Our offer to Labour and Corbyn – A five point plan to tackle their anti-Semitism crisis

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AntiSemitismWatch is perhaps uniquely placed to offer the UK Labour Party and its leader Jeremy Corbyn a considered solution to the anti-Semitic crisis currently engulfing them.

We were the first to identify the clear source of the problem in our article entitled, ‘The inconvenient truth for the left and why Labour is in such a mess‘.

In the simplest terms, the political left-wing forms the ‘natural home’ of the ideology that views with hatred everything associated with and related to Israel. In essence, it is anti-Zionist sentiment that is driving the current wave, insurgency if you will, of anti-Semitism.

corbynThese views that have come so much to the fore within Labour were sparked by left-winger Corbyn’s party leadership victory, which brought with it an influx of new members with these ‘out-dated and prejudiced’ views.

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement is the living embodiment of this problem. There is now overwhelming evidence that BDS is home to vile anti-Semitic rhetoric, debate and policy. BDS, and its acolytes such as Israeli Apartheid Week, drives this, in part, through its lack of respect for the dignity of the individual and for the rights of others to hold and express different intellectual positions.

The article prophetically concluded that BDS movement is systemically anti-Semitic and that the political left was in danger of becoming similarly so, and so was the Labour Party!

AntiSemitismWatch just the evening before the Ken Livingstone furor erupted also predicted troubled times ahead for the relationship between the former London Mayor and Corbyn.

Corbyn’s response to the overall issue has been three-fold:

The first point has, indeed, seen some action follow with various party members, officials and MPs, including Livingstone and Naz Shah, suspended. However, it is this very same evidence that leads AntiSemitismWatch to conclude that this response is doomed to failure.

With each new accusation there have been issues of indecision, prevarication or lack of leadership shown.

  • Gerry Downing, accused of ‘anti-Semitism’ and being ‘obsessed with Jews’, kicked out, readmitted on appeal and then kicked out again.
  • Vicki Kirby, probed by the party in 2014 after a series of posts on Twitter in which she apparently suggested Adolf Hitler might be a “Zionist God” and Jews had “big noses”, subsequently reinstated with a warning, appointed vice-chairman of Labour’s Woking branch, and then suspended again.
  • Naz Shah, who following the Facebook revelations was not suspended for 32 hours until Corbyn succumbed to the pressure exerted by the media, the Prime Minister, Jewish commentators and some within his own party.
  • The Oxford University Labour Club mess which triggered the recent crisis has still not been resolved despite the launch of an inquiry into the matter.
  • Even the suspension of Ken Livingstone was weakly handled by Corbyn. Virtually all party communication on the subject was dealt with by Labour ‘spokespeople’. We also had the spectacle of John Mann being seen be many as the hero of the hour in his facing down and castigation of Livingstone. While not perhaps expecting precisely the same from the leader of the official government opposition something of the spirit displayed by Mann has been entirely lacking in Corbyn.
John Mann
John Mann MP

There are other Labour members in addition to John Mann worthy of mention for their mettle shown in fighting anti-Semitism in the party, including Wes Streeting and Luciana Berger who has herself been subjected to vicious anti-Semitic abuse.

Yet, these example are not set to be the sum total of what Labour will have to contend with. It is inevitable that the injurious damage will continue through further revelations. As such, they will persist in making mockery of the claim of a party with zero tolerance against anti-Semitism.

That brings us to the announcement of an independent inquiry to be led by Shami Chakrabarti, the former head of the rights group Liberty, who will be tasked with opening a dialogue with the Jewish community and will report back to Labour headquarters within two months on how the party can best tackle antisemitism and other forms of discrimination.

It is entirely inconceivable that this inquiry will deliver the necessary radical and truthful thinking and proposed action to deliver the step-change necessary for the Labour Party to emerge from this crisis with a realistic prospect of regaining its credibility.

Instead, it will likely focus on tightening party processes for dealing with potential  transgressors of Labour rules on racism and anti-Semitism etc. It will also undoubtedly conclude that there exists a real desire within the party leadership to tackle the issues but, AntiSemitismWatch predicts, it will entirely fail to offer up the necessary action plan to tackle the causes.

