Corbyn’s Coda: in the shadow of the Swastika

Whenever Jeremy Corbyn has an opportunity, he makes the following statement, and then adds what seems to be a repetitive coda. “There is no place for anti-Semitism or any form of racism in the Labour party”.

Sir Eric Pickles, currently the chairman of Conservative Friends of Israel, is not convinced: “Jeremy Corbyn, he says, has legitimized and unleashed a strain of anti-Semitism that has been lurking in the shadows of the Left for some time”.

Labour’s platform sharing.

There is abundant evidence in favour of Pickles’ assertion. Corbyn has shared a platform with Sheikh Raed Saleh, who has called Jews “monkeys” and “bacteria”; also with Paul Eisen, who denies that the Holocaust happened.

Corbyn has referred to his “friends” in Hamas, the fundamentalist Sunni organization whose Charter refers to Jews as Nazis, and repeats the worst calumnies from the anti-Semitic repertory of the German National Socialists.

Corbyn’s director of strategy and communications, the former Guardian editor, Seamus Milne, has praised Hamas for its “spirit of resistance”; Vicki Kirby, vice chair of Labour’s Woking branch, tweeted that Jews have big noses; Sadiq Khan, the Labour candidate for Mayor of London, in 2006 defended Ken Livingstone when the then Labour Mayor of London was suspended by a judge from his post for likening a Jewish reporter to a Nazi concentration camp guard.

Labour people regularly speak at events organized by Muslim Engagement and Development(Mend). One of Mend’s regular speakers is Abu Eeasa Niamatullah, who says that the “children of Israel” “have no humanity, no morality, no ethics”. The examples are legion.

The Naz Shah incident

The incident that brought the present recriminations to a head was a posting on Facebook by Naz Shah, the MP for West Bradford, a constituency with a strong Muslim presence. She posted an image that was bound to appeal to her constituents to the effect that all Israelis should be relocated to the United States. She also posted another screenshot which compared Israel to South Africa, the segregated American South, and to Hitler’s Germany.

In the House of Commons, Prime Minister Cameron called on Corbyn to suspend her from the Labour party. “Anti-Semitism, said Cameron, is effectively racism and we should call it out whenever we see it”. No doubt, Cameron was also campaigning for the Tory party’s lacklustre candidate for the position of mayor of London, Zac Goldsmith, himself of Jewish ancestry. The other candidate, who has since recorded a landslide victory in the London mayoral elections, is Sadiq Khan.

Khan’s victory illustrates just how far the UK’s immigrant Muslim population has come in the space of one generation.

Shah apologized in the Commons: “I understand that referring to Israel and Hitler as I did is deeply offensive to Jewish people for which I apologize”. She was suspended by Corbyn, nonetheless.

But then Ken Livingston, Corbyn’s life long buddy, went on the BBC and stated that Shah’s comments were not really anti-Semitic because “ a real anti-Semite doesn’t just hate the Jews in Israel”.

Then he added: “When Hitler won his election in 1932, his policy then was that Jews should be moved to Israel. He was supporting Zionism before he went mad and ended up killing six million Jews”.

The trope is clear enough: forget for the moment that the semi literate Livingstone apparently considers that Hitler was not deranged before he killed 6 million Jews.

The equation in Livingstone’s head runs: Hitler was a Zionist=Israel is Nazi=Hamas represents Israel’s victims, so: Palestinians=the Jews under the Third Reich; so, we should hate the Nazi-Jews in Israel, which allows one to say that hating Jews in Israel is not anti-Semitism, because anti-Semitism has to be international to be racist. QED: anti-Zionism is not the same as anti-Semitism.

This is no doubt the reason that prompted John Mann, a Labour MP and chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Anti-Semitism, to confront Livingstone outside the BBC, condemning him a a “Nazi apologist”. Livingstone denied it then, and has done so repeatedly before and after.

Livingstone’s source for his assertion that Hitler was a Zionist is derived from a book by a Troskyite campus radical from the 1960s, Lenni Brenner, in a book, published in 1983, Zionism in the Age of Dictators, (available free on the internet.) Brenner, who had renounced Judaism, contends that the Nazis and Zionists had a pact enabling Jews to emigrate to Palestine.

There was in fact an agreement, The Haavara Agreement, signed on 25 August 1933, and designed to enable Jews escaping persecution under Hitler’s regime to take some of their assets with them to Palestine. A reliable source on this agreement, which footnotes the considerable literature on the subject, is: http://www.yadvashem.org/odot_pdf/Microsoft%20Word%20-%203231.pdf

In any event, Brenner’s book came as an epiphany to Livingstone, who in 1983, was co-editor of the hard left publication, Labour Herald. The journal carried a rave review of the book and an interview with the author. The journal was published on the presses of the Worker’s Revolutionary Party, financed by Libya’s dictator, Muammar Gaddafi.

