Here’s why Laura Kuenssberg and centrists spent all day celebrating a rabid antisemite

Laura Kuenssberg and Rachel Reeves
Tracy Keeling

Laura Kuenssberg and centrists spent 24 February celebrating a rabid antisemite. The racist idol in question was Nancy Astor, one of the UK’s early female MPs.

The celebrations by these figures are not, however, being attacked on the media’s front pages. They would be, of course, if they were initiated by Jeremy Corbyn. If anyone needed more proof that the regular attacks on the Labour leader for alleged antisemitism were anything other than part of a cynical smear campaign, this is it.

‘Let’s celebrate’

Rachel Reeves is an MP on the right of the Labour Party. She posted a long thread on 24 February which championed Astor on the 100-year anniversary of her first speech in parliament:

Kuenssberg subsequently retweeted the post:

But as well as being known for her foray into politics, Astor is well known for her repulsive views on Jewish people. She reportedly once said at a lunch provided by a Jewish family:

Did I not after all believe there must be something in the Jews themselves that had bought them persecution throughout all the ages?

She also allegedly wrote to US ambassador Joseph P Kennedy, referring to Jewish people as the “killers of Christ” and Adolf Hitler’s treatment of them as him giving Jews “a rough time”. Astor said that it would take more than this ‘rough time’ to inspire support from her for an “Armageddon to save them”. And she referred to communists and Jewish people as “world problems”.

In short, she was a virulent antisemite. But Reeves didn’t mention that in her celebratory thread. Nor did Kuenssberg point it out while retweeting. Others, however, certainly did:

In late 2019, former PM Theresa May unveiled a statue of Astor, which current PM Boris Johnson gladly visited himself.

Same situation

Now imagine if Corbyn had praised a figure in history for their work who also happened to hold antisemitic views. Actually, there’s no imagination needed. Because the press has crucified the Labour leader over exactly that situation before.

In 2011, Corbyn wrote a foreword for a reissued book that was first published in 1902. Corbyn wrote that Imperialism, A Study, by John Atkinson Hobson, was “very controversial” and “brilliant”. However, the book contained antisemitic sentiments and Corbyn’s opponents went ballistic in 2019 over the discovery of this foreword. The Guardian‘s resident Corbyn-hater Jonathan Freedland wrote a story headlined:

Jeremy Corbyn is either blind to antisemitism – or he just doesn’t care

Corbyn stressed that his foreword looked at the book’s focus (“the process which led to the first world war”) rather than the author’s “absolutely deplorable” language.

Double standards

Perhaps Freedland will write a seething column in the Guardian nailing Kuenssberg for not caring about antisemitism. Perhaps he’ll note Reeves’s ‘blindness’ to prejudice. Or perhaps not – since he himself has championed Astor before, in a programme called Pioneering Women.

Perhaps, actually, the furore over Corbyn’s foreword was just a part of the smear campaign against him – and many of those screaming about any alleged prejudice of the lifelong anti-racist should really be looking in the mirror.

Featured image via screenshot/screenshot

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  • Show Comments
    1. As the universe is mathematical here’s a simple equation for calculating the level of mendacity concerning accusations of anti-Semitism against Labour Party members: LP + JC = AW10 ( the 10 is intended to be a power ie AW to the power of 10),
      where LP = Lying Politician, JC = The Jewish Chronicle ( Chronic Liar) and AW = Audrey White.
      Have you noticed how the media, so concerned about anti-Semitism, so intent on getting at the truth, have failed to report the remarkable victory of Audrey White against the Jewish Chronicle? The paper (if it deserves such an appellation) has been ordered to make a substantial payout for misleading its readers over allegations that Audrey White is anti-Semitic. Well, well, well, well, well, well, well. Much of what it printed was similar to allegations circulated by that exemplar of moral rectitude, Louise Ellman. Well, well, well. How many more of the allegations are as baseless as those against Audrey White? Here’s another equation: LP+JC+CST+BoD-T = 0: where T = Truth.
      Nancy Astor. Not the only respectable anti-Semite. Every year a major poetry award is made in the name of T.S.Eliot. He was raised in an anti-Semitic household and expressed unequivocal prejudice in his poetry. Not a peep from Louise Elllman, Hodge-Podge, Mann, Beger, Reeves, the B o D, the CST, any rabbi. Hypocrites to their toe-nails.

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