Thursday, 5 May 2016

Mad As Hatters

By Their Fruits You Shall Know Them

Should a political party nourish and protect racism within its ranks?  Well, if it is the KKK, it's very raison d'etre is racist, so of course it should and would protect racism.  Should that party be deemed a legal association?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  But that is not what is primarily at issue here.  The question is whether racism should be tolerated within a political party. The answer to that question is in the hands of the political party itself.  

Freedom of speech and freedom of association (fundamental precepts of a free society) require that the rest of society respect the right of some to gather together to advance a racist platform.  But, of course, that leaves the rest of society free to pillory (figuratively speaking) the party and its platform . . .  as the US has done with respect to the KKK.

This leads us to consider the depths to which the Labour Party in the UK has sunk.  Even The Guardian, Labour's representative within the media, finds itself in a quandary.  Should it criticise the Labour Party for its embedded racism, or not?  Again, from our perspective, the UK Labour Party is free to become a political party with a racist platform if it so chooses.  It appears increasingly obvious that racism is the new normal--at least to many within it.

Jeremy Corbyn has been forced to suspend his close ally Ken Livingstone for making inflammatory remarks about Hitler and Zionism, after facing a revolt among Labour MPs about antisemitism within the party.  With just a week to go before crucial elections, Labour was engulfed in a row over Livingstone’s future and wider concerns that a series of scandals involving antisemitism was damaging its reputation.

It was the second time in two days that Labour has had to take action over complaints of antisemitism. The Bradford West MP Naz Shah was suspended over Facebook posts from 2014, including one suggesting Israelis be deported to the US.  [The Guardian]
Mr Livingstone--usually called a "firebrand" within the party--as well as being a long time friend and associate of the current leader, Jeremy Corbyn--has arguably lost his marbles.  He appears as buffoonish and idiotic as the KKK.
In defending Shah, Livingstone intensified the row by claiming Hitler had supported Zionism “before he went mad and ended up killing 6 million Jews” and claimed there was a “well-orchestrated campaign by the Israel lobby to smear anybody who criticises Israel policy as antisemitic”.  The former London mayor then went on the BBC’s Daily Politics to express his concern about a blurring of antisemitism with criticism of Israel, and defend his comments about Hitler as “historical fact”.
Take a moment to comprehend this: Livingstone opposes Zionism, by which he means the state of Israel.  He believes that Israel is the great evil of the Middle East, so extremely depraved that all evils committed by those who want to see Israel wiped off the world's map are justified.  Fair enough.  But Hitler was also a terribly evil man, as was Naziism.  But, says Livingstone, Hitler was actually a closet Zionist.  Therefore all of Hitler's guilt gets imputed to Israel.  The fact that he want on to kill Jewish people as the Ultimate Solution was the result of his subsequent madness.  The fact is he was actually a Zionist.

Livingstone's great learning has driven him mad.  At least one Labour MP is standing up:
His comments provoked such anger within the party that John Mann, an MP and campaigner against antisemitism, accosted Livingstone in a stairwell at the BBC. Their encounter was filmed as Mann branded Livingstone a Nazi apologist, told him he had “lost it” and that he needed help over the “factually wrong, racist remarks”. Within the hour, Livingstone had been suspended.
And another MP has also risen to add his voice:
Wes Streeting said: “John spoke for many of us within the party when he confronted Ken Livingstone. Frankly, if we as a party had listened to John a long time ago about Ken Livingstone we would have taken action before now … I was furious this morning and I still am angry.  “I don’t know how I would have reacted if I had seen Ken. I think John Mann, like many of us, is sick and tired of the flat-footed and woeful response of the Labour party in tackling antisemitism within our own ranks.”
From our perspective it's perfectly acceptable to criticise the nation state of Israel without being branded an anti-semite.  Is is not acceptable to criticise the nation state of the USA without being branded anti-yankee?  But to deny the right for the United States' very existence and to foment support for those advocating its annihilation would be another matter entirely.  It belongs in a very different league.

Now is the hour for the UK Labour Party to declare where it stands on such matters.  If it does not act swiftly, it risks becoming the equivalent of the KKK in Great Britain.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It used to be that an anti-semite was one that hated the Jews or Israel. Now anti-semites are anyone the Jews or Israel don't like.