By Ben Pensant.
It’s almost a month since Labour’s definition of antisemitism became headline news and the smears still haven’t let up. Which begs the question: why do Jews care what a movement led by a man who supports antisemites consider antisemitic? Would you ask an Incel to define misogyny? And why do people who’ve repeatedly slammed Jeremy Corbyn for defending terrorists suddenly expect him to adopt the IRA’s definition of antisemitism? Answers on a postcard.
But let them slam. As predicted by those of us with brains, Jezza is still standing, Labour are as strong as ever, and currently two hours have passed without a fresh smear. (A record, I believe.)
So for once I intend to write about something good. No, really. Sure, I could wax lyrical about Jezza’s immaculate beard all day long, I’d gladly spend 2,000 words laughing at all the white people who died this year, and nothing would give me greater pleasure than penning an essay about what I’d like to do to anti-Brexit crusader Genie Miller. (Though I’m certain if I did I’d be bundled into a police van before the spunk dried on my mousepad.)
Overall though, it’s far more satisfying to write about how shit everything is. But lately I’ve realised there’s much good in the world, despite the triple-evils of fascism, fake news and free speech. And there’s more good on the left than you could shake a shitty bike-chain at. Hence our beautifully batshit defence of Corbyn’s longstanding indulgence of antisemites, murderers, and antisemitic murderers.
For as the attacks on the Angel of Islington mounted, a small but loud posse of social media militants defended Jezza to the hilt. But more impressive than the lame excuses and wild obfuscations was the way they completely ignored the most despicable slurs, such as the foul, slanderous, demonstrably true claim that Corbyn once called a convicted Hamas terrorist who conspired to murder seven Jews ‘brother’ and suggested he should never have been banged up in the first place.
Sure enough, the second the 2012 Press TV footage emerged The Groovy Gang unleashed their Wenger Manoeuvre: a stunning trick popularised by Corbyn which renders leftists deaf, dumb and blind in the presence of antisemites. Taking a break from interviewing each other about how brilliant Communism, is, Groovy Gang founder Owen Jones and Lipstick Leninist Ash Starkers were first out of the traps, spending all day on Twitter discussing Labour antisemitism without once mentioning the Labour leader gushing over antisemitism.
Their refusal to acknowledge it was as much about protecting their leader as it was showing compassion for victims of stalking. Indeed, as Corbyn’s presence at the wedding of Holocaust denier Husam Zoom-Lolly demonstrated, Jezza is regularly followed around by anti-Semites; the poor bloke can’t even admire a manhole without a Hamas operative climbing out to ask for a selfie. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Press TV accosted Jezza and built a TV studio around him while he was visiting the Southport Lawnmower Museum.
The Gang’s dedication to pretending this interview never happened was so successful that by lunchtime it had disappeared into the same memory hole as Jezza’s membership of antisemitic Facebook group Palestine Live, his appearance at antisemitic jamboree Al Quds Day, his claim that antisemitic Hamas are ‘dedicated to peace and social justice’, and every other example too damning to be swatted away with lame Saudiboutery.
Naturally, there were other smears, like Corbyn’s 2010 appearance at an event comparing Israel to Nazi Germany, cheekily scheduled on Holocaust Memorial Day. But it’s perfectly understandable that a man who’s fought antisemitism his whole life would spend the afternoon with people who think a tiny liberal democracy surrounded by countries that want to destroy it is actually a genocidal dictatorship. And anyway, how was Jezza supposed to know it was Holocaust Memorial Day? Maybe, just maybe, he was too busy evading the antisemitic stalkers who pursue him 24/7 to check his sodding calendar.
Needless to say, rightwing trolls accused Owen of hypocrisy for defending Jezza’s appearance, digging up a 2017 piece he wrote in which he argued that comparing Israel to Nazi Germany was ‘unacceptable’. Yawn. Next you’ll be saying he’s guilty of double standards for trying to unseat Tory MP Ben Bradley because of something offensive he once wrote on Facebook but urging everyone to give Labour’s Jared O’Mara a second chance for doing exactly the same thing.
Smears dismissed, The Groovy Gang initiated phase two: minimising Jezza’s indulgence of antisemitism by arguing that other forms of racism are far worse. Indeed, if you look through history at antisemitism and Islamophobia’s respective body counts it’s clear the latter comes out way ahead, provided you ignore the six million who died in the Holocaust.
Far better to focus on Muslim genocide such as the Bosnian one in the ’90s. Of course, you shouldn’t research this period too thoroughly, as you might find out Jezza and co’s solidarity lay not with the victims of genocide but the people carrying it out. Still, it takes more than thorny allegiances to derail the narrative of worldwide Islamophobia. Indeed, it illustrates the resilience of Palestinian Muslims that despite Israel’s attempts to eradicate them their population grows every year. Take that, Netanyoohoo!