So AntiSemitismWatch offers up to Corbyn, Labour and Chakrabarti our own radical five point plan:

  1. As with any plan for recovery, first admit there is a problem. Labour’s Chuka Umunna has alluded to it, but still shied away from admitting the full extent, when he said: “I think there is a problem with anti-Semitism on the fringes of the left, there is no doubt about that; it would be completely disingenuous to deny that.”
  2. The message must come from Corbyn himself. No longer is it viable or acceptable for him to stand behind others speaking on his behalf.
  3. The admission must acknowledge that, like all parts of the political spectrum, Labour will contain individuals who hold plain, old-fashioned anti-Semitic attitudes. Labour is not immune to this just because of their long association with human rights but neither is it unique to them.
  4. The more radical aspect to the admission is to accept that while criticism of any foreign state, including Israel, is legitimate, the rhetoric on this one lone country has, all too often, been used as a disguise for attacking the Jewish people more widely.
  5. The issue of anti-Zionism would also need to be addressed as part of the admission, acknowledging that the right of self-determination is an unalienable right. That anything that calls for the destruction, removal, transportation or dismantlement of a democratic state and its people is in itself anti-Semitic. This provides for Corbyn and Labour to reassert a commitment to achieving a peaceful two-state solution.

Only such explicit clarity offered by our five point plan will take Labour towards a path out of the mire. It provides the only clarity necessary for Labour to then be able to hold true on its zero tolerance pledge.

Danny Cohen, the former head of the BBC, recently suggested of Labour, ‘If you are Jewish how can you vote for them?“. The relationship between Corbyn’s party and the Jewish community hangs by a thread. There remains limited time and opportunity for repair, our five point plan is an offer that should not be rejected.

Labour - opportunity hanging by a thread
Labour – opportunity hanging by a thread

 

 

 

Are Corbyn and Livingstone set to fall out over “anti-Semitism”?

Amid the anti-Semitic storm presently engulfing the Labour Party at least its leader Jeremy Corbyn has always had his ideological twin, Ken Livingstone, on hand to rely on for support.

images-6The pair go back a long way and Corbyn’s leadership election victory effectively revived Livingstone’s political career, bringing him in from the Labour cold.

However, in the aftermath of today’s suspension of Naz Shah dramatic differences of opinion have emerged from the Corbyn and Livingstone camps.images-8

Corbyn must be reeling from the pressure he faced following his clearly mistaken initial decision to accept Shah’s apologies without imposing a punishment. He had to backtrack on that later in the day by suspending her.

Corbyn, however, could not escape the key question of whether he considered the comments made by Shah to be anti-Semitic? He did, but did not think the MP was herself anti-Semitic. The only issue he did escape was saying it himself, choosing to instead to communicate through a spokesperson.

Mr Livingstone meanwhile said Shah’s remarks were ‘over the top’ and ‘offensive’ but that it had been a mistake to suspend her.

‘What we have at the moment is a lot of people making a big issue about anti-Semitism in the Labour Party. In 47 years I have never heard anyone say anything anti-Semitic.

‘We expelled a couple of people from the Labour Party early on for saying things that could clearly be interpreted as anti-Semitic.

‘This is not that; this is an over-the-top comment about the horrendous conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians.’

 Livingstone’s Labour colleague John Woodcock posted on Twitter: ‘Listening to Ken Livingstone…… who won’t go further than saying Naz Shah’s comments were ‘over the top’. Hard to believe.’

What is really hard to believe is the emergence of division between the two comrades, Corbyn and Livingstone. How this will play out is going to be interesting?

UPDATE: Labour’s Naz Shah suspended following revelation – full coverage

UPDATE: Following yesterday’s comprehensive coverage of the fallout over Labour’s Naz Shah and her Facebook posts, the party’s leader Jeremy Corbyn has finally bowed to pressure and suspended her from the party.

Yet the decision came just hours after he appeared to have accepted an apology without imposing a punishment.

Ms Shah had a second meeting with Mr Corbyn this afternoon after which Labour said she would be suspended with ‘mutual agreement’.

A Labour spokesman said: ‘Jeremy Corbyn and Naz Shah have mutually agreed that she is administratively suspended from the Labour Party by the General Secretary.

‘Pending investigation, she is unable to take part in any party activity and the whip is removed.’

Speaking in the Commons, Ms Shah today made her fourth apology saying: ‘I fully acknowledge I have made mistakes and I wholeheartedly apologise to this House for the words I used before I became a member.

‘I accept and understand the words I used caused upset and hurt to the Jewish community and I deeply regret that.

