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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.

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