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Thursday, July 21, 2016

British Antisemitism and my Friendship Failure

I had a heated discussion with an acquaintance, a former ‘friend’, after the Brexit poll that recently took place.  He is a life-long Labour Party supporter who acknowledged the futility of electing Jeremy Corbyn (JC) to the post of party leader while at the same time being exhilarated by the result.  We have not been comfortable together since he told me (just prior to one of my many family trips to Israel) that one mans history is another mans mythology.  From there it was clear I was dealing with someone of ‘easy’ personal ethics, someone who chooses sides based not on historical relevance but on ideological preference.  His justification is never swayed by either reality or counter-factual evidence. In retrospect, he was a perfect JC disciple.

We are all products of our identity.  We learn from our parents, our peers, from the education system and from society – social media, television, community.  We absorb many lies and half truths. What we have learnt from our growing up years helps us to turn away from that which is not congruent with our own belief system.  A well oiled propaganda machine can change hearts and minds; it can reroute our emotional response to input data simply by repeating its message and intimidating those people who refuse to listen, thereby silencing any counter argument.  It can work slowly or quickly depending on the strength of the message, its frequency of transmission and the opposing response (or lack thereof).

The Muslim and fascist Left’s “Boycott Divestment and Sanctions” (BDS) campaign is an excellent example of this.  If you have ever tried to have a rational discussion with a proponent of BDS you will be shouted down, intimidated, threatened with violence, accused of war-crimes or simply ignored.

And thus are today’s wars eventually won.

I have always valued education and appreciated the truism that you never stop learning.  There are always at least two sides to every narrative no matter how unequal they may initially appear to be. And this is the problem that the Left has with any conflict.  I will explain.  The political Right developed from entrenched ruling elites. They evolved, they adapted over centuries to changing circumstances. If the Shoah taught the political Right wing anything it was that defeat was painful and maybe, just maybe, that using people as pawns had terrible consequences.  They may not have cared, but technology had developed to the point of making conflict uneconomical for every one, including the winners.

Except that the unfortunate truth about people is this: time, given the opportunity, forgives and even more important, forgets everything.

In contrast, the political Left was born of ideology and of original sin.  Its ideas were grafted onto a social backbone imbued with poisonous hatred of the other.  In order to facilitate acceptance Karl Marx as well as many who came after him on the political Left plagiarized the most heinous prejudices of the society they inhabited.  The British Labour Party has never fully explored, repudiated or banished its antisemitism.  Followers could choose to disregard party rhetoric at their peril.  After all, a winning meme will help to elect candidates to office.  Acceptance in a monolithic movement means unquestioning obedience. The Left has rarely had a need to justify its behavior. It has usually practiced cognitive relativism which places morals in the area of human invention; do not reflect universal truths and are subject to social and cultural considerations that override the laws of society.  Put another way (according to Marcel Stoetzler “Antisemitism and the British Labour Party”) the meta-politics of antisemitism is in its simplistic but transcendent appeal.

The Left’s universalism and its opposition to ethnic discrimination is tempered by its need to attract converts in a world that is increasingly unstable while also being more prosperous and therefore less likely to listen to its message about the underdog. Devoid of “us and them” rhetoric the Left has difficulty attracting voters to its message of class struggle and has an even greater issue justifying its “Other” particularism. The latter, empowers a perceived underclass even when that underclass is racist, homophobic, misogynistic, antisemitic and imperialistic.  These are crimes of which the Arab and greater Muslim world is guilty.  But when Jews are viewed as part of the greater Western or American (capitalist) project they become a conduit for all that is wrong with the world.  How else to justify choosing a racist Arab Particularism over a flawed Zionist Utopianism?

There is another issue that afflicts society today.  If in the past, we were taught that to win was not the most important thing but how we “played the game,” today we are told that there is no respect, there is no honor, there is just winning.   In the short term that may be a useful yardstick for success but it is a corrosive attitude that kills innovation and destroys relationships at every level of society. It means that long term planning is unnecessary and even uneconomical. We live in a society where if results are not rapidly achievable then either other options should be explored or the journey itself cancelled.  It has made us for the most part ungracious winners and poor losers.