(When that source of income ran out, Livingstone created Silveta Ltd, to place his freelance earnings, much of which came from Press TV, a channel owned by Iran-a country that denies the Holocaust and which stones women accused by men of adultery, and does the same to  homosexuals).

In his memoirs, You Can’t Say That, published in 2011 before he stood –unsuccessfully-for a final time as the official Labour candidate for Mayor of London, he wrote: “Brenner’s books helped form my view of Zionism and its history so I was not going to be silenced by smears of antisemitism whenever I criticized government policies”.

Brenner is a polemicist and is  no scholar. Clearly, Livingstone has low standards in selecting the sources for his assertions.

Corbyn’s response.

In view of the adverse publicity for Labour, Corbyn has repeated again and again: “there is no place for anti-Semitism or any form of racism in the Labour party”. “We will, he adds, make sure that our party is a welcoming home to all members of all communities”.

He also announced an enquiry into anti-Semitism in the party, to be chaired by Shami Chakrabarti, former director of Liberty, the organization militating against state incursion into personal liberties.

But this did not get Corbyn out of his dilemma: as Labour leader, he needed Muslim votes, he had long committed himself to the Palestinian cause, his attitude on anti-Semitism was causing severe ructions in the Jewish community, and his views were definitely under close observation in Israel.

Israel’s Ambassador to the UK, Mark Regev , went on the BBC to state the Labour’s anti-Semitism crisis had crossed a red line (interview available under that title on internet). Too many people “on the progressive side of politics”, the ambassador said,  had embraced Hamas and Hezbollah, “both of them(by their charters explicitly) anti-Semitic”.

Corbyn then issued a statement that he “has been a longstanding supporter of Palestinian rights and the pursuit of peace and justice in the Middle East through dialogue and negotiation”.

Like many other of his statements, this sounds eminently reasonable at first glance. As the statement said, you have to talk with the people with whom you disagree to reach an agreement.

But note the  obtuseness of this statement. You can talk to people you disagree with over a third party, who your interlocutor is committed to liquidate. It requires no courage because the third party is the target, and is only going to speak with the enemy when it suits the third party’s policies.

In other words, its no risk political theatre, and it does signal to Hamas and Hezbollah that you are sympathetic to their cause.

As Andrew Marr observed on the BBC: “Something has gone wrong: the Board of Deputies thinks something has gone wrong, the Jewish Chronicle thinks something has gone wrong, the ambassador thinks something has gone wrong, and your party has set up an enquiry”.

He could have added that Isaac Herzog, the leader of the Israeli Labour party, a sister party of British Labour, invited Corbyn to visit Israel and the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum to learn about anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial.

Corbyn’s coda is code for Israel.

Corbyn is saying more than he appears to be. The sting is in his coda- “there is no place for racism in the Labour party”. What that means is that there is no place in Corbyn’s Labour for a pro-Israel stance, or even for a balanced stance.

A balanced stance would recognize the right of Israel to exist(thereby refuting the aim of Hamas and Hzebollah to liquidate Israel).It would recognize Israel’s right by the United Nations’ Charter to self defence, but a critical stance would reserve the right to disagree with Israel’s policies, particularly to the Palestinians.

But this is not Corbyn’s position.

It is quite clear from his coda what his position is.

Racism has no place, the coda says, in the Labour party. And because Israel in Corbyn’s demonology is racist, there is no place in the Labour party for pro-Israeli positions.

No wonder Israel, the British Board of Deputies, the Jewish Chronicle, Labour’s Jewish donors, and Jewish Labour supporters, are concerned.

As the Chief Rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis writes , “ It is astonishing to see figures on the hard Left of the British political spectrum presuming to define the relationship between Judaism and Zionism despite themselves being neither Jews nor Zionists. The likes of Ken Livingstone and Malia Boattia (president of the UK National Union of Students) claim that Zionism is separate from Judaism as a faith; that it is purely political; that it is expansionist, colonialist and imperialist. It is unclear why these people feel qualified to provide such an analysis of one of the axioms of Jewish belief. But let me be very clear. Their claims are a fiction. They are a wilful distortion of a noble and integral part of Judaism. Zionism is a belief in the right to Jewish self-determination in a land that has been at the centre of the Jewish world for more than 3,000 years. One can no more separate it from Judaism than separate the City of London from Great Britain.” “Ken Livingstone and the hard left are spreading the insidious virus of anti-Semitism”, The Daily Telegraph, May 4, 2016.

How did Labour end up here?

