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Posts Tagged ‘Racism

Far-Right Conspiracy Group ‘Keep Talking’ Involves: Piers Corbyn, Gilad Atzmon and Vanessa Beeley.

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This Guardian report is deeply concerning.

UK left activists attended events with far right antisemites

Former Labour party members have regularly met elements of the far right to discuss and propagate antisemitic conspiracy theories, an undercover investigation has found.

Infiltration of the conspiracy theorist group Keep Talking found that Jeremy Corbyn supporters and confidantes of former Labour MPs have attended meetings addressed by Holocaust deniers.

During one gathering in London last year, suspended Labour supporters heard James Thring, an infamous antisemite linked to the former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke, speak openly and unchallenged about Holocaust denial.

A covert recording of Thring at the meeting captured him claiming that no deaths were recorded at the Auschwitz Nazi death camp, where 1.1 million people, mostly Jews, were systematically murdered.

Among ex-Labour members at Keep Talking events – though not the one attended by Thring – was Elleanne Green. Once a Labour member in Westminster, Green founded the secret Facebook group Palestine Live, exposed in 2018 as featuring Holocaust denial and theories that Israel was responsible for 9/11.

Corbyn and other senior Labour party figures had been members of the Facebook group at various points since its creation in 2013. Green, suspended by the party in July 2018, accompanied ex-MP Chris Williamson to court when he sued the party in an antisemitism row. Undercover investigators first noticed Green at a Keep Talking event in September 2018.

A number of names, familiar to those who’ve followed the issue, and recognise that Labour has indeed had a problem with some anti-semitic activists, appear in the article:

During the meeting at which Thring spoke, on 5 March 2019 at a Kentish Town cafe, ex-Labour party member Peter Gregson was the guest speaker with a speech titled: “The loss of freedom of speech on Israel, thanks to bogus antisemitism claims.”

Gregson, who was thrown out of the GMB union and suspended by the Labour party over antisemitic allegations, has founded a group called Labour Against Zionism and Islamophobic Racism (Lazir).

Also present in the audience was Ian Fantom, co-founder of Keep Talking and a 9/11 “truther”, who has appeared alongside Piers Corbyn, older brother of the Labour leader, at a Keep Talking event.

Footage taken during the Kentish Town meeting has also identified Gill Kaffash, former secretary of the Camden branch of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, whose membership application was rejected by the Labour party in 2016 because she had promoted Holocaust revisionism.

Other Keep Talking attendees include Holocaust denier and far-right activist Alison Chabloz, who the Jewish News reported in 2015 became a supporter of the Labour party and “declared loyalty to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in several blog posts”.

Chabloz was convicted of antisemitism in 2018 after publishing videos of herself singing antisemitic songs denying the Holocaust at a meeting of the London Forum, a far-right organisation with links to the US alt-right.

Another speaker at Keep Talking meetings was Israeli writer Miko Peled, who addressed the group after appearing at a Labour party conference fringe event in Brighton in 2019.

During a Labour party conference in 2017 he reportedly told a fringe event that: “This is about free speech, the freedom to criticise and to discuss every issue, whether it’s the Holocaust: yes or no, Palestine, the liberation, the whole spectrum.”

The other co-founder of Keep Talking, Nick Kollerstrom, is a Holocaust denier who has referred to “storybook gas chambers” when describing Auschwitz.

There is one defender of Palestine Live around:

This might give a clue that this not an isolated fringe:

“Funded by disgraced academic and Holocaust denier Nicholas Kollerstrom. Speakers include conspiracy theorists and fellow travellers, such as Piers Corbyn, Gilad Atzmon and Vanessa Beeley. Suspended Labour members have rubbed shoulders with far right activists.”

Piers has well-known mental health issues, but as for Atzmon, and Beeley…

Chris Williamson promoted petition in support of Gilad Atzmon, who denounced ‘Holocaust religion’.

And,

Beeley is a regular on RT:

 

Vanessa Beeley is a regular on Russian state-backed media

 

Further Background 

 

Hope not Hate. 5.3.2018.

 

Keep Talking, run by Ian Fantom, is an obscure London-based group for conspiracy theorists of all types, ranging from Holocaust deniers, climate change deniers and 9/11 ‘Truthers’. The group had organised a series of six events at Conway Hall on Red Lion Square in London.

The first event in a run of six – due to take place tonight – was to feature contributions from the infamous Holocaust denier Nick Kollerstrom, who takes organising duties at the meetings. Kollerstom has called the 9/11 attack in New York ‘a constructed, fabricated event’ and argues that the 7/7 attacks in London were a ‘false flag’ terror attack.

However, he is best known for his denial of the Holocaust, after the publication of an article titled ‘The Auschwitz Gas Chamber Illusion’ on the website of the infamous denial organisation the Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust. In it he claimed that there was “never a centrally-coordinated Nazi program of exterminating Jews in Germany. Lethal gas chambers did not function in German labour-camps, that’s just an illusion.”

Here is more:

 

Written by Andrew Coates

February 23, 2020 at 1:08 pm

White Guilt. From Stickers in Ipswich to Identitarian Politics.

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Racist stickers found on streets of Ipswich

A council has taken down around 60 white supremacist posters plastered around a UK town over the weekend, authorities have said.

“It’s OK to be white” and “reject white guilt” were written on signs across Ipswich, according to images shared on social media.

Max Stocker, a council spokesperson, told The Independent they have been working to remove the posters, which also included the message “beware non-white rape gangs”.

Similar messages have been spotted around different parts of the UK in recent months, including Hull and Perth, according to local media.

Signs saying “it’s OK to be white” were also put up in Bristol city centre last week.

Some of these posters bear the mark of Hundred-Hands, a group encouraging the spread of posters containing messages of white supremacy over social media.

Sam Murray, an Ipswich resident, claimed she removed 10 signs in the town herself.

“This does not have a place here,” she told The Independent.

“Ipswich is a nice town,” she said. “It is diverse and normally people just get on with their lives.”

Bryony Rudkin, deputy leader of Ipswich Borough Council, called the white supremacist messages “deplorable”.

“This racist behaviour does not represent the people of Ipswich or our town,” she said.

“Council staff have been out over the weekend taking these stickers down.”

