Barrier or Encouragement?

It’s a generally well recognized phenomenon in politics, that in opposition it is easier to promote extremist policies, than it is to put them in practice, if elected. Often, there are solid, practical – rather than ideological – barriers to implementation.

That thought popped into my mind on reading the Jerusalem Post article about the special honor being granted by the UK to Israeli businessman Haim Shani.

It positively burned brightly when I read this part:

In recent years, bilateral trade between Israel and the UK has repeatedly broken records, reaching $7.2b. in 2016 and $9.1b. in 2017, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics. The UK is the second largest trading partner worldwide for Israeli goods, after the United States.

Were Jeremy Corbyn to be elected, would this be a barrier to his anti-Israel plans, or an encouragement?


Corbyn only has himself to blame

It’s this kind of behavior, from the man at the top, seen as acceptable within the Labour party, that has seen them play host – welcome host – to bigots and haters. Given how endemic antisemitism appears to be within the Muslim community, it’s not easy to see a durable solution for those who might actually want to fix the problem.

Oh, and it’s possible it might get worse. Labour have put a pyromaniac in charge of putting out the fires.


Suddenly, the Guardian takes notice

Source: Wikimedia

Source: Wikimedia

So far as I can tell, Gerard Kaufman’s outburst of anti-Semitism at a recent pro Palestinian meeting, had gone unreported by the Guardian and the BBC, until now.

This is on the Guardian site, as I type:


The article starts off:

Jeremy Corbyn has condemned one of his Labour MPs, Sir Gerald Kaufman, for making “completely unacceptable” remarks about the Jewish community.

Kaufman, the longest-serving MP in the Commons, was hauled into a meeting with the Labour whips after he talked last week about how “Jewish money” was influencing the Tories.

“It’s Jewish money, Jewish donations to the Conservative party – as in the general election in May – support from the Jewish Chronicle, all of those things, bias the Conservatives,” Kaufman said. “There is now a big group of Conservative members of parliament who are pro-Israel whatever government does and they are not interested in what Israel, in what the Israeli government does.

“They’re not interested in the fact that Palestinians are living a repressed life, and are liable to be shot at any time. In the last few days alone the Israelis have murdered 52 Palestinians and nobody pays attention and this government doesn’t care.”

Nice guy. You can read the whole thing here.

The interesting thing is that the Guardian is now reporting on the hate speech, but only after the passage of time and the (grudging?) public denouncement by Jeremy Corbyn.

Questions, questions, questions

One question is why didn’t the Guardian report the matter before now?

Isn’t it reasonable to assume that a paper with a stated liberal, anti-racist ethos, would want to report anti-Semitism? It surely wouldn’t want to sweep it under the carpet, would it?

So why did the Guardian wait until now? Did Corbyn’s intervention mean they felt there was no alternative? Is anti-Semitism not news worthy? Is anti-Semitism by “the longest-serving MP in the House of Commons” not news worthy? Did the Guardian need help to identify what Kaufman said as being hate speech? Are they that culturally blinded?

It simply beggars belief that the oldest hate reared its ugly, smelly head, and the Guardian neither noted (apparently) nor cared.

It’s unlikely we will get a clear answer (if any) but their behavior regarding this dreadful episode has been a disgrace.

The other question is why is the BBC still ignoring this?


Is Corbyn being cowardly?

Source: Wikimedia

Source: Wikimedia

Guido Fawkes reports:

“Jeremy Corbyn is making excuses for missing his first Privy Council meeting and investiture kneeling at the feet of the Queen. Claiming a diary clash he could join the Privy Council without attending in a procedure usually reserved for people who are overseas. Guido suspects that the palace will compromise and spare Comrade Corbyn’s blushes rather than allow it to become a point of political controversy. Guido would have more respect for Corbyn’s republicanism if he openly said that as a democrat he wasn’t going to kneel in front of an unelected hereditary monarch. Claiming a diary clash is cowardly…”

It’s Corbyn’s right to be a republican (or any other political type he wants to be). However, when that ‘type’ is a genuine belief, the right thing to do in public office is to stand up for the belief – stand up for your principles. It appears that Mr Corbyn isn’t doing that.

Like Guido Fawkes, I also would have more respect for his republican stance if it were maintained. But, to do as the report suggests is neither proper nor principled, unless the diary clash is genuine, and really, really important, and incapable of being rescheduled. My gut tells me he is behaving like a coward.


Corbyn it is

So Corbyn, an enemy of Israel, is elected head of the UK’s Labour Party.

Not good.

“Yes Jeremy being called out on the loons and far-Left types you hang out with must be most upsetting but it isn’t an attack on your loved ones. In fact your responses to criticisms along these lines looks like a deliberate attempt to avoid legitimate questions.”

Not good.

“Jeremy Corbyn set himself firmly against British involvement in airstrikes against Islamic State (Isis) targets in Iraq and Syria by calling for “peaceful solutions”, as he described bombing as the easy option.


The remarks by Corbyn confirm that he will oppose any attempt by David Cameron to extend British involvement in the coalition airstrikes against Islamic State forces from Iraq to Syria.”

Not good at all.


Economical with the truth

It may be a sign of the dumbing down of political discourse, that little – if any – of the British Labour Party’s leadership election race has featured a proper discussion of the economic theories and practices of the candidates. It’s slogans, sound bites, and general mumbling and mumbo jumbo. So, even if it is probably unfair to pick just one out (because it’s the only one I could find), I read Tim Worstall‘s piece at the Register – Hey, folks. Meet the economics ‘genius’ behind Jeremy Corbyn – and was hit by a proverbial breath of fresh air.

