On the process of political smearing

Labour Leadership 2015I wasn’t planning to write another blogpost on the Labour leadership election. (I hope I’m not going to be starting a lot of blogposts over the next few weeks with that sentence.)

I don’t have a vote because although I’m a member of an affiliated organisation (which has sent me a mailshot about the election) I didn’t register for a vote because I am a member of the Scottish Green Party. So I’m just waiting for 12th September, like everyone else who doesn’t qualify for a vote, which is 99.0472% of the population of the UK.

610,753 people do have a vote, and according to most polls the majority currently plan to vote Jeremy Corbyn.

The Doom of Labour Going Over A CliffThe direct and straightforward method of just telling the 600K+ not to vote for Corbyn lest Doom Ensue will of course be tried: Tony Blair and Gordon Brown have both speechified that Corbyn will destroy the Labour Party forever and ever if he wins.

But a more effective method is to launch the idea that Jeremy Corbyn isn’t a nice person: that he ignored reports of child abuse, he’s pro-IRA, he’s pro-terrorist and anti-Semitic, he’s a pro-Putin Russian apologist, and he was responsible for some squatters disturbing Janet Daley in the 1970s (That’s all of the smears I’m currently aware of. I’m sure there’ll be more.)

All the people who do not want Jeremy Corbyn to be elected leader of the Labour Party, and – if he is elected – who will want to destroy his political career and ensure there’s a by-election in Islington North before 2017, will want to present Jeremy Corbyn to the electorate as a person who for thirty-three years has been presenting himself to the Labour Party and to the voters in Islington as a social-democratic moderate, the kind of person who’s kind to pigeons and uses public transport to get to work, but who is really so evil that he should be a thing of horror, a byword and an object of ridicule to the whole of the UK.

We can assume, given the content of the smears so far, that Jeremy Corbyn has never cheated on any of his wives (he’s been married three times and divorced twice but there don’t seem to be any negative stories coming from either of his ex-wives) or misappropriated money or even kicked puppies. His MP expenses record is so clean that in other circumstances the Telegraph would be praising him as one of the saints.

The madness of King George III's non-dom tax systemThe oligarchs who own most of the British press don’t want Jeremy Corbyn to be elected. They didn’t want Ed Miliband elected either – most of them are non-doms and Miliband had come out in support of Leveson’s reforms – but from their perspective, one Corbyn would be even worse than two Milibands.

Pundits, politicians, and pirates of the right who prefer the Overton Window just where it is and don’t want Jeremy Corbyn moving political discourse in the UK leftward.

The Labour MPs who are happy with the party as Tony Blair made it, who think the Iraq war was a good thing and extremism is another name for Islam, who think talking about left-wing politics too much loses you votes: they really don’t want Corbyn elected.

It would be wrong to assume that Jeremy Corbyn is flawless. He’s been a Labour Party politician now since 1974, over forty years: I have no doubt that he has in that time done and said things I wouldn’t agree with. And while probably if there were any major scandals lurking in his closet forty years would have got them into the press at some point, the absence of evidence for any such scandals doesn’t mean there weren’t any: just that so far, failing any evidence of any scandal, the British press, pundits, politicians, pirates, and Labour MPs are all making hay out of nothing.

Dealing with these in reverse order of evidence:

Smear #1: Corbyn is a pro-Putin Russian apologist

The accusation that Jeremy Corbyn is a Russian apologist appears to be sourced in an interview Jeremy Corbyn did with Russia Today on 17th June. Corbyn never mentions Russia during the interview, though they discuss the Iraq war. The Guardian’s Media Monkey suggests “the red terror hysteria” derives from “an overenthusiastic headline writer at the Times”: “Corbyn hints at closer ties to Russia in rethink of security”, which

seems to have interpreted the original article’s restrained intro (“Britain should try harder to get on with its international opponents and treat them with more respect, Jeremy Corbyn has told Russia Today”), coupled with Corbyn’s appearance on a channel not known for its balanced attitude towards the west, as an indication he wanted to invite Vladimir Putin round for tea.

The interview itself is excellent: well worth a listen.

Smear #2: Corbyn is pro-IRA

The accusation that Corbyn is pro-IRA is sourced in meetings held in the Houses of Parliament, hosted by Jeremy Corbyn, with Gerry Adams and other Sinn Féin members with spent convictions. Betty Boothroyd was once asked to investigate a complaint that one of them had been allowed to go to the lavatory unsupervised and had stayed there for 20 minutes. Andrew Neil points out to Corbyn on his Sunday Politics show on 19th July – that a properly loyal British MP would not have been objectively pro-peace process in November 1984.

For that is Corbyn’s real sin with regard to Northern Ireland: that he was in favour of peace and an end to the Troubles years before the SDLP and then members of John Major’s government met in secret with Gerry Adams, keeping their peace planning secret because Major depended on the DUP to keep his tiny-majority Tory government from falling.

