Chuka Ummuna prefers to fight ‘anti-Semitism’ - the new anti-communism - rather than the Windrush Scandal
Even Labour MP Keith Vaz has joined Clive Lewis in opposing Marc Wadsworth’s racist expulsion. Even Vaz can see the naked racism that was evidenced in the lynch mob when 20+ White Labour MPs accompanying Ruth Smeeth to Marc’s disciplinary hearing. Even Keith Vaz, who has long been on the right of the Labour Party has been sufficiently angered by the blatant racism of Maggi Cosins and the National Kangaroo Court. But not Chuka Ummuna, Progress's ever faithful lap dog.
Last Monday, two days before the beginning of Marc’s hearing, the Independent carried an article by Chuka Ummuna on Labour’s false anti-Semitism campaign. Chuka is too modest or rather dishonest to acknowledge that, as a loyal Blairite, he failed to vote against the 2014 Immigration Act, which led to the Windrush Affair. Let us remind ourselves that this Act, whose purpose was to create a ‘hostile environment’ to ‘illegal immigrants’, set a new low in British racism by effectively removing citizenship from those who had previously been granted it automatically by virtue of section 1(1) of the 1948 British Nationality Act. Only Israel removes citizenship en masse from its (Arab) citizens.
First the Tories destroyed thousands of landing cards which were the proof of the right to citizenship of Black people from the West Indies under the 1948 Act. The 2014 Act then shifted the burden of proof from the State to the individual to prove they were citizens. In effect if you are Black it was assumed that you weren’t a citizen unless you could prove otherwise. Those without passports or who hadn’t formally acquired citizenship, had to prove that they were British citizens which meant proving when they entered Britain. They also had to prove that they were in this country for every year since their arrival and to do that they had to supply 4 sets of documents for each year. An almost impossible task.
Chuka however is not interested in the Windrush scandal. It is beneath him. Racism against Black people bores him. He is an honorary White. Black people have described him to me as a coconut. I pass no judgement. Thus he has set himself up as an expert on ‘anti-Semitism’, the false anti-racism of the Right. All of Chuka’s parliamentary career demonstrates that he is not in the slightest concerned about state racism against Black people.
The idea that ‘money whitens’ used to be applied to the Brazilian and other slave economies of South America in the 19th century and to Mulattos in particular. It is equally applicable to Chuka’s politics and his support of Israel, the world’s only apartheid state.
A response to Chuka’s Labour can't talk with credibility about racism until we tackle the antisemitism in our ranks
Chuka Ummuna tells us that we can’t attack the racism that ‘may’ (not must) lie behind the ‘mistreatment’ (that’s the mildest term he can think of) of the Windrush generation until we tackle ‘anti-Semitism’. Why not? Note how Chuka excuses the racism behind Theresa May’s immigration policy by promoting ‘anti-Semitism’ into an equivalent form of racism.
How is it that on 30th January, when the 2014 Immigration Act which brought in these hostile measures was voted on in the House of Commons, Chuka abstained alongside all those others who are also concerned about Labour’s ‘anti-Semitism’ such as John Mann, Smeeth and Ian Austin?
|Home Affairs Select Committee|
It is worth reminding ourselves that those who voted against the 2014 Act included Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell and Diane Abbot. Isn’t it strange that those who are apparently responsible for ignoring anti-Semitism in the Labour Party today were the only ones who opposed what was happening to Black people in 2014? According to Ummuna's 'logic' being an opponent of 'antisemitism' he should also have voted against the 2014 Act.
As Marlene Ellis from Momentum Black Connexions observed, Chuka may have been born Black but politically he was part of the racist White Establishment.