A complete answer to this question would be the subject of a doctoral dissertation or two, or maybe three or even four.

No doubt some of the components of the answer would refer to Prime Minister Attlee’s Foreign Secretary, Ernie Bevin’s opposition to the foundation of Israel in 1948; to the USSR’s instant recognition of Israel, and President Truman’s crucial backing; it would have to include reference to the military victory of the Israeli’s in fending off Arab attack, the first of a repeated series of Israeli victories against Arab armies( but as my Israeli students always told me, victory that was in their view from the front line, always hard fought, and always a close run win).

The assessment would have to include an analysis of the strong links between British Labour and Israel Labour; it would also have to include reference to the independence of India and Pakistan in 1947, the prominence given at the time in London to relations with Muslims in the sub-continent, and the concerns that a Jewish state in Palestine might have the effect of destroying the UK’s long held friendships with the Muslim world. It would have to refer to the obvious fact that London was no longer responsible for the sub-continent, though it had been for at least a century, and the personal ties were many, deep, and affectionate. Not least, a complete account would have to refer to the import of Muslims from Pakistan in the 1950s to work in the ailing British textile industry.

The assessment would also have to make an analysis of how Labour, three times successful in the elections of 1997, 2001, and 2005, became unstuck in the general elections of 2010. In particular, the account would have to include how the Iraq war of 2003, and its aftermath, fostered deep divisions in Labour, encouraged latent anti-Americanism in the party, and played into the hands of Israel’s opponents in the British press, the BBC, and universities.

While Corbyn remained in the shadows of major events during Labour’s long tenure of power, he was obviously increasingly finding that, along with Livingstone and others on the left of the party, he was singing from the same hymn sheet as supposedly more moderate Labour members. The account would have to account for why it was that the Blairite David Miliband was defeated by his brother Ed, to the leadership of the Labour party, and with the open support of the far left leadership of the trade unions. Ed Miliband opened Labour doors wide to the communists, trotskyites, or Muslim fundamentalists who eventually mobilized for Corbyn’s surprise victory to the leadership of the Labour party.

But I would like to limit the remarks that follow to the culture wars that have raged in the UK since the mid 1950s, and that may cast some light on how Labour has ended up in the plight that I have described. Corbyn’s Labour has embraced an ideology that has race hate at its heart, in the powerful words of Charles Moore( “How the Labour party embraced an ideology that has race hate at its heart”, Daily Telegraph, April 29, 2016.)

Four key developments from UK’s culture wars.

I will mention 4 key developments that have prepared the ground for Corbyn, and the spread of the poison of anti-Semitism into Labour: the first is multi-culturalism, whose godfather is Roy Jenkins; the second is Labour’s embrace of an aggressive secularist culture, which has successfully undermined Christianity in the UK, but has allowed, indeed encouraged, fundamentalist Islam to prosper; the third is the UK’s demographic story, immigration, and Labour’s electoralism with the welfare state; the fourth is the penetration of extreme anti-semitism from the Germany of the 1930s into the veins of modernized Islam.

I will argue that Corbyn definitely prefers to deal with that Islam than to appease Israelis or backtrack from his mealy-mouthed coda about no place for racism in Labour.

  1.  The cold war origin of multi-culturalism.

In his book English History 1914-1945, A.J.P.Taylor recounts that the country, allied to the USA and the USSR in the war, looked forward with optimism to a better life for all. “”Imperial greatness was on the way out; the welfare state was on the way in”. The Conservative party was not particularly pro American; the Labour party was much more so. Its membership also had good words to say about Stalin, notably over the USSR’s much trumpeted planning system.

By the end of the Labour administrations of 1945 to 1951, the limits of what could be achieved nationalizing as much as possible of the UK economy became more evident. Rather than make material improvement of working people the central focus of Labour policy, Tony Crosland and Roy Jenkins-two leading intellectuals in the party-proposed that the new heights to be conquered would be cultural. What they proposed was, in Jenkin’s phrases, a more “civilized society” to be achieved through legislation inspired by an “optimistic humanism”; in his best selling book “In Pursuit of Socialism”, Crosland dubbed his vision as one of “socialist hedonism”.

It is noticeable that the Crosland-Jenkins rethink on the meaning of socialism in the UK in the late 1950s mirrored the discussions in the European Communist parties of the period. These discussions led to the phenomenon of 1970s Eurocommunism, inspired by the writings of Antonio Gramsci, to whom capturing the commanding heights of the economy came a distant second to capturing the commanding heights of culture.

Jenkins was a leading activist in this broad movement on the European left. In the UK, he definitely may lay claim to have given legal expression to what later has come to be known as multiculturalism-the idea that all cultures can live cheek by jowl, as long as tolerance prevails.

