Sunday, May 03, 2020

Boris and his ministers' claims to have “followed the science” don't mean much - They didn't prepare properly, they were careless & they acted too late

It seems all that any member of the UK government has to do to silence criticism of their handling of the virus epidemic is to say “We were following the science. Are you questioning the expert advice of scientists and medical experts?”. This immediately gets the desired “of course not” response from the journalist, like a hypnotist saying “look into my eyes, you are feeling very sleepy” to someone very susceptible.

Nor are Keir Starmer or the Labour front bench ready to bring up such obvious questions as why, with the exception of 200 British citizens who had been in or near Wuhan, most people flying into the UK from then covid-19 outbreak centres like China, Italy and Iran were not put through mandatory quarantine or testing (1) – (2).

The assumption seems to be that to question any expert’s claims or opinions is to commit the unforgivable sin of “populism” and become a demagogue who ignores facts.

This is based on a view of scientific and medical opinion on any subject as always unified, or that the majority opinion among experts must always be accepted. Yet there are often disagreements among experts. For instance on 12th March the UK’s Chief Scientific Officer Patrick Vallance held a press conference along with Boris Johnson in which he explained that the government’s strategy was based on spreading the virus through enough of the non-vulnerable population that they would develop “herd immunity” and not pass it on to those most at risk (3).

This was immediately met with criticism by hundreds of experts . Professor Hugh Pennington later said such a strategy was impossible without vaccines, which are likely a year to 18 months from having gone through enough trials to be proven safe and effective. The response was so negative that it contributed to the government disowning herd immunity and claiming it had never been their strategy (4) – (6).

Yet the Chief Medical and Scientific officers who approved that strategy are seen as beyond criticism. So when they tell us that “there is no evidence” that mandatory quarantine and testing of people flying into the country from countries with outbreaks of it would have slowed the spread of covid-19 we’re meant to accept it without question (7).

The other line used was that it had been tried in Italy and failed. This ignores the fact that air travel is the obvious means by which the virus spread so fast. And that Italy brought in a flight ban too late. Yes, many people with covid-19 will have flown into the UK before we knew about it. So maybe it’s too late to make a difference now. But surely if they’d done it early on, reducing the number of additional infected people entering the country would be a way of at least slowing the spread of the virus until we have done enough trials to find effective treatments and/or vaccines for it?

And every government in the world says it’s basing its policies on the science, yet different countries have very different policies. Sweden has no lock-down at all. The UK still has 15,000 people a day flying in even during “lock-down”, while Singapore banned all flights entry except cargo and humanitarian ones. And the UK has also said it plans to implement quarantine on anyone arriving in the country for the second phase of the virus (8) – (9).

 The UK government’s own advisers even disagreed among themselves on what lockdown measures to take, and opinion polls, as much as WHO advice and numbers of deaths and cases, drove changes in policy in mid-March (10).

Then there are Boris’ speeches – like one on 3rd February in which he said “And in that context, we are starting to hear some bizarre autarkic rhetoric, when barriers are going up, and when there is a risk that new diseases such as coronavirus will trigger a panic and a desire for market segregation that go beyond what is medically rational to the point of doing real and unnecessary economic damage, then at that moment humanity needs some government somewhere that is willing at least to make the case powerfully for freedom of exchange, some country ready to take off its Clark Kent spectacles and leap into the phone booth and emerge with its cloak flowing as the supercharged champion, of the right of the populations of the earth to buy and sell freely among each other. And here in Greenwich in the first week of February 2020, I can tell you in all humility that the UK is ready for that role.” (11).

This sounds like Boris was initially more worried about “over-reaction” to covid-19 harming the economy than he was about covid-19 killing lots of people. The Conservative party from Thatcher on has always prioritised the economy above everything, even when policies based on this actually damaged the economy in practice. Thatcher was strongly opposed to Apartheid in South Africa, not so much because it was racist, undemocratic or morally wrong, but because she saw it as economically inefficient (12).

Add that to the “herd immunity” press conference and the failure to quarantine or test people flying in, and it looks a lot like the UK government’s initial strategy was initially the one it later disowned – “herd immunity” and “letting the virus, as it were, spread through the population” as Boris put it in a daytime TV interview, though he did not explicitly say this was his position, only “one of the theories” (13).

Then, when Professor Neil Ferguson of Imperial College London estimated a worst case scenario of half a million people dying as a result, and the opinion polls on the government’s handling of the crisis didn’t look good,  the government decided it better do something fast (14).

Failures by May’s Government in 2017
– And by Johnson’s in 2020

True the WHO didn’t say covid19 was a pandemic and a serious threat until 11th of March. But epidemiologists had been warning for years that another respiratory virus pandemic like the Spanish flu of 1918 was only a matter of “when and from where?” not if”, especially after SARS , MERS and Swine flu epidemics (15) – (16).

In 2017 the UK Department of Health rejected advice from its new and emerging respiratory viruses threat advisory group (nervtag) to stockpile personal protective equipment (PPE), for all NHS staff, on grounds of cost. Telling them to change the advice to exclude eye protection on grounds of cost (17).

In the same year the NHS held Exercise Cygnus simulating how it would deal with a respiratory virus epidemic The final report was made classified (18). So it is not credible for the government to claim no one could have predicted this. The only parts that were unpredictable were when it would arrive, and where it would start.

And it was no secret to anyone that the Chinese government’s public statements can’t be trusted, nor that big, powerful countries like China have disproportionate influence in bodies like the WHO. China had previously tried to cover up SARS at first too. So any government that didn’t assume the worst case scenario on covid-19 – and that the reality could well be much worse than the Chinese government or the WHO were saying – was being negligent.

This, again, was excessive faith in experts, and in this case experts operating under major political pressures from the bigger members of their organisation.

Graph - Excess deaths are the amount that deaths in a particular week exceed the average number of people who died in that week in the previous 5 years. Many experts believe this is a good indication of the impact of covid-19, though not all excess deaths will be due to it. Source – Sky News report using data from the EUROMOMO project at the University of Copenhagen.

