930's was first to proclaim 'Hurrah for the Blackshirts' and gave away free tickets for Mosley's rallies in London .
It was of course the principal cheerleader for Hitler and appeasement.
Find a reactionary cause,and I can guarantee you'll find 'The Mail' standing four square behind it.
I can only assume that those who work for it are either paid outlandishly large sums or actually share the reactionary tosh that they write.
I find that a pity as they have had,and still do,have some talented journalists,so unless they are out and out xenophobes,mini-Farages,crypto fascists or simply bonkers then the only judgement that can be made is that they write only for the money and therefore are prostituting what talent they have.
So when a Rotheremere hack has a belt at junior doctors for letting down their profession,or teachers for selling out the youngsters they teach or social workers for failing the vulnerable-just remember who is voicing the garbage and why they are doing it!
They have always hated the Labour Party and the Labour movement and progressive thought generally.
The Mail,and indeed papers like it (that is most of the British press) would of course all prefer to exist in a world of Tories and Whigs when there was deference to authority,the crown,the military our betters and even the Church of England !
many of their views are so pre-enlightenment that they would have fitted in well in Tudor England (of course that tiresome old radical Wm. Shakespeare would have been stuck writing comedies and little else)
But we are stuck where we are,and almost implausibly the Mail and the Mail on Sunday are determined to tell the Labour Party to be responsible and be a grown up opposition and do the right thing (right being the operative word) and exile all those in the Labour Party that sound like socialists=the only surprise is that there are no longer any 'Get back to Russia' headlines,so they make do with 'Get back to North Korea' and stuff like that.
The real implausibility of all this is the campaign they are running about alleged 'anti-Semitism' in the Labour Party.Despite the fact that Jeremy Corbyn has indicated that there is no place for anti-Semitism or racialism in the Labour Party and never will be, and this has resulted already in suspensions of people accused of writing apparently anti Semitic provocations.
And so it should be and so it always will be.
When I was a fourteen year old boy in London the first movement I joined,even before CND and CARD, was the Yellow Star Movement.It began in the East End of London just as Mosely's Union Movement was starting to stir again(remember who was Oswald's biggest backer!) and what Yellow Star did was pursued a policy of 'No Platform for Fascists'.This was not done in the quiet surroundings of university common rooms but rather on the streets of Hackney and Islington, in street markets and on street corners.
And Yellow Star didn't go in for polite heckling or holding carefully worded placards.
When we said no platform,.that was quite simply what we did.We cut the wires on their microphones and trashed their platforms.
Crude but effective.many of our supporters were ex-army,many were Communist Party members,many were Jewish lads,many were local trade unionists.
We were ferried round to the fascists meetings in black cabs,driven by sympathetic Jewish cabbies,and all good trade unionists too.
Like so many on the left what weakens our cause is attempts to whip up hate against anyone because of their race,colour,belief or indeed anything that sets one group against another.
I can't deny that within some sections of the'left' there is an element of anti-Semitism.Some of the small Trotskyite sects have we know relied in the past for funding from some dubious Arab governments.They have conflated support for Palestine with a militant anti-Zionism and that has in some cases transmuted into so meting that can be seen as anti-Jewish.
Similarly some of the Arab groups have done the same, and as long as some on the outer fringes of Arab nationalism believe that the 'Protocols of the Elders of Zion' was a real document,then there will always be battles to be fought ideologically.
Yet as I like to quote a song by Ruthie Gorton I heard over 40 years ago:
"To understand oppression is to be a Jew,
So free Palestine Now!"
is a good guiding principle.
So if there are a small number of misguided people in the Labour Party who are anti-Semitic, then they must go.However the Labour Party must always be striving for unity amongst all people,and we are where we are,and so sometime there must be a settlement in the Middle East that frees the Palestinian people from the incarceration of refugee camps for generations, and there must in return be a recognition that Israel exists and a two,three ,however many it takes,state solution must be found.
You know the oddest part of the whole story is that Arabs and Jews are both Semitic people and lived together harmoniously for centuries!
And one last point, it's time that some Labour MP's and 'donors' stopped their drip drip campaign against the Labour Party leadership-and stopped taking the Rotheremere shilling!
Now that would be progress.