The antisemitism debate shows all forms of racism aren’t equal in this election

Boris Johnson/ Jeremy Corbyn
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There’s been a lot of discussion on anti-racism this week in the mainstream media, but mostly with reference to antisemitism. Chief rabbi Ephraim Mirvis urged against voting for Labour over concerns of alleged antisemitism in the party. This happened not long after centrist TV personality Rachel Riley showed her ignorance by replacing an anti-apartheid message on an image of Jeremy Corbyn to call him ‘a racist endeavour’.

Following the chief rabbi’s article in the Times, the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg commented on how antisemitism in Labour is “of a different order”, implying it’s worse than other kinds of racism. Meanwhile, Times columnist Philip Collins has written an article literally saying antisemitism in Labour is a worse problem than Islamophobia in the Tory party. And last night on Question Time, author Lionel Shriver suggested Muslims shouldn’t find Boris Johnson’s comments on Muslim women “insulting”:

Read on...

Like Brexit, antisemitism has become an increasingly prominent issue in this election. So much so, that critics of Corbyn and Labour seem to be using it to distract from real policy issues. Not least of them being that Labour’s manifesto is far more committed to anti-racism than that of the Conservatives. But for people affected by racism, seeing anti-racist rhetoric deployed in such a cynical way can be distressing, to say the least.

Weaponising anti-racism

What hurts more is that to the centre and right wing, some kinds of racism seem to be much more abhorrent than others. The same people who criticise Corbyn for not apologising for antisemitism in Labour, despite him having apologised unreservedly, dismiss Johnson’s racism as not actually racist. Of course, we should call out antisemitism in a major political party. And of course, we should hold to account those found guilty of it. But how are the people so loud about antisemitism in Labour just as silent about Islamophobia among the Conservatives? About the Windrush deportations carried out under Tory rule? About Grenfell and the hostile environment?

This double standard makes two things clear. Firstly, the mainstream commentariat doesn’t seem to care much about the lives of Black and Brown people (with Muslims overwhelmingly in this category) or the oppression they face. Secondly, it’s almost as though they only care about calling out racism when it suits their agenda. In this case, undermining Corbyn and discrediting Labour ahead of the election. This weaponising of anti-racism is as cynical and insincere as it is divisive.

We are tired

I don’t expect white journalists in this country, particularly those in the top 5% of earners, to understand what life is like for someone from a working-class racial or ethnic minority background. All I can say is that having to convince people of your humanity is exhausting. Having to convince people of your entitlement to basic dignity and human rights is exhausting. And constantly having to argue that your right to occupy space and express your views should be on par with everyone else is, yes, exhausting.

We are tired. So keep us out of your mouths if you’re going to consistently ignore our oppression and then only discuss it to affect the outcome of an election. Even more so if all you’re going to do is minimise it, or argue whether or not something’s racist while ignoring the people directly affected who’ve been calling it racism. Yes, racial and ethnic minorities want their oppression to be addressed at all levels of British society. No, you may not use it to mud-sling, divide and rule, and get ahead in the polls.

Featured image via Wikimedia – Rwendland/EU2018BG Bulgarian Presidency

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  • Show Comments
    1. my penultimate word in/to the media during this election belongs here, in the comments of this good article.
      (my last word is the madam bovary neoliberal version ‘screenplay’ which will appear on the front of tvhobo when finished in coming days)

      fight the power sisters and brothers! stay strong! do the right thing and god will protect you no matter what. it’s a long long road with many a winding turn…

      My advice to non-white Britain and any white British people who are appalled by the smear campaign against muslims, non white Britons and Jeremy Corbyn.

      Disengage from the media. (The London Bridge incident is a final line crossed. They, the media, are beneath contempt. Disengage from the media. Whether it is the death of Diana or the civilians or mad ‘terrorists’ from among communities our society has either slaughtered or oppressed or both, the phallic zoom lens of the camera takes no prisoners. It was an article in Le Monde by Rushdie which pointed at the phallic nature of the zoom lens which led to the death of Diana, as far as we were led to believe, anyway. Similary the wildly islamophobic dick-waving western press, as it often does, is putting us ALL in danger of ‘terrorism’ and other insane violent bullshit.) DRAW THE LINE. Do not support their bullshit anymore. DISENGAGE. Show them how alone they are without OUR readership, all of us – all non-white Britain other than tokens, and all of anti-racist white Britain.

      Right now a big show to appease millions of white racists is being put on by most of the media.

      Go and vote Corbyn on the 12th, but other than that disengage from this.

      They are at peak irritating level. I am upgrading that, in fact, they are now ABOVE MAXIMUM KNOWN irritating racist genocidal twat level.

