To no surprise at all, when Labour’s shadow chancellor John McDonnell was interviewed by the host on The Andy Marr Show™ yesterday, there had to be a pause in the routine political questioning to talk about allegations of anti-Semitism. It has become a regular Labour-only feature, whatever action the party takes in response to those allegations.
But guests from other parties do not face such questioning, which, in view of recent anti-Semitic innuendo and smears from senior Tories - Jacob Rees Mogg making his “Illuminati” attack on Oliver Letwin and John Bercow, and Priti Patel channelling Viktor Orbán by being a friend of Israel while very deliberately citing the “North London metropolitan elite” - suggests a lack of research along the line.
And now has come a most unfortunate slip from the appallingly slippery Michael “Oiky” Gove, who has engaged in another bout of late evening Twitter activity aimed at Labour members and supporters. “This is from a Corbyn supporter and Momentum member - I hope I can see condemnation of this grotesque anti-semitism from [Jeremy Corbyn], [Laura Parker], [Ash Sarkar] and [Matt Zarb Cousin]” he ranted.
There was only one problem here: the Tweet he cited was then deleted, and its author appears not to be a Labour member. So it was no surprise when Aaron Bastani responded “The thing is, this person doesn’t exist. At least according to activists in West Mids. If that is found to be the case will you delete your disgusting insinuation amplifying a racist troll?”
What say “Oiky” to that? Look over there! “Dear [Aaron Bastani] - I know you’re a decent and moral person - but you and others must do far more to root out the anti-semitism in your party - our Jewish friends and neighbours fear a Corbyn Government - time for you to stand with them and Israel”. And, as Jon Stewart might have said, two things here.
One, Labour can’t “root out” people who are not members of the party. And Two, Gove just put his foot in it big time by conflating “Jewish” and “Israel”. This, as any fule kno, is cited by the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism as being an anti-Semitic conflation. As one Tweeter put it, “I can only assume that the conservative antisemitism tsar will be reprimanding you about your conflation of Israel and Judaism which breaches the IHRA antisemitism guide that your party didn't fully adopt?” John Mann? Don’t make me laugh.
It is not Gove’s first foray into this area, as the Independent reported in September: “Cabinet minister Michael Gove has refused to condemn Viktor Orban as he was grilled over the decision by Conservative MEPs to oppose a measure to censure the far-right Hungarian government. Mr Gove said he had ‘views’ but was not going to be drawn on individual European leaders - leading critics to suggest the environment secretary had ‘complete moral bankruptcy’”. He was also criticised by the Jewish Chronicle.
The JC told that “Michael Gove has been criticised for ‘worrying’ and ‘shameful’ unwillingness to condemn Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán over antisemitism and xenophobia, after Tory MEPs refused to vote for taking action against his government”. Worse, his wife Sarah “Vain” Vine claimed that saying there was “not nearly enough Islamophobia within the Tory Party” was “clever and funny”.
Someone here has a racism problem. And it’s not the Labour Party.
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