Expel Luciana Berger

July 31, 2018

by Martin Odoni

Luciana Berger has revealed herself to be quite the most McCarthyite MP in the country at the moment – and that is a title only ever won in the face of fierce competition. In her determination to prove that the ‘anti-Semitism-in-the-Labour-Party’ (oh, how bored I am of typing that phrase…) controversy is something more than a semi-fantasy, she has overstepped an important line.

Berger was interviewed on 31st July – much too gently as usual – by Shelagh Fogarty on LBC Radio about the deafening furore. In particular, Berger was asked about this week’s kerfuffle over Labour NEC member Peter Willsman ‘offensively’ suggesting that some British Jews were disturbingly happy about Donald Trump becoming US President.

Fogarty rightly asked Berger to clarify precisely what was anti-Semitic about Willsman’s words. It was noticeable that Berger did not clarify, beyond waffling in a strident but roundabout way about Willsman’s statements being ‘unacceptable’, which really just put the implication of the question in different words. She also failed to explain why Willsman’s words were even untrue. Which of course they were not; the Board of Jewish Deputies, in particular, were tellingly eager to congratulate Trump on becoming President. Given Trump’s ignorant enthusiasm for Zionism, largely based around trying to please Christian fundamentalists in the USA, that is perhaps to be expected.

Fogarty – again as usual – managed to miss Berger’s evasion completely and moved on. To her credit, she soon asked Berger a question she does not get asked nearly often enough in the mainstream media; what evidence is there that anti-Semitism in the Labour Party really is as widespread as she claims? It was here that Berger overstepped from mere McCarthyite cynicism to a possibly indictable violation.

Berger initially made another roundabout remark about, ‘Just see everything that’s going on’, which again just restated the question’s implication in different words, but she then cited two Labour councillors who had been suspended during this week as supposedly definitive examples of anti-Semitism being out of control.

Berger lies about Willsman

Luciana Berger misportrays Peter Willsman’s words and the position of the Board of Jewish Deputies, then presents two still-to-be-investigated party suspensions as definitely guilty, which may be indictable on grounds of prejudicing the inquiry.

This remark from Berger was outrageous, and may constitute a violation of Labour Party disciplinary procedures. To explain: In one case, a councillor in Bognor Regis claims his social media account was hacked, in the other, the councillor implied Israeli security services might have been driving the anti-Semitism controversy. In both cases, there is reason to question whether there is anti-Semitism at play at all, albeit for different reasons; one may have been framed, the other was criticising Israel and not Jews. Therefore, guilt has not been firmly established as yet in either case, but Berger has gone on national radio and presented the accusations against them as evidence in itself – not only against them but against the Labour left more widely.

In so doing, Berger has risked prejudicing the investigations, while increasing public pressure on the party to find the two councillors guilty, irrespective of the investigations’ findings. She is also guilty of a lazy form of fallacious thinking that is as worrying to observe in a national legislator as is her poisonous maliciousness; by assuming that the accusation is evidence, instead of the accusation requiring evidence, she has lapsed into infantile circular reasoning. “I know they must be guilty because they’ve been accused, because if they’ve been accused they must be guilty.”

No, It does not work like that, it must never work like that. The accusation must be followed by evidence. When the accusation is the evidence, we enter a world in which anyone can be accused of anything, and they are automatically guilty. Chaos and endless injustice lie down that path.

This sort of ‘fast-food’ approach to justice was supposed to have become obsolete in the days of the First Magna Carta, meaning Berger is quite literally guilty of Medievalism.

At the very least, Berger has brought the party into disrepute, by publicly accusing other party members, and by endangering the impartiality of the investigation process. Look what happened to Marc Wadsworth when he was found guilty of bringing the part into disrepute – expulsion. Berger was there in person to cheer on the decision.

Now Berger should face the same fate.

NB: If you wish to report Berger’s appalling behaviour, please e-mail the Labour Party’s complaints office at complaints@labour.org.uk. The more reports the party receive about what Berger has done, the more pressure they will come under to bring her to book.