In brief, it’s an attack piece about Richard Murphy, the source of Corbyn’s thinking about economics. It is fascinating to see what is going on (or has been going on) behind the headlines, and largely ignored by the media. They are otherwise engaged, it appears.

Here’s an exert to give you a flavor:

He [Murphy] is rather proud of claiming that he ignored his university economics lectures because they were obviously all neo-liberal-inspired. So he worked the whole lot out on his own, from first principles. This rather reminds me of Bitcoin, for as I’ve said, the whole alt-coin scene has seen the fast-forward replay of every monetary and banking mistake, fraud, scheme and scam that humanity has managed to cook up over the millennia in a mere few years.

Murphy’s economics – ignoring, as it does, what tens of thousands of very clever people have found out over the past few hundred years, namely that we’ve really had “economics” – falls into the same error. It’s just too large a subset for any one brain, however large, to be able to encompass from first principles without error.

Even if economics bores you, and quantitative easing sends you to sleep, it is worth reading this piece. Then take a look at the coverage of the leadership race, and wonder when there is going to be a proper discussion of the issues. Shining some light on Corbyn’s dark places is long overdue.



Insult of the week

This, from James Bloodworth at the Guardian, on the lingering matter of Jeremy Corbyn and the British Labour party, is terrific:

“…some of the things Corbyn is accused of are, to paraphrase George Orwell, still concerning even if the Daily Mail says so.”


Read it all, here.

When I read the piece, one thought was that much of the (deserved) criticism, was criticism that could equally be directed at other Guardian writers and guests. So, it is less than surprising that the comments have more than a few vitriolic blasts at Bloodworth and all who dare criticize JC.  Whatever happens, it’s unlikely a win by him would be an impetus for unifying the strands of the party. Far from it. New Social Democrats, anyone?


Corbyn in the crosshairs

Jeremy Corbyn (still looking likely to be the surprise choice as leader of the British Labour Party) has some explaining to do. The Jewish Chronicle puts him in the crosshairs with the following:

The key questions Jeremy Corbyn must answer

It now seems a near certainty that Jeremy Corbyn will become leader of the Labour Party in just under a month.

How the Labour Party chooses its leader, and who it chooses, is its own business. But as Leader of the Opposition, Mr Corbyn will hold a formal constitutional role, and will hold a hope — however realistic or otherwise — of becoming Prime Minister.

The JC rarely claims to speak for anyone other than ourselves. We are just a newspaper. But in this rare instance we are certain that we speak for the vast majority of British Jews in expressing deep foreboding at the prospect of Mr Corbyn’s election as Labour leader.

Because, although there is no direct evidence that he has an issue himself with Jews, there is overwhelming evidence of his association with, support for — and even in one case, alleged funding of — Holocaust deniers, terrorists and some outright antisemites.

If Mr Corbyn is not to be regarded from the day of his election as an enemy of Britain’s Jewish community, he has a number of questions which he must answer in full and immediately. The JC asked him earlier this week to respond. No response has been forthcoming.

It’s too early to conclude much. However, unless the mainstream media pick up on this particular challenge, Corbyn’s team will ignore it, and hope it goes away. (It won’t – at least for the majority of the Jewish community there.) Either that, or there will be a less than comprehensive answer, mentioning his track record in Parliament (or some such other diversionary nonsense) as being the true mark of the man.

Here are the questions:

1. Did you donate, as alleged by its founder, to Deir Yassin Remembered (DYR), a group that publishes open antisemtism, run by Holocaust denier Paul Eisen — an organisation so extreme that even the Palestine Solidarity Campaign refuses to associate with it?

2. Have you, as Mr Eisen claims, regularly attended DYR’s annual conference?

3. Why have you accepted an invitation to appear at a conference on August 22 alongside Carlos Latuff, the notorious anti-Semitic cartoonist?

4. Why did you write to the Church of England authorities to defend Rev Stephen Sizer, a vicar banned from social media because of his habit of posting anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, telling them that Rev Sizer was “under attack” because he had “dared to speak out over Zionism”?

5. Why do you associate with Hamas and Hezbollah and refer to them as your “friends”?

This Hamas and Hezbollah one is a bit of an own goal for the media. They should have more artfully challenged him on this when they had the chance. (See here.)

6. Why have you failed to condemn the anti-Semitic posters and banners that dominate the annual Al-Quds Day rally, sponsored by the Stop The War Coalition, which you chair?

7. Why did you describe Raead Salah, a man convicted of the blood libel, as an ‘honoured citizen’?

It could have been worse: he could have called him his friend…

It is difficult not to see a pattern in Mr Corbyn’s associations, and his refusal at any point to answer the fears of the Jewish community raised by these associations.

In a nation where, thank heavens, racism and extremism are now regarded as beyond the pale, it is little short of astonishing that a man who chooses to associate with racists and extremists is about to become leader of one of our two main parties and could conceivably become Prime Minister.

If JC (ahem) becomes the leader, perhaps the more realistic (or best) expectation is that he will take steps to mend fences with the Jewish community, letting his past (at least in his eyes) fade into the darkened corridors of history. But the more chilling scenario is that he says nothing, becomes leader, and does nothing about the situation. In that case, the boats will have been well and truly burned. In such a case, I fervently hope that predictions of his leadership putting the party into a permanent state of being unelectable, prove to be correct.