Jon Lansman Waves the White Flag of Surrender on Radio 4’s Today Program
|One reaction to the 'revelations' that Corbyn meets Jews|
The full malevolence as well as the pathetic ignorance of the fake news ‘anti-Semitism’ campaign was on display in all its glory with the uproar over Jeremy Corbyn’s attendance at a Passover seder hosted by the Jewish group Jewdas. An ‘exclusive’ by the Tory Guido Fawkes it was eagerly taken up by the mass media and right-wing Labour MPs. Corbyn was guilty of another example of ‘anti-Semitism’ because he had chosen the wrong Jews to sit down and have a meal with! Instead he should have paid homage to the Tories at the Jewish Board of Deputies and the Jewish Leadership Council. He should have supped with Jonathan Arkush, President of the BOD who effusively welcomed Donald Trump and his anti-Semitic retinue of Bannon and Gorka to power.
We even had Angela Smith MP, the non-Jewish MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge, tweeting her outrage about Corbyn’s ‘seber’ – the idiot couldn’t even spell the word properly before spilling her venom all over Twitter.
What this episode should demonstrate to people is that there is no logic or rationale to the ‘anti-Semitism’ attack other than the removal of Corbyn as Leader of the Labour Party. Even a child should be able to figure that one out. Unfortunately this simple truth escapes Jon Lansman, who is an open Zionist. The real concern of the defamers and libellers is not anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, in so far as it exists, but the existence of the Corbyn leadership itself.
An example of this was the Sunday Times ‘Corbyn – Factory of Hate’ and other papers’ focus on pro-Corbyn Facebook groups which have no connection either to the Labour Party or Momentum itself. The Sunday Times claims that they are cesspits of ‘anti-Semitism’ but even by their own account there are just 2000 questionable posts and most of those are anti-Israel rather than anti-Semitic. As Jewish Voice for Labour’s excellent post The truth about Corbyn supporters’ Facebook groups states 2000 posts represents less than 0.05% of the total content on these groups.
Professor Moshe Machover has distributed a very simple Q&A on Anti-Semitism as a helpful guide to the current situation.
|The Serengeti and Zebras|
A Simple Guide to Anti-Semitism
Q Is there antisemitism in Britain?
Q How is it manifested?
A The late Ambalavaner Sivanadan distinguished two kinds of racism: “The racism that discriminates and the racism that kills.” Antisemitism in Britain is of neither of these kinds. It is the kind of racism that insults and stereotypes.
Q Are there antisemites in the Labour Party?
A This question is like the question “Are there zebras in Norway?” The answer is “Yes, there are a few. In fact, the Oslo zoo seems to have had a few too many.” But Norway, unlike the Serengeti, is not the natural habitat of zebras. The claim that the LP is a habitat of antisemites like the Serengeti is a habitat of zebras is a malicious lie.
Q How is this lie promoted?
A A good place to start is the Al-Jazeera exposé.
In other words the whole issue of ‘anti-Semitism in the Labour Party’ is a lie whose sole purpose is to destroy the Corbyn leadership. It began with the Daily Mail ‘expose’ of Corbyn’s association with holocaust deniers and has continued via Oxford University Labour Club, the long erased mural in the East End of London and washed up on the shores of Angela Smith’s ‘seber’ with Jewdas.
All of these things should be obvious to anyone with half a brain, still less someone who calls himself a Corbyn supporter. Momentum, whose sole purpose is to support Corbyn, could therefore be expected to be the first to staff the barricades in his defence and to call out the false anti-Semitism smears for what they are.
Instead, having kept completely silent for nearly two weeks as the renewed ‘anti-Semitism’ attacks gained traction, it eventually came out with a statement which conceded everything to the defamers and accusers.
|Labour Against the Witchhunt has to fulfil the role that Momentum should be carryingn out|
It spoke of the ‘numerous cases of antisemitism in the Labour Party’ and the ‘apology for the pain caused both to Jewish members of the Labour Party and to the wider Jewish community’. It stated that ‘Momentum’s NCG believes that accusations of antisemitism should not and cannot be dismissed simply as right wing smears nor as the result of conspiracies.’ Momentum’s only nod to the fact that this campaign has been wholly driven by the Right and a press determined to see an early end to Corbyn’s leadership was its acknowledgment that ‘some of Jeremy Corbyn’s political opponents are opportunistically using this issue as a way to undermine his leadership.’
