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The importance of keeping good company

Jeremy Corbyn is in trouble over the Labour party’s anti-semitism problem. This clip from his interview earlier this evening with Andrew Neil is painful to watch. The UK’s Orthodox Chief Rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, has done a thing without precedent: publicly denounced the leader of one of the major parties during an election campaign. He wrote,

How complicit in prejudice would a leader of Her Majesty’s opposition have to be to be considered unfit for office? Would associations with those who have incited hatred against Jews be enough? Would describing as ‘friends’ those who endorse the murder of Jews be enough? It seems not.

How did it come to this? When I was growing up the Labour party was full of Jewish intellectuals. Maureen Lipman’s line “If you’re Jewish, they gave you your Labour Party badge the day after your circumcision” might be a slight exaggeration, but it seemed that way.

I first saw that now famous video clip to which Rabbi Mirvis refers, in which Corbyn repeatedly called Hamas and Hezbollah his “friends”, in this post from the “Harry’s Place” blog dated 7 April 2009. In those days Jeremy Corbyn was merely the deservedly obscure MP for Islington.

That clip shows us the vector by which the poison entered Labour’s body. I can believe Corbyn is genuinely bewildered as to why people call him an anti-semite. He looks into his own heart and sees no hatred there. Of course he doesn’t hate Jews. He doesn’t hate anybody. He extends the hand of friendship to the whole world. Including those who hate Jews? No, of course not; he has fought Nazis and fascists and white supremacists his whole life. But what about brown skinned, oppressed people who h-

And there it ends. That thought cannot be completed.

31 comments to The importance of keeping good company

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    Honesty compels me to admit that there is one point in the clip from the Andrew Neil interview where he was unjust to Corbyn. The discussion turns to whether the phrase “Rothchild Zionists run Israel and world governments” is or is not anti-semitic (difficult one, eh?). Corbyn, as usual, waffles. Neil persists.

    Neil: “Is it anti-semitic?”

    Corbyn: “It should not be used, and it is.”

    Neil: “But you can’t say it’s anti-semitic?”

    Corbyn: “I just said it should not be used.”

    Corbyn had just said that the phrase was anti-semitic. Tactically, he should have repeated that rather than pivoting to “It should not be used”, which made his answer look evasive when (for once) it wasn’t. I am not that sorry for Corbyn given his earlier equivocations, and indeed his earlier life, but Andrew Neil seemed too caught up in his own attack to notice that Corbyn had already surrendered. Or maybe Neil is going deaf.

  • bobby b

    Corbyn: “It should not be used, and it is.”

    I read that as, “it should not be used, and it is (used).”

    Immediately prior, he says that the statement “can be construed as anti-semitic.”

    So I don’t see this as being unjust to Corbyn. Corbyn is saying (to my mind) that the statement should not be used because it can be wrongly construed as being anti-semitic.

    He’s stuck in the anti-Israel/anti-Jew trap. I sympathize with the intellectual conundrum (even while considering both sides trash) and am constantly amused to see that it has made American Jews the loudest anti-semitics of all.

  • Duncan S

    Natalie

    After reading your post, and the follow-up comment, I had a quick look at the relevant part of the interview.

    I’m not sure if Corbyn had surrendered.

    Did Corbyn mean:

    “It should not be used and it is (anti-semitic)”

    Or

    “It should not be used and it is (used)”

    The fact that he then said “I just said it should not be used”, rather than “I just said it is anti-semitic”, would lead me to interpret his response as the latter of the two.

    And I see that bobby b has got in ahead of me.

  • Nicholas (Unlicenced Joker) Gray

    When Israel was founded, lots of Socialism was in the air. Kibbutzim (collectives and communes) were established, and Jews could be perceived as victims, therefore to be supported.
    Then Israel won all the wars in which it has fought, and has become a Capitalist/free-Enterprize enclave, and I don’t know if any communes still exist. On top of that, Das Kapital has some anti-jew articles, so a rabid leftie can’t help but be anti-Semitic!

  • Fred Z

    Corbyn is not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

  • Agammamon

    Nicholas (Unlicenced Joker) Gray
    November 27, 2019 at 2:13 am

    . . . and I don’t know if any communes still exist.

