This week Jeremy Corbyn, with Seumas Milne and Jennie Formby, finally deigned to meet Jewish community leaders. Afterwards Jonathan Arkush, President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, and Jonathan Goldstein, chair of the Jewish Leadership Council, looked ashen and angry and said they were disappointed with the outcome.
Sadly this is unsurprising. I don’t know what the Jewish community leaders were hoping to get from the meeting. Corbyn and his coterie give the impression that they despise Israel and Jews. His actions, past and present, have shown no desire to address the concerns of the Jewish community. This meeting was a desperate form of showboating.
But listening to the BBC’s Norman Smith musing on the Today programme, we could be forgiven for thinking that the fault lay solely with the Jews. Smith tried to show Labour in a favourable light by making the excuse that Jews were ‘demanding changes to party lines and rules’. This implied that Jews should not have asked the leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition to tackle the endemic anti-Semitism in his party. But the reason Jewish leaders came away empty-handed was that Corbyn contemptuously shrugged away their concerns.
During the meeting Formby, Labour’s new general secretary, and Milne, Corbyn’s communications director, insisted that although Labour’s internal processes were to blame for inaction on anti-Semitism these couldn’t be changed. Corbyn also claimed that he is powerless to stop his own MPs sharing platforms with suspended Labour members accused of anti-Semitism. Given the massive influence he wields over his followers, this is disingenuous.
Their duplicity is a crude smokescreen for indifference and laziness. All three have huge clout and reach and could easily implement new procedures. This obsession with internal processes in the face of such hateful racism is the epitome of the banality of evil. The Nazis were also fond of their procedures, rules and lists.
It’s strange that Labour processes are so rigid, especially considering that the Tories have no problem when it comes to expelling racists quickly from their ranks. If they didn’t, the media, including the BBC, would be rightly skewering them. Yet Labour is given a free pass.
But the BBC has form when it comes to discourse on Jews and Israel, and stubbornly persists in parroting the Labour perspective on this, regardless of good sense or morality.
The headline for this biased broadcast was that Labour promised to settle the majority of the 80 outstanding cases of anti-Semitism by the end of July. Surely after Corbyn, Milne and Formby’s dire performances in the meeting, the headline should have been that Corbyn refuses request for independent ombudsman or that he won’t let Labour sign up to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism. I suspect the advice in this definition not to compare Israel to the Nazis stuck in his craw.
And given the reluctance to sign up to this important definition, will the NEC find any of these transgressors guilty of anti-Semitism? If no clear-cut parameters are adopted the entire process is a charade, akin to a dog chasing its own tail – futile and senseless.
The only way to change Labour’s culture of anti-Semitism is not to vote for them. The BBC should stop championing this disgraceful shambles of a political party.