Trump’s accusations against the WHO, while obviously an attempt to distract from his own failures, have some basis in fact. Taiwan had sent experts to Wuhan to talk with doctors there in January. On January 16th they reported that the virus could be transferred between humans. At the time the Chinese government was still claiming it could only be caught from bats ; although a WHO official had told the press on the 14th that given the SARs and MERS pandemic, it would not be surprising if it could be transmitted between humans, and that this may have happened in 41 cases. Taiwan being excluded from WHO meetings also helped the Chinese government give a false impression of the threat level from the virus. (19) – (20)

We shouldn’t ignore experts,  but remember views among experts in the same field may differ. Those in official positions working for governments or international organisations may be chosen for having the views those in power prefer to believe. Senior ranks of some expert bodies may be more politicians than experts, willing to modify their views to keep their position, or rise higher. Then CIA director George Tenet’s assurance to President Bush that proving Iraq had weapons of mass destruction would be a “slam dunk” was one example.

And if opinion among the government’s expert advisers is divided, as we know it has been in the UK, the advice is likely to end up being to take less action rather than more, to get concensus.

True, Boris and the current cabinet were not the government in 2017. But they were the government by December 2019, when we first knew of the virus in China. And in late January, when the UK got its first confirmed case.

A study in the Lancet in early as January 24th warned that the virus could be transmitted between humans, and that the estimated mortality rate of over 3% was similar to that of the Spanish Flu at an estimated under 5%, with both diseases killing so many people because they were so contagious.

On the 31st of April another study in the Lancet said that ‘Therefore, in the absence of substantial public health interventions that are immediately applied, further international seeding and subsequent local establishment of epidemics might become inevitable. On the present trajectory, 2019-nCoV could be about to become a global epidemic in the absence of mitigation. Nevertheless, it might still be possible to secure containment of the spread of infection such that initial imported seeding cases or even early local transmission does not lead to a large epidemic in locations outside Wuhan. To possibly succeed, substantial, even draconian measures that limit population mobility should be seriously and immediately considered in affected areas, as should strategies to drastically reduce within-population contact rates through cancellation of mass gatherings, school closures, and instituting work-from-home arrangements, for example.’ (21)

A summary of the last sentence was tweeted by the editor of the Lancet, Richard Horton, on the same day.

The first confirmed case of covid-19 in the UK had been 2 days earlier on January 29th. No serious measures were taken. A month later on 28th February the first proven case of transmission  between people in the UK. Still no action. The Cheltenham Festival even went ahead in early March (23).

It would be two more weeks before any serious measures were announced. Implementing lock-downs sooner, and making them include more limits on numbers flying in and quarantine of those allowed in, could have contained and slowed the spread of the virus, reducing deaths.

The government claim this would have resulted in people not obeying lock-down measures because some would think it an over-reaction. But New Zealand seems to show otherwise. While its lockdown didn’t come till around the same time as the UK’s, it began it before there were any confirmed deaths in the country – and its public are mostly abiding by it. The government in the UK could have explained the seriousness of the situation at any time by using the Lancet studies and other evidence as back up. They chose not to. It’s hard to believe that Boris’ reckless character and his and his party’s ideological beliefs weren’t a big factor here. It was a huge mistake and many people thought at the time that the government was crazy not to be bringing in more measures sooner (24).

Even on the economic impact the evidence from studies of lockdown decisions by different US cities in the 1918 pandemic is against the idea that there is a trade off between economic impact and avoiding virus deaths. The cities which locked-down soonest and for longest had both the least deaths and the fastest economic recoveries – though most of their lock-downs didn’t last more than 6 weeks (25).

The 1918 pandemic also gives some grounds for hope though. It killed so many people partly due to poor hygiene and not enough social distancing or isolation, especially among patients in field hospitals – things we’re partly avoiding. And the Spanish Flu is thought to have ended not due to immunisation – as it ended before vaccines were available, but because deadlier strains of a virus are less likely to survive as a dead host can’t continue passing the virus on, so evolution favoured mutation into less deadly strains. Might covid-19 do the same? (26)

 

(1) = BBC News 29 Jan 2020 ‘Coronavirus: Britons on Wuhan flights to be quarantined’, https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-51292590

(2) = Daily Mail 22 Mar 2020 ‘Coronavirus chaos at UK borders as flights from Italy, China and Iran - the countries with the biggest coronavirus death tolls - continue to arrive, with up to 7,500 travellers entering Britain in a week’, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8139529/Flights-Italy-Iran-China-landing-Britain-despite-UK-coronavirus-lockdown.html

(3) = ITV News 13 Mar 2020 ‘UK's chief scientific adviser tells ITV News he hopes Government's approach to coronavirus will create 'herd immunity'’, https://www.itv.com/news/2020-03-13/uk-s-chief-scientific-adviser-tells-itv-news-he-hopes-government-s-approach-to-coronavirus-will-create-herd-immunity/

(4) = Press & Journal 23 Mar 2020 ‘Professor Hugh Pennington: ‘Herd immunity is a crazy idea, not really supported by any sound science’, https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/politics/uk-politics/2093482/professor-hugh-pennington-herd-immunity-is-a-crazy-idea-not-really-supported-by-any-sound-science/

(5) = BBC News 14 Mar 2020 ‘Coronavirus: Some scientists say UK virus strategy is 'risking lives'’, https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-51892402

(6) = Politics Home 15 Mar 2020 ‘Matt Hancock insists 'herd immunity' not part of government's plan for tackling coronavirus’, https://www.politicshome.com/news/article/matt-hancock-insists-herd-immunity-not-part-of-governments-plan-for-tackling-coronavirus

(7) = Telegraph 09 Mar 2020 ‘Banning flights and screening arrivals will not stop coronavirus spread, says Chief Medical Officer’,    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/03/09/banning-flights-screening-arrivals-will-not-stop-coronavirus/

(8) = Metro 18 Apr 2020 ‘Flights still bringing 15,000 people a day to UK with no screening’, https://metro.co.uk/2020/04/18/flights-still-bringing-15000-people-day-uk-no-screening-12574861/

(9) = www.independent.co.uk 27 Apr 2020 ‘Self-isolate for two weeks’: What a new government quarantine policy for arrivals to the UK could mean’, https://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/coronavirus-flights-ferries-tests-heathrow-airport-a9484616.html

(10) = New Statesman 01 Apr 2020 ‘The real reason the UK government pursued “herd immunity” – and why it was abandoned’ , https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/uk/2020/04/real-reason-uk-government-pursued-herd-immunity-and-why-it-was-abandoned