      In the past, before the Charlie Hebdo Massacre and before “911” / “September the eleventh”, I voiced my concerns – same as before this London Bridge incident and anything to come. My concerns were that the degree to which white racist genocidal ideology is in our faces is at an absolutely impossible to ignore level, and therefore those who are weak, driven mad by it all, oppressed and demonised and without hope abandon decency and danger arrives. It is quite clear that correlating the two is not hard, that when it’s extremely fucked up out there with white racists telling the whole Murdoch Fairytale about how much the muslims all need to be eradicated, or their countries invaded and their oil put into civilised hands, and so on – that’s when these ‘terror’ attacks end up happening. And is it any surprise? Anyone could work that out. No doubt if a nursery teacher asked a bunch of kids such a question even they, in their innocence, would know the answer immediately. Finally to any non non-white readers here who are NOT appalled at the way Corbyn and muslims and non white Britons are treated, I say this: you demonise and abuse muslims, you create incidents like this. It is not caused by Islam but by you.

      But back to the non white and white anti-racist readers, I am going to disengage now. I have no need, as point 74 shows, to even care what happens, not unless any part of me still loves ‘Britain’ and its population, or any part of it which I’d leave behind if I got on a magic carpet and flew away. So I am going to disengage. I will read no more and write no more until the election. I will finish my comedy script and that will appear, in yet another fresh grid point, after this one, some time between now and the 12th.

      Again, consider the poor bastard who went mad on that bridge, assuming we can trust the media coverage to at least a minimum extent. WE know that that was a victim, a person driven insane by how fucked up these diseased racists are, from Rachel Riley, Jo Swinson and Boris Johnson to Donald Trump, Tony Blair and the people in India lighting the fuse that is Kashmir. From the dickhead white men I have spoken to who, because I look white and sound posh, frankly tell me ALL the true western ‘science’ about what muslims are and do – how we all have 9 children each and how all schools are now 90% full of non white kids and the other 10% are polish, to the passive aggressive neoliberal women, Corbyn’s age, who don’t vote for him because they “just don’t like him” – he would be no use at a party, not one of theirs. Perhaps at the Labour party, though(!) And the rest of it. We all know how long the list is – how much egregious white supremacist racist delusion runs rampant in post-Thatcher post-Blair England.

      Disengage, my brothers and sisters in alms! (That’s what I meant, alms, not arms). We don’t need to know any more, we all know to vote Corbyn. Disengage, let the racists realise how alone they are without us. Disengage, my sisters and brothers, white and black, christian, jewish, atheist, agnostic, muslim, sikh, hindu, tarot reader, french secular maniac (for fuck’s sake let people believe what they want to believe you french gits). DISENGAGE from their giant steaming pile of shit. I promise a good comedy script within days. Go and get some air, enjoy the quiet spots, stay away from commuter zones, office workers zones and corporate slavery and shopping zones, I would say (well, if they, the racists, don’t stop, the ‘terrorism’ won’t either, will it?). Relax, disengage, totally ignore the crazy racist society around us, read and watch things you enjoy, go places where nature and you get on best, be one with the universe and forget these goons. On December 12th either Corbyn will take them and begin to reform them or Britain will let the right wing operate a very very real socio-political suicide vest, which will render this country something akin to Darfur of years gone by, from an economic perspective. It is already on the brink. Johnson, whose girlfriend even made it clear that he has no clue about the cost of living, he has no relationship with the real world when it comes to money and living costs and survival, is about to destroy the British economy, unknowingly, and the future of Britain, destroying more importantly than anything, its standing among the BILLIONS of non white humans all over the planet. Think of them, disengage from the buffoons. If you MUST read the news, read Pepe Escobar’s columns about the new Eurasia, the utopian zone, I think it should be called, the utopian zone and the death of the NATO concept of “The Grand Area”. FUCK the grand area. Grand area, fuck off, you nasty little racist shit. I posted briefly on twitter, and they invisibled me again – not sure if it was the swearing or the fact that I pointed out that the London Bridge thing is something I virtually predicted days before, and that it’s the fault of stirring white racists who just won’t stop not only oppressing and demonising muslims but aggravating racism more and more and more and more. Twitter made me invisible so no one there will see those tweets. As indeed what I said, recounting about Charlie Hebdo – in other words, as with NASA (see Feynman’s words about it elsewhere on this site, but not now, right now go and enjoy yourself) the problem persists because those who see what’s going on and warn about it are not only ignored but their communications suppressed by the need of those ‘higher up’ to stick their heads in the sand. Their censorship of me, in that manner, is PRECISELY what not only killed the muslim guy on the bridge (if he was muslim) they gleefully say deserved to die, but all other victims of terrorism, including the many civilians who die, and that includes ‘next time’ too. So no one should glorify killing. Nobody. But they do. Look at them. Rivers of white racists gloating over his death and even the hippy rainbow crews saying “well it’s good that the brave londoners” blah blah. You see no word of “that poor bastard. we oppressed him. drove him mad. and killed him”. The virtue-signalling white racist fuckheads don’t say that. And they are a bunch of fuckheads, you and me know that reader, so take some solace that I can call them fuckheads right here and no fuckhead can do anything but fuck all about that, and we can know that what they are will always be known, someone will always tell the truth. And disengage. They will become FAR FAR FAR more ‘fuckheadish’ very soon. I mean this is the eleventh hour. And that was the starter’s gun. Now the onslaught of self-satisfied white-self-adulation among Britain’s usual racists. And as for what it means for the rise of not only far right and imperial centrist governments, but indeed enactment of racist policies, criminalisation of non-whiteness and muslimness way beyond anything we have already seen, perhaps even exceeding France and the USA on this new fashion of re-enacting Hitler’s anti-jew laws but with muslims as the new jews.