Police are investigating the posters and aware of similar reports in other areas of the UK, a Suffolk Police spokesperson said.

“It’s OK to be white” spread as a slogan across the US several years ago, and posters started appearing across American universities.

One of the few telling points in Michel Houellebecq’s novel Submission (2015) was his invention of a group called “Indigenous European – a direct response to the Indigènes de la République which claims to represent “colonial subjects” on French territory.  This is not the product of the jaded writer’s imagination. I Identity politics is the mainstay not just of campus politics but also, in Houellebecq’s twist, of an influential section of the European right. Génération Identitaire claims to stand for Europe against the “Islamisation of Europe” and the “migrant invasion”. Hope Not Hate writes that the British offshoot, Generation Identity, has this basis.

Martin Sellner, de facto spokesperson for the movement, talks of the need to preserve “ethno cultural identity” which extends back to an ancient European heritage.

Houellebecq illustrates how identity politics have moved on from the time when Naomi Klein could regret that “The need for greater diversity – the rallying call of my universality years – is now no only accepted by the culture industries. It is the mart of global capital. And identity politics, as they were practiced in the nineties, weren’t a threat, they were a gold mine.” Hollywood and the media aside, these issues have shifted into national populism, fall out from the EU Referendum, and the efforts of those who failed to oppose the Hard Right Brexit project to throw a smokescreen about Labour’s election disaster. (1)

Now we have people putting up stickers spreading the right-wing identity message. Those there say that at the Farage rally to celebrate Brexit last Friday some also repeated other ideas from this quarter, the fight against “cultural Marxism” held responsible for the other side, in the argument, liberal identity politics.

This is not just a fringe movement.

Prominent Spectator writer Douglas Murray’s Madness of Crowds (2019) is a sally against the “religion of social justice” prompted by “identity politics”. His The Strange Death of Europe (2017) is a lament about the suicide of Europe through mass immigration. The Spectator writes ends with a plea against those politicians who wish to “change our home into an utterly different place.” In short, Europe’s identity is under threat from others. Murray anglicised Éric Zemmour’s complaints against post-68 ‘cultural Marxist’ attacks on “(famille, nation, travail” with Renaud Camus’s fear of Europe’s inhabitants being replaced by newcomers, the Grand Remplacement. (2)

During Brexit we’ve often heard that the ancestral inhabitants of Britain are under threat from metropolitan, and cosmopolitan, elites. The late Roger Scruton observed in 2017 that, “The question of identity is bound up with that of sovereignty: who governs us, and from where?” Spiked runs a profitable ‘anti-woke’ troll farm promoting national populist, and pro=Brexit,  identity politics under the mask of saying, “Identity politics is really for rich white people“.   This ‘question’ has received a left response: the ‘real’ working class, who struck a blow against the capitalist EU in the Leave revolt, is under attack from liberal identity politics. Some with no doubt admirable aims speak of “the caricature of the white working class as racist and culturally conservative”.  In Haringey Labour it’s been debated that the working class needs its separate party group (Haringey: Labour members call for ‘working-class section’ in bid to regain power).

Identitarians.

The identitarians, who have branches across Europe, including Britain, were founded in France. Struggling against ‘cultural Marxism’, affirming their culture and selves. Douglas Murray has talked about “desire to continue to feel yourself guilty..” for the legacy of Empire. This is an idea can be traced back to Pascal Bruckner’s Le Sanglot de l’homme blanc (1983). From disillusionment with Third Worldism, the belief that revolution would come from the global South, the French essayist has not stopped exploiting the theme. In La Tyrannie de la Pénitance he already observed, in 2006 Western “masochism”, the desire to apologise for the, very real, crimes of imperialism. Imprisoning people in their ethnic and racial identities, leads to individuals staking up a tally of resentments, not to free themselves as a collective group with universal right. Many will sympathise with Bruckner and his conclusion that “shame” should be replaced by a common search for freedom. But most people who read La Tyrannie would retain the diatribe against those protesting at past atrocities and injustices, and his mocking at the “agglomeration of tribes” standing against the common identity of Citizenship. (4)

There is a point at which identity politics on the left meets the far right and that point has been reached by the French Parti des Indigènes de la République (PIR) The PIR’s spokesperson Houria Bouteldja offers a picture of the world in imitation of US Black Power. She melds attacks on ‘Whiteness’ (Blanchité) and laments for the decline in Arab virility. Bouteldja takes it upon herself to speak for the “nous”, the “Noirs”, the blacks to the ‘vous’, the ‘Blancs’, the Whites, and has some words of advice to the “vous”, the ‘Juifs’, the Jews. In the struggle for the voice of the indigenous she affirms a belief that commemorating the memory of the Shoah is, for whites, the “the bunker of abstract humanism”. Anti-Zionism is the “space for an historic confrontation between us and the whites”. She has been pictured with a placard reading “Zionists to the Gulag”. Bouteldja is fêted in Berkley and other ‘post-colonial’ academic quarters. She has been given space in the populist US left journal, Jacobin. A certain Richard Seymour has called her “admirable”. (5)

White Guilt.

Those now rushing to affirm working class identity should take note of that adventure. Those who wish to talk about a halt to White Guilt have more in common with their approach than they might wish. Both the side attacking some kind of inheritance of ‘whiteness’ and those trying to stand up for an indigenous, left-behind, working class share something with the right-wing ‘identitarians’. That is the immense weight they claim for the past. The enemy of human rights and the French Revolution,Edmund Burke, would be amused to find that political debate has become a squabble about the “Inheritance from our forefathers”, the ” partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born.”

This Blog prefers another side of the dispute altogether

Every age and generation must be as free to act for itself in all cases as the ages and generations which preceded it. The vanity of governing beyond the grave is the most ridiculous and insolent of all tyrannies.

Tom Paine.

 

 

  1. Page 115. No Logo, Naomi Klein. Flamingo. 2000.
  2. Page 320. The Strange Death of Europe. Immigration, Identity, Islam. Douglas Murray. Bloomsbury. 2017. Eric Zemmour, Le Suicide Français. Albin Michel. 2014. Le Grand Remplacement. Renaud Camus. 2011.
  3. Page 4. Where We Are. The State of Britain Now. Roger Scruton. Bloomsbury. 2017.
  4. Page 175. Murray. Op cit.
  5. Les Blancs, les Juifs et nous. Houria Bouteldja. La Fabrique. 2016.