(11) = www.gov.uk 3 Feb 2020  ‘PM speech in Greenwich: 3 February 2020’, https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/pm-speech-in-greenwich-3-february-2020

(12) = www.theguardian.com 10 Apr 2013 ‘How Margaret Thatcher helped end apartheid – despite herself’, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/apr/10/margaret-thatcher-apartheid-mandela

(13) = Full Fact 10 Mar 2020 ‘Here is the transcript of what Boris Johnson said on This Morning about the new coronavirus’, https://fullfact.org/health/boris-johnson-coronavirus-this-morning/

(14) = See (10) above

(15) = The Lancet 01 Jul 2018 , Editorial ‘How to be ready for the next influenza pandemic’,
https://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473-3099(18)30364-5/fulltext

(16) = JAMA 09 May 2007 ‘The Next Influenza Pandemic: Can It Be Predicted?’,
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2504708/

(17) = www.theguardian.com 27 Mar 2020 ‘Advice on protective gear for NHS staff was rejected owing to cost’, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/27/advice-on-protective-gear-for-nhs-staff-was-rejected-owing-to-cost

(18) = www.telegraph.co.uk 28 Mar 2020 ‘Exercise Cygnus uncovered: the pandemic warnings buried by the government  ’, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/03/28/exercise-cygnus-uncovered-pandemic-warnings-buried-government/

(19) = The Nation 03 Apr 2020 ‘The WHO Ignores Taiwan. The World Pays the Price’, https://www.thenation.com/article/world/taiwan-who-coronavirus-china/

(20) = W.H.O 27 Apr 2020 ‘Timeline – COVID-19’,
https://www.who.int/news-room/detail/08-04-2020-who-timeline---covid-19

(21) = The Lancet 15 Feb 2020A novel coronavirus outbreak of global health concern’, https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)30185-9/fulltext

(22) = The Lancet 31 Jan 2020 ‘Nowcasting and forecasting the potential domestic and international spread of the 2019-nCoV outbreak originating in Wuhan, China: a modelling study’, https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)30260-9/fulltext

(23) = Metro 19 Apr 2020 ‘When did coronavirus first come to the UK?’,  https://metro.co.uk/2020/04/19/first-case-coronavirus-uk-covid-19-diagnosis-12578061/

(24) = New Scientist 13 Mar 2020 ‘Why is the UK approach to coronavirus so different to other countries?’, https://www.newscientist.com/article/2237385-why-is-the-uk-approach-to-coronavirus-so-different-to-other-countries/

(25) = www.dailymail.co.uk 11 Apr 2020 ‘How lockdowns could also flatten the 'economic damage curve': Study shows cities that cracked down harder during 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic recovered quicker financially than those that didn't’,  https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8210647/Study-suggests-lockdowns-economic-damage-alternative.html

(26) = The Conversation 17 Mar 2020 ‘10 misconceptions about the 1918 flu, the ‘greatest pandemic in history’, https://theconversation.com/10-misconceptions-about-the-1918-flu-the-greatest-pandemic-in-history-133994

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Corbyn, Labour , Anti-Semitism, the IHRA definition, Wreathgate & Irony-Gate ; Propaganda, Double Standards and Hypocrisy

Summary

There have been a small minority of Labour members who have said anti-Semitic things; and the party was not quick enough to discipline them for it. But anti-Semitism is not widespread in the Labour party or on the left though. Research by the Institute for Jewish Policy Research in 2017 found under 6% of people on the far left in the UK have anti-Semitic views.

Many of the people accused by Corbyn’s critics of anti-Semitism are Jewish. Some are Israeli military veterans like Miko Peled. Others Holocaust survivors like Hajo Meyer, or their children like Norman Finkelstein, or grandchildren of Holocaust victims like Gerald Kaufmann MP. Accusing them, or anyone agreeing with them, of anti-Semitism, is ludicrous. And many of the accusations against Corbyn and Labour have been false.

The IHRA examples would label them anti-Semites for comparing any Israeli government or military action to any action of the Nazis; along with anyone calling Israel a racist state, which would include Bishop Desmond Tutu. Labour adopted the definition plus 7 of 11 examples, rewording four relating to Israel – and adding a twelfth.

The IHRA definition and examples were written up for an EU body which saw them as only for discussion and debate and dropped them in 2013. Kenneth S. Stern, who drafted them, says they’re being misused to prevent free speech on Israel in a “McCarthy-like” way. (Credit to Jewish Voice For Labour and Free Speech on Israel for bringing these facts to light. They have also suggested a much clearer definition of anti-Semitism)

Joanna Phillips , a Jewish student group leader, has also pointed to the IHRA definition being mis-used to label the BDS movement anti-Semitic. BDS (Boycott, Divest, Sanctions) campaign to boycott Israeli products until Palestinians are given their own state alongside Israel.

The MacPherson principle is also being misquoted to claim any allegation of anti-Semitism by any Jewish person must be treated as anti-Semitism. MacPherson only said it should be investigated as a potential racist crime. Otherwise it would destroy the principle of innocent until proven guilty.

Photo: Gerald Kaufmann MP in 2003

The outrage over Corbyn attending a ceremony in Arabic at which civilian victims of a 1985 Israeli airstrike were honoured along with two senior PLO officials involved in planning the Munich terrorist murders shows massive double standards and hypocrisy.

In 2004 Jack Straw laid a wreath at PLO head Yasser Arafat’s funeral. In 2014 Tony Blair and the UK Foreign Secretary laid wreaths at the funeral of Ariel Sharon, one of the greatest mass murderers  and war criminals in the entire Israeli-Palestinian conflict, who led the 1953 Qibya massacre ; allowed the 1982 Sabra and Shatila massacres ; and oversaw the targeted killing of civilians in 2002 in the West Bank in Operation Defensive Shield.

In 2006 Benjamin Netanyahu attended a ceremony to honour the Zionist terrorists of the Irgun group who bombed the King David Hotel in Jerusalem in 1946 when Palestine was under British rule, killing 91 people. Also attending was Yitzakh Shamir, a former leader of the Lehi Zionist terrorist group who killed many civilians in terrorist attacks, including UN envoy Folke Bernadotte. Netanyahu began in politics as Shamir’s spokesperson when Shamir was Israeli Prime Minister.

