“I’m staying in the Labour Party … to campaign against antisemitism in the Party”

June 14, 2017 at 12:18 am (anti-semitism, Guest post, labour party, zionism)

Above: Livingstone, an unrepentant antisemite

By Richard Gold (on Facebook):

Here’s a couple of comments I wrote that sum up how I feel about the debate in the Labour Party re the Jewish community. I’m not going to address all the comments this post may get as I think it’s been fully debated and I think maybe people should spend more time actually doing something rather than just posting on Facebook.

I’m staying in the Labour Party and will continue to campaign against antisemitism in the Party. It’s a party I’ve been in for a long time and I’m not going to leave it to the antisemites. All I can do is try and educate people, challenge people and try and ensure that people with sensible views on the issue are elected.

This is one of the two main parties and one day it will be in government again. As we have seen over the last few years things can happen very quickly in politics nowadays. To walk away is to give up. Will I succeed, is it always pleasant? Not always (though it’s fine in my ward) but I’ll be where the fights taking place and not just having Facebook discussions with like minded people. Without the Labour Party I have nobody to vote for.

A few examples over the last month or so: a Momentum organiser told me that I’d changed his mind when he had previously used the excuse that there’s antisemitsm in all parties. A Manchester councillor said she was struggling with the argument that there was no problem and I helped her with the arguments. I have helped an MP to be re-elected who is one of the main opponents of antisemitism in the Party. Other things as well, such as working with and developing links between the JLM and Labour Students. I’ve been asked to speak on antisemitism at another 3 constituency meetings and a university Labour Students group. It isn’t the kind of thing that I particularly look forward to but it’s necessary and I will always challenge and educate.


  1. kb72 said,

    Good piece. There are only 2 parties with a realistic chance of taking government & if Richard is staying on to help get rid of the noxiousness in the Labour Party, good for him. The Tories purged overt racism from their party.

  2. Sholem Aleichem said,

    Problem is that the duplicitous antisemite Corbyn can pretend to be in favour of a Two State Solution (naturally; it’d be pretty hard to lead the Labour Party without paying lip-service to this long standing and sensible policy) whilst advocating a boycott of Israel and support for the fascist butchers of Hamas and Hezbollah. In addition he is a fervent supporter of the Iranian Government’s antisemitic hate-fest in Europe, Al Quds Day, and has been a patron of the wretched, violently antisemitic PSC for many years (those many years spent campaigning alongside the likes of noted Holocaust revisionists Paul Eisen and Francis Clark-Lownes, along with the usual motley assortment of Islamic fascists and good old fashioned Christian Jew-haters). In his eyes, hateful antisemite Ken Livingstone is merely yet another victim of a worldwide Jewish conspiracy which seeks to discredit such brave and noble pro-Palestinian activists.

    But none of this matters, does it? As long as a few mild, muffled criticisms are made to keep up appearances, the Party can turn a blind eye to antisemitism and the marginalisation of Jews in British politics and concentrate on important things, like lying to the electorate about the introduction of free university education, higher wages and millions of new top quality social housing projects. Oh, and appearing at Glastonbury in a Messiah pose to court the young and gullible.

    Yes, Theresa May is irredeemably dreadful and the presence of the howlingly awful DUP does no one any favours (does any of this really need saying, anywhere?). Yes, we’re all thoroughly disillusioned with politics (particularly Brexit…which, er, Corbyn was a huge advocate of – it’s where the Far Left and Far Right meet (as is antisemitism)). Yes, it would be a wonderful thing to have a genuinely left-leaning government operating in the interests of the people. However, this – Corbyn – is not the solution. Really.

    You know, we’re used to this. We’re used to coming last in the priority list. After all, over the last year or two we’ve been fleeing France in our thousands, beaten senseless in Sweden, monitored by the Hungarian government, scared again in Germany…what difference does being vilified in Britain make? We’ll just leave, as we always do, when the mood turns sour and people are given an official reason by the government to hate us. Where will we go? Well, y’see, there is a place, but it’s the most evil place on Earth, a place which upsets Islamists and Socialists alike by continuing to exist, which is correct and proper as the inhabitants are all fascists, living purely to drink the blood of innocent Palestinian babies. It should be wiped off the map. What do you mean, I sound antisemitic? I’m *antiZionist*. There are a good 5, maybe nearer 10 % of Jews who reject Zionism, and they’re okay. Y’know, Neteuri Karta, the true Jews, the ones Jeremy’s friendly with. They’re the *real* Jews. They are no more responsible for The Zionist Entity than Muslims are for ISIS. The other 95%? Well, they deserve to get their throats cut by Hamas and Hezbollah.

  3. Sholem Aleichem said,

    I’m sorry, I’ll try to stop, I know none of it makes any difference, but sometimes I want to scream at the top of my lungs, to run through the street grabbing people by the lapels and trying to explain what this means; what it means to us. And we’re people too. Really, we are, we’re no worse than anyone else. We’re not international bankers, we’re not murderers of Arab children, we’re not in charge of the media…just people. That’s all.

    If you’re not Jewish you have no idea how frightening this is. Honestly. No idea at all.

    • Jim Denham said,

      I wouldn’t accept that Corbyn is personally an anti-Semite, though some of the people and campaigns he’s closely associated with undoubtedly are.

      Much has been said about Jeremy Corbyn’s personal, individual attitude to Israel/Palestine and antisemitism, but in a sense that’s not the key issue. On substantive questions of policy he has a much better position, in my view, than the one which has predominated on much of the far-left: he is for a two-state settlement, rather than the destruction of Israel, and against a blanket boycott of Israel. That makes him better than much of the established left. In fact, Corbyn’s relatively decent positions on these questions gives us the opportunity and ammunition with which to challenge “absolute anti-Zionism” and “left” anti-Semitism within the Labour party and the left more generally.

      His weaknesses on these issues – his historic softness on Hamas, for example, reflect the reality of him as a product of the existing left – a left characterised by Stalinist politics, and a “my-enemy’s-enemy-is-my-friend” approach to international issues. But the new left in the Labour Party is bigger than Jeremy Corbyn himself and represents an opportunity to challenge those politics.

      There are encouraging signs that those of us who recognise the existence of a distinct “left” anti-Semitism (usually masquerading as “anti Zionism”) are winning the argument within the Labour party, against “left” antisemites and, indeed, those who refuse to recognise its existence or to recognise it as a serious problem. Within Momentum, for instance, the “left” antisemites are increasingly isolated and are losing the political argument.

      The Labour party is presently very open politically, and it’s important for serious socialists to be in there arguing for serious left wing politics – including opposition to antisemitism in *all* its forms, one of which is the “socialism of fools” to be found in sections of the left.

  4. Sholem Aleichem said,

    Is this article a lie, do you think?


    …and I think we both know he’s never been in favour of a Two State Solution – after all PSC is one of its fiercest opponents – and if he’s not calling for the destruction of Israel, why is he an enthusiastic supporter of the Hamas and a regular inflammatory speaker at Al Qunts Day?

    Your blog had previously described him (accurately) as “Beyond the pale” with regards to his antisemitic leanings and his support for those who wish to destroy Israel – what has changed, other than his massive increase in support making him far more dangerous than before?

  5. Jim Denham said,

    Corbyn has clarified and modified his position: he no longer supports a blanket boycott of all things (and people) Israeli, and explicitly opposes an academic boycott. He supports a “targeted” boycott aimed at the settlements.:


    In practice, this wouldn’t work and would almost inevitably degenerate into a blanket boycott of Israel, but in principle it’s a defensible position, and gives us the opportunity to open up the debate and explain what’s wrong with DBS, academic boycotts, etc.

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