For those aware of the plots against Harold Wilson and his governments in the 1960s – brilliantly chronicled in Ramsay and Dorrill’s Smear! (1992) and much more briefly in my Plots and Paranoia (1989) – it will come as no surprise that foreign governments are at least contemplating interfering in the British political process today in order to prevent Corbyn’s coming to power after the next election. In the ’60s the villain was mainly apartheid South Africa. Now it’s Israel – whose machinations are proven – indeed videotaped – here: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jan/08/israeli-diplomat-shai-masot-plotted-against-mps-set-up-political-groups-labour; and, secondly, Trump’s America, apparently in defence of Israel: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/pompeo-pledges-not-to-wait-for-britains-elections-to-push-back-against-corbyn-and-anti-semitism/2019/06/07/dfeaa180-9c27-4495-9322-3d16b7d1541a_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.207bd5f138d9. For its part the USA of course has a long history of interfering in and subverting other countries’ elections, mainly in its own (supposed) interests. (As also, to be fair, has Britain.) Which is another reason why we should not be too surprised.
It’s this, I believe, that largely accounts for the ‘anti-Semitic’ smears against Corbyn and the Labour Party that have been surfacing – and then re-surfacing – in recent months, and about which I’ve blogged before: e.g. https://bernardjporter.com/2018/08/01/6808/. None of this is rooted in any genuine evidence of significant anti-Semitism, but rather in Corbyn’s support for the Palestinian cause; which of course isn’t incompatible with support for Israel, but is implicitly critical of the current Israeli government’s – and especially Netanyahu’s – typically imperialistic policies of apartheid, violence and colonial settlement. On the Israeli Right this makes no difference. Anti-Semitism and criticism of Israel are, or indicate, the same thing.
And mud sticks. You can see this in the speeches of many of the current claimants to the leadership of the Conservative party, most of whom can’t resist a dig at Corbyn and Labour on these grounds. In any future election they’re clearly going to play this card for all it’s worth. Some of this mud is even being slung by the ‘Jewish Labour Movement’, which goes back to 1903; possibly – in their case – as a ruse to get rid of the too radical Corbyn, or else out of a genuine concern for Jewish lives in Britain that the Israeli ‘lobby’ has stirred up. Not, note, the ‘Jewish’ lobby, which is a misnomer: partly because the JLM certainly doesn’t represent all Jews.
Indeed, it’s in order to counter claims that it does, that a rival organisation has recently been set up within the Labour Party called ‘Jewish Voice for Labour’. (See https://www.jewishvoiceforlabour.org.uk.) I’ve just joined it as an ‘Associate’ member. (To be a full member you need to be a Jew.)
In connection with which, it has been heartening recently to read the contributions from many British Jews in response to the ‘anti-Semitic’ slur. Here are two; the first by the leading academic authority on the history of the Jews in Britain; the second (if you can get it up) from one of Corbyn’s Jewish constituents.
But who will credit them, if their prejudices and political interests are better served by smears?