More From Lobster on New Labour’s Links to the Israel Lobby

Yesterday I put up a couple of pieces about items on New Labour and its connections to the Israel lobby. One of these pieces discussed James Purnell and James Harding, former Labour politicos and now directors of the BBC, who were involved in attempts to overthrow Jeremy Corbyn when they were councillors in Islington in the 1990s.

Robin Ramsay’s ‘View from the Bridge’ column in Lobster 58 for winter 2009-2010 has further information on the connections between Blair and Brown’s entryist clique and the Israel lobby. He reported that Grim Gordon had appointed Ivan Lewis as the responsible minister at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for Israel and the Middle East. Lewis was the vice chairman of Labour Friends of Israel. (pp. 109-110).

In the same issue he also reports that Channel 4 had broken one of the last great taboos of British journalism, and broadcast a documentary on the Israel lobby. He states that the accompanying booklet is ‘seriously good’ and should demonstrate that the Israel lobby is ‘real and significant’. It was available from as a download from and .

I don’t know whether it’s still available after all these years. Probably not. But it could still be worth a look. (pp. 110).

The Blairites were deeply entwined with Labour Friends of Israel, and the current anti-Semitism allegations, which have now resurfaced again with Liverpool MP Louise Ellman, are all about preserving their influence, against opposition from both gentiles and Jews.

That issue is Lobster is available free online. Go to Lobster’s webpage and select it from the numbers listed.

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2 Responses to “More From Lobster on New Labour’s Links to the Israel Lobby”

  1. Blissex Says:

    «Blair and Brown’s entryist clique»

    I reject this in the case of Brown : he was and remain a true labourist, one rooted in Labour history even, and represents an authentic hattersleyte wing of Labour. Despite his tragic alliance with Mandelson and Blair. D McBride’s memoirs show him of course in a positve light, but yet the frequent remarks that Brown really instinctively cared for low income and disadvantaged people ring very true, and indeed the maldensonians attacked it for it (see below).

    Blair was an entryst, but sponsored by the Kinnock and Smith wings, who also were well rooted in Labour’s history.

    The real entryst was always Mandelson. My usual ancient quotes:

    From Giles Brandreth, 1994-05-18:
    «Blair is way out front. *We* want Beckett or Prescott of course. Brown might be best for *them* long-term; he’s the one I find most approachable, most human and he seems blessed with a touch of socialist zeal. However they seem to be setting their hearts on the Young Conservative»

    From Lance Price, 1999-10-19:
    «Philip Gould analysed our problem very clearly. We don’t know what we are. Gordon wants us to be a radical progressive, movement, but wants us to keep our heads down on Europe. Peter [Mandelson] thinks that we are a quasi-Conservative Party but that we should stick our necks out on Europe. Philip didn’t say this, but I think TB either can’t make up his mind or wants to be both at the same time.»

    From Rachel Sylvester, “The Times”, 2009-09-30:
    «Gordon is interested in the middle classes only if he thinks they are “squeezed” — and therefore joining the ranks of the poor who have concerned him most for all his life.»
    «On the fringe in Brighton, however, there are endless calls for the party to return to its left-wing roots, rejecting market ideas and spending cuts. If Labour loses power it will almost certainly go back to its comfort zone.»
    «It’s as if the Labour Party had been colonised for a decade by a foreign invader and is not quite sure how to behave now that it has its independence back. Perhaps Mandelson remains so loyal to Brown because he is suffering from post-colonial guilt.»

    • Beastrabban Says:

      Thanks for this, Blissex. I don’t share your view of Brown, though from what I’ve been reading recently if it wasn’t for the alliance with Blair, he could have moved further left, and adopted more traditionally Labour policies. The quotes are very interesting though.

      I saw Giles Brandreth speak at the Cheltenham Festival of Literature about ten years or more ago. He was talking about political writing with the late Independent/ Guardian journo, Simon Hoggart, and his opposite number in the Labour party, who was one of his friends. They talked about doing favours for each other to save each other from their respective party whips. Brandreth then said that when he was in Major’s government, the person they were dreading would lead the Labour party was Robin Cook, because of his ‘forensic intelligence’. This was before Cook’s marriage broke up and he became the butt of a lot of impressionist jokes.

      Brandreth also said that they had something of a weird premonition of John Smith’s fate in a cabinet session, when they were talking about who would lead the Labour party after Kinnock. Major, according to Brandreth, said, ‘There’s a pricking in my thumbs. I don’t know what it is, but I think John Smith will lead the Labour party, but he’ll never be prime minister.’ Which is another anecdote for telling spooky stories round about Hallowe’en.

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