Corbyn: A man is known by the company he keeps

Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn denies he is an anti-Semite and a racist; but his multiple associations with Jew-haters – including neo-Nazi loons – suggests there is an enduring and endemic problem in Corbyn’s Palestinianist/anti-Zionist philosophy. Here is a run-down of the top seven anti-Semites, conspiracy theorists, far-Right Islamists and outright fascists who have either shared a platform with Corbyn or have been defended by the man who would be Labour leader…

1. Dyab Abou Jahjah

“It will be my pleasure and my honour to host an event in Parliament where our friends from Hezbollah [i.e. Dyab Abou Jahjah] will be speaking ….so far as I’m concerned that is absolutely the right function to use parliamentary facilities… to invite [Abou Jahjah] to meet members of Parliament.” – Jeremy Corbyn

Labour leader contender Jeremy Corbyn claimed not to know Lebanese-born Dyab Abou Jahjah, a former Hezbollah fighter, who calls “every dead America, British and Dutch soldier a victory.” Then a photograph of the two men together (taken in 2009; see below) was circulated on the internet. Corbyn spoke at two events alongside Jahjah. He also lobbied the British government to lift a ban on Jahjah entering the country.

Not only does Jahjah celebrate the death of UK troops, he is a nasty homophobe and anti-Semite. On a blog he refers to “Aids-spreading fagots,” “the cult of the Holocaust and Jew worship,” and “hoax gas-chambers.” Jahjah is the founder of the Arab European League (AEL). Under Jahjah’s leadership, the AEL has published a number of highly-offensive anti-Semitic cartoons about the Holocaust.

It is important to note that Corbyn knew about Jahjah’s anti-Semitic views before sharing a platform with him. How do we know this? Because the issue was discussed at a Stop the War public meeting – which Corbyn attended.

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2. Hamas, Hezbollah

As patron of the Palestine Solidarity Committee, Corbyn declared in a 2009 speech that “it will be my pleasure and honour to host an event in Parliament where our friends from Hezbollah will be speaking. I’ve also invited our friends from Hamas to come and speak as well.”

Hezbollah actively engages in Holocaust denial and spreads anti-Semitic conspiracy theories about Jewish power. And Hamas has made no secret of its genocidal intent towards Jews in general – not just Israelis. Yet Corbyn once described Hamas as “an organisation dedicated towards the good of the Palestinian people and bringing about long-term peace and social justice and political justice in the whole region.”

Corbyn has also shared a platform with Black September hijacker Leila Khaled and hosted a meeting with a member of Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

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3. Citizens Electoral Council/LaRouche

Corbyn was interviewed via video link at the annual conference of the far-Right Citizens Electoral Council in Australia in March 2015. The group is known for its anti-Semitic, anti-gay, anti-Aboriginal positions. And it explicitly states that it is a member of the neo-Nazi LaRouche movement, which denies the Holocaust and blames Israel for 9/11.

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4. Paul Eisen

Corbyn has denied knowing that far-Right blogger and campaigner Paul Eisen was a Holocaust denier when he donated money to him. And yet there is a photograph from 2013 showing Corbyn at a formal reception for Eisen’s anti-Semitic organisation Deir Yassin Remembered. This was after Eisen publicised his extreme scepticism about the existence of the Nazi gas chambers. Eisen has also endorsed David Duke, the former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard.

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5. Sheikh Raed Salah

Corbyn has lent his support to Sheikh Raed Salah – a man who has been convicted of spreading the anti-Jewish blood libel and believes that Israel was behind 9/11. Corbyn describes him as an “honoured citizen” and said he was looking forward “to giving you [i.e. Salah] tea on the terrace because you deserve it!”

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6. Reverend Stephen Sizer

Corbyn wrote a letter of support for Rev Stephen Sizer, an Anglican vicar, who spreads the libel that Israel was responsible for the 9/11 terror attacks. Rev Sizer’s ideas have been branded by the Church of England as “clearly anti-Semitic.”

Sizer is a regular contributor to Islamic media outlets, including Iran’s Press TV. He has been photographed with Arafat, and with Zahra Mostafavi Khomeini, the daughter of the Ayatollah. He has met with – and publicly defended – the previously-mentioned Raed Salah.

Sizer once stated that the reason Jews “were expelled from the land was that they were more interested in money and power and treated the poor and aliens with contempt.” In 2011, he posted a link on his Facebook page to an anti-Semitic website called “The Ugly Truth,” and in the same year, he went to Malaysia to work with Viva Palestina, whose leading activists include Holocaust-denier Matthias Chang.