Jeremy Corbyn said

“I maintained contact with Sinn Fein and believed that there had to be a political, not a military, solution to the situation in Northern Ireland.”

By 2013, this belief was so uncontroversial that David Cameron could celebrate it publicly. In 1984, it was hugely controversial. In 2015, the Spectator and the Telegraph are trying to take proof of Corbyn being right, and knowing it, and sticking to what he knew was right, in the face of popular opposition, and in the end being proved completely right as first John Major and then Tony Blair follow through on the political solution to the Troubles – as “evidence” that he’s pro-IRA.

The smear process began when Stephen Nolan, on BBC Radio Ulster, asked Corbyn if he would condemn only the IRA bombings. The Belfast Telegraph (owned by Denis O’Brien, incidentally) reported this as Corbyn refusing to condemn the IRA, when in fact Jeremy Corbyn responded:

“I condemn all bombing, it is not a good idea, and it is terrible what happened.”

So, not pro-IRA, then. Just uncomfortably right about the peace process and ahead of his time in being so.

Smear #3: Corbyn is anti-Semitic and pro-terrorist

That Corbyn is anti-Semitic and pro-terrorist is the straightforward tactic of guilt by association.

As discussed in his interview with Russia Today, Corbyn was one of the few MPs prescient enough to see that while Saddam Hussein was a brute and his regime was awful – at a time when many politicians were cheerfully supporting the political realism of selling arms to Iraq – the war on Iraq by the US would achieve nothing good with or without UK support.

Unlike Yvette Cooper or Andy Burnham, Jeremy Corbyn steadily voted against war with Iraq. (And he was right.)

He has also steadily supported the Israeli/Palestinian peace process.

Corbyn’s been attacked on these grounds before.

On 29th June 2011, a meeting took place in the Houses of Parliament, “Building Peace and Justice in Jerusalem”, sponsored by Corbyn and hosted by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, of which Corbyn is a member. One of the speakers invited to this event was Raed Salah Abu Shakra, born in Umm al-Fahm, the largest Muslim city in Israel, just west of the West Bank. Raed Salah has three times been elected mayor of Umm al-Fahm: he was also jailed for two years for raising money for Hamas. (Hamas’ extensive social and welfare services are estimated in World Policy Journal as having an annual budget of between $50-70 million US dollars.)

On 21st June 2011, the Community Security Trust emailed a report prepared by Michael Whine to Theresa May: the report included quotes and other material which had been edited to insert anti-Semitic remarks, and which framed Raed Salah as a dangerous anti-Semite. (There is no suggestion that the CST or Michael Whine doctored the quotes or knew that the quotes had been doctored.) On receiving this report, and aware that Raed Salah had been invited to this meeting on “Building Peace and Justice in Jerusalem”, Theresa May instructed the UK Border Agency to find reasons to ban Raed Salah from the UK.

Michael Weiss, Research Director of The Henry Jackson Society, a British neoconservative anti-Muslim think-tank that receives large donations from undeclared corporate sources, wrote venomously in the Telegraph on 29th June:

“Hats off to Theresa May for throwing the frothing hate-cleric Raed Salah into jail, where he now awaits deportation back to Israel.”

Jeremy Corbyn provided support to Raed Salah, believing him to have been unjustly accused on the basis of false information, and on 26th September 2011, Corbyn was proved right: the UK Border Agency dropped their case against Raed Salah, accepting that the evidence against him had been manufactured.

You might ask, whatever the evidence against him, why did Jeremy Corbyn want Raed Salah to attend a meeting on “Building Peace and Justice in Jerusalem”? Raed Salah had direct experience of united Jewish-Arab action for peace.

Raed Salah was last elected Mayor of Umm al-Fahm in 1997. In 1998, as recorded in Issue No. 86 (October/November 1998) of the Newsletter of the Israeli Council for Israeli-Palestinian Peace, the citizens of Umm al-Fahm met with a violent response to their protests against a planned land-grab:

For three days the town was a battlefield; several hundred inhabitants were wounded, some of them severely, by the semi-military “Border Guards” using clubs, tear gas, rubber-coated bullets and in at least some cases live ammunition – as brutal as they could come without actually killing somebody.

Very soon, members of various peace groups made their way to the area, to bear witness and express solidarity – first from nearby Kibbutzim, followed by delegations from Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem organised by the Hadash Communists, Gush Shalom, Peace Now, Rabbis for Human Rights, the Democratic Women and Bat Shalom. All were stunned by the police brutality, some became personally embroiled in the confrontations, getting more than a whiff of tear gas (the already experienced locals offered onions, smelling which seems to be an effective antidote).

