The Electronic Intifada / October 30, 2020
After a five-year campaign of smears, Labour’s former leader Jeremy Corbyn was suspended by party bosses on Thursday.
The draconian move, sanctioned by current leader Keir Starmer, caused a wave of shock among beleaguered activists.
But his actions prove quite the opposite.
Suspension means that Corbyn – first elected in 1983 – no longer represents the Labour Party in Parliament. He will sit as an independent MP until there is a new election, or until he is readmitted by party officials.
The latter prospect seems highly unlikely.
Starmer was elected by Labour members on a platform of uniting the party’s warring factions.
But it now seems he’s deliberately initiated the very civil war he claims he wants to avoid in order to purge the remnants of the left.
In fact, his campaign was funded in part by a multi-millionaire pro-Israel lobbyist, who secretly donated $62,000.
The pretext for Corbyn’s suspension was a blandly factual statement he made, explaining that the scale of anti-Semitism in Labour had been exaggerated by his political enemies.
But there were some signs that Starmer’s purge had been planned for months in advance.
Corbyn’s statement came in response to the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s long-awaited report on Thursday morning.
The commission failed to find Labour guilty of “institutional anti-Semitism,” as the pro-Israel groups whose complaints launched the investigation – the Campaign Against Antisemitism and the Jewish Labour Movement – had asked.
After 17 months of investigation – and years of media and Israel lobby smears about “Labour anti-Semitism” – the commission found only two cases it claimed were anti-Semitic “unlawful harassment” by Labour agents.
One of these was the former mayor of London Ken Livingstone. The body claimed that by pointing to that fact that there was a “smear campaign by ‘the Israel lobby’ to stigmatize critics of Israel as anti-Semitic” including Corbyn, Livingstone and Labour had “committed unlawful harassment.”
Responding to the report, Corbyn made a cautious statement, which failed to recognize the years of deliberate smears against him, his movement and the party as “anti-Semitic.”
“One anti-Semite is one too many,” he wrote, “but the scale of the problem was also dramatically overstated for political reasons by our opponents inside and outside the party, as well as by much of the media.”
This factual statement seems to have triggered the suspension by Labour’s new right-wing general secretary David Evans.
“They’ve secured the number one scalp”
Responses to the purge have come in thick and fast since Thursday.
Influential union leader and Corbyn-backer Len McCluskey said it was a “grave injustice which, if not reversed, will create chaos within the party.”
Purged left-winger and former Labour MP Chris Williamson said the suspension was “a travesty” and called for a fight-back. He said the report “should never have been commissioned in the first place.”
“It was a clear attempt by Zionists and other racists to weaponize anti-Semitism,” he said in a new video. “They’ve secured the number one scalp they were after.”
As I told BreakThrough News in the video below, there’s a window of opportunity for Corbyn to leave in protest and found a new left-wing political party which would have wide popular appeal and could bring much-needed change to Britain:
But Corbyn so far shows no signs of having the political will to do that.
Labour’s membership department is reported to be “swamped” by resignations.
Corbyn’s parliamentary comrades on the Labour left have condemned the suspension, but most of their statements have been mild – or even totally absent.
Any MP speaking out for Corbyn knows that they could be the next target of Labour’s arbitrary, unaccountable and highly politicized “disciplinary” process.
Corbyn’s own response was also docile, asking party officials to “kindly think again.”
In a statement, he later said he would “strongly contest the political intervention to suspend me.”
But the Israel lobby has been ecstatic.
“The beginning, not the end”
“We welcome the decision of the Labour Party to suspend Jeremy Corbyn,” said leading pro-Israel group the Board of Deputies of British Jews. “His shameless comments today showed he remains part of the problem.”
Also welcoming the purge was the Jewish Labour Movement, a Zionist lobby group with close ties to the Israeli embassy and its agents.
Starmer “has taken responsibility and the Labour Party has acted,” the group said.
But any hopes among Labour activists that Corbyn’s suspension would mark the end of the “crisis” have been dashed, once again.
The EHRC report “marks not an end but a beginning,” a leading article in The Jewish Chronicle insisted on Thursday.
“There are no more excuses for Labour. The clock has now started ticking. The anti-Semites must be expelled – now,” it demanded.
The anti-Palestinian, anti-Muslim weekly is essentially the UK Israel lobby’s in-house journal.
It has a long history of libeling leftists, Palestinians and their supporters as “anti-Semites” – and shelling out large sums in damages for its falsehoods.
Purge of MPs
The lobby itself sprang into action to ensure those threats become reality.
The Campaign Against Antisemitism immediately wrote to Labour demanding the purge of not only Corbyn, but a hit list of 32 other Labour parliamentarians and candidates for office.
Almost all of them are from the left of the party, including Corbyn’s close allies and former shadow cabinet members Diane Abbott, Richard Burgon and Barry Gardiner.
The letter is 72 pages long and was clearly prepared well in advance of Thursday. It concludes with a demand all 33 complaints be dealt with within six months.
The letter is co-signed by the group’s “head of political and government investigations,” Joe Glasman.
On Christmas day last year Glasman posted a video rant gloating that his organization, along with “our spies and intel” had “slaughtered” Corbyn, “the beast.”
The video proved so embarrassing to Glasman – who evidently thought it would only be seen by his friends and allies – that he attempted to have every copy on the internet removed.
YouTube did remove the copy posted by The Electronic Intifada, but restored it after two weeks when we appealed under US copyright law.
It seems that for the Israel lobby, slaughtering Corbyn once was not enough.
You can still watch the video here:
Asa Winstanley is an investigative journalist and associate editor with The Electronic Intifada; he lives in London