The depths of Britain's Labor (they say Labour) party anti-Semitism

Seems like there is so much anti-semitism in the England Labour party even the Jewish members are involved.

After that accident with Corbyn being mistakenly kicked out, this looks like a “right mess” as the folk across the pond might say.

Can anyone familiar with this ‘scandal’ explain what all this is about? You can skip past that entire Jesus unpleasantness. Who are the anti-Semites and what are they being accused of saying/doing?

Related thread:

I’m not sure what this new thread adds to the discussion.

Jewish members of the UK Labour party are being kicked out for supporting human rights / they are anti-Semitic, it’s a different issue.

Or you’re still upset that Corbyn got what he deserved. He did do a good job at getting cronies into the Labour Party apparatus, but Sir Keir should continue to withhold the whip in the parliamentary Labour Party.

I read a book called Left Out, about Corbyn’s leadership of the British Labour Party. It’s not just about the anti-Semitism, but it came up in at least three chapters. There’s literally years of incidents involved, so someone would need to write a very long post on this. (And even then, the book came out when Sir Keir Starmer was newly minted as Labour Party leader, or possibly even before.)

I bought the book because the info I found online was so scattered and biased that I needed a Coles Notes version. The book was not available in Canada online, so I had to buy the physical book (I think from Amazon United States, but maybe it was Amazon Canada).

Because it’s a physical book, I can’t really search it the way I could an online book. But I guess the gist is this:

Jeremy Corbyn does not like Israel, instead, he likes Palestine. He has also supported a number of unseemly far left wing people (eg the IRA, although I don’t understand how a Catholic terrorist group could be called left wing), Russia, Venezuela, etc. He is infamous for not holding Russia to account when it murdered Russian dissidents on British soil with poison.

Corbyn got caught up in a number of anti-Semitism scandals, such as supporting a mural that had anti-Semitic tropes.

He did not support theentire IHRA definition of anti-Semitism because it’s a little difficult to criticize Israel while following the rules. (Not impossible, but it would require him to think before he speaks.) He repeatedly tried to drop some of the points from the official Labour Party definition of anti-Semitism (eventually the party ignored him and passed the full definition), and (most charitably) is incredibly stubborn, a terrible politician, and had a massive blind spot over how that looks.

Under Corbyn, Labour was terrible at handling complaints about anti-Semitism. Many of the complaints came from a single Jewish MP who had made a profanity-laden attack on Corbyn (because he didn’t support her when she was attacked by anti-Semites), enabling Corbyn to claim that there were too many reports. In addition, there was a lot of backstabbing and so forth going on in the Labour Party, letting Corbyn claim he was sabotaged by his opponents. In short Corbyn refused to take any responsibility for failing to deal with the issue. The end result is Corbyn at least looked anti-Semitic (maybe he’s dog whistling), and this had been going on for years, with a stubborn Corbyn either not realizing or not caring what this looked like.

After the book:

When Starmer took over the Labour Party, he loudly and publicly made fighting anti-Semitism a priority, and quickly eliminated two prominent Labour opponents, one of whom was Corbyn, for violating the rules (downplaying anti-Semitism). He has also (behind the scenes) made it difficult to criticize these decisions, in part because he feels you should not downplay anti-Semitism. He got criticized for free speech violations, for “conveniently” eliminating opponents who spouted “purportedly” anti-Semitic material, etc. Even if Starmer is being a little harder on his internal Labour opponents, I blame them for making it easy to get rid of them. At absolute minimum, if they’re going to discuss Jews, anti-Semitism, etc, they should go through the party’s communications centre to ensure they’re not pissing people off by saying something stupid, or not realizing what blood libel means, etc.

Downplaying anti-Semitism can be considered anti-Semitism. It said so in the book, but I couldn’t find it on the page I linked, so I’m missing something somewhere. The situation does get a little unusual when the person downplaying anti-Semitism is herself Jewish. Starmer could not let her get away with that, putting him in a very difficult situation. (Strictly speaking, Starmer does not make the decision to kick people out of the party, but nobody thinks he isn’t consulted.)

