CONSERVATIVE peer Lord Sheikh is learning the hard way what a nasty bunch of dishonest, back-biting and abusive bastards his party promotes as MPs.
Sheikh’s 2014 attendance in Tunis at a Middle East conference convened by Tunisian president Moncef Marzouki, alongside Labour backbencher Jeremy Corbyn and Liberal Democrat Lord Phillips, had never previously ruffled Tory feathers until he criticised Boris Johnson for Islamophobic comments about how some Muslim women dress.
Like Baroness Warsi before him, Sheikh called out the anti-Muslim prejudice lurking just below the surface of Tory life in expectation of a response.
He urged removal of the Tory whip, suggesting that, if his party refused to act, this could make its jumping on the anti-semitism bandwagon directed at Corbyn appear a little disingenuous.
Indeed it could, as might Theresa May’s utter paralysis when required to act against blatant prejudice.
But here come May’s cavalry riding over the hill, in the form of Tory MPs Zac Goldsmith and Robert Halfon, ready to save her blushes by alleging that the Tunis conference was “addressed by anti-semites and terrorists” and demanding an immediate investigation into Sheikh’s attendance there.
Goldsmith has form in these matters, having smeared Sadiq Khan as soft on jihadi terrorism in the London mayoral election and been soundly spanked by the electorate as a result.
He and his Conservative Friends of Israel colleague Halfon recognise so sadly, of course, that failing to tar Sheikh with the same brush deployed against Corbyn “would be to indulge in hypocrisy and double standards.”
And that would never do, would it? Unfortunately for these would-be character assassins, timing is against them.
After weeks of putting the boot into the Labour leader and using every interview with anti-Corbyn MPs to solicit a condemnatory comment, the BBC has finally published a more balanced piece, “Wreath row explained,” on its website, albeit buried in its Features & Analysis section.
Don’t misunderstand this to mean an end to the anti-Corbyn vendetta.
It continued with a BBC Gordon Brown interview that provided a suitable hook to tempt Jess Phillips to spew her usual bile.
Brown claimed that anti-semitism is a “running sore” in the party and predicted that Corbyn will have to change unsustainable “attitudes to both the Holocaust and to Israel.”
Brown’s record not only includes helping squander Labour’s 1997 landslide majority through his pro-business economic policies and dithering over calling a general election in 2007 before bottling it and leading the party to defeat in 2010 but also sponsorship of the Jewish National Fund (JNF).
He claimed that the JNF promotes “charitable projects for everyone who lives in Israel,” which is a blatant misrepresentation.
The historic and current role of the JNF has been to promote Jewish colonisation in both Israel and occupied Palestine, taking over the property of “absentee” Palestinian landowners forced to flee their homeland and planting nature reserves over bulldozed Palestinian villages.
Far from the JNF pushing charitable projects to benefit all, its record of complicity in land seizures, ethnic cleansing and settlement of an occupying power’s citizens on other people’s land add up to war crimes.
Corbyn would be very poorly advised to accept criticism from such as Brown and to follow it.
Recent weeks’ events have doubtless been an eye-opener, showing the ruthlessness of those knotting the noose of anti-semitism around his neck.
Sheikh must prepare himself for a similar Kafkaesque plight, to be defamed unjustly until he surrenders and apologises.
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