Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Devon Malcolm

Labour Split / Independence Group

Recommended Posts

31 minutes ago, Keith Houchen said:

I don't believe the party is anti-semitic but there are pockets of anti-semitism within the party, just as there are pockets of anti-semitism throughout society.  Also, using Jew, Israeli and Zionist as interchangeable terms is anti semitic, as is telling Jews to pipe down and telling them they're getting anti-semitism wrong.

I don't think that's what Gar was doing, though. He was saying that the right-wing habitually uses accusations of anti-Semitism as a smoke-screen to shut down otherwise completely unconnected and legitimate criticisms of the Israeli government, especially those from the left, and that is demonstrably true. 

I know there are at least four distinct circles in the Venn diagram: Jew, Israeli, Zionist, and Israeli government, and they are not the same thing, but the right-wing frequently attempts to claim that they are, to demonise the left when it criticises the Israeli government's actions. There are plenty of left-wing Jews and ordinary Israelis who criticise the state of Israel, and a lot of Zionists are American fundamentalist Christians who fund it and its projects, or simply US government pragmatists cynically looking to keep a white outpost amongst all those brown people in the Middle East, and keeping them de-stabilised into the bargain.

That isn't to say that Labour doesn't have a problem with anti-Semitism - of course it does. Corbyn has shown he's too slow to deal with it, and it's hurt him. It's a big problem with the modern left in that they've for too long bought into the bullshit logic of "the enemy of my enemy is my friend", and it's seen people who should know better turning into morons, cosying up to some of the worst individuals on the planet just because they oppose the US. That needs dealing with, both internally and externally.

It's just a bit difficult to take the word of a load of people who've historically shown they're in the habit of smearing any Labour leader that's turned out to be even a little bit left of Blair. The only reason why they didn't chuck the "anti-Semite" epithet at Milliband was because he's actually Jewish, and they knew they'd sound stupid. So they just bullied him about his bacon sarnie-eating, and called his father a traitor who hated Britain instead.

I'm not an actual Labour supporter, as even under Corbyn I don't think they go far enough to really address the actual needs of people in this country. But I'll be voting for them because they're the closest a mainstream potential government party has come in my lifetime to my politics. I don't believe Corbyn is an actual anti-Semite; if I did, I wouldn't vote for him. I do believe that the Tories are historically a racist party who need even more scrutiny than Labour do, though. 

Maybe Corbyn is, in complete contradiction to his words and public actions over the years, an anti-Semite who's planning to put into action horrible mechanisms via law and logistics to do horrible things to Jews in this country. But I'll be damned if I'm taking a lesson in anti-Semitism from the fucking right - anti-Semitism is ingrained and organised in their fucking history, with the Right Club, the League of Empire Loyalists, the Nazis, the BUF, the fascists, all of them, and the left fought them throughout its history. I know which side's the good one.

Edited by Carbomb

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah I agree pretty much.  I think the best example of this was when Owen Jones Tweeted "Cheerio" in reply to Alan Sugar saying he'd quit the UK if Corbyn was PM and Rachel Riley went off on one calling Jones anti-semitic.  Sugar was talking about taxation, as was the Jonesman, but Riley framed it as attacking a Jewish man.  By the same token, her attack must have been homophobic.

The big problem is the dragging of the feet, I appreciate you have to have a proper investigation but it took an age to expel Ken Livingstone and that didn't do any favours.  You're right about the huge amount of whataboutery going on.  I said before that many people are using this as a stick to beat Corbyn because they hate him, all of a sudden they are allies to Jewish people when it's convenient, while telling Dianne Abbott to pipe down.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Carbomb said:

I don't think that's what Gar was doing, though. He was saying that the right-wing habitually uses accusations of anti-Semitism as a smoke-screen to shut down otherwise completely unconnected and legitimate criticisms of the Israeli government, especially those from the left, and that is demonstrably¬†true.¬†ÔĽŅ

