‘Antisemitism’ in the Labour Party.

An excellent analysis from the Electronic Intifada site:

Screen Shot 2016-04-29 at 08.29.21Former London mayor and long-time Palestinian rights campaigner Ken Livingstone is the latest victim of the UK Labour Party’s witch hunt over alleged anti-Semitism. TLAWENN Photos

Last year, socialist stalwart Jeremy Corbyn won the leadership of the UK’s Labour Party by a landslide.

Since then, there has been a steady flow of claims by Israel’s supporters that Corbyn has not done enough to combat anti-Semitism.

This has only accelerated in the lead-up to a major test for Corbyn, the UK local elections on 5 May.

Even as this story was in preparation, two more victims were claimed in the war against his leadership.

Lawmaker Naz Shah and the former mayor of London, long-time Palestine campaigner Ken Livingstone, were also suspended from the party – within hours of being accused of anti-Semitism.

But an investigation by The Electronic Intifada has found that some of the most prominent stories about anti-Semitism in the party are falsified.

The Electronic Intifada can reveal that a key player in Labour’s “anti-Semitism crisis” covered up his involvement in the Israel lobby.

Most Labour members so accused are in reality being attacked for expressing opinions in favor of Palestinian human rights and particularly for supporting the boycott of Israel.

Labour activists, many of them Jews, have told The Electronic Intifada that false accusations of anti-Semitismare being used as a weapon against Corbyn by the party’s right-wing.

Corbyn has been active in the Palestine solidarity movement for more than three decades. In an interview withThe Electronic Intifada last year, he endorsed key elements of the Palestinian call for a boycott of Israel. For example, he urged an end to weapons trading with Israel.

His election represented a radical shift in Labour, a popular revolt at the grassroots membership level.

Although Labour’s membership has grown since Corbyn’s victory, he has been under constant attack from right-leaning politicians within the party. In an attempt to weaken his position, some of his critics have manufactured a “crisis” about alleged anti-Semitism.

Attacks on Corbyn have escalated in the lead-up to next week’s local elections. Poor results would be seized upon by his enemies within the party.

Witch hunt

Charley Allan, a Jewish member of the party, and a Morning Star columnist, has described the current atmosphere in the press and Labour Party as a “witch hunt.”

It has reached such an absurd volume that any usage of the word “Zionist” is deemed to be anti-Semitic – although tellingly not when used by self-described Zionists.

Where real instances of anti-Jewish bigotry have come to light, the leadership and party machine have taken robust action.

According to The Spectator, the party’s general secretary Iain McNicol told a recent meeting of Labour lawmakers that everyone who had been reported for anti-Semitism had either been suspended or excluded.

Corbyn has responded to the media storm by repeatedly condemning anti-Semitism and saying that anyone making an anti-Semitic remark is “auto-excluded from the party.”

John McDonnell, the shadow finance minister and a long-standing Corbyn ally, told The Independent that any party member found by an investigation to be expressing anti-Semitic views should be expelled for life. “If people express these views, full stop they’re out,” McDonnell said.

Smears

Smears of anti-Semitism against Corbyn started even before he was elected.

During his leadership campaign in the summer of 2015, the establishment media worked itself into a frenzy of anti-Corbyn hysteria, led more than any other paper by the liberal Guardian.

One of the recurring themes in this campaign was Corbyn’s long-standing support for Palestinian human rights.

Because of this, attempts were made to say outright, or to imply, that Corbyn was a secret anti-Semite, or that he associated with, or tolerated “notorious” anti-Semites.

Although these hit jobs gained some traction, they were soon debunked, and ultimately seemed to have little impact on the leadership election.

This dishonest theme is now being revisited. In February, the slow drip of anti-Semitism scare stories burst into a flood.

Oxford

An “anti-Semitism scandal” erupted in the Oxford University Labour Club – an association of student supporters of the party.

Alex Chalmers posing with right wing Labour MP Caroline Flint in a photo taken from his Facebook. A failed candidate for deputy leader, Flint is a leading voice in Progress, a right-wing Labour faction.

In a public Facebook posting Alex Chalmers, the co-chair of the club, resigned his position over what he claimed was anti-Semitic behavior in “a large proportion” of the student Labour club “and the student left in Oxford more generally.”

But as evidence he cited the club’s decision, in a majority vote, to endorse Oxford’s Israeli Apartheid Week, an annual awareness-raising exercise by student groups which support Palestinian rights.

This connection was clearly designed to smear Palestine solidarity activists as anti-Semites – a standard tactic of the Israel lobby.

In fact, the similarity was no coincidence.

The Electronic Intifada can reveal for the first time evidence that Chalmers himself has been part of the UK’s Israel lobby.

Chalmers has worked for BICOM, the Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre.

Funded by the billionaire Poju Zabludowicz, BICOM is a leading pro-Israel group in London.

Chalmers once listed an internship with BICOM on his LinkedIn profile, although the page was deleted some time in February.

But even were this key fact not known, Chalmers’ accusations were not credible.

No one specific was named in his Facebook posting. He claimed that shortening the word Zionist to “Zio” and expressing support for the Palestinian political party and resistance organization Hamas were enough to prove anti-Semitism.

Chalmers did not reply to an emailed request for comment. He set his Twitter profile to private the day after the email was sent by The Electronic Intifada.

One of his tweets from 2014 sought to smear The Electronic Intifada with “Islamism.”

Chalmers has also been accused of disseminating a false allegation that a left-wing Labour student at Oxford had organized people into a group to follow a Jewish student around campus calling her a “filthy Zionist,” and that he had been disciplined as a result.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the accused student said that he had reason to believe Chalmers may have been behind the dissemination of this smear.

Paul Di Felice, the current acting principal of the Oxford college in question, confirmed to The Electronic Intifada the authenticity of a statement from its late principal denying all the allegations. “I have found no evidence of any allegations being made to the college about” the student “involving anti-Semitism, or indeed anything else, during his time at the college,” the statement read.

The Electronic Intifada put all this to Alex Chalmers in an email, but he failed to reply.

Dirty tricks

The Oxford University Labour Club responded with a statement saying it was “horrified” at the accusations and would fully cooperate with an investigation launched by the party organization Labour Students.

It did not take long, however, for someone to leak names to the right-wing press.

Citing an anonymous “source at the club,” The Telegraph named two left-wingers at Oxford who were supposedly “being investigated over alleged anti-Semitism at Oxford University.”

Again, there were no further details. Chalmers’ dubious and obviously politicized accusations were raised in general terms.

One of the two, James Elliot, was a vocal advocate at Oxford University of BDS, the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel, and was photographed in the Telegraph article sitting next to Corbyn.

But in an email to a Daily Mail journalist, seen by The Electronic Intifada, Chalmers privately admitted that Elliott wasn’t involved. “I haven’t heard any allegations relating to him,” Chalmers wrote.

Both activists named by The Telegraph are part of Momentum, the grouping founded by Labour left-wingers in the wake of Jeremy Corbyn’s election victory to support his leadership.

The Electronic Intifada has seen evidence of a whispering campaign against the activists at Oxford. A dossier of allegations against the student Labour club is said to have been filed with the union’s Jewish society.