As if this was not pathetic enough, Lansman was yesterday interviewed for nearly 15 minutes by Nick Robinson on Radio 4’s Today. Here was an ideal opportunity to lay some of this nonsense to rest. He could have laid into the malevolent and vituperative nonsense of those like Angela Smith, Guido Fawkes and the press who saw something strange in him celebrating a Jewish religious festival with progressive Jews rather than reactionary Tories.
Presumably the '#enoughisenough' referred to idiot MPs such as Angela Smith
Not a bit of it. Lansman instead made excuses pleading that it was Corbyn’s night off. He described Jewdas as ‘Orthodox’ Jews which, from my knowledge of them, is not true. They are whacky and irreverent but not Orthodox.
And then, when presented with the statement by one of their number that ‘Israel was a pile of sewage’ responded that ‘it’s certainly not helpful to Jeremy or the Labour Party’. Calling a state, not its people, a ‘pile of sewage’ is probably the kindest thing that can be said about those who deliberately gun down unarmed demonstrators.
|The quote that got Guido all steamed up|
The rest of Lansman’s pathetic interview has been transcribed below. It talks about ‘coded’ anti-Semitism, ‘unconscious’ anti-Semitism, the need for ‘training’ to overcome it. If anti-Semitism was a real threat in society or even in the Labour Party then it should be combated in exactly the same way as all racism is. It is precisely because anti-Semitism barely exists that Lansman had to describe this phantom in these terms.
As Jews for Justice for Palestinians note, a survey by YouGov in 2017 for the Campaign against Antisemitism found, the numbers of those endorsing at least one antisemitic statement among Conservative and UKIP members was 40% and 39% respectively. Among Labour and Liberal members the figures were 32% and 30% respectively. By comparing results to the 2016 survey, YouGov also found that antisemitic attitudes have fallen significantly in the Labour Party in the two years since Corbyn became Leader. I think these figures are too high in any case and some of the statements put before people aren’t anti-Semitic for example Jewish use of the Holocaust.
|Black anti-racist the late Sivanandan distinguished between racism that discriminates and racism that kills|
When it came to the demonstration by the Board of Deputies a week ago outside Parliament Lansman stated it should not be a pretext for deselecting an MP. Some 39 Labour MPs and peers attended. Nearly all of them were the equivalent of those who John Major described as ‘the bastards’ – people who would be rid of Corbyn at a moment’s instant.
The demonstration was anything but an antiracist demonstration. That Lansman could seriously describe a protest attended by Norman Tebbit, the arch racist who coined the ‘cricket test’ years ago to deny that British Pakistanis or Indians were British (because they supported teams from abroad) or the DUP, the party from Northern Ireland that was founded on the basis of Protestant Supremacy (and therefore identifies with the Jewish supremacist State of Israel) demonstrates just how far to the Right Lansman has come.
|this fellow is a Jewish fascist with a photograph of Menachem Begin, who Einstein and Hannah Arendt accused of leading a Nazi-like party|
The demonstration consisted to a large part of overt racists and fascists chanting ‘Jeremy Corbyn is a racist’ led by the guy in the picture in the Guardian (who has a picture of Menachem Begin, was once described as leading a Jewish Nazi party by Albert Einstein and Hannah Arendt in a letter to the New York Times).
The irony of all this is that the far-Right Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, which has already submitted a second complaint to the Labour Party that Corbyn is anti-Semitic has now also called for Lansman to be disciplined for anti-Semitism too!
If Momentum is to return to its original purpose then Lansman has to be removed from its leadership. If it accepts the false anti-Semitism narrative then it is accepting the legitimacy of a campaign whose only purpose is to get rid of Corbyn.