Luciana betrays her party to the LFI

A message I sent to Berger’s Instagram account during the spring, after she started the contrived furore over the Mear One Mural.

by Martin Odoni

I mentioned a couple of months back that I was expecting some kind of suspension to my membership of the Labour Party. Well, it took them a long time, but there is predictable news, and unexpected news on that front. The predictable bit (a friend and fellow Labour ‘suspendee’ even said, “Unsurprisingly” when I informed him of my suspension) is that I have indeed received my suspension notice. Not a promising reflection on the party’s competence that they got my address wrong some seven months after I informed them that I had moved to a new home, but I shall not dwell on that.

Wrong address

The Labour Party suspends me while getting my home address wrong.

The unexpected detail is what I have been accused over. I was expecting the suspension to be connected to past entanglements with the malevolently vulpine Zionist, Jonathan Hoffman, who claims to have lodged a complaint against me. In fact, the accusation does not appear to have anything to do with arguments with him. Instead, it was over the cover picture I put together for an article I wrote back in February. Here it is; –

star of david swastika

I am told that the image may “meet the definition of antisemitism [their spelling, right or wrong, not mine] adopted by the Labour Party, and thus be in breach of the Labour Party’s rule 2.I.8.”

It is entirely possible that I am guilty, given the well-recorded problems with the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of anti-Semitism, which the Labour Party has largely adopted. The dangerous flaw in the definition – that comparing the policy of The State of Israel to that of Nazi Germany is inherently anti-Semitic –  would probably apply here.

I am quite pleased that I have been suspended over this though, because it may force Labour to have a close look at the absurdity of this clause in the definition. What is likely to force the matter is the obvious, big drawback in the allegation against me; it is directed at someone who is ethnically Jewish. As I have said more than once in the past, it is quite possible to be prejudiced against one’s own race, but it is very counter-intuitive and rare, so when the suggestion is made, it needs a very strong supporting case. In other words, if anyone wishes to accuse me of being a Jewish anti-Semite, they had better come up with some ultra-solid reasons why.

My history of criticism of Israel is not an ultra-solid reason, or even a half-solid reason. Anti-Semitic feeling will never be the only possible motivation for condemning Israel’s treatment of Palestinian Arabs. Nor is it the only possible reason why people might see resemblance between the deeds of modern Israel and the deeds of Nazi Germany.

Even if one could argue that there is no such resemblance at present – a very shaky assertion but let us humour it for now – there is no reason for certainty that there never will be one in the future. But the IHRA working definition insists that we must assume that, and that if we do not, we are anti-Semites. And worse, this further means that, even if Israel actually went as far as to set up extermination camps complete with gas chambers and incinerators, and started ‘processing’ Palestinians through them in their thousands (no, I am not suggesting that Israel really is doing that, or that it is likely to in the future, this is purely hypothetical), the IHRA definition would still class it as anti-Semitic to suggest a resemblance to Nazi policy. Even though, in such a scenario, Israel’s policy would not only resemble but exactly match that of the Nazis.

Policy criticisms of Israel are not necessarily even anti-Zionist, let alone anti-Semitic, as it is quite possible to support Israel’s existence as a Jewish state without supporting its policies. (I support neither, just in case anyone was somehow in any doubt.)

That clause in the definition is clearly horribly, dangerously flawed, that is the clause I appear to be falling foul of, and it is a part of the definition I reject. Being an ethnic Jew, I believe I have an intimate right to dispute it.

by Martin Odoni

James O-Brien comfortable with racists?

James O’Brien of LBC Radio is disturbingly comfortable associating with racists, for one who gets so self-righteous about (perceived) racism in the Labour Party.

“[Dear James]

Are you comfortable with racism?

If not, why don’t you work harder to get racists like Nigel Farage thrown off the radio station you work for? Why don’t you refuse to work for LBC while it allows Farage to promote Steve Bannon?

Oh? Am I being unfair on you? Well, you had the disgusting temerity to insinuate that Jeremy Corbyn is ‘comfortable with anti-Semitism’ [on Monday], even though he is at least trying to get anti-Semites out of the Labour Party (what few there are).

