When you can’t blame Jeremy!

JVL Introduction

In an extraordinary attempt at pre-empting blame falling on Keir Starmer for a potential defeat at Batley & Spen someone in the Labour Party machine has plumbed new depths.

According to the Mail a “senior Labour official” said there is a “single, toxic reason” why the party expects to lose the upcoming by-election – a Muslim “backlash” against “what Keir has been doing on antisemitism”…

We can only assume this briefing was given without Starmer’s knowledge and that he will find it as repugnant as we do.

We await a speedy rebuttal of this racist smear and an immediate suspension of the official concerned while the matter is urgently investigated…

This article was originally published by Skwawkbox on Sun 20 Jun 2021. Read the original here.

Breaking: Labour claims party will lose Batley and Spen – because Muslims like antisemitism

SKWAWKBOX (SW)

Inexcusable racism by ‘senior Labour official’ blaming collapse of support in Muslim communities on Starmer’s supposed efforts against antisemitism

The racism and Islamophobia at the heart of right-wing Labour has broken cover in an attempt to claim the party’s impending defeat – even Labour doesn’t seem to think it has a chance – in the Batley and Spen by-election – will happen because… Muslims like antisemitism.

‘That’s the main factor’

A ‘senior Labour official’ told the Mail that there is a ‘single, toxic reason’ that the party expects to lose the by-election, in a constituency with a 20% Muslim population, because of a ‘backlash’ against ‘what Keir has been doing on antisemitism’:

Muslim Council of Britain spokesman Miqdaad Versi described the comment as an ‘astonishing’ ‘false racist stereotype’ and showed that the party can’t be bothered to actually listen to Muslim voters:

This is astonishing. Any senior Labour official who tells media that Muslims are not voting Labour because Muslims support antisemitism, should be sacked. No ifs no buts.

Not *only* because they are propagating false racist stereotypes (although that is sufficient), but also because it shows they can’t be bothered to actually listen to what Muslims in the area are saying. Those who have tried to understand, have identified many local issues as well as Labour positions on Palestine, Kashmir & Islamophobia – and being seen to take Muslim voters for granted. If advisors to the Labour leader, don’t get this, they shouldn’t be talking about it…

Mr Versi is almost entirely correct, but only almost. The right-wing Labour view is appalling and outrageous – but there is nothing even remotely ‘astonishing’ about it, except perhaps the fact that they said it out loud to a reporter.

Labour’s contempt for Muslim voters and the Islamophobia deeply ingrained in the party’s right have long been obvious – and were condemned last year by a Labour Muslim Network (LMN) report.

Long before that, the party reacted to a recording of vile Islamophobic abuse against a left-wing Muslim member – by protecting the perpetrator and suspending the victim. For more than three years, with the process of expelling him ongoing.

And just after the publication of the LMN report, the party suspended a member of its National Executive Committee (NEC) of Moroccan Muslim heritage – for a statement of solidarity with Palestinians.

Acting general secretary David Evans claimed the party would implement the report’s recommendations in full – but as Skwawkbox predicted, that has been exposed as nothing but lip service. Not only has the party done nothing to root out rampant Islamophobia among its right, but that vile racism has become even more embedded at its highest levels – and is now a naked part of the party’s attempts to shift blame for its electoral and moral catastrophe under Keir Starmer.

Comments (13)

  • Dave says:

    This is a nasty twist on the long running meme from the right that Labour prioritises Muslims and their abundant ‘prejudices’ and ‘Islamic extremism’ because there are many more of them as voters. When Corbyn was leader that was the entire party; now the Labour right is joining the media on the anti-Muslim bandwagon.

  • Sean O'Donoghue says:

    Expecting an immediate apology from Starmer….the man doesn’t have a moral bone in his body and is shameless, as all his actions, inactions and utterances have proved to date

  • Rayemond says:

    It seems anyone who doesn’t vote for them now is antisemitic. Do they not worry this ‘wearing a bit thin’ with the public?

  • Yes I have just read this. It is absolutely shocking and we should consider a united protest about this. Have they forgotten who turned up at the pro-Israel demonstration at the Israeli Embassy a month ago? Tommy Robinson. Far-right and anti-semitic support for Zionism is pretty much universal.

    This is another example of equating support for the Palestinians with anti-Semitism. It is based on the assumption that all Jews support a Jewish Supremacist state and is itself anti-Semitic.

    The reality of Israel today is evidenced in this video of the March of the Flags. The sheer hate on the faces of these young settlers as they shout ‘Death to the Arabs’. But this does not cause any reaction amongst the Police. But when a Palestinian objects he is violently escorted away.

    Is it anti-Semitic to question the legitimacy of a State where thousands of people march and demonstrate to the chant of ‘death to the Arabs’ and ‘may their villages burn’?

    We need to emphasise the message not only that historically Zionism and anti-Semites have worked together but that today the most ardent Zionists are also anti-Semites as Pastor John Hagee, Orban etc. demonstrate

  • Val Kovalenko says:

    Incidentally, in my 30 years in the UK I have never come across any antisemitic sentiment expressed by a Muslim and there are lots and lots of them among my work colleagues, neighbours and friends.