But what made the Gang’s defence of Jezza rock solid was the way they focused on the real threat: the British far-right, who’ve grown so strong that apparently ISIS are deeply concerned the EDL are one carpark demo away from usurping them on Interpol’s Top Five Most Dangerous Terrorists list. Indeed, it’s to the Gang’s credit that they regularly condemn the far-right while excusing Jezza’s support for people who couldn’t be more far-right if they came to the negotiating table wearing white hoods and whistling ‘Send The Buggers Back’.
A song familiar to Tory Zio Danny Frankenstein, branded a ‘racist scumbag’ by pint-sized Groovy Gang polemicist Gabi Wilkinson for his inks to the Islamophobic Gateshead Institute. Unsurprisingly Gabi received a barrage of Twitter abuse and disappeared like she always does after saying something ridiculous and getting criticised for it. Luckily, she’ll always know she was on the right side of history as the man she’s spent three years campaigning for would never dream of endorsing racist groups with unsavoury views about minorities.
But just as the smears were threatening to overwhelm even Jezza’s most resilient cheerleaders, Boris Johnston saved the day by being accused of dog-whistle racism for comparing face veils to letterboxes, which anyone with eyes can see is far worse than calling an antisemitic terrorist ‘brother’.
This happy accident allowed The Groovy Gang to take a break from ignoring Labour racism to do what they do best: accuse someone of bigotry for taking the piss out of fundamentalists. And they grabbed it with glee, passionately defending a Muslim woman’s right to wear whatever her husband likes. Which is exactly what Johnston did in his Torygraph article, though luckily none of those hysterically accusing him of Islamophobia appeared to have read it.
Predictably, right-whingers highlighted the Corbynite left’s ‘hypocrisy’ by equating Boris’s hate-speech with our cutting use of the word ‘gammon’ to describe red-faced racists: a pathetic attempt at deflection as anyone with a brain knows it’s okay to make jokes about the appearance of social conservatives, just not religious ones.
Even sensible centrists joined in to defend a woman’s right to wear what she wants, the same sensible centrists who six months ago were tut-tutting at women for wearing clothes middle-class feminists disapprove of. Clearly liberals would’ve been far more supportive of the Formula One Grid Girls’ right to choose if they’d just worn black cloths over their heads.
As usual, the racists weighed in with their nonsense about grooming gangs, conveniently forgetting that if these ‘children’ had had the decency to cover themselves up perhaps those Asian men wouldn’t have been incited into abusing them in the first place. How many teenagers get gang-raped above kebab shops in Afghanistan? I’ll wait.
All in all, Johnston’s buffoonery was welcome as it allowed us to take the spotlight off Jezza, attack a Tory, and turn social media into a modern-day blasphemy court. Jackpot! But it’s still a frightening indictment of our political class that a potential Tory leader could show such little respect for a religion that respects no-one.
Of course, key aspects of this story had to be avoided to protect the narrative. So we wisely ignored the fact that the niqab is worn only by a minority of Muslims, rejected by most and not even mentioned in the Kerrang. This allowed liberals to maintain the illusion that criticising the niqab is deeply insulting to ALL followers of Islam, despite the fact that many followers of Islam have criticised it. Luckily, when right-wing bigots smugly asked if this means it’s also insulting to all Muslims to criticise jihadists we were one stop ahead, as anyone paying attention knows we’ve already been saying that for years. Checkmate, gammons.
Sadly, the sneaky Murdoch press were itching to play their Trump card. So after days of Boris’s vulgar racism being the number one story everywhere from Twitter to Facebook, they cynically deflected attention by dredging up the ‘heinous’ spectre of Jezza – wait for it – laying a wreath for dead Palestinians. How dare he?
I won’t regurgitate the flimsy details. Far better to simply admire the brilliant response from The Groovy Gang, Skweekbox et al, who decided to change direction and tackle this one head-on, deploying a series of excuses which evolved into these simple bullet points:
- Jezza wasn’t there!
- Jezza was there but didn’t lay a wreath!
- Jezza was there and did lay a wreath but it was for 47 Palestinians killed in 1985!
- Jezza was there, he laid a wreath for 47 Palestinians killed in 1985, but accidentally laid it on a plaque commemorating three Black November terrorists!
- Jezza was there, he laid a wreath on a plaque commemorating three Black November terrorists but they weren’t the ones responsible for the Monchengladbach murders!
- Jezza was there, he laid a wreath on a plaque commemorating three Black November terrorists but they weren’t the ones responsible for Monchengladbach and even if they were so what!
- Saudi Arabia! Jack Straw! SHUT UP!
