“I can’t believe that!” said Alice.Lewis Carroll took us on journey through a fantasy land where nothing was what it seemed and which could only be understood through the eyes of a child. It would take a similarly powerful imagination to make sense of the turmoil unfolding in Britain’s Labour Party.
“Can’t you?” the Queen said in a pitying tone. “Try again: draw a long breath, and shut your eyes.”
Alice laughed. “There’s no use trying,” she said: “one can’t believe impossible things.”
“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” – Alice through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
In order to comprehend the civil war in one of the West’s oldest centre-left parties you have to know two things that must never be openly admitted. The first is that the entire row has been over an anti-Semitism crisis that was clearly manufactured.
The second point is that the real reason for the dispute; the party’s future as a vehicle for Jewish political power in Britain and reliable friend of Israel, must never be openly discussed at all.
It is an unfathomable tale featuring as bizarre a menagerie as ever gathered around the Mad Hatter’s table. There are Trotskyists, feminists, Islamists, Blairites, Israel-firsters, corporate mouthpieces, hedge fund managers, trade union barons, cynical careerists and dyed-in-the wool true believers. All of these people are bickering furiously over the slowly expiring carcass of a party set up a century ago to defend the poor and working class — proof that what begins as a noble cause, turns into a business and then degenerates into a racket, abandoning its White working class constituency in favour of importing a new clientele of immigrants.
Last weekend pro-open borders, pro-Palestinian, Marxist Jeremy Corbyn — the man whom the media branded “unelectable” — was re-elected leader and immediately bent the knee to his Jewish party opponents by re-stating his commitment to fighting racism and anti-Semitism (the subject of another TOO article, here).
And this was met exactly as you’d expect — with resignations, complaints of more anti-Semitism, and demands for more action. Labour’s plunge into electoral oblivion seems guaranteed.
From the outset this anti-Semitism scare has been off-the-scale surreal. Someone, somewhere has put vast resources into dredging the Facebook comments, tweets and re-tweets from thousands of the party’s activists and to come up with vaguely incriminating anti-Jewish material.
That was all that was needed to convince the media that Labour had an anti-Semitism emergency. This BBC exchange between a prominent Rabbi and a worried Labour donor is a good example of the even-handedness.
A strident-37-year old Labour MP called Ruth Smeeth duly became the poster child of Jewish suffering. She attended a press conference on the issue and promptly flounced out, shrieking that she had been the victim of yet another vile anti-Semitic snub.
The TV footage of this epic event was broadcast repeatedly and since then Ms Smeeth has accrued enough publicity in Britain to put Kim Kardashian in the shade. Acres of print and hours of broadcasting have been devoted to this modern day martyr. In a big spread in the Evening Standard she claimed to have been the victim of 25,000 “incidents of abuse, much of it racial.” This formidable woman says she is so scared she is now accompanied everywhere with her own personal security detail.
Strangely, the “victims” in these cases are never asked if they have reported anyone to the police. You might have thought this a pertinent question given the ease with which a Jewish female MP, Luciana Berger, had a Twitter critic jailed for non-violent critical comment.
One by one, the Jewish business donors who have been so important to Labour are now deserting the party. After Corbyn’s re-election yet another Jewish donor has resigned. Lord Mitchell left the Labour Party saying “I think it is very difficult if you are Jewish and you support Israel to be a member of the Labour Party.” Exactly why it seen as legitimate that his membership in the party hinged on his attachment to a foreign power was, of course, a question no-one asked.
But it is in the field of semantic obfuscation, evasion and concealment that this battle has been the most interesting.
Time was when veiled criticism of Jewish interests had to be hidden behind the code word “Zionist.” But now that is off the table; anti-Zionism has been deemed proof of anti-Semitism . Descriptive phrases such as “Jewish lobby” or “Jewish power” are, of course, incriminating and verboten.
It is not as if Jeremy Corbyn has not done everything in his power to placate his Jewish critics. He moves fast to summarily throw any suspect under the bus as fast as they are named. Subjects of complaint are immediately suspended. But all to no avail.
It might be helpful to list a few do’s and don’ts on acceptable discourse by Labour Party members.
Firstly it is not acceptable to suggest that the massive financial support the party traditionally receives from Jewish donors is in any way tied to the party’s foreign policy on the Middle East. Jewish businessmen buying support is acceptable — but talking about it is a hate crime.
Secondly, the many pronouncements from wealthy Labour-supporting businessmen of their commitment to Israel and the Jewish community are not to be taken as implying that they are any less committed to a universalist, post-ethnic, inclusive future than the rest of the party. So for example when wealthy Labour donor Sir Trevor Chinn says he is loyal to the State of Israel and the Jewish community in Britain, it really means he is just upholding modern British values.
Thirdly, when Jewish activists network to further their own ethnic agenda, pointing this out is a hate crime and is evidence of what Nick Cohen calls “paranoid consciousness.” A good example of this would be showing that the anti-Semitism scare on social media was part of a carefully co-ordinated, pre-organised campaign.
It is also a hate crime to suggest questionable loyalties if they have worked with a foreign power. Ruth Smeeth MP, for instance, has a history as a PR spokesperson for the Israel-UK arms industry. And one of her Jewish Labour Movement colleagues turns out to have previously worked in the Israeli embassy.
Fourthly, it is not good form to point out that most of the anti-Semitic grief that does happen — graffiti, street-harassment and so on — comes from Muslims. This is problematic because it draws attention to the fact that there is virtually no racist agitation at all from the real enemy — traditional ordinary White people. And besides, Muslims vote in droves for Labour.
It is, however, acceptable to accuse anyone who supported Brexit of being racist. This does mean insulting 17 million mainly White voters who exercised their democratic right. But so be it. That was their choice.
If there are any White working class types left in the Labour Party it must be occur to them that a lot of energy is being spent on the emotional well-being of a community said to number 250,000 or about 0.4 of the British population. Why, they must occasionally ask, is it that social media comments are more important than the Muslim child rape epidemic which is still growing rapidly? (The latest hot spot is Telford in Shropshire.)
It is here that the average far-left Labour Party ideologue gets all tied up in knots. His ingrained dogmatic belief in egalitarianism and anti-racism means he cannot recognise group differences or behaviours even when they are happening in front of his eyes.
This mental straitjacket prevents him from recognising that Jews are an ethnic group divided between a diaspora and an ethnostate which is loyal to its own community above all else and which is relentlessly pursuing its own interests. If he did that, then his entire world view would collapse.
Because if he agreed that Jews were permitted to organise and behave according to their ethnic interests, he would then be forced to answer the question, why shouldn’t Whites do the same?
At the party conference, Jeremy Corbyn displayed his usual sure touch and unveiled a new vote-winning policy. He wants thousands more refugees coming into Britain and border controls relaxed. Presumably he thought this would placate the Jewish lobby. Fat chance of that.