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The Whitewashed documentary on the Chakrabarti Report and antisemitism in the Labour Party was released yesterday. It interviews various people who submitted written testimony to the Chakrabarti inquiry and feel like they were completely ignored.

I did not look up the backgrounds of the people who contributed to this documentary, deliberately, because it does not matter. The statements in the documentary speak for themselves about how British Jews experience antisemitism in the left and how they are treated when they raise it. Their relationship to Israel is a political test I am not going to apply to see whether I should value their arguments or not.

The number one thing I delete people from Facebook for is antisemitism. People have posted memes about Rothchilds controlling national banks, told me that the Rothchilds bought Palestine in 1917, that Jewish businessmen were responsible for increasing food prices in  Germany in the 1930s, accusing me of covering up Israel’s war crimes, compared me to Sonderkommandos, posted pictures of corpses in concentration camps in order to criticise Israel, reposted them deliberately when I said I considered that to be antisemitic, and have complained on being deleted, or banned from my blog, that I just can’t handle “the truth”. That’s stuff I have personally experienced and have screenshots of.

None of those people were on the right. Some of them were Jewish. Antisemitism on the left is a real and constant problem in my life.

What’s worse to me is how people who consider themselves of good politics will turn a blind eye to the experience of British Jews or worse, defend the actions of antisemites like Ken Livingstone or Jackie Walker because “they’re victims of a right-wing conspiracy to smear the left and the Labour Party”. That is true! But it DOESN’T change the fact that what they said WAS antisemitic! If we didn’t tolerate antisemitism from the get-go, if we didn’t let people with a history of antisemitic comments end up in senior Labour party positions in the first place, it wouldn’t be a brickbat to be hurled at the left whenever it is politically most unfortunate.

I invite you to watch the documentary. I invite you to recognise that Jeremy Corbyn has a lifelong record of antiracism but an equally long record of tolerating people who make antisemitic remarks if they did so in the context of Israel/Palestine – Naz Shah, MP for Bradford, had to insist that she be suspended and investigated for antisemitic remarks she had made where Labour head office just wanted to ignore the whole issue. While she was forcing this through, retracting her remarks, and apologising for them, Ken Livingstone was touring television studios saying that she had nothing to apologise for and, btw, Hitler supported Zionism. Jeremy Corbyn’s response was to shove everything off to Shami Chakrabarti and produce this report that did nothing to recognise the real problems that Jewish Labour Party members raised in good faith.

This documentary is an accurate reflection of my experiences of having to deal with antisemitism on the left. Non-Jews just don’t want to know. When I posted a form of this post to Facebook, most of the people who responded to it were Jewish. Another example: I decided not to renew my membership of Momentum after the Jackie Walker debacle, as although she was removed as Vice-Chair, she sits on the Momentum national steering committee TO THIS DAY, but PayPal took my money anyway. I wrote to the main email address for Momentum to explain why I didn’t want to renew my membership and to ask for a refund.I have never received a reply, let alone a refund.

The day the Whitewashed documentary was released, various queer collectives were insisting that a Jewish pride flag could not be displayed at a pride parade in Chicago because it is a symbol of oppression because some people might interpret it to look like the Israeli flag.

This is antisemitism.

The Dyke March has responded to criticism by releasing a statement questioning the motives of the woman wielding the flag and saying the person who asked them to put it away is Jewish, so it can’t be antisemitic.

This is antisemitism. (<-That's by an anti-Zionist Jewish group, btw)

As I said to someone who was of the opinion that antisemitic views and activity comes from only a very small group of people within pro-Palestinian circles – this is true. I have no desire to diminish or silence important solidarity work with and for an oppressed people. But I’m somewhat disinclined to turn up to stuff organised by movements that dismiss antisemitism as just being a problem of a few bad apples. You shouldn’t have antisemitic bad apples knocking around your movement. They should not be there and they should not feel welcome if they are.

But there’s a much, much wider circle of people who will willingly undermine, obscure, and refuse to engage with the experiences of British Jews of antisemitism from those people because they perceive people who identify as Zionists (which 59% of British Jews do) to have no rights to be publicly Jewish without being made to feel constantly uncomfortable over Israel’s political behaviour, to deserve division into “good” or “bad” Jews depending on their political views (Neturei Karta are not a mainstream or authoritative Jewish group just because they look the way you imagine “good” Jews should!), and that it is reasonable for them to be subjected to images of the worst genocidal act in history, perpetrated against their people, metaphorically and literally raised again and again in their faces for political purposes. This is covering up antisemitism, and it is endlessly shocking to me how many people I would call comrade enthusiastically embrace such tactics and other people who engage in them.

The Labour Party has a problem with antisemitism. If it didn’t, there wouldn’t have been an inquiry in the first place. If you don’t accept the Labour Party has a problem with antisemitism, you are implying that the Chakrabarti inquiry was set up to fob off people, mainly British Jews, who think it does. That’s pretty antisemitic.

