21August2019

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The Campaign To Stop Corbyn – Smears, Racism And Censorship

The greatest fear of those holding the most power and wealth is that they will lose their exalted position in the world. They will resist any changes to the grossly unequal and unjust class structure that causes grievous damage to so many people; and to the planet itself. Even the threat of real change must be crushed. This, in a nutshell, underpins the astonishing and relentless campaign to stop Jeremy Corbyn, a moderate leftist, from ever becoming Prime Minister.

On July 10, BBC broadcast an episode of Panorama that purported to be an impartial investigation into the loaded question, 'Is Labour Anti-Semitic?'. It quickly became clear that the programme makers were not interested in a serious appraisal of the evidence and that the question was merely rhetorical. The thrust of the programme was that Labour is anti-semitic. The Labour Party response was scathing:

'The Panorama programme was not a fair or balanced investigation. It was a seriously inaccurate, politically one-sided polemic, which breached basic journalistic standards, invented quotes and edited emails to change their meaning. It was an overtly biased intervention by the BBC in party political controversy.

'An honest investigation into antisemitism in Labour and wider society is in the public interest. The Panorama team instead pre-determined an answer to the question posed by the programme's title.'

The programme was presented by BBC journalist John Ware who had previously made clear his antagonism towards Corbyn's politics. As journalist Jonathan Cook wrote:

'that Panorama made no attempt at even-handedness or fairness in its programme on Labour should have come as no surprise. The man in charge of the investigation was John Ware, a former Sun journalist. He cannot be considered dispassionate either about Corbyn or the prospects of Labour defeating the Conservative Party at a general election, which may be just around the corner.'

Cook continued:

'Two years ago, Ware wrote a lengthy article for a right-wing magazine warning of the danger of Corbyn reaching power. He was a politician, wrote Ware, "whose entire political career has been stimulated by disdain for the West, appeasement of extremism, and who would barely understand what fighting for the revival of British values is really all about".

'Shortly after Corbyn's leadership election victory in 2015, Ware headed a Panorama documentary that sought to malign the new leader. Ware is also a strident supporter of Israel and of its state ideology, Zionism. In a 2005 edition of Panorama he suggested that Muslims in Britain who spoke out about Israel's crimes against Palestinians were "extremists".

'In an article in the Jewish Chronicle last year Ware concluded that anti-Zionism had "morphed into antisemitism – itself a Corbyn legacy".'

The Panorama programme was immediately followed by BBC News at Ten which gave it extensive coverage, pumping up the propaganda value of the fake 'investigation'. BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg intoned gravely:

'Many party members have left, and if Labour can't get a grip of racism in its own ranks, what might they lose next?'

Consider her choice of words: 'Many party members have left' and 'Labour can't get a grip of racism in its own ranks'. The public is supposed to swallow the BBC's implication of endemic Labour anti-semitism as impartial, objective reporting.

Kuenssberg continued:

'This is a problem that has dogged the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn's leadership, not for a few weeks, not just for a few months, but for several years now.'

Many commentators, including Media Lens, have long argued that the issue of anti-semitism has been exploited to inflict as much damage on Corbyn as possible. But that rational perspective is systematically excluded from BBC News 'journalism'. Instead, as ever, the BBC political editor continued to hammer home the requisite propaganda bullet points:

'Corbyn has been unable, it seems, to crack down on it [anti-semitism] in the way he has promised to do, again and again.'

In the BBC version of 'neutral' news reporting, there is no hint that Corbyn's opponents - not least the corporate media, including the BBC - wish to destroy him and what he stands for. But then, from the very beginning, the BBC has been on the side of the establishment and the government of the day. As BBC founder John Reith confided in his diary during the 1926 General Strike:

'They know they can trust us not to be really impartial.'

('The Reith Diaries', edited by Charles Stewart, Collins, 1975; entry for 11 May, 1926)

The experienced journalist Peter Oborne said via Twitter:

'I proposed to the BBC a documentary on Tory Islamophobia three years ago. Zero interest.'

It is possible that in over-reaching themselves, and presenting such a skewed perspective, Panorama and the BBC had inadvertently highlighted the manufactured nature of the 'anti-semitism crisis'. As Asa Winstanley observed:

'all the program proved was just how dishonest the British establishment and the Israel lobby have been in manufacturing this "Labour anti-Semitism crisis" for the past four years.'

In a piece for The Electronic Intifada, Ali Abunimah gave crucial background context, observing that the Israel lobby is working hard to split the left:

'Influential Israel lobby groups are offering "rules" for how Jewish communal organizations can divide the left and break up emerging intersectional coalitions.

'They also advocate for "delegitimizing" Jews deemed too supportive of Palestinian rights.

'Israel and its lobby see the strengthening solidarity between Palestinians and other oppressed groups, especially Black people in the United States, as a major threat and they are determined to fight back.

'Indeed, last year, Al Jazeera's leaked undercover documentary The Lobby–USA revealed how the Israeli government and its lobby worked to disrupt the Black Lives Matter movement in retaliation for Black solidarity with Palestine.'

A central strategy of this pro-Israel campaign is to repeatedly state a false equivalence between anti-Zionism and anti-semitism. Abunimah explained:

'Zionism, Israel's state ideology, is racist because it grants superior rights to Jews enshrined in dozens of Israeli laws and holds that Palestinians expelled and exiled from their homeland should not be allowed to return to it solely and exclusively because they are not Jews.

'Anti-Zionism, therefore, is not prejudice against Jews as Israel and its lobby groups claim.

'Anti-Zionism, based in universal human rights principles, is anti-racism.'

A new report by Israel's Reut Institute and the US-based Jewish Council for Public Affairs warned ominously that '"Corbynization" is spreading through segments of the political left' and that 'UK-based anti-Israel groups have been inspiring liberal and progressive elite circles worldwide.'

This, says Abunimah, 'underlines why Israel and its lobby view discrediting and removing Corbyn as a paramount priority.'

Read more: The Campaign To Stop Corbyn – Smears, Racism And Censorship

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