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Thursday 25 June 2020

Maxine Peake And No Anti-Semitism

Shadow education secretary Rebecca Long Bailey was “asked to step down” today by new Labour leader Keir Starmer. Her crime appears to have been to tell the world that actor Maxine Peake was a “diamond”, although there may also have been a bust-up between the two over Starmer’s support for the reopening of schools.
Maxine Peake

Why support for Ms Peake should be controversial is down to an interview which she has given to the Independent, where she made this claim: “The tactics used by the police in America, kneeling on George Floyd’s neck, that was learnt from seminars with Israeli secret services”. This has brought forth a tsunami of condemnation.
John Rentoul, the self-appointed keeper of the Blair flame - rather in the same way that Charles Moore appointed himself to an equivalent status with the legend of Mrs T - showed that he was of less than perfect courage by saying merely “Oh my. Maxine Peake”. Evening squire, nudge nudge, know what I mean? Er, actually, no.
But Murdoch hack and Tory peer Danny Finkelstein was quite certain what it meant: "stupid ignorant Antisemitic conspiracist nonsense … 5G level stuff”. Nick Timothy, so brilliant that he helped Theresa May take a 20 point plus poll lead and nearly lose the following General Election, sniffed “In which not only does Maxine Peake blame the death of the George Floyd on Israel, but the Independent sees fit to tell readers that this might indeed be the case”. She didn’t. But you get the point.
And Dave Rich was on hand to labour it. “There is a deep well of antisemitic conspiracism that blames Jews for every calamity. There are people who will believe anything bad about Israel, however ludicrous. Maxine Peake's suggestion that Israeli police taught US police how to kill George Floyd is where these groups meet”. But here a problem entered.
Ms Peake did not “blame Jews”. Indeed, equating “Jews” and “Israel” is anti-Semitic, according to the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism, and that is what Rich just did. Lee Harpin, who recently landed the Jewish Chronicle with a big legal bill, added “one of Maxine Peake's claims is George Floyd's death was a result of techniques ‘learnt from seminars with Israeli secret services’. This is a false claim used to create hatred towards Israel and division between BLM and Jewish groups”. False? We’ll get back to that one.
Middle East Eye observed earlier this week “The Israeli police force has tried to distance itself from any perceived similarities, issuing statements denouncing what happened and stating that its officers are not trained to use knee-to-neck techniques. But photographs taken as recently as March have shown Israeli forces using the same restraint on unarmed protesters just yards from the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem's Old City”.
Officers from many US forces have travelled to Israel for training. Others have been trained by Israeli officials in the USA. Moreover, in 2018, the local council in Durham, NC, banned training and exchanges between their Police Department and the Israeli military.
Owen Jones put it this way: “US systemic racism is a home grown enterprise. The murder of George Floyd should squarely be blamed on that. The exchange in training between US, Israel or other countries is real but separate. Peake *and The Independent* got that wrong, but it doesn't justify this.” And I’d mainly concur.
The problem is that, as soon as anyone mentions something that involves Israel, and the something may result in Israel being perceived negatively, there are howls of “anti-Semitism”. But the only ones conflating “Israel” and “Jews”, falling foul of the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism, and indeed reaching as far as to say that Ms Peake claims that the IDF killed George Floyd (she didn’t) are those shouting her down.
The training of US law enforcement officers by the Israeli military is not an “anti-Semitic conspiracy theory”. It’s not “5G level stuff”. No-one “blames Jews”. But this does enable pundits to look away from holding a catastrophically inept Government to account.

And it allows the Tories to get away with rather more blatant anti-Semitism. The kind that none of those bleating at Maxine Peake seem to notice. I’ll just leave that one there.
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Disco in Furlough said...

I wonder what Malcolm from the Mailwatch forum will think about this.

In all seriousness, I wish that she hadn't retweeted that. Peake may have been taken out of context, but she does draw an awfully close line.

Neville said...

RLM's sacking is the latest in a long line of plans by Starmer to turn the labour party into a Conservative lite. This will cause anger among MPs on the left of the party, but if they had any courage of their convictions, they should consider resigning and setting up a new left party which should strive to be anti-racist, anti-corporate and fight to create a better nation.

Derek said...

Dear Zelo ,
Moving slightly outside of our parochial concerns this could be an important step forward for the Palestinians , what they must now look to do is look to garner photos , videos and evidence that the Israeli Security Services & police use such restraint tactics , or indeed that Israeli snipers deliberately target to cripple protesters . If they do , then this could be a justification for PalestinianLM or ArabLM campaigns , highlighting the injustices of the ‘apartheid’ state and illustrating the insidious world-wide racist linkages .