    I’ve been there a few times in the 1990’s and they still existed. As much as tourist attraction businesses as anything.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “On top of that, Das Kapital has some anti-jew articles, so a rabid leftie can’t help but be anti-Semitic!”

    It’s more than that. Palestinian Nationalism was founded by Hajj Amin al Husseini, who had deep socialist connections from the start. (Although it’s weird that al-Husseini was exactly the sort of anti-immigrant thug they supposedly oppose, today. It depends whether you call it ‘immigration’ or ‘colonialism’, I guess.)

    Later, during the cold war, East and West fought proxy wars around the world, with the Americans backing one side, and the Soviets backing the other. America backed Israel, so the Soviets backed the Palestinians, and all the Soviet-funded lefty agitprop therefore took sides accordingly.

  • James Strong

    ‘Rothschild Zionists run Israel and world governments’.

    Why is this statement anti-semitic?

    It doesn’t say any of the following things:

    Jews are bad people.

    I don’t like Jews because they are Jews.

    Jews should have fewer rights than non-Jews.

    Let’s assume the statement about Rothschild Zionists is incorrect. Why not just show that it is incorrect?

    Let’s now assume that it is correct. Then it should be said loud and clear.

    Deal with the truth value of the claim. Don’t hide behind cries of ‘raaycism’.

    There are lots of reasons for disliking people.
    I tend to dislike people with either noticeably quiet or noticeably loud voices.

    Disliking Jews is only anti-Semitic if the dislike is BECAUSE they are Jews.

  • Mr Ecks

    Hindu leaders have condemned Jizz as well for his Kashmir capers.

    Why does no fucker ever mention the 150 million people Socialism has so far murdered? See if Jizz denies those crimes–and if he does not–will he comment on why he supports such a cult?

  • Stonyground

    Yes, Mr. Ecks precisely. Why is it beyond the pale to admit to being a Nazi when being a commie gets a free pass?

  • Deal with the truth value of the claim. Don’t hide behind cries of ‘raaycism’.

    Who do you think you are kidding? I call it racism because only a credulous fool would be deceived into thinking it was a good faith argument.

  • James Strong (November 27, 2019 at 7:06 am), on the one hand, it is indeed sensible to have free speech and not make it illegal to assert that our government and all others are secretly obeying the Rothschilds, just as, for example, David Icke claims all those plus the Rothschilds themselves either serve or are well-disguised 12-foot-tall alien lizards.

    However, just as keeping it legal for David to say that, then arguing against his idea, in no way conflicts with saying he is either insane or a specially weird kind of phony or both, so abolishing the hate speech laws, so that saying the Rothschilds secretly rule the world would be evidence of free speech instead of evidence of the double standard in enforcing hate speech laws, in no way conflicts with saying it is anti-semitism. It in no way conflicts with saying that the idea is sufficiently ill-supported by rational evidence that it itself offers evidence of a strong antipathy to Jews distorting the speaker’s thinking. (That argument too, would face free speech debate – and be all the better for it.)

  • TDK

    Rothschild Zionists run Israel and world governments’.

    Let’s be clear this is a conspiracy theory. That the Jews secretly control the world. Not that Jews have been disproportionately over-represented in banking but that this is a result (and a simultaneously a cause) of their secret power.

    It’s a conspiracy theory that underlies and informs anti-semitism throughout history. It is the excuse for legislation and actions that bring harm to the Jewish community in order to correct the “excess power” and when that doesn’t bring about utopia, to double down on the harm because the secret power is still preventing nirvana. Pointing out the simple fact that throughout history Christian were debarred from banking because it was usury is the correction that you ask for – do you imagine that no one pointed it out. Do you suppose that no one said it to a certain demagogue and that like all conspiracy theorists they didn’t have a pat answer.

    Let’s take an even more absurd specimen: “Jews make bread with the blood of gentile children”. This is believed by Raed Salah who Jeremy Corbyn chose to defend. Are there no critics of Israel who think the blood libel nonsense. I doubt Corbyn believes in the literal blood libel but it’s falsehood isn’t sufficient grounds to avoid making common cause.

  • Snorri Godhi

    What i don’t understand is why nobody did an interview like that at any time between the 2015 election and the 2017 election. Perhaps somebody cares to explain?

