There was only one thing worse than the remarkable revelation of institutionalised antisemitism on the left revealed by David Collier on his website last week. It was the reaction.
Collier is an indefatigable blogger who spends much of his life immersed in the cesspools of anti-Jewish and Israel-bashing bigotry in British institutions. His aim is to bring the epidemic of open antisemitism to the attention of the wider public. He is positively heroic in subjecting himself to the traumatic effects of wading through all this filth. But last week he took his investigations onto a different level altogether.
His 280-page two-part report, here and here, exposed a secret, pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel Facebook group called Palestine Live, which was created in 2013. Its members included politicians and other members of the Labour party and the left.
Secrecy was paramount: when one member asked “how safe is this group?” its creator, Elleanne Green, replied: “Very…no one is allowed in who is not trusted…I am very very careful…and it is a Secret Group…so it really is as safe as you will be able to find anywhere…”
The reason for such secrecy immediately becomes apparent from Collier’s expose. One of the first posts – and it was typical – referred to the “barbarian part of that [Jewish] tribe that is lording it over every single government in the word and using their untold wealth to control the agenda for all of us in order to further their nefarious aims for the Jewish state and to wipe out the Palestinians in the process”. Another referred to Jews as a “cancer” who “murder Palestinians” so they can “harvest their organs”. Others claimed that the Jew were behind 9/11 and the 2015 Paris terror attacks.
Group members referenced rabid white supremacists, Holocaust deniers and other far-right sites. They claimed that the blood libel and Protocols of the Elders of Zion were true, that the Rothschilds were a world conspiracy stealing people’s money, that the Jews were behind the two world wars and so on. As Collier asks: “At what point did the British Labour party suddenly develop a fetish for white supremacy?
Floating in the ordure is this little gem of a revelation. Remember the Mavi Marmara affair in 2010, when a boat load of pro-Palestinian activists tried to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza at that time? Israeli commandos boarded the vessel to enforce the blockade. They met resistance and in the ensuing struggle nine passengers were killed and several commandos injured.
Israel of course was blamed for attacking the activists. But Collier unearthed a post on Palestine Live by Greta Berlin, co-founder and spokesperson for the Free Gaza Movement. Immediately after the incident in 2010, she had told the New York Times that the Israeli commandos dropped onto the deck and “opened fire on sleeping civilians at four in the morning”.
Yet on this secret Facebook forum, she posted a series of adverse comments about an activist on the boat including this: “He was responsible for some of the deaths on board the Mavi Marmara. Had he not disarmed an Israeli terrorist soldier, they would not have started to fire.”
A good story? Fresh light on what became a serious diplomatic spat between Turkey and Israel? Worthy of being followed up by national media? You think? It’s been ignored, of course.
Collier also unearths the participation in this secret forum of six named Jewish anti-Zionists who provide their services to several anti-Israel groups. Writes Collier: “ SIX Jewish members, wearing approximately SEVENTEEN different hats, in FIVE separate groups. And all members of highly antisemitic secret Facebook Group Palestine Live.” And all there to deflect accusations of antisemitism simply because they are Jews.
Collier writes: “Some call them ‘self-haters’, I never have, and I will not now. They are racists. They have disassociated themselves from the community, and they demonise Jews, just as Jews have always been demonised by antisemites. For the last few years they have embarked on a strategy of public antisemitism denial, using their Jewish identity to legitimise raw anti-Jewish hatred. Standing alongside them are Holocaust Deniers, anti-Jewish conspiracy theorists, and a long list of journalists, politicians and commentators, ready to support them. All of whom place their own political ideology over and above the safety of British Jews. It is shocking, disgraceful and scary”.
Meetings involving some Palestine Live members have been held on the parliamentary estate. Some of these were reported on by Collier himself and other bloggers such as Richard Millett. They attend such events to report on the antisemitism and Israel-hate on display. They have been treated with hostility and even barred altogether.