(Medhi Hasan has also pointed out all the actual anti-Semites that Netanyahu is happy to associate with so long as they don’t criticise Israel or his government and military’s actions)

Theresa May’s Conservative UK government continues to arm governments and militaries who committ war crimes against civilians, including deliberately targeting them, including Israel’s and the Saudi dictatorship’s.

Reports from Amnesty Human Rights Watch and B’Tselem show Israeli forces regularly target Palestinian civilians. The same groups say the British armed Saudi air force has repeatedly targeted civilians including children in Yemen, yet the Saudis continue to receive British arms sales, political support and RAF advisors.

Photo: Yemeni schoolboys dig graves for their classmates killed in a Saudi airstrike on their school bus

The majority of accusations of anti-Semitism against Corbyn and Labour are his political enemies crying wolf by presenting criticism of Israel as if it was prejudice against all Jewish people.

There is no way for instance that Corbyn would use the word Zionists to mean Jews when he has shared platforms with many anti-Zionist Jews like Hajo Meyer.

New Labour within the Labour party want rid of him for criticising them (especially over the Iraq war which he voted against) , because his policies differ from theirs; and because New Labour MPs want their candidates to win in elections to Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee so they can scrap democracy within the party now it’s not working in their favour and side-line party members (the majority of who support left wing policies) again. Even if that fails they hope to lose Labour under Corbyn another General Election so they can say he has to go then.  

The Conservatives are happy to damage their main rival, Labour.

Pro-Israel groups want to get rid of a senior politician who backs a Palestinian state alongside Israel and has criticised Israel and sided with its critics and enemies.

This is not a dispute between Jews and non-Jews , but between critics of Israel and those who oppose allowing any serious criticism of its actions. A significant minority of Jewish people agree with Corbyn and Labour that the IHRA examples need amended to allow for criticism of Israel. For example the Jewish Voice for Labour group,  author and Corbyn supporter Michael Rosen , the Free Speech on Israel group and comedian David Baddiel (althoughhe’s  not generally a fan of Corbyn’s). Forty Jewish groups from around the world have also issued a joint statement saying that calling Israel racist is not anti-Semitism .

As Norman Finkelstein has pointed out neither Jews nor Zionist Jews are threatened or marginalised groups in the UK. They both have plenty of representation in parliament and the media, with anti-Semitism seen as unacceptable by the vast majority of British people – and there is far more prejudice against other minorities.

The demands that Labour adopt all the IHRA examples on Israel are Corbyn’s enemies demanding he put his head – and much of the left’s – in a noose, so they can pull it tight.


There are some Anti-Semites in the Labour party
but they’re a small minority

First, yes, there has been some anti-Semitism in the Labour party. Naz Shah MP’s “The Jews are rallying” facebook post was anti-Semitic. Though the attached map suggesting “Solution for Israel-Palestine conflict - relocate Israel into United States” was actually made by Norman Finkelstein, an American Jewish academic whose mother was a Holocaust survivor – and is mocking the line “Jordan is Palestine” suggesting all Palestinians should go and live in Jordan, which is pushed by many hardline Zionist groups (1) – (2).

Labour council candidate Naz Khan’s facebook post saying “Jews have reaped the rewards of playing victims…What good have Jews done in this world” and even that it was “a shame” that “history teachers…are brainwashing…children… into thinking the bad guy was Hitler” was blatant anti-Semitism. But she was banned by the party from being a candidate and left it (3).

Yes, Labour was too slow to discipline them ; and shouldn’t have had to wait for media coverage first.

Labour does not have more anti-Semitism than other parties though, nor is anti-Semitism widespread among Labour party members or Corbyn supporters,  nor the majority of people in the UK. The Institute for Jewish Policy Research found in a 2017 report that “levels of antisemitism in Great Britain are among the lowest in the world”. It also found that while the percentage of anti-Semites among people on the left and far left rose slightly – to 5.9% on the far left vs 4% among people with centrist views;  it is far more common on the right with 7% of those describing themselves as fairly right wing having anti-Semitic views and 17% of those on the far right. Over 80% of people describing themselves as right wing said they were Conservative or UKIP voters (4).

There is even some evidence to suggest that Labour has less anti-Semitic supporters than other major parties – and that the percentage may have fallen under Corbyn’s leadership.

A cross party Parliamentary Home Affairs Committee also concluded in a unanimously approved report in 2016  that there was no evidence of there being higher levels of anti-Semitism in the Labour party than other major parties (5).

That is not the impression you would get from certain politicians and some of the media.

And many of the headlines about “anti-Semitism” have been very misleading.

The Phony Accusations of Anti-Semitism –
Conflating it with criticism of Israel

Photo: Miko Peled

Many of the people accused by Corbyn’s critics of anti-Semitism are Jewish. Some of them Israeli military veterans. Others Holocaust survivors, their children or their grandchildren.

For instance the first major “anti-Semitic” incident reported involved Miko Peled, a Jewish born Israeli, son of an Israeli general, and Israeli Defence Forces veteran. He has come to oppose the existence of the state of Israel, believing in a “one state solution” in which everyone living in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank would be given equal citizenship in a single state of Palestine.

At a fringe event at the 2017 Labour party conference he also suggested there should be absolute free speech, with even whether the Holocaust happened or not being something that could be debated (6).

Personally I disagree with him on both points, but can anyone seriously believe that he is motivated by anti-Semitism. i.e prejudice or hatred against Jewish people for being Jewish?

Then there’s the late Hajo Meyer, a Jewish survivor of Auschwitz concentration camp. He was the main speaker at an event on Holocaust Remembrance Day which Corbyn attended and helped organise in 2010 labelled “anti-Semitic” by Corbyn’s critics. Meyer compared Israeli state ideology and some actions of the Israeli government and military to those of the Nazis. Its title was ‘Never Again For Anyone : From Auschwitz to Gaza’ (7). 

Again some people may disagree with what Meyer said. But can anyone seriously believe he was motivated by prejudice or hatred against Jewish people?

And is Peled saying there should be a one state solution the same as saying Israel “should be destroyed” (implying Israeli Jews killed or forced to leave)? Clearly not.

