11 August 2018

Britain's Trump and the sickness in Europe

As awful as Trump's barely-disguised sympathizing with violent racists after the Charlottesville riot was, this is far more disturbing.  The leader of one of Britain's two major political parties -- that is, the man who would become Prime Minister if his party were to win a majority in Parliament -- apparently participated four years ago in a ceremony honoring a group of racist mass murderers.

Jeremy Corbin, leader of the Labour party, is shown here at a 2014 event in Tunisia (link from commenter NickM) honoring "Palestinian martyrs", including the founder and other leaders of Black September, the group which carried out the massacre of Israeli Olympic athletes at Munich in 1972.  Corbyn claims he was honoring PLO members killed in a 1985 Israeli airstrike and not the Black September leaders, but as the linked article shows, this doesn't square with the photographic evidence.  Even if Corbyn's hosts lied to him about which plaques commemorated what (I will assume he cannot read Arabic), the PLO too is a terrorist organization with a long history of attacks targeting civilians, including children.  For a true American equivalent of this, one would have to imagine an American major-party Presidential candidate openly attending a ceremony in honor of "martyred" members of the KKK.

For some time now the Labour party has had what is euphemistically described as a "problem" with anti-Semitism, in the form of recurring eruptions of anti-Jewish rhetoric and imagery which then have to be frantically denied, repudiated, or minimized by the leadership -- oddly reminiscent of the "problem" of eruptions of racism in the Republican party here.  Corbyn insists he isn't anti-Semitic, but his attendance at a ceremony honoring members of gangs dedicated to murdering Israeli civilians (and sometimes non-Israeli Jews as well), and some of his other rhetoric, speak for themselves.  The similarity with Trump's frequent verbal "dog whistles" is disturbing.

There is also video of Corbyn comparing the Israeli "occupation" of the West Bank to the Nazi occupation of various European countries during World War II.  No, Mr. Corbyn, the Israeli "occupation" of the West Bank is actually most comparable to the Polish "occupation" of the former German provinces of Silesia and Pomerania since 1945.  The side you support started a war with genocidal intentions, and lost -- and the country they had tried to destroy seized some of their territory.  That kind of stuff happens in wars.  The Israelis in 1948 and 1967 were not inclined to treat the defeated aggressors in a genteel and legalistic manner any more than the Poles and Russians in 1945 were, and for similar reasons.

The resurgence of anti-Semitism in Europe in recent years is a baffling and alarming sickness in societies we hoped and believed had banished it once and for all in the wake of the Holocaust.  Much of it was imported as part and parcel of the militant Islam that festers among some members (I emphasize only some) of migrant communities with roots in the Islamic world -- but evidently not all of it.  Mainstream political forces need to confront this bigotry head-on and purge themselves of it.  The Labour party kicking out Corbyn and the rest of its "problem" dog-whistlers would be a good start.

12 Comments:

Blogger Scottie said...

I do not agree with antisemitism. I also do not agree with the current situation in the occupied areas and the actions of the Israeli government in relation to those occupied areas. I am angered that aid monies from the US goes to build settlements in occupied Palestinian lands. The actions of adding settlements, confiscating lands and homes, making it impossible for travel, mistreatment of encountered Palestinians by Israeli military, and the Israeli blockade of supplies, all of this adds to the resentment felt by the Palestinians. I know the situation has many issues and side parts. No group is complete wrong, nor completely correct in what is happening over there. There is plenty of blame on both sides and it sadly seems the civilians are paying a high price for it. I think that you have to also look at what you would do if your country was invaded and part of your lands were taken, then for the next 60 years more and more of your original lands were taken by force by the occupiers. You would fight back any way you could, including ways that shouldn't be used. We took a lot of Texas, Arizona , and California from Mexico. There was many battles and attempt to regain control of the lost lands. Now lets say Mexico manages to get some of that land back from Texas, what actions do you think the people in Texas that had their lands "stolen" from them would do? What action would they think too extreme? We both know that people would be demanding the most extreme terrorism and nasty attacks possible to get their lands back. They would feel the same as some of the most extreme Palestinians do. Now not all Palestinians agree with the actions of the extreme leaders, but the daily mistreatment of the general population drives any good will towards Israeli citizens away and causes more people to become radicalized. Hugs

11 August, 2018 12:30  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Scottie: I'm not sure how most of your comment relates to the issue of anti-Semitism in Europe, but please read my second-to-last paragraph carefully. If your land is occupied because your own side started a war of extermination against another country and lost, and the people you tried to wipe out seize the territory as a necessary geographical buffer zone to prevent similar attacks in the future, your basis for complaint seems limited. The Palestinians in the West Bank have been treated far better than the Silesian Germans or the ethnic Greeks and Turks who found themselves on the wrong side of the borders in the 1920s. If Israel had simply expelled the entire Arab population of the West Bank in 1967, as most countries in their position would have done, there would be nobody there to "oppress" today and perhaps Israel now would suffer no more international criticism than Poland does over the events of 1945.

Actually I doubt that, though. The Jewish state always gets condemned for things that receive little attention when other countries do them.

Personally my attitude toward other societies depends to a great extent on their attitude toward me. In your case, there's only one country in the Middle East where you'd have any chance of living openly as a gay man and an atheist without being in physical danger. I'm sure I don't need to point out which country that is.