French parliament decides anti-Zionism is antisemitism.

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New Law Faced Critics Alleging it  “Stigmatises and Silences ” Critics of Israel, and even those in Favour of 2 State Solution.

The Jerusalem Post headlines today,

French parliament decides anti-Zionism is antisemitism

Anti-Zionism is a form of antisemitism, France’s National Assembly determined on Tuesday, voting on a resolution calling on the government to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism.

The motion proposed by lawmaker Sylvain Maillard of LREM, President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist party passed 154-72 in the parliament’s lower house.

New French bill equating anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism ‘is going very far afield’

France 24 reports on why the move met strong opposition.

A group of 127 Jewish intellectuals has signed a petition against a new French bill which would equate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism. FRANCE 24 spoke with one of the signatories who calls the bill “problematic”, saying it “delegitimises the legitimate act of criticising the state of Israel”.

In an interview with FRANCE 24,  James Cohen, a professor at the Université Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris 3 and one of the 127 signatories of the petition, said that “by equating antizionism with anti-Semitism, you’re broadening the definition of antisemitism too much […] you’re going very far afield.”

“Some of the people out there who oppose the policies of the state of Israel, who may even oppose the existence of the state of Israel, might also be anti-Semitic […] but that should not delegitimise the legitimate act of criticising the policies of the state of Israel. And when it comes to the existence of the state of Israel, there are questions that need to be asked whether a one-state solution or a two-state solution could be viable. Why should this discussion not be open?”

On Tuesday evening, French lawmakers adopted the bill, with 154 votes against 72.

The above declaration by Jewish intellectuals was printed in Le Monde yesterday.

Antisémitisme : « Nous demandons le retrait de la résolution Maillard »

More in the Nouvel Obs:

127 intellectuels juifs contre la définition de l’antisémitisme élargie à l’antisionisme

The resolution is “highly problematic,” says the group in its platform. First because it “equates […] anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism” . But “for many Jews considering themselves anti-Zionists, this conflation between the two is deeply offensive,” says the collective.

“Some Jews oppose Zionism for religious reasons, others for political or cultural reasons. Many Holocaust victims were anti-Zionists, “ says the collective.

“For Palestinians, Zionism represents dispossession, displacement, occupation and structural inequalities. […] They oppose Zionism not out of hatred of the Jews, but because they live Zionism as an oppressive political movement. “

The second reason is that IHRA’s definition of anti-Semitism itself would be “highly problematic” , “unclear and imprecise” .

It is, moreover, “already used to stigmatise and silence critics of the State of Israel, including human rights organizations,” said the group.

“We can not consider this as independent of the Israeli government’s main political agenda of rooting out its occupation and annexation of Palestine and silencing all criticism,” say the signatories, who are worried about “political support”. , to France “ .

According to the group, “anti-Semitism must be fought on a universal basis, along with other forms of racism and xenophobia, in the battle against hatred” .

Today Radio France Internationale  (RFI) report, using the more precise language of “linking” antiSemitism and anti-Zionism,

French parliament adopts controversial law linking anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism

The text was passed by a very narrow margin, in a virtually empty parliament. Opponent of the legislation have notably complained that the law associates anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism.

Opening the debate, ruling party MP Sylvain Maillard warned the National Assembly that “Jews are once again being killed in France, because they are Jews”.

During the parliamentary discussion, the deputies were informed that more than one hundred Jewish graves had been desecrated with black swastikas on Tuesday in the north-western French town of Westhoffen.

Finally, 154 MPs voted in favour of the legislation, with 72 against. Many parliamentarians chose to leave before the vote on the controversial law. There were 550 deputies present for the earlier vote on the social security budget.

Fewer than one third of ruling party members supported the new law, with 26 voting against, and 22 abstaining.

Critics of the law point to the association made by the new legislation between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism.

French President Emmanuel Macron has already stated his belief that anti-Zionism represents “one of the current forms of anti-Semitism”.

The French law accepts the controversial definition of anti-Semitism proposed by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA): “Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”

That definition makes no reference to anti-Zionism, but, the examples which accompany the definition explain that “any unfair treatment of the state of Israel, demanding behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation” is regarded as unacceptable.

Supporters of the French law claim that many anti-Semites hide behind the banner of anti-Zionism. The Interior Minister, Christophe Castaner, explained that the law had only one objective and that was to remove all ambiguity about anti-Semitic statements, acts or gestures. Castaner further pointed out that the neither the word anti-Semitism nor the term anti-Zionism appear anywhere in the final text of the law.

Several dozen prominent Jewish intellectuals have actively campaigned against the law, saying it runs the risk of “criminalising ideas” without doing anything to fight racism.

The text was voted on by  a very low number of deputies.  At the heart of the criticism of opponents: the fact that it associates anti-Zionism with a form of anti-Semitism.

..

54 deputies voted for – out of the 577 who sit in the National Assembly  – 72 against. Many parliamentarians did not take part in the vote, even though they were nearly 550 present two hours earlier for the final adoption of the Social Security (Health and Family allowances) bill, a sign of the discomfort aroused by this text.

Macron’s own parliamentary group La République en Marche, (LRM)  was divided,

The LRM group, revealed by the analysis of the poll… of its 303 members, 84 voted in favor of the text, ie less than a third of the Macronist collective. 26 voted against when 22 abstained.

The Socialists (PS), Communists (PCF) and La France insoumise (LFI) voted against the new law.

 

Written by Andrew Coates

December 4, 2019 at 1:53 pm

Verso Publishes ‘Antisemitism and the Labour Party, Jamie Stern-Weiner’. Norman Finkelstein: “British-Jewish elites are terrorising Corbyn”.

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Verso have just put this out.

Antisemitism and the Labour Party

We are approaching the 2019 general election in bizarre circumstances. From the climate crisis to homelessness, Brexit to the NHS, the stakes could scarcely be higher. Yet a story about the Labour Party that has no basis in fact and whose partisan motivations are transparent is playing a significant role in our national conversation and might even influence the result.