That society has posted a summary of the dossier on Facebook.

Asked in an email if he had been behind the dossier or the press leaks, Chalmers did not reply.

Hit pieces

Alex Chalmers’ Facebook post resigning from the Oxford University Labour Club was seized on by anti-Corbyn forces aiming to influence key internal elections to the Labour Party’s youth wing, in which the Momentum pair were both candidates.

On 19 February, the Guardian reported that Momentum candidates had swept the board in Young Labour’s elections, conducted by online ballot.

The Telegraph published its highly dubious hit piece four days later.

At the Young Labour conference the following weekend, several other positions remained to be elected. Elliot stood for the youth representative on Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC).

After the smear campaign against him, Momentum candidate Elliot lost to right-wing Labour First candidate Jasmin Beckett – by only a tenth of a percentage point.

But Beckett was caught carrying out a dirty tricks campaign against Elliot.

As a result, a formal complaint has been submitted calling for her to be disqualified from the NEC.

The smear campaign drew on right-wing media insinuations against the Momentum pair at Oxford.

Beckett did not reply to an emailed request for comment.

“Go hard”

As first revealed by Morning Star, Beckett urged supporters to “get a few people tweeting” allegations against Elliot.

But because such negative campaigning is against Labour rules, Beckett cautioned supporters to distance themselves from her. She asked her supporters to remove “twibbons” – promotional badges for her election campaign – from their social media accounts before making allegations against Elliot.

One supporter, Josh Woolas – son of former Labour MP Phil Woolas – cautioned it “needs to look like a genuine complaint about racism and not a smear campaign!”

In a Facebook group chat titled #TeamJB (viewable in full on the Labour blog Left Futures, edited by the chair of Momentum), Beckett encouraged other young Labour members to share unsubstantiated hit pieces on Elliot from right-wing media.

She asked “do you actually want an anti-Semite as NEC rep?” She suggested her friends “get a few people tweeting saying ‘shocked my union GMB are supporting James Elliot who is anti-Semitic’ or something.”

“Let’s just get it out there,” agreed Labour activist Tom Jennings. “We’ve got a huge opportunity … thus shaving off votes for him at [the Young Labour] conference.”

Investigation

The complaint against Beckett was subsequently rolled into another investigation into Chalmers’ allegations of anti-Semitism at Oxford, one ultimately taken over by Janet Royall, the Labour leader in the House of Lords, the unelected upper chamber of the UK parliament.

Labour Students conducted a hasty investigation into the Oxford allegations. But, Labour activists told The Electronic Intifada, it was so obviously botched that it was not credible.

That investigation was led by Michael Rubin, Labour Students’ national chairperson – who happened to be the boyfriend of one of Beckett’s allies, Rachel Holland. Holland was part of Beckett’s dirty tricks campaign, expressing support for it in the #TeamJB group chat.

Elliot told The Electronic Intifada he could not comment until the Royall investigation is concluded.

That seems unlikely to happen until after the crucial local elections at the earliest, and probably not until the summer, the BBC says, when Beckett is due to take her seat on the NEC.

The witch hunt expanded.

“Fresh row”

In March, Huffington Post talked up a “fresh row over Labour anti-Semitism.”

The website referred to how union official Jennie Formby had allegedly pointed out at a meeting of Labour’s NEC that Royall once took part in a sponsored trip to the Middle East organized by Labour Friends of Israel, a pressure group within the party.

Formby has successfully pushed at the NEC to have private security firm G4S banned from Labour conferences, due to its supply of equipment to Israeli prisons that practice torture against Palestinians.

The Jewish Chronicle claimed Unison’s Jennie Formby was “to be moved from her role partly as a result of her anti-Israel activism.” It cited no evidence.

The paper claimed the move represented a demotion by the union, the UK’s largest.

But the report was instantly denied by Formby and her union.

Formby said she never questioned Royall’s ability to conduct the investigation.

In fact, Formby said, she was appointed to the new job long before Chalmers made his allegations on Facebook.

The Jewish Chronicle swiftly edited the online text and headline of the article to water down its claims (a copy of the original can still be found online).

But the narrative was already out there.

Tony Greenstein

In March, the witch hunt reached Tony Greenstein, a Jewish anti-Zionist well known in Palestine solidarity circles.

Despite supporting other left-wing parties in the past, Greenstein had joined the Labour Party after the election of Corbyn, hoping it would take a new, leftward direction.

But on 18 March he received a letter from the party’s Compliance Unit (also known as the Constitutional Unit) saying that his membership had been suspended pending an investigation into a possible breach of party rules.

“These allegations relate to comments you are alleged to have made,” wrote John Stolliday, head of the unit. Greenstein asked to see the allegations against him, but his request was denied.

Although the party refused to let Greenstein know what he was being accused of, further vague allegations were leaked to the right-wing press.

In April, The Telegraph published a story citing Greenstein’s admittance to the party as the “latest anti-Semitism scandal” to hit Labour.

Greenstein says he is considering legal action.

The Telegraph later added a “clarification” saying it wanted “to make clear that we had not intended to imply that Tony Greenstein is anti-Semitic.”

It would, however, be difficult to read the article as intending to do anything else.

Ironically, Greenstein has been at the forefront of moves to combat genuine cases of anti-Semitism on the fringes of the Palestine solidarity movement.

“I’m going to fight”

For years Greenstein has been perhaps the most vocal foe in the UK of Gilad Atzmon – an Israeli jazz musician based in London who claims to express solidarity with Palestinians, even while opposing the BDS movement and relentlessly attacking activists.

Four years ago, Atzmon was criticized by prominent members of the Palestine movement over racism and anti-Semitism in his work.

Also in 2012, a Holocaust denier was expelled from the UK’s Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

Greenstein has written that he is the person who had first reported the Holocaust denier to the PSC.

The Compliance Unit has also been behind the expulsion of many new Jeremy Corbyn voters accused of being “hard left” or “infiltrators.”

In February, John McDonnell, the shadow finance minister, called for the unit to be scrapped.

“I’m going to fight it of course,” Greenstein told The Electronic Intifada. He also accused the Compliance Unit itself of being behind the leaks – The Telegraph article cited “evidence compiled” by the unit.

Labour’s general secretary wrote to Greenstein denying this.

“Corbyn hasn’t got a grip on the [party] machine, that’s part of the problem,” said Greenstein.

Israel lobby

One of the people at the forefront of the witch hunt has been Jeremy Newmark, now the chairperson of the Jewish Labour Movement.

The JLM is affiliated to the UK Labour Party, the Israeli Labor Party and the World Zionist Organization – according to the UN, the latter pumps millions into building in the occupied West Bank through its settlement division.

Newmark has for years been active in the Israel lobby’s anti-Palestinian campaigns in the UK.

He was previously the chief executive of the Jewish Leadership Council, an anti-Palestinian lobbying group behind numerous attacks on BDS.

During his tenure, the group invested huge efforts in an attempt to sue the University and College Union for “anti-Semitism” after some members proposed discussing the academic boycott of Israel.

Newmark was left with egg on his face, however, when in 2013 a tribunal judge ruled against the case on all counts.