Dozens of activists from Peace Now and Gush Shalom, joining local youths in a vigil with banners reading No to Confiscations – No to Racism! were doused to the core by police water cannons turned on them, and chased by the relentless police for more than a kilometre – a large group remaining together throughout the chase, Jews and Arabs chanting in unison ‘Today, we are all Umm-El-Fahm!’ even while the Border Guards wielded their batons.

Members of the Israeli High school Teachers Union were also caught in one of the riots – subsequently publishing a sharply-worded condemnation of the government, very rare for this usually strictly “non-political union”; and the twelve visiting Labour Knesset Members denounced the police’s conduct as “shocking and shameful” and demanded an impartial investigation.

The compromise with which the clashes ended represents at least a partial victory for the townspeople: while the confiscation is not abolished, the army would not take possession for the next three months, and the landowners would be free to complete the olive harvest. With a modicum of common sense, the government should quietly let this status-quo continue indefinitely, rather then risk a repeated outbreak next January.

To demonstrate the continuing solidarity, the olive harvest was carried out on October 9 as joint Jewish-Arab action. A full Gush Shalom bus arrived, as well as a caravan of more than sixty cars, many of them from the Kibbutz Movement. Conspicuous among the olive-pickers was Giora Forman, veteran combat pilot and former Deputy Commander of the Israeli Air Force, who warmly shook hands with the owners of the land.

Alan Johnson, who works for the Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre (a pro-Israel lobbying body) wrote in Left Foot Forward in June that Corbyn wouldn’t get his vote, because

Labour’s best traditions also include anti-fascism and internationalism while your support – to me, inexplicable and shameful – for the fascistic and antisemitic forces of Hezbollah and Hamas flies in the face of those traditions. In particular, your full-throated cheer-leading for the vicious antisemitic Islamist Raed Salah is a deal-breaker.

Johnson then repeats the various doctored quotes produced in 2011 to justify banning Raed Salah from the UK, which were shown to be false a few months later. Johnson doesn’t appear to be aware that they were proved to be edited to introduce anti-Semitism: nor does he reference the 1998 joint Jewish-Arab peace action in Umm al-Fahm, in response to Israeli police brutality: perhaps this kind of thing never interested him. Alan Johnson seems to regard the blog Harry’s Place as a useful direct source on Raed Salah.

Criticism of Israel should not be assumed to be anti-Semitic. Criticism of and opposition to Israeli government policy should never be assumed to be anti-Semitic: as the list of Israeli-Jewish organisations in the quote above indicates, there are many, many Israeli Jews who stand in opposition to their government’s treatment of Muslim citizens of Israel like Raed Salah, and Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories.

Raed Salah was brutally traduced with doctored quotes and lies. Jeremy Corbyn’s support of Raed Salah when he was – as even the UK Border Agency agreed – unjustly banned from entering the UK, has been used to paint him as an anti-Semite, both now and in the past.

[Update: In March 2014, Raed Salah was sentenced to eight months in jail for incitement to violence in a speech he made in 2007. Last night a Channel 4 interviewer appeared to feel Jeremy Corbyn should have been aware that Raed Salah was to be arrested, charged, and convicted in 2014, and refused to support Raed Salah in 2011. The conviction appears to have been part of attempts by the Netanyahu government to outlaw the Islamic Movement in Israel of which Raed Salah is a leading member. Channel 4 video in the comments.]

Smear #4: Corbyn ignored child abuse

On 23rd July, Labour MP for Bassetlaw since 2001, John Mann, wrote an open letter to Jeremy Corbyn:

At an event I hosted this year in Parliament of 200 child abuse and exploitation survivors, we received public testimony of the scale of abuse in Islington from a whistle-blower who was a leading light in uncovering child abuse in Islington during the 1980s and early 1990s. This social worker confirmed to me that she and others met with you in the early 1990s to raise her concerns about child abuse and cover-ups in Islington. You said that you would raise the matter with Virginia Bottomley, then at the Department of Health, but no indication of whether you followed this up was ever given.

In 1986 MP Geoffrey Dickens [Tory MP from 1979 to 1995] raised serious concerns about child abuse in Islington.

Your response was to complain to the Speaker about him visiting your constituency without informing you. I have faced such complaints myself in pursuing corruption issues.

John Mann has form in calling out the abuse committed by Liberal MP Cyril Smith. Jeremy Corbyn was far from being the only MP who didn’t take Geoffrey Dickens’s accusations of high-level paedophilia seriously (Tam Dalyell acknowledges he suspected Dickens of “mere publicity-seeking, perhaps in collusion with a tabloid”): Dickens’s habit of “mis-saying “fido-pilia” did not help his cause” – he was “dismissed as a joke.”

Dickens was right and Jeremy Corbyn was wrong. That doesn’t make Corbyn pro-child abuse: it means, like many other politicians at the time, he catastrophically failed to take seriously the reports we now recognise as valid. I don’t see any excuse for this, and I’m sorry to say it: in this instance, Jeremy Corbyn was wrong, and I hope he’ll acknowledge that.