‘Anti-Semitism is racism, full stop.’

ORIGINAL POST: Labour MP for Bradford West, Naz Shah, today resigned from the shadow cabinet over her now well publicised Facebook post that called for relocation of Israel to the US to resolve the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Naz Shah (centre)
Naz Shah (centre)

Shah stepped down as the Parliamentary Private Secretary to Labour’s shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, over the remarks she made two years ago.

Shah has since apologised, saying: “I deeply regret the hurt I have caused.

“This post from two years ago was made before I was an MP, does not reflect my views and I apologise for any offence it has caused.”

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In a second statement, she added: “I made these posts at the height of the Gaza conflict in 2014, when emotions were running high around the Middle East conflict.

“But that is no excuse for the offence I have given, for which I unreservedly apologise.”

Shah won her parliamentary seat in 2015 from George Galloway following an acrimonious election campaign that at times became very personal. Indeed, Shah referred to it as, “One of the most vile and personalised election campaigns ever seen in Great Britain”.

One particular spat centred on Shah’s claims about being forced into a violent and sexually abusive marriage aged 15.

This was disputed by Galloway telling her she had “only a passing acquaintance with the truth”. Galloway said: “You claimed – and gullible journalists believed you – that you were subject to a forced marriage at the age of 15. But you were not 15, you were 16 and a half. I have your nikah [marriage certificate] in my pocket.”

Shah at one point suggested she would sue Galloway over the issue.

However, it has been the series of messages on social media for which she has paid today’s price. She had said that the “solution for Israel-Palestine Conflict – Relocate Israel into United States”, with the additional comment “problem solved”.

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Alongside the post, Shah added a smiley-face emoji and suggested she would lobby the prime minister to adopt the plan.

More recently Shah threw her opinion into the ring over the controversial election of Malia Bouattia as the new president of the National Union of Students. Shah shared a tweet warmly congratulating Bouattia on her victory.

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Bouattia’s election, amid allegations by some of anti-Semitism, has taken some university student unions to the brink of disafilliation.

The Labour party confirmed that Shah had stepped down as Parliamentary Private Secretary, an unpaid backbench assistant.

The original post was publicised by the Guido Fawkes political website.

Naz Shah conclude her apology with a suggestion she would be,”Seeking to expand my existing engagement and dialogue with Jewish community organisations, and will be stepping up my efforts to combat all forms of racism, including anti-Semitism.”

However, her troubles are almost certain to continue with other MPs questioning whether Shah should continue as a parliamentarian.

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Her Labour colleague John Mann told Guido Fawkes that, “The last person to propose a forced repatriation of this kind was Adolf Eichmann on August 15 in 1940 (the Madagascar plan).”

Shah, is also a member of the House of Commons home affairs select committee which is conducting an inquiry into the rise of anti-Semitism in the UK. In the circumstances it is inconceivable that she will be able to continue in that role.

French teens arrested for vicious attack on male they thought was Jewish

French police arrested three teenagers suspected of ambushing, attacking and seriously injuring a locksmith just because they believed he was Jewish.

french flagThe suspects, all 15, are said to have ordered the services of a locksmith five months ago from a firm whose owners had a Jewish-sounding name, the Paris-based daily Le Figaro reported Sunday.

The teens selected the firm after hearing a radio commercial advertising it. The newspaper did not name the locksmith firm in question nor the suspects, who are denying the assault charges against them.

When the locksmith showed up at the address in the eastern Paris suburb of Bussy-Saint-Georges, the teens allegedly beat him, sprayed tear gas in his face and threatened to kill him while at least one of them brandished a knife.

The locksmith, was not Jewish according to the report, required hospitalization after the assault.

Detectives found anti-Semitic hate speech in text messages written on one of the suspects cellphone, according to the report.

The three minors are under arrest at a facility for juvenile delinquents in Meaux, east of Paris.

Follow the link to the original article here.

Labour ‘suspends’ another member as crisis continues

As Labour’s anti-Semitism crisis staggers on, it has been announced that the party membership of a columnist from Ireland who apparently said Israel was using the Holocaust to receive money has been suspended. However, the individual in question disputes the claim.

John McAuliffe (Facebook)
John McAuliffe (Facebook)

John McAuliffe, an international member of the British party, columnist at Digital Journal and the Cambridge Globalist, was apparently suspended this week after allegedly posting on Facebook a message in which he described the genocide as:

“The most useful political tool of the Zionist government in Israel to establish a financial racket in the West, whereby Israel receives an unlimited sum for the duration of its existence.”

