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The Labour Party – a safe space for hate

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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.”

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. Watch this clip of her addressing the conference plenary session to see just what a piece of work she is.

She was opposing the proposed rule change to make it easier to expel antisemites. 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 antisemite. 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 antisemitism 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 antisemitism 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 antisemitism 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 antisemites. But crucially, it leaves unresolved the definition of what antisemitism actually is. And you can bet your bottom dollar that Labour will never, ever accept that demonisation and delegitimisation 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 demonisation and delegitimisation.

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

But that’s rubbish. Antisemitism 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 antisemitism a unique collective derangement apply to the demonisation of Israel.

And of course, there have always been Jews who have done the antisemites’ 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 antisemitism 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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