Stephen Oryszczuk is the Foreign Editor of ‘Jewish News’. Last month he wrote a juvenile Jewish News blog defaming me. He distorted my name slightly, presumably not wishing to be responsible for a libel suit against his employer. Nevertheless his boss quickly deleted the blog after several people complained (I didn’t). I suspected from the content of the smear that he is a Corbynite. Sure enough, in this week’s Jewish News (the front page headline in fact) there is a long interview by Oryszczuk of Len McCluskey, General Secretary of the trade union Unite, the UK’s biggest trade union with 1.4 million members. The interview is a thinly–disguised puff piece for Labour and Corbyn. It’s astonishing that the editor of Jewish News, Richard Ferrer, didn’t spike what amounts to a party political broadcast to the Jewish community.
Thousands of Labour members (well over 4000 in the past year) have been reported to the Party’s Compliance Unit in the past year. Ken Livingstone – who twisted history to claim grotesquely that “Hitler supported Zionism” – has not been expelled from the Party. Yet shortly after the Labour Conference, McCluskey alleged that complaints about antisemitism in Labour are “mood music that was created by people who were trying to undermine Jeremy Corbyn. I’ve never been at a meeting where there was any antisemitic language or any attacks on the Jewish nation; they would have had short shrift at any meeting that I was at.”
It’s even doubtful that McCluskey knows what the word ’antisemitism’ means. The Union which he heads has failed to adopt the IHRA definition of antisemitism – the most common definition, which even the Labour Party has accepted.
Yet what does McCluskey say about the IHRA definition in the Jewish News interview? Only that “It has nuances in it”. Oryszczuk does not even tell us that Unite has vetoed the definition. McCluskey even voices the hackneyed old lie that Israel supporters “deliberately try to link criticism of that government with antisemitism.”
And McCluskey endorses the organisation ‘Jewish Voice for Labour’. JVL are a bunch of Soviet-style antisemites hiding behind a transparent veneer of antizionism. JVL is led by a tiny group of outlier Jews, some of who are under investigation by Labour. They are Labour members who demonise Israel and believe that most allegations of antisemitism regarding other Labour members are fabrications designed to undermine Jeremy Corbyn. For example their Secretary is Glyn Secker. He has called Israel a “terror state”. He has said “It has become a pariah country internationally. Israel doesn’t know how to make peace, it only knows how to make wars.” Recently he wrote a gushing review of ‘State of Terror’ (‘this seminal work’ ….’Violence to the Palestinians, modelled on the antisemitic pogroms in eastern Europe’), a book which David Collier and I have shown (in a 23,000 word deconstruction) to be a deeply antisemitic fraud. But you won’t learn any of this from Oryszczuk’s piece of sycophancy. Neither will you learn that McCluskey affiliated Unite with JVL without even consulting the Executive of that Union.
And what about Corbyn? Could he do more to disassociate from antisemitism – like accepting the invitation to the dinner to celebrate the centenary of the Balfour Declaration? Like personally endorsing the IHRA Definition? Pretty simple things you would have thought. Apparently not. Says McCluskey, in response to being asked if Corbyn could have done more: “I don’t think so. I genuinely don’t. He’s been fighting racism and discrimination all his life. The idea that Jeremy Corbyn would tolerate any discrimination, even for a second, it’s just not in the man at all.”
And Oryszczuk fails to ask McCluskey about the Israel views of Andrew Murray, Unite’s BDS-supporting Chief of Staff. All we get is a brief reference to Murray’s support for Galloway to be allowed to rejoin Labour.
Fortunately the rampant antisemitism in Labour has prompted a backlash. See Labour Against Antisemitism and JVL Watch on Twitter and on Facebook (and here). You’d have hoped the Jewish Press would be supporting them. It seems not!