How a far-right blogger, the media & Blairites tried to ambush Corbyn re #AntiSemiticGate [republished article]

paul-staines-guido-fawkes-2011

Paul Staines (aka Guido Fawkes)

AntiSemiticGate was ‘engineered’ by a loose alliance of tabloid media, Blairites and, primarily, a far-right blogger, who largely supports Tory extremism. Below is the timeline of what happened. As well as an expose of the main player who appeared to stage-managed the ‘crisis’.

(Note: given the recent – April 2017 – decision to suspend Ken Livingstone from the Labour Party for a further 12 months, I have decided to re-publish this April 2016 article.)

Intro to Mr Fawkes

Paul Staines is otherwise known as the blogger Guido Fawkes. He also has a fascinating history. Staines, worked as “foreign policy analyst” for the Committee for a Free Britain, a right-wing Conservative pressure group, alongside David Hart. Staines also acted as editor of British Briefing, a long-standing publication by the group that was a “monthly intelligence analysis of the activities of the extreme left” that sought to “smear Labour MPs and left-leaning lawyers and writers”. British Briefing was originally called The Background Briefing on Subversion , written by Charles Elwell (formerly of MI5’s F branch which targeted ‘subversives’) and was part of an intelligence operation conducted by Brian Crozier, who was prominent in the Institute for the Study of Conflict.

Paul Staines likes to boast. Yesterday he published details of the central role he believes he played in organising AntiSemiticGate.

Hoisted by his own petard? No. Because he also knows that the public read and believe a lot of tosh, particular the tosh retailed by the tabloids, which in this particular affair did not just come along for the ride, but smelt blood.

And while Livingstone was the initial target, it was Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, who was the ultimate target – the end-game being to see his fall from grace.

Furthermore, Staines knew there were plenty of Brutuses waiting in the wings, their proverbial daggers at the ready. Chief among these was MP John Mann.

The media reaction

But what was not foreseen in this drama was the piss-weak reaction by the left of centre media, which made not the slightest attempt to analyse the real motives involved in this drama. Nor who the real players were. Never mind whether any of the accusations levelled were even remotely true. Journalists ceased being journalists, ignored history, and gave up all pretence of any investigative analysis.

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So let’s look at the timeline as to what happened, according to Staines…

A narrative explanation

Earlier this week, Staines seized upon some old remarks, made two years back by Labour MP Naseem Shah:, who had shared a Facebook meme, suggesting that Israelis should “relocate” en masse to the United States. It was the sort of comment that some would find extremely insulting; others, possibly ironic.

Shah explained she had made the comments “before I was elected as an MP” and “at the height of the Gaza conflict in 2014, when emotions were running high”. (Shah’s comments were in response to an article by former deputy prime minister, John Prescott, who argued that Israeli air strikes on Gaza that month were “so brutally disproportionate and so grossly indiscriminate” as to constitute “war crimes”.)

That should have been the end of the story. But Staines sensed otherwise.

Staines’ research came upon another Facebook comment by Shah, in which she appeared to accuse Israel of practising Apartheid (against Palestinians). This sort of comment was commonplace at the time among Palestinian supporters and still is.

In the same Facebook comment Shah showed a picture of Martin Luther King Jr. and a quote from his 1963 “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” The words quoted were part of Dr. King’s justification for breaking unjust laws through civil disobedience: “never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was ‘legal.’” This was correct. The press, however, decided Ms Shah was comparing the practices of the Israeli Government with that of Nazi Germany. There are many who would argue that, proportionately, such a comparison is completely absurd; others may argue that such comparisons – however vile – are needed to shock our sensibilities, so that we do not condone practices that may even remotely resemble that horrific period in our collective history.

Staines exposed this old story again. This led to Ms Shah issuing an apology on Wednesday. This apology was given in print and in the House of Commons. She stated that “referring to Israel and Hitler as I did was deeply offensive to Jewish people.” However, Ms Shah was subsequently suspended by the Party.

That, again, should have been an end to the matter.

Livingstone the polemicist

But then along comes Ken Livingstone – not known for his tact. or any instinct for timing – who issued comments in Ms Shah’s support. He said: “Let’s remember, when Hitler won his election in 1932, his policy then was that Jews should be moved to Israel — he was supporting Zionism”. He added: “This was before he went mad and ended up killing six million Jews”.

Livingstone insisted that Hitler’s “policy in ’32, when he won that election, was to deport Germany’s Jews to Israel, and the Zionist movement had secret meetings with his administration talking about that”. These comments were largely historically accurate (see below) but possibly unwise, given how the press might seize upon them and try to distort – which is exactly what they did.