This comment thread isn't really the place to rehash the Arab-Israeli comment -- the post is about anti-Semitism in Europe, and I only mentioned the West Bank because of Corbyn's disgusting remarks. As to the controversies about Israel and its neighbors, I said what I have to say here.

11 August, 2018 15:46  
Blogger Scottie said...

OK, I understand what the post was about, and my example was only on what extremes people will go to. As I said I do not like and reject antisemitism. In fact I have never really understood it. I do not agree with bigotry. I have seen stuff from the past such as antisemitic cartoons and I simply do not get why people would have thought them accurate or funny. I find the stereotypes people buy into says far more about them than the ones they mock. Hugs

11 August, 2018 16:22  
Blogger Thomas Ten Bears said...

Characteristic number three of the Fourteen Defining Characteristics of Fascism:

Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause – The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial , ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc

Feel free to read the rest.

11 August, 2018 20:26  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Scottie: Anti-Semitism works pretty much like any other kind of bigotry. It's just the oldest and most implacable of them all.

Thomas: Yes, and historically the most common target of that type has been Jewish people -- and in Europe it seems to be heading that way again.

11 August, 2018 20:33  
Anonymous KanaW said...

Not that I'm defending Corbyn (can't stand him), but anything from the Daily Mail is suspect - over here it's known as the Daily Vile, and it's the UK equivalent of the National Enquirer. Anything from them really should be verified elsewhere. Cheers!

12 August, 2018 01:02  
Anonymous NickM said...

Oddly enough I have spent quite a bit of time in Silesia. Why? My sister-in-law lives there. There are two things that need to be mentioned. The first is there is (as far as I could tell) any animus over Germany/Poland/Czechia. Largely because which liberal European democracy only matters when the football is on. Thank God for that! The second reason is if you look at a map of Poland over the last few hundred years it has changed a lot. I mean a lot. It is very odd for me (from England which due to it's island nature has been kinda ststic) but makes sense in the context of the centre of the European continent.

Anti-semitism rumbles on to a very large extent (I think) because Jews are mostly white. Therefore they are seen as a kinda "stealth" minority. I hope that makes sense.

12 August, 2018 03:37  
Anonymous NickM said...

Oh, another thing... I think a lot of anti-semitism stems paradoxically from Judaism not being a proselytising religion. This kinda creates the impression of it being a kinda closed shop sort of thing.

I am a Quaker warden (I am not a Quaker- I just clean the toilets and do the garden and stuff for free rent in a nice house) and Quakers don't proselytise and some of the questions I get asked are bizarre. I might be taking the bins out and get asked why I'm not dressed like this...

https://goo.gl/images/Q5Z8uU

Well, Quakers believe in plain dress but plain dress in 1750 is not plain dress in 2018 is it?

12 August, 2018 03:58  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

KanaW: I'm aware of its reputation, but the photos look pretty convincing -- and again, it doesn't really matter which set of terrorists he was honoring. The Jerusalem Post found the story credible enough to pick up.

Nick: True about the shifting borders in that part of Europe; however, Silesia had had a mainly German population since medieval times until they were abruptly expelled in 1945 and replaced with Polish settlers. Today it's a dead issue. If Israel had done the same in the West Bank in 1967, perhaps that would be as well.

12 August, 2018 07:23  
Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

Thanx for the read. I didnt even know this about Corbyn (but just seen it's all in the news too), I was actually admiring him, on other avenues. Seems like anti- Semitism is growing, I think because of neoliberalism too ... you know?, the connection to banking/ finance and the global economy structure. Hitler and Nazi's also blamed all the financial issues in the late 1800's to early 1900's that Germany seen on the Jews, banking, etc. As far as Palestinians, I agree that there has been pressure on them, so MANY progressives rant about this too, some of my favourites, like Abby Martin, she terrorizes Jews in her documentaries too at times. Here's the deal too, Israel is in the middle of what I see as dangerous region, their culture is so western style, so they're are like poodles surrounded by pitbulls. I understand that what Israel is doing as far as territory, and why those folks are mad at them. But ... at the same time, Israel HAS TO DEFEND ITSELF. I know a couple folks from Israel, they told me how tense it can get over there. Just a real messed up deal over there, I myself probably would have opposed even setting up the Jewish state, I always say ... I would have gave them West Texas, but I understand the strategy and the west wanting to preserve the so called Holy Land history, cause some muslims (not all), would tear all that shit down. Plus having an military strategic advantage being in an area/ region where so much business (especially oil) of the west will be conducted. Such a weird situation over there.

12 August, 2018 07:26  
Anonymous Marc McKenzie said...

The resurgence of anti-Semitism in Europe in recent years is a baffling and alarming sickness in societies we hoped and believed had banished it once and for all in the wake of the Holocaust.

Well said. It mirrors what SF writer John Scalzi (OLD MAN'S WAR, THE COLLAPSING EMPIRE) wrote a couple of years back--that the dark forces we thought we had banished at the end of WW II are coming back, not just in Europe, but here.

We have Holocaust deniers and racists able to put out filth via YouTube and Twitter...and of course, just look to the current White House. Of course, people are trying to defend Corbyn, but no, there is no defense for him. None at all.

12 August, 2018 10:55  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Ranch: It would have been better all round if Israel had been established on territory taken from Germany, not in the Middle East -- but of course we have to deal with the world as it actually is.

Marc: The resurgence of anti-Semitism above all needs to be crushed. If we can't stop that, we might as well give up.

13 August, 2018 19:41  

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