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Thursday, 11 August 2016

The New Statesman & the Perpetuation of the Myth of Labour ‘anti-Semitism’

Carrying on a tradition – The New Statesman, Zionism and Imperialism

New Statesman article that complains about anti-Semitism being used as a political football and then does exactly that!
Kingsley Martin - NS's longest serving editor refused to print Orwell's dispatches from Spain because they criticised the Stalinist attacks on the Anarchists and POUM - the NS was an apologist for both Stalinism and Zionism in the 1930's
The New Statesman was founded in 1913 by the Fabians and the Webbs.  [see New Statesman]  As such it was always a paper of that wing of the British establishment that saw the role of the British Empire as one of educating the natives into gradual self-government.  Sydney Webb himself, as Lord Passfield, was Colonial Secretary from 1929-31 in the government of Ramsey MacDonald.  
Owen Jones - the Guardian's resident leftist who writes for NS - has trouble deciding who to support in current leadership battle - has conducted a sympathetic interview with Smith
Except for a very short period of time, the New Statesman has been explicitly supportive of the Zionist settler-colonial movement seeing in the Jewish only Kibbutzim some form of socialist collectivism, whereas they were stockade and watchtower settlements whose purpose was to expand the borders of the future state.
Julia Rampen - editor of Staggers continues the tradition of New Statesman Zionism
Zionism appealed to the Fabians and much of the Labour left.  They talked the language of social democracy even though the Labour Zionists were fiercely anti-socialist, rejecting any suggestion of joint co-operation with the Arabs vs the colonial power, Britain.  That was hardly surprising given that Zionism was dependent on an alliance with British colonialism as envisaged in the Balfour Declaration.
Although the Fabians and the New Statesman preferred to avert their eyes, the Zionist movement sheltered  behind British bayonets every bit as much as their white cousins in South Africa.  They fiercely opposed any measure of self-government because, as settlers, they were in a minority.
Simon Johnson of Jewish Leadership Council lied when claiming that when Owen was booed for saying that anti-Semitism was rife in Labour Party this was an example of 'anti-Semitism' rather than incredulity at his absurd claims
The Fabians and the New Statesman espoused an ideology that held that the Empire was a form of trusteeship, holding the colonies in trust for the natives who were judged not to be ready for self-government.  The Conservatives of course were somewhat more honest and people like Churchill, the bitter enders, refused to countenance Indian independence or accept the idea of decolonisation.
The NS had an influence on people like Andrew Cohen in the Colonial Office who mapped out during the Attlee government a programme of gradual decolonisation.  In Southern Africa these Fabians sponsored the ill-fated Central African Federation which was intended to perpetuate white domination in the colonies of Zambia, Rhodesia and Malawi.  It ended in the Unilateral Declaration of Independence in 1965 in Rhodesia and the ensuing guerilla war.
Lord Passfield aka Sydney Webb - Fabian founder of NS
Although after the Lebanese invasion of 1982 the NS became more sympathetic to the Palestinians and paid lip service to their fight against occupation, it never dropped its support for Zionism.  It remained true to the Zionism of one of its associate editors and later a Minister under Harold Wilson, Richard Crossman.
It is no surprise that today the NS has given full support to the ‘anti-Semitism’ allegations against Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party.  It is a continuation of the same racist and imperialist tradition, except that they dress it up in the language of anti-racism.  
Laurie 'Red' Penney is becoming more of a Pink Penney
In Using anti-Semitism as a political football is damaging for both Labour and the Jewish community Simon Johnson of the unelected Zionist Jewish Leadership Council, argued that ‘we are no closer to ridding political discourse on the left of anti-Semitism’.  What he meant by this was clear when he wrote of the Chakrabarti and Royall reports that ‘neither report came to grips with the vexed issue of anti-Zionism and how the denial of the right of Jewish people to self-determination in a Jewish State could well be anti-Semitic as well.’
Anti-Zionism may indeed vex racists and Zionists because they would prefer that there was no opposition to Israel’s continuing colonisation, not only on the West Bank and its stifling and murderous blockade of Gaza but inside Israel itself.  As Israel lurches ever further to the Right, today attacking even liberal Zionist human rights groups, Zionist supporters like Johnson complain about the denial of ‘Jewish self-determination’ as if Israel’s settler colonial racism was somehow a manifestation of Jewish identity. 
Indeed it is an anti-Semitic argument to argue that it is inherent in Jewish identity to support Israel's war crimes but you don't get appointed to edit 'Staggers' the New Statesman blog, because you are an intellectual.
In the light of Johnson’s comments, the title of his article, in which he complains that anti-Semitism is used as a political football, demonstrates a degree of myopia and lack of self awareness that is quite amazing.  Julia Rampen, the New Statesman’s on-line editor is unable to comprehend what is written on her own blog.  She reacted with incredulity to my suggestion that she allow a right of reply to Johnson’s article.
Rampen doesn’t feel that it is ‘fair at all’ that I suggest that the NS should carry a response from someone who is Jewish and who is suspended for ‘anti-Semitism’ to yet another article alleging ‘anti-Semitism’ in the Labour Party.  Johnson alleged that when Owen Smith was booed in Cardiff for alleging that anti-Semitism was rife in the party, that this was an example of anti-Semitism.  Anyone who wasn’t completely blind would realise that people booed Smith because the allegation of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party is a lie.  It doesn’t exist.
Rampen refers to an inquiry, in fact there were two, by Shami Chakrabarti and Jan Royall.  The latter was complete junk (see Baroness Zionist Royall’s Flawed Report on ‘anti-Semitism’ at Oxford University Labour Club).  Even the Zionists are embarrassed by it.  Chakrabarti’s Inquiry although more proficient [see Chakrabarti – A Missed Opportunity to Develop an Anti-Racist Policy for Labour] did not identify, except in the most general and vague of terms, any anti-Semitism in the Labour Party. 
It is interesting how Rampen raises a straw man (woman!) that I am suggesting that racism doesn’t  exist in the Labour Party.  The ‘anti-Semitism’ witch hunt is an example of the fact that racism is very much alive and kicking – most of those suspended have been  Black or Muslim members of the Labour Party.  As for anti-Semitism, no doubt individual members of the Party may have anti-Semitic prejudices but there is precious little evidence of this.  Virtually all the ‘anti-Semitism’ that has been alleged relates to comments about Zionism and Israel.
That is why the Jewish Labour Movement in its amendment to Party rules dealing with ‘anti-Semitism’ switched tack to complaining that Zionism was being used as a term of abuse.  I copy below the correspondence between us:
Tony Greenstein
On 8 August 2016 at 12:16, Julia Rampen <> wrote:

