Arkush and Goldstein Go Pemberton Billing

This morning, Mike put up a piece taking a part the letter written by Jonathans Arkush and Goldstein attacking Jeremy Corbyn for being too soft on the supposed rampant anti-Semitism in the Labour party. The story’s also covered in the I newspaper, which doesn’t name the two. It just describes the letter as written by ‘Jewish community leaders’. In fact, one of them is from the Jewish Leadership Council and the other is from the Board of Deputies of British Jews. They accuse Corbyn of ignoring the issues that are important to mainstream British Jews. Their real concern, however, is revealed in their comments about how Cobyn and the Labour party under him are motivated by the Far Left’s hatred of Zionism, Israel, and the Israel lobby. As Mike has shown, Corbyn is not far left. He’s centre-left. He only appears far left compared to the Blairites and the Tories, who want everything privatised, including the NHS, following the ideological dictates of Margaret Thatcher. But then, factual accuracy is not these guys’ concern. Smearing the left and the opponents of Israel’s ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians is.

Mike’s put up a couple of videos showing that Corbyn has always been an opponent of racism and anti-Semitism, so Arkush and Goldstein’s smear of him and his followers as anti-Semites is the purest nonsense. Nor is he an opponent of the state Israel. I was told this by a commenter on one of my posts about Israel and the Israel lobby, who objected to my using the term ‘Zionism’. He felt it played into the hands of those smearing the Labour leader. I am happy to be corrected. But what Corbyn does oppose is Israeli apartheid, its oppression of the indigenous Palestinians, and its seven decades long campaign to purge them from Israel. It is this, which Arkush and Goldstein are defending when the smear the Labour leader, and the other critics of Israel. They cannot defend Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians, as it’s indefensible. So indefensible that they object to anyone even mentioning it or describing Israel as an apartheid state, or comparing it to Nazi Germany, even though the comparison is apt in so far as Nazi policy went as far as 1942 and the launch of the Final Solution. And unable to describe the brutal maltreatment of the Palestinians by the Israelis, all the Israel lobby can do is try to silence its critics by accusing them of anti-Semitism. Any mention of Israeli atrocities in the press will get the journalists responsible for the article smeared as anti-Semites. I put up a documentary from Channel 4’s Despatches, broadcast in 2009 and present by Peter Oborne, which described just how nasty, bullying and mendacious the Israel lobby is. Among those they threatened and accused of anti-Semitism were Alan Rusbridger, the editor of the Guardian, and respected BBC journos Jeremy Bowen. When one of the Dimblebores attacked them for their smears, they also had the BBC investigate him for anti-Semitism.

Mike states that this letter has been written to stop Labour winning the coming council elections. He’s undoubtedly right. This would terrify the Blairites and the Israel lobby, quite apart from the Tories. But the right of both of these organisations to speak on behalf of the wider Jewish community is questionable. The Jewish Leadership Council is very closely connected to explicitly Zionist groups. But it’s under something of a cloud, as its former chief, Jeremy ‘No Morals’ Newmark was embezzling money from Jewish charities. They sacked him, but decided not to call in the rozzers in order to avoid a scandal. As for the Board of Deputies of British Jews, its members are nominated by their synagogues, so it doesn’t speak for secular Jews. Nor are they democratically elected. They are also true-blue Tory establishment. They are determined to maintain themselves as the top Jewish organisation in the UK by exerting a monopoly of control over all other Jewish organisations. One of the reasons the Board hated Ken Livingstone was because Leninspart gave a small grant when he was head of the GLC to a Jewish Socialist group that wasn’t affiliated to them, and which was beyond their control. Temper tantrums and accusations of anti-Semitism followed.

Their letter is also rather desperate. An increasing number of Jewish Americans are turning against Israel because of its maltreatment of the Palestinians. This includes many, who have suffered anti-Semitic abuse and assault themselves. Over here there are Jewish, pro-Palestinian organisations, that very definitely do not accept anti-Semites. But you won’t hear about them from liars and smearers like Arkush and Goldstein. Very many of the people in the Labour party, who have been smeared as anti-Semites, are decent, self-respecting Jews. And many of them have suffered real anti-Semitic abuse and attack by Fascists and racists. But because they have criticised Israel, the Israel lobby has smeared them as anti-Semitic and ‘self-hating’. A grotesque, monstrous libel. As for speaking for the wider Jewish community on the issue of Israel, at the moment something like 77 per cent of British Jews say that Israel is very important to their sense of identity. But how long this will last, if Jewish young people over here follow the lead of Jewish Americans, is a very good point. It looks like the Israel lobby is well aware of this possibility, and are starting to panic.

This is simply another instance of the arch-Tory Jewish establishment smearing anyone, who stands up for the Palestinians, as an anti-Semite. Especially those on the Left. As others have shown, the Tories have a very long history of anti-Semitism and connections to real Fascist organisations. But there’s hardly a mention of this from the Israel lobby and the likes of Goldstein and Arkush.

The Israel lobby’s promiscuous use of accusations of anti-Semitism reminds me of Pemberton Billing and his ‘little black book’. Pemberton Billing was an extreme right-wing Tory MP around the time of the First World War with a particular paranoid hatred of gays. He maintained he had a book with the names of 50,000 ‘devotees of Sodom and Lesbia’, who were aiding the Germans. Of course, British society back then was very homophobic. Homosexuality was illegal, and homosexuals generally bitterly hated. But Billing went far beyond the usual levels of hate and prejudice. He went off and smeared a number of people as supposed gays. And when one sued for libel, the case collapsed because Billing then accused the judge of being one of those in his book.

I am not accusing Arkush and Goldstein of being homophobic. I am accusing them of trying to start another witch hunt against the Labour party using fake accusations of anti-Semitism in the same way that Pemberton Billing libelled many good people with his accusations of homosexuality and treason.

This latest letter is a grotesque, politically motivated attempt to smear Jeremy Corbyn and prevent the Labour party getting into power. It shames the people the two, who wrote it, and the mendacious, biased press, who uncritically repeat its lies.

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