Friday, October 30, 2020

On Corbyn, smear campaigns, and journalism

 

You may have noticed, even if you care little for the politics of the UK, that Jeremy Corbyn has been suspended from the Labour Party. That's a party he joined at age 16, has been active in for 55 years, and recently led in an election highlighted by outright lies from the Tory party, combined with a smear-filled campaign of hate directed at his rational and measured policies. In this, the mainstream media were completely complicit.
 
Personally, I am not a huge fan of Labour, although the dominant alternative is dire. But I do admire someone of principle who refuses to dumb down his thoughts for sound bites. 
 
Continuously we have been told that Corbyn and Labour are anti-Semitic. These messages come from people who are overtly on the side of power, domination, anti-immigration rhetoric, policies of division and hatred. People who cut lunches for children, slash arts and music from schools, terminate adult learning, reduce assistance to the disabled, remove every social program they can, while presiding over a country of increasing poverty... yet fund multi-billion pound missile systems. All of these policies Corbyn has fought his entire career. He is a threat to their hegemony.
 
The accusations against Corbyn only make sense if we realise that in the year 2020, anti-Semitic is code for "believes the Palestinian people should not be tortured, killed, and wiped off the face of the Earth in a consistent policy of genocide." This is not an exaggeration. Palestinian rights groups are increasingly being labelled as terrorist organisations and made illegal. It's part of the the rise of crypto-fascism in all things.

But, returning to the issue: How can we possibly learn anything about what is really happening, when our main sources of information (often falsely labelled as "centre" or "left") are the BBC, The Guardian, and their ilk? (Not to mention publications further to the right.) What free journalism remains in the world? Scarce little.

If you care about this issue in particular, you should be reading Jonathan Cook, a journalist based in Nazareth. His article "UK Labour party teeters on brink of civil war over antisemitism" was published last July. So it's hardly news that the current move is a political gambit by Keir Starmer. It's the lowest form of politics, weaponising racism against your competitors. 
 
Cook's articles are evidence-based, full of consistent argumentation, and refuse to obscure facts with slogans. So, completely unlike all the major news outlets. This doesn't meant that you must agree with his conclusions. But it does mean you have a lot more evidence to support the position you do wish to take. 

Of course, evidence itself is considered evil in this world increasingly dominated by accusations of "false news" and narratives derived from mythology (conspiracy theories). It's an up-hill fight, But not everyone takes the easy way out.


Meanwhile, this is the statement that got Corbyn fired. I present it here because facts and evidence are useful things. Ask yourself how anyone could twist this text into meaning the opposite of what it most clearly states. The answer, of course, is that one must lie. And then have this lie repeated day and night by media mouthpieces.

Antisemitism is absolutely abhorrent, wrong and responsible for some of humanity’s greatest crimes. As Leader of the Labour Party I was always determined to eliminate all forms of racism and root out the cancer of antisemitism. I have campaigned in support of Jewish people and communities my entire life and I will continue to do so.

The EHRC’s report shows that when I became Labour leader in 2015, the Party’s processes for handling complaints were not fit for purpose. Reform was then stalled by an obstructive party bureaucracy. But from 2018, Jennie Formby and a new NEC that supported my leadership made substantial improvements, making it much easier and swifter to remove antisemites. My team acted to speed up, not hinder the process.

Anyone claiming there is no antisemitism in the Labour Party is wrong. Of course there is, as there is throughout society, and sometimes it is voiced by people who think of themselves as on the left. Jewish members of our party and the wider community were right to expect us to deal with it, and I regret that it took longer to deliver that change than it should.

One antisemite is one too many, but the scale of the problem was also dramatically overstated for political reasons by our opponents inside and outside the party, as well as by much of the media. That combination hurt Jewish people and must never be repeated. My sincere hope is that relations with Jewish communities can be rebuilt and those fears overcome.

While I do not accept all of its findings, I trust its recommendations will be swiftly implemented to help move on from this period.

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