“For Len and the Kens and their allies, it’s all made up”

September 27, 2017

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence visiting Dachau death camp with his wife and daughter earlier this year. Pence stands behind the gate with the infamous lie “Work sets you free”.

 

THE VERY DEFINITION OF PREJUDICE

[Note by Tom Gross]

I attach three pieces, the first by one of America’s most senior diplomats, on anti-Semitism in the State Department. And the others by two prominent British columnists, on anti-Semitism in the British Labour party. The party is holding its annual conference this week, and now has a realistic chance of forming the next British government.

Writing in the New York Times, Dennis Ross discusses now the Valerie Plame affair last week has revived some memories for him about how Jews were perceived within the national security apparatus dating back to when Ross began working in the Pentagon during President Jimmy Carter’s administration, until more recent times.

Concerning certain State Department officials, Ross says: “Just like Ms. Wilson tweeting that Jews are pushing for a new war. It is the definition of prejudice. How can it not be when you label a whole group and ascribe to all those who are a part of it a particular negative trait or threatening behavior?”

 

“AN ATMOSPHERE THAT FELT TOO HOSTILE TO ENDURE”

Jonathan Freedland, a leading columnist for Britain’s Guardian newspaper, notes that some “Jewish activists turned away from the Labour party conference this week, describing an atmosphere that felt too hostile to endure.”

Melanie Phillips writes:

Labour will never, ever accept that demonization and delegitimization of Israel is the contemporary form of the oldest hatred.

How could it accept that? Its members overwhelmingly subscribe to it – even though many of them haven’t the faintest clue that what they believe to be the truth about the Arab-Israel conflict is in fact a pack of lies from start to finish.

In maintaining this fictitious distinction, Labour wields what it believes to be the ultimate weapon: the anti-Zionist Jews who offer themselves as human shields to protect those who they hope will destroy the State of Israel through demonization and delegitimization.

 

“THERE HAVE ALWAYS BEEN JEWS WHO HAVE DONE THE ANTI-SEMITES’ DIRTY WORK FOR THEM”

She continues:

The assumption is that no Jew can be an anti-Semite; so if Jews say Israel is a Nazi state, that cannot be anti-Semitism.

But that’s rubbish. Anti-Semitism has unique characteristics, including double standards applied to no-one else but the Jews, systemic lies and falsehoods, imputation of a global conspiracy to harm the world in their own interests, blame for crimes of which they are not only innocent but are the victims, and so on. All these characteristics that make anti-Semitism a unique collective derangement apply to the demonization of Israel.

[And noting that at a meeting at the Labour conference earlier this week, extreme left-wing Israeli and British Jews appeared to want to question whether the Holocaust had actually happened, Melanie Phillips adds:]

And of course, there have always been Jews who have done the anti-Semites’ dirty work for them. The fact that such a high proportion involved in this latest manifestation of the oldest hatred are people of Jewish descent merely demonstrates the tragic fact that there’s no disorder quite so pathological as when a Jew turns against his or her own identity at the deepest level. Jews are a people like no other; the hatred directed at them is a hatred like no other; and when Jews turn on their own people, they behave in a way that is replicated by no other…

Now imagine that, meanwhile, the leader of the [British] Conservative party had shared platforms with European neo-Nazi parties such as Greece’s Golden Dawn, Germany’s NDP and Belgium’s Vlaams Belang and called them “my friends”…

The (Labour) leader of Brighton and Hove council, which runs the conference centre where Labour is meeting, has said how concerned he is by the anti-Semitism on display at fringe meetings and on the conference floor – so much so that he will need “reassurances that there will be no repeat of the behaviour and actions we have seen this week before any further bookings from the Party are taken.”

***

Melanie Phillips, who is a columnist for The Times of London, tells me she is writing a variation of the piece below for Friday’s Jerusalem Post.

All three writers subscribe to this list.