Photo: Hajo Meyer

Daily Mail columnist Dan Hodges gave a Sky News interview in which he amazingly claimed that Meyer was not anti-Semitic, but that Corbyn was for attending the event, which qualified as anti-Semitic under the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA)’s definition of anti-Semitism, some of whose “examples” (not the definition itself) claim comparing contemporary Israeli actions to those of the Nazis is anti-Semitism.

This ludicrous 1984 style Double Think is popular among Corbyn’s most vociferous critics, despite it being a logical impossibility. Either a point of view is anti-Semitic, or it is not. It cannot be not anti-Semitic when a Jewish Holocaust survivor says it, but anti-Semitic if a non-Jew agrees with it, or attends an event at which it is said.

It’s even more amazing when you find out that the IHRA’s definition and examples of anti-Semitism were originally drawn up for an EU body , purely for debate and discussion, by Jewish activists from around the world. And that the EU agency dropped them from its website in 2013 due to concerns they were being misused. This did not stop former New Labour MP Denis Macshane writing an article excoriating Corbyn for “rejecting the EU’s definition of anti-Semitism” 5 years after the EU repudiated it, nor The Independent publishing it (8) – (9).

What’s more Kenneth S. Stern, one of the main drafters of the definition, Jewish and a self-described Zionist, says that the definition is too vague and that it is being misused to prevent free speech on Israel. He described its use to ban “Israeli Apartheid Week” at some UK universities as “anti-Semitic” as “chilling” and “McCarthy-like” (10).

So either the EU and yet another Jewish person (this time a Zionist adamant in his support for Israel’s right to exist) are yet more anti-Semites motivated by prejudice and hatred against Jewish people. Or else the entire saga of trying to redefine anti-Semitism as comparing any actions of the State of Israel to those of the Nazis , and calling the state of Israel a racist endeavour, are just a ludicrous propaganda campaign.

Photo:Kenneth S. Stern

Joanna Phillips , a Jewish student group leader, has also pointed to the IHRA definition being mis-used to label the BDS movement anti-Semitic. BDS (Boycott, Divest, Sanctions) campaign to boycott Israeli products until Palestinians are given their own state alongside Israel; along with encouraging companies to end investment in Israel and governments to place sanctions on it to put pressure on the Israeli government to offer a viable, sovereign Palestinian state.

The late Gerald Kaufmann MP, Jewish, and whose grandmother was killed by the Nazis, also compared Israeli forces’ actions in Gaza to those of the Nazis in World war Two (11).

Yet the IHRA examples would label Kaufmann an anti-Semite.

Similarly they could label Bishop Desmond Tutu an anti-Semite for calling Israel “an Apartheid state” (i.e a racist state). And Norman Finkelstein, the adopted son of Holocaust survivors, for his books noting some parallels between some actions and ideology of the Nazis and those of the Israeli government and military (12).

Photo: Norman Finkelstein

These two examples and another two were re-written in the Labour party’s rules against anti-semitism, not “omitted” as much of the media has claimed. They adopted the definition itself and seven other IHRA examples without any disagreement (13).

Here is the IHRA definition “Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”

No wonder Stern thinks this is too vague. He also says it was intended to be a starting point to look at particular cases that *might* meet these criteria, to see if they were actually anti-Semitic.

The misuse of his definition and examples is similar to pro-Israel groups’ distortion of the much misquoted MacPherson principle from his report on the Stephen Lawrence case. Many Jewish hard-line Zionists and their supporters,  who object to any criticism of Israel as “anti-Semitic”, say it must be treated as such if they perceive it to be, because that is the MacPherson principle on racist crimes. But MacPherson actually said that any case perceived by the person reporting it as racist should be investigated by police as a potential racist crime to see if there was evidence of racism. Otherwise anyone accused of any kind of race hate crime would be automatically guilty without any investigation or trial, which would be ludicrous and destroy the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.

Even the CST – a Jewish group highly critical of Corbyn’s supposed tolerance for anti-Semitism, noted in it’s own 2009 report that subjective perceptions of anti-Semitism don’t always objectively equal anti-Semitism (14).

None of this stops the propagandists referring to the IHRA definition as the “EU definition” and the “internationally recognised definition” of anti-Semitism. Nor demanding anything that any Jewish person or group labels anti-Semitism be treated as such.

Wreathgate
– Corbyn & the Munich Olympics Murders
And dozens of his critics
& the mass murderers & terrorists
they honoured (and armed)

Next there’s Wreathgate – the outrage over Jeremy Corbyn, as a backbench MP in October 2014, having attended a ceremony honouring dead Palestinians and aimed at reconciling rival and warring Palestinian factions – particularly Hamas and Fatah. Corbyn was there primarily to commemorate the victims of a 1985 Israeli airstrike on the PLO headquarters in Tunis, Tunisia, which killed 47 people, many of them civilians. A wreath was also laid at the graves of two senior PLO officials buried in the same cemetery, who had not taken part in the brutal terrorist murders of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972, but were accused of having organised them. They denied these claims, though the website of Fatah (Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas’ party and the largest in the PLO) seems to say they were involved in organising that attack The website is in Arabic though, and so, most likely, was the ceremony (15).

Assuming Corbyn knew the latter were being honoured, and if he knew what they had done, then he could probably be legitimately criticised.

However that would also mean a lot of other politicians from the New Labour wing of the Labour party, the Conservative party and Israeli politicians – including Benjamin Netanyahu – would have to be condemned as much and in some cases a lot more.

For instance then Labour Foreign Secretary Jack Straw MP  laid a wreath at the funeral of Yasser Arafat in 2004. Arafat was a leader of the PLO and its largest member group Fatah for decades, responsible for many terrorist attacks which over the decades must have killed a significant number of civilians (16).

In June 2014, just a few months before the ceremony Corbyn attended, Tony Blair and then Conservative Foreign Minister Hugh Robertson laid wreaths at the funeral of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, one of the greatest mass murderers of the entire Israeli Palestinian conflict (17).

 Sharon was a member of the Haganah, the largest of the Zionist militias and terrorist groups that existed before the end of the 1948 war which established the state of Israel. While they mostly avoided terrorist attacks on the British that killed anyone, the Haganah were involved in multiple massacres of Palestinian Arab civilians during that war. For instance in the Abu Shusha Massacre Haganah forces massacred around 70 civilians, raping some of the women first and the Saliha massacre.