The suspension, made known to the Jewish News by a Labour spokesperson, represents the latest twist amid a string of crises concerning prominent Labour members who have made anti-Semitic comments. However, in a recent Twitter response, McAuliffe said that he is unaware of any suspension and has not, “even been contacted.”

In his Facebook post, McAuliffe wrote: “The large level of poverty in Israel among Holocaust survivors shows they don’t care about the emotional impact they are trying to generate. It is about money and military technology. This further paints a clearer picture of the divide between Zionism and Judaism, and their incompatibility.”

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The Jewish Labour Movement has put forward a proposal to change Labour rules to make it easier to permanently exclude those who express anti-Semitic or Islamophobic sentiment.

Following publication of this article there followed an exchange of Twitter tweets between AntiSemitismWatch and Mr AcAuliffe:

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Read more here.

Canada under pressure to refuse entry to French ‘comedian’ Dieudonné

His material and actions have earned him a string of convictions in Europe for racial hatred. Now the French performer known as Dieudonné, who bills himself as a comedian, faces calls for him to be barred from entering Canada, where he has a series of shows next month in Montreal.

220px-DieudoDescribing himself as a comedian is an interesting take on someone who has mocked the Holocaust on stage, called Hitler a “good boy,” and popularized a controversial hand gesture known as the “quenelle” that resembles a downward Nazi salute. Not particularly funny really.

Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre has said flatly that Dieudonné, whose real name is Dieudonné M’bala M’bala, is persona non grata in the city. “Someone who incites racial hatred and foments social tensions in Europe isn’t welcome in Montreal,” he tweeted.

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs called on Ottawa to keep the comedian out.

“Canada should not let a convicted offender of hate speech laws into the country,” said spokesman David Ouellette. “He has crossed the line into incitement to violence. When you’re calling on people to unite to kill Jews, it is surely a red line, where freedom of expression is no excuse.”

Those involved in Mr. M’bala M’bala’s tour in Quebec insist the performer has tempered his material and authorities should not be trying to silence him. “This is about freedom of expression. That is my fight,” said Gino Ste-Marie, a Quebec City-based organizer involved in the tour.

Federal Immigration Minister John McCallum’s office says it is following the case closely, and Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale says it will be left to Canadian border-services agents to rule on Mr. M’bala M’bala’s admissibility once he arrives at a port of entry. Mr. M’bala M’bala’s prior criminality will be taken into account.

Court convictions in Europe have started to pile up on Mr. M’bala M’bala. Last year, the European Court of Human Rights upheld a French court conviction of inciting racial hatred for a show in which Mr. M’bala M’bala invited a Holocaust denier onstage to receive a prize from an actor dressed in striped pyjamas, evoking a concentration camp uniform. A French court last year also gave him a suspended sentence for inciting terrorism after a Facebook post appearing sympathetic with one of the gunmen in the Charlie Hebdo attacks.

Mayors of several cities in France have banned his shows as threats to public order. Britain and Hong Kong have denied him entry.

Yet France’s efforts to rein him in are also fuelling a debate over free speech. Despite the efforts to clamp down on him – or perhaps because of them – Mr. M’bala M’bala enjoys considerable popularity, particularly among alienated youth from Africa and North Africa.

Mr. M’bala M’Bala, who was born in Paris, has a connection to Quebec. He used to appear at major venues and as a guest on talk shows in the province, even as he became a source of controversy in Europe. Eventually, Quebec began to keep its distance.

The owner of the Montreal venue where Mr. M’bala M’bala is to perform said he reviewed the comedian’s material for the coming show and has also received “guarantees” it would not contain hateful or racist material. “I cannot be responsible for what this man has said in the past,” said Mushagalusa Chigoho.

Toronto immigration lawyer Barbara Jackman says Canada has legal grounds for denying entry to Mr. M’bala M’bala because of his prior convictions for hate speech. Canada has equivalent laws.

“It would have a strong case against letting him in,” Ms. Jackman says. If he showed up, Canada could detain him and order him deported, she added.

Read more here.

Mimicking US case, German university printers hacked, churn out anti-Semitic flyers

In late March there was a disturbing series of occurrences across a number of US universities whereby their printers were deliberately hacked to spew put vile anti-Semitic flyers.

