Comedian & Actor Sacha Baron Cohen recently gave a speech at an Anti-Defamation League event in which he accused social-media firms such as Facebook & YouTube & Twitter of helping to amplify antisemitic hate, I happen to agree with every point made by Sacha Baron Cohen in the speech he gave at the Anti-Defamation League’s recent Never Is Now Summit, as this Jew has certainly witnessed for themselves a deluge of antisemitic hate via social-media & this includes having frequently seen antisemitic posts on Facebook groups orientated towards supporting Labour & Jeremy Corbyn.
I’ve always argued that those posting antisemitic shite on Facebook groups in support of Labour & Jeremy Corbyn might not necessarily be paid up members of the Labour Party & might in fact be trolls wanting to do damage to the Labour Party, of course the argument then follows about it being the responsibility of the admin of those groups supposedly set up in support of the Labour Party & Jeremy Corbyn to delete posts which are antisemitic & to ban whoever is posting antisemitic shite from those groups, but again nobody can be certain if those groups created on Facebook genuinely have the intent in being supportive of Labour & Jeremy Corbyn, one presumes the genuine intention of those groups being created is to support Labour & Jeremy Corbyn is to give support to Jeremy Corbyn & Labour, but the internet affords bigots & trolls a great deal of anonymity & there are many nefarious people in this world who have nefarious agendas & come up with ever inventive ways to push those nefarious agendas.
I’m not getting all Moulder & Scully or all Alex Jones, I’m not suggesting that Mossad are running some clandestine troll farm south of Jerusalem with the specific mission to smear the fuck out of Jeremy Corbyn & Labour as antisemitic on Twitter or Facebook, what I’m saying is never take anything at face value. It’s more then likely that those groups created on Facebook in support of Labour & Jeremy Corbyn probably were created with the genuine intention to support Labour & Jeremy Corbyn & the vast majority of Facebook users posting on those groups are either Labour Party members or at the very least are supporters of the Labour Party, which means the general response being posted on various Facebook groups about all the candidates who are contesting the current Labour leadership election to take over from Jeremy Corbyn signing up to the 10 pledges put forward by the British Board of Deputies to stamp out antisemitism within the party has made for some uncomfortable reading even for this Jew who has their own serious contentions with some of what the British Board of Deputies are asking of Labour.
Overall I don’t think what the British Board of Deputies are asking Labour to implement is too much of the party as a means of restoring confidence amongst Jewish people that Labour is tackling antisemitism within the party, because though I’ve fiercely defended Jeremy Corbyn against accusations that he himself is antisemitic I’ve never denied there isn’t an issue with antisemitism within the Labour Party & I’ll admit so far the Labour leadership hasn’t done nearly enough to tackle the issue of antisemitism within the party. But I do have some serious contentions in regards to #6 & number #8 on the list of pledges the British Board of Deputies has asked the Labour Party to sign up to as means of proving its serious about stamping out antisemitism.
Pledge #8 To engage with the Jewish community via its main representative groups & not through fringe organisations
For those who might not know there are currently two groups representing Jewish opinion within Labour, the Jewish Labour Movement which is pro Zionist which has links to the current Israeli government & Jewish Voice For Labour which is anti Zionist & opposes the current Israeli government, the Jewish Labour Movement have opposed Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party by going as far as to publicly refusing to campaign for Labour during the 2019 General Election whereas Jewish Voice For Labour are a breakaway group from the Jewish Labour Movement of those Jews who do support Jeremy Corbyn. It’s obvious to me when Board of Deputies state that Labour must engage with the Jewish community via its main representative groups & not through fringe organisations this is aimed at the likes of Jewish Voice For Labour, err who the fuck are the British Board of Deputies to say which Jewish group is fringe or mainstream, which Jewish opinion is legitimate & which Jewish opinion is illegitimate, there’s no one homogenised opinion amongst us Jews we are an argumentative bunch who’ve been arguing & arguing amongst ourselves for millennia & in my opinion that’s no bad thing.
Pledge #6 full adoption of the IHRA definition of antisemitism with all its examples & clauses and without any caveats
The definition of antisemitism should simply be hatred of Jews for being Jews, so accusing the Israeli government of being murdering scumbags isn’t antisemitic but accusing the Jewish people collectively of being murdering scumbags is most certainly antisemitic. The serious contention I personally have with the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of Antisemitism is that in around about way it’s classing criticism of the state of Israel to be antisemitic which indeed it is as Israel is the Jewish state but most people use government & state as interchangeable terms to mean the same thing as not everybody is a political scientist or a smartarse like myself who understands the differences in the legal definitions between state & government, so somebody could be criticising the state of Israel when they mean the Israeli government & be unfairly condemned as being antisemitic no matter how legitimate their criticism might have been. There is a fear with the adoption of the IHRA definition of antisemitism smacks of wanting to circumvent or curtail any criticism of controversial policies being enacted by the current Israeli government in particular the orchestration of an Apartheid system victimising the Palestinian people, we must by all necessary means protect the fundamental democratic right of all peoples to challenge those who govern over us because if we lose that right then we well on truly on the slippery slope towards fascism.
The general consensus of disquiet amongst Labour activists in response to all candidates contesting the current Labour leadership election signing up to the British Board of Deputies 10 pledges to stamp out antisemitism within Labour has been “they’ve all sold out to Zionism”. There have been accusations in the past that the British Board of Deputies was too pro-Israeli & to which my response is yes & so what, okay if the British Board of Deputies are being overtly supportive of the Israeli government & that government instituting overtly racist policies then that’s something I’d be extremely critical of them doing, but one can have love for a country but at the same time not necessarily have love for the government of that country. I’ve never had any issue with the legitimacy of the state of Israel, my issue has always been purely about the racist policies towards the Palestinian people being pursued by Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud government, but from what I’ve recently seen being posted by a myriad of Labour activists & leftwing activist has made me begin to wonder if those critics who say antisemitism is rife within the party aren’t right an example being substituting the word Jew with the word Zionist & disputing the legitimacy of the right of the Israeli state to exist.
When I talk of being anti Zionist I’m talking about contemporary Zionism, Benjamin Netanyahu’s brand of Zionism which is decidedly fascistic in nature, rampant nationalism, obsession with national security, supremacy of the military, distain for human rights, scapegoating ethnic minorities for the problems of the nation state, religion & government intertwined, etc. I’m not opposed to the original intention of Zionism (in fact I’m very much such supportive of it) which was for there to be a Jewish homeland & the Holocaust precipitating the need for the establishment of the state of Israel, but I’m well aware there are Labour & leftwing activists who indeed dispute the legitimacy of the state of Israel & thinking if anybody who makes the most moderate of defences of the legitimacy of the state of Israel to exist has their tongue well & truly shoved up the arse of Benjamin Netanyahu.
I know full well there are Labour & leftwing activists who have labelled the British Board of Deputies as ‘Zionist’ not because that organisation is pro-Israeli but merely because it’s a Jewish organisation, I think whoever is eventually elected Labour leader in early April has an uphill struggle in combatting antisemitism within the party. Considering all that’s happened over the past few years, it was inevitable those candidates contesting the Labour leadership election were going sign up to the Board of Deputies 10 pledges without question & I think whoever does replace Jeremy Corbyn as party leader might very be making a Kinnock like speech to conference in regards to antisemites within the party, yes you remember that speech, it’s the one speech everybody remembers Kinnock making as Labour leader, the speech about Militant tendency at the ’85 Labour Party annual conference. Whoever takes over from Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader needs far more forceful then he has been in stamping out antisemitism within the party, because unless they’re seen to be doing so then Labour will not return to government.