The judge found it was “devoid of any merit” and “an impermissible attempt to achieve a political end by litigious means.”

The judge criticized Newmark personally for a “disturbing” attempt to crush free speech in the union. He also found that that Newmark’s evidence to the tribunal was “preposterous” and “untrue.”

Given all this, media should treat Newmark’s claims about anti-Semitism in Corbyn’s Labour Party with caution.

Instead they’ve been buying it all.

In The Telegraph hit piece on Greenstein, Newmark claimed the affair was a sign of Corbyn being “impotent” over anti-Semitism.

He also told BBC Radio 4’s influential Today program this month that the party was not doing enough about anti-Semitism.

None of these journalists disclosed Newmark’s long-standing role in the Israel lobby, or his record of lying about anti-Semitism.

Right-wing Labour

There is a large crossover between right-wing, anti-Corbyn Labour and the pro-Israel lobby within the party.

Right-wing Labour MP Wes Streeting has participated in Israeli government efforts to cast Palestine solidarity as “evil.” (The Leadership Foundation/Flickr)

One example is Labour lawmaker Wes Streeting, also an Israel lobby stalwart.

Streeting appeared on the same radio segment as Newmark. The right-wing Labour MP claimed that “we’ve now got a problem” that people think the party is “apathetic to anti-Semitism.”

Streeting has a long history in Progress, a right-wing faction within the party that continues to support former prime minister Tony Blair.

One of Progress’ leading supporters has described the group as “an unaccountable faction” dominated by the “secretive billionaire” Lord Sainsbury.

In 2009, when he was president of the National Union of Students, Streeting attended an anti-BDS working group in Jerusalem.

The visit was organized by the Israeli foreign ministry, which slandered the BDS movement as “evil.”

As an MP, Streeting has been consistently hostile to Corbyn.

Term of abuse

Streeting and Newmark are arguing for tougher action and changes to the party’s rules.

The head of Progress proposed rule changes in the Mirror which would put “a modern understanding of anti-Semitism” into the party. “It is not acceptable to use the term ‘Zionism’ as a term of abuse,” the article stated, arguing for people who did so to be expelled.

This proposal echoes efforts pushed by Israel lobby groups, including at the University of California, to legislate that opposition to Zionism – Israel’s state ideology – is itself a form of anti-Semitism.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a Labour Party staffer told The Electronic Intifada that, even were the rule change to pass, such expulsions would still have to be approved by the NEC.

The staffer emphasized that for many within the party, concerns about incidences of anti-Semitism were genuine.

But the member of staff said that for the “non-Jewish Zionists” in groups like Progress, “anti-Semitism is just a tool” in “a field of battle” to “smash up Jeremy at all costs.”

“Whatever gets agreed will not be good enough” for them, the member of staff said.

Streeting did not reply to emails requesting comment.

Five cases

Labour is a mass membership organization, which now has more than 380,000 full members, according to party figures.

The staff member said that, amid all the politicized attacks in recent months, there had been about five actual cases of alleged anti-Semitism within the party.

A 2015 survey by Pew found that seven percent of the UK public held “unfavorable” views of Jews. By contrast, about a fifth held negative views of Muslims and almost two-fifths viewed Roma people unfavorably.

There’s no evidence to suggest that such views are any more prevalent in the Labour Party – and the tiny number of anti-Semitism complaints suggests they may well be less so in a movement many of whose activists have been in the frontline of anti-racist struggles.

The staff member said that in the five or so cases that had come to its attention, the party had taken swift action to expel, or suspend the membership of those alleged to have made anti-Semitic comments.

One of the most prominent of these was Vicki Kirby, a Labour Party candidate in Woking who is alleged to have tweeted that Israel is “evil.”

She also reacted to Israel’s 2014 war on Gaza by tweeting in August: “Who is the Zionist God? I am starting to think it may be Hitler. #FreePalestine.”

That assault resulted in 2,251 dead Palestinians, including 1,462 civilians, 551 of whom were children, according to an independent inquiry commissioned by the UN.

Kirby’s comments led to her suspension from the Labour Party in 2014.

Speaking to the media for the first time, Kirby told The Electronic Intifada that her choice of words had been “awful” and “appalling.” It was “a reaction. I didn’t think it through. I’m not a born politician,” she said.

Later, still under the leadership of Corbyn’s predecessor, Kirby’s suspension from the party was lifted. But, after Corbyn became leader, somebody leaked a photo of Kirby posing with Corbyn to the party’s enemies in the media.

Doctored tweet

The hard-right gossip blogger known as Guido Fawkes, then proceeded to trawl through her entire Twitter backlog. He found a Tweet from 2011, a time when Kirby says she was not even in the Labour Party.

Guido Fawkes then doctored a screenshot of the tweet, making it appear as if she had tweeted “What do you know abt Jews? They’ve got big noses and support spurs lol.” The screenshot of the Tweet on Guido’s site hasclearly been cropped.

But Kirby says this was one of a series of tweets of quotes from the 2010 comedy film The Infidel.

Kirby provided The Electronic Intifada with evidence – a portion of a spreadsheet of her Twitter archive – showing that the original tweet concluded with the hashtag #TheInfidel.

The writer of the film David Baddiel confirmed this on Twitter at the time, even tweeting this to a Guido Fawkes blogger.

The wider press then ran with the story and started to use Kirby as a stick to beat Corbyn.

Kirby says she has received “death threats” to her and “hate email” from around the world, including the wish that “your children get cancer and die.” She says she even had to take legal actions against a constant barrage of journalists door-stepping her and harassing her family.

Despite swift party action to suspend Kirby once again, the incident was still weaponized by the right.

“Jeremy Corbyn needs to answer some serious questions,” Streeting told the Mirror.

Stoking the flames

Writing in the Jewish Chronicle, Momentum founder Jon Lansman – a key Corbyn ally – said that “my Jewish identity and anti-Semitism are at the core of my left Labour politics and so I welcome an investigation into anti-Semitism at Oxford University.”

But Lansman cautioned that “within the Labour Party, some people have factional reasons for stoking the flames.”

He acknowledged that “racism, including anti-Semitism” had historically been part of the Labour movement. “It was not until the 1980s that the efforts to eradicate it became serious, and that was thanks in part to Ken Livingstone as leader of the Greater London Council,” Lansman added.

During that period, Livingstone, and what the right derided as the “looney left” in local government, became the prime targets of Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. But with her party unable to defeat Livingstone at the ballot box, she simply abolished London’s city-wide government altogether.

It wasn’t until the Blair years that the capital once again had a London-wide government and Livingstone was elected mayor. It would now seem that with his suspension, the Thatcherite campaign against Livingstone has resumed, but this time from within the Labour Party.

Ian Saville, who started the group Jews For Jeremy and then later joined the party, told The Electronic Intifada that “some in the Labour Party, who do not have an understanding of the complexities of the situation, take [the accusations of prejudice] at face value, and quite understandably wish to oppose anti-Semitism.”

He said that “unfortunately, this ‘opposition’ to anti-Semitism has support of Israel and Zionism bundled in with it, so it fulfills the double purpose of isolating the left and supporting Israel uncritically.”