CONTENTS

1. “Memories of an Anti-Semitic State Department” (By Dennis Ross, New York Times, Sept. 26, 2017)
2. “Labour’s denial of anti-Semitism in its ranks leaves the party in a dark place” (By Jonathan Freedland, The Guardian, Sept. 27, 2017)
3. “The Labour Party – A Safe Space For Hate” (By Melanie Phillips, Sept. 26, 2017)

 

“THE VERY DEFINITION OF PREJUDICE”

Memories of an Anti-Semitic State Department
By Dennis B. Ross
New York Times
September 26, 2017

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/26/opinion/contributors/valerie-plame-antisemitic-state-department.html

The former C.I.A. officer Valerie Plame Wilson made news with her Twitter account last week when, on the first day of Rosh Hashana, she shared an article that said, “America’s Jews are driving America’s wars: Shouldn’t they recuse themselves when dealing with the Middle East?”

The article, which appeared on a fringe website, said that Jewish neoconservatives were pushing for a war with Iran. Ms. Wilson, whose identity as a covert operative was leaked in 2003 by members of the George W. Bush administration nettled by the opposition of her husband, Ambassador Joseph Wilson, to the Iraq war, repeated the well-worn narrative that Jewish neoconservatives promoted the invasion of Iraq – and are beating the drum for a conflict with Iran.

Of course, most Jews are not neoconservatives, and most neoconservatives are not Jewish. In any case, it was two influential non-Jews, Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who played the central role with President Bush in deciding to invade Iraq in 2003. Ignoring the old saying about when you are in a hole you should stop digging, Ms. Wilson made some excuses and then mentioned that she is of Jewish descent. Finally, she apologized.

I have little interest in piling on Ms. Wilson. But the whole affair brought back some memories about how Jews were perceived within the national security apparatus for a long time. When I began working in the Pentagon during President Jimmy Carter’s administration, there was an unspoken but unmistakable assumption: If you were Jewish, you could not work on the Middle East because you would be biased.

However, if you knew about the Middle East because you came from a missionary family or from the oil industry, you were an expert. Never mind that having such a background might shape a particular view of the region, the United States’ interests in it, or Israel. People with these backgrounds were perceived to be unbiased, while Jews could not be objective and would be partial to Israel to the exclusion of American interests.

Sometimes, I would find this view expressed subtly. Other times it would be overt, including well after Secretary of State George Shultz tried to change the culture of the State Department during the early years of the Reagan’ administration. For Mr. Shultz, being Jewish was no longer a disqualification from working on Arab-Israeli issues. He was more interested in your knowledge than your identity. He made me, someone who is Jewish and was working on the National Security Council staff at the time, a member of the small team working with him on Arab-Israeli diplomacy. (Daniel Kurtzer, who is also Jewish and a career Foreign Service Officer, was on that team as well.)

When James Baker became secretary of state in 1989, he continued to help remove suspicions about Jews from the national security establishment. And yet, I remember well the time in 1990, when I was the head of the State Department’s policy planning staff, I was visited by a diplomatic security investigator who was doing a background check on someone who had listed me as a reference. This person was being considered for a senior position in the George H. W. Bush administration, not one directly involved with the Middle East.

At one point, the investigator asked me a question that is routine in these background checks: Was this person loyal to the United States? I answered yes, without a doubt. But his follow-up question was if this person had to choose between America’s interests and Israel’s, whose interests would he put first? There was nothing subtle about this presumption of dual loyalty.

“Why would you ask that question?” I asked, even though I realized I might not be helping the person using me as a reference. He answered, “Because he is Jewish.” So I went on: If he was Irish and had to work on problems related to Ireland or if he was Italian and had to work on Italy, would you ask that question? Initially, the investigator did not seem to know how to respond, but then I saw a look of recognition. He suddenly realized that I was Jewish. And, at that point, he changed the subject.

This investigator was not a rookie. And his experience with senior State Department officials led him to believe it was natural to ask this question. Like most mythologies which take on a life of their own, the idea that Jewish-Americans might have dual loyalties was not challenged or questioned, it was assumed. That made it all the more insidious.

Just like Ms. Wilson tweeting that Jews are pushing for a new war. It is the definition of prejudice. How can it not be when you label a whole group and ascribe to all those who are a part of it a particular negative trait or threatening behavior? It is the same today with those who single out all Muslims as dangerous extremists. It is just as unacceptable.