Think of the British campaign to exit from the European Union. The campaign was intemperate. It was unlike any I had previously encountered because usually both sides attempt to woo their opponents’ voters. This time they oozed contempt for those voters.  That disdain followed through when the losers demanded a rerun.   It was often expressed that the democratic will of the people was of no consequence because the winners were clearly too stupid to appreciate the gravity of their error or because of their advanced age, either too infirm or too greedy to understand the important issues (such as cheaper British holidays to Europe).  That contempt is an impulse towards fascism but equally, it is an intolerance that is spreading even as we pray at a multicultural altar.

To return to my acquaintance, his logic cannot be faulted for the following reasons:

  • If only he is ever right then his opponent is only ever deluded, misguided, uncaring and wrong.
  • If only his vision is clear, then anyone who fails to share that vision is blind (or in theological terms his soul is corrupted).
  • If his narrative is the only history of consequence then everything else must be invalid, invalidated and expunged from the historical record.
It is a very dangerous mindset and one that explains our inaction when confronted with the wrong kind of genocide.  Genocide is political and therefore unexceptional, even irrelevant.  It is why the world did (does) nothing about the Syrian civil-war and its’ almost half a million dead until its instability and fragmentation negatively impacts homeland Europe.

It is why George Orwell’s concept of brainwashing, a central theme in ‘1984’, has always been with us.  It just takes longer to impact society than the book portrays.

We have been too gentle with our fascist friends. Their life is filled with the absolute certainty of their cause and it is only by rudely exposing their collaborationist philosophy that we can prevent a dystopian future.  We will not be thanked for exposing the bedrock of their beliefs to ridicule. Their indifference to you will remain unchanged and their hatred will help them to overcome any doubts that may linger on the margins of their minds-eye.   The Jeremy Corbyn’s of this world are the perfect example of a grotesque political phenomenon.  They possess an unwavering certainty in the justice of their cause alongside of an inability to comprehend their opponents’ humanity.  Their incapacity to change direction and a lopsided intellect that can explain and justify anything is buttressed by a lack of emotional facility to intuit any countervailing possibilities.

As a politician there are some things you should not do. One of those things is to be caught out with a contemptuous / idiotic response to an obvious question.  When Jeremy Corbyn had only recently been elected leader and given his controversial associations he was asked if he was antisemitic (see “Jeremy Corbyn and a Case Study for Fascism”).

His answer was to ask the following question: How could I be? My father fought at the Battle of Cable Street (a legendary anti-racist fight against black-shirted fascists, fought in 1936, thirteen years before Jeremy Corbyn was born).  It makes a thief of the leader of the nation’s main opposition party – to steal someone else’s virtue as a means of disproving ones own iniquities is however, worse than theft because it sullies the memory of an honorable past with the duplicitous and detestable present.

That is what makes for a conflict between good and evil.

I feel sad.  On a personal level I now realize that someone I once called a friend, perhaps because of his life-long ideological commitment to ‘liberation theology’ (just not Jewish) or an Arab fascist agenda (Pan-Arabism), he would have as easily stabbed me in the back, as betray me to the KGB or the SS.  For my kind, is there a difference?

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Institutionally Racist?

This is a guest article by Alan Melkman whose own blog can be found at the following site:

While it is now dated by publication of the Shami Chakrabati report, subsequent behavior by Jeremy Corbyn’s (JC) fellow travelers in Momentum (a grassroots but influential movement of JC acolytes), his ongoing nonfeasance and dishonorable behavior at the launch of Shamis’ report simply reinforces the impression that the report into widespread allegations of antisemitism within the British Labor Party was no more than a face-saving whitewash.

The tragedy is that it distances the Labour Party even further from future electoral success because in dismissing any need to examine its own toxic antecedent history as well as contemporary antisemitic behavior it only encourages recidivist antisemitism within the Left.  As such, it can only promote further public extremism which decent people will reject along with the party that practices it.

Institutionally Racist?

Let’s be clear – crystal clear.

Anti-Semitism is the hatred of Jews. It is the hatred of a people, of a race, not for their beliefs, but for who they are. It is the hatred of Jews because they are Jews. It is holding them responsible for evil without any substantive evidence. It is to make them the centre of conspiracies of enslavement of the rest of the world and the instigators of unspeakable collusions. It is race hatred in its purest form.