Greenstein wrote that “false allegations of anti-Semitism are akin to the boy who cried wolf. They immunize people against the real thing. As a Jewish anti-Zionist my main experience of anti-Semitism is from Zionists … I have even been told that it was a pity I didn’t die in Auschwitz.”

Back foot

In the Tony Blair years, the Labour Party took a major rightward shift.

Blair notoriously led the UK into a war of aggression against Iraq in 2003 – which even he later admitted was a major factor in the emergence of Islamic State.

Blair is also staunchly pro-Israel.

The 2006 Israeli war against Lebanon killed 1,191 Lebanese, “the overwhelming majority of them civilians”according to Amnesty International. But Blair stood strongly behind Israel in that war. He later admitted in his memoir this caused him political damage. “I suffered accordingly,” he wrote.

For career-minded, rising Labour MPs, joining Labour Friends of Israel was long seen as the place to be. That has been slowly changing.

Under Blair, Jeremy Corbyn was a backbench MP, and a gadfly of the big business and war-friendly clique that had captured Labour’s leadership. He voted against Blair’s party line hundreds of times.

The scale of Corbyn’s victory – almost 60 percent of 422,664 voters – last summer put the right on the back foot.

So now they are resorting to ever more desperate tactics, blaming alleged anti-Semitism in the party on Corbyn’s leadership.

Michael Levy, a Labour member of the House of Lords who was a key fundraiser for the party during the Tony Blair years, is a strong supporter of Israel. He has made a number of media appearances in recent weeksdenouncing Corbyn for supposedly not doing enough against anti-Semitism.

Left-wing Jewish activists say that anti-Semitism has become the “weapon of choice” against the left.

Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, a local Labour Party activist and founder of Jews For Boycotting Israeli Goods, told The Electronic Intifada that it has become a “really pernicious … pincer movement” by the Israel lobby and the Labour right.

“Maybe the’ve overstepped themselves” this time, she said, before cautioning that what happens would depend on how well activists fought back and educated people on the true nature of anti-Semitism and Zionism.

For the moment, the manufactured anti-Semitism crisis shows no sign of abating.

The same day Ken Livingstone was suspended from the party, BICOM appealed to the mob, posting a tweet with the words: “save your pitch fork for Corbyn.”

It appears the witch hunt will not stop until it is either victorious or is defeated.

Asa Winstanley is an investigative journalist and associate editor with The Electronic Intifada.

Advertisements

The Witch Hunt

Screen Shot 2016-04-29 at 08.07.29

A letter to the Guardian from the Jews For Jeremy Facebook members. April 28th 2016

Dear Editor,

We are Jewish members and supporters of the Labour Party and of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, who wish to put our perspective on the “antisemitism” controversy that has been widely debated in the last few weeks.

We do not accept that antisemitism is “rife” in the Labour party. Of the examples that have been repeated in the media, many have been reported inaccurately, some are trivial, and a very few may be genuine examples of antisemitism. The tiny number of cases of real antisemitism need to be dealt with, but we are proud that the Labour Party historically has been in the forefront of the fight against all forms of racism. We, personally, have not experienced any antisemitic prejudice in our dealings with Labour Party colleagues.

We believe these accusations are part of a wider campaign against the Labour leadership, and they have been timed particularly to do damage to the Labour Party and its prospects in elections in the coming week.

As Jews, we are appalled that a serious issue is being used in this cynical and manipulative way, diverting attention from much more widespread examples of Islamaphobia and xenophobia in the Conservative and other parties.

We dissociate ourselves from the misleading attacks on Labour from some members of the Jewish community. We urge others, who may be confused or worried by recent publicity, to be sure that the Labour Party, under its present progressive leadership, is a place where Jews are welcomed in a spirit of equality and solidarity.

Yours sincerely,

Julia Bard
Jenny Bloom
Alice Bondi
Miriam E. David
Professor Stephen Deutsch
Lynda Gilbert
Alex J. Goldhill
Adam Goodkin
Stuart Goodman
Tony Greenstein
Rosamine Hayeem
Abe Hayeem
Jane Henriques
Lorraine Hershon
Richard Kuper
Pam Laurance
Leah Levane
Rachel Lever
Sue Lukes
Stephen Marks
Helen Marks
Charles Shaar Murray
Professor Mica Nava
Susan Pashkoff
Rina Picciotto
Caroline Raine
Roland Rance
Dr. Brian Robinson
Denise Robson
Jeff Daniel Rollin
David Rosenberg
Jonathan Rosenhead
Stephen Sands
Dr. Ian Saville
Lynne Segal
Steve Tiller
Ray Sirotkin
Inbar Tamari
Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi
Benjamin Young

British Jews challenge community leaders over Corbyn

On Thursday 17th September 2015, The Guardian published a piece that unquestioningly reproduced demands from so-called leaders of the Jewish community that Jeremy Corbyn clarify claims that originated with a self-confessed Holocaust denier. Jeremy has answered these allegations numerous times, but our self-appointed spokespersons simply repeat them again and again, and The Guardian seems happy to be a willing vehicle for this attempted witchhunt.
This is the letter Jews for Jeremy sent in response to that article. We have included some additional names that arrived late, and it has now been signed by 88 people. We know that other individuals also wrote responses to that article.
The Guardian has chosen not to expose itself to questioning or criticism, so we are publishing our letter here and on our Facebook page, and encourage people to share it as widely as possible.