The ‘Labour antisemitism’ controversy is, in its profile and its protractedness, unprecedented in modern British politics. Its prominence may increase still further as polling day draws near, while other progressive campaigns abroad—notably supporters of Bernie Sanders in the United States—are beginning to be targeted with the same allegations.

The Introduction sets the tone.

Like a creature from a horror film, the ‘Labour antisemitism’ controversy just won’t die.

The ‘antisemitism’ campaign is, in its profile and its protractedness, unprecedented in modern British political history. To find an analogy requires reaching back to those outbursts of collective madness which periodically stain the annals of human history and astonish all succeeding generations. If its consequences do not compare with those of the Salem Witch Trials or the McCarthyite purges, still, in, bottomless irrationality, and self-perpetuating moral hysteria, the propaganda offensive against Labour lies squarely in the trajectory of these infamous episodes.

Some might remark that Stern-Weiner, apparently a DPhil candidate in Area Studies at the University of Oxford,  sounds pretty over the top as well.

He predicts that any Labour election difficulty will mean that the

” ‘antisemitism’ charge will briefly take on renewed salience as factional opponents seek to engineer his ouster (translation from American, his removal) . If and when he is ejected, the whole issue will vanish overnight, consigned forever to Orwell’s memory hole. What happens if Corbyn wins is less certain. But his opponents will continue to have resort to the ‘antisemitism’ weapon, while there are already indications that the relentless smears have curtailed his radicalism.

Stern-Weiner draws wider conclusions,

In any case, the ‘Labour antisemitism’ campaign set a template that is sure to be deployed against other popular movements of the left – as supporters of Bernie Sanders are beginning to discover. It is therefore critical that the strange events that have warped British politics since 2015 are soberly examined and the truth about them established – not just for posterity, but to help kindred  governments avoid repetition of Labour’s mistakes. This volume brings together a selection of analytical writings on the ‘Labour antisemitism’ affair” as a contribution to this effort.

Jamie Stern-Weiner .

21 November 2019

Norman Finkelstein is keen to underline his contribution.

 

Not long ago Finkelstein caused a lot of controversy for his view on Jews in Britain,

Jews have too much power in Britain. The three richest Brits in 2016 were Jewish.[12] Jews comprise only .5 percent of the population but fully 20 percent of the 100 richest Brits.[13] Relative both to the general population and to other ethno-religious groups, British Jews are in the aggregate disproportionately wealthy, educated, and professionally successful …These data track closely with the picture elsewhere. Jews comprise only 2 percent of the US population but fully 30 percent of the 100 richest Americans, while Jews enjoy the highest household income among religious groups.

Jews comprise less than .2 percent of the world’s population but, of the world’s 200 richest people, fully 20 percent are Jewish. Jews are incomparably organized as they have created a plethora of interlocking, overlapping, and mutually reinforcing communal and defense organizations that operate in both the domestic and international arenas. In many countries, not least the US and the UK, Jews occupy strategic positions in the entertainment industry, the arts, publishing, journals of opinion, the academy, the legal profession, and government. “Jews are represented in Britain in numbers that are many times their proportion of the population,” British-Israeli journalist Anshel Pfeffer notes, “in both Houses of Parliament, on the Sunday Times Rich List, in media, academia, professions, and just about every walk of public life.” The wonder would be if these raw data didn’t translate into outsized Jewish political power.

The chimera of British anti-Semitism (and how not to fight it if it were real)

In the present E-Book Finkelstein argues the following,

The Labour Party’s code of conduct hitherto faithfully honoured its libertarian legacy as it allowed every idea, however bizarre or noxious, to be mooted. Prodded by the anti-Corbyn Jewish Labour Movement, the party’s leadership poured into the code a mass of verbal sludge  128 anti-semitism and the labour party that polluted the venerable principle of free speech. Now British-Jewish elites are terrorising Corbyn to accept a purported definition of antisemitism that, one, is and couldn’t but be gibberish, two, exemplifies ethnic special pleading, three, is not just pointless but also stifles vital debate, and, four, has nearly nothing to do with antisemitism and nearly everything to do with shielding Israel from deserved condemnation. The long and short of it is, to detoxify its code of conduct, Labour should junk the revised text, reject as a whole and in all its parts the IHRA text, and return to its radical roots.

If the Labour Party adopts them, it will become a willing dupe of Israeli hasbara; it will disgrace the party’s noble traditions; and it will betray Jeremy Corbyn’s promise to set the party on a new-old path of upholding Truth and Justice, wherever it may lead and whatever the price.

Why the Labour Party Should Not Adopt the IHRA Definition or Any Other Definition of Antisemitism.

Without going into the fraught debate on the code of conduct Finkelstein simply wishes Labour to adopt the US First Amendment and refuse to allow any abridgement of free speech.

Here is contributor Daniel Finn, in an article taken from the populist US journal Jacobin, arguing against what is now Labour policy on the Middle East,

A ‘two-state solution’ as envisaged by Israel and its Western allies would really be a ‘one state, several Bantustans solution’, with some pitiful fragments of the West Bank handed over to a supine Palestinian leadership to administer on Israel’s behalf. The longer Israel is shielded from any kind of effective pressure by euphemistic phrase-mongering, the more likely this outcome will be.

In the following contribution Finn writes on Chris Williamson,

This is where the Chris Williamson row comes in. The case against the MP mainly rests on the people he has defended rather than the things he has said. On that count, the charge-sheet is very uneven: it is one thing to criticize Williamson for circulating a petition in support of Gilad Atzmon, a true example of a Jewish antisemite (Williamson said he was unaware of Atzmon’s antisemitic comments, deleted his post, and apologised) it is quite another to attack him for supporting Marc Wadsworth, a black Labour activist who was the victim of an unpleasant stitch-up.

Overall, I find the arguments for his expulsion unconvincing and tendentious, even if you accept – as many of Williamson’s defenders do12 – that his interventions on the ‘Labour antisemitism’ controversy have often been clumsy, insensitive, and ill-judged. And to state a point that should be obvious: while some on the Labour left dislike Williamson and think he’s a liability who does more harm than good, disciplinary action has to be based on clear-cut principles, not political expediency. Unless he’s done something that clearly merits the harshest penalty, it should be up to Labour members in Williamson’s constituency party to decide whether he continues to be their representative.