Unlike many intellectuals, Jenkins was able to put his ideas into practice. As Home Secretary in 1966-67, he pushed through his plans, in the face of widespread opposition from Labour’s white working class base. As I have written elsewhere on this blog, In the teeth of strenuous opposition, Jenkins pushed through legislation to decriminalize homosexuality; legalized abortion; abolished the death penalty; altered the ancient requirement of unanimous verdicts by juries to opposition in the legal profession; and he set up the Race Relations Board, calling for immigration, “ not as a flattening process of assimilation, but as equal opportunity accompanied by cultural diversity, in an atmosphere of mutual tolerance”. In this, he could claim paternity for what later came to be called the politics of multiculturalism.

Multiculturalism was at the heart of the Labour government’s policies of 1997-2010. The idea behind opening the country wide to mass immigration was revealed in an article by Andrew Neather in The London Evening Standard. (http://www.standard.co.uk/news/dont-listen-to-the-whingers-london-needs-immigrants-6786170.html)

Neather, a former speech writer for Tony Blair, David Blunkett and Jack Straw, wrote that ‘the deliberate policy of ministers from late 2000 until at least February last year, when the Government introduced a points-based system, was to open up the UK to mass migration.” Mr Neather cited a policy paper ‘RDS Occasional Paper 67’, which made an economic case for migration but he revealed that earlier drafts of the paper contained a clear objective: ‘that mass immigration was the way that the Government was going to make the UK truly multicultural.’ He also suggested that all of this was done by some ‘to rub the Right’s nose in diversity and render their arguments out of date.’ Labour sympathisers have denied this as Neather’s “fantasy”, but it is also just as likely that the government was less than honest about the direction of policy and the thinking behind it. Migrant communities tend to vote Labour , and multiculturalism is a very useful stick to beat opponents into terrified submission, less they transgress the one remaining sin recognized by the UK’s increasingly secularized left: racism.

  1. Labour’s aggressive new European secularism.

History plays an indelible part in the political cultures of countries, and the UK is no exception. In the case of the UK, the European religious wars of the seventeenth century imprinted a permanent stamp on the country’s evolution, and by derivation, on that of all former countries of the British Empire. As the party system evolved, the Tories broadly stood in the lineage of the Royalists during the civil war of the 1640s, while the Whigs, then the Liberals, and Labour were rooted more in the non-conformist chapels of the country. This pattern endured through to the mid-late twentieth century, when one trend became powerfully apparent: in the 2015 British Social Attitudes Survey, 49% of respondants claimed that they adhered to “no religion”, while 42% said they were Christian, followed by 8% who adhered to Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, or Sikhism.

For centuries, the institutions of the country had been predicated on its Christian heritage, its dominant language, literature, and history. The assumption had always prevailed that immigrants would learn to fit into the indigenous culture. This was not the assumption of multiculturalism.  The culture of immigrants, its advocates insisted, should be given equal consideration to that of the native population. In Bradford, the matter came to the fore when a headmaster, Ray Honeyford, wrote that (Asian) children whose second language was English, or (Caribbean) children who came from broken homes, faced major disadvantages. Bradford’s then L,abour mayor, Mohammed Ajeeb called for Honeyford to be suspended for pursuing a racial agenda. The headmaster was hounded from his job.

The Honeyford story illustrates one central characteristic of what the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey, calls, “Britain’s unthinking secularism”. It broadly proclaims, like Jean Jacques Rousseau, that we are born innocent, and that all we have to do is to throw off our shackles to be free. These shackles are poverty, illiteracy, poor health, homelessness or inherited superstitions. All can be treated through sound economic policy and education. The happy result is that as societies get wealthier, they become “secularized”. That, in any case is what an overabundant social democratic literature, argues.

There is however a catch or two along this process leading to the earthly paradise of prosperity and general enlightenment. The first is well illustrated by Pope Benedikt in his Regensburg University lecture of 2006, when he argued that a major difference between Chrstianity and Islam is that Christianity took its own historically decisive character in Europe as a faith coloured by rational self enquiry. Islam by contrast entered Europe regarding the divine as something beyond criticism. As a result, the more that Europe came to exaggerate the power of reason, the more “the exclusion of the divine from the universality of reason” came to be seen by Muslims, “as an attack on their most profound convictions”. https://zenit.org/articles/papal-address-at-university-of-regensburg/

By this measure, the problem for Islam in Europe was not so much Christianity, its predominant and traditional religion, but aggressive modern secularism.