Dear Letters Editor
The UK Jewish “leaders” who “seek clarification” from Jeremy Corbyn know that he has already answered their questions, again and again – in the Jewish Chronicle, The Guardian, Channel 4 News and elsewhere. But in their desperate attempt to undermine him, they continue to repeat these smears like mantras.
One such mantra is that “…15 years ago he attended meetings of a group called Deir Yassin Remembered, founded by Holocaust denier Paul Eisen.” Since Eisen didn’t reveal himself as a Holocaust denier until 2005, Jeremy Corbyn and the many other audience members, including rabbis and MPs, would have had to be psychic to know this in 2001. Indeed, in going to the press, Eisen himself seems to share the intention of these Jewish “leaders”, to taint him with the accusation of antisemitism.
Jeremy Corbyn is well able to answer this mischief-making on his own behalf, but we want to challenge the assumption that the Board of Deputies and the Jewish Leadership Council speak for all Jews in Britain.
The article claims that the “Community wants ‘straight answers to straight questions’.” Apart from the patronising and insulting tone towards the leader of Her Majesty’s Official Opposition, these so-called leaders are not “the community”. They do not speak for British Jews who are critics of Israel, oppose the Occupation, or support secular, rather than faith schools.
Many Jews are delighted that Jeremy Corbyn has won such a clear democratic mandate to lead the Labour Party. In contrast, we have no recollection of being invited to participate in any democratic process to elect these people who claim to represent us.
Yours faithfully
Julia Bard, David Rosenberg, Ian Saville, Steve Tiller on behalf of Jews for Jeremy, plus
Daphna Baram
Haim Baram
Nick Barnett
Shereen Benjamin
Jay Blackwood
Geoffrey Bindman
Jenny Bloom
Alice Bondi
Danny Braverman
Councillor Barry Buitekant
Mandy Carr
Julian Peter Clegg
Norma Cohen
Ron Cohen
Shaun Cohen
Judith Cravitz
Miriam E David
Ivor Dembina
Michael Ellman
Sai Englert
Professor Debbie Epstein
Rayah Feldman
Deborah Fink
Joseph Finlay
Sylvia Finzi
David Freedman
Dr Ophira Gamliel
Dr Sarah Garfinkel
Lillian Gerber
Max Gerber
Mike Gerber
Lynda Gilbert
Claire Glasman
Murray Glickman
Tony Graham
Tony Greenstein
Sue Gutteridge
Michele Hanson
Abe Hayeem
Rosamine Hayeem
Sue Hughes
Anthony Isaacs
Selma James
Dan Judelson
Ann Jungman
Eran Kahane
Michael Kalmanovitz
Sue Katz
Sarah E Kosminsky
Mark Krantz
Richard Kuper
Warren Lakin
Dave Landau
Antony Lerman
Leah Levane
Sonya Levene
Hope Liebersohn
Sue Lukes
Ruth Lukom
Deborah Maccoby
Stephen Marks
Karen Merkel
Jonathan Meth
Dr Gabriel Moshenska
Mica Nava
Judith Nesbitt
Diana Neslen
Dan Ozarow
Susan Pashkoff
Charlotte Prager
Naomi Paul
Roland Rance
Ronne Peltzman Randall
Brian Robinson
Michael Rosen
Jacob Bard-Rosenberg
Reuben Bard-Rosenberg
Raphael Salkie
Andrew Samuels
Joel Samuels
Elizabeth Segal
Lynne Segal
Michael Shade
Sappho Shapoznik
Henry Stewart
Sam Weinstein
Miriam Yagud
Binnie Yeates
Benjamin Young

Vote anti-racist, vote pro-immigrant – vote Jeremy Corbyn, says David Rosenberg

The smear campaigns against Jeremy Corbyn aimed at dissuading voters in the Labour leadership election from backing him has been led by an undeclared alliance of Blairites, a swathe of right wing and liberal media commentators, and self-appointed leaders and protectors and “spokespersons” of the Jewish community.

The thrust from the Jewish press – whether it be the Jewish Chronicle or the Jewish News – and from other Jewish bodies, has been a morass of innuendo about Jeremy’s political positions and alleged friendships in his activity on Israel/Palestine. In addition to simply ignoring his longstanding support for Israeli Jewish peace campaigners, and his cooperation with Jewish bodies here such s Jews For Justice For Palestinians, in his work for Palestinian rights to self-determination, the thrust of the anti-Corbyn campaign from Jewish bodies has been to attempt to make Israel the key factor for Jewish voters – a continuation of how they approached the General Election. It is as if the lives of Jews as British citizens and the values they hold in relation to social and political issues in the country where they live, are asked to take second place to a distorted assessment about how the candidates’ views stack up on Israel/Palestine.

In the real lives of many Jews in Britain Israel is a factor, but it does not dictate their day-to-day actions or dominate their social and political perspectives. It is clear that Jews are very concerned about and involved in matters relating to immigrants and refugees, based on their own families’ historical experience and that of Jews in continental Europe during the Nazi period, and often state their fears about the rise of the far right in Europe and groups like UKIP here.

Toxic immigration headlines dominated much of the press in the run-up to the last election. These resurrected, albeit against different targets, the press clamour against Jewish immigrants at the turn of the 20th century, who were accused of swamping areas, taking homes and jobs and endangering local health. They also recalled the clamour against Jewish refugees allegedly “pouring in” from Germany and Austria in the late 1930s. Many Jews also know how cruel and false are the distinctions drawn by the media today between “economic migrants” and “refugees”.

My grandparents and great-grandparents fled in fear of pogroms and from an authoritarian political system but they were also fleeing economic discrimination and seeking better opportunities for themselves and their children. They were part of a wave of immigration over a period of 25 years. Most did not flee overnight, but did that make them less worthy of seeking a new home where there would be more freedom and more opportunities? In 1905 Britain passed the Aliens Act – its first modern immigration law. All the machinery of border control today – immigration officers, medical officers barring immigration on medical grounds; the right to deport people even after they have been given entry… are all enshrined in that first Act of 1905, an act by the way that was overseen by the Tory Premier Lord Balfour, yes, that Lord Balfour. That act didn’t completely end Jewish immigration but it made it much harder, and the principle behind it was one that distinguished “desirable” from “undesirable” migrants

Imagine for a moment that a newspaper such as the Jewish Chronicle gave prominence to immigration/refugee matters as the key issues to guide Jewish voters in the leadership election. OK, that is hard to believe given that the newspaper’s editor has made not just right wing Tory noises, but rather comforting noises for UKIP over the last couple of years, but park your scepticism for a little while and imagine…

They would have to report that Liz Kendall is partial towards Tory plans to bar migrants from claiming tax credits for four years. “That’s definitely something we should look at.” They would add that she is very much in favour of an Australian points system – that is one that takes a one-dimensional look at the needs of the economy rather than the individual need of the immigrants/asylum-seeker. As for those whom Kendall would “welcome”, they would report her somewhat intemperate tone in greeting them: ”You should come to work and not claim benefits. You should respect the community you live in and our culture.” I don’t think that is Jewish culture she is talking about. Or indeed any multicultural notion of culture.

Focusing on this issue they may not be able to report Andy Burnham in such a positive light either. He says that he “understands Labour members’ concerns about the levels of migration into their communities.” As if “Labour members” and “migrants” were two completely different categories. He advocates “a package of changes so that there is no entitlement to benefits [for immigrants] for at least two years.”

All the candidates understand the need to win back ex-Labour voters who have started to support UKIP but they would report that Burnham seems to imitate aspects of Nigel Farage’s style in developing a narrative about “British” workers. Farage complained about feeling isolated on a train journey where everyone around him is speaking every language except English (he is bilingual actually – he also speaks fluent Rubbish). Burnham tries to evoke sympathy for a man who says: “When you’re at work and you have a tea break, you go into the tea room and have a chat with people. When I’m at work I have my tea break on my own because I’m the only one who speaks English.”

Yvette Cooper comes out relatively better than these two contenders, arguing for discussing issues about immigration but without imitating the Tories or UKIP and wanting to develop a “moral” response to the “Migrants Crisis” that would see Britain taking more refugees than it does at present. Nevertheless on general immigration matters she likes to divide immigrants into the ones “we” want and the ones “we” don’t want… that old binary of “desirable”/”undesirable”. She says: “The system isn’t distinguishing between different kinds of migration – the migration we need and the migration that causes problems.”

Now, for the benefit of its readers, the Jewish Chronicle might even feel obliged to ask who this “we” are, recognising that it probably does not mean Jewish Chronicle readers.

Cooper adds, “We need different controls and targets for different kinds of immigration – so that we can get top university students and help those fleeing persecution, whilst reducing low skilled migration and strengthening action against abuse.”