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7. James Thring

Corbyn hosted and sponsored an event at Parliament at which far-Right Jew-hater James Thring gave a speech. Thring, who believes that the Jews control the financial markets, stated that a Palestinian militia should be armed and equipped. Thring has been described by Stand for Peace as a “neo-Nazi.”

He is also a 9/11 conspiracy theorist, has links with former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke and has campaigned for the release of Holocaust denier David Irving. Ironically, for a man who supports Holocaust deniers, Thring has compared Palestine  to Auschwitz. According to Searchlight, Thring features in a pro-Hitler video called Dresden: A Commemoration.

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Is Corbyn an anti-Semite, a liar or just a naive fool?

 

By Richard Mather…

Jeremy Corbyn’s awkward and unsatisfactory responses to widespread allegations of anti-Semitism begs some questions: Is he an anti-Semite in denial? A terrible judge of character? A misguided and naive fool? Or is he intellectually incapable of understanding the close and overlapping relationship between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism?

Despite his age (he’s in his sixties), his political vision is immature and shallow, which perhaps explains the mess he’s in. His ideas draw on the juvenile politics of the student union. No wonder his CV reads like a Students for Justice in Palestine newsrag. Of course, Corbyn is a member of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, but he’s also a member of Amnesty International, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and the sinister-silly Stop the War Coalition. And as is typical of extremists he’s irrationally hostile to Israel and NATO, and is a friend to the IRA, Hamas and Hezbollah. He is also an admirer of left-wing despot Hugo Chavez.  Corbyn parrots all the far-Left ideologies without considering the political, moral and human consequences. In the case of his manifold links to Jew-hating extremists, he is so blinded by Palestinianist fervour that he forgets to check whether his anti-Zionist friends are raving Judeophobes (they usually are). How are British Jews supposed to have confidence in a man who conveniently overlooks the anti-Semitic rhetoric emanating from Hamas and Sheikh Raed Salah?

It is staggering that Corbyn (who has been in politics for several decades) can claim with a straight face to be unaware of the anti-Semitic credentials of his Islamist and Holocaust-denying friends. If Corbyn is not an anti-Semite, then he is a naive/misguided old man or a hopeless relativist who lacks the ability to tell right from wrong. There is another possibility: he’s a chronic liar who is desperately trying to hide his dodgy political connections. Whatever the answer he is unfit to lead one of Britain’s great political parties.

Beware the Corbyn-led insurgency that holds moderates to ransom

By Richard Mather…

This is an uncomfortable time to be a political moderate or Jewish, or indeed both. The ascendancy of Jeremy Corbyn and the militant rise of the anti-Zionist hard Left in Britain is a reminder that extremism of all kinds is a risk to the well-being, happiness and security of the UK’s Jewish communities but also ordinary people who are tired of the political extremes prevalent in the 1970s and 1980s. Willing or not, we are all participants in a culture war in which moderates are under attack from far Left activists, neo-Nazi types and far Right Islamists. This triangulation of hatred is particularly hard for most Jews who repeatedly face a culture war on three fronts.

Part of the problem is the social media. Facebook and Twitter have emboldened people to be downright nasty to those who don’t agree with them. Just look at the misogynist abuse directed at Labour contender Liz Kendall or the antisemitic diatribes directed at John Mann MP who has been called “filth” and a “Zionist stooge” by Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters. The mainstream media is little better. Look at what happened when The Jewish Chronicle ran a perfectly reasonable editorial that asked Corbyn to respond to allegations surrounding his antisemitic affiliations. Cue Yasmin Alibhai-Brown’s ridiculous response in The Independent in which she not only sidestepped the issue and got her facts wrong, she also dreamed up a Judeo-Zionist conspiracy that is plotting to “crush all alternatives to neoliberal economics and Western hegemony.”

Corbyn himself seems to be perched on a cloud high above the rough and tumble of Britain’s culture war. Indeed, he is curiously disengaged from the social media warfare, leaving his thousands of followers to do battle with his opponents and critics. Corbyn’s disinterest in the dirty political discourses that are swirling around him reminds me of the Scottish referendum debate in which many ordinary Scots turned into aggressive footsoldiers, quashing competing narratives with vicious put-downs, internet trolling and intimidation, with the tacit approval of SNP bosses Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond. The same kind of thing is happening now.

In other words, while Corbyn himself holds some pretty unsavoury views about the IRA and the Israeli-Palestinian issue, it is his slavish and deeply unpleasant supporters that moderates should be most worried about. The Corbynistas, who comprise the militant Left, a few quasi-Marxist intellectuals and a lot of young (and naive) idealists who simply want to belong to an exciting political movement, are engaged in the kind of factionalism that is typical of extremists. Unable to deal with realpolitik, the Corbynistas have created a political simulacrum of the world in which they peer out on the rest of us and hate us for our “false consciousness.” That makes it easier for them to condemn moderates as “Tory scum,” “neo-cons” and “Zionists.” These extremists really do hate us. They are conditioned by their own insular ideology to hate Blairites, Conservatives and Jewish Zionists. Unfortunately, you cannot reason an extremist out of something they weren’t reasoned into.

