We know that some of the Labour MPs who attended the Jewish Community’s rally against antisemitism are being bullied and intimidated. One victim is Thangam Debbonaire, the MP for Bristol West. (Bristol is a nest of anti-Jewish nastiness). Racists in Bristol West Constituency Labour Party are proposing the following motion, for discussion on Thursday:
Bristol West CLP notes:
a. Jeremy Corbyn’s outstanding record as a campaigner against racism and anti-Semitism and his long standing opposition to the illegal occupation of Palestinian Territories
b. The orchestrated attempts to discredit Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party in the run up to the local elections where Labour were expected to do well, especially in London.
c. That the latest attempt was triggered by Owen Smith advocating a second referendum against party policy for which he was sacked. It then moved on to a restatement of historic claims that both Corbyn and Labour are anti-Semitic for which little evidence has been produced.
d. For example Luciana Berger MP, a Blairite MP, revived the issue of a Facebook post by Jeremy Corbyn in 2012 opposing the removal of a mural in Brick Lane by Kalen Ockerman. This FB post was first reported by the Jewish Chronicle in November 2015 and at the time they simply reported that some had condemned the mural as having atisemitic undertones.
e. A BBC London report by Alice Bhandhukravi on 5 October 2012. examined the controversy about the mural but did not conclude that the painting was anti-Semitic, only that ‘some’ thought it depicted caricatures of Jewish Bankers. The painting depicts a group of bankers and businessmen playing a Monopoly style game on the backs of the poor and includes a placard stating “The New World Order is the Enemy of Humanity”. The Artist names the six bankers depicted as Rothschild, Rockefeller, Morgan, Crowley, Carnegie and Warburg (only two of whom were in fact Jewish) and says the mural is about class war, elitism and oppression.
f. The House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee reported in October 2016, having focused almost exclusively (125 out of 131 paragraphs) on anti-Semitism in the Labour Party found:
“Despite significant press and public attention on the Labour Party, and a number of revelations regarding inappropriate social media content, there exists no reliable, empirical evidence to support the notion that there is a higher prevalence of anti-Semitic attitudes within the Labour Party than any other political party. We are unaware whether efforts to identify anti-Semitic social media content within the Labour Party were applied equally to members and activists from other political parties, and we are not aware of any polls exploring anti-Semitic attitudes among political party members, either within or outside the Labour Party. The current impression of a heightened prevalence of anti-Semitism within the Labour Party is clearly a serious problem, but we would with to emphasise that this is also a challenge for other parties.” (para 120)
g. A paper by Jewish Policy Research in November 2017 found that:
i. “levels of anti-Semitism in Great Britain are among the lowest in the world.”
ii. Anti-Semitic attitudes are much more likely on the right of the political spectrum compared to the left (and generally they are concentrated on the far right).
h. The only polling evidence among the British public (YouGov May 2016) concludes that more than twice as many people consider Labour has a small or non-existent problem with anti-Semitism as consider it has a big or fairly big problem.
i. The demonstration on Monday 26th outside Parliament called by Jonathan Arkush the President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews and Jonathan Goldstein the chair of Jewish Leadership Council which was supported by a number of Labour MPs, many of whom have opposed Corbyn throughout his leadership. The same demonstration was also supported by a number of Tory MPs, Norman Tebbit and Ian Paisley Junior from the DUP.
j. That in 2016 Jonathan Arkush wrote; “I would like to congratulate Donald Trump on his victory… I hope that Mr Trump will move to build bridges and ensure America’s standing as a beacon of progress…”
2. Bristol West CLP believes:
a. That anti-Semitic behaviour – as defined in the Chakrabarti report – is completely unacceptable and should not be tolerated within the Labour Party.
b. That Jeremy Corbyn’s FB post from 2012 is not evidence of anti-Semitism.
c. That much of the alleged outrage about the post is simply an attempt to smear the reputation of the Labour Party leader – and indeed the Labour Party itself.
d. That Jonathan Arkush criticises Corbyn but congratulates Trump who supports Britain First and knowingly consorts with the anti-Semites of the US far right is evidence of a particular political agenda in support of the State of Israel at the expense of Palestinians.
e. That the current accusations of anti-Semitism are a carefully orchestrated attempt to discredit the Labour leadership and indeed the Labour party just before the local elections.