Hi Tony

Thanks for your feedback, but I don’t think that’s fair at all. As mentioned, I would recommend you look up some of the recent op eds we’ve had from John McDonnell and Diane Abbott, as well as pro-Corbyn pieces from Michael Chessum and Liam Young. As for anti-Semitism, the Labour party has held an inquiry into the subject so it is clearly an issue that some Labour members feel is of concern. Unless you can show evidence that some of the comments reported on in that inquiry or generally by reporters are fake, I’m unclear as to how you could argue your case that it does not exist at all in the Labour party. I would not commission a piece arguing there was “no racism” in the Labour party in the wake of a report into such an issue, or “no misogyny” after the current attacks on female Labour MPs. That doesn’t mean every incident is necessarily true, and we have been selective on what we report on.

Of course there’s an argument that Labour is being unfairly singled out when the Tories have had their own scandals over the years. But that’s another story…

From: Tony Greenstein
Sent: 08 August 2016 12:05
To: Julia Rampen
Subject: Re: What kind of cheap journalism allows the New Statesman to Print False allegations of anti-Semitism?
it's strange that these opinion pieces always seem to reflect received wisdom of the rest of the media.  I've yet to see one piece in the NS which goes against the grain.
As the only Jewish person to be suspended in the LP furore over 'anti-Semitism' I challenge you to offer me the same space as Simon Johnson in order that I can demolish the assumption that anti-Semitism is rampant or indeed exists in the Labour Party.
The reaction of the audience in Cardiff showed what the opinion of the vast majority of people bar your Progress supporters think.  Let's see if you are willing to buck the trend as you once did
Kind regards
Tony Greenstein

On 8 August 2016 at 10:51, Julia Rampen <> wrote:

Hi Tony

Thanks for your email. The article is an opinion piece from someone representing 30 Jewish umbrella organisations. We publish articles from people with many different opinions (we have recently published articles from John  McDonnell and Diane Abbott). If the Labour leadership wished to write an article on this subject we would certainly consider it. We cannot publish articles from every reader, but we do welcome constructive criticism.
Best wishes

From: Tony Greenstein
Sent: 08 August 2016 05:22
To: Newstatesman Letters; Newstatesman Comments
Subject: What kind of cheap journalism allows the New Statesman to Print False allegations of anti-Semitism?

I have been a reader of the New Statesman for nearly 40 years beginning with Bruce Page.  It is now as right-wing as it has ever been.
It appears that the NS is determined to try and ensure the defeat of the first genuinely left-wing leadership of the Labour Party.  In so doing it is happy to lend credence to the falsehoods and inventions of those alleging 'anti-Semitism'.  Has the NS ever actually investigated the allegations?  If it had it would understand just why this is an Orwellian campaign that is determined to prove that Black = White.
As a suspended Jewish member of the Labour Party I would like to have equal space to rebut the utter tripe and nonsense of this poorly written article.  But I guess, given your lack of commitment to any real debate, that that would be an absurd idea to entertain.
I offer a letter by way of response.  We shall see if you have the mettle to publish it.

Tony Greenstein

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