Tom Watson, Labour MP for West Bromwich East since 2001, hopefully soon to be Corbyn’s deputy leader, was viciously attacked in 2012 for using Parliamentary privilege to talk of a ‘powerful paedophile ring’ with links all the way up to Number Ten Downing Street: you can still listen to Andrew Neil attacking Harriet Harman over Watson’s actions.

Tom Watson admitted honestly two years after he stood up in the House of Commons and became the foremost MP to attack paedophile coverups at Westminster, that had he been told “10 years ago”

that senior members of the establishment used to systematically abuse young boys in the 1980s, and that a powerful elite covered up their crimes, he wouldn’t have believed it for a minute.

“Oh no, I would have dismissed it. I was a very believing, small-‘c’ conservative individual who had trust in a lot of public institutions, and believed everything I was told by politicians.” Then came the phone-hacking scandal, however, in which Watson played a chief investigative role. “I lost faith in a lot of individuals, having come through that, and I’m a much more sceptical person at the end of it.”

John Mann is, I don’t doubt, honestly aggrieved that MPs in the 1980s and 1990s were less willing and less likely than today to believe that the victims of child abuse were credible and their reports should be acted on. So am I.

But I am quite sure also that Mann is aware that in picking on Jeremy Corbyn as the par example of the MP who didn’t listen, he isn’t doing so because Corbyn is the worst example: he’s doing so because Corbyn is surging ahead in the Labour leadership election and John Mann wanted to be in the contest but couldn’t get the nominations.

And finally: 15 rumours to discredit Jeremy Corbyn that Labour haven¹t used yet

And finally?

No, not quite.

Smear #5: Jeremy Corbyn said Osama bin Laden’s death was a tragedy

This from the Daily Mail is so blatant a lie it’s almost funny.

What Jeremy Corbyn actually said in 2011 was:

“There was no attempt whatsoever that I can see to arrest him and put him on trial, to go through that process”. He went on: “This was an assassination attempt, and is yet another tragedy, upon a tragedy, upon a tragedy.

“The World Trade Center was a tragedy, the attack on Afghanistan was a tragedy, the war in Iraq was a tragedy. Tens of thousands of people have died. Torture has come back on to the world stage, been canonised virtually into law by Guantánamo and Bagram.

“Can’t we learn some lessons from this? Are we just going to sink deeper and deeper?

“The next stage will be an attempted assassination on Gaddafi and so it will go on. This will just make the world more dangerous and worse and worse and worse.”

Interestingly enough, Paddy Ashdown said exactly the same thing as Jeremy Corbyn: Osama bin Laden should have been tried, not summarily executed.

Seymour M. Hersh wrote of the events in 2011: the US assassination of Osama Bin Laden appears to have been a political killing, in part because of the political complications of putting a Saudi national, a prisoner of the Pakistani military, on trial for his crimes: and in part because killing Osama bin Laden was electorally good for Barack Obama. Jeremy Corbyn can have known nothing of this – Seymour M. Hersh published his investigative account in May this year – but, as Peter Oborne pointed out:

Most people would agree that on the most intractable foreign policy issues of our time Corbyn has tended to be right and the British establishment has tended to be wrong. What Corbyn does or thinks today is likely to be vindicated a few years later. Hard though it is for the British establishment to stomach, Corbyn’s foreign policy ideas have generally been more balanced and far-sighted than those of his opponents.

Gaddafi was assassinated in October 2011, a few months after Jeremy Corbyn’s comment.

20 Comments

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20 responses to “On the process of political smearing

  1. G

    On the ‘smears’:

    1) Here is Jeremy Corbyn appearing to blame NATO, which has no presence in Ukraine, for Russia invading Ukraine.
    http://jeremycorbyn.org.uk/articles/4094/

    2) Jeremy Corbyn had zero role in the NI peace process. He was a disloyal backbench MP defying his party and the government of the day – there is nothing wrong with this in principle, parliament needs independent thinkers, but it does show he had no authority nor influence to negotiate with the IRA.

    Shortly after the Brighton bombing, which, let us not forget was an attempt by the IRA to assassinate the Prime Minister and the Cabinet, he met with representatives of the IRA. Given he has not authority nor influence at best this was unwise, at worst it suggests a sympathetic ear.

    3) The questions asked by the Jewish Chronicle are relatively simple for Jeremy Corbyn to answer. That he has, at best, only vaguely answered one of them (question 5), is frankly alarming.
    http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/142144/the-key-questions-jeremy-corbyn-must-answer
    It should be trivially easy for any mainstream politician with no links to anti-Semitic individuals or organisations to show this and to make clear statements rejecting the sentiment and those who espouse it.