A history lesson

Yesterday, The Intercept published an article that attempted to clarify some of the historical aspects Livingstone raised…

“Just months after Hitler came to power, in 1933, the Zionist-led Jewish Agency in British-administered Palestine did strike an agreement with the Nazis, to facilitate the emigration of about 20,000 German Jews to Palestine over the next decade. As the Israeli historian Tom Segev described it in his book, The Seventh Million: “The haavara (“transfer”) agreement — the Hebrew term was used in the Nazi documents as well — was based on the complementary interests of the German government and the Zionist movement: the Nazis wanted the Jews out of Germany; the Zionists wanted them to come to Palestine.” Segev noted that the agreement, which remained in force until the middle of World War II, was a point of contention between the Zionist leadership in Tel Aviv and Jewish leaders in the United States, who still hoped in 1933 that an international economic and diplomatic boycott of Germany could “force the Nazis to halt their persecution, so that Jews could continue to live in Germany.””

And was there any accuracy to Mr Livingstone’s remarks about Hitler and Zionists? Unfortunately, yes. Any historian will attest to that – including Jewish historians. Not only did the Nazi Party court Zionists to see if a Jewish homeland could be arranged, but two years into the war across Europe they liaised with members of the Stern Gang, the Jewish resistance, to see if that idea could be revived.

Back to that Intercept article for a summary of what happened… [According to a 2015 article in The Guardian by Jewish historian Tom Segev, who writes regularly for Israeli News]: “The mufti’s support for Nazi Germany definitely demonstrated the evils of extremist nationalism. However, the Arabs were not the only ones who were seeking a deal with the Nazis. At the end of 1940 and again at the end of 1941, before the Holocaust reached its height in the extermination camps, a small Zionist terrorist organization – Fighters for the Freedom of Israel, also known as the Stern Gang – made contact with Nazi representatives in Beirut, hoping for support for the struggle against the British. One of the Sternists, in a British jail at the time, was Yitzhak Shamir, a future Israeli prime minister.”

Segev added in that same article that according to Israeli PM Binyim Netanyahu, in a speech he gave at the World Zionist Congress in 2015, “Hitler didn’t want to exterminate the Jews at the time; he wanted to expel the Jews”. Netanyahu was referring, again, to 1941, two years into the war. And the plan to expel Jewish people did not happen because the Mufti opposed it.

So does this mean, as the dumbed-down press would have it, that we should infer from the above that Zionists are Nazis or Nazis were pro-Zionism? No, of course not. Both assertions would be entirely absurd. (Note: see also an article in The Independent on this matter.)

Get Corbyn

Whatever the truth of what happened in the Nazi period of Europe, in the end it was Blairite, John Mann MP who sallied forth to finish the job of trying to discredit Livingstone. Or at least lay the groundwork for further anti-Corbyn comments from the press.

And Mann ensured there were plentiful TV cameras around when he confronted Livingstone and aggressively accused him of being a racist. Livingstone tried to calm Mann down, refusing to react. But the damage was done and the media swung in and played their part.

The next stage in this stage-managed onslaught was to target Corbyn, the media accusing him of reacting to slowly to the ‘crisis’.

Livingstone, meanwhile, was suspended from the Party.

Ignoring history

Anti-Semitism is vile, but no government – including the Israeli government – is immune from criticism (see video below). The press have a duty to tell the truth, to be honest and to be ethical. Politicians rarely live up to these standards and journalists need to do better too.

The geo-politics of the Middle East, including the decades long struggle between Israel and Palestinians, affects the security of peoples world-wide. To simplify those politics in pure black and white terms of racism and anti-racism (either for or against Muslims or Jews – or any other religious grouping) is not only an insult to our intelligence, but dangerous in the extreme. We all deserve better.

T.C.

Disclosure: My father-in law was Jewish (secular) and when young was imprisoned in a Naxi concentration camp during WW2, but survived and went on to live in a country other than Israel. A long-time associate and old friend (another secular ethnic Jew, now dead) took part in an attempt on Hitler’s life prior to the outbreak of WW2.

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23 Responses to How a far-right blogger, the media & Blairites tried to ambush Corbyn re #AntiSemiticGate [republished article]

  1. Mike Hamblet says:

    Suspect that Paul Staines, John Mann et al will go to their graves as soul-less, lonely bastards with no moral compass; or will some see the light and rejoin the human race.

    Like

  2. truthaholics says:

    Reblogged this on | truthaholics and commented:
    “We ignore history at our peril. Anti-semitism is vile, but no government – including the Israeli government – is immune from criticism (see video below). The press have a duty to tell the truth, to be honest and to be ethical. Politicians rarely live up to these standards.”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The problem with you amateurs is you didn’t know about Haavara till this week and thus you will learn about Israel’s involvement in 9/11 when you are on the back foot. Nobody has the guts to research reality till it’s in the news. You deserve everything you get. Google “dancing Israelis”.