The second catch is that secularism actively promotes seperateness, the word for which in Afrikaans is apartheid. Sir Trevor Philips, former chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality, set up under Jenkins, was initially an ardent champion of equal rights for immigrants. But following the London bombings of July 7 2005, when three British born Pakistanis of Muslim religion and one convert to Islam born in Jamaica, separately detonated three bombs in quick succession aboard London Underground trains across the city, and, later, a fourth on a double-decker bus in Tavistock Square, he changed his mind. Fifty-two civilians were killed and over 700 more were injured in the attacks. Philips commented that the country was sleeping to segregation, and he followed that up in 2016, with a BBC Channel 4 programme, based on an ICM poll, “What British Muslims Really Think”. Islam, he concluded, is becoming a “nation within a nation”. http://www.channel4.com/programmes/what-british-muslims-really-think

The third catch is that the advocates of multicultural secularism-Corbyn, Livingstone, or Diane Abbott-have one sin in reserve, in their judgement free world, and that is racism. It is a multi-purpose weapon. White working class boys, like Tommy Robinson who set up the English Defense League against the spread of sharia in England, can be dubbed “racist” and “islamophobic”, stuck in prison, and haughtily talked down at by Jeremy Paxton on BBC .

On the other hand, while multiculturalism encourages the value free society that many Muslims describe as abhorrent-one not worth joining, indeed deeply incompatible with their most sacred tenets-it also muzzles the criticism of Muslim practices, such as forced marriages, polygamy, encouragement of young Muslims to rape underage white girls, or the de facto substitution of sharia for English law. A reported 80% of Muslim marriages in the UK in 2015 were conducted under sharia.

Last but not least, the UK’s “liberal secularism” is ethno-centric. Not all parts of the world cleave to it. India is by definition multi-cultural, its state is based on secular principles, but its peoples are highly religious. Africa is relatively poor, and therefore, according to the European social democratic theory of secularization, still steeped in religion( read “superstition”). Only an increasingly Godless Europe, our ethno centric social democrats crow, is blazing its way to a “post religious” world.

The Islamic Council of Europe does not agree. In 1980, it published a book Muslim Communities in Non-Muslim States. It is not a best seller, to say the least, but it definitely does not comply with the secularization thesis.

(http://www.amazon.com/Muslim-Communities-Non-States/dp/0907163017)

The instructions given in the book told Muslims to get together and organise themselves with the aim of establishing a viable Muslim community based on Islamic principles. This is the duty of every individual Muslim living within a non-Muslim political entity. They should set up mosques, community centres and Islamic schools. At all costs they must avoid being assimilated by the majority. In order to resist assimilation, they must group themselves geographically, forming areas of high Muslim concentration within the population as a whole. Yet they must also interact with non-Muslims so as to share the message of Islam with them. Every Muslim individual is required to participate in the plan; it is not allowed for anyone simply to live as a “good Muslim” without assisting the overall strategy. The ultimate goal of this strategy is that the Muslims should become a majority and the entire nation be governed according to Islam.

We are far from achieving that goal. But in 1980, when the book was published, mosques were few and far between. There are now over 1,700, and Islam is Britain’s second religion. Of these 45% are controlled by Deobandi’s , a hardline Muslim movement stemming from nineteenth century India.(See Innes Bowen, Medina in Birmingham, Najaf in Brent: Inside British Islam, 2016). Muslim chaplins in prisons, a recent report by the Ministry of Justice, reveals  that some of their number have used their position to distribute Islamicist material to inmates.

  1. Demography, mass immigration, and the welfare state.

The third is the story of UK demography, immigration, and the welfare state. The UK ‘s population in 2016 is 65 million, up from the 52 million of 1960. The population is expected to continue to grow to about 71 million by 2031. Over the earlier part of this period population change was driven mainly by variation in the number of births.  Population grew throughout the 1960s up until the early 1970s mainly as a result of the 1960s baby boom; while over the rest of the 1970s growth was subdued, reflecting falling fertility.  The very large birth cohort of 1960s baby boomers beginning to have children saw births, and hence the population, grow again in the 1980s, but births declined again through the 1990s.

In the late 1990s, as a result of successive Labour government policies, the pace and scale of migration increased to a level without historical precedent. Eighty per cent of this migration came from outside Europe.

The  rest immigration  was driven by the expansion of the European Union in 2004 and 2007, and a sharp rise in immigration from eastern European member states. As a general working hypothesis, I would argue that the extra European immigration was, and is, attracted by the pull factor of a very generous benefits system. For instance, anyone with savings below £16,000 can access housing benefit, at £23,000 per annum. For someone living in rural Pakistan on $1-2 a day, you’d have to be dumb not to up sticks and travel to the UK.