As an Israeli military (IDF) officer Sharon personally led and took part in the massacre of the entire population of the Jordanian village of Qibya in 1953.

In 1982 as Israeli Defence Minister he ordered IDF forces to allow far right Christian Lebanese militiamen into the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps, knowing that they would massacre the thousands of Palestinian civilians who remained in them as PLO fighters left for Tunisia under a ceasefire deal. An Israeli government inquiry – the Kahan Commission – found him personally responsible.

In 2002, as Prime Minister of Israel, Sharon oversaw Operation Defensive Shield in the West Bank. Investigations by Human Rights Watch, Amnesty and B’Tselem found that during it Israeli forces targeted civilians and ambulance crews ; bulldozed houses knowing civilians were still inside them; and forced Palestinian civilians to walk ahead of them at gunpoint as human shields. The estimated number killed was around 500 (18) – (22).

Photo: Victims of the Shatila Massacre, Lebanon, 1982

Then there’s Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu himself, who condemned Corbyn’s attendance of the Tunis ceremony. He himself attended a ceremony in 2006 to honour the terrorists who bombed the King David Hotel in Jerusalem in 1946. The bombers were members of the Irgun Zionist terrorist group led by Menachim Begin, who went on to be elected Prime Minister of Israel, invade Lebanon and oversee various war crimes. (23) – (24).

(Medhi Hasan has also pointed out all the actual anti-Semites that Netanyahu is happy to associate with so long as they don’t criticise Israel or his government and military’s actions.)

This ceremony was one of many honouring past Zionist terrorist attacks and celebrations of more recent Israeli settler murders of Palestinian civilians  (25).

Also present was former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzakh Shamir. Netanyahu started his political career as Shamir’s Ambassador to the UN and spokesman to the English speaking foreign media. Shamir had been one of the leaders of the Lehi Zionist terrorist group, who murdered many British soldiers and police and Palestinian civilians during the British Mandate of Palestine. He also personally ordered the assassination of UN envoy Folke Bernadotte, who had saved many Jewish children during the Holocaust (26).

Lehi and the Irgun also committed massacres of civilians during the 1948 war, including the notorious Deir Yassin massacre and the Al Dawayima massacre in which Irgun and Lehi terrorists killed children by breaking their skulls with sticks ; placed old women in houses them blew the houses ; and kept one woman and her baby alive so she could be their cleaning lady. When they were leaving they killed both of them too.

Photo: Yitzakh Shamir

None of this prevented Margaret Thatcher welcoming Menachim Begin to Downing Street in 1979 (27).

Nor has Netanyahu overseeing the killing of 2000 civilians , 550 of them children, in the 2014 Gaza war – in what every human rights group and the UN found to be war crimes, stopped the Conservative government of Theresa May from continuing to welcome him to the UK, or sell his government arms. Nor have all the killings since of mostly unarmed protesters on the Gaza border (28) – (32).

May doesn’t even balk at selling arms and providing RAF military advisers and political support to the Saudi dictatorship, 3 years after Amnesty and Human Rights Watch investigations concluded the Saudi air force in Yemen was deliberately targeting civilians, including schoolchildren in their schools. The recent Saudi airstrike on a school bus , killing 29 children, was among 50 air strikes on civilian vehicles so far this year. (33) – (39).

The fact that the Saudi and Israeli governments are recognised by the UN ; and their forces are regular militaries, is somehow meant to magically make ordering or carrying out the murder of civilians somehow ok. They even magically make acts of terrorism by Zionist terrorist groups before the state of Israel or the Israeli military existed magically become retrospectively fine too.

Irony-Gate Or Zionist-Gate

In 2014 Corbyn made a speech referring to some Zionists who had berated a Palestinian Authority representative who had made a speech in the UK parliament buildings. (See this video from 8.06) Corbyn claimed those people hadn’t understood “English irony…despite living here all their lives”, while the Palestinian did.  This has been much hyped as “anti-Semitism”, despite the fact that Corbyn knows that there are anti-Zionist Jews, since he's shared platforms with lots of them. So claiming he meant Jews when he said Zionists is ludicrous.

If there was any prejudice it was against Zionists not Jews. Many Jews are not Zionists. Many Zionists are not Jews. And "Zionist" is a vague term these days which is used sometimes to mean just "believes Israel has a right to exist" on the one hand (I'm a Zionist myself on that definition) ; and "someone who thinks Israel can do no wrong and should never be criticised" (hard-line Zionists) on the other. It’s likely Corbyn meant the latter as he backs a two state solution. And he's said he no longer uses the term because some actual anti-Semites do use it to mean Jews.

This did not stop Sajid Javid, Stephen Pollard and others making ridiculous comparisons of the “just change Zionists to Jews/ blacks/ whatever in this sentence to see how racist it is” variety.


Crying Wolf for Ulterior Motives –
In a political dispute with Jews
and Non-Jews on Both Sides

The worst thing about the propaganda campaign against Corbyn is that so many people are repeatedly crying wolf on anti-Semitism for ulterior and political motives. These include members of the ‘New Labour’ faction of the Labour party, who are hostile to Corbyn and the left of the Labour party both because he publicly embarrassed them by being right on opposing and voting against the Iraq war, PFIs and the deregulation that led to the banking crisis, when they supported all three. And because as Labour leader he stated in parliament that the war had been wrong and apologised for the past Labour government backing it. Labour Deputy Leader Tom Watson MP (New labour to the core) even told party members to stop criticising Blair and Brown’s record in government because it was damaging “our brand”. As if apologising for involvement in an unnecessary war that led to many people killed for nothing was like making mistakes in how you’re advertising Adidas trainers (40) – (41).

After Corbyn was re-elected Labour leader in a second leadership election, Watson openly said the party should scrap One Member One Vote and return to the ‘Electoral College’ in which a few hundred Labour MPs and a few dozen trade union leaders each got a third of the votes in any leadership election, relegating the majority of party members to almost bystanders (42).

The propaganda campaign on anti-Semitism as aimed partly at influencing the election of members to the ruling body of the party – the National Executive Committee – with voting taking place throughout August.

The Conservative party have an obvious motive to want to lose the Labour party votes, so May’s government were quick to adopt the IHRA definition within months of Corbyn being elected Labour leader (43).