But what really matters is how this case fits into the overall picture. If Chris Williamson had never been a Labour MP, the basic structure of the controversy would be exactly the same as it is today. And if Williamson is expelled from the party, retires from political life, and never says a word in public again, the controversy will still grind on remorselessly, for all of the reasons stated above. Williamson himself would just become one more link in the chain of guilt-by-association (‘X defended Y, who defended Z’) that has become wearingly familiar.

Williamson gets another defence here:

The Fake News Nazi Corbyn, Williamson, and the Antisemitism Scandal. 

David Edwards. Media Lens, 13 March 2019.

Both completely ignore the substance of the many weighty accusations against the – present – independent candidate in the General Election.

WHAT’S WRONG WITH CHRIS WILLIAMSON?

Amongst other issues this struck many people,

3. The time Williamson promoted a Syrian war crimes denier

For me, one of the most unforgivable things Williamson has done, last summer, was promote Vanessa Beeley, a war crimes denier and fake news merchant. Here is an extract from Oz Katerji in the New Statesman on this incident:

 

A thoughtful contribution by David Rosenberg tries to restore some sanity to this volume,

There is Another Way to Resolve Labour’s Toxic Wrangles Around Complaints David Rosenberg Rebel Notes, 24 July 2019

On Shami Chakrabarti’s  report comrade Rosenberg  notes

She sought to replace the paranoid and toxic atmosphere that was felt at times in the party, with an atmosphere ‘for learning, positive consensus and progressive change’ where members ‘discussed and debated difficult issues and differences, in an atmosphere of civility and a discourse of mutual respect’. For her that also meant ‘a moratorium on the retrospective trawling of members’ social media accounts and past comments’.

He argues (on the basis of how people who’d been on the far-right in the 1930s could be changed) in favour of this approach.

Chakrabarti added, ‘I do not recommend lifetime bans from the Labour Party. Present or future members of the NEC should not be robbed of their discretion to consider how someone may have changed their attitude’.

There are also Testimonies: Labour Jews Speak Out.

Many are important reading.

But does this volume bring ” together the most rigorous and penetrating analytical writings on the ‘Labour antisemitism’ affair?

For a start the (already over-used)  list, “Sixty Times Jeremy Corbyn Stood with Jewish People @ToryFibs November 2019″

Just stop at the start.

1. April 1977: Jeremy Corbyn helps organise the defence of Jewish populated Wood Green from a neo-Nazi march.

Jewish Voice for Labour (which is prominent in the present book) published the original, which says,

Corbyn organised the Apr. 1977 defence of Jewish populated Wood Green from a Neo-Nazi march.

I was there, in the thick of the violent counter-demo in the road outside Wood Green Tube station.

We had come down in coaches from Warwick University Students’ Union.

Yet it was known territory: I grew up just on the border (literally, my parents’ street at the time is the dividing line between Wood Green and New Southgate) and had lived there not that long before,  in Bounds Green.

Jeremy Corbyn, a young councillor, and a  minor trade union official,  was a liaison officer for Haringey councillors who worked with the organisers of the demonstration, labour movement, left, and campaigning bodies.

On 23 April 1977, a twelve hundred-strong National Front march through Wood Green was opposed by some 3,000 anti-racists, including delegations from Haringey Labour Party, trade unionists, the Indian Workers’ Association, local West Indians, members of Rock Against Racism and the Socialist Workers Party. While Communists and churchmen addressed a rally at one end of Duckett’s Com-mon, a contingent composed of more radical elements in the crowd broke away and subjected the NF column to a barrage of smoke bombs, eggs and rotten fruit. Eighty-one people were arrested, including seventy-four anti-fascists. Such are the bare bones of our history, but they explain little about what the National Front was, where it came from, and why so many people felt that it should be opposed.

The Battle of Wood Green 23rd April 1977 Keith Fleet (an invaluable post)

Fleet says, “One of the Labour Councillors at the time, and an organiser of the counter-demonstration, was Jeremy Corbyn, then a trade union official, now a Labour MP.”

Corbyn did a good job, but, as Fleet says, he was not alone, far from it, and I doubt if he’s every claimed otherwise.

The National Front were marching against immigration above all, from the sub-continent and the Commonwealth and were felt to target the black community, important in the area and next door Tottenham.

Wood Green has never been “Jewish populated” – although not far away Muswell Hill has a  Jewish community (see the transfer of the small Hornsey and Wood Green Synagogue to Muswell Hill here), and there is a Synagogue in Brownlow Road on the border with Southgate,  in Bounds Green, about a mile from the march…

The rest of list does not get better.

  • EDM3933 7 Nov. 1990: Corbyn signs motion condemning the rise of antisemitism
  • EDM634, 11 Apr. 2000: Jeremy Corbyn signs motion condemning David Irving for being a Holocaust Denier
  • EDM1124, 6 Nov. 2000: Jeremy Corbyn praised the ‘British Schindler’, Bill Barazetti, for his WW2 kindertransport
  • EDM742, 28 Jan. 2002: Jeremy Corbyn signs motion praising football clubs for commemorating Holocaust Day
  • EDM1233 30 Apr. 2002: Corbyn was a primary sponsor on a motion condemning antisemitism

And so it goes….mostly Early Day Motions  to Parliament….

This Blog agrees with some of Stern-Weiner’s Blog recent statement (if one replaces the word fascism with national populism and the extreme right),

This election is not like any other. The far-right is winning around the world. It might very well be that we are just one economic crisis, one climate shock away from the return of fascism across Europe.

This is the real threat to Jewish people.

It is the saddest of ironies that whereas Jews were a principal target of fascism in the 1930s, Britain’s Jewish leadership has now aligned itself against the chief bulwark of anti-fascism.

In the past and today, our best defence, our only defence, against the far-right, is a strong left, which promises a positive and inclusive plan for a fairer society.

If we want to defeat the far-right and to defeat the causes of the far-right, our only hope is Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party.

A BRIEF RESPONSE TO CHIEF RABBI MIRVIS

The present E-Book, with its message against ‘Jewish elites’, and denial that there are serious problems with a conspiratorial minority in the Labour party which includes an anti-Semitic fringe, is not likely to help that call.

