Ken Loach nails the ‘biggest threat’ to a Corbyn-led government with a wonderful one-liner

Ken Loach
Ed Sykes

Award-winning director Ken Loach has nailed the “biggest threat” to a Corbyn-led Labour government amid a controversial move from the Labour leader to appease his critics.

“The biggest threat”

Loach said Corbyn’s opponents within the Labour Party are letting their side down with their constant attempts to undermine him, stressing:

A broad church doesn’t work when the choir’s trying to stab the vicar in the back.

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He also said:

The issue of antisemitism

Loach also spoke about antisemitism allegations against Labour, stressing:

These were important comments from Loach. But in a controversial move on 23 September, Corbyn responded to people who found offence in the following image:

The veteran anti-racist was possibly trying to ensure that the focus at conference was on his bold left-wing policies rather than antisemitism allegations. But many people wondered exactly what the “antisemitic poison” was in the banner above. And that’s a fair question, which no media outlet covering the news seemed to answer convincingly. The cartoonist and progressive Jewish publisher of the image, meanwhile, also responded with confusion, saying:

The charge of antisemitism has perhaps been the most hurtful smear campaign that Corbyn and his supporters have faced from their opponents, with critics trying to convince the UK that there is an ‘institutional antisemitism crisis’ in the Labour Party today. As Jewish professor David Graeber recently insisted, Corbyn’s foes are ‘weaponising’ antisemitism accusations in a way “so cynical and irresponsible that I genuinely believe it to be a form of antisemitism in itself”.

In reality, numerous reports and polls show that antisemitism exists across society; but that it’s most common among far-right groups. Antisemitism allegations in the Labour Party reportedly relate to 0.06% of the party’s 500,000+ members. In fact, if anything, it seems antisemitism among Labour supporters may have actually fallen under Corbyn’s leadership. The party has also taken consistently firm action against such racism in recent years. The following charts shared by Jewish Voice for Labour reflect this picture:

Capitulating helps no one

Many of Corbyn’s opponents on the Labour right, however, have pushed and continue to push the idea of a crisis in the organisation. And mainstream media outlets have helped by putting out “misleading”, ‘distorted’, and “inaccurate” coverage exaggerating the scale of allegations.

Now, it seems Corbyn is doing his best to appease his foes. But the Labour right won’t stop until Corbyn is no longer the party’s leader, because they hate his progressive politics and hate him sticking up for Palestine and criticising Israel. That’s why, as renowned Jewish scholar Norman Finkelstein recently told The Canary, Corbyn’s attempt to appease them by playing along with their dangerous game is a “fatal mistake”.

The above cartoon from Carlos Latuff slams the weaponisation of antisemitism allegations to silence critics of Israeli crimes (like Corbyn). It’s not saying there is absolutely no genuine antisemitism in Labour; it’s simply highlighting that Corbyn’s foes are using allegations as a political football to attack him.

Apologists for Israel’s hard-right government like to suggest that it’s always antisemitic to use the Star of David to allude to the Israeli state. But as Latuff previously stated:

it’s not my fault if Israel chose sacred religious motifs as national symbols, such as the Knesset Menorah or the Star of David = in killing-machines like F-16 jets. I can’t be blamed for making an Israeli bomb-dropping warbird adorned with a religious symbol, because that’s the way Israeli air force planes are.

He also stressed:

My cartoons have no focus on the Jews or on Judaism.

And amid the current controversy, he poignantly tweeted:

Be progressive. Don’t be afraid to call out the smears.

Like others on the global right, Boris Johnson and the Conservatives have long been cosying up to Israel’s racist, criminal government:

Meanwhile, Labour is standing up against the brutal Israeli occupation of Palestine – and alongside refugees – like never before:

Award-winning Israeli journalist Gideon Levy, however, has stressed that Corbyn is facing a “systematic campaign” against him for ‘daring to criticise Israel‘. And it looks like this campaign is taking its toll. Because Corbyn’s right-wing opponents have apparently pushed him into crying wolf when looking at a sheep.

We desperately need a Corbyn-led government. But as Loach says, “the right wing of the Labour Party is the biggest threat we face”. And Corbyn can’t resist their attacks alone. That’s why all progressives need to stand up, call out the smears, and fight tooth and nail for radical transformation. Because without us, that simply won’t happen.

Featured image via Wikimedia – Georges Biard

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