Then the EU economy ground to a halt as of 2008-2010, and the only country generating jobs turned out to be the UK. Hence the UK is absorbing immigrants from eastern Europe, but also from Euroland because the” EU is failing toi live up to its treaty commitments to achieve high levels of employment. Unemployment levels in southern Europe are higher than in Germany in the early 1930s.

Over this period since 2000 there has been an increasing number of births, driven by both the immigration of women of childbearing age (15-44) and rising fertility among UK-born women.  Immigration has the positive effect also of adding to the population at younger working ages, but it also creates competition on the market place for jobs, and if immigrants are from radically different cultural backgrounds, the problem of peaceful coexistence and tolerance becomes all the greater.

In 1997 net migration was 48,000, but rose rapidly thereafter, almost trebling in one year to 140,000 . Between 1997 and 2010, the New Labour years, net migration averaged 200,000 per year, five times higher than under the Major government of 1990-1996. It is now clear that foreign migration between 1997 and 2010 was 3.6 million, while nearly a million British citizens emigrated giving total net migration of 2.7 million. Indeed, between 2001 and 2011 the foreign born population increased dramatically from 4.6 million to 7.5 million. When a traditional Labour supporter, Gillian Duffy, asked Prime Minister Gordon Brown about whether so much immigration was a good idea, Brown described her as “bigoted”.

Duffy was quoted as referring to eastern Europeans. But she may have not meant just them. One quoted statement of hers conveys a latent sense of white working class betrayal from the high hopes of a more equal and just society, associated with the Attlee government of 1945 to 1951. “”We had it drummed in when I was a child, she was quoted as saying, … it was education, health service and looking after the people who are vulnerable. But there’s too many people now who are vulnerable but they can claim and people who are vulnerable can’t get claim, can’t get it.” (“Gordon Brown calls Labour supporter a bigoted woman”, The Guardian, April 28, 2010).

Mrs Duffy came from Rochdale, in greater Manchester. It is very possible that she was thinking not only of cheap wage competition from eastern Europeans, but also of cultural conflicts between the white working class of her background and Rochdale’s sizeable Muslim population. And it is very possible that Brown thought that she was using code, that “eastern European” stood in her mind for “Muslim”. That in any case would explain his use of the phrase bigot. But his use of the word “bigot” also illustrates the sneering indifference of the new Labour élite to their traditional voters.

Rochdale is a former textile town, with a very high percentage of unqualified people of working age. Its population in 2010 was 65% white and 27% Asian. Two years after the Brown-Duffy exchange, the Rochdale sex-trafficking case came to light, along with a number of others across the Midlands. The Rochdale sex trafficking gang  were convicted of sex trafficking and other offences including rape, trafficking girls for sex and conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with a child, on 8 May 2012. Forty-seven girls were identified as victims,  during the police investigation.

The men were all British Pakistanis except for one man from Afghanistan and all were from Muslim background. The girls were all white British, which led to a nation wide discussion of whether the crimes were racially motivated, and whether the failure to investigate them was linked to the authorities’ fear of being accused of racism.[5] In March 2015,  Greater Manchester Police apologised for its failure to investigate the child sexual exploitation allegations more thoroughly between 2008 and 2010.

Mrs Duffy likes going to the pub, and is quoted as saying “Labour needs a straight-talking pint drinking sort of man”. Ed Miliband, she was quoted as saying, is “a privileged career politician”. Duffy takes a shine to Nigel Farage, who she said has the charisma to speak to working class people.

There are a number of points to make here. The Muslim population in 2016 tops 3 million in the UK for the first time, with 50% born outside UK. This represents is 5.4% of the population up from 1.9% in 1991. This population is projected(with some dissent) as doubling in the next decades. Following the 2005 terror attacks in London, the Labour government rushed through legislation against “Islamophobia”, after already having introduced the concept of the accused having to disprove racial intent(The MacPherson Report). The effect, as indicated, was and is to discourage open debate about Islam in the UK.

Furthermore, the British Electoral Survey: 2015: Religious affiliations and attitudes, records that for the 2015 general elections, 73% of Muslims intended to vote Labour. The reasons for this choice would include: Labour’s open door immigration policy; its actions closing down debate about Islam, and its identification of race rather than religion as being the problem; its reputation as the champion of the welfare state, and a generous approach to the distribution of benefits.

Whether or not Labour has played the welfare state for electoral purposes, that is a widespread assumption among the white working class. As illustrated in The New East End: Kinship, Race and Conflict, (Geoff Dench et al,London, Profile Books, 2006) the white working class of Tower Hamlets sensed themselves as victimized, Labour as regarding them as racist, and Bangla Deshi immigrants as playing the welfare system. White British people in Tower Hamlets by 2011 were just 30% of the total population.

