8 August 2016

The Lies & Deceit of the New Statesman - the Staggers Reverts to Type

Simon Johnson of JLC Repeats the Same Slurs & Falsehoods About Anti-Semitism

Corbyn - in the Stagger's sights
The New Statesman has, or used to have a reputation as a left-wing weekly, albeit of the  Fabian persuasion.  On imperial adventures it was, unlike Tribune, very much a supporter of the idea of ‘trusteeship’, the concept of civilising the natives to bring them up to our standards.  Racism and the Staggers always went hand in hand.
The same nonsense that appears in the Mail and Guardian
Kingsley Martin - the first and longest serving editor of the NS
For a short period under Bruce Page and around the time of the Bennite resurgence in the early 1980’s it underwent a left-wing surge but of late it has reverted back to its earlier right-wing roots under Kingsley Amis and Paul Johnson.
The NS's fake left cultural feminist Laurie 'Red' Penney
The New Statesman has a number of soft left journalists like Owen Jones, who is rapidly moving to the Right as he distances himself from the Jeremy Corbyn leadership and Laurie ‘red’ Penney who in America would be called a PEP, Progressive Except on Palestine.
First edition of the New Statesman

My particular ire is with a particularly outrageous article by the Chief Executive of the Jewish Leadership Council, a body that is wholly unelected and represents the major Zionist and Jewish organisations in Britain.  In this absurd piece of writing, which reads more as a press release than a piece of considered journalism, Johnson alleges that the booing of Owen Smith, in his debate with Jeremy Corbyn, for saying the Labour Party was overrun by anti-Semitism was because it was infested with ‘left anti-Semitism’.

The obvious reason for the booing was because nearly all Labour Party members (i.e. other than Progress members) know that allegations of anti-Semitism are a media manufactured myth weaponised to destroy the Jeremy Corbyn leadership.

I have sent in a long letter to the New Statesman.  I’m sure they won’t publish it so I am putting it on the blog instead.  In fact the only reason I wrote it was to let the editors and writers at the NS know what I thought of their pretentious publication.

Monday, 08 August 2016

Letters Editor
The New Statesman
7 Carmelite Street

Dear Sir or Madam,

Simon Johnson of the Jewish Leadership Council complaining about the use of anti-Semitism as a political football is like an arsonist who complains at the results of his own endeavours. [New Statesman, 5th August]  No organisation has been more assiduous in weaponising anti-Semitism than the Jewish Leadership Council, a wholly unelected, unaccountable organisation.

The New Statesman used to be proud of its independent journalism, bucking the trend, not going along with the received wisdom of the day.  What possible reason was there for publishing a hack article that repeats the same old lies and myths about ‘left anti-Semitism’?  The Daily Mail and Guardian provide us with an ample diet of such junk journalism.

Johnson describes the booing of Owen Smith, when he spoke about anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, as an example of anti-Semitism.  His explanation was entirely disingenuous.  Owen Smith was booed because the audience knew that allegations of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party were false.  They are a prime example of a media manufactured, orchestrated series of lies. 
Anti-Semitism was used as a means of attacking Jeremy Corbyn even before he was elected.  At first it was the allegation that he consorted with a holocaust denier and then it morphed into friendship with ‘terrorists’.  Along the way Oxford University Labour Club was accused of anti-Semitism because it dared to support Israel Apartheid Week. 

What other description is apt for a state that refuses to allow the Palestinian refugees to return, because they are not Jewish, whilst allowing me to ‘return’ to a place I have never lived in?  There are over 50 specific laws discriminating against Palestinian Israelis such as refusing to allow them to live in Israel if they marry Palestinians outside the country.  Apartheid?  Perish the thought.
False accusations of anti-Semitism are of benefit only to anti-Semites who can then hide behind the cloak of anti-Zionism.  It is the ‘boy cried wolf’ syndrome.

Opposition to Israel’s racist politics and apartheid policies have nothing whatever to do with anti-Semitism.  Unfortunately the New Statesman doesn’t cover Israeli racism.  The fact that there are now mobs in Israel who march to the drumbeat of ‘Death to the Arabs’ should give even Simon Johnson pause for thought.  If Jews in this country were subject to the same treatment as Arabs in Israel they would be the first to cry ‘anti-Semitism’.

The attack on Shami Chakrabarti because she has been made a peer and the inference that her report was affected by the promise of a peerage is pretty despicable and desperate politics.