    4) This is about the only smear where Corbyn has behaved no worse than anybody else.

    • 1) In your eyes Jeremy Corbyn may be “appearing to blame NATO”, but that’s not actually what he’s saying – thanks for the direct link.

      2. People who went to Spain to fight the Fascists were then banned from serving in the armed forces in WWII because they’d been “prematurely anti-Fascist”. I think the parallel is clear.,

      3. The questions asked by the Jewish Chronicle appear to be based on allegations made by Paul Eisen, in a blogpost Eisen has since made private but which is outlined in the ZeloStreet blog: http://zelo-street.blogspot.co.uk/2015/08/mail-corbyn-holocaust-smear-busted.html Odd that the Jewish Chronicle should assume that Paul Eisen is an honest source of information, isn’t it?

      Incidentally, Corbyn did respond to the allegations: http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/aug/13/jewish-chronicle-accuses-jeremy-corbyn-associating-holocaust-deniers

      4. Well, quite. It’s also the only smear which did, when I untangled it, have some threads of truth.

      • G

        Just an addendum, on Ch4 News yesterday Corbyn admitting meeting and donating money to a Holocaust denier, although he claims he was unaware he was a Holocaust denier and stated that he was unaware Raead Salah was an anti-semite when he supported him.

        I cannot see how a person who cannot do the most basic of checks on the backgrounds of people he wants to support or give money to such that he ends up funding a Holocaust denier and supporting racists to is fit to lead the Labour Party, let alone the country

        • “Obviously, Holocaust denial is vile and wrong. The Holocaust was the most vile part of our history.” – Jeremy Corbyn

          Other people have spoken in praise of Corbyn’s immediate and generous response to requests from constituents. Apparently you prefer to deal only with politicians who run backrgound checks beforehand….

          As for Raed Salah, the “evidence” that Salah is anti-Semitic was based on the interpreation of a phrase in a spontaneous speech he made in 2007 outside a mosque in Jerusalem, originally presented to Corbyn and UKBA with anti-Semitic language edited in.

          Raed Salah was sentenced to jail for this speech in 2014, as part of a campaign by the Netanyahu government to outlaw the movement of which he’s a leader. I don’t see how any background check Corbyn could have carried out in 2011, could have discovered a conviction awaiting Raed Salah in 2014. Do you?

          In 2012, UKBA accepted that they had unlawfully detained and banned him from the UK on the basis of the doctored evidence.

          Plainly, you don’t want Corbyn to be Labour Party leader. Your eager willingness to accept Daily Mail and other smears as factual reminds me of Republicans willing to believe the most bloodthirsty stories of the Clintons.

          • G

            If Corbyn thinks the Holocaust was vile then what on earth is he doing giving money to, and attending meetings organised by holocaust deniers?

            It’s a terrible, terrible error of judgement, and one he makes repeatedly.

            A background check on Salah in 2011 would have revealed fundraising for a terrorist organisation and repeated allegations of racism. At they very least you would expect an MP wanting to be taken seriously outside of the far left (which has a long reported problem with anti-semitism in its ranks) to be very careful about who he chooses to support.

          • “If Corbyn thinks the Holocaust was vile then what on earth is he doing giving money to, and attending meetings organised by holocaust deniers?”

            Can you cite your evidence that Corbyn has been attending meetings organised by holocaust deniers? I somehow doubt it: you’re just repeating a smear.

            That Corbyn gave a donation to a memorial film about Deir Yassin is possibly true – everyone who knows Corbyn has agreed he is the kind of person who responds to requests for donations.

            Do you think the destruction of Deir Yassin by the IDF in 1948 ought to be forgotten, G? I must request you answer this.

            A background check on Salah in 2011 would have revealed fundraising for a terrorist organisation and repeated allegations of racism.

            A background check on Raed Salah in 2011 would reveal that he is a Muslim politician loathed by the Israeli government, who has raised money for Hamas welfare services (in what universe is feeding children a terrorist action?). Israeli authorities routinely accuse their Muslim political opponents of racism. Routinely. In Raed Salah’s case, there was so little evidence of this that the dossier provided to Theresa May had to be doctored to ensure it included anti-Semitic statements that Raed Salah had neglected to provide himself. I notice you’re ignoring this point.

            At they very least you would expect an MP wanting to be taken seriously outside of the far left (which has a long reported problem with anti-semitism in its ranks) to be very careful about who he chooses to support

            Jeremy Corbyn isn’t “far left”, and no one has been able to show that the British left has a “problem with anti-Semitism”. What the British left does have a problem with is people accusing opponents of Israel’s brutal militarism of “anti-Semitism”, equating criticism of the Israeli government and military with criticism of Judaism.

            That is what appears to be Jeremy Corbyn’s problem: he supports the Palestinian cause for freedom and self-determination. Many Israelis do too. Are they also “anti-Semitic” in your view?