IHRS working definition of anti-Semitism

Isn’t Milliband Jewish?

Sorry to effectively double post, but I saw some info on Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi.

According to Wikipedia…

Miliband was born in the Fitzrovia district of Central London to Polish Jewish immigrants

He has been out of power for years now.

In addition, Keir Starmer is married to a Jewish woman.

Its also all made politically more complex because the categories - Jewish people, State of Israel, current Netanyahu policies running Israel - are not completely congruent, but you can readily be accused of being anti-Jewish by not liking Netanyahu and his predecessors’ policies. Corbyn seemed quite unable to articulate [or, from Kimera757’s excellent post, to even be able to conceptualise] the differences which can be subtle and nuanced and need work to explain clearly.

In normal people that is unfortunate, but in the leader of a political party and alternative prime minister of a major world player, its not good enough. Not my electorate, but I thought Corbyn was a dead weight on many issues and his uselessness was a major factor in allowing Boris Johnson to be able to get away with being egregiously incompetent.

Wonderful summation there @Banksiaman.

Thank you for this great summation. Ditto, Banksiaman.

I wouldn’t disagree with anything in Banksiaman’s summary. But here’s a small gloss on the ins and outs of Corbyn’s current situation: he’s faced two different sorts of action as a consequence of his statement on response to the inquiry report.

One was suspension of his party membership by the National Executive Committee (i.e., not just the leader), which would exclude him from local party meetings, any voting that might come up on party issues, and from consideration as a candidate of the party (should there have been any election coming up). If this were about an ordinary member, it wouldn’t be particularly worth anything but local notice. But as it happens, the relevant party body ended the suspension somewhat sooner than his opponents liked.

But that brings into play the second consequence, which is withdrawal of the party whip in the Commons (which, unlike the first action, is a decision of the party leader). This means he loses whatever perks the party whips can offer, as well as any say or vote in parliamentary party activities. For a sitting MP, particularly a former leader, to come out with a statement that so obviously undermines the message the leader wants to get across (and does so in such a tin-eared, “all out of step but me”, way) is different from if it were just a local left activist chuntering away, so it’s no great surprise that Starmer took that course.

So once again the arguments rage, on the one hand that it’s all got up just to discredit Saint Jeremy (and you can see how that can soon shade to old anti-semitic tropes), and on the other, that the left just can’t or won’t see how Corbyn put off a great many voters that Labour needs, and that his and their resistance to dealing with this particular issue simply underlines why he - and they - did so.

The Labour Party is going through an internal power struggle between two factions. Corbyn is supported by Momentum group who are on the radical left of the party. Their international policy is to support liberation groups and in this respect they support the Palestinian groups. That makes them vulnerable to charges of anti-Semitism by the centrist Social Democrats wing within the party. This is a Hard Left versus Soft Left battle.

Keir Starmer, the current leader of the Labour Party has yet to articulate his political philosophy, but it is clearly not radical left and he is trying to consolidate his support and marginalise some of the radical opponents within the party.

Anti-semitism is quite a good choice of issue for these internecine politicial skirmishes. It is a political minefield with many traps for unwary and Corbyn and his supporters have fallen into many of them. However it does somewhat sully the reputation of the party.

To be fair Corbyn did achieve some success in expanding the membership of the party, particularly with respect to younger members. Unfortunately the Labour Party policies presented at the last election were comprehensively rejected by the voters and we ended up with Brexit Boris. Such big failure is a clear case for a change of direction.

Eventually Starmer will consolidate his position in the party and start to develop a comprehensive vision of the political direction and a set of policies that he can sell to the electorate at the next General Election. That will take place on Thursday, May 2, 2024. So he has plenty of time.

I’ve never really understood the conflation of sympathy with Palestinian issues and anti-Semitism. I mean, obviously it’s a thing, but it’s perfectly possible to express disapproval towards some of Israel’s actions towards Palestine without being an anti-Semite. I don’t believe I have any anti-Semitic tendencies, but sometimes I think Israel could do better on its treatment of Palestinians. And yes, Palestinians have done dreadful things to Israelis, of course. And as usual, Britain has some of that blood on its hands for its historical part in the current mess.

