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KEN LOACH nails it, as do Jewish Voice for Labour, Labour Against the Witch Hunt and Camden Momentum members meeting outside Labour’s national executive committee meeting (NEC) tomorrow morning, in identifying Palestine as the reason why Jeremy Corbyn is accused falsely of anti-semitism.
Labour is currently unique among European social democratic parties in having a leader who is a socialist, a supporter of Palestinian national rights and being in with a shout of winning a general election.
Loach, in his open letter to Guardian journalist Simon Hattenstone, brackets Corbyn’s pro-Palestinian stance with “his social and economic programme, his determination to base a foreign policy on International law and human rights and the general resurgence of the left that he represents.”
It’s natural to do so since the Labour leader’s insistence on freedom for Palestine dovetails with his consistent demands for social justice at home.
His socio-economic stance used to draw sneers from the likes of Tony Blair that Corbyn should “come into the real world,” but Blair’s real world of rubbing along with City multimillionaires didn’t reflect the daily reality of working people suffering the capitalist austerity agenda.
Similarly, Blair and his successor Gordon Brown signed up as sponsors of the Jewish National Fund, assisting ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their homeland.
Corbyn has not done that. Nor will he because his principles are neither adopted nor discarded to win short-term political support. He is committed to them.
Among his most dearly held and consistently voiced principles is dedication to anti-racism of all kinds, including anti-semitism, which makes the false allegations carried by his opponents in the Parliamentary Labour Party, the Israeli government and conservative Jewish organisations in Britain all the more hurtful but nonetheless false.
Such is his own capacity for self-criticism and willingness to see fault-finding as honestly based that he was inclined to accept that anti-semitism might indeed be a major problem for Labour.
Constant references to thousands of instances of usually online anti-semitic abuse are routinely described as being from “Corbyn supporters” without the slightest scrap of evidence.
Whenever Corbyn denounces anti-semitism, insisting that, where it exists in Labour, it will be eradicated, his words are derided amid demands for action in the form of mass expulsions and acceptance of an anti-semitism definition that precludes serious criticism of Israel.
His refusal to succumb to such a co-ordinated political gang-up means that this thoroughly decent man is now smeared customarily as an anti-semite.
And yet the campaign of vilification is not working. The nine Corbyn-supporting candidates for the NEC have all been elected, including Pete Willsman, who was headlined by the Blairite New Statesman as “the true face of Labour’s anti-semitism problem.”
Frank Field, the Birkenhead Labour MP whose hero is Margaret Thatcher, who claims huge support from constituents for resigning the Labour whip over anti-semitism and who was toying with calling a by-election, has lost his bottle and will soldier on in Parliament.
Yet another political prima donna carried away by self-importance who recognises he would be blown away by a Labour candidate in a by-election.
Labour’s rank-and-file members have shown a greater understanding of key issues than the party’s great and good.
They know that an unholy alliance of conservatives opposing Labour’s radical economic policies and supporters of Israel’s colonisation programme have united to destroy their elected leader. And they want no part of it.
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