The third group (overlapping with the other two) are people who are very pro-Israel to the point of seeing any severe criticism of any action of the Israeli government or military as “biased” and/or “anti-Semitic”. These include Labour Friends of Israel, Conservative Friends of Israel , the Jewish Leadership Council (or at least some of the largest groups within it) ; and the editors of three Jewish newspapers which ran ludicrous headlines on a Labour government on Corbyn posing an “existential threat to Jewish life in this country” (44).

The President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews clearly thought those newspapers were holding back far too much, telling an Israeli TV news station that Corbyn has “declared war on the Jews” and was “a security threat to the entire world” (45).

The Jewish Leadership Council – an umbrella group which includes the Board of Deputies, also includes BICOM – the British Israeli Communications and Research Centre whose stated aims include  “to support a close relationship between Britain and Israel”. Other member groups include the “Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland” – motto “For Israel” , the Zionist Youth League and the UIJA whose aims include “strengthening Jewish identity and a connection to Israel” and “encourage children to explore Judaism and Zionism and experience the wonders and challenges of the Jewish state”. So these groups would have every motive to try to conflate prejudice against Jewish with criticism of Israel.

The aim is pretty clear. To prevent any serious criticism of the Israeli government or military or their actions, by redefining it as anti-Semitism.

While pro-Israel Jewish groups are keen to present the dispute as one between “the Jewish community” and anti-Semites, in reality the pro-Israel groups are representative more of Jews and non -Jews who are very pro-Israel and very anti-Palestinian, with Jews and non-Jews on both sides of the dispute.

Despite their claims many British Jews got no vote in electing the Board of Deputies and many disagree with them, and agree with Corbyn and Labour on the IHRA definition needing modified to allow free speech on Israel. Among the better known are the Jewish Voice for Labour group,  author and Corbyn supporter Michael Rosen , the Free Speech on Israel group and comedian David Baddiel (although he is not generally a fan of Corbyn’s). Forty Jewish groups from around the world have also issued a joint statement saying that calling Israel racist is not anti-Semitism (46).

British Zionist Jewish groups are trying to tell the same story that Israel tells. Israeli governments paint their country as a tiny, weak isolated, state, surrounded by enemies and at risk of being destroyed at any moment. In reality they have probably the strongest and certainly the most technologically advance military in the Middle East, a nuclear deterrent ;  and the world’s only superpower, the US, as an ally – plus the whole of NATO.

British Zionist Jewish groups are painting themselves as a small isolated, threatened community, under constant attack and threat by a host of anti-Semites. In fact as Norman Finkelstein has pointed out, even many of the same people admit that in fact both Jews and Zionists have massive influence and plenty of representatives and allies (including by Jewish MPs) in parliament and the media. And as the IJPR study showed, under 10% of the population of the UK hold anti-Semitic views, with the majority condemning them utterly, with other minorities facing far more prejudice.

There is no group that speaks for all British Jews or all Jewish people around the world and is unbiased.  The IHRA definition is not an uncontested “universally” or “internationally” agreed definition of anti-Semitism, but a highly politicised one denounced even by its own drafter.

Any member of Labour’s NEC who votes to adopt the full IHRA definition should be aware that it is being used not a neutral definition but a politically motivated bear trap with which to destroy Corbyn, the left of the Labour party and any serious critic of Israeli government or military actions. Anyone who does not share that agenda and supports it is a turkey voting for Christmas.

 

Sources

(1) = BBC Radio 4 World at One 16 Jul 2016 ‘Naz Shah: My words were anti-Semitic’, https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leeds-36802075

(2) = www.independent.co.uk 04 May 2016 ‘Jewish author whose Israel ‘relocation’ map was shared by Naz Shah condemns ‘obscene’ Labour antisemitism row’, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/labour-antisemitism-row-naz-shah-israel-map-norman-finkelstein-obscene-a7012461.html

(3) = Jewish News 15 Nov 2017 ‘Labour bars candidate who said ‘Jews have reaped the rewards of playing victims’ http://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/labour-bars-candidate-who-said-jews-have-reaped-the-rewards-of-playing-victims/

(4) = Institute for Jewish Policy Research 12 Sep 2017 ‘Antisemitism in contemporary Great Britain: Key findings from the JPR survey of attitudes towards Jews and Israel’, by Daniel Staetsky , http://www.jpr.org.uk/publication?id=9993 OR http://www.jpr.org.uk/documents/JPR.2017.Antisemitism_in_contemporary_Great_Britain.pdf

(5) =  www.theguardian.com 26 Sep 2017 ‘Labour fringe speaker’s Holocaust remarks spark new antisemitism row’, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/sep/26/new-antisemitism-row-for-labour-over-fringe-speakers-holocaust-remarks-miko-peled

(6) = House of Commons 13 Oct 2016 ‘Home Affairs Committee, Antisemitism in the UK,  Tenth Report of Session 2016–17’,  https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/home-affairs-committee/inquiries/parliament-2015/inquiry2/
OR
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(8) = Times Of Israel 05 Dec 2013 ‘EU drops its ‘working definition’ of anti-Semitism’, https://www.timesofisrael.com/eu-drops-its-working-definition-of-anti-semitism/

(9) = www.independent.co.uk 18 Jul 2018 ‘Labour has rejected the EU’s definition of antisemitism. This is morally wrong – and politically foolish’, by Denis MacShane;  https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/labour-antisemitism-eu-definition-jeremy-corbyn-margaret-hodge-woodcock-a8452436.html

(10) = WRITTEN TESTIMONY OF KENNETH S. STERN Executive Director, Justus & Karin Rosenberg Foundation Before the UNITES STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY November 7, 2017 Hearing on Examining Anti-Semitism on College Campuses, https://judiciary.house.gov/wp-content/uploads/20http://www.startribune.com/trump-says-wh-lawyer-mcgahn-isn-t-a-john-dean-type-rat/491208211/17/10/Stern-Testimony-11.07.17.pdf

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(13) = OpenDemocracy 17 Jul 2018 ‘The Code of Conduct for Antisemitism: a tale of two texts’,
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(14) = CST Jan 2009 ‘ Antisemitic Discourse in Britain in 2009’, https://cst.org.uk/docs/Antisemitic%20Discourse%20Report%20for%202009%20-%20web1.pdf ; see page 12