    Like

  4. prefab says:

    Your article is most valuable in putting the pieces together, but I don’t think this scripted and stage-managed operation could have been carried out by a “loose alliance of tabloid media, Blairites” and Paul Staines. I’m pretty sure that this is an Israeli operation, coordinated by people associated with Labour Friends of Israel who stay in the shadows. The objective is simply to remove Corbyn as opposition leader because of his pro-Palestinian sympathies. Planning for this began last summer when it was clear that Corbyn would win the leadership election, but has been timed to cause maximum damage to the Labour Party in the local elections this week. This will lay the basis for a challenge to Corbyn.

    Like

  5. And that the original diagram depicting Israel in the centre of the USA was promoted by Norman Finklestein.

    any chance of John Mann et al going head to head and toe to toe of Mr Finklestein?

    Who’d thunk it?

    Like

  6. Pingback: How a far-right Tory, the media & Blairites tried to ambush Corbyn re #AntiSemiticGate | UndercoverInfo | kickingthecat

  7. The Nazis were never Zionist, but they did have at one stage a bizarre plan to relocate German Jews to Madagascar:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madagascar_Plan

    Like

      • Mike Hamblet says:

        This is not the point. The issue is apparent planted right-wing MPs like John Mann, Streeting et al undermining democracy inbthe Labour Party and thus condemning the low income people in this country more years of misery under this vindictive government. If John Mann’s gang is unwilling to oppose Tory policy, he’s no bloody use to the Labour Party.

        Like

      • Undercover1 says:

        I agree: Staines was adding fuel to the fire, but the real mischief makers are those in the Labour Party who want Corbyn out.

        Like

    • stevecheneysindieopinions4u says:

      I think you could make a strong argument that the West weren’t ever Zionist either. The Zionists were a fringe group who happened to want something (i.e. Jews relocating to their own country) that was concomitant with what many anti-Semites wanted (i.e. Jews being relocated out of the country).

      Over the decades since the War, Western nations have managed to paint themselves as noble saviours of the Jewish people because of their establishment and support of a Jewish homeland. The point made by Norman Finklestein and retweeted by Shah is, in effect, “if you were so noble, why did you set up their homeland thousands of miles away from you?” It’s sort of like if David Cameron decided to prove that he cares about Syrian refugees by sending all of them to live in the Falklands. At some point, you have to question why you don’t just put them up in Kent – except of course that most of us are quite happy to say why he wouldn’t do that.

      I suspect it was much the same after WW2. Lots of Jewish people without a home, and powerful Western nations who wanted to be *seen* to help, but didn’t want to upset their anti-immigrant and anti-Semitic voters. Then along comes a minority within the Jewish populace who say “please, send the Jews to some other country!”, and suddenly, that minority becomes the most credible voice of all Jews everywhere… because it was convenient for us, not because they were right.

      People forget that we didn’t just accept the idea that diversity is good for nations. We got there because it’s been bludgeoned into us for decades until everyone either conceded or died of old age. That was the right thing to do. It’s just a shame we didn’t start sooner.

      Like

      • Undercover1 says:

        You forget one important element: Jewish people originated from Israel but were forced out over centuries. Their argument is that Israel is their natural homeland. That applies to Palestinians too, of course. Hence the ongoing problems. It appears to be an unsolvable conundrum.

        Like

  8. Not only does mr staines not care about racism , his own website attracts racist antisemitic sexist and homopohobic posters like flies to shit. There are some of the most disgraceful comments I’ve ever seen particularly about black or gay Labour MPs. take a read- you’ll need a shower after. When this was pointed out on twitter he blocked. I took some screenshots

    Like

    • Undercover1 says:

      You’re absolutely right, though in my view he uses racism and other prejudices mainly as a political tool to bash his enemies.

      Like

      • stevecheneysindieopinions4u says:

        Of course. While also happily fuelling them in his readers – probably not because he believes what they do, but because it’s really easy to get racists on your side because you don’t have much mainstream competition.

        Like

  9. British Politician Ken Livingston Subjected to Witchhunt Over Hitler Remark
    http://winteractionables.com/?p=32671

    Like

  10. Pingback: How a far-right Tory, the media & Blairites tried to ambush Corbyn re #AntiSemiticGate | wgrovedotnet

  11. PermReader says:

    Leftism is the Jewish enemy like the right wing .Both are the extremism based on the mass deceit. The Jewish secure existance depend upon the individual freedom,not the “liberal” one.

    Like

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