Collier comments: “For the Jewish attendee who recognises the numerous faces of those who share hard-core antisemitic and neo-Nazi ideology, it is little different than a black man walking into a KKK event in Westminster and being escorted out because he becomes agitated by the level of racism. That the antisemitism is protected by the law, rather than challenged by it, suggests the problem is institutionalised”.
Among this secret forum’s members, Collier found that in addition to assorted Labour and LibDem politicians who had been accused of anti-Israel or anti-Jewish attitudes, the Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn had also belonged to it – from either 2013 or 2014 until 2015.
The group’s creator, Elleanne Green, posted her thanks to Corbyn for his help in arranging a meeting at the House of Commons addressed by the notorious Israel-basher Max Blumenthal.
After that meeting, Corbyn posted on the forum: “Sadly I was at the funeral of a very old friend Ron Blanchard so missed the event”. Collier observes: “There is no suggestion Jeremy Corbyn shares the views of many inside the group. What this provides is evidence he knows he is a member.”
In February 2106 Elleanne Green posted: “Jeremy was a member of this group for several years until a few weeks after his election as Labour leader… such a friend to Palestine”. Collier writes: “Which suggests Corbyn was still a member of ‘Palestine Live’ when he became leader of the Labour Party, and for a ‘few weeks’ beyond that date. A central member of his team, Jack Bond, remained inside the group. He is still a member as this report is published.”
Corbyn has said he was “joined” to the group without his knowledge, had “never trawled through the whole group” and had never seen the antisemitic postings there. But that really won’t do.
The Labour party has now suspended several party members who posted on Palestine Live and is reportedly continuing to investigate the Collier dossier. But shouldn’t it be suspending or investigating its own leader?
As Collier writes: “Palestine Live is little more than an antisemitic sewer of NeoNazi and Communist antisemitism… The concentration levels (amongst active posters) is higher than I have found elsewhere. Once the Jewish contingent are removed from the equation, three out of every four posts are placed on the site by someone who shares hard-core antisemitic conspiracy theories. Even with the Jewish members included, that number is almost six in ten.
“Yet it is a group with MPs and with a sitting member of the House of Lords. It is a group where self-declared ‘anti-racists’ gather from across the globe. Everybody involved in this group needs to ask themselves how it came to be, that they were comfortable, at home, with white supremacy, antisemitism and Holocaust Denial?”
How indeed. For this doesn’t just involve members of the Labour party and a few fringe activists. Much of the broad left is in this sewer too, averting their fastidious gaze from the vile company they are keeping.
Closed thought circle
It’s an article of faith for the left that it stands only for good things like conscience and human rights. Everything not the left is damned as “the right”. Since the left stands only for good things, “the right” must be entirely bad. Accordingly, only the “right” can be antisemitic. Committed to “anti-racism”, the left believes that it is itself utterly incapable of antisemitism. So it is blind to both its own behaviour and the company it keeps.
It supports the Palestinians because it believes that, like the rest of the developing world, they are victims of the west and so their terrorism and rejection of Israel must be excused or condoned as “resistance”. Yet the Palestinians, along with much of the Arab and Muslim world, constantly pump out grotesque, Nazi-style antisemitic libels against Israel and the Jewish people.
The left cannot admit that the people it is supporting as victims are in fact profound antisemites. So those who say antisemitism hides under the camouflage of anti-Zionism are accused of trying to sanitise the “crimes” of Israel. Which is why the left will not, cannot admit to the Jew-hatred within its own ranks. And why, with the exception of stories about Labour’s investigation and Corbyn’s membership of this group, Collier’s devastating and important revelations have been all but ignored.
In the second part of his report I discovered a picture of myself and David Collier sharing a panel. The picture was used to illustrate a typically venomous travesty by Electronic Intifada which I hadn’t previously seen. This attacked Collier whom it libelled as a “racist blogger”. Elleanne Green linked to it on Palestine Live and referred to Collier and myself as “peas in a pod”.
I can’t think of a greater compliment. David Collier: bravo.