Details on immigration and welfare employment in the UK  http://www.migrationwatchuk.org/briefing-paper/367

 

  1. Nazi Germany and Islamism.

Modernisation in Islam came in multiple forms. Nineteenth century European anti-Semitism came into the Mid East through the Christian minorities, supplemented by passages in the Koran or in the commentaries(hadith), where Mohammet is said to have dealt harshly with Jews. But its prime source of influence from Europe flowed in during the interwar years: in 1928, the Muslim Brotherhood was created, at the time when “progressives” looked to Lenin and Mussolini as the prophets of a new politics. In Egypt, a green shirt movement was created, in imitation of Mussolini’s Blackshirts: Nasser and Sadat, both future leaders of Egypt, joined as young men. The B’aath parties in Syria and Iraq were both modelled and inspired by national socialism in Germany. During the second world war, Nazi propaganda found an eager reception in parts of the Arab world: famously, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al Husseini, courted Hitler.

The Muslim Brotherhood was founded in Egypt by Hassan al Banna, with the aim of reinstalling the Caliphate that had been abolished by Ataturk in 1924.It aims to impose shariah law in Muslim lands and, ultimately, the world. Today, it has chapters in 80 countries. “It is in the nature of Islam to dominate, wrote al Banna, not to be dominated, to impose its law on all nations and to extend its power to the entire planet.” This includes the UK, where it helped to shape the new Islamic Society of Britain(ISB), dominated the Muslim Association of Britain( MAB), and played an important role in establishing and then running the Muslim Council of Britain. MAB was particularly active in connection with the Israel-Palestine conflict, and the Iraq war. It also promoted candidates in national and local elections, and became a crucial interlocutor of the Blair government.

In December 2015, the UK government published a carefully scripted report,  “Muslim Brotherhood Review: Main Findings”(available on internet) . The report stated that  much of the Brotherhood’s activities in the UK remain secretive, including membership, fund raising and educational programmes. The report concludes that “aspects of Muslim Brotherhood ideology and tactics, in this country and overseas, are contrary to our values and have been contrary to our national interests and our national security”.

That is one way of putting it. In its own, more graphic words, the Brotherhood calls for war against Israel and the United States, whom Supreme Guide Muhammed Badi stated in September 2010 are the Muslim’s real enemies. Hamas-whom Jeremy Corbyn’s has called his “friends”-calls in its Charter for the murder of Jews, and the obliteration of Israel. In Article 22, it rolls out the old tropes of rabid German and Russian anti Semitism to the effect that all ills of the world, from the French and Russian revolutions to Rotary Clubs and the outbreak of World War II are due to the malignant influence of the Jews. Likewise the Brotherhood supports Hezbollah, the Iranian backed terrorist movement, also referred to by Corbyn as “my friends”.

The Movement is deeply hostile to Jews. Sayed Qutb, one of the most influential “scholars” to have influenced Islam in the second half of the twentieth century, wrote a book in 1950 entitled, Our Struggle with the Jews. Qutb vilifies the Jews, in line with the Koran, as Islam’s (and Muhammad’s) “worst” enemies, as “slayers of the prophets,” and as essentially perfidious, double-dealing and evil.

The three non believing Jews of the nineteenth and early twentieth century, Marx, Freud and Durkheim, attacked, Qutb claimed, “the moral foundation on which the pure Creed rests, in order that the Creed should fall into the filth which they spread so widely on the earth. They mutilate the whole of history and falsify it. . . . From such creatures who kill, massacre and defame prophets one can only expect the spilling of human blood and dirty means which would further their machinations and evil.” The battle with the Jews, now in the guise of the Zionists, had been going on for 1,400 years, Qutb opined, and required all Muslims to be prepared to wage jihad on Islam’s enemies.

The Brotherhood has adopted Lenin’s strategy of subversion: In a fatwa of 2003, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, one of the Brotherhood’s spiritual leaders, stated that Islam could conquer Europe peacefully: “After having been expelled twice, Islam will be victorious and reconquer Europe….I am certain that this time, victory will be won not by the sword but by preaching and [Islamic] ideology”. On another occasion, this “spiritual leader” is quoted as saying: “Today the Jews are not the Israelites praised by Allah, but the descendants of the Israelites who defied His word. Allah was angry with them and turned them into monkeys and pigs”.

The Muslim Council of Britain has consistently supported Sheikh Quaradawi, who has said that suicide bomb attacks on Israel, are a religious duty for muslims. The MCB’s former secretary general, Sir Iqbal Sacranie, has branded Israel a Nazi state. When the New London Muslim Centre opened in east London in June 2004, Friday prayers were led by Sheikh Ab al Rahman al Sudais, who called Jews “calf worshippers, prophet murderers, prophecy deniers…the scum of the human race whom Allah cursed and turned into apes and pigs”. When the London bombings occurred, Sacranie said: “the real victim of these bombings is the Muslim community of the UK”, not the people who were killed, maimed or their relatives and friends.

