Even though it is becoming obvious to many outside the Westminster bubble, and indeed many inside it, that the campaign to paint Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn as a raving anti-Semite has been less than totally successful, there are some out there on the right whose persistance knows no bounds. And persisting without success is something that Stephen Pollard, editor of the Jewish Chronicle, is a specialism which he has made his own.
Stephen Pollard - wrong again
Corbyn and shadow chancellor John McDonnell have marked the tenth anniversary of the financial crash of 2008 - when Lehman Brothers was allowed to go bust, thus precipitating an almost immediate global downturn - by asserting that those who got us all into this mess, the banks, should face greater scrutiny. This does not seem unusually controversial. But Pollard has decided that this is, in fact, a manifestation of anti-Semitism.
You read that right. Viewing Corbyn’s reference to the 2008 crash, he concluded “Been hesitating to tweet this because I keep thinking it can't be, surely it can't be. But the more I think about It, the more it seems it really is. This is 'nudge, nudge, you know who I'm talking about don't you?' And yes I do. It's appalling”.
Pollard did have one ally. Stephen Daisley, whose rantings are sadly not supported by intellectual capacity, dribbled “I long ago stopped rationalising this kind of behaviour as naïveté. He is not some bumbling old grampa who blurts out the wrong thing at social events. He is a career politician, with a savvy political staff around him, and a small army of spin doctors. He knows what he's doing”. But he was wrong, too.
Elsewhere, Mike Hind mused “Perfect question-begging strategy: 1. Say Jeremy Corbyn is antisemitic 2. Ignore all Jewish dissent from that view 3. Say you can't help seeing antisemitism in benign observations but acknowledge you might be wrong 4. Blame Jeremy Corbyn anyway ‘because he's antisemitic’”. Quite. And there was more.
Owen Jones was not impressed by this idea. “The banks plunged Britain into disaster ten years ago which millions of people paid the price for and will do for years to come. Implying it’s a racist dog whistle to state the facts about the defining crisis of our time is as embarrassing as it is disgraceful”. Pollard is indulging in more selective racism.
As Hussein Kesvani observed “Fascinating that Stephen sees subtle antisemitism in a straightforward video suggesting bankers are held more accountable, bu calls Douglas Murray's book on why brown people are destroying europe, ‘serious, measured reportage as the foundation of a serious,measured argument’”.
Steve Howell found Pollard’s claim hard to believe. “Jeremy Corbyn is referring here to a direct attack on him last year in which Morgan Stanley called Labour 'a bigger risk than Brexit', specifically citing our policies to help low paid and end outsourcing. But Stephen Pollard reads anti-Semitism into it!!”. Max Kane was equally unimpressed.
“It wasn't hairdressers, taxi drivers, or any other profession that caused the financial crash, it was bankers. It takes a complete & utter idiot to see that as anti-Semitism. Pollard even has a blue tick & has obviously been verified as an idiot by twitter”. Ouch!
As to who was being anti-Semitic, Michael Rosen had bad news for the JC editor. “Totalitarian country, bloke running down the street shouting: 'Death to the tyrant!' Secret police arrest him and say, 'Who are you talking about?' Bloke says, 'Who do YOU think I was talking about?' Thus: Pollard perceived 'banker' as 'Jew': so he's the antisemite!”
Also, as Pollard began to shift into excuses mode, Rosen pointed out “You blurted out a gross antisemitic trope. Jews sometimes do. It's the world of slurs and prejudicial language. The one you dabble in all the time. And now some of it has fallen out of your mouth too”. Stephen Pollard tried to pick up a cheap political point. And he dropped it.
The attack on Corbyn is becoming desperate. Perhaps it is becoming too desperate.
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