A brief response to Chief Rabbi Mirvis

JVL Introduction

This rejoiner needs no introduction…

As the author says:

In a partisan intervention calculated to inflict maximum damage to Labour’s election campaign, Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis ‘calls upon the citizens of our great country to study what has been unfolding before our very eyes’.

Let’s do that.

This article was originally published by jamiesternweiner blog on Tue 26 Nov 2019. Read the original here.

A brief response to Chief Rabbi Mirvis

In a partisan intervention calculated to inflict maximum damage to Labour’s election campaign, Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis ‘calls upon the citizens of our great country to study what has been unfolding before our very eyes’.

Let’s do that.

The evidence indicates the following:

There is no antisemitism crisis in Britain. The respected Institute for Jewish Policy Research (JPR) emphasised in 2017 that Jews in Britain are ‘seen overwhelmingly positively by an absolute majority of the British population’. Anti-Jewish animus is relatively low, stable over time, and mild in effect; unlike many other forms of prejudice, it does not appear to translate into socioeconomic or legal discrimination, let alone widespread violence. As Mirvis himself observed, as recently as 2016, ‘life is good for Jews in the UK. . . . It is great to be Jewish in Britain’.

There is no antisemitism crisis in the Labour Party. No evidence has been presented showing that antisemitic attitudes among Labour members are widespread, or more widespread than in other parties, or more widespread than they used to be. On the contrary: surveys indicate that the prevalence of anti-Jewish attitudes has declined across the political spectrum since 2015, while antisemitism on the Left and among Labour supporters—the Labour Party’s natural constituencies from which its members are disproportionately drawn—is lower than on the Right and among Conservative supporters:

  • ‘[t]he political left, captured by voting intention or actual voting for Labour, appears . . . a more Jewish-friendly, or neutral, segment of the population’ – Institute for Jewish Policy Research, 2017
  • ‘Labour Party supporters are less likely to be antisemitic than other voters’ – Campaign Against Antisemitism, 2017

Let’s now look at the Chief Rabbi’s specific complaints. Bear in mind that this is the most damning evidence he was able to marshal against Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership after fully four years of non-stop attacks that have marshalled every scrap of evidence, however minute and irrelevant, to discredit this leadership.

  1. The feverishly anti-Corbyn Jewish Labour Movement ‘alleges there are at least 130 outstanding cases before the party, some dating back years, and thousands more have been reported but remain unresolved’. But according to General Secretary Jennie Formby, reporting to Labour MPs in July 2019, the actual number of Labour members brought through the disciplinary process in relation to allegations of antisemitism amounts to approximately 0.06% of the membership. That’s less than one-tenth of one percent.

In 2016, Mirvis underlined the positive reality for Jews of life in Britain, by comparing the problem of antisemitism to a dot on a sheet of paper:

I believe we should see it in its overall context, which is that life is good for Jews in the UK. I shall quickly scribble something for you on this sheet of paper and ask what you see. You will be thinking that that is a crazy question and that there is obviously a large dot on the paper, but there is actually a much better answer, which is that it is a white sheet of paper, and on the white background there is a large dot. The white area represents the situation of Jews in the UK today.

By the same reasoning, his own allegations against Labour Party are wildly distorted.

(By Alan Maddison)

  1. The Chief Rabbi alleges that ‘supporters of the Labour leadership have hounded parliamentarians, members and even staff out of the party for challenging anti-Jewish racism’. The Chief Rabbi is keen at smearing Labour but, alas, more parsimonious when it comes to the evidence. Indeed, the evidence shows that this allegation has mostly been contrived. For example, whereas it was alleged that Louise Ellman MP was driven out of the Party because she is Jewish, a forensic investigation by Jewish Voice for Labour found that she was unpopular for other reasons entirely, and that she and her supporters hurled false accusations of antisemitism to discredit their political opponents. Moreover, many left-wing Jews have faced astonishing intimidation and slander for refusing to fall in line with the anti-Labour smear campaign, while one study found that the politician most targeted for abuse is the Labour Shadow Home Secretary, and close Corbyn ally, Diane Abbott MP. In what must be the most shameful exploitation ever of antisemitism for partisan political gain, Corbyn himself has been slandered as an antisemite, even as his entire documented political career marks him out as—in the words of Jewish researcher and activist Joseph Finlay—‘Britain’s leading anti-racist politician’.
  1. The Chief Rabbi rhetorically pleas, ‘How far is too far? . . . Would associations with those who have incited hatred against Jews be enough? Would describing as ‘friends’ those who endorse the murder of Jews be enough?’ It is telling that the best the Rabbi can produce, after years of mud-slinging, is this feeble attempt at guilt-by-association. The British Government openly proclaims Saudi Arabia—among the world’s leading producers of sectarian as well as anti-Jewish propaganda—its close friend and ally. Does Chief Rabbi Mirvis consider this proof of antisemitism? The fact is, Jeremy Corbyn has, to his eternal credit, been an isolated supporter of the Palestinians’ long struggle for elementary human rights and dignity, consistent with his championing of human rights for Kurds, blacks in South Africa, and other oppressed peoples. By contrast, Chief Rabbi Mirvis and the rest of the British Jewish establishment have consistently endorsed and enabled Israel’s brutal racist regime. In summer 2014, as one of the world’s most sophisticated armies subjected the besieged civilians of Gaza to yet another unending barrage of explosives, Mirvis came out in support of the terror bombing. 550 children were killed. Before he presumes to lecture a principled anti-racist on ethics, shouldn’t the Chief Rabbi reflect upon his own abysmal moral record?

