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May 01, 2016


Matt Moore

'Just 12 months ago, Labour had a Jewish leader. Today, we’re told, it has a problem with antisemitism. How can this be?'

Labour doesn't mind Jewish ancestry. As long as you are a socialist, atheist, anti-imperialist, and anti-Israel then you are accepted.

Verbal versus structural isn't the key distinction here. It's cultural versus ethnicity. Labour has no prejudice against ethnic Jews, as long as they avoid association with Jeiwsh culture and civilisation.

Dave Timoney

There is certainly truth in your suggestion that the urge to be transgressive has contributed to the use of stupid language on the left, but we should recognise that transgression is relative and can arise through the shifting of boundaries as much as by stepping over them.

The interpretation of any criticism of the Israeli state as anti-Zionism, and the conflation of that with anti-semitism, is a political strategy of linguistic manipulation that Orwell would have recognised, even if his self-declared heirs struggle to spot this amidst the darkness.

@Matt Moore,

"As long as you are a socialist, atheist, anti-imperialist, and anti-Israel then you are accepted".

So how did Tony Blair ever become a member?


All pretty irrelevant. Far and away the biggest act of racism by any British political party ever was the Labour Party (assisted by the Tories) taking part in the slaughter of a million Muslims in Iraq for no good reason.


FATE I'm not sure he was ever accepted by the labour/left folk's MM's talking about. and he's certainly not anymore


@RalphMus..... You are not Irish then? Or you have a very short memory?

Igor Belanov

You've fallen for it too.

Churm Rincewind

"The right will use any stick to beat the left. The left should not help by handing them those sticks. In tolerating even the slightest whiff of antisemitism, Labour is breaking one of the first rules of politics and of life: never give a cunt a chance."

This statement worries me. Although I can readily understand that political incorrectness is a dodgy stance, the suggestion here seems to be that principle should be subservient to pragmatism, which in many ways would seem to deny the overall thrust of this blog.


The anti-semitic tag is applied now to any criticism of Israel. It is a political tool that is possibly directly responsible for the wave of anti-semitism sweeping Europe amongst reasonable people that dislike the arrogant and mindless violence that has been metered to the arab population of Isreal for nearly 70 years.
It is no longer possible to criticise Israel without being a racist....
as to do so is "anti-Jewish in its impact".

It is the Jewish state that is damaging the Jewish cause, not its critics.


This article needs to provide us with all the anti Semitic comments made and tell us why they are to be considered anti Semitic. It is not enough to claim there is anti Semitism without articulating why. This article does what every right wing article has done, claim there is a problem without going to the trouble of rationally explaining it.

When I have debated over the years with those who claim there is anti Semitism among the far left they all end up in the same back alley, namely, that the left are treating Israel different to any other nation. and also that what Israel did and are doing - ethnic cleansing, land theft, murder etc etc etc, is common to all people and history is riddled with such examples so why are Israel being singled out.

This is the basis for their so called anti Semitism claim. Their charge of anti Semitism literally amounts to nothing more than an apologist argument for all the crimes committed against the Palestinians. And this is the ultimate basis whether the person making the claim of anti Semitism is on the left or the right. There is the insinuation in these argument that there must be some anti Semitism on the Palestinian side because, well, look at what has been done to the Palestinians! This is pure liberalism.

Those on the left claiming anti Semitism are more often than not as hypocritical as the right wingers because while they claim we single out Israel (which is false) they themselves single out certain events, for example all the pro war leftists who supported US imperialism in dealing with rogues states. Why was Saddam singled out for example?

And I promise you this much, the charges made by Chris of anti Semitism amount to nothing more than an apology for Israeli crimes against the Palestinians.

And if that doesn't amount to racism of the worst kind against Palestinians I don't know what does.

Dave Timoney


MM said "Labour", without any qualification. Let's be charitable and assume he meant "lefties" (a famously homogeneous group with uniform opinions). My question remains: how did the lefties allow Blair to become a party member, be nominated as an MP and then selected as party leader?

The only rational answer, which you hint at in your "anymore", is that the sensibles were gradually supplanted by the lefties. Given that these are different people (otherwise it's a lot of the same people and they've been "radicalised" to a remarkable degree), this would suggest that the party has been subject to an entryist coup on a scale that dwarfs anything in British political history.