Transcript of Jon Lansman’s Interview 3.4.18. on Radio 4’s Today Program
Q: Let’s start with the dinner before we move on to your statement. What puzzles people is this. Last night Jeremy Corbyn went on TV to say, as you do in your statement, that worries about anti-Semitism are genuine. He then sat down, had dinner with a group who say that they’re not genuine, they’re in fact a conspiracy.
I think this group Jewdas, unlike other groups you might describe as far left fringe groups in the Jewish community, are orthodox Jews, they’re embedded in their synagogue community and that makes them very different. They are very much part of the Jewish community. They’re an Orthodox part of the Jewish community, that see themselves as diaspora Jews, they perhaps don’t share the more secular approach to Israel in an ideological sense.
Q: You speak with authority because you’re Jewish yourself and you care about this. My question was more not an argument about this group but does Jeremy Corbyn want to send a clear signal or not? If he does why does he not sit down with the national leadership of the Jewish community, the Board of Deputies, the Jewish Leadership Council not with a group who have been clear that they think that this is a fuss about nothing?
Well he sat down with this group for a Passover seder because they were people who lived in his constituency and it was his night off. He had nothing in his official diary. His office didn’t know he was there. So I don’t think this is as significant as it is made out and Guido isn’t known for his subtlety or nuanced debate on any issue after all.
Q: This is the Guido Fawkes web site that revealed it. But people who have been at the dinner have also tweeted about it and have been clear. I quoted one tweet saying Israel was sewerage which needs to be disposed of. In a sense, isn’t this precisely the sort of language and thinking which you are now saying at Momentum has to stop.
Well it’s certainly not helpful to Jeremy or the Labour Party but I haven’t seen the context of that and I think the main point is that Jeremy is seeking to meet with mainstream Jewish organisations. He wants to meet, he’s very keen to meet and has been since before the demonstration last Monday with the Board of Deputies and the Jewish Leadership Council.
Q: You know him well. When you talk to him about this subject do you think he always understood the problem with anti-Semitism, do you think he’s beginning to understand the problem with anti-Semitism what’s going on in his mind
Jeremy is a lifelong anti-racist. It came as something of a shock to him to be described as some kind of a racist, of harbouring people with anti-Semitic views in the Party that he now leads. I think awareness has grown as it has for all of us. In the statement from Momentum yesterday we talked about how we are surprised by how widespread the problem is. The problem by the way is not that there is a widespread problem of Holocaust denial or those forms of Zionism but there is a widespread problem of unconscious bias.
In his interview Lansman pointedly refused to back up Christine Shawacroft
Spell out the bias. What is fascinating about what you’ve said is that Jeremy Corbyn didn’t realize and you are saying that you as a prominent Jew in the Labour Party, very much on the Left but a Corbyn backer, someone whose been passionate about these issues, perhaps even you didn’t realize until you looked at it how bad this was.
The longer this debate has gone on about anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, the more I’ve noticed on my Facebook feed for example and its particularly prevalent on social media, people who dismiss anti-Semitism as an issue in a way you would not dismiss Islamaphobia as an issue. I think that reveals an unconscious bias that we’re all familiar with. We send people on training courses to become aware of our unconscious bias as a result of sexism, racism, homophobia and so on. But for some reason people in the LP seem less aware of it in themselves in relation to Jews. [compared to sexism etc]
|Labour Against the Witchhunt puts out statement about anti-semitism being weaponised|
Q: Are you arguing that many people in the Labour Party, starting with the leader himself, need a form of education about what is acceptable language to use when it comes to talking about Jews and to talking about Israel?
I think we need a widespread programme of education and training in the Labour Party about AS in order to help people recognise the dangers of using certain words, language can be very sensitive and words often mean something to other people different from what they mean to you. People need to be aware of those things. Everybody in the Labour Party needs to be made aware. Right up to the people who are investigating charges of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party’s Compliance Unit. Down to the people who are judging people in the National Constitutional Committee that eventually decides the outcome of some cases.
Q: Just to spell this out a bit. There may be people who will say unless you say you hate Jews then you are not a racist. I think you are saying there are all sorts of coded forms of racism using Zio or Zionist when you really mean Jews. Saying Israel should be wiped off the planet instead of saying you disagree with the actions of this Israeli government. Is that what you’re talking about?