So that leaves one more candidate – the one who asked in a parliamentary question last November: “Will the Minister for once acknowledge the massive contribution made to our economy and our society by those who have migrated to live here and who have sought and gained asylum in this country, which we are bound to offer under the Geneva Convention?” He is also the one who says he is “proud to live in a multicultural society” but “…not proud of the way we treat many of our asylum seekers.” That one is Jeremy Corbyn who can look back on a lifetime of anti-racist activism on the domestic and international front; who is often present at anti-racist and anti-fascist mobilisations, at Holocaust commemoration events, at events to support marginalised groups who are victims of racism such as the Roma.

The Jewish Chronicle will not tell you how to vote – you decide.

The Hypocrisy of Jeremy Corbyn’s Accusers – Stephen Pollard Jewish Chronicle Editor & Apologist for Europe’s anti-Semitic politicians

This article with images can be found on Tony Greenstein’s blog here.

On 7th August the Daily Mail branded Jeremy Corbyn as someone who was happy to associate with holocaust deniers and one Paul Eisen in particular. Jeremy was alleged to have given money to Deir Yassin Remembered, a pro-Palestinian organisation that morphed under Eisen into an organisation of holocaust deniers, loony tunes and flat earthists. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3187428/Jeremy-Corbyn-s-links-notorious-Holocaust-denier-revealed.html

On 12th August the Jewish Chronicle picked up on the theme asking Corbyn seven loaded questions as to his relationship with Eisen and various alleged anti-Semites. http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/142144/the-key-questions-jeremy-corbyn-must-answer   The list of anti-Semites included not only the Eisen, but Carlos Latuff a Palestinian cartoonist, whose cartoons often employ a Nazi metaphor. The Jewish Chronicle’s list also included the leader of Israel’s Northern Islamic movement, Raed Salah.

The Case of Raed Salah

In June 2011 Raed Salah was banned from entering Britain but as no one was notified he entered the country for a speaking tour before being arrested. The information supplied to Home Secretary Theresa May by the Community Security Trust [CST] , who sought to deport him, on the grounds that he had allegedly made a series of antisemitic statements in sermons and a poem, and that his presence in Britain was not conducive to the public good, was ‘very weak’ according to Justice Ockleton, the Vice-President of the Upper Immigration Tribunal. Theresa May was ‘misled’ as to a poem by Salah and the misleading was perpetrated by the CST, which is notorious for physically attacking left-wing and anti-Zionist Jews at Jewish meetings. It combines two roles – defending Jewish premises from attack and attacking Jewish opponents of Zionism.

In Theresa May’s haste to ban Raed Salah will be repented at leisure David Hearst http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/apr/09/theresa-may-raed-salah-ban quotes David Miller, a sociology professor from the University of Strathclyde in Scotland, who submitted his report on the CST as part of the evidence. It gives a short history of the CST and its “controversial monitoring of pro-Palestinian activists,” summarizing that it has a “tendency to treat denunciation of Israel or Zionism as evidence of anti-Semitism.” https://electronicintifada.net/content/uk-government-conflates-criticism-israel-anti-semitism-salah-trial/10441

As Robert Lambert, a retired head of the Metropolitan police’s Muslim Contact Unit, and David Miller noted, the CST: “failed to distinguish between antisemitism and criticism of the actions of the Israeli state and therefore gives an unbalanced perspective.”

[Palestinian activist wins appeal against deportation, Ben Quinn] http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2012/apr/09/activist-deportation-overturned

Justice Ockelton said on 8 February that the original text of a poem by Salah was “completely different” from how it appeared in a government order banning him from UK territory. The original banning order had accused Salah of anti-Semitism, citing an altered version of the poem. https://electronicintifada.net/content/raed-salah-deportation-case-disintegrates-uk-court-verdict-still-follow/10935

According to Ockelton, the decision by Theresa May to ban Salah had been based not on the original text, but a “Jerusalem Post inaccurate summary” of the poem, entitled Civil Liberties. http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Editorials/Civil-liberties. In a June 2009 editorial, the Post had added the words “you Jews” to the poem, making it appear anti-Semitic. The original Arabic version was printed in a 2002 edition of an Islamic Movement publication. A UK Border Agency document of 21 June 2011 admitted that the agency had not been able to find the original text “despite extensive research.” See Court victory for Raed Salah deals blow to UK “anti-terror” policy https://electronicintifada.net/content/court-victory-raed-salah-deals-blow-uk-anti-terror-policy/11146 Despite this May went ahead with her decision to ban Salah on 23 June. The original text of the poem later emerged, as revealed by The Electronic Intifada in October.

The Post article was cited by people like Henry Jackson Society Research Director, Michael Weiss, (“PSC comes to Parliament …,” The Telegraph politics blog, 29 June 2011) to misleadingly portray Salah as an anti-Semite. Such is the quality of Henry Jackson Society researchers. Rosenorn-Lanng, a caseworker, had earlier admitted that the UK Border Agency had not sought the original text of the poem, relying instead on Internet sources.

But Salah was clear that the poem was addressed to all perpetrators of injustice, regardless of religion, race or group. He pointed out that his poem also addressed Arab oppressors with certain references to the Quran, and also addresses Pharaoh as an oppressor. Salah had said that Pharaoh was an Arab. And that he had oppressed the followers of Moses and that “God is not a racist,”

Aside from the distorted poem, the other main citation of the government was a speech Salah gave in Jerusalem in 2007, in which he had talked about Israeli soldiers shedding the blood of Palestinians. The citation had reportedly included the line: “Whoever wants a more thorough explanation, let him ask what used to happen to some children in Europe, whose blood was mixed in with the dough of the holy bread.”

Hostile press coverage in Israel inserted the word “Jewish” in square brackets before the words “holy bread” (“Islamic Movement head charged with incitement to racism, violence,” Islamic Movement head charged with incitement to racism, violence Haaretz, 29 January 2008).

Contrary to the assertions of the British press, Raed Salah was not convicted of making blood libel allegations against Jews. He was convicted of racist incitement. That might sound like a semantic difference, but note that according to the Jerusalem Post, ‘The conviction was a reversal of an acquittal on those charges by the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court in 2013 when that court convicted him of incitement to violence, but acquitted him of racist incitement.’ In other words the evidence before what is a colonial court for Israeli Arabs was not strong enough to convict him of the charge of racism before the lower court. It was a political decision by the higher Jerusalem District Court that found him guilty. Clearly the evidence was not unambiguous.

Islamic Movement leader Salah convicted of racist incitement on appeal http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Islamic-Movement-leader-Salah-convicted-of-racist-incitement-on-appeal-381337.

When the Home Office’s Neil Sheldon QC accused Salah of invoking the blood libel, Salah responded that: “this interpretation is out of bounds, and has no origin in fact.” He then went into some detail, saying that his purpose had been to liken the Israeli occupation forces to the inquisitions in Europe that used to shed the blood of children, and which used religion to perpetuate injustice. https://electronicintifada.net/content/uk-government-conflates-criticism-israel-anti-semitism-salah-trial/10441

Sheldon admitted that the government had relied on a “misquotation” of Salah’s poem in The Jerusalem Post. Salah’s lawyer Raza Husain argued the misquotation could only have been a “malign” attempt to defame the character of his client, not an innocent misunderstanding. Ockelton questioned the value of May’s decision to ban since it was based on incorrect information.