            Isn’t Dundee twinned with Nablus, by the way? And haven’t some people been trying to claim that the Dundee Labour Party’s support for the Palestinian cause is somehow anti-Semitic?

          • G

            Can you cite your evidence that Corbyn has been attending meetings organised by holocaust deniers? I somehow doubt it: you’re just repeating a smear.

            Here http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/142555/revealed-jeremy-corbyn-attended-event-hosted-holocaust-deniers-group-2013

            Do you think the destruction of Deir Yassin by the IDF in 1948 ought to be forgotten, G? I must request you answer this.

            I do not. But equally I think Holocaust deniers should be condemned for exploiting atrocities committed by Israelis to further their aims of Holocaust denial.

            A background check on Raed Salah in 2011 would reveal that he is a Muslim politician loathed by the Israeli government, who has raised money for Hamas welfare services (in what universe is feeding children a terrorist action?).

            Hamas are a terrorist organisation. ISIS runs a welfare service. So do various Al Qaeda affiliates. Donating to them would be just as morally reprehensible. Salah is a fundraiser for terrorists however you look at it.

            Jeremy Corbyn isn’t “far left”, and no one has been able to show that the British left has a “problem with anti-Semitism”.

            Yes he is, and it’s been shown repeatedly that elements of the British left are anti-semitic or sympathise with anti-semitic organisations (not least Hamas!).

            http://www.standpointmag.co.uk/node/4363/full

            I think Cohen goes further than I would in that piece, but his history is fine.

            <That is what appears to be Jeremy Corbyn’s problem: he supports the Palestinian cause for freedom and self-determination. Many Israelis do too. Are they also “anti-Semitic” in your view?

            No, his problem is that his support for the Palestinians has led him to associate and support holocaust deniers and anti-semites. As the editor of the Jewish Chronicle has pointed out, Andy Burnham shares Corbyn’s views on the Palestinians, but nobody has accused him of associating with racists and deniers.

          • I do not.

            Then we’re back to my original point. You agree – you claim – with Jeremy Corbyn that the destruction of Deir Yassin by the IDF ought not to be forgotten. But, you would prefer to have a cautious, ungenerous MP whose reaction to being tapped for a good cause by someone shaking a bucket at a meeting about this – and you agree that a film commemorating Deir Yassin would be a good cause – is to refuse until he’s run a background check.

            Hamas are a terrorist organisation.

            Hamas is the democratically-elected government of the Gaza Strip, and for years before that, they were running the only effective welfare organisation that the Palestinians of the Gaza Strip had. Your notion that children should be left to starve because the only aid they’re getting is through Hamas may look good to you, a long way away from the Gaza Strip and the hungry children who exist to you as statistics, not people – but to the Arab citizens of Israel, unavoidably, the starving children and families are people. Hamas provides help to them. To condemn Arab citizens of Israel for helping the starving children of the Occupied Territories is really vile, but the Israeli government does it. So do you.

            Yes he is, and it’s been shown repeatedly that elements of the British left are anti-semitic or sympathise with anti-semitic organisations (not least Hamas!)

            Only by people who equate “anti-Semitic” with “opposes Israeli war crimes”.Do you?

            No, his problem is that his support for the Palestinians has led him to associate and support holocaust deniers and anti-semites.

            You’ve yet to prove that. But you keep repeating the smear just the same.

            (You’ve proved that Jeremy Corbyn attended a Deir Yassin Remembered meeting. You seem to think that commemorating the destruction of Deir Yassin in 1948 by the IDF is holocaust denial.)

            As the editor of the Jewish Chronicle has pointed out, Andy Burnham shares Corbyn’s views on the Palestinians, but nobody has accused him of associating with racists and deniers.

            Of course not. Andy Burnham isn’t likely to win. Jeremy Corbyn is being smeared because it looks likely that he’ll win.

          • G

            Then we’re back to my original point. You agree – you claim – with Jeremy Corbyn that the destruction of Deir Yassin by the IDF ought not to be forgotten. But, you would prefer to have a cautious, ungenerous MP whose reaction to being tapped for a good cause by someone shaking a bucket at a meeting about this – and you agree that a film commemorating Deir Yassin would be a good cause – is to refuse until he’s run a background check.

            The original donation is just about forgiveable using ignorance as a an excuse. Attending meetings as late as 2013, years after the organiser has been exposed as a holocaust denier is a terrible mistake.

            Aren’t you at all bothered that a Holocaust denier set up an organisation to exploit an IDF crime to provide a platform for his racist views and a British MP has leant him his support?

            Hamas is the democratically-elected government of the Gaza Strip

            So? They are also racists, homophobes, and users of torture, violence and threats against their own population. They have not renounced their racism and violence to seek a democratic solution. They are still a terrorist group.Just as the IRA were a terrorist group despite Sinn Fein having MPs at the time.