I'd say it's demonstrably true, but equally works both ways - there are plenty within the Left that use "I'm anti-Zionist, not anti-Semitic" as a smokescreen to cover up, or at least excuse, some pretty unpleasant views or, at the very least, to shut down any discussion on the issue. This is particularly prevalent when it's Jewish people talking about anti-semitism from the left; if you look at replies to Tweets by the likes of David Baddiel or David Schneider when they raise the issue, it's full of ostensibly left-leaning people asking them to defend/justify the actions of Israel - and asking any given Jewish person to speak for the Israeli state is inherently anti-semitic.

I don't tend to buy into the "Cult of Corbyn" depiction of many Labour supporters, but that attitude does rear its ugly head where anti-semitism is concerned. Too often I've seen legitimate concerns/criticisms written off as "smears" or, worse still, as a concerted attack by "powerful lobby groups" and "the mainstream media". And if your argument against being seen as anti-semitic is to blame shady powerbrokers behind the scenes and a conspiracy by those who run the media, it's probably not as strong a defence as you think it is.

 

It's a complicated issue, and a lot of it comes down to how anti-Semitism is reasonably unique in terms of prejudice. It's rare that you'll see a full-blown Protocols of the Elders of Zion "these people are evil baby-eating monsters" argument in mainstream politics (though that's exactly what the "Pizzagate" conspiracy was), nor will you see the old European depiction of Jews as filthy vermin, outside of the occasional ugly caricature. What you will still see is depictions of Jewish men as shady financiers, and as power-brokers and puppet-masters - it's not a coincidence that George Soros is the go-to bogeyman for the right. It's probably the only prejudice based on the targeted group's perceived power, rather than seeing them as lesser than the in-group. The problem with that from the Left is that it's not all that difficult to see how someone objecting to the power/control of bankers and the finance industry could, when exposed to anti-semitic material, stray into an anti-Jewish line of thought without realising they've espousing those views; because they're not painting Jews as lesser, they don't see it as prejudice. Because they're not saying "Jews", but referring to coded language like "the Rothschilds", "Zionists", "Globalist agenda", or so on, they might not realise that they're strengthening anti-semitic viewpoints and will get defensive when called out on it. 
It's similar around Israel - in my experience, a lot of people involved in the Free Palestine movement are singularly motivated, and it's a real single issue for them, I rarely see them politically engaged by anything else. And I find myself increasingly uncomfortable around many of them, because the extent of their anti-Israel sentiment often veers into anti-Semitic territory, though they would get extremely defensive and argumentative if called out on it.
In both cases, it requires introspection and consideration of what constitutes anti-semitism, before people engage with the issue.

 

I agree that it's galling seeing it used as a stick to beat Corbyn with by the right, who are far more guilty of anti-semitism than many on the left. However, I also see people routinely point to studies showing that "anti-semitism is no more prevalent in the Labour Party than any other party" or saying something like "well, UKIP are more anti-semitic". And is that the benchmark we want? Is "less anti-semitic than some actual racists" something to crow about?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, BomberPat said:

Because they're not saying "Jews", but referring to coded language like "the Rothschilds", "Zionists", "Globalist agenda", or so on, they might not realise that they're strengthening anti-semitic viewpoints and will get defensive when called out on it. 