In the Appeal hearing Dr. Stefan Sperl, an expert in Arabic poetry from the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, gave an analysis of the original text of a poem by Salah called “A Message to the Oppressors” saying it was addressed to all “perpetrators of injustice,” whether Jews or not. He said a Jerusalem Post article characterizing it as anti-Semitic was deliberately misleading. A version with the words “you Jews” inserted into the poem seems to have been used in the UKBA document.

So the allegation, by Cathy Newman of Channel 4 and others, that Jeremy Corbyn had associated with someone convicted of holocaust denial is patently false.

[much of the research quoted above was done by Asa Winstanley, a correspondent for the Electronic Intifada]

False Concern About anti-Semitism – The case of Stephen Pollard

The key protagonist in the allegations of anti-Semitism and associating with holocaust deniers is however Stephen Pollard, editor of the Jewish Chronicle and member of the cold war Henry Jackson society. Pollard is ex-editor of the Daily Express, owned by Britain’s largest porn merchant Richmond Desmond.

Pollard is an Israel firster. A dedicated Zionist who has turned the Jewish Chronicle from a newspaper with strong Zionist allegiances into a Zionist propaganda rag which brooks no opposition. It has completely cut out of its pages not only anti-Zionists but non-Zionist dissidents like Tony Lerman and Dr Brian Klug and indeed anyone who doesn’t toe the Israel right or wrong line.

Pollard has taken to heart the traditional Zionist line that anti-Semitism is not a Zionist concern unless it concerns anti-Zionists such as Jeremy Corbyn. But mindful of the libel laws and knowing his own case is reliant on guilt-by-association, as befits a McCarthyist, Pollard denies that he is accusing Corbyn of anti-Semitism. https://twitter.com/stephenpollard/status/634422619920580608?replies_view=true&cursor=APDWehIs1wg

Pollard hasn’t always been so keen to call out an anti-Semite, especially when the anti-Semite is a far-right politician who is also a Zionist. One such was Michal Kaminski MEP of the Polish Law & Justice Party and Chairman of the European Conservatives and Reform Group. Another such is Robert Zile of the Latvian Fatherland and Freedom Party [LNNK], who were both guests at the Conservative Party Conference in 2009 and of the Conservative Friends of Israel.

To understand the controversy at the time one has to understand the background. Kaminski was an MP for an area of Poland including a village Jedwabne. On July 10, 1941, more than 300 Jews were burnt alive in a barn by their Polish neighbours, in a Polish village Jedwabne under the watchful eye of the SS and Order Police. Although over 60% of Jedwabne’s pre-war population was Jewish, today there are no Jews left of what was a 300 year old community. [“Burning Alive” by Andrzej Kaczynski, published May 5, 2000 in the Polish newspaper “Rzeczpospolita”, http://www.jewishgen.org/yizkor/jedwabne/yed999.html Introduction by Morlan Ty Rogers, June 27, 2000]

The massacre in Jedwabne was the subject of a book by Polish-Jewish historian Jan Tomasz Gross.[Neighbours: The Destruction of the Jewish Community in Jedwabne, Poland, May 2000] It caused a far-reaching public debate that split public opinion. [The Legacy of Jedwabne] http://www.jedwabne.net/ Most of the population of Jedwabne opposed President Aleksander Kwasniewski’s belief that a national apology should be made, in Jedwabne itself, to mark the massacre’s sixtieth anniversary (10 July 2001). Michal Kaminski, was instrumental in urging Jedwabne residents to oppose the President’s apology and boycott the ceremonial event in 2001.

The campaign against an apology had ‘strongly anti-Semitic overtones,’ according to Dr Rafal Pankowski, author of The Populist Radical Right in Poland. The Chief Rabbi of Poland, Michael Schudrich said: “Mr Kaminski was a member of NOP, a group that is openly far-right and neo-Nazi. Anyone who would want to align himself with the Committee to Defend the Good Name of Jedwabne… needs to understand with what and by whom he is being represented.” Yet again, Tories fawn over the far right, By Alex Hern, October 6, 2011 http://www.leftfootforward.org/2011/10/tories-fawn-over-fascists

In an interview with Martin Bright of the Jewish Chronicle [EXCLUSIVE Michal Kaminski: ‘I’m no antisemite’] http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/20816/exclusive-michal-kaminski-im-no-antisemite, 9.10.09. Kaminski stated that

‘If you are asking the Polish nation to apologise for the crime made in Jedwabne, you would require from the whole Jewish nation to apologise for what some Jewish Communists did in Eastern Poland.’

It was, of course, a false comparison. Poland, where anti-Semitism had been endemic among the middle class, sections of the peasantry and the military/aristocracy, had not been an easy place to live for Jews before the war. The welcome given by many Jews to the Soviet invasion was therefore understandable. But the fact that some Jews collaborated with the Soviet invaders in 1939 doesn’t mean that all Jews or the ‘Jewish nation’ should be held collectively guilty. The mass murder of the Jews of Jedwabne, which was carried out by only a minority of Poles in the village, is something that the Polish state should apologise for in its own terms. Yet Pollard was quite happy with this explanation.

In his interview with Bright, Kaminski claimed that he did not remember giving an interview to the ‘ultra-nationalist’ Nacza Polska, when he is alleged to have said he would only apologise for Jedwabne when “someone from the Jewish side will apologise for what the Jews did during the Soviet occupation between 1939 and 1941, for the mass collaboration of the Jewish people with the Soviet occupier.”.

He also denied wearing the Chrobry sword, the symbol of the National Radical Camp Falanga, a Catholic fascist group formed in 1935. He issues a categorical denial: “No, I never wear it. I don’t even know which symbol you are referring to. In a later statement to the Jewish Chronicle he admited that he did wear the sword but that it was ‘After 1989 it was used as one of the symbols of the Christian National Union and many Conservative politicians would wear it, including politicians now in the Civic Platform. In recent years it has been taken as a symbol by the Far Right.’

http://www.thejc.com/comment/analysis/20818/analysis-kaminski-our-friend-a-smear-campaign

According to Pollard ‘The real story behind the accusations against Michal Kaminski has nothing to with antisemitism.’ Rather ‘It is, rather, a grubby story about the EU and base politics.’ As for joining the NOP, well Kaminski was only 15 and and anyway ‘when he joined the NOP in 1987 when it was still an underground movement.’

Indeed the Jews had no better friend than Kaminski. In ‘Poland’s Kaminski is not an antisemite: he’s a friend to Jews’ http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2009/oct/09/michal-kaminski-antisemitism Pollard argued that Kaminski’s concern was merely that a national apology for Jedwabne would let the actual killers ‘off the hook’. It had nothing to do with Poles against Jews, ‘but was a vile crime committed by specific individuals.’ It is true that not all Poles are guilty. The Polish working-class had an honourable record of fighting fascism and anti-Semitism, though Pollard as a Zionist is the last person to make such an argument, but as a national minority Poland’s Jews suffered hideous anti-Semitism and an apology on behalf of the whole Polish nation would be at least a token act of amends. But Pollard argued, since President Kwasniewski ‘was a former communist’ what was required was an apology for the ‘antisemitic campaign of 1968’. Pollard’s anti-communism trumps his alleged concern for anti-Semitism. I’m not aware that in the 1968 ‘anti-Zionist’ campaign 300 Jews were burnt alive.