My main concern, however, is the probability that Corbyn and his acolytes have little interest in the discipline of government but are content with being a huge protest group united only by single issue politics such as Palestinianism, austerity, anti-capitalism and fracking. This movement is already led by a coalition of groups that includes the Socialist Workers Party, the Greens, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Stop the War and Unite. This coalition has been gathering pace for years, particularly since 2003 when Blair wanted to invade Iraq. And now, with a Conservative government in Downing Street, we can expect a huge upswing in the number of industrial disruptions by strikers, anti-austerity rallies in London and anti-Zionist marches through Manchester. To all intents and purposes, we could be facing years of direct action and revolutionary activism.

The hard Left is in the ascendancy in all parts of the country. Look at what happened in Scotland. The SNP has transformed Scotland into a nationalist socialist machine that holds the UK Conservative government to ransom. Interestingly, the hard Left in England doesn’t need to be in government in order to be in power. Even without Corbyn’s leadership, the extreme Left has the power to perpetuate its culture war by stopping the Tube or the trains, or by wrecking the country’s energy policy by resisting fracking, or by demanding the arrest and trial of people they don’t like such as Tony Blair and Benjamin Netanyahu, or by organising mass protests against Jewish businesses and Israelis, or by protesting against the military removal of Islamic State. All Corbyn has done is act as a lightning rod. Whether Corbyn wins the Labour leadership or not, the extreme Left is galvanised and it has the numbers to hold us all to ransom.

In other words, Britain is facing an aggressive, populist and illiberal insurgency. Welcome to the new culture war.

Jeremy Corbyn’s populist anti-Zionism is shared by the far Right

corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn attends a meeting organised by Paul Eisen in 2013 (Daily Mail)

Why does Jeremy Corbyn gravitate towards people who are anti-Semitic? And why do some individuals on the extreme Right admire the Labour leadership candidate?

By Richard Mather…

It is no secret that Labour leadership hopeful Jeremy Corbyn is a man of the militant left and a friend of Hamas and Hezbollah. But what is less well known is that Corbyn is an inspiration to some individuals on the Far Right – not just ultra-conservative Islamists who believe adulterers should be stoned to death but the kind of extreme right-wingers who believe the gas chambers are a myth.

In a recent article, I outlined Corbyn’s links to extremist organisations/persons that seek Israel’s destruction. Corbyn has taken thousands of pounds in gifts from organisations closely linked to Hamas. He is also patron of the Palestine Solidarity Committee . And in 2009 he declared that it was his “pleasure and honour to host an event in Parliament where our friends from Hezbollah will be speaking,” before adding: “I’ve also invited our friends from Hamas to come and speak as well.”

Corbyn has shared a platform with Black September hijacker Leila Khaled and hosted a meeting with a member of Palestinian Islamic Jihad. And he is favourably disposed towards the paranoid anti-Semite Sheikh Raed Salah who believes Jews use the blood of gentile children in the preparation of holy bread.

Some of Corbyn’s supporters were angry and upset about my article – not because they were ashamed of their man’s attraction to anti-Semitic organisations and individuals, but because I had dared to criticise him in the first place. Corbyn’s ability to generate such a slavish  and unquestioning following perhaps explains why some people on the far Right have found themselves mesmerised by the great populist.

Take Paul Eisen, the self-hating Jew who is so extreme that he questions the existence of the Nazi gas chambers and endorses David Duke, the former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard. Eisen is a huge supporter of Corbyn, whom he has dubbed “the finest man in British politics.” This is from Eisen’s blog:

I just heard that Jeremy Corbyn is going to stand for the leadership of the British Labour Party. I hate all politics and I hold the hopelessly compromised and Zionised Labour party in particular contempt. But if Jeremy Corbyn does stand for leader I’m going to join that party so I can give him my vote.

He continues:

One issue he most certainly does support is that of Palestine solidarity and one evening fifteen years ago I cycled over to see him. I was just beginning to establish Deir Yassin Remembered in the UK and I wanted him to join. I’d hardly begun my feverishly-rehearsed pitch before his cheque book was on the table. From that day on, without fuss or bother […] he attended every single Deir Yassin commemoration.