Today, surging nationalism and xenophobia promise to create even more prejudice. These attitudes foster an “us versus them” mentality. The “other” is a threat. And once you have singled out groups, the leap is small to imposing limits on them, quarantining them and rationalizing violence against them.

Rather than be worried about being mistrusted and accused of dual loyalties, Jewish American should feel proud. In uncertain times, identity can provide a source of security and comfort. And having a strong identity, being comfortable with who you are and whom you are connected to, need not come at the expense of others. As my rabbi, Jonathan Maltzman, pointed out in his Rosh Hashana sermon, the particular and the universal have always been embedded in Jewish identity.

Indeed, to live a Jewish life one must be committed to the Jewish community, but also to others. Jews have an obligation to promote justice, mercy, compassion, tolerance and peace.

In the United States, diversity of peoples and opinions is our strength as a democracy. Listening to one another, as opposed to labeling one another, can restore civil debate. It is certainly the only way to produce better policies. And it might even introduce greater care and civility to Twitter.

 

“DISTINGUISHED MEN OF THE LEFT ECHO THE LANGUAGE OF HOLOCAUST DENIAL”

Labour’s denial of anti-Semitism in its ranks leaves the party in a dark place
By Jonathan Freedland
The Guardian
September 27, 2017

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/sep/27/labour-denial-antisemitism-party-dark-place

The good news is that Len, Ken and Ken all say they have experienced no anti-Semitism in the Labour party. Which must mean all is well. Surely only a pedant would point out that Ken Loach, Len McCluskey and Ken Livingstone are not Jewish – a fact that might limit their authority to speak on the matter.

Indeed, they have been fixtures on the left for so long – Loach is 81, Livingstone is 72 and McCluskey is 67 – perhaps they should sit as a panel. They could be the three wise men who arbitrate on all allegations of bigotry within Labour’s ranks. Then, if they testify that they have experienced no sexism, racism, Islamophobia or homophobia inside the party, we will know those menaces are blissfully absent from the prejudice-free nirvana that is the Labour family.

More seriously, you would like to think that this trio, as longtime leftists, would have enough self-knowledge to recognise that, when it comes to, say, bias against women, black or LGBT people, straight, white men might not be best placed to judge. Yet, oddly, no such self-restraint seems to apply when it comes to anti-Jewish racism. Those who are not targeted suddenly feel fully entitled to tell those who are exactly what is – and what isn’t – prejudice against them.

Indeed, Len and Ken Loach go much further. They don’t just tell Jewish Labour supporters that they are mistaken to detect anti-Semitism around them: they tell them they have made it all up – and that they have done so for sinister, nefarious purposes.

“I believe it was mood music that was created by people who were trying to undermine Jeremy Corbyn,” McCluskey told BBC’s Newsnight. (Again, for an avowed progressive to describe an ethnic minority’s experience of racism as “mood music” is quite a break from the usual accepted practice.)

Loach expressed his scepticism differently. “It’s funny these stories suddenly appeared when Jeremy Corbyn became leader, isn’t it?”, the filmmaker told the BBC’s Daily Politics. But he was making the same point.

Meanwhile, Livingstone was on the radio cheerfully saying that it was perfectly possible to say offensive things about Jews without being anti-Jewish. He too has long argued that this whole business is bogus and confected, and that Labour does not have any kind of anti-Semitism problem.

And yet the evidence was there in Brighton if you were willing to see it. There were the Labour party Marxists handing out a paper that repeated Livingstone’s toxic claim of ideological solidarity between the Nazis and those German Jews who sought a Jewish homeland.

There’s the testimony of John Cryer MP, who sits on Labour’s disputes panel. He says some of the anti-Jewish tweets and Facebook posts he has seen from Labour members are “redolent of the 1930s”.

There were loud calls for the expulsion of Jewish groups, one of which has been part of the Labour movement for a century. Hardly a surprise that some Jewish activists turned away from the conference, describing an atmosphere that felt too hostile to endure.

But no – for Len and the Kens and their allies, it’s all made up. Perhaps they don’t realise that that itself is a tired anti-Jewish trope: that Jews invent stories of suffering to drive a secret political agenda. Or, to put it more simply, that there is a Jewish conspiracy.