Conclusion.

Where does this leave Corbyn? Corbyn has spent all his political life on the far left of British politics. He is uncomfortable with Labour’s traditional electorate, the white working class. As I have pointed out, that is a position which he shares with Gordon Brown and many others in the Labour party. White is passable; multi cultural is good.

Corbyn is not as crass as Livingstone. Rather his coda is a wink. Corbyn’s wink is directed at  Islamicists who call Israel racist, militate for its obliteration, and identify countries that are friendly with the UK-notably the US-as their enemies. What is more, it is clear that Corbyn has no problem in working with, or alongside, people who continue to distill the pure evil of Goebbels’ propaganda.

His coda, “no place for racism in the Labour party”, is Corbyn’s code signalling agreement with the enemies of Israel. Corbyn  is simply saying that a Labour government led by him will have no truck with people in the party who are pro Israel, even pro Israel but critical of the country’s policies. But it is a coda, a wink, and therefore implicit, easily deniable, if need be.

Implicitly, Corbyn is asking for regime change in Israel, leading to Israel’s disappearance. In this he is in perfect accord with his buddy Ken Livingstone, who has recently called the creation of Israel a disaster. This is also the goal of Hamas, Hezbollah and the Muslim Brotherhood.

As a postscript, I would suggest that other elements of Corbyn’s vocabulary be analysed. In the British press and media, he has been portrayed as some creature that has emerged from under the cowpat of Labour politics into the full light of day, and stands there dazzled, and bewildered.

This understates the importance of his arrival at the top of British politics. He is a 24 hour a day obsessive politician, who works and breathes politics 7 on 7, and has done so for the last 40 years. Like a full time politico, he keeps his big statements implicit, so he can keep his options open.

But there is no need to give him the benefit of the doubt on his coda. Corbyn is an excellent example of how Labour’s Red Flag is now tinged with brown-black and flies uncomfortably in the shadow  of the Swastika.

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About Jonathan Story, Professor Emeritus, INSEAD

Jonathan Story is Emeritus Professor of International Political Economy at INSEAD. Prior to joining INSEAD in 1974, he worked in Brussels and Washington, where he obtained his PhD from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. He has held the Marusi Chair of Global Business at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and is currently Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Graduate Schoold of Business, Fordham University, New York. He is preparing a monograph on China’s impact on the world political economy, and another on a proposal for a contextual approach to business studies. He has a chapter forthcoming on the Euro crisis. His latest book is China UnCovered: What you need to know to do business in China, (FT/ Pearson’s, 2010) (www.chinauncovered.net) His previous books include “China: The Race to Market” (FT/Pearsons, 2003), The Frontiers of Fortune, (Pitman’s, 1999); and The Political Economy of Financial Integration in Europe : The Battle of the Systems,(MIT Press, 1998) on monetary union and financial markets in the EU, and co-authored with Ingo Walter of NYU. His books have been translated into French, Italian, German, Spanish, Chinese, Korean and Arabic. He is also a co-author in the Oxford Handbook on Business and Government(2010), and has contributed numerous chapters in books and articles in professional journals. He is a regular contributor to newspapers, and has been four times winner of the European Case Clearing House “Best Case of the Year” award. His latest cases detail hotel investments in Egypt and Argentina, as well as a women’s garment manufacturer in Sri Lanka and a Chinese auto parts producer. He teaches courses on international business and the global political economy. At the INSEAD campus, in Fontainebleau and Singapore, he has taught European and world politics, markets, and business in the MBA, and PhD programs. He has taught on INSEAD’s flagship Advanced Management Programme for the last three decades, as well as on other Executive Development and Company Specific courses. Jonathan Story works with governments, international organisations and multinational corporations. He is married with four children, and, now, thirteen grandchildren. Besides English, he is fluent in French, German, Spanish, Italian, reads Portuguese and is learning Russian. He has a bass voice, and gives concerts, including Afro-American spirituals, Russian folk, classical opera and oratorio.
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5 Responses to Corbyn’s Coda: in the shadow of the Swastika

  1. Harold Carter says:

    Trenchant and alarming.

    Like

  2. Keitho says:

    Very convincing analysis. Thank you for going to the trouble to write it up.

    Corbyn and Livingstone are certainly a hazard to our way of life and the structure of our civilization. Unfortunately there are many others like them on the liberal/left of our society and the activities of Islam are adding to their number.

    We really are in great danger.

    Like

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