    As for the world-domination theory of Judaism, people believing it are probably so detached from reality that convincing them would be hard if not impossible. One might ask them, however, why so many Jews have supported in the past, and in the US still support, parties which proved also attractive to anti-Semites; so attractive, in fact, that Jews eventually felt unwelcome. (NB: this went on even before the foundation of Israel.)

  • Bloke in Canada

    Modern Jews demonstrate all the qualities that Corbyn and his socialist pals hate – competitiveness, independence, striving for excellence.

    They also (by and large) reject the victim status, so offer no opportunities for parasitism by the SJW crowd.

    “Zionism” is the euphemism they use for their hatred.

  • neonsnake

    What i don’t understand is why nobody did an interview like that at any time between the 2015 election and the 2017 election.

    Only a guess, but I think most people thought that Corbyn was a temporary aberration in the early days post 2015, and that the Conservatives had the 2017 election sewn up after it was announced, so it was unnecessary. I’d guess that people are more nervous now that Labour might prevent a majority again, and so are using whatever weaponry they can bring to bear.

  • TDK

    Nobody did an interview like that before, because Andrew Neil is aberration in the BBC nowadays.

  • lucklucky

    “What i don’t understand is why nobody did an interview like that at any time between the 2015 election and the 2017 election. Perhaps somebody cares to explain?”

    Why do you think Corbyn exists? It is because of journalism, the BBC, the Guardian , the Independent, The Telegraph, etc… they made and make Corbyn.

    Who do you think teaches children all these decades that being presented as a victim gives automatic journalist tolerance to terrorism, massacres, domestic violence against women , sexist politics, exploitation of disabled persons, racial and sexual oppression?

    What made Corbyn is what made the “woke culture” which is nothing more than a play of meta Marxism born of journalist incentives of last 40 years.

    After Corbyn you will have another Corbyn because the combat against Marxism is not being made at all.

  • Mr Ed

    I fear that Labour will get c.12,250,000 votes this time, down perhaps 500,000 or so from 2017. I hope that I am wrong.

    I expect that most Jewish voters have deserted them, and a few middle-class voters who’ve thought about the financial impact on them will have jumped ship.

    Most Labour voters are probably a bit hazy about the distinction between anti-semitism and antibiotics, and perhaps hope both will be free on the NHS under Mr Corbyn.

  • TDK

    Most Labour voters are probably a bit hazy about the distinction between anti-semitism and antibiotics, and perhaps hope both will be free on the NHS under Mr Corbyn.

    That’s not correct. Certainly there are some stupid voters who believe all sorts of nonsense but that affects all parties.

    However the educated middle class has shifted towards Labour over the past half century. In the 1960s teachers tended to vote Conservative. Nowadays it is hard to find a teacher that admits to such a vice. I don’t think such people are hazy about the distinction. They are are hazy about the line between criticism of Israel and outright antisemitism, or between free speech and hate speech.

    In contrast much of the traditional working class vote has shifted towards the Abstain party.

  • Mr Ed

    TDK,

    I wish I could share your optimism, but I know of an intelligent graduate holding a responsible job and able to manage complex concepts and make important decisions who after an English state education up to and out of University, does not know what the terms ‘Catholic’ and ‘Protestant’ mean. The ignorance of the general population can be astounding.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Mr Ed: I heard an Englishwoman close to getting a PhD in Computer Science admit to being confused about the difference between England, Britain, and the UK.
    And i heard an Englishman with a PhD in Computer Science give her a non-explanatory explanation, to avoid admitting that he did not know.

  • TDK

    @Mr Ed
    No doubt there are ignorant people and ignorance of the N Ireland history is very common.

    Your example kind of makes my point.

    The person with no qualifications displaying ignorance does not surprise us. The graduate should. Your initial example would not trouble the graduate – he thinks he knows what antisemitism is but calling Jews Nazis doesn’t qualify. He certainly wouldn’t confuse it with antibiotics and would sneer at those who do (whilst claiming to be the defender of the person who utters that absurdity). In contrast, the former might make that mistake but he isn’t going to hurt me for disagreeing – he may vote Labour but his brother is voting Tory. Probably he’s not voting at all.

