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With Panorama's Hatchet Job on Labour Antisemitism BBC has become the Tory's attack dog

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The party has been riven by bitter very public feuds between an old guard which dominated under Tony Blair and the rapid rise of the party's left wing under Corbyn
The party has been riven by bitter very public feuds between an old guard which dominated under Tony Blair and the rapid rise of the party's left wing under Corbyn
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It is difficult to describe as anything other than a hatchet job the BBC Panorama special this week that sought to bolster claims that the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn has become "institutionally antisemitic".

The partisan tone was set from the opening shot. A young woman whose name was not revealed tearfully claimed to have been abused with antisemitic taunts at a Labour Party conference.

The decision not to disclose the interviewee's identity is understandable. It would have discredited the whole narrative Panorama was trying so hard to build.

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The woman's name is Ella Rose, a senior official in the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM), an organisation representing Jewish and non-Jewish members of Labour at the forefront of attacks on Corbyn. Rose has a secret past too: she once worked at the Israeli embassy in London.

Self-fulfilling prophecy

Two years ago she and other JLM officials were exposed collaborating with Shai Masot, an Israeli embassy official. He had to be hurriedly removed from the UK after an undercover Al Jazeera documentary showed him plotting with activists in the Labour and Conservative parties to discredit British politicians seen as a threat to Israel.

Most observers believe that Masot was operating within the embassy as part of Israel's strategic affairs ministry, which in turn has been running black ops against western critics of Israel. Corbyn, we can safely assume, is high on that list.

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Rose is on record as saying she was a close friend of Masot's.

Her emotional, quavering voice as she spoke to Panorama presented a very different image from her appearances in Al-Jazeera's undercover footage. There she is shown threatening to use physical violence employing Krav Maga, a martial arts technique developed by the Israeli army against another Jewish party member prominent in support of Corbyn.

Panorama chose to follow in the footsteps of the rest of the British media in ignoring Al Jazeera's revelations, even though they provide vital context for challenging claims of a supposedly growing "antisemitism crisis" in Labour. For the past three years, the media have produced little more than anecdotal evidence, like Ella Rose's, to support this narrative.

In a self-fulfilling prophecy, however, the more the media has fear-mongered about antisemitism in Labour despite the absence of objective data to back up such claims the more polls have shown British Jews panicking at the propsect of Corbyn reaching power.

The Panorama investigation, titled "Is Labour Anti-Semitic?", will undoubtedly have further stoked such fear by interviewing a handful of disgruntled former employees involved in the party's handling of antisemitism complaints.

Bitter feuds

Stripped of context, these testimonies offer a superficially plausible argument that the Labour leadership sought to minimise, or even indulge, antisemitism in the party. But the comments made by these ex-staff have to be viewed in terms of a wider power-play raging in Labour since Corbyn was elected leader.

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The party has been riven by bitter, very public feuds between an old guard, which dominated under Tony Blair, and the rapid rise of the party's left wing under Corbyn, buoyed by massive support from the wider membership.

Panorama referenced these rifts only to dismiss them as a conspiracy theory. Instead, the programme refashioned the split as a culture war between those presented as anti-racist centrists, like the disputes team's former staff, and a supposed influx of anti-Israel, Jew-hating "Marxists" cultivated by Corbyn.

The mass purge

Some of the former members of the disputes staff interviewed by Panorama appear to have served effectively as a Trojan horse within Labour's head office, assisting the Blairites in damaging Corbyn.

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Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel. He is the 2011 winner of the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books are "Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East" (Pluto Press) and "Disappearing Palestine: (more...)
 

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2 people are discussing this page, with 3 comments  Post Comment


Daniel Geery

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If there's something that is not anti-semitic I am unaware of it. It is a worn-out, worn down, tiresome, and now utterly ignorant, meaningless phrase. And we can thank the zionists for that.

Submitted on Friday, Jul 12, 2019 at 6:51:49 PM

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Nelson Wight

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Reply to Daniel Geery:   New Content

Thanks for being so forthright, Daniel. May zionism totally fail.

Submitted on Saturday, Jul 13, 2019 at 12:34:06 AM

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Reply to Nelson Wight:   New Content

I believe we're supposed to be speaking truth here, or freely putting out ideas for others to comment on. Though I confess to doing my share of self-censorship, which I can't say I'm proud of.

Submitted on Saturday, Jul 13, 2019 at 3:17:27 PM

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