And everything in between. To double down the smear merchants dredged up the irrelevant fact that the bloke standing next to Corbyn in Tanzania (Maher Ukankorleme Al-Taher) was leader of the PFLP – the Progressive Friendly Loveable Palestinians, peaceful activists not to be confused with the PLP – the Pissant Lickspittle Plotters. Apparently a month later the PFLP hacked four rabbis to death in Bethlehem though there is zero evidence for this other than the group admitting responsibility for it.
The press pounced on Jezza – as if the poor bloke was supposed to know who the PFLP are or that Al-Taher was their leader – before citing as ‘evidence’ Corbyn’s Evening Star piece clearly stating he’d met the leader of the PFLP, obviously written by an imposter.
Cue an avalanche of lies ‘proving’ Jezza’s antisemitism, from his suggestion that an Islamist attack in Egypt was carried out by Israel to his appearance alongside antisemitic terrorist Leila Khaledonia, the world’s first female plane hijacker. (And they call him a misogynist!)
Every instance of Jezza meeting Hamas members or sharing panels with Hamas members was cynically exploited to suggest he had a soft spot for Hamas members, when anyone who’s ever been to a Muslim country knows it’s nigh-on impossible to visit a terrorist graveyard without bumping into at least one Jew-killer.
Needless to say, OJ weighed in, justifying Jezza’s behaviour by pointing out that ‘no-one was ever killed by a wreath’. This echoed his tribute to courageous crime boss Winny Mandela, whose penchant for violence was excused by Owen when she went to hell in April : ‘The struggle against the murderous white supremacist apartheid dictatorship wasn’t won by sitting around humming Kumbaya’ he raged. Indeed, as everyone knows the struggle to emancipate black South Africans was actually won by kidnapping and torturing black South Africans.
But OJ’s words stung, especially when you consider ‘humming Kumbaya’ is pretty much his stock response when Islamists kill British people. And Winny shared Jezza’s love of laying wreaths too, though instead of on plaques she preferred to put them around teenage boys’ necks, and rather than thorns and petals they were usually made out of burning rubber.
Of course, cartoons have killed even fewer people than wreaths though that didn’t stop Owen crying like a baby because a New European caricature depicted him crying like a baby. OJ correctly deduced the paper had targeted him because he’s gay, rather than because every time he tweets, writes a column or appears on TV he’s bubbling about something. But their ‘joke’ backfired as OJ’s wounded ego bought the Gang a few hours of downtime to sharpen their weapons.
And sharpen them they did, with helium-voiced rabble-rouser Aaron Pastrami storming Sky News and denouncing Margaret Hodge for trivialising the Holocaust instead of denying it like a normal person. Aaron then focused on the cruel decision to deny the Black October terrorists an Islamic burial in their own country, something of an obsession on the regressive left; who could forget Yasmin Alibhai-Bullshit’s anger when murdered freedom fighter Osama Bin laden was dumped in the ocean by heartless yanks? (They didn’t even put on a halal buffet, the cunts.) Which, as well as being disrespectful to the great man’s legacy, was totally counter productive: they dropped Megadeth into the Atlantic at the end of Transformers2: Return Of The Go-Bots and he’s had more comebacks than Mick Astley.
And it’s this affinity with radical Islam that informs The Groovy Gang’s obsession with defending antisemites. Because much like Communism, they never envision Islamism affecting them negatively. Come the religious or political revolution the Gang will be the oppressors, not the oppressed. And with good reason: from Owen’s championing of LGBTQED causes to Ash’s boast that she ‘fucks like a champion’, they’ve earned their seats at the captain’s table. Because as we know, gay men and sexually active young women who criticise the government go down a storm in authoritarian theocratic regimes.
Until then, Jezza’s future is in good hands. Even Thursday’s ‘revelation’ that he performed a stand-up routine in 2013 for a who’s who? of British antisemites has failed to dent his popularity. And true to form, two days since footage emerged of Corbyn quipping that British Zionists don’t get English irony OJ, Ash and Aaron are yet to mention it.
Similarly, Corbyn being praised by National Front leader Nick Griffiths and KKK Grand Whizzer Daisy Duke on the same day was met not with horror but admiration for Jezza’s ability to cross the aisle and break bread with his counterparts on the far-right. At least I think it was; as of yet few Corbynites have mentioned their ringing endorsement and the Groovies wouldn’t comment on it if you offered to do their homework for a year.
Strangely enough, Jezza’s corrupt enemies could actually learn a thing or two from Nick and Daisy’s willingness to focus on what they like about Jezza. If far-right bigots can overlook Corbyn’s love of Muslims but embrace his attitude to Jews, would it kill the Blairite bell-ends to ignore Labour’s antisemitism and get behind the leadership’s vision to regulate the press and destroy the economy?
Of course it fucking would.
Still, let them whine. While they’re crying into their lattes because the nasty man made a joke about Jews to a roomful of racists, we’ll be focusing in the important stuff: crushing the Tories, holding the media to account, and attacking a fat-tongued TV chef for mislabelling some rice.