Anonymous said...

I still want to know what was the true purpose of Patels Israeli ‘holiday’

Anonymous said...

No, Tim, NO. Just NO.

The issue here isn't the tweets of mss Peake and Long-Bailey. Neither post was in the least "antisemitic".

The issue is STARMER'S REACTION....The fellow had already hinted at how right wing he is. This merely pushes the envelope a bit further. No more than expected. He'll get worse too.

Long-Bailey has learned the hard way there can be no compromise with his right wing type. Some of us have known it for years.

James said...

My observations and thoughts.

1) Peake is a person who can hold their own. She supports Corbyn and is opposed to the witchhunt. The press, here led by John Rentoul is not going to let that lie.

2) Owen Jones stills continues to be the snake in the grass. Appears to support Peake, but doesn't care for the fact that the american police used a israeli tactic which led to a man's wrongful death. Jones wants to rein in Peake.

3) Should we be surprised that Rebecca has been sacked given she was seen as a Corbyn ally ?

Harry Hatter said...

Disco in Furlough.

You aware of that site too? Malcolm is the most baseline of souls, he's driven more than a good few out.

Some might call him the Keir Starmer of that place.

Ludicrous decision. Doomed for another four years thanks to it.

Anonymous said...

Sir Keir rightly sees he cannot ever win an election with Marxist loony tunes in his cabinet. These dinosaurs can go off and form their own party or go rioting in the streets. Whatever, Labour doesn't need them as it seeks to become the main party of the left instead of the Conservative party. Taking a knee will haunt him though.

Anonymous said...

You are way better at attacking the indefensible, rather than defending the indefensible.

She was always going to be on the hit list and her idiotic retweet of a pointless article was a great excuse.

Anonymous said...

Amnesty have distanced themselves from the claim made in the article: https://twitter.com/PronouncedAlva/status/1276244100224860162?s=19

ActonMan said...

If Starmer wanted to get rid of RLB, that's up to him. One can imagine he never really wanted to appoint her in the first place and that there might well be differences of opinion between them over policies. But this specious anti-Semitism charge is a dispicable way of going about it. By no definition was the statement complained of anti-Semitic, being criticism of the Israeli state's security forces. That Starmer is prepared to publicly smear RLB in this way could be career ending for her and signals a significant and worrying departure from his much lauded 'forensic' and 'analytical' approach. By the new logic, RLB and Maxine Peake should be suspended from the Party, together with the many thousands of party members who support her. So much for Party unity.

Nigel Stapley said...

The fact that Starmer is being defended today by John Rent-A-Tool (in the very paper which published Maxine Peake's interview!) is clear proof that Starmer is what many of us thought he was; a New Labour retread.

There was nothing in what Peake said which was remotely 'anti-semitic', and her claims have the backing of documentary evidence, so it can't be a 'conspiracy theory'.

Starmer's precipitous actions dmonstrate that he is dragging the Labour Party away from what its members wish it to be, and back to the days of 'triangulation', the 'third way' and being owned in fee simple by the pro-Israel lobby.

Anonymous said...

It's politics. Maybe it's opportunistic. There's isn't any chance of an election anytime soon. This is a fight he must feel is inevitable, so why not have it now and get it out of the way.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @ 02:44

First, I doubt you even know what Marxist means if you think RLB, or even Corbyn for that matter, fit that description.

As for this load of tripe:

"Labour doesn't need them as it seeks to become the main party of the left instead of the Conservative party."

The Tory party has never been anywhere close to being left wing but then again, you probably think the Nazi party was left wing (or perhaps even Marxist!) simply because it had the word Socialist in it's name.

Harry Hatter said...


I think we've found Malcolm!!! Haha

You alreet Malcolm. How's the purge going?

Brutal tactics are universal said...

I doubt that the restraining techniques used by the Israeli military are of Israeli origin.
Shooting people in the back - Which group claims to have thought of that first?

Brenda Landes said...

As a professional actress you have failed in my book. You did not examine text or subtext.
As a theatre director in Israel,(studied in Cardiff , New York and Tel Aviv) i really love your acting, but now I am afraid I shall always see you in a different light.
Come to Israel where Jews and Arabs work together in Theatre, in orchestras. I directed an Arab/ Jewish theatre for 15 years, in Haifa University .c
The conspiracy theory blaming Israel for George Floyd's death should be ignored by every thinking person, along with Twin Towers tragedy where again Israel was to blame!!