You can read this example from the BBC:

Rebecca Long-Bailey is a Jeremy Corbyn supporter, a Member of Parliament, and a lawyer by profession. When Corbyn stepped down in the spring of 2020, Long-Bailey and Sir Keir Starmer ran for the leadership of the Labour Party. Long-Bailey sought the same voters who put Corbyn in charge of the Labour Party, but lost to the more moderate Starmer. He made her the shadow education secretary.

George Floyd was killed on camera by a police officer who choked him to death. The death is allegedly murder and allegedly racist in nature. (The police officer choked him out despite being on camera, leading me to believe his motivation wasn’t merely an opportunity to beat someone up. In other words he will probably be found guilty of a hate crime.) Of course, this crime should have nothing to do with anti-Semitism.

Maxine Peak is a British Labour supporter, and she posted an article that said this:

The accusation is probably untrue, but Israeli police have been accused of choking Palestinians. It’s doubtful they ever trained American police officers in this technique. It’s doubtful they trained the alleged murderer at all (the vast majority of American police officers aren’t going to Israel to get trained, after all). American police can get training from any number of foreign sources, so I’m suspicious why Israel was singled out. None of these training sources tell American police officers to specifically choke Black suspects to death. The police officer had some amount of brains and had to know that choking someone for over nine minutes would kill him, he was not blindly following the orders of his alleged Jewish masters.

I can only see this as an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory. Why else would they blame the actions of a racist white police officer on the majority Jewish nation?

Long-Bailey, a trained lawyer, shared that post from Ms. Peake, a celebrity (and not some kind of expert on Israel, police training, etc). Starmer told Long-Bailey to take it down, or she would be fired. Labour had been under fire for years for this kind of thing. Long-Bailey resisted, wanting to explain herself first. Starmer ran out of patience and fired her from the shadow cabinet position about five hours later.

Peake took her post down. Long-Bailey accomplished nothing but posting something that could be viewed as anti-Semitic, at a time when the Labour Party was struggling to fight accusations of anti-Semitism. She lost her job as a shadow secretary for education, a role that has nothing to do with police training or foreign affairs (she’s still a Labour MP). She did not get to “explain herself” (which, given her strategy of posting what some random celebrity said, could not possibly have made the Labour Party appear less anti-Semitic; people would be suspicious why she was posting anything about Israel at all, seeing how it had nothing to do with her job).

At absolute minimum, this showed a gigantic blind spot in the mind of someone who thinks and acts just like Jeremy Corbyn. Or maybe she’s anti-Semitic. It’s frankly easier to think that, seeing how she went out of her way to post, and then resist deleting, something that made her, a Labour Party member of Parliament, appear anti-Semitic.

Thank you for the excellent post, I agree with it entirely. And apologies, what I posted previously wasn’t clear; what I should have said was, I don’t understand why some people seem to find it difficult to criticise Israel without appearing to be anti-Semitic. I agree that the quote you posted above appears to be inherently anti-Semitic. And I am in no way denying that that is a problem, both for the UK Labour Party and the world as a whole.

You’ve heard of Liberation Theology, I take it?

Both the Provisional IRA and Official IRA (after the IRA split in 1969) had left wing economic positions. The Provisional IRA (which became more dominant in the 1970s) advocated for an all-Ireland democratic socialist republic, whereas the Official IRA advocated for an all-Ireland workers republic.

I would hazard a guess that there is something in human nature (or some people’s nature) that can’t resist a “Well they would, wouldn’t they” response, seeking to dismiss what they disagree with or feel challenged by identifying it with some generalised stereotype of some group of “others”. Even without the slide into anti-semitism, you can see purists in both wings of the Labour Party adopting that attitude and applying some familiar tropes to each other (secretly conspiratorial, divided loyalties, money); and I don’t doubt you’ll find it in other parties, or any organisation that has internal factions, as well.

I had not.

Who did Catholic republican terrorists join? And were all the Protestant terrorists right wingers?

I meant to say, who did right wing Catholic republican terrorists join?