You can’t have it both ways, put your money where your gob is. Otherwise, we can only conclude that you have no problem working for a station that gives a safe harbour to racists.”

by Martin Odoni

Serious question for you, everybody.

How stupid are you?

Let me offer you a way of measuring; if you are presently joining in with the renewed hysteria about anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, the answer is, you are very stupid. The reason why you are very stupid – including you once again, James O’Brien (whom I am starting to see as the Conservative Party’s most useful idiot) – is that you seem unable to spot history rhyming.

Back in April, an opinion poll had Labour moving into a seven-point lead just as the Local Election campaigns were starting. Almost immediately, Jewish Labour MP Luciana Berger, perhaps the most well-disguised cynic in politics, created the most ridiculous controversy, by publicly attacking leader, Jeremy Corbyn, over comments he made about a mural that has not even existed for six years. The clamour about it carried on for weeks, and inevitably Labour’s position in the polls began to falter.

Over the last week or so, polls have suggested that Labour are pulling into the lead again, helped by the Tories haemorrhaging support as Brexit chaos worsens.

YouGov opinion poll 16th-17th July 2018

Labour leads by five points – so naturally the right wing start more theatrical attacks on the party leader.

So what happens this week? Well of course, Red Tory John Woodcock immediately announces his resignation from the Labour Party, citing Corbyn’s supposed ‘support of anti-Semites’ as one of the reasons. (We all know that he had nothing to lose by leaving, as he was almost certain to be thrown out of the party anyway for being a sex-pest. But he probably decided to leave weeks ago, so his timing is telling.)

John Woodcock anti-semitism dirty txts

Couldn’t resist it, sorry-not-sorry.

This was co-ordinated with a scurrilous, foul-mouthed and uncivilised attack on Corbyn from Margaret Hodge. Her behaviour was utterly vile, and if Marc Wadsworth can be accused of ‘bringing the party into disrepute’ over what he said about Ruth Smeeth a couple of years ago, it is absolutely correct that Hodge faces comparable proceedings.

The Jewish Chronicle, a ‘newspaper’ that makes me ashamed to be ethnically Jewish myself, published a hatchet job on Corbyn so vicious that The Daily Mail might have hesitated to print it.

Hatchet JC cover

Disgraceful hatchet job by the Jewish Chronicle on Jeremy Corbyn.

In short, every time Labour appear to be breaking ahead of the Tories, this wildly-exaggerated controversy is artificially re-ignited again, and always by the usual suspects who are in Labour Friends Of Israel. Note that that says ‘Israel’, not ‘Jews’. LFI’s only concerns are the interests of Israel, not those of Jewish Britons. (If they did care so much about Jewish Britons, why do they never take soundings from Labour members in the Jewish community more widely? They have certainly never contacted me.)

LFI treachery

Rebellions against Jeremy Corbyn are usually started by Labour Friends of Israel.

The current resurgence of this furore was made all-the-more urgent from a pro-Israeli perspective, given the disturbing developments in the Knesset this week. Binyamin Netanyahu’s ethnocratic Government has passed new legislation declaring Israel to be an Apartheid State in all-but-name, while weakening Palestinian access to legal mechanisms. Israel sympathisers want a pro-Palestinian leader of the Opposition silenced and discredited at times like these.

As for the aforementioned O’Brien, he really is being an idiot when it comes to this subject. Sorry, there is no other word for it. Not just because he always misses the above pattern whenever he discusses this on LBC Radio, but also because he misses the meaning of his own lectures on other subjects. For instance, he rightly and repeatedly despairs at the way Brexiteers completely overlook the importance of analysing evidence when assessing whether leaving the European Union is doing good or harm. He rails against Brexiteers allowing their judgement to be guided exclusively by their emotions. However, on the subject of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, O’Brien just repeatedly ignores evidence, no matter how much of it is pointed out to him, that demonstrates clearly that the problem is being blown way out-of-proportion, with many cases cynical smears. Instead, he just assumes all or most accusations are genuine, and bases his sympathies with the complainants on emotional appeals from Jewish paranoia about the supposed imminence of a ‘Second Shoah’.