As part of an investigation into Corbyn’s links with Eisen, The Daily Mail has published a photograph that apparently shows Corbyn sitting attentively at one of Eisen’s Deir Yassin Remembered events in St John’s Wood Church in 2013. If true, this shows a serious lack of judgement on Corbyn’s part. As the Mail explains, Eisen’s views about the Holocaust are so awful that even some members of the Palestine Solidarity Movement are  embarrassed to be associated with the organisation.

Disturbingly, it is not just the ultra-right-wing blog of Paul Eisen that celebrates the Corbyn  ascendency. The far Right ex-Jew Gilad Atzmon (who also questions what he calls the “Holocaust narrative”) recently told Iran’s Press TV:

It is very clear that British public is tired of these Zionist wars. It is tired of fake left and fake Labour. And the success of Jeremy Corbyn is probably the most positive sign we see in British politics for decades.

Then there is the disturbing far Right website deLiberation, which hails Corbyn as the “antidote to the Blairite virus and Zionist snake-bite”:

Many certainly can see Corbyn as Prime Minister – a very different and totally new style of PM, to be sure – with open-neck shirt, a cloth cap on occasion and sleeves rolled up ready for grass-roots action. At least he’s a man to look up to and identify with…. and a man who is not tempted by the Israeli shekel. If any of his opponents lands the leadership Labour will remain under the yoke of Zionist ambitions and enslave by the gangster regime in Tel Aviv.

To get an idea of the kind of Judeophobic rubbish published by deLiberation, consider the titles of some of the website’s articles: ‘Dismantling French Culture to Make It Jew Friendly’, ‘Uruguay’s Judaization,’ and ‘Jewish Inquisition in Argentina,’ the last of which condemns the “the global tentacles of Jewish power and its effects on the Western nations.” What would Corbyn think if he knew his name was being associated with anti-Semitic propaganda inspired by Goebbels? Would he care?

If Corbyn wants to be taken seriously as the (potential) leader of a mainstream political party, he needs to do something about the anti-Semitism swirling  around him. Rejecting Jew-hatred in theory is not enough: he must maintain a healthy distance between himself and the likes of Hamas and Sheik Salah. After all, a man is known by the company he keeps. The fact that Corbyn is so comfortable in the presence of people  who hate Jews is deeply troubling.

And Corbyn ought to be concerned that his political rhetoric and his ongoing associations with anti-Zionist organisations/individuals are being applauded by the extreme Right – not just the Islamist far Right but the fascist far Right.

An ex-member of the neo-Nazi British National Party (who wants to stay anonymous) told me that his former colleagues and the far Left have a shared language when it comes to Zionism, Westminster politics, corporatism and nationalisation. “They believe in the same things like bringing the bankers under control and nationalising industries. They don’t agree on immigration but there’s agreement on the dangers of Zionist Jews and Israel.”

I am not accusing Corbyn of being a right-wing extremist in disguise. Not quite, anyway. But it has to be said there is a family resemblance between both ends of the political spectrum, which are connected by a series of overlapping similarities. It  cannot be denied that the far Left and the far Right both have a populist hatred of austerity and of establishment politics, and both are anti-Zionist, anti-capitalist and anti-American. Rhetoric on both sides is inflammatory and radical; action is often militant and menacing.

So perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise that Corbyn is so attractive to the far Left and the far Right. As support for his campaign grows, Corbyn may find that flitting from the populist far Left to the populist far Right is like going next door: it is no distance at all.

Spinoza’s hatchet

Original publication: Poetica Magazine, Spring 2015

By Richard Mather…

hatchet

For the sole perfection and the final end of a slave and of a tool is this, that they duly fulfill the task imposed on them. For example, if a carpenter, while doing some work, finds his Hatchet of excellent service, then this Hatchet has thereby attained its end and perfection; but if he should think: this Hatchet has rendered me such good service now, therefore I shall let it rest, and exact no further service from it, then precisely this Hatchet would fail of its end, and be a Hatchet no more. (From Spinoza’s The Short Treatise On God, Man and His-Well-Being.)

 
Now then, Baruch Spinoza.
Let us reason.
A hatchet is an object.
An obvious assertion, I think.
But is it really only a hatchet
when a carpenter finds it
“of excellent service”?
 
Or does it retain its hatchetness
when not in use?
What’s more, Baruch,
what about when it is in use?
When you hew wood,
are you swinging a hatchet
or an object-in-its-own-right?
 
Answer me this, Baruch Spinoza.
Isn’t its object condition worthy
of consideration? And if so,
isn’t it worth asking
if this hatchet is independent
of its properties and relations?
 
Or shall we be like Adam –
that supreme royal subject –
who, in his garden of many things,
objectified objects without
actually granting them
objecthood?