Mimicking that, printers at several universities across Germany have produced anti-Semitic leaflets on or about Hitler’s birthday this week, after hackers appeared to break into their computer systems.

2016-04-22-16-25-10--1830844955Universities in Hamburg, Lüneburg and Tübingen confirmed that printers connected to their computer networks had suddenly started churning out the leaflets, most of them on Wednesday, the anniversary of Hitler’s birth in Braunau, Austria, in 1889.

At least six other universities in Germany reported similar episodes, according to the German news agency DPA.

The leaflet produced at the University of Hamburg carried the slogan “Europe, awake!” and alluded to the mass migration that brought more than one million people, many from the Middle East, to the Continent last year. “Europe is being flooded by enemy strangers,” it read, in part.

Without naming Hitler, the leaflet referred to “the words of a former European führer” who blamed the Jews for bringing non-Europeans to the Rhineland.

Christian Matheis, a spokesman for the University of Hamburg, and Karl G. Rijkhoek, a spokesman for the University of Tübingen, said their institutions had filed formal complaints with the police and the judicial authorities after learning that their computer networks appeared to have been breached.

The leaflet printed out in Hamburg included the Twitter hashtag #dailystormer, a term also used on a website referred to in the leaflets in the United States, Mr. Matheis said. The term is an allusion to a far-right Nazi publication.

Follow this link to the original article here.

Man goes wild in Williamsburg synagogue – Video of it emerges

Shocking video footage emerged of a male going berserk in Apta Synagogue in Williamsburg, New York.

A Brooklyn synagogue was attacked by a crazed anti-Semite on Thursday morning.

The incident, which occurred at the “Apta” Satmar Hasidic synagogue on Lee Avenue in Williamsburg, was captured by the synagogue’s security cameras.

While the circumstances behind the attack are unclear, witnesses said a man burst into the synagogue just after morning prayers, attacking a group of congregants who had stayed on to study Talmud.

The attacker tried swinging a ladder at the congregants. When he failed to injure anyone, he became even more enraged and began overturning benches and tables.

Those present in the synagogue quickly fled, notifying the police and Shomrim.

Members of the Shomrim quickly arrived and detained the attacker, holding him until police officers arrived and took the man into custody.

The male being detained.
The male being detained.

 

 

Unchecked wave of anti-Semitism in Sweden continues

Some 120 pupils around the age of 15 and their teachers at the Korsavad school in Simrishamn had posed for a picture together for their yearbook last autumn, reported regional newspaper Ystads Allehanda on Thursday.

But when the photographer later processed the pictures he discovered that a number of pupils appeared to be doing Nazi salutes in at least one of the photographs.

He contacted principal Pia Svensson who pulled the picture from the yearbook and contacted the boys’ parents.

After speaking to the pupils the school decided to report the incident to the police.

The boys have denied any criminal offence, however the prosecutor argues that they had been “in mutual agreement to express contempt for a group of people” by making the gesture.

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Photograph captured from Facebook

Residents were shocked to see the flag, understood to have been a Nazi swastika banner, flying from one of the official flagpoles next to Vetlanda town hall in southern Sweden in the morning.

The local authority reported that a security guard had discovered it at around 6am and that it had been taken down shortly thereafter.

Vetlanda council issued a statement saying, “We take this very seriously. Vetlanda should be an open and welcoming council and these types of symbols are completely unacceptable to us. We’re reporting it to the police.”

It was not known by the afternoon who had hoisted the flag, but it was believed to have been intended to mark the birthday of German dictator Adolf Hitler, who was born on April 20th 1889. Last year a Nazi flag was raised at the Njudung school in Vetlanda on the same date.

“[This] is a clear assault on our open democracy and our fundamental values,” said the council executive committee’s chairman Henrik Tvarnö of the Social Democrat party and deputy chairman Jan Johansson of local party Vetlanda Framåtanda in a joint statement.

Meanwhile, residents took to social media to voice their disgust after a picture purporting to be of the flag at the town hall was posted on Facebook.

“What a horrible affront to all people who have fallen victim to this dreadful ideology. Awful that the echo of history does not reach all residents in our little town,” commented one user under the picture, which was posted in the group ‘You know you’re from Vetlanda when‘.

“Hope whoever has it now burns it,” wrote another one after it was removed.

Police meanwhile said they had launched an investigation into incitement of racial hatred.

Read more here.