This is imbecilic. Paranoia, by definition, is not factual, it is imagination. O’Brien expresses understanding for it, which is fine, but makes no attempt to rein in the wild conclusions to which it leads. So while he condemns Brexiteers for believing in unicorns, he agrees with Jews (no, actually Zionists) when they imagine monsters in the bedroom closet.

O’Brien has also criticised Labour this week for (slightly) rejecting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism. He asks why Labour is rejecting parts of the definition when so many other organisations around the world have accepted it.

Oo, tricky one, James! Here though, this might help: How about because it is not an adequate definition? It encourages the usual, insidious conflation of Jews with Israel – especially the clause that reads, Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis – while under-defining other phenomena. Jennie Formby, General Secretary of the party, has already explained in full. Why not check whether your questions have already been answered before asking them, especially in such an insinuating way?

And just because an awful lot of people and groups around the world are scared to dispute the definition, for fear of being tarred with the anti-Semitism brush, that does not mean everyone else is morally obliged to be a sheep. (Again, how often does O’Brien criticise Brexiteers for just unquestioningly going along with everything Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg say, but he now expresses contempt when the Labour leadership refuse to follow the crowd blindly? Just like he also expresses contempt for Corbyn for daring to question the official narrative on the Skripal poisonings? He called that “pathetic” the other week, when by any standard, I would have thought ‘pathetic’ was the perfect epithet for anyone just swallowing anything they are told.)

O’Brien’s attitude to the current Labour Party is one of the wonders of the world, it really is. He openly proclaimed this week that he always wants to assume the best motives in people. In recent times, this has actually led him to express a tiny modicum of respect for Theresa May, perhaps the most cowardly and bare-facedly dishonest Prime Minister of the modern era. And yet, anything connected with the Labour left or Jeremy Corbyn, O’Brien always analyses with the most searing suspicion and cynicism, assuming the worst motives at every angle.

Now for certain, there are plenty of problems with the current Labour Party, and there are serious doubts as to whether they can form a workable Government until their inner divisions are resolved. But O’Brien keeps implying that all of these problems are the fault of Jeremy Corbyn and the left wing. Any objective analysis shows that the great bulk of the problems are being created by the right; in particular their cynically-timed, theatrical public rebellions. O’Brien never attempts any serious assessment of the right of the party. He just ignores their dark motives and assumes anything they do against the leadership is, ipso facto, the fault of the leadership. He never entertains the possibility that the likes of Chuka Umunna, Jess Phillips and Wes Streeting may have reasons quite other than the ones they declare. He also never explores the point, again frequently made to him, that there are politically-corrupt reasons for conflating Jews with Israel. It is disturbing to reflect on these oversights, in light of how O’Brien condemns the Daily Mail on almost every edition of his show, and with good reason. The fact that he is proliferating accusations that are getting publication every other day in the Daily Mail, while ignoring facts that the Mail likes to ignore as well, should make him question himself far more deeply than he has done so far.

O’Brien rightly condemns the chaos and cruelty of the current Government, and the malign deceitfulness and psychopathy of a great many Tory MPs. But he needs to ask himself whether his own conduct may be helping to keep the Tories in power to continue the misery. He is, after all, one of the more prominent liberal voices on British radio these days, whether he likes it or not, and if he is cheerfully propagating these absurd exaggerations about anti-Semitism as undiluted fact, then he is personally damaging any hope of bringing down the Tories. When the left needs prominent media voices to speak up for them, and O’Brien would be one of the most obvious candidates for it, he instead keeps helping the Tories to provide a distraction from their own malignancy and incompetence – a distraction that has minimal basis in reality. Even if the Labour anti-Semitism problem really were anything like as big as it is being painted – and it is not – it would still be nowhere near as urgent a crisis as the horrendous unnecessary damage inflicted on the people of Britain by Austerity and Brexit. And I say that as someone who has been on the sharp end of anti-Semitism at various points in my own life.