Islamaphobia is, as its name would suggest, the fear of Islam, the religion. Adherents to the Muslim faith come in all varieties and from all races. It is a fear of the teachings of Islam which inspire a small minority to commit despicable atrocities such as: acts of indiscriminate slaughter, violations of young and not infrequently older women, intimidation of those who resist their pernicious ideology, homophobic insanities and much, much more. It is not, as antisemitism is of Jews, a hatred of Muslims because they are Muslims. It is a fear of a small minority for their outrageous religious beliefs. It is not racist.

So, if these two phenomena are entirely different, why are they so often conflated?

For example, the British Labour party is undertaking an investigation into itself, led by a member of its own party, into allegations that it, through its members, has exhibited anti-Semitic behaviors in recent years. It has created what is politely referred to as an impartial enquiry, headed by Labour party member Shami Chakrabarti who has, amongst other things, broadened the enquiry way beyond focusing solely on anti-Semitism to include an equal consideration of Islamaphobia.

These two phenomena, as explained, are completely different. It is like insisting any enquiry into bribery within World Football must include an equally hard look at endemic political corruption in Venezuela. Rationally, including Islamaphobia and anti-Semitism is totally absurd, almost laughable. So why has Shami chosen to include fear of Islam in the same brief as hatred of the Jewish race? Why has she chosen to ‘muddy the waters’?

Perhaps there are a number of reasons why Shami has decided that Islamaphobia and Jew hatred are essentially the same. Perhaps it is because their investigations will show that Islamaphobia is more widely spread than anti-Semitism, particularly among members of the Conservative party, thereby diminishing the perceived size of problem whilst putting the Conservatives ‘on the back foot’. It might be that they discover that attacks on UK Muslims and their properties, in absolute numbers, are greater than on Jews which again diminishes the perceived extent of anti-Semitism. Most importantly it conflates racism with the fear of an ideology and thereby exonerates the Labour party from the accusation that it is institutionally racist.

I suspect that most impartial observers have already had some reservations on the likely conclusion of this Labour navel gazing exercise. The veracity of their report might, and I suggest should, be judged against the following criteria for which I am indebted to Stephen Spencer Ryde who has been carrying on what appears to be an almost single handed campaign against the perversions of natural justice that the Labour party, under Jeremy Corbyn, is masterminding.

1.     The inquiry’s scope only covers the rules in future cases of antisemitism.  It will not examine existing cases that remain unaddressed, such as the case of Sir Gerald Kaufman. It may point out that there has been a balance of Islamaphobic inferences and this historical issue is beyond the remit of the enquiry
2.     The Labour Party’s antisemitism problem is not so acute because the rules were too lax. The enquiry might conclude the Party’s leadership and structures have failed to identify antisemitism and condemn it. But then the same comments will be made about Islamaphobia. The inquiry should then logically examine the conduct of the Party’s leadership, but it will not.
3.     The Vice Chair of the inquiry is Professor David Feldman, who has already dismissed claims of antisemitism in the Party as “baseless” and “politically motivated” in an open letter. It is ludicrous to appoint as judge and jury someone who has already made up his mind in opposition to the vast majority of British Jews. However, he will show his impartiality by putting equal weight on the Islamic scale to balance the anti-Semitic evidence.
4.     The inquiry seeks to concoct its own definition of antisemitism.  There is already a definition that is used by the Government, the College of Policing, and even foreign institutions like the EU Parliament and the US Department of State.  The definition is called the EUMC definition (presumably also used by All Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism), and it covers precisely the kind of antisemitism that has invaded Labour’s immune system: antisemitism disguised as political discourse.  The EUMC definition is not up for debate, but we know that the inquiry will not adopt it because Professor Feldman has argued for its abolition every time he has been given the opportunity. It is likely therefore that the Shami definition of anti-Semitism will be vague enough to include a completely different animal, Islamaphobia.
The report will almost certainly conclude that that mere criticism of Israel is not anti-Semitic and that this label is thrown about to stop legitimate disapproval and the stifling of free speech. What it will almost certainly not conclude is that the Labour party is both institutionally racist and in deep denial of this fact.