      DISENGAGE. Fuck them. They (the racists) are fuckheads. Disengage. Every day you ignore their existence is a day you don’t interfere with your lifespan! A day you don’t let the bastards get you down. They are an empire in meltdown. Do what Marcus Garvey advised. Keep weelllll away. Stay back. Stand back. We ain’t seen nothin yet.

      As Britain and the AngloZionist imperial beast melts towards its delta, right here at the heart of it all we are going to see is how ugly most of the communities we live amongst really are.

      When I was a teenage boy falling in love with teenage girls whether they were black or white or brown, red or blue or green, I believed that they saw me as a human, or I couldn’t have fallen in love with them. But today I know that almost nobody in Britain other than other victims of the same abuse sees me as a human. Not really. Not in any meaningful way. Not the same way they would do if my name was Mike or John, Larry or Barry, Norman or Jim, indeed Susan or Loretta. It’s okay. The planet is far bigger than Britain is. I do not feel unwelcome on the planet I was born on, only in the country I was born in.

      Below, in the references, is material those this document is not aimed at should read, ie those who are neither non white nor white anti-racists who are appalled by the racist abusive smearing of Jeremy Corbyn at the expense of the reputations of all jews in Britain, who are surely as much the victims of this as others the right wing white racists hate.

      i will go in there and vote corbyn. that’s the right thing to do. may he be elected and put an end to war and terrorism, as he managed with Northern Ireland.

    2. Sensitivities over alleged racism appear deliberately to have been fanned out of proportion during recent decades. Some of this doubtless the result of good intention gone awry. Regardless of what brought it about it is clear that opportunist factions are using fear of being accused of racism as a tool for distorting political discourse and distracting attention from genuine problems.

      An early indicator of nonsense to come was when Anne Robinson, a TV ‘personality’, and ‘call me Tony’ Blair, a notorious figure, were investigated by North Wales Police.

      “The force was believed to have carried out these investigations following complaints from members of the public. The 10-month investigation into the Prime Minister was dropped on 11 July 2006 due to a lack of evidence. It had cost £1,656, whereas the Anne Robinson investigation cost £3,800.”

      One of Robinson’s jests was “What use are the Welsh?”. [Answers on a postcard to Chief rabbi Ephraim Mirvis please because some claim the Welsh to be ‘the lost tribe of Israel’.]

      Humour and poking fun at the absurd, even when sometimes arguably intruding on ‘sensitivities’, ought never be categorised as racism/antisemitism unless accompanied by exhortation to hate the butt of the joke. To do so is to devalue that which actually leads to evil.

      Sensible people, including Mr Corbyn, must shrug off accusations of antisemitism directed from knaves. Refuse to engage on the topic. Most definitely never apologise for words said that others of malintent have chosen to misinterpret; never ever apologise on behalf of others.

      An historical curiosity is how Enoch Powell was vilified after his so-called ‘rivers of blood speech’. Perhaps Powell was somewhat an innocent in expecting the general public to recognise a classical allusion. News reporting was a mix of ignorance and pretence at ignorance. Powell was attempting to address a serious topic of concern. The lesson for other politicians, those whose education was not bare bones basic, is to learn ‘demotic’ modes of expression and be aware of limited capacity for a general audience to grasp any sort of subtlety and nuance.

    3. Whenever I her the term “antisemitism” I automatically assume someone has criticized Israel. Many people who have been suspended or expelled from the Labour party for “antisemitism” after criticizing Israel are themselves Jews.
      I also assume that those who call out “antisemitism” are themselves racist as so many racists have jumped on the bandwagon. And if there is any actually antisemitism than the greater coverage it gets is white privilege on steroids.
      I also wonder why is George Soros beyond criticism? Other billionaires are not. Why did Allan Sugar get away with a racist tweet? No one else would have. Jews are in danger of looking like a privileged elite, even if it only applies to rich Jews.

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