I was having a similar discussion with a friend last night who's a Labour Party member.  "Rothschild and Goldman Sachs are just shorthand for the money men" but I pointed out that it's shorthand with pretty clear connotations.  That alone could be tidied up simply with different language.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Absolutely. As I say, there is a problem with anti-Semitism on the Left (actually, given the option, I hate using the term "anti-Semitic", as I think the very act of differentiating one kind of racism from another is racist in itself - racism is racism is racism), and it needs to be addressed. When I mentioned the Tories and the Right, it isn't to excuse what's going on on the Left - you're 100% right that we need to set the benchmark much higher than ourselves. But my point was that, if for some reason I forget my own principles and history, and need to be taught what it is to fight against anti-Jewish racism, I don't think there are any real lessons to be had from people who had "Want A Nigger For A Neighbour? Vote Labour" or Article 28 or the Right Club.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm sure those who left feel justified given  the Daily Mail's headlines calling them 'decent'. Must be nice to know they're so well regarded by that rag.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Can I just say that I'm appalled with myself for starting a post with "As a Labour Party activist", but also that you - not MPDTTDTPT, obv - should join the Labour Party and help get Labour elected where you are (and I say that as someone in Andrea Leadsom's constituency...)!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
33 minutes ago, Linus said:

Can I just say that I'm appalled with myself for starting a post with "As a Labour Party activist", but also that you - not MPDTTDTPT, obv - should join the Labour Party and help get Labour elected where you are (and I say that as someone in Andrea Leadsom's constituency...)!

No need, for me. My constituency's been firmly Labour since the end of WWII - the only two MPs I've ever known were Bernie Grant, who was good, and David Lammy, who was absolute shit and got a bit better. Majority never falls below 5,000.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lammy still is shit really. He's stumbled upon Twitter where he comes across well (not hard atm) but as a local MP I can't think of a single thing he has done for Tottenham. My parents vote Labour out of habit, but can't stand him.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, Factotum said:

Lammy still is shit really. He's stumbled upon Twitter where he comes across well (not hard atm) but as a local MP I can't think of a single thing he has done for Tottenham. My parents vote Labour out of habit, but can't stand him.

Don't get me wrong - I still don't think all that much of him. He was the worst of the Blairite careerists during the New Labour government, always voting with the party line, voted for the war in Iraq and so on. But in terms of the debate on immigration, he's been an excellent firebrand. For me personally, it's been aggravating to see someone like him, a former council estate kid to a single mum who became the first black Briton to study law at Harvard, go down the "Third Way", especially when you consider how excellent Bernie Grant was by comparison.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
33 minutes ago, Factotum said:

Lammy still is shit really. He's stumbled upon Twitter where he comes across well (not hard atm) but as a local MP I can't think of a single thing he has done for Tottenham.

I've got no idea what he's like as a constituency MP, but he's been strong in the chamber as well as on Twitter and he was one of the bunch that voted against Article 50.  Centrist Dad seal of approval.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
40 minutes ago, Factotum said:

Lammy still is shit really. He's stumbled upon Twitter where he comes across well (not hard atm) but as a local MP I can't think of a single thing he has done for Tottenham. My parents vote Labour out of habit, but can't stand him.

I guess this is a separate subject than this thread is for, but I'd be interested to hear anyone who can genuinely identify good things their MPs have done for their constituency. My MP (Gareth Thomas) is largely anonymous and the area has suffered a fair bit with the government's constant cuts, but I'm not really sure what else I could expect of him in this situation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I get that, he's certainly set himself up a lot better to the public. But his history of voting is not particularly good, nor were the bills he worked on as a junior minister. I suppose my issue is people claiming he should be Labour leader, based purely on his Twitter feed, when as an MP he's been pretty terrible. Also as a backbench MP its quite easy to come across as different and inspiring. Look at Corbyn. Power is a very different thing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

I guess this is a separate subject than this thread is for, but I'd be interested to hear anyone who can genuinely identify good things their MPs have done for their constituency

For me its being visible, available and open to the constituents. Voting on subjects that the constituents feel strongly with (which relates to the first point) Supporting local causes, seeking advice for them if they have issues.

Its sometimes the little things that make good local MPs. When I lived in Islington for instance, Corbyn was always visible. He attended  many meetings etc. and got involved in community projects and was always accessible (ironic now). That's a good local MP for me. I know BIG change is hard for an MP, nigh on impossible, but they shouldn't be totally absent, that you can only see maybe once a week at a surgery.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...