    The graduate is in my HR department. He is sacking people who say the wrong things, or fail to genuflect at the right things. He is condemning my children to poverty in the name of Gaia.

    Perhaps you meant your example as a reductio ad absurdum. I didn’t interpret it that way. I read it as the argument also made by your graduate that the “stupid people” should have the vote removed. How do we know they are stupid? A: they don’t agree with him.

    There’s a strong urge amongst such people towards elitism – but remember the stupid people voted for Brexit. The stupid people are skeptical about proposals to avoid climate change. The stupid people are wondering if the Labour Party represents them?

    Puzzled by why you imagine me to be optimistic!

  • As for the world-domination theory of Judaism, people believing it are probably so detached from reality that convincing them would be hard if not impossible. One might ask them, however, why so many Jews have supported in the past, and in the US still support, parties which proved also attractive to anti-Semites; so attractive, in fact, that Jews eventually felt unwelcome. (Snorri Godhi, November 27, 2019 at 3:08 pm)

    While fellow-travellers of such groups are often capable of being led towards sense by raising such points, the most obvious target to be asked that question is a lefty-PC-supporting Jew. However in today’s wold of woke corporations, ‘toxic-whiteness-condemning’ white intellectuals and etc., the Israel-hating anti-semitism-supporting Soros (whose own modus operandi in supporting this rubbish resembles the alleged Rothschild approach as much as anything can in the real world) does not seem so exceptional. (Burke noted the same psychology in some French aristocrats and others circa the French revolution.)

  • Snorri Godhi

    Niall: a thought-provoking comment.
    A couple of points to note.

    Asking why Jews and antisemites historically tend to support the same parties (the only exception worthy of note afaik being the NSDAP) is a question that is at least mildly troubling (and therefore fun to ask) to both antisemites and “woke” Jews.

    The analogy between the latter and the French aristocracy circa 1789 is also of interest. There are probably other historical analogies. Understanding the psychology would be of great practical interest. My observations, however, are purely empirical.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Going back to the OP: I was happy to hear of the Chief Rabbi speaking out against Corbyn, AND of the Archbishop of Canterbury supporting the Chief Rabbi.

    Most of all, though, i am very happy that there has been (to the best of my knowledge) little or no backlash: nobody has complained about religious leaders meddling in politics, and nobody has complained about the dual loyalty of the Jews.

  • lucklucky

    I am surprised that many of you think Marxists are stupid and/or are ignorant.
    They are not, they know fully well what they are doing.

    In many persons exists a desire to control others, to rule, to impose, to force.

  • lucklucky

    Further, why a Marxist never wants to do a Commune with other Marxists?
    Why Socialism is always coercive – except maybe with kibbutz – .

  • there has been (to the best of my knowledge) little or no backlash: (Snorri Godhi, November 28, 2019 at 9:35 pm)

    The best of your knowledge may not be the full picture. Unless I am misremembering or remembering with disadvantages (perfectly possible), scrolling back a few pages in Guido should find you some backlash. What may be the case is that outside the backlash from the usual suspects who were going to vote for Corbyn anyway, the chattering classes are taking a more cautious approach, letting the right-racist, left-love-’em rule be replaced by some actual discussion.

  • Paul Marks

    The most famous antisemitic work in the English language was written by the radical “liberal” Hobson – about a century ago. It pushed the absurd conspiracy theory that the British Empire was for the benefit of “capitalist exploiters”.

    A few years ago a new edition of Hobson’s “classic” work was published – the introduction was written by Jeremy Corbyn.

    The only objection that Mr Corbyn had for the insane raving of Hobson was that, in the opinion of Mr Corbyn, gentile “capitalists” were also to blame for everything wrong in the world, not just Jewish “capitalists”.

    As for Karl Marx – himself from a family of Jewish origins.

    “The God of the Jew is money – the religion of the Jew is Hucksterism” under Marxism Jews (and all other groups) would be absorbed into the mass, into the collective.

    Remember that when the left lie about their commitment to “Diversity” – the whole point of the left is that everyone is, or should be, the same.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Paul,

    ‘Remember that when the left lie about their commitment to “Diversity” – the whole point of the left is that everyone is, or should be, the same.’

    SQOTD !!!

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