Ummuna’s support for May’s ‘climate of hostility’ is not unrelated to his views on his own constituents, Black or White. Ummuna seems to have forgotten what he said on an elite social networking site when he asked how he could avoid meeting ‘trash’, i.e. the people who are unfortunate to have elected him. Labour's Chuka Umunna under fire for labelling people 'trash' on elite social network
|George Orwell's Animal Farm|
Ummuna quoted from the Report of the House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee, which was published in October 2016, of which he was a member. This was not however a neutral report. Its primary purpose was to denigrate and attack Jeremy Corbyn, Shami Chakrabarti and others in the Zionist firing line such as Jackie Walker and NUS President Malia Bouattia.
David Plank, a former specialist adviser to the House of Commons Social Services Committee, made a devastating critique of this Report in Open Democracy. David said that ‘the Committee’s Report was not worth the paper it was written on’ firstly because ‘A Select Committee must be clear about what it intends to do, which is why clear terms of reference for inquiries are essential.’ It had no terms of reference.
David also criticised the methodology of the report which was ‘to invite certain bodies to give evidence to them which came from a particular strand of British Jewish hues of opinion which happened to be heavily identified with a pro-Israel perspective’ and ignore others.
David asked why those criticised in the Report, Jackie Walker and NUS President Malia Bouattia were not called to give evidence. ‘I would expect as a basic that the Committee would call for evidence. But I see no sign of such a call for this enquiry. Why not? I find that stunning’. David states that ‘there are pages of criticism in the Committee Report in relation to the NUS President, and she was not given any opportunity to read the draft and comment upon it. That is disgraceful.’ Likewise Jackie Walker ‘offer(ed) to give evidence and her offer was declined... (she is) traduced in the report. She is readily identifiable: her name appears in one place, and it is assumed that she is guilty.’
|Racist cartoon from the Campaign Against Antisemitism|
In short Chuka Ummuna and his Tory friends, the same friends who were behind the racism of the Windrush scandal, who were engaged in what is colloquially known as a ‘stitch up’. In David Plank’s words it is not worth the paper it is written on.
Chuka states that ‘when talking about antisemitism, it is important to define the term.’ I agree. There is however a very simple definition used by most dictionaries. For example the OED states that anti-Semitism is ‘Hostility to or prejudice against Jews.’ Or perhaps the de luxe definition by Dr Brian Klug of Oxford University, an expert on anti-Semitism:
“Antisemitism is a form of hostility to Jews as Jews, where Jews are perceived as something other than what they are”
The IHRA definition of anti-Semitism which Ummuna and his Select Committee pushed for consists of some 450 words not the above 21 words. Why? Because it comes with 11 ‘examples’ of anti-Semitism, 7 of which related to opposition to Zionism and Israel. The Select Committee Report said, echoing the IHRA, that it is not antisemitic to hold the Israeli Government to the same standards as other liberal democracies.
The problem with this is, as Sir Stephen Sedley, a Jewish former Court of Appeal Judge said in Defining Anti-Semitism that this assumes that Israel ‘is a country like any other’ which it isn’t and thus the IHRA ‘places the historical, political, military and humanitarian uniqueness of Israel’s occupation and colonisation of Palestine beyond permissible criticism.’ Sedley goes on to state that ‘the official adoption of the definition, while not a source of law, gives respectability and encouragement to forms of intolerance which are themselves contrary to law...’
The current wave of suspensions and expulsions in the Labour Party are evidence of this. Not only was I, a Jewish anti-fascist and anti-Zionist expelled recently, but Jackie Walker, another Jewish anti-racist has been suspended and been targeted for expulsion. Marc Wadsworth, a Black anti-racist activist who was interviewed for the 3 part BBC documentary ‘The Murder that Changed a Nation’ on the murder of Stephen Lawrence, has also just been expelled for having dared to criticise Labour’s racist drama queen, Ruth Smeeth MP.
Chuka referred to his late father, who always supported the Labour Party because Labour ‘historically have always been anti-hate and anti-racist.’ This is however untrue. Labour was traditionally as supportive of the British Empire and colonialism as the Tory Party. It was Labour that presided over the horrors of the Malayan counter insurgency which began in 1948. When the Tory Party turned Kenya into a concentration camp and perpetrated the most horrific tortures and abuse on those deemed to be members of the Mau Mau in the 1950’s, the Labour Party (with the exception of Barbara Castle and ironically Enoch Powell) was silent.
