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Tuesday 27 October 2020

The Mail Crosses The Anti-Semitism Line

The inmates of the Northcliffe House bunker have not had a good recent track record when it comes to racism. And, despite being able to wheel out Jewish voices in defence of their journalism, that has included shockingly blatant anti-Semitism, with the attack on the memory of Ralph Miliband dredging up one of the oldest of anti-Semitic tropes, that of the “Disloyal Jew”. Now the Mail has crossed the line once more.

Not so different to Dacre, it seems

This time, its target is Aberavon MP Stephen Kinnock, of whom the Mail claims “Sources say the Labour leader is infuriated with Stephen Kinnock, one of his frontbench foreign affairs team, for using a Commons debate on Palestine and the West Bank to accuse Israel of behaviour 'tantamount to profiting from the proceeds of crime’”. Do they now.

Do go on. “Labour did not deny reports yesterday that Mr Kinnock, son of ex-party leader Neil Kinnock, had now been reprimanded for remarks which also included calling on the UK to 'ban all products that originate from Israeli settlements in the occupied territories’”. And the party did not confirm it either. There were also claims that Lisa Nandy had become involved, although, once again, it’s all about “sources”. But thus far the Mail is OK.

That part of its report is covering the same ground as the Jewish Chronicle, which has reported the issue straight down the line, barring the odd Lee Harpin mannerism. Where the Mail goes wrong is when it also claims “The row is deeply embarrassing for Sir Keir on the eve of the publication of a report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission into how the party dealt with antisemitism under his predecessor”.

Stephen Kinnock MP

Yes, it conflates criticism of the state of Israel with anti-Semitism. And there is more. “When he took office in April, Sir Keir won plaudits from the Jewish community for vowing that he would 'tear out this poison [of antisemitism] by its roots’. Under Mr Corbyn, Jewish groups accused the party of repeatedly singling out Israel for criticism while failing to condemn the behaviour of China or Iran [no citation, not even ‘sources’]”.

The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of anti-Semitism is quite clear on the point of criticising the state of Israel: “criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic”. Also, the definition’s examples of anti-Semitism include “Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel”. What Kinnock has done is the diametric opposite of this.

He has focused on the continuing breach of international law perpetrated by Israel since the Six Day War of 1967, and the passing of United Nations Resolution 242. And not on attacking Jews. Moreover, looking at the Op-Ed from Jeremy Corbyn’s former chief of staff Karie Murphy in the Guardian, those at the Mail slavering over the prospect of denunciation of Labour by the EHRC may be in for some measure of disappointment.

But good to see that the Mail hasn’t changed with the change in editor: it still doesn’t understand anti-Semitism, or perhaps it does, and just doesn’t care.

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Anonymous said...

The only cross the Mail is interested in is the Hakenkreuz.

Martin Read said...

An unexpected, 'Hats off!' to Stephen Kinnock, then.

Jonathan said...

One of Geordie's predecessors was very encouraging of the Blackshirts and the Nazis.