Nor is its constant use of the words “elites” and this claim -itself;f with no research offered, or clarity about what “power elites” and theories about elites arem how the floating signifier of “elites” has developed within  present day national and other varieties of populism.

Is the Labour Party Against Empirical Sociology? Notes on Power, Elites, and Anti-Racism Tom Mills and David Miller

The Labour mini-site warns against ‘theories [that] ascribe to Israel influence on world events far beyond any objective analysis’. This sounds reasonable enough, but who then should be the judge of what is ‘objectively’ acceptable? More research on this topic would likely help the movement to navigate such questions for itself, but this has only been made less likely and more difficult in the febrile political atmosphere that has taken hold around this issue.

This forway from the political shallows  doesn’t even mention the hard right Brexit project that’s unleashed a Carnival of Reaction in which ‘elites’ are the main target.

But then the side of pro-Reform and Remain internationalist left gets no mention, only sneers at the ‘Blairite’ claims to be “liberal cosmopolitan progressiveness” (Jeremy Gilbert).

Nothing there about anti-rootless cosmopolitan campaigner and hardline ‘left’  Brexiter Paul Embery:

Image result for rootless cosmopolitan paul embery

Written by Andrew Coates

December 1, 2019 at 1:08 pm

Corbyn “Not Fit For High Office”, Chief Rabbi’s Article Faces Protest.

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The way in which the leadership of the Labour Party has dealt with anti-Jewish racism is incompatible with the British values of which we are so proud.”

From the article.

Chief Rabbi Mirvis

The party leadership have never understood that their failure is not just one of procedure, which can be remedied with additional staff or new processes. It is a failure to see this as a human problem rather than a political one. It is a failure of culture. It is a failure of leadership. A new poison – sanctioned from the very top – has taken root in the Labour Party.

Many members of the Jewish community can hardly believe that this is the same party that they proudly called their political home for more than a century. It can no longer claim to be the party of diversity, equality and anti-racism. This is the Labour Party in name only.

How far is too far? How complicit in prejudice would a leader of Her Majesty’s opposition have to be in order to be considered unfit for high office?

Would associations with those who have openly incited hatred against Jews be enough? Would support for a racist mural, depicting powerful hook-nosed Jews supposedly getting rich at the expense of the weak and downtrodden be enough? Would describing as “friends” those who endorse and even perpetrate the murder of Jews be enough? It seems not. What we do know from history is that what starts with the Jews, never ends with the Jews.

It is not my place to tell any person how they should vote. I regret being in this situation at all. I simply pose the following question: What will the result of this election say about the moral compass of our country?

When December 12th arrives, I ask every person to vote with their conscience.

The front page article has been followed by this: (Guardian)

The archbishop of Canterbury has in effect backed the chief rabbi’s comments on the Labour leadership’s record on antisemitism with a tweet highlighting the “deep sense of insecurity and fear felt by many British Jews”.

Justin Welby does not explicitly refer to the Labour party, but his intervention a few hours after the chief rabbi’s excoriating public criticism of Jeremy Corbyn is significant.

The key words of the article are these, “How complicit in prejudice would a leader of Her Majesty’s opposition have to be in order to be considered unfit for high office?”

In other words, Mirvis asserts that Corbyn is “complicit” in anti-Semitism, and is only open to discussion about “how far” this has gone to make him unfit for “high office”.

This is, one can see, highly offensive premise on which to begin a debate.

This is of course par for the course for some people who have accused Corbyn of anti-Semitism, if not fascism (the latter claim is not picked out from the sky but from the words of leading proponents of this line of thought).

Mirvis highlights three instances.

  • Would associations with those who have openly incited hatred against Jews be enough?
  • Would support for a racist mural, depicting powerful hook-nosed Jews supposedly getting rich at the expense of the weak and downtrodden be enough?
  • Would describing as “friends” those who endorse and even perpetrate the murder of Jews be enough?

The first claim, “association” is given no details. The second, the Mural, was only “supported” by Corbyn in the sense that he – briefly – defended this Mural’s right to be there, and the use of the word “friends” refers, one assumes, to those for whom Corbyn  used this expression to all taking part in public meetings defending the Palestinian cause. I have heard him doi the same at countless meetings of all stripes. The word is, in many eyes, not always  unhelpful, but no more so than “comrade” or “colleague” in political parties.

References in Mirvis’ article to “faceless social media trolls”, “hounded parliamentarians, members and even staff out of the party for challenging anti-Jewish racism” are equally sweeping.

Where cases have been identified they have been dealt with, – it would not be hard to show this and this Blog cannot be alone in having followed some of them closely. Some have not been resolved quickly, and this is to be regretted.

From the opposing side Labour Against the Witch-hunt (LAW) has protested vigorously at Labour’s keenness to deal with Antisemitism.

This indicates that Labour has acted.

A series of allegations, involving Chris Williamson,  has meant that he is not allowed to stand under Labour colours  in the General Election.

There is much to criticise politically on Jeremy Corbyn’s take on international issues, including the Middle East, and more broadly, on the way he, and others, have taken the anti-colonial movements of the days of Empire, and the ‘anti-imperialism’ of the post-war period, into the present day.

The Israel Palestine conflict is, in many people’s eyes, best approached through the angle of a two state solution and not a classic liberation of one country from ‘colonial’ occupation, as the more extreme pro-Palestinian supporters allege.

In a multi-polar world, where anti-democratic countries like China and the Russian Federation operate, and Trump’s US runs amok, in which threats from genocidal groups like ISIS remain high on the agenda, and countries like Burma and Turkey practice ethnic cleansing, the old division of the globe into two camps, imperialism and its opponents, no longer works.

Yet Labour’s Manifesto has a balanced approach based on human rights.

Labour’s policy on the Middle East in the Election Manifesto is the following:

Labour is committed to a comprehensive peace in the Middle East based on a two-state solution – a secure Israel alongside a secure and viable state of Palestine.

There can be no military solution to this conflict, which must be settled on the basis of justice and international law. All sides must avoid taking action that would make peace harder to achieve.

That means both an end to the blockade, occupation and settlements, and an end to rocket and terror attacks. Labour will continue to press for an immediate return to meaningful negotiations leading to a diplomatic resolution. A Labour government will immediately recognise the state of Palestine.