*

It is difficult to over-state how poorly Britain’s Jews are being served by their self-proclaimed communal leaders.

This election is not like any other. The far-right is winning around the world. It might very well be that we are just one economic crisis, one climate shock away from the return of fascism across Europe.

This is the real threat to Jewish people.

It is the saddest of ironies that whereas Jews were a principal target of fascism in the 1930s, Britain’s Jewish leadership has now aligned itself against the chief bulwark of anti-fascism.

In the past and today, our best defence, our only defence, against the far-right, is a strong left, which promises a positive and inclusive plan for a fairer society.

If we want to defeat the far-right and to defeat the causes of the far-right, our only hope is Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party.


Further Resources:

– Jewish Voice for Labour, Briefing for Canvassers and Rebuttals

– Jamie Stern-Weiner and Alan Maddison, Smoke Without Fire: The Myth of a ‘Labour Antisemitism Crisis’

– Over 200 Jewish Labour supporters say: Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour is a Crucial Ally in the Fight against Antisemitism

– 34 Orthodox Rabbis reject allegations against ‘respected leader’ Jeremy Corbyn

– Joseph Finlay, Jeremy Corbyn is an Anti-Racist, Not an Anti-Semite

Fifty Times Jeremy Corbyn Stood with Jewish People

– Anna Boyle, 40 Examples of Corbyn Opposing Antisemitism

 

Comments (4)

  • Mark Francis says:

    I notice Archbishop justin Welby dogpiling in, in support of his fellow god botherer, saying not enough has been done to “discipline” 130 cases in alan johnsons BICOM report, but when you look at them many if not most are completely non cases. In 2016 the Anglican Church had 3300 complants of child abuse against it. A large number of priests hqve gone to jail, including a bishop for sex abuse. Better first to remove the log from your own eye before the mote in another ‘s, JUSTIN!

    had

  • Allan Howard says:

    Now I have no idea when the LP first announced and publicised the launching of its Faith and Race Manifesto which took place yesterday (Tuesday), but I doubt it was more than a few days beforehand, but of course the whole affair would have to have been arranged and organised weeks ago. And my point is that any ‘hidden’ Blairite mole working inside the party could very well have passed the information on to those conspiring to destroy Jeremy WEEKS ago, and almost definitely DID!

    Or to put it another way: It does seem rather an extraordinary coincidence that Ephraim Mirvis should have written an article for The Times – a demolition job, as such – that just happened to be published the night before the Faith and Race event/launch AND that an interview with Andrew Neil scheduled and arranged for THAT evening, AND in which Andrew Neil asks Jeremy repeatedly if he would like to apologise to the Jewish community (and needless to say, Neil and Co knew Jeremy would decline to apologise, precisely because there was nothing to apologise for in respect of the chief rabbi’s claims, which were false and bogus and without foundation).

    I mean how fortuitous for the anti-Corbyn brigade that it should all transpire in such a manner. and couldn’t have worked out any better for them if it had all been planned in advance.

    And I have no doubt whatsoever that it WAS!

  • Allan Howard says:

    The following is the headline and sub-headline of a Sky News article posted yesterday, along with a short excerpt from near the beginning of the article:

    General election: Has Labour been dealing with antisemitism complaints properly?

    The chief rabbi has raised questions about the party’s record in dealing with allegations of anti-Jewish racism.

    Rabbi Mirvis cites figures from the Jewish Labour Movement that there are at least 130 high level outstanding antisemitism cases.

    https://news.sky.com/story/general-election-has-labour-been-dealing-with-antisemitism-complaints-properly-11871018

    _________________________

    And the following is the headline of a Jewish News article posted on March 21st this year:

    Report charts 130 cases of Labour antisemitism and denial

    https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/report-charts-130-cases-of-labour-antisemitism-and-denial/

    Hmm, what an astonishing coincidence!

  • Allan Howard says:

    When Mr Corbyn came out with his Mr Epsteen in the leaders debate last week (or Ep-schteen, as the Daily Mail had it), I knew instantly in that moment that he had pronounced it that way deliberately so as to make him sound more Jewish than he actually was. And the weird thing is that in that very same moment I felt as if I had connected telepathically with tens of thousands of Jewish people across the country who thought EXACTLY the same thing in that moment, and when I happened to read the Sun the next day I realised I actually HAD, because in an article in the Sun it reproduced a tweet by David Baddiel in which he said “every Jew noticed” as Jeremy Corbyn mispronounced Jeffrey Epstein’s name.

    Did you really think you would get away with it Mr Corbyn, and that we wouldn’t notice!

    PS Yes, it must be the most ludicrous accusation of anti-semitism EVER in the history of the world, and probably in the history of the WHOLE universe!!!

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