It is. Even the word Zionism itself means different things to different people. To some people it means the policies of the current Israeli government. We’ve seen what’s happened in Gaza in the last few days and that disturbs lots of people, me included.
Q: But are you saying to your supporters don’t attack Zionists when you criticize what’s happening in Gaza attack Netanyahu?
Precisely. There’s nothing wrong with attacking Netanyahu and the rest of the Israeli government. But Zionism to the Jew in the street means only there being a Jewish state in Israel, safe and secure, nothing more than that. It’s not a discrete ideology, the ideology of Benjamin Netanyahu.
Q: You speak not just as the founder of Momentum, the most powerful organisation in the Labour Party, but you are now a member of Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee. Take the example of Christine Shawcroft – she was on the NEC – she’s resigned now, having defended someone who did deny the Holocaust. She always said she didn’t really read the Facebook thing but her instinct was to defend someone not to look at the evidence. She is still on the Executive of Momentum. Does she have to go now?
Christine Shawcroft didn’t see the photographic evidence that was so damning and she made a very bad misjudgement defending someone without seeing the full evidence. It’s one thing when you are in opposition when someone else is making the final decision about a case to take up a case about someone who feels they’ve been mistreated but when you’re chair of the committee you should see the full evidence. So she made that bad judgement and she resigned not just from the Chair of the Committee but also from the NEC.
Q: But she’s not gone from Momentum. Should she go?
We are in the middle of elections and she’s not standing in those elections.
Q: Are you saying, because you may be making a more general point, that her instinct, defend my people, be tribal, I’m on the Left, I’m a Corbynite, I’ve got to argue for my side, is the wrong instinct when it comes to anti-Semitism because it can mean that you defend the indefensible?
I certainly think we should not approach anti-Semitism and accusations of anti-Semitism in the way we approach cases which are factionalised, because a lot of cases that come before the National Executive are the result of in-fighting within the Labour Party. You should certainly not approach them in that way. We have to deal with every case of anti-Semitism on its merits. We have to be trained in order to understand the issues properly.
Q: Here’s another test for you. There’s members of Momentum around the country summoning their members of Parliament to meetings to explain why they attended an anti-Semitism rally and the implied threat is that they could be deselected. As the founder of Momentum are you prepared to say today do not do this. You should not need to explain why you go to an anti-racist rally.
I do agree with that. You should not have to defend why you go to an anti-racist rally and that’s why many Labour MPs did go there.
Q: So Thangam Debbonaire has been summoned to her Constituency Labour Party by Momentum activists in Bristol. She should not have to answer those questions.
It’s fair enough to answer a question it’s not fair enough to deselect someone for attending an anti-racist demonstration about anti-Semitism because it is clear that there is real concern within the Jewish community about anti-Semitism and we have to take that serious and we have to take every allegation of anti-Semitism seriously even if people sometimes opportunistically seize upon anti-Semitism as an issue to undermine Jeremy. It doesn’t matter you’ve still got to take the allegation seriously.
Q: Let me end where we began with your view of Jeremy Corbyn. There are some people in the Jewish community who will say look we hear the language but we also hear him call Hamas and Hezbollah friends. We also hear him call a man who said Mossad carried out the 9/11 killings a very honoured citizen. We also hear him praise groups who have criticized the Israelis and have dinner with groups who have criticized worries about anti-Semitism. Are you sure, have you asked yourself in your own mind that Jeremy Corbyn agrees with you that anti-Semitism is a scourge and is different from many of the other charges laid at his feet?
I absolutely am. He apologized in his letter to the Jewish community on Monday for the pain and suffering caused to people in the Labour Party and to people in the Jewish community. He has said that he is an ally in the battle against anti-Semitism and I do believe that.
Q: In a word he has changed you say?
Well I think we’ve all realized the extent of the problem. We’re all I think tired of too many people arguing that its all smears. It isn’t. We have to deal with all cases of anti-Semitism or investigate them when charges are made.