Replying to an article by the Guardian’s Jonathan Freedland, Pollard also dismisses the fact that Roberts Zile’s Latvian party, the LNNK “have played a leading part in the annual parade honouring veterans of the Latvian Legion of the Waffen-SS“. Pollard says ‘I know the facts about Kaminski, but I can think of no source for evidence against Zile other than those who so disgracefully besmirch Kaminski.’ The information was, of course, widely known and on March 8 2012 Emma Stock wrote, in the Jewish Chronicle, an article Calls to ban Baltic neo-Nazi marches in which she referred to the fact that ‘Disturbingly, the Riga march is supported by Latvian officials and MEPs such as Robert Zile, who sits alongside UK MEPS in the new European Conservatives and Reformists party in the European Parliament.’ Or Pollard can consult The little European problem that the Conservatives would prefer to forget’ by his Political Correspondent, Martin Bright on October 11 2012: ‘Still more troubling for the Jewish community is the hard-right Latvian MEP Robert Zile, whose also sits in alliance with the Tories in Europe. Mr Zile is a long-time supporter of the Latvian “Legionnaires Day” rally which each March celebrates the Waffen SS.’ For some strange reason, Pollard hasn’t seen to update his apologia for Zile and the LNNK. He must be too busy dealing with his Corbyn problem!

In Is Michal Kaminski fit to lead the Tories in Europe?’ Toby Helm noted that http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2009/oct/11/michal-kaminski-europe-conservatives

“As a local MP, Kaminski played a key role in the campaign questioning the Polish responsibility for the Jedwabne massacre. The campaign had strongly antisemitic overtones,” quoting Dr Rafal Pankowski, a member of the Never Again Association and author of The Populist Radical Right in Poland.

But when Kaminski was contacted he denied all. “I never tried to stop the commemoration, that is not true,” he said. He had always been in favour, he insisted. But when asked if he had, as the local MP, attended the event in Jedwabne, he couldn’t remember!

Kaminski also denied having conducted the interview with Nasza Polska or telling the paper – which is known for carrying far-right material – that the Poles should not apologise until the Jews apologised to them. “I never said it. It is absolutely not true,”

However the Observer contacted the editor-in-chief Piotr Jakucki, who confirmed that the interview had been conducted with Kaminski by the paper’s Kaja Bogomilska and that the article had been published on 20 March 2001. He also sent a hard copy.

When the row over Kaminski and Zile first blew up, the Conservatives achieved what they ‘believed to be a decisive counter-strike’. They obtained the support of Stephen Pollard, editor of the Jewish Chronicle, who leaped to Kaminski’s defence, saying there was nothing to suggest the Polish MEP was an anti-Semite. Pollard claimed there was not “a shred of evidence” that Kaminski had demanded a Jewish apology for crimes against Poles as a condition for Polish contrition.

As Denis MacShane wrote in ‘The curious case of Michal Kaminski’ http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2009/oct/06/conservative-conference-michal-kaminski Kaminski made a Polish apology condition on ‘someone from the Jewish side’ as if Jews were not also Polish, apologising ‘for what the Jews did during the Soviet occupation between 1939 and 1941. It seems that the visit to Yad Vashem had had no effect too on his consciousness (and maybe, being a propaganda showpiece it didn’t). However half the Jews, 3 million, who died in the holocaust were Polish.

And further evidence of Kaminski’s anti-Semitism is provided by Craig Murray, who became the British Ambassador in Uzbekistan and who was then First Secretary at the British Embassy in Poland.

When Alexander Kasniewski defeated Lech Walesa to become President of Poland in 1995, Kaminski was involved in lobbying the media to publish stories stating that Kwasniewski’s grandmother was Jewish. That accusation became the focal point of the entire election campaign. ‘Michal Kaminski, The Tories and Polish Anti-Semitism’, https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2009/10/michal_kaminski/

In an article ‘But is Kaminski good for the Jews?’ Antony Lerman http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/belief/2009/aug/21/stephen-pollard-michal-kaminski-jews observed that Kaminski’s Law & Justice party, was hardly a home for anti-racists. Citing the Stephen Roth Institute for the Study of Racism and Antisemitism, it contained radical nationalists and former members of antisemitic organisations and maintained a strategic alliance with Radio Maryja, “the mass-audience nationalist Catholic radio station and a key force on the far right”, which gives airtime to antisemitic demagogues. None of this stopped Kaminski speaking to to the Global Counter-Terrorism Conference in Herzliya, Israel in September 2009.

In ‘Kaminski apologists play with fire’ http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2009/oct/09/kaminski-zile-conservatives-antisemitism Peter Beaumont notes how the defenders of Kaminski so easily resorted to anti-Semitism. David Miliband, when he criticised the Tories for their alliance with the Kaminski and Zile, (opportunistically no doubt) the comments of Tory supporters either defended members of Zile’s party who marched with the Latvian SS, because they fought the Bolsheviks, or ‘more scandalously, suggested that Miliband had no “right to comment on Nazism”, as he was a Jew with “Bolshevik grandparents”.

However, to be fair to Pollard, he wasn’t alone in having a problem with criticism of the Tories far right and neo-Nazi allies in the European Parliament. [Leaders split over David Cameron’s Euro allies] http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/20815/leaders-split-over-david-camerons-euro-allies

When Vivien Wineman of the Board of Deputies wrote to David Cameron concerning the Tories’ allies in the European Parliament it caused a rift with the Jewish Leadership Council [read big Zionist capitalists] One JLC member described colleagues as “livid” at the timing of the letter. Another said he was “incandescent”.

A senior Jewish Conservative said: “The Board… has been manipulated by left-wing interests into a completely inappropriate position. The irony is that the new Tory European group will be the most pro-Israel lobby group.” And this is true, anti-Semites are often the Zionist best friend. A point made by Pollard in his original defence of Kaminski ‘David Miliband’s insult to Michal Kaminski is contemptible’ http://www.thejc.com/blogpost/david-milibands-insult-michal-kaminski-contemptible . ‘Far from being an antisemite, Mr Kaminski is about as pro-Israel an MEP as exists.’

Dean Godson, of the Policy Exchange think tank, accused Wineman and others who had criticised the Tories’ links with Robert Zile of Latvia’s Fatherland and Freedom party [LNNK], of “a certain form of left McCarthyism’.

It would seem that those who are so keen to examine the finest details of those Jeremy Corbyn has encountered over the years are nonetheless happy to give a carte blanche to bona fide 24 carat anti-Semites. Hypocrisy doesn’t somehow seem a strong enough word to describe the behaviour of the Stephen Pollard’s of this word. Perhaps given the credentials of his friend and ex-employer Desmond, we can call it Political Pornography.