It means that a man such as Ken Loach – an artist so sensitive he is capable of making the film I, Daniel Blake – ends up lending a spurious legitimacy to Holocaust denial. Asked to react to a speaker at a Brighton fringe meeting who had said Labour supporters should feel free to debate any topic, including the veracity of the Holocaust – “did it happen or didn’t it happen”, as the BBC interviewer put it – Loach could not give a simple, unequivocal denunciation of Holocaust denial. “I think history is for all of us to discuss,” he said.

Remember, Loach had not been asked whether there should be discussion of the meaning of the Nazi slaughter of the Jews. He had been asked about the fact of it happening. And on that, he said there should be discussion – the same apparently innocuous formulation routinely advanced by hardcore Holocaust deniers.

When distinguished men of the left are echoing, even inadvertently, the language of Holocaust denial, when the leader of Britain’s biggest trade union is rehashing the age-old notion of a Jewish conspiracy, you know you have entered a dark place. It’s not impossible to navigate your way out. But first you have to admit that you’ve got badly lost.

 

THE LABOUR PARTY – A SAFE SPACE FOR HATE

The Labour Party – A Safe Space For Hate
By Melanie Phillips
September 26, 2017

http://www.melaniephillips.com/labour-party-safe-space-hate/

What has been revealed about the Labour party at its annual conference in Brighton should make all decent people shudder.

A fringe meeting hosted a call for Labour to debate whether the Holocaust actually happened, the libelling of Israel as a racist, Nazi, apartheid and colonialist state and a demand that Jews who supported Israel should be kicked out of the Labour party.

What was so chilling was not just that the meeting, called Free Speech on Israel (aka Safe Space for Hate) provided bigots with the opportunity to spew their bile. It cheered and applauded them.

Israeli-American author Miko Peled told it Labour members should support the freedom to “discuss every issue, whether it’s the Holocaust, yes or no, whether it’s Palestine liberation – the entire spectrum. There should be no limits on the discussion.”

Michael Kalmanovitz, a member of the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, called for two pro-Israeli groups to be expelled from the party. He said: “The thing is, if you support Israel, you support apartheid. So what is the JLM (Jewish Labour Movement) and Labour Friends of Israel doing in our party? Kick them out.” The Mirror reported: “Loud cheers, applause and calls of ‘throw them out’ erupted in the room of around a hundred activists in response.” http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/labour-activists-applaud-speaker-calling-11235449

Fringe meetings are not run by the party and Labour says it isn’t responsible for their content.

Nevertheless, the event was advertised in official conference literature. It was chaired by an individual called Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi.

She was opposing the proposed rule change to make it easier to expel anti-Semites’. In addition to ranting and raving about Israel with a breathtaking stream of defamatory falsehoods, distortions and smears – including a swipe at the Balfour Declaration – she was actually booed by journalists when she claimed that Jewish groups behind the rule change had been briefing certain newspapers. She then received a ecstatic standing ovation when she stated: “I am not an anti-Semite. This party does not have a problem with Jews”.

Ah, how the conference loved that. Look at their faces on the clip. They are beside themselves with joy that they are being given permission by a Jew to hate the collective Jew in the State of Israel.

The situation could not have been clearer or more disquieting. It is Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi who is the problem with the Labour party – the problem she denies exists. And in not only giving her a platform but ecstatically applauding her bigotry, the Labour party was showing that Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi is not in fact the issue. The real problem is the Labour party itself.

Like the venomously anti-Israel Israeli professor Avi Shlaim, who was speaking at the launch of yet another groupuscule Jewish Voices for Labour, Kalmanovitz said the claims of anti-Semitism in the party were part of a right-wing effort to undermine Jeremy Corbyn and the left. But people like him ensured we could all see for ourselves this could not be the case. For anti-Semitism was on rank display at those Corbynista meetings.

Those behind “Free Speech on Israel” showed their true colours on free speech by reportedly ordering those attending not to tweet or take photographs for fear of “hostile coverage”. Meanwhile leaflets were passed around claiming that concerns about rising anti-Semitism were a “manufactured moral panic”.

