Corbyn gains support as smears backfire

Corbyn gains support as smears backfire THE RIGHT-WING campaign to smear Jeremy Corbyn as tolerant of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party has shown itself up as a deliberate and organised plot to dislodge the man who is set to became Britain’s first ever genuinely left-wing Prime Minister, by going over the top and making itself ridiculous.

On Monday the main news channels and press — including papers regarded by some as left-wing such as the Guardian and the Mirror — were headlining Corbyn’s “latest blunder” after he attended a Seder Night event in his own constituency organised by Jewdas, a left-wing Jewish group.

He attended in a personal capacity to enjoy the company and conversation of people who had for a long time been his good friends. But the press went wild, declaiming this modest and peaceful group as extremists and haters of Israel, and that Corbyn’s attendance was a slap in the face to “mainstream” Jews.

Suddenly the media had divided Jews into “good”, “mainstream” Jews — and “bad”, “extremist” Jews. The main real difference being whether they supported the Tories and the Zionist government of Israel, or Labour and human rights for Palestinians.

Also jumping on the bandwagon were one or two right-wing Blairite Labour backbenchers eager for another chance to stab their leader in the back. The Labour MP John Woodcock said Corbyn gains support as smears backfirethat Corbyn’s attendance at the meeting was “irresponsible and dangerous” and said it was “deliberately baiting the mainstream Jewish community days after they pleaded with him to tackle anti-Semitism.” Another Labour MP, Angela Smith, said Corbyn’s attendance at the Jewdas Seder “reads as a blatant dismissal of the case made for tackling anti-Semitism in Labour.”

But the response of the general public has been different, even from people who have not been Corbyn supporters. Why should it be wrong for a Labour leader to socialise informally with Labour supporters?

The absurdity of claiming that Jews are not proper Jews unless they are right-wing is ridiculous and also anti-Semitic. It is asserting that Jews have one stereotypic point of view whereas in reality Jews, just like any other ethnic group, encompass a wide range of political views. Charlotte Nichols, a young member of Jewdas, commented: “Many of last night’s attendees are absolutely part of the ‘mainstream community’. It is untrue to say that there is any one narrative, political or otherwise, within Jewdas. It is a collective space where we can have uncomfortable conversations — what unites us all is the fact that we are Jewish.

“It is not for non-Jewish people, in criticising Corbyn’s attendance, to determine what is and isn’t a legitimate expression of the Jewish faith. For those in the community who want to paint Jeremy’s attendance as an act of provocation, rather than an attempt to listen, engage, and share our festival with us, it’s actually just alienating many young Jewish people further and validating Jewdas’ very existence.”

Then it turned out that the man who leaked the news to the mass media, who calls himself Guido Fawkes and who claimed that “Jewdas is despised by mainstream Jews”, once had links with the neo-Nazi British National Party.

His real name is Paul Staines and in 1986 he chaired the Federation of Conservative Students (FCS) at Humberside University. And whilst he was in that position he proposed a pact between the Conservatives and the BNP, saying: “I share a lot of your objectives.” Secrecy, he emphasised, was essential: “The Reds would simply go wild if they got to hear of a BNP—FCS link. I would personally be in danger of being expelled from the Conservative Party.”

Andrew Neill, host of the BBC’s Daily Politics and Sunday Politics shows, has been at the forefront of the media attacks on Corbyn over the anti-Semitism issue.

But he forgets that in 1992, when he was editor of the Sunday Times, he paid notorious holocaust denier David Irving more than $125,000 in connection with access to the wartime diaries of Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s propaganda chief. So once again an attempt to smear Corbyn has backfired and is leaving the smearers with egg on their faces. Last week more than 1,000 new recruits joined the Labour Party.

And the Blairite MPs have again shown themselves up as treacherous — and anti-Semitic in trying to lecture Jews on who is an is not a proper “mainstream” Jew. The irony of people who are not Jews accusing people who are Jews of anti-Semitism is not lost on rank and file Labour activists