Indeed Labour historically combined both avid support for Zionism with anti-Semitism. For example Lord Passfield, Colonial Secretary in the 1929-31 Labour government exclaimed that ‘there are no Jews in the British Labour Party” and that whereas “French, German, Russian Socialism is Jew-ridden. We, thank heaven are free”, something he put down to there being “no money in it”. The Labour Party, anti-Semitism and Zionism
The examples Ummuna gave of ‘anti-Semitism’ were no such thing. If someone accuses you of being ‘in the pockets of ‘The Lobby’.” why is that anti-Semitic? It is self-evident that there is a pro-Israel and Zionist lobby in Britain. Joan Ryan, Chair of the Labour Friends of Israel was secretly recorded accepting £1m from the Israeli agent Shai Masot on its behalf.
The accusation that Ummuna and friends are “a bunch of embittered Zionists who are intent on smearing” Jeremy Corbyn is a statement of fact. Chuka seems to have a problem in distinguishing between a political ideology, Zionism and Jews. Not all Jews are Zionists and not all Zionists are Jews as Chuka demonstrates.
Another example of ‘anti-Semitism’ which Chuka gave was that of Peter Kirker, a member of the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy executive who wrote in the Morning Star under the headline “Enough already with this Zionist frenzy”, that “the noise around anti-Jewish racism has been engineered from within the murky right-wing world of British Zionism.” What is anti-Semitic about this?
Chuka seems to have forgotten the evidence of Sir Mick Davies, former Chairman of the Jewish Leadership Council to his own Select Committee (para 27) that ‘criticising Zionism is the same as antisemitism, because Zionism is so totally identified with how the Jew thinks of himself.’
If you believe this is true then opposition to Zionism is clearly anti-Semitic and anti-Semitism is therefore rife within the Labour Party. But this is a verbal conjuring trick because if Sir Mick is correct then 95% of pre-war German and Polish Jews were also anti-Semitic! It means that all anti-Zionist Jews are anti-Semitic today. That is the kind of argument we expect from white racists like Donald Trump. It is clear that Chuka Ummuna has become an honorary White racist.
It is somewhat unfortunate that someone who helped produce a Report on Anti-Semitism is so ignorant of the differences between Zionism and Anti-Semitism.
Chuka also suggested that concerns about ‘anti-Semitism’ have been met with an ‘avalanche of “whataboutery”’ such as ‘what about Gaza?’ Isn’t it strange that Ummuna is so concerned about non-existent ‘anti-Semitism’ in the Labour Party but has nothing whatsoever to say about the shooting dead of 41 unarmed Palestinians, so far, in Gaza.
The Board of Deputies, from whom Chuka takes his lead and which is so concerned about ‘anti-Semitism’ issued a statement justifying the actions of the Israeli government.
Chuka asked “Why should any Jewish person vote Labour?” to which there is a simple answer. Because British Jews also have an interest in fighting racism, anti-Semitism included. There is no Jewish interest in supporting Israel and Zionism. Chuka claims to have experienced racism. Unfortunately the conclusions Chuka has drawn are that now he has made his escape racism can be ignored. That is why he refused to vote against the 2014 Immigration Act. Chuka should hang his head in shame that he is supporting a State that has been described by anti-Apartheid activists in South Africa, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, as worse than Apartheid.’
However it is de rigeur among the Labour Right not to criticise Israel’s slide into a form of clerical fascism. That is why Chuka is silent about Israel’s proposed deportation of 40,000 Black African refugees. He is one of those Black reactionaries who are only concerned about ‘anti-Semitism’ when Israel is up for discussion
The only question in my mind is why Labour members of Streatham Labour Party haven’t deselected this honorary white racist.