“We’re not saying Jeremy Corbyn is anti-Semitic” say the people in the media heavily implying that Jeremy Corbyn is anti-Semitic. So what exactly ARE they saying?
What they’re largely saying is that Corbyn has long been aligned with the Palestinian solidarity movement, which is quite large and includes – and this may come as a shock to those unfamiliar with middle eastern politics – some shitty fucking fuckers who aren’t particularly fond of Jewish people, as well as plenty of people who are and, in fact, plenty of Jews opposed to the actions of successive Israeli governments. I’m linking here to a post by Owen Jones about how if you attend as many meetings and protests as Jeremy Corbyn (“more than virtually any other MP”), you’re going to meet some unsavoury characters, whether or not you agree with, say, the genuinely confusing idea that Jewish people bake bread from the blood of gentile children. Like, how is that actually supposed to work? Is the blood just for flavouring or something? But if Corbyn’s guilty by association, I suppose we’re to presume that, because he trades fuckloads of weapons and oil with the insane Saudi Arabian regime, David Cameron supports whipping women who drive, beheading gay people and is also an anti-Semite.
Obviously that’s not true; Cameron supports money. He doesn’t share morals with Saudi Arabia, he’s just amoral. The debate around Palestine isn’t hugely productive when anyone who dares to criticise the state of Israel and their bomb-happy right-wing government is an anti-Semite, and anybody who points out the genuine anti-Semitism of some opposed to Israel is a “Zionist.” What’s even less productive than the mud-slinging is the idea that people like Corbyn shouldn’t be willing to debate with those whose views are opposed to theirs; Hamas, for example, are an extremist group who also happen to be the elected government of Palestine, and if it’s wrong to debate them the implication is basically that the conversation should be conducted via bombing.
But I suppose that rather than this rabid anti-Semite who’s rather self-defeatingly dedicated an enormous portion of his life to anti-racism campaigns (he missed a trick there, really) The Daily Telegraph, the Guardian, the Jewish Chronicle (which represents the full breadth of Jewish opinion in the same way that the Guardian’s support for Yvette Cooper reflects the opinions of their readership; i.e. it doesn’t) and whoever else has printed these accusations would rather elect the more “moderate” Liz Kendall as leader; somebody who rejects the two-state solution in favour what in my view is the pretty extreme notion that Palestine should not be recognised as a state, because, after all, that fingers-in-ears “fuck you, I’m not listeniiiiiing” attitude has served Kendall and the Labour right so well with her leadership campaign.
When they’re not engaging in a ridiculously dumb and superficial semantic argument (almost as dumb a semantic argument as “anti-Semitism isn’t anti-Semitism because it’s not just Jews who are Semites”) about Corbyn welcoming Hamas to a debate by describing them as “friends” rather than, in accordance with Daily Mail debating etiquette, “you bunch of fucking horrible cunts,” the media are hysterically screaming that in the 1980s he invited members of the IRA to debate in parliament weeks after they’d attempted to kill Margaret Thatcher. In fact, this close proximity to the Brighton Bombing made the need for peaceful debate all the more pertinent. How was peace in Northern Ireland eventually achieved? Peaceful debate. Who was secretly engaging in talks with the IRA whilst people like Corbyn caught stick for it in the press? Thatcher.
Given that the attacks on Corbyn’s economic policy and electability don’t seem to have significantly dented his upward surge, it’s natural that the insular establishment would try this line of attack against somebody who is as decidedly in favour of peace as he is equality. Not only do David Cameron’s economics exist in some weird pre-2008 alternate universe where the banking sector never did anything wrong, but I think it’s disgraceful that the man leading our country is somebody who voted for the disastrous 2003 invasion of Iraq, which was arguably the biggest mistake Labour ever made, and Corbyn’s opposition to (and pledge to apologise for) the war is yet another thing that sets him apart not just from the government but his opponents in the leadership contest (Yvette Cooper now claims to regret it but somehow wasn’t on the ball enough to realise it was a shit idea at the time). The following video of Corbyn speaking at the million-strong Stop the War March on February 15th 2003 shows a politician firmly on the right side of history;
“And for those who say that this is a necessary and just conflict because it will bring about peace and security,” says Corbyn. “September 11th was a terrible event. 8000 deaths in Afghanistan brought back none of those who died in the World Trade Centre. Thousands more deaths in Iraq will not make things right. It will set off a spiral of conflict, of hate, of misery, of desperation that will fuel the wars, the conflict, the terrorism, the depression and the misery of future generations.” To which I raise you ISIS.
This is not a fringe, “loony left” opinion; this is a widely held view around much of the world – that the heavy-handed militarism of the west in the 21st century has only deepened global divisions and caused further suffering. To conclude crudely, fuck war, fuck bombing, and fuck accusing people of sympathising with bigots just because they want to solve conflict with brains rather than brawn.
Actually, I know how to conclude. If the Daily Mail want to try and claim the moral high ground against Corbyn for his alleged links to anti-Semites, here’s a little Wikipedia extract that shows the Mail bigging up the Nazis by perpetuating the anti-Semitic “stabbed in the back” myth;
And, of course…