Yet elsewhere, one Jewish Labour activist reported that leaflets were being passed around the conference floor demanding the expulsion of the Jewish Labour Movement from the Party; and Izzy Lenga, the Vice-President of the National Union of Students tweeted: “I didn’t think it was possible, but I feel a whole lot more unsafe, uncomfortable and upset as a Jew on [the Labour Party Conference] floor right now than I do at NUS”.

Today, the party passed the rule change making antisemitic abuse and harassment by Labour members a punishable offence. The Guardian reported:

“The rule change proposed by the Jewish Labour Movement, which has been backed by the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn and the party’s national executive committee, will tighten explicitly the party’s stance towards members who are antisemitic or use other forms of hate speech, including racism, Islamophobia, sexism and homophobia.”

Yet this change is worse than meaningless. Yes, it enables the party to expel anti-Semites’. But crucially, it leaves unresolved the definition of what anti-Semitism actually is. And you can bet your bottom dollar that Labour will never, ever accept that demonization and delegitimization of Israel is the contemporary form of the oldest hatred.

How could it accept that? Its members overwhelmingly subscribe to it – even though many of them haven’t the faintest clue that what they believe to be the truth about the Arab-Israel conflict is in fact a pack of lies from start to finish.

In maintaining this fictitious distinction, Labour wields what it believes to be the ultimate weapon: the anti-Zionist Jews who offer themselves as human shields to protect those who they hope will destroy the State of Israel through demonization and delegitimization.

The assumption is that no Jew can be an anti-Semite; so if Jews say Israel is a Nazi apartheid racist murderous colonialist state committing unspeakabke atrocities, that cannot be anti-Semitism.

But that’s rubbish. Anti-Semitism has unique characteristics, including double standards applied to no-one else but the Jews, systemic lies and falsehoods, imputation of a global conspiracy to harm the world in their own interests, blame for crimes of which they are not only innocent but are the victims, and so on. All these characteristics that make anti-Semitism a unique collective derangement apply to the demonization of Israel.

And of course, there have always been Jews who have done the anti-Semites’’ dirty work for them. The fact that such a high proportion involved in this latest manifestation of the oldest hatred are people of Jewish descent merely demonstrates the tragic fact that there’s no disorder quite so pathological as when a Jew turns against his or her own identity at the deepest level. Jews are a people like no other; the hatred directed at them is a hatred like no other; and when Jews turn on their own people, they behave in a way that is replicated by no other.

Now conduct a small thought experiment. Imagine that at the Conservative party conference someone brought the conference plenary cheering to its feet by saying there was nothing racist about regretting the end of empire, as a result of which independent rule had been granted to people who were incapable of civilised behaviour.

Now imagine there was a fringe meeting of, let’s say, Britain First, chaired by that developing-world basher; that remarks made at that meeting included calls to give the floor to proponents of eugenics; and that at a call to throw out of the Conservative party anyone opposed to restrictions on immigration on the grounds that they were traitors to Britain loud cheers, applause and calls of “throw them out” erupted in the room.

Now imagine that, meanwhile, the leader of the Conservative party had shared platforms with European neo-Nazi parties such as Greece’s Golden Dawn, Germany’s NDP and Belgium’s Vlaams Belang and called them “my friends”.

Now imagine that, under pressure, the leader had set up an inquiry into claims of rampant racism and neo-Nazi sympathies in the Conservative party, but had ensured that the inquiry was a whitewash and refused to entertain the idea that there was any racism or fascism in the party at all.

If you were a Conservative member in those circumstances, would you be telling yourself that a party rule change would make all this go away – or would you tear up your party card?

The hard-left has captured the Labour party and is remaking it in its own image. And so-called Labour moderates are just letting this happen. The party is now fundamentally corrupted intellectually, morally and philosophically – as is the left in general. No self-respecting Jew should now remain a Labour member.

There are still decent people in the Labour party. The leader of Brighton and Hove council, which runs the conference centre where Labour is meeting, has said how concerned he is by the anti-Semitism on display at fringe meetings and on the conference floor – so much so that he will need “reassurances that there will be no repeat of the behaviour and actions we have seen this week before any further bookings from the Party are taken.”

Bravo to him. But it’s all over.

 

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