The left has a problem with antisemitism.  So watch this, and listen, and act.

And if you get through to the end and still think we’re just making it all up, just read the YouTube comments.
Comments have been turned off on this post for that reason.

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This blogpost is the last part of a four part series.

A Lib Dem sign with a

Liberal Democrat polling is at its worst for 13 years.

I have now devoted some 4000 words to why I have left the Liberal Democrats and how the coalition government is literally a matter of life and death for some people. The response I have had from my decision has been massive, but a significant part of it has been suggestions of other parties that I might be interested in joining. So I thought I would write a little bit on why I don’t think that is a good idea.

For all that I have said previously, I’m not going to say that there aren’t things I do quite like about the Coalition over their predecessors. The scrapping of the National Identity Register (though not for foreign nationals…). The scrapping of ContactPoint. Supporting the autonomy of home educators. Not spending £800 on a Christmas tree. Telling the EU to get stuffed when it asks for more money. That’s cool.

But do you remember the part where people are going to die…? Is a higher personal tax threshold really worth the increased poverty of millions? Please, coalition supporters, tell me how you can live with yourselves, because I am stumped. Would I give up my £700 a year to keep my friends with mental health issues on community support programmes and out of psychiatric wards, hospitals and graveyards? I’d give it up in seconds.

Many people have suggested that I join the Labour Party. Several of my friends have now done so in the wake of the election and the black-haired Mr. Milband taking the leadership. However, to those who seem to think that the Labour Party will save us all from the clutches of the scissor-wielding George Osborne, I can say only one thing: have you forgotten?

A tank burns after a ambush in Iraq.

A tank burns after a ambush in Iraq.

Have you forgotten Iraq, death of David Kelly, the millions of Iraqi dead, the protests of a million people ignored? Have you forgotten 90 day detention, 42 day detention, detention without trial, control orders, extraordinary rendition? The National Identity Register, the ContactPoint database, the Forward Intelligence Team, the Independant Safeguarding Authority, NHS spine? Tuition fees, academies, the slow but steady abolition of special schools? The expansion of prisons, prison sentences, and reactive legislation (Labour created one new offence a day, every day, for 13 years)? The privatisation of everything they could possibly justify, including health, transport, education, and the post office? The handover of sovereignty of Europe and refusal to hold a referendum that they promised us? The emphasis on political expediency over evidence-based policy (drug policy, introduction of “alternative therapies” on the NHS)? That whole deregulation of the banking sector thing?

Post office workers on strike.

What has happened that no-one found it odd that the post office union had to strike under a Labour government in order to protect their jobs and prevent privatisation?

Have you forgotten just why Labour lost its majority? It’s because they did the Tories’ work for them. How can anyone tell me that Labour are the answer when they were the problem until May this year? Do you seriously believe that a man who has been at the heart of government since 1997 and who has a cabinet made up of people *responsible* for the creation and implementation of these policies are suddenly going to become lovely, fluffy social democrats without a war-mongering, authoritarian, privatising bone in their body? I don’t think so. People tell me to join the Labour Party – I can only reply that they have very, very short memories.

The Green Party logo.

Hi! Vote green for fiscal irresponsibility based on middle-class outrage!

People who want me to join the Green Party, however, are assuming that what I am looking for is an even whiter, even more middle class organisation. But while I care about the environment, I’m not prepared to deal with “the welfare problem” by putting everyone on it, giving everyone in the country £5000 a year and shutting down all private alternatives to public services. Here be authoritarian paternalism… The Green Party’s major priority seems to be, not spreading their message or persuading others of their policies, but getting the voting system reformed so their party can get more people elected. Somehow, I find that rather suspect. And what is up with that banning stem stell research thing?

A screenshot of Life of Brian.

Brian from the CPGB tries to explain why supporting war credits in Germany in 1914 is *crucial* to current revolutionary struggles...

I’m not joining any of the spectrum of the right wing parties on account of the fact that they are cheerleading on the kinds of policies that made me quit the Liberal Democrats in the first place. Been there, done that, sold out people worse off than myself. The left-wing parties I think are more thoughtful, but useless. I appreciate that socialists and communists are fundamentally concerned with human beings rather than money, but on the other hand I have far better things to do with my time than argue over the shades of theories of documents written in 1926 (you think I’m kidding…). No revolutionary system can be that detailed because no-one’s going to agree to implement it.

As for me, I think I am largely done with party politics now. But right now I’m pretty open-minded on where I go next, so feel free to leave a comment if you adhere to a brand of politics worth looking into. And by that, I mean one that doesn’t shrug at the potential death toll of thousands of people in favour of some vague idea of “fairness” that stops being meaningful the second you have the chance to do something about it.

See also:

Who’s Affected by the Cuts?: Why the Coalition is Going to Kill People Part 3

Death to the Liberal Democrats! Or, Why the Coalition is Going to Kill People Part 1

What’s Affected by the Cuts?: Why the Coalition is Going to Kill People Part 2

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