Labour will take all lawful action necessary to counter and confront all forms of terrorism, and we will advocate a long-term multinational political strategy, led by regional actors, to tackle the spread of extremism.

To the Chief Rabbi’s  all-embracing charge-sheet Labour has responded.

“Jeremy Corbyn is a lifelong campaigner against antisemitism and has made absolutely clear it has no place in our party and society and that no one who engages in it does so in his name.

“A Labour government will guarantee the security of the Jewish community, defend and support the Jewish way of life, and combat rising antisemitism in our country and across Europe. Our race and faith manifesto, launched today, sets out our policies to achieve this.”

The party also said that anti-semitism complaints “account for about 0.1% of the Labour Party membership”, and that “polls show anti-semitism is more prevalent among Conservative than Labour supporters”.

Labour meanwhile challenged the figure of 130 outstanding cases as “inaccurate”, and said it was “categorically untrue to suggest there are thousands of outstanding cases”.

They added: “We are taking robust action to root out anti-Semitism in the party, with swift suspensions, processes for rapid expulsions and an education programme for members.”

Politics Home.

One other immediate reaction will be to bring to the attention of the Chief Rabbi, who only represents a section of the Jewish Community, to be precise,  British Orthodox Jewish synagogues,  whose authority is recognised by around half British Jews, the positions of Labour’s rival, the Conservatives, on diversity, equality and anti-racism.

The Chief Rabbi states, “Convention dictates that the Chief Rabbi stays well away from party politics – and rightly so. However, challenging racism in all its forms is not a matter of politics, it goes well beyond that. Wherever there is evidence of it, including in any of our political parties, it must be swiftly rooted out. Hateful prejudice is always wrong, whoever the perpetrator, whoever the victim.”

What has he said about this?

 

These are very serious matters.

Bob from Brockley gives more details on how some Tories have extended their racism to anti-Semitism.

A vote for the Conservatives is not a vote against antisemitism

Don’t let the Tories use Jews as a political football

Bob has his own take,

Anyone who reads this blog regularly or follows me on Twitter will know that I see Labour antisemitism as a real and massive problem: there is a shocking level of antisemitism among grassroots Labour activists (including candidates for office), a chronically insufficient response to this from a leadership that at best suffers from a deep inability to recognise contemporary antisemitism, and a massive amount of denial and defensiveness that itself shades into paranoid conspiracism. Many British Jews and their good faith allies may decide not to campaign for Labour or even not to vote Labour; this position can be legitimately reached out of sincerely grounded existential fear, or out of anti-racist principle.

However, in a context where objectively the most likely alternative to Corbyn (probably the only alternative) is the re-election of the current government, to declare for “anyone but Corbyn” – or to go one step further and actually endorse the current government, as Ian Austin and John Woodcock have done – exceeds that legitimate position.

In this post, I will be arguing that – even if we ignore the most pernicious aspects of Johnson’s Conservative party (its disastrous hard Brexit strategy and its awful record on basically every single economic and social issue from the NHS to industry) – a vote that leads to a Johnson government is a vote for racism, both racism against Jews and racism against other minorities.

Update on how the intervention is already being used:

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As Energising Labour Campaign Takes Off, Side-Show Chris Williamson to Stand.

with 6 comments

Chris Williamson

Side-Show Williamson “deserves to lose his seat in Parliament. HOPE not hate will help make that happen.

As Labour’s election campaign gets underway lets not exaggerate the difficulties with fringe characters like Ian Austin, or the personal decision of Tom Watson not to stand in the coming poll.

This is good news for internationalists,

Other good news.

Bye Bye Chris Williamson.

Chris Williamson banned from standing as Labour candidate in general election

Chris Williamson has been banned from standing for Labour at the general election.

Or perhaps au revoir.

In the letter Williamson protests against Labour Party efforts to “normalise Zionism”,

In a post which covers everything from Zionism, to Zionism, the Vice Chair of Labour Against the Witch-hunt, Tony Greenstein says,

Socialists Should Support the Decision of Chris Williamson to Stand as an Independent Socialist

Chris was the target of a vindictive witchhunt because of his support for democracy in the Labour Party. All socialists should support his standing as an independent socialist candidate and I wish him well in his endeavours and hope to be able to go up and campaign for him personally.

Anti-racists are already mobilising against Williamson:

Hope Not Hate says,

Now that Chris Williamson has indicated that he intends to stand as an independent candidate, HOPE not hate will campaign to ensure that the people of Derby are fully aware of his harmful and dangerous views. We are confident that both he and his gutter politics will be rejected at the ballot box.

It’s worth repeating exactly what his track record is.

  • He has routinely downplayed the seriousness of antisemitism, calling it ‘bullshit’ and ‘a smear’.
  • He has publicly supported those who have already been removed from the party for antisemitism, such as Ken Livingstone, who falsely claimed that Hitler was a Zionist, and disgraced party activist Jackie Walker. He chose to stand alongside them, most recently at Labour Party Conference in September during the Labour Against the Witchhunt fringe event.
  • He promoted a petition in support of Gilad Atzmon, a man who has denounced ‘the Holocaust religion’ and who suggested that there is a Zionist plan for world domination.
  • Williamson reasserted his support for Pete Willsman after a recording surfaced of Willsman ranting about Rabbis and that antisemitism in the Party has been fabricated by Israel, an antisemitic conspiracy theory. Not only this, he campaigned for the reinstatement of Marc Wadsworth who attacked Ruth Smeeth MP at the launch of the Chakrabarti report for ‘working hand in hand with the press’.
  • He booked a room in parliament to host a screening of the film ‘Witch Hunt’, an antisemitic conspiracy theorist documentary that downplays and dismisses the issues of antisemitism in the Labour party.
  • He has continually baited Jewish people, including tweeting in support of disgraced Assadist and antisemite Vanessa Bealey, and tweeting support for Scott Nelson, who was removed from the Labour party for tweeting that Tesco and Marks and Spencers were ‘Jewish companies’ that had ‘Jewish blood’.
  • In his letter resigning from the Labour Party, he accused the Israeli government of being to blame for accusations of antisemitism, alleging that the Jewish Labour Movement and Britain First were also behind the crisis.

