By Daniel Finn.
By sacking Rebecca Long-Bailey on a trumped-up pretext, Keir Starmer has set the seal on a drastic shift to the right for the British Labour Party. That shift comes just as the key arguments by Jeremy Corbyn’s opponents to justify a break with his left leadership have been falling apart in the face of overwhelming evidence.
It seemed a safe bet as the year began that British politics was about to enter into a period of calm. Instead, the COVID-19 pandemic has plunged Britain into a crisis without any precedent in the last century, combining the mortality rates of a conflict with the economic devastation of a global slump.
It’s far too early to say what the long-term political fallout of the pandemic will be. No developed capitalist state has gone through an economic crisis on this scale in tandem with mass fatalities and disruption to everyday life. To say we’re about to enter uncharted waters doesn’t do justice to the situation.
However, one thing is already clear. Under Keir Starmer’s leadership, the Labour Party is taking an approach that differs sharply in both style and content from that followed by Jeremy Corbyn after 2015. At a time when the gravity of the crisis demands a break with the status quo — for better or for worse — Labour is retreating from the ambitious reformist agenda developed under Corbyn.
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Daniel Finn does not mention that the Forby dossier was a data breach; a hacking of Whats App messages relaying private conversations of Labour Party staffers. For that reason, Labour party lawyers instructed that it not be submitted to the EHRC. It was then subsequently leaked to media outlets; this is currently the subject of an internal party inquiry. As a result of this violation of data privacy, the personal details of membders of Labour Against Antisemitism have appeared on neo-nazi websites in the US.ReplyDelete
The "trumped-up pretext" on which RBL mwas dismissed from the front bench was the sharing and endorsemwnt of an article which falsely claimed that the racist US cops who murdered George Floyd were trained by Israeli police and security services. Mazine Peake who had suggested this conspiracy theory retracted it, as did Amndesty Interational who had earlier claimed the same as did the Indepedent newspaper in whkch the article was published.
Keir Starmer gave RBL the opportunity to delete the tweet endorsing this conspiracy theory and to apologise. She didn't avail of it and so she was dismissed. Keir Starmer was the overwhelmibng choice of party menbers and has promised to "tear up the poison of antisemnitism by its roots". RBL must surely have been aware of that.
Oh and talking of antisemitism, the Fornby dossier admits to a problem in the Party. This after years of us being told that allegations of AS were all a plot to suppress criticism of Israeli policies (not one scintilla of evidecne to support that claim) and to undermine Dear Sainted Jeremy.
Daniel Finn can make aLl the ad hominem attacks on the independence of the EHRC he likes but I am afraid when it comes out (very soon) it will prove to be Corbyn's Chilcott moment. Why else would Patrick Gardener Labour Party solicitor who advised against suspension of a member from Liverpool who shared memes from a white supremacist website in the USA and who reported to the Party's Legal and Governance Unit leave his post today.
The far left have had their wrecking ball; now we have a Leader who leads and makes Boris squirmn at every PMQ through his forensic dismantling of his handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.
This is a great piece by Finn which sweeps aside the nonsense about RLB being treated justly.Delete
I think it would be very foolish to deny that anti-Semitism exists in the BLP. Much worse existed in it - it was led by a war criminal FFS. Anti-Semitism is mild by comparison to his crimes.
As much as the practice of Anti-Semitism exists within Labour there also exists the practice of smearing as Anti-Semite those with genuine concerns about Israeli state terrorism. And both problems need addressed.
Starmer can lead the way as a former state prosecutor by calling for Israel to be brought before the ICC for its war crimes. Imagine what that could do to combat anti-Semitism. A leader taking an ethical stance rather than a mere political one.
I think we also need to consider the degree of anti-Semitism within the BLP. I have never seen you do that well in exchanges with people like Tony G, and I suspect it is less because the point you seek to make is invalid but the evidence you present is so flimsy, much like you flail to make the mud you sling at RLB stick.
I think it is admirable that you challenge anti-Semitism but less admirable by smearing as anti-Semites people who patently are not.
If Maxine Peake subscribed to a conspiracy theory (and it seems she was mildly wrong rather than wearing a tin hat given that you know Israel permits torture), then it is her that is culpable not RLB, who merely shared the article and praised the author. Nor is it an anti-Semitic act. It is an anti Israeli terror act by Peake, even if she got the particular act of terror wrong against a back drop of even worse Israeli terror. Had Maxine Peake lied and said in her article that Netanyahu was not a war criminal but a man of peace, and the article been retweeted by RLB, would RLB have been dismissed? Not a chance
No one should be persecuted for sharing an article. This is not about curbing anti-Semitism but about curbing the Left so that Starmer can make himself even more acceptable to the Establishment.
What use is that sort of Labour Party in power? No better than Blair and he was allowed by the party to become a war criminal. And those who allowed him to be a war criminal and backed him in his war crime strategy want their hands on the wheels of power for their own careers. Progress requires a party that does not resemble the Tories rather than one that seeks to mirror them.
I would like to see a Labour Party that is free from all the Nazi Holocaust deniers and all the Israeli war crime deniers. But I think the latter are safe under Starmer.