3. Bristol West CLP recommends:
a. That all cases of alleged anti-Semitic behaviour be properly investigated in line with the processes and procedures set out in the LP rulebook.
b. That the new LP General Secretary should implement the recommendation of the Chakrabarti report without further delay.
c. That spurious allegations of anti-Semitism are themselves totally unacceptable and bringing the Labour Party into disrepute. In the most serious cases these allegations should themselves be subject to investigation by Labour’s compliance committee.
4. Bristol West CLP resolves:
a. To affiliate to Jewish Voices for Labour (JVL) including a donation of £150.
b. To require the Secretary to write a letter of support to Jeremy Corbyn condemning the actions of the media and politicians orchestrating this smear and urging that the actions recommended in part 3 above are carried out.
c. To copy the letter to the new LP National Secretary and the NEC to bring it to their attention.
d. To work together for a united party, committed to bringing about a Labour government at the earliest opportunity.
There is so much that is wrong and racist about this, it is hard to know where to start. Just look at the first sentence …. If the proposer had only praised Jeremy Corbyn as a ‘campaigner against antisemitism’, dayenu!
So let’s fisk it line by line………..
a. If Corbyn had an ‘outstanding record as a campaigner against antisemitism’, would thousands of people – many of who had never been to a demonstration in their life – have rallied in Parliament Square (at very short notice) to protest about his failure to deal with the problem of antisemitism in Labour? If all was hunky-dory, why would the former Chief Rabbi refuse to talk to the Opposition Leader? And Israel’s presence in Judea/Samaria is not ‘illegal’! No Court has ever ruled that it is so. Israel pulled out of Gaza in 2005.
c. There is reams of evidence of antisemitism in Labour. In the eight months September 2016 to June 2017, at least 750 Labour members were reported to the compliance unit by members of ‘Labour Against Antisemitism’. The organisation says (Press Notice last week) ‘Labour Against Antisemitism has evidence of antisemitic activity from over 1,000 members still to report. The Labour leadership would be unwise to assume this issue will go away.’ Many members have been suspended for antisemitism.
d and e. The mural has been widely acknowledged as antisemitic. Comments from the artist bear this out: “Some of the older white Jewish folk in the local community had an issue with me portraying their beloved #Rothschild or #Warburg etc as the demons they are.”
f. After the Select Committee’s Report was published, the Campaign Against Antisemitism published research (September 2017) showing that antisemitism among officers in Labour is eight times higher than that in the next ranked party.
g. This Jewish Policy Research paper was fatally flawed because it didn’t include Israel-based antisemitism in its definition of antisemitism, unlike the IHRA Definition – which Labour has adopted. None of the topline quoted results are correct. I titled my blog about it ‘Wide Open Goal for Corbyn.’
h. This polling data is nearly two years old. Since then there has been virtually continuous publicity about antisemitism in the Labour Party. In any case whether or not the general public is concerned about antisemitism in Labour is immaterial. If white people showed little concern about prejudice against blacks, would that mean there’s no problem? The Jewish community is obviously concerned – and that’s what matters. Latest available polling data shows that just 13% would vote Labour in the 2017 election. Since then the proportion has surely fallen into single figures.
i. Yes there is cross party support against anti-Jewish racism. So what.
j. Jonathan Arkush extended the normal courtesy to a new US President. So what.
2c. This is a shameful, sickening and racist attempt to belittle concerns of Jews about racism directed against them.
2d. Utter nonsense. Jonathan Arkush has said nothing to indicate a lack of concern for the plight of the Palestinians.
2e.Another odious and racist belittling of genuine concerns about racism
4a. JVL is a racist extremist organisation, see JVL Watch on Twitter. Many of its members are suspended for antisemitism.
 MPs, peers, councillors, party officers and candidates selected to contest any public election
The following motion has also been submitted censuring the MP for attending the rally against antisemitism. It’s utterly despicable and – yes – antisemitic. Because the (anonymous) proposer would not dream of censuring an MP who attended a rally against any other kind of racism. Can you imagine an MP being publicly censured for supporting any other minority in a protest at prejudice against it? No – only Jews.
Of course Jon Lansman could stop this racist nonsense in a minute. Of course – he won’t.
Marley Bennett @marleybennett is the assistant to Kerry McCarthy MP who sits for the neighbouring constituency. He has submitted a counter motion for Thursday’s meeting (it’s not ideal but at least it does not propose to affiliate to JVL, the anti-Jewish racist extremist organisation):