Rumours are emerging that Galloway and Williamson are in talks for an alliance:

After Naz Shah’s Charges, Why is Salma Yaqoob Still Standing for Labour Selection for West Midlands Metro Mayor?

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Ex-Respect Leader Salma Yaqoob, would-be Labour candidate for West Midlands Metro Mayor.

The Huffington Post:

Naz Shah And Salma Yaqoob: What You Need To Know About The Row Gripping Labour

Accusations of abuse and homophobia amid high drama caused by Labour’s decision to allow former Respect Party leader to run as candidate in West Midlands mayoral race.

The person at the centre of the controversy? Former Respect Party leader Salma Yaqoob, who is now running to be Labour’s candidate for mayor.

Yaqoob stood as a Respect candidate in Birmingham in the 2005 and 2010 general elections, before resigning from the party – which won a seat for George Galloway in the Commons – in 2012.

She then stood as an independent candidate against Labour MP Naz Shah in Bradford West in 2017.

Now, Shah – Labour’s minister for women and equalities – is leading calls against Yaqoob becoming the party’s candidate in the race for mayor.

In a series of tweets on Tuesday night, Shah described how Yaqoob’s campaign to unseat her in 2017 left her “feeling suicidal”.

The article continues,

“I absolutely feel that her whole rhetoric of her campaign was about inciting hatred towards me,” Shah said.

She has accused Yaqoob of “honour abuse”, of failing to challenge men who slut-shamed Shah at her campaign events and of suggesting voters should back her at the polls because wore a hijab and Shah didn’t.

“I do not have confidence that Salma Yaqoob would win West Midlands for Labour at all,” the Labour MP said in a video on Twitter.

“And the reason I don’t [is] because I don’t believe she’s Labour. I don’t see her as Labour.”

Shah added: “Labour values are very, very much about fairness and equality and justice.”

Meanwhile, in a letter to the Labour Party, campaign group LGBT+ Labour accused Yaqoob of being homophobic and of saying being LGBT was “a choice of lifestyle” on national television. Yaqoob has strongly denied the accusations, and says her words were taken out of context.

Tariq Ali comments and manages to get in a dig at John McDonnell.

Hope Salma makes it…she is one of the most remarkable political leaders produced by the antiwar movement. She should be in parliament so just hope this is only a start. One of her opponents is Liam Byrne , a Blairite! Pity that John McDonell (sic) is supporting him…

The recent charge sheet on Shiraz Socialist remains unanswered.

Some questions for Salma Yaqoob

Here are some questions for Ms Yaqoob:

1/ Is it true that you entered politics campaigning for British jihadists who were imprisoned by the Yemeni authorities for their terrorist activities? (A number of tourists, who had been captured by the Islamic Army of Aden-Abyan, were killed during the attempt to rescue them. The so-called Yemen Eight included both the son and the stepson of the radical Islamist preacher, Abu Hamza al-Masri who was jailed for soliciting murder and inciting racial hatred).

2/ Did you write an article (headed “Entertainment”) in Inayat Bunglawala’s Trends magazine, in which you imagined Britain as an Islamic Republic?  (The piece ended with a terrified Salman Rushdie fleeing the country).

3/ Were you aware, at the time (2006), of the Respect leaflet in Birmingham Sparkbrook (where you were the Respect candidate), calling for people not to vote for the Lib Dems, because of their support for LGBT rights? (While the leaflet disappeared, Respect never apologised).

4/ While we’re on the subject of LGBT rights, what do you think of the present dispute over LGBT lessons in Birmingham schools? What have you had to say on the matter? Has it occurred to you that an intervention by yourself on the side of LGBT rights, could make an enormous difference to the situation?

5/ Quite correctly, you resigned not just as leader of Respect, but from the party itself, following George Galloway’s outrageous comments supporting Assange over rape allegations. In your letter of resignation you stated:  “I remain committed to the principles and values that led me to help found Respect. The policies we have fought for need to be voiced as loud as ever in opposition to a political establishment that remains out of touch with working people” . The letter then goes on to cite the “struggles for peace, justice and equality”: no mention there of socialism.  Are you a socialist? And, if so, how would you define socialism?

6/ Why did you stand against Labour’s Naz Shah in Bradford West in 2017?

7/ Why, during the 2017 Bradford West campaign, did you attend, as a guest, events with members of murder victim Samia Shahid‘s family? What was your relationship with that family (some of whom were involved in her ‘honour killing’ and rape) at the time?

8/ The blogger and commentator Sunny Hundal tweeted that he had “videos (in Urdu) of speakers insulting Naz Shah in very derogatory sexist terms, while Salma Yaqoob is sitting there and listening”: can this be true? Did you go along with, or endorse, this kind of misogyny?

9/ Why did you deliberately misrepresent yourself and your relationship with the Labour Party during that campaign, suggesting in leaflets (see below) that you had the backing of Jeremy Corbyn? (The Labour party put out a statement describing this claim as “false and misleading”).

10/ Do you now regret not having apologised to Naz Shah when your deception was exposed, and instead claiming that statements made by Labour constituted “malicious accusations” and said that “Naz Shah’s petty political game [is] designed to discredit my campaign, which is focused on reversing the years of neglect in Bradford West.”?[39]

11/ How would you respond to Naz Shah’s assertion that in 2017 you ran a “despicable” campaign of misogyny, patriarchy and clan politics, making you unfit to be a Labour candidate and unfit for office?

12/ As you must have known when you announced your bid to the mayoral candidate, the local left and several unions were already backing Pete Lowe. Why should the left advocate that the campaign that’s been built up around Lowe now be broken up, diverted, and split, almost certainly letting in right winger Liam Byrne?

 

Yacoob’s political history in Respect did not include resignation over other incidents, its unofficial alliance with the hard right Muslim Brotherhood Muslim Association of Britain, and (later) the Islamic Forum of Europe, a strategy of alliances with Islamists. There was also this incident, Yvonne Ridley, speaking at London’s Imperial College in February 2006, Respect “is a Zionist-free party… if there was any Zionism in the Respect Party they would be hunted down and kicked out.”, and a host of other incidents, often involving the present Red-Brown Brexit Party supporting George Galloway. Not to mention Respect leader Lindsey German calling gay rights a “shibboleth”.

More background:

Written by Andrew Coates

October 24, 2019 at 11:49 am