As Zelo Street pointed out recently, the ruckus which was supposedly over Labour adopting the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism, together with all the examples, would not end after its adoption, because it was not about anti-Semitism. It was, and is, about getting rid of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader. And the reason for this is all too straightforward.
Labour pledged in the run-up to last year’s General Election to green light Part 2 of the Leveson Inquiry. Our free and fearless press is scared shitless of what that would - not just might - uncover. So it is no coincidence that those who work in the service of that press are continuing to demonise Jezza, no matter how foolish they look as a result.
Dr Ellie Cannon
All of which brings us to GP-cum-columnist Dr Ellie Cannon, who writes for the Mail on Sunday, sister paper to the Daily Mail, which infamously indulged in blatant anti-Semitism when it gratuitously trashed the memory of Ralph Miliband. Yet Dr Ellie wants her followers to know that anti-Semitism is what Labour is at, even though it is not.
So it was that she shared her most personal thoughts on an open Twitter feed, telling “A (very personal) thread from me and @adam_cannon So we just spent Jewish new year as we always do - friends, family, eating, honey cake, synagogue... And it’s all been the same as normal as it has been for the last 40 years that I can remember until last night”.
Do go on. “Last night the conversation moved on from schools, and TV, and work to the subject on every Jew’s mind at the moment: Corbyn. And we sat for hours planning with our friends where and how we would leave if he became Prime Minister. We swapped potential passport options”. Er, WHAT? What if he DID become Prime Minister?
But she was only just getting warmed up. “We argued on the merits of other safer’ countries. We discussed when, why, how and where we would make a new start. Do people realise this is happening in the UK in 2018? Two British born, Oxbridge educated professional adults discussing the merits and logistics of fleeing”. There was more.
“We were all born and raised here. We are mostly third or more generation British. I cheered in my university bar when my Labour vote won in 1997 I have never considered myself anything other than British (for me being Jewish comes second to that) … But last night we planned where we’re going next. Jews who escaped Europe in the 1930s talked about the suitcases always being ready. It’s 2018. The suitcase, once again, is packed”.
I accept there are some Jews who are genuinely apprehensive of a Labour Government - but there isn’t anything sinister about the idea. As one Tweeter has pointed out today, “Remember how Channel 4 Dispatches went undercover with Momentum for 6 months and found not a single, solitary incidence of antisemitism? The worst they could find was a potential mis-sharing of data, which turned out to be perfectly legal anyway”. There is no anti-Semitic intent from Labour. This is a press confection that is getting out of hand.
Dr Ellie is looking the wrong way. Anti-Semitism, if and when it rears its ugly head, will, as it did in the past, come from the far right. Right now, the far right, emboldened by the attitude of papers like Dr Ellie’s, is going after Muslims. But the persecution won’t stop there. It never does. The fascists are never satisfied with picking on just one minority.
What Dr Ellie is doing, by joining in with the pretence that Labour means anti-Semitism, is in its own way dangerous, because if real anti-Semitism - rather than the invention of a press establishment that is frightened of what a Labour Government might cause to be unearthed by setting the Leveson Inquiry process going once more - were to appear in the UK, many people might not take it seriously after all the press ranting at Labour.
As to the talk of Corbyn bringing danger to Britain’s Jews, this idea has been contradicted by … Dr Ellie herself. A year before Jezza was first elected Labour leader, she told “**Reality check**: I am a 3rd generation British Jew. Never in 37years have I felt worried about living in the UK. I do now. Why?” It had nothing to do with Corbyn then.
And last April, she was moved to pass adverse comment on what she had just seen on BBC Question Time: “‘The fact you have to have guards now at Jewish schools’ says @CarolineLucas … It’s been like that for three decades. Get with the programme #BBCQT”. It’s got nothing to do with Corbyn now, either, has it?
Then she let slip what the demonisation of Jezza is partly about: “Even as a child I have never walked into a synagogue that doesn’t have security on the front door @CarolineLucas - I feel you should be aware of that And 50% of your time spent answering a question on anti Semitism related to Israeli settlements. Irrelevant”.
There it is again - the conflation of “Jews” and “Israel”. For Dr Ellie, Jezza is bad because he backs the cause of the Palestinians. It’s not about anti-Semitism. Again.
And what of Adam Cannon? He works for the Murdoch Sun. I’ll just leave that one there.
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