Starmer did to his credit oppose the Iraq war and even where he describes himself as a Zionist insists it only means a belief in the right of the state of Israel to exist. But he will not purge those who backed the war crime strategy of Blair.
I also hope that Keir Starmer will call for Israel to be brought befoe the ICC (proceedings as I understand are underway for an eventual prosecution of Israel, Palestine Authority and Hamas) and it is encouraging that Lisa Nandy as Shadow Foreign Sec is calling for bans on settlement goods in the event of Netanayu's threatened annexation lpans going ahead. I thnhk that Keir will weigh in behind that.
I am sorry to keep going ovdr old ground but Maxine Peake's article (great actress btw; look forward to her next film role soon) was anot a condemnation of Israeli torture in the West Bank or a plea for Paldestinian rights but an ill-judged attempt to fit Israel in to a wider pattern of global evil; in this case racist kilings of African Americans by US cops. One of the principal historic characteristics of AS is that of the role of Jews (mostly as money makers or as pafrt of cosmopolitan elites) in formenting war, economic and political subversion. In other words, the conspiracy theory. The idea that Israel trained US cops in knee restrainnt techniques, apart from being untrue, is a consciuos or unconscious echo of this classic trope (sorry for using that word again!) Not the most egregrious AS offence ever committed but RBL should have immdediately diaavowed.
It is precisdely this conspiratorial element to AS wnich is also found in contempofray antizionism and its presence in the BLP which the Jewish Labour Movement and other Jewish organisations have been campaigning to get rid off and which formed much of its submission to tyhe EHRC.
I honestly have not heard of any Israeli war-crime deniders in the BLP; please tell me who they are. As I have frequently said, oppoistion to the Occupation and crimes therein should never be regarded as AS.
I also swant the Labour Party to be free from Syrian war crime deniers, and fellow travellers with Islamist terror groups and hate preachders (there was crossover beteween these people and antisemites in the Labour pafrty and the wider far left).
Those "who backed the war crimne strategy of Blair" are no longer around to be purged. As an antiantizionist, I concur with the definition of Zionism as only belief in the right of the State of Israel to exist Mu suppofrt for it is based on the notion developed by Isaac Dreutscher of its historical necessity as a "life-raft" state for refugees and survivors of the Holocuast who had nowhere else to flee to.
"No one should be persecuted for sharing an article". Does tnis also apply to Tories or Nigel Farage sharing articles by the likdes of Tommy Robinson and Katie Hopkins? People in public life have to be answerable for sharing and thus giving the stamp of approval to inflammatory material.
Lastly, Labour out of power nationally and locally is no use to any progresxsive of supporter. Keir Starmer knows he has to make Labour electable (a Herculden task no doubt becuuse of the loss of Scotland and the English "red swalls") again. His polished performances at PMQs and ridding Labour of the toxic political culture of Corbynism (which swas never a threat to the Tories) afre steps in that direction.
Barry - can you point to a single example of where Starmer has called for Israel to face trial for war crimes?Delete
On the proposed annexation he has been wholly watery unlike Corbyn.
You are making no sense when you keep going back to the Maxine Peake article. You are in a hole and merely digging deeper. It matters not that she was not talking about Israeli brutality in the West Bank. She was referring to its role in promoting brutal practices across the globe. This is her only mention of Israel “Systemic racism is a global issue. The tactics used by the police in America, kneeling on George Floyd’s neck, that was learnt from seminars with Israeli secret services.”
Is Amnesty International also involved in this anti-Semitic conspiracy? It ran an article titled With Whom Are Many U.S. Police Departments Training? With A Chronic Human Rights Violator – Israel
Are people who share Amnesty's analysis now to be booted out of the cabinet and smeared as Anti-Semitic?
So, Israel is involved in a wider pattern of global evil to such an extent that there is pressure on US police departments to desist from training with the thugs. Amnesty again,
So, you know that Israeli thugs spread their human rights abuses across the globe. Does that not concern you more than Maxine Peake getting a detail about their brutal policy wrong?
This simply bears no resemblance to the pattern of Anti-Semitism that you flag up.
So you have nothing to justify your support of Starmer’s persecution of RLB. In fact he lied about it. As Jonathan Cook points out Starmer "made a telling, false allegation. He told the BBC that the Peake interview had indulged in antisemitic “conspiracy theories” – in the plural. But only one Israel-related claim, about the knee on the neck chokehold, was made or cited."
No war crime deniers that you have heard of? Try the Jewish Labour Movement which denied that the massacres of those unarmed civilians including children on the Great March of Return was a war crime.
Why should the Palestinians have to be pay the price so that their land could be a life raft for European colonialists?
Farage or Hopkins should be free to share whatever they want: the public have a right to access all information and not have it filtered by Keir Starmer. If I give you Mein Kampf am I a Nazi? But there is also sleight of hand here in the attempt to compare what Maxine Peake had to say about Israel and what Tommy Robinson says.
People in public life even more so than others should be protected when they share information that the public can make up its own mind about without the Dictatorship of the Woketariat deciding what is fit to be passed along.
I have absolutely no interest in seeing Starmer's Labour elected as it will make no difference. Make Labour respectable to the neo liberal establishment. That will be great for the people of England. And his dishonest handling of RLB is a clear indication of what you see is what you are going to get.