This theory was debunked by The Guardian (no friend of the left), which found little evidence of far left infilitration but a lot of returnees who had been disillusioned by Iraq and Blair (i.e. people who had been members during Blair's rise to prominence and may well have voted for him).

The narrative of entryism explains why "Labour's antisemitism problem" is cast as endemic, when the available evidence suggests it is trivial (see the Stern-Weiner link in the post). Insisting that Labour has been "swamped" or "infected" by an antisemitic left is a way of denying that ordinary party members rejected Blairism. It's evidence of the instrumentalism of a technocratic elite and their denial of agency to party members.

gastro george

@FATE - indeed, for example Rawnsley:

"Many Labour MPs report that the surge in membership last summer and since has brought with it characters with extremely repellent views that should have no place in a party dedicated to opposing racism in all its forms."


A few nice graphs that quickly put some context around the liberal Enlightenment virtues so beloved of Chris, who from what I can see is a virulent anti Palestinian.


Of course to the liberally enlightened the very act of pointing out these stats is anti Semitic!

Igor Belanov

I'm not sure what the Enlightenment has to do with it. One might well say that advocating human rights for the Palestinians is in itself an example of Enlightenment ideals.


Neither do I to be honest but Liberal enlightenment was included in the article above.

Liberal enlightenment has become, in the war on terror era, shorthand for support for US imperialist policy and by extension the supremacist values of imperialism. Liberal enlightenment likes to dress up this supremacist project as humanitarian intervention.

Even when the result is the rise in groups like ISIS the liberal enlightenment torchbearers still insist that the supremacist project of US imperialism is the answer to the thing it itself created.

"One might well say that advocating human rights for the Palestinians is in itself an example of Enlightenment ideals"

Well, one might if one wanted to argue over definitions but the fact is that the self proclaimed torchbearers of liberal enlightenment implicitly argue that fighting for Palestinian rights is an act of anti Semitism.

Given all this we should simply conclude that liberal enlightenment is a thoroughly rotten and racist supplement to a thoroughly racist and supremacist project.

Dave Timoney

I'm pleased to see that the debate has moved on from Hitler to the Enlightenment, which is surely progress. Perhaps we can call it William Godwin's Law.


"I'm pleased to see that the debate has moved on from Hitler to the Enlightenment"

This debate started with the enlightenment, it is in the fifth paragraph of this racist anti Palestinian article.


There is no rational basis for the argument that criticism of the state of Israel and the political ideology of Zionism is anti‑Semitic, just as it makes no sense to consider criticizing apartheid South Africa’s racist policies toward blacks as evidence of racism toward whites, or that criticism of Nazi policies toward the Jews should not be allowed because it is evidence of racism against Germans.

Similarly, if you criticize American policy toward the Iraq war and torture at Abu Ghraib Prison, or the Jim Crow laws that institutionalized discrimination against blacks in the southern states, that you are racist against Americans. This argument is obviously absurd and should not even require a response.

In a free society, one has a basic right to evaluate and criticize a political ideology or movement and to review and criticize a state’s policies. A critique should be evaluated on the basis of the truthfulness of the facts and the logic of the arguments presented. One also has a right to present alternative facts and engage in debate. When one side wants to avoid debate, divert the discussion or suppress the topic and launches personal attacks against its opponents, it is almost certain that it is hiding some uncomfortable truths.

Palestinians are, however, charged with anti-Semitism if they complain about the destruction of their villages; the ethnic cleansing of their cities; the loss of their country and rights to citizenship, and then not being allowed to return to their homes in contravention of international law; or the discriminatory policies of the Jewish National Fund; the inequities of the Jewish Law of Return; house demolitions; discrimination against Muslims and Christian Palestinians; illegal Jewish-only settlements; the more than 600 Israeli military checkpoints in the West Bank; the years of military occupation of Gaza and the West Bank; the well-documented cases of torture; the imprisonment of more than 11,000 Palestinians, including women and children, many held without charge under what is called Administrative Detention; or the recent slaughter in Gaza.

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