(15) = www.independent.co.uk 18 Aug 2018 ‚‘ Leading Palestinian group casts doubt on Labour claims about Jeremy Corbyn wreath-laying ceremony’, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/jeremy-corbyn-wreath-laying-palestine-israel-munich-massacre-bury-labour-party-a8496471.html

(16) = Telegraph 25 Nov 2004 ‘Straw lays wreath at Arafat's grave’, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/1477480/Straw-lays-wreath-at-Arafats-grave.html

(17) = www.theguardian.com 13 Jun 2014 ‘Ariel Sharon's memorial service and funeral – as it happened’, https://www.theguardian.com/world/middle-east-live/2014/jan/13/ariel-sharons-funeral-live-updates

(18) = BBC News 18 Apr 2002 ‘Jenin 'massacre evidence growing'’, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/1937048.stm

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(20) = Human Rights Watch May 2002 ‘Jenin: IDF Military Operations’,
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(21) = B’Tselem 2002 ‘OPERATION DEFENSIVE SHIELD
Palestinian Testimonies , Soldiers’ Testimonies’,
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(22) = B’Tselem Mar 2002 ‘Impeding Medical Treatment and Firing at Ambulances
by IDF Soldiers in the Occupied Territories’,
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(23) = Jerusalem Post 13 Aug 2018 ‘Netanyahu condemns Corbyn's homage to Munich Massacre’,  https://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Netanyahu-condemns-Corbyns-homage-to-Munich-Massacre-564755

(24) = Jerusalem Post 22 Jul 2011 ‘This Week in History: The King David Hotel bombing’,
https://www.jpost.com/Features/In-Thespotlight/This-Week-in-History-The-King-David-Hotel-bombing

(25) = Haarezt 26 Jun 2018 ‘Zionism's Terrorist Heritage’, https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-zionism-s-terrorist-heritage-1.6217633

(26) = LA Times (Los angeles, US) 25 Mar 2010 ‘Israel glorifies its own murderers’, http://articles.latimes.com/2010/mar/25/opinion/la-oew-hazou26-2010mar26

(27) = Jewish News 20 Jul 2017 ‘How Thatcher kept Israel’s political leaders smiling’, https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/how-thatcher-kept-israels-political-leaders-smiling/

(28) = Human Rights Watch World Report 2015: Israel/Palestine - Events of 2014,
https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2015/country-chapters/israel/palestine

(29) = Amnesty International World Report 2014/15 – see p 197 Israel & occupied territorieshttps://www.amnesty.org/download/Documents/POL1000012015ENGLISH.PDF

(30) = Observer 27 May 2018 ‘British arms exports to Israel reach record level’, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/may/27/british-arms-exports-israel-new-record

(31) = Human Rights Watch 02 July 2018 ‘Gaza Killings, Unabated Settlement Activity Underscore Need for International Accountability, Action’, https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/07/02/gaza-killings-unabated-settlement-activity-underscore-need-international

(32) = Amnesty International 14 May 2018 ‘Israel/OPT: Use of excessive force in Gaza an abhorrent violation of international law’, https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2018/05/israelopt-use-of-excessive-force-in-gaza-an-abhorrent-violation-of-international-law/

(33) = BBC News 11 Dec 2015 ‘Yemen crisis: Saudi-led coalition 'targeting' schools’,
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-35071200

(34) = Human Rights Watch 12 Sep 2017 ‘Yemen: Coalition Airstrikes Deadly for Children’,
https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/09/12/yemen-coalition-airstrikes-deadly-children

(35) = Human Rights Watch 2018 – Yemen , https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2018/country-chapters/yemen

(36) = Amnesty International Sep 2015 ‘Yemen: The forgotten war’, https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2015/09/yemen-the-forgotten-war/

(37) = www.theguardian.com 16 Sep 2016 One in three Saudi air raids on Yemen hit civilian sites, data shows’, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/sep/16/third-of-saudi-airstrikes-on-yemen-have-hit-civilian-sites-data-shows

(38) = www.theguardian.com 16 Aug 2018 ‘Yemen school bus bombing 'one of 50 strikes on civilian vehicles this year'’, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/aug/16/yemen-school-bus-bombing-one-of-50-strikes-on-civilian-vehicles-this-year

(39) = www.theguardian.com 23 Jun 2018 ‘UK ‘hides extent of arms sales to Saudi Arabia’’, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jun/23/uk-hides-arms-trade-saudi-arabia--yemen

(40) = www.independent.co.uk 06 Jul 2016 ‘Jeremy Corbyn apologises on behalf of Labour for ‘disastrous decision’ to join Iraq War’,  https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/jeremy-corbyn-chilcot-report-iraq-war-inquiry-apology-tony-blair-labour-party-a7123461.html

(41) = The Spectator 27 Sep 2016 ‘Full speech: Tom Watson at Labour party conference’,
https://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2016/09/full-speech-tom-watson-labour-party-conference/

 (42) = www.theguardian.com 09 Aug 2016 ‘‘I want to hug him but also shout at him’: Tom Watson on Jeremy Corbyn and Labour rifts’ https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/aug/09/tom-watson-interview-jeremy-corbyn-labour-rifts-hug-shout ; 13th paragraph, 1st sentence ‘Watson wants to reverse Ed Miliband’s “terrible error of judgment” and reinstate the old electoral college system, which accorded one-third of the votes in a leadership election to the PLP and a third each to the unions and the members.’

(43) = www.theguardian.com 12 Dec 2016 ‘UK adopts antisemitism definition to combat hate crime against Jews’, https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/dec/12/antisemitism-definition-government-combat-hate-crime-jews-israel

(44) = www.independent.co.uk 26 Jul 2018 ‘Corbyn government would pose an 'existential threat to Jewish life', say three major Jewish newspapers’, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/jeremy-corbyn-jewish-labour-government-antisemitism-newspapers-chronicle-ihra-definition-a8464311.html

(45) = Jewish News 23 Aug 2018 ‘Board president: It’s like Corbyn has ‘declared war on the Jews’’,  https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/corbyn-has-declared-war-on-the-jews-board-president-tells-israeli-tv/

(46) = 22 Jul 2018 ‘As Jews, we reject the myth that it's antisemitic to call Israel racist’, 
https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/antisemitisim-jews-israel-labour-party-bds-jewish-coalition-palestine-a8458601.html