            Only by people who equate “anti-Semitic” with “opposes Israeli war crimes”.Do you?

            What in Cohen’s history is wrong?

            It is treading on dangerous ground purely to discount someone’s evidence based argument purely because you disagree with them on Israel.

            Frankly this with your refusal to accept that appearing at events organised by a holocaust denier or on the same platform as anti-semites it’s skirting very close to something very unpleasant indeed. Almost as if you don’t care that somebody associates with racists or is a racist as long as they share your views on Israel.

            Anyway, here’s another example of Corbyn denying meeting someone he turns out to have written a letter in support of. Now I don’t have that much of a problem with the letter, it is the duty of MPs to sometimes defend people nobody else will, but it’s the forgetfulness, incompetence or lying about it that is intolerable.

            http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/labour/11812730/Jeremy-Corbyn-denies-knowing-Muslim-firebrand-who-condones-killing-British-soldiers.html

          • “The original donation is just about forgiveable using ignorance as a an excuse.”

            So you concede that an MP who doesn’t wait for a background check before they toss cash into a bucket at a meeting is perhaps not to be condemned. Very nice of you, I’m sure.

            Attending meetings as late as 2013, years after the organiser has been exposed as a holocaust denier is a terrible mistake.

            You’ve yet to prove that the meeting in 2013 about Deir Yassen was clearly marked as “Organised by Holocaust Denier” rather than “Remember Deir Yassen”. Can you show this?

            Aren’t you at all bothered that a Holocaust denier set up an organisation to exploit an IDF crime to provide a platform for his racist views and a British MP has leant him his support?

            Aren’t you at all bothered that people are trying to smear Jeremy Corbyn as a holocaust denier because he attended meetings supporting commemoration of Deir Yassen?

            If not, why not?

            David Cameron isn’t smeared as a Holocaust denier despite his friendly relationship with the Saudi Royal family: Holocaust denial is taught in Saudi schools. Cameron ordered flags at half mast for the death of the last Saudi king. No mention then in the headlines of Cameron’s support for Holocaust denial.

            Are you just a patsy, or are you knowingly going along with the smearing campaign because you don’t want Jeremy Corbyn to win? Please answer.

            So? They are also racists, homophobes, and users of torture, violence and threats against their own population.

            Yes: the same was true of many of the South African opponents of the white-supremacist government. Do I take it you think that white-supremacists should still be in charge in South Africa, then?

            It is treading on dangerous ground purely to discount someone’s evidence based argument purely because you disagree with them on Israel.

            Yet you’re doing just that. Wonder why?

            Frankly this with your refusal to accept that appearing at events organised by a holocaust denier or on the same platform as anti-semites it’s skirting very close to something very unpleasant indeed. Almost as if you don’t care that somebody associates with racists or is a racist as long as they share your views on Israel.

            So, you’re happy to smear opponents of Israel as racists and holocaust deniers, and this is your motivation for opposing Jeremy Corbyn? That’s interesting.

            Anyway, here’s another example of Corbyn denying meeting someone he turns out to have written a letter in support of.

            Yes, clearly not remembering one anti-war activist from six years ago, among thousands Corbyn met over thirty-plus years, is evidence of forgetfulness.

            I am quite sure that you remember everyone you’ve ever met in Dundee. Can you list all their names here to confirm you remember them and would never go “I don’t know who that person is” when you hear their name?

            Well, can you?

  2. Pingback: Interesting Links for 17-08-2015 | Made from Truth and Lies

  3. Pingback: Jeremy Corbyn and his friends | The Wandering Hedgehog

  4. I’ve also seen reports ( I forget where) his current wife * sells very highly priced fair trade, organic, and in all other ways ethical and good Mexican coffee, but the paper in question found that the farmers growing it are still being screwed every which way and sideways, living in poverty, getting less than the national minium wage, etc, etc

    * insert assorted snide insuations about multiple marriages

    Jeremy Corbyn doesn’t deserve this kind of smearing. As far as I can tell, he is an honest, plain spoken politician standing up for what he believes in, and he deserves a fair chance to say so. He should stand or fall on his policies alone- I believe those policies are almost entirely wrong, and people won’t vote for them, but that is beside the point!

    • Watching the smears coming in just because Corbyn looks like he might win the leadership election, I really worry what’s going to happen if he wins and is leader of the Opposition. I think that while his opposition within the Labour Party may then be more-or-less OK with giving him a run and seeing how this affects election results in 2016-2017, the goal of his worst political opponents is going to be to force a by-election in Islington North by 2017.

      I really do. It’s a question of whether they can, because I’m sure they’re going to try.