I am a Jewish member of the Labour Party who has been suspended in the anti-Semitism furore.  The fact that I have been an anti-racist and anti-fascist activist throughout my life is irrelevant.  I drew the conclusion long ago that if you oppose anti-Semitism then you should be consistent and oppose all forms of racism, Zionism included.  Apparently Simon Johnson and the New Statesman disagree.
Yours faithfully,

Tony Greenstein

Stop politicising anti-Semitism, or it will become even more embedded in the left of British politics than it was before.
By Simon Johnson

I watched the Labour party leadership hustings on Thursday night and was depressed to hear loud booing of Owen Smith when he told Jeremy Corbyn that anti-Semitism has been worse in the Labour Party in the last nine months than at any time he can remember.

I asked myself, how have the last six months, in which Labour was supposed to be getting a grip on anti-Semitism, brought us to this point?

Six months, in which two inquiries have been published – one official, one leaked – and one still to come, and we are no closer to ridding political discourse on the left of anti-Semitism. In fact, all that has happened over the last six months is that anti-Semitism has become a political football, used to divide people as being loyal to the Leader or disloyal.

What has happened to the cross-party consensus against racism? Why has a political party founded on equality and tolerance become the focus for division and bullying?

On Wednesday morning, the full version of the Royall Report into allegations of anti-Semitism among Labour-supporting students at Oxford University was leaked to Jewish press. Having read the full report, there are no huge revelations or scandals. So the Jewish community is left to scratch its head and wonder, why did the Labour NEC try for so long to conceal the full version from the Jewish community or the students who were the alleged victims of the abuse?

It was a bizarre move that left the Jewish student movement, especially at Oxford, feeling isolated. Any real gain from the report – and there would have been some – has been overshadowed by the pantomime of whether it would be released.

Then on Thursday came the confirmation that Shami Chakrabarti was to be the only Labour peer in the new list. After Jeremy Corbyn’s commitment to never make a peer, the fact he recommended the supposedly politically independent leader of an inquiry into anti-Semitism has undermined much of the process in the eyes of the community. Social media is frothing with anger.

Chakrabarti is a public servant who possibly would have deserved an honour for her work at Liberty. However, the timing and circumstance of her elevation have undermined the integrity of the investigation and report in the eyes of the Jewish community.

Organisations such as my own engaged in good faith with the inquiry on the basis of assurances that it would be fearless, robust and independent. It has turned out to be none of those things. It now confirms our fears that, from the outset, the inquiry was a device to push damaging allegations off the frontpage.

Chakrabarti and Seamus Milne now have questions to answer on when the peerage was offered and whether there was any link to the commissioning or content of the report, or its aftermath.

The booing of Smith tells us that one’s view on anti-Semitism now determines where you stand on the leadership of the Labour party. If you raise the issue of anti-Semitism in the party, you risk being shouted down as disloyal or part of a witch-hunt. If you are loyal to the Leader, you condemn the raising of any such concerns as an act of disloyalty or part of a plot by embittered Blairites.

I still don’t understand why anti-Semitism is not clamped down on in the same way that has been effective for other forms of racism?  As Corbyn said, just a few weeks ago, Jews and Poale Zion (a Jewish Labour Movement) helped found the Labour party alongside the trade unions over 100 years ago. There are many within our community who not only associate themselves with Labour; they are actively part of the movement and embrace all sides of it.

The Labour party has always taken the lead on equality, tolerance and discrimination. But for some reason, ancient stereotypes such as the conspiratorial power of the minority continue and this becomes more intense when the discourse moves on to the subject of Israel.

The left cannot see that its constant and disproportionate criticism of Israeli government policies could ever stray across into anti-Semitism. At least the Chakrabarti report gave some clear examples of where it does. It’s a good thing it did, because it is beginning to look as though the Labour party’s problem is less with anti-Semitism than with the denial of anti-Semitism.

It is also regrettable 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.

Many within the Jewish community would agree that nothing has been achieved in the last six months. If anything, anti-Semitism has become more embedded in the left of British politics than it was before.

The Jewish community does not want to become a football in party politics. We would all be happy if there was a zero-tolerance, strict liability approach to anti-Semitism in society, politics and in all political parties.

We did not need three inquiries to tell us that!

Simon Johnson is the chief executive of the Jewish Leadership Council.

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