  • John Noble says:

    Following the example of the Tories.

  • Ian Kemp says:

    I never have had any form of A/S expressed to me when I worked for yrs in NHS with Muslims of many different views.
    This is a disgraceful slur. It is time for Starmer Berger Smeeth Mann Austin Streeting Hodge et.al to call this out no ifs no buts.

  • bob cannell says:

    Not surprising. When officials in their ivory towers are so out of touch, when the party has become a professionalised career option, its easy to demonise and blame any ‘other’ group – muslims, youth, feminists, antifa and to generalise inappropriately about other ‘other’ groups, red wall ex-labour tories, the generalised jew etc etc. It’s ignorant racism, ageism etc. Management failing.
    We’ve always had this problem. Gramsci wrote about it in his call for ‘organic intellectuals’, activists who had the vision and were part of the working population experiencing life from their perspective.
    I have met gratingly judeophobic muslim labour supporters as I have met islamophobic white Labour supporters. The former usually due to Palestine. The latter usually due to ignorance. None of us are perfect. We can try to learn and understand the ‘other’ so it ceases to be ‘other’.
    Of course that is what the Labour Party should be doing but…..

  • Oscar Gregan says:

    The Skwawkbox above quotes what The Mail said that a“senior Labour official” said.
    Hardly a firm basis for the subsequent accusation.

    “what Keir has been doing on antisemitism”…
    Wouldn’t examples of this be e.g sacking Rebecca Long-Bailey from the Shadow Cabinet; Removing the whip from Jeremy Corbyn …..

  • John C says:

    Labour in limbo – I don’t think the bar can be set any lower. (622 votes.)

  • Is this not crass racism from the nameless Labour member? To lay the blame on one group of citizens, to accuse them of anti-semitism with absolutely no proof, when the real reason that the constituency may not elect a Labour candidate is the appalling mess Starmer has made since becoming leader of the party just underlines the total mess the Labour Party is in. And to blame Jeremy Corbyn for Starmers failing popularity is just to avoid the rank failure of the party since it took on its new ‘leader’.

  • JVL says:

    David Rosenberg has posted this comment on his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/david.rosenberg.923/posts/10222458202156607

    Labour has tried to backtrack on the vile alleged comments by an unnamed Labour official which accused Muslim communities of antisemitism, and combined that with continuing their phoney factional war against Corbyn and his supporters.
    The swift attempt to backtrack by Angela Rayner and Anneliese Dodds suggests that the comments, reported in the less than trustworthy Daily Mail, were on this occasion accurate.
    They quoted this Labour official saying that the party was losing votes among Muslim communities because Starmer had been standing up to antisemitism. “…that ‘s the main factor. He challenged Corbyn on it and there has been a backlash among certain sections of the community.”
    I suppose it is more palatable for them than telling us the real reasons the party is struggling.
    These horrible comments are actually completely of a piece with the Labour Party’s behaviour towards members who rightly speak up for justice for Palestinians, where they imply that such members or supporters are antisemites.
    In truth the Labour Party is struggling in Batley&Spen for the same reasons it performed disastrously in Hartlepool and Chesham&Amersham. In the face of a heartless and murderous Tory Government it has a policy void. Its Union Jack-waving is patronising and embarrassing to put it charitably. In Batley & Spen its failures to address Islamophobia are being noted by those who suffer it, as are the Party’s wilful blindness towards Israeli racism, or plain cowardice to speak out for fear of upsetting right wing elements in the Jewish community who share that denial of Israeli racism that is plain for all to see.
    Add into the mix that Labour has effectively imposed a candidate who had been in the party 5 minutes, whose main qualification is that she is the sister of Jo Cox, the former MP murdered by a fascist, and you can see that is why Labour has a mountain to climb despite its 3,500 majority.
    They will point to the opportunist intervention of George Galloway’s Workers Party, which will take some previous Labour voters. Galloway *is* an opportunist and I have had many reasons to dislike him over the years, not least his relatively recent friendliness towards far-right figures such as Farage and Bannon, but in this case he is a symptom not a cause of Labour’s anxieties.
    If Labour operated in a democratic way in selecting its candidate, and really projected consistent socialist and anti-racist values locally and globally in its opposition to government and in its local campaigning, it would have no trouble in defending its majority.
    Jo Cox helped get Corbyn on the ballot paper for the leadership in 2015 but voted for Liz Kendall as leader. She was generally more to the right of Labour than the left, but was a sincere supporter of justice for Palestine and a defender of BDS actions, because she thought that was the right thing to do.
    I really can’t think of much that Labour has done nationally since the change of leadership because they “thought it was the right thing to do.”

  • Bernard Grant says:

    Because of Starmer’s lack of political nous, I believe that if it was put to him, we are likely to lose lots of Muslin votes due to our Antisemitism policies and doing nothing about having Antimuslim policies, he would nod in agreement, thinking, yes that’s a good reason for losing Bately & Spen and not thinking of the consequences of this excuse going public and giving the order for it not to be said publicly.

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