  5. Baabaan

    Raed Salah is also a homophobe, but that doesn’t seem to Corbyn’s followers. Carry on pretending there is nothing frightening about his anti-war, pro-Palestine buddies.

      • JB 85

        So because there are worse people around it absolves Corbyn’s of any fault? What kind of logic is this?
        And Islamic inspired homophobia is probably the worse in the world at the moment. Gays are being persecuted in almost every muslim country, but I suppose they’re worth sacrificing for the cause of Palestinians right? The left represented by Corbyn will one day be the end of gay rights in the western world.

        • “So because there are worse people around it absolves Corbyn’s of any fault? ”

          No. If you oppose homophobic politicians, you begin by opposing the homophobic politicians you can actually vote for – or against: the politicians you can write to and expect them to pay attention.

          I’ll be interested to know how many of the people who say Jeremy Corbyn shouldn’t associate with Raed Salah because he’s a homophobe, also say Andy Burnham shouldn’t be in the Shadow Cabinet because he’s a homophobe.

          And Islamic inspired homophobia is probably the worse in the world at the moment

          Because the LGBT people being killed and driven to suicide by Christian homophobia don’t matter to you?

          Gays are being persecuted in almost every muslim country, but I suppose they’re worth sacrificing for the cause of Palestinians right?

          Which Muslim countries? In Indonesia, the largest Muslim country in the world, homosexuality is legal in private between consenting adults. In Uganda, a Christian country, the crime of homosexuality has the death penalty, and you can go to jail for years for helping a gay person.

          The left represented by Corbyn will one day be the end of gay rights in the western world.

          Can you link to me where you’ve written in opposition to the attack on gay rights in France – organised and run by Christians? Or do you only, as I guess, care about touting Islamophobia, and human rights for LGBT people are an excuse to attack Muslims?

          [For clarification to other readers: Baabaan and JB 85 are the same person, at least using the same email address, at yahoo.fr.]

  6. Anthony

    Jeremy Corbyn is not an anti-Semite, and I applaud your attempts to clear this up. However, that does not mean that you should let real anti-Semites off the hook.

    Raed Salah’s appeal against the home office can be found here: https://www.judiciary.gov.uk/judgments/ait-decision-mahajna/

    It is clear that the appeal tribunal finds that he poem was doctored: “In our judgment the poem cannot be read as addressed to Jews.” So far, so good.

    Then we come to the blood libel. Here, the tribunal takes the suggested wording from “the appellant’s bundle”. So the tribunal took Raed’s version (as he is the appellant). Here is what he freely admits to saying:

    “We are not a nation that is based on values of envy. We are not a nation that is based on values of vengeance. We have never allowed ourselves, and listen carefully; we have never allowed ourselves to knead the bread for the breaking [of] fasting during the blessed month of Ramadan with the blood of the children. And if someone wants a wider explanation, then he should ask what used to happen to some of the children of Europe, when their blood used to be mixed in the dough of the holy bread. God almighty, is this religion? Is this what God wants? Allah’s curse be on you: how you are deluded away from the Truth. How dare you to lie to God? How dare you to fabricate things on God? “

    The offending line being “And if someone wants a wider explanation, then he should ask what used to happen to some of the children of Europe, when their blood used to be mixed in the dough of the holy bread.”

    Raed attempts a risible defence of this:

    “[H]e mounts a long explanation of what he says he did mean, making reference to the Spanish Inquisition, the conflict in Bosnia (neither of which is mentioned in the sermon itself), and the use by many religions of religious doctrine to defend the shedding of enemies’ blood.”
    The tribunal finds this as ridiculous as it sounds:

    “In our judgment this is all wholly unpersuasive. The appellant is clearly aware of the blood libel against Jews. If his intention had been to draw an analogy between events of the Spanish Inquisition and actions of the Israeli state he could have said so in clearer terms that did not require over ten paragraphs of explanation for his true meaning to be made clear.”

    Even Salah’s expert witness concedes that “superficially” the line would appear to be about the blood libel. Defending Corbyn does not mean defending anti-Semitic remarks.

    • Defending Corbyn does not mean defending anti-Semitic remarks.

      Fair point, but:

      Whoever prepared the dossier handed to Theresa May in an attempt to get Raed Salah banned from the UK in 2011, did in fact feel they had to edit that speech (made 2007) in order to make it appear anti-Semitic: they didn’t appear to feel confident that the unedited version would definitely be seen as anti-Semitic.

      The speech was made in February 2007, at the Mughrabi Bridge protest. The version used against Raed Salah is what the Israeli newspapers at the time quoted him as saying. As far as I know, no independent record exists of the speech. The Israeli government did not attempt to convict him of incitement to violence or blood libel in 2007: he was charged with these remarks in 2014.

      To presume that the Israeli newspapers reported Raed Salah exactly and precisely at the time goes further than I think the Israeli government were prepared to go in 2007.

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