Wednesday 25 April 2018

Corbyn meets with Jewish representatives

So, the Jewish Leadership Council and Board of Deputies of British Jews met with Jeremy Corbyn to discuss the issue of anti-Semitism in Labour. They say they found Labour leader's response wanting.
After a meeting with Mr Corbyn, which lasted more than two hours, the organisations said in a statement: "We are disappointed that Mr Corbyn's proposals fell short of the minimum level of action which our letter suggested. 
"Words in letters and newspaper articles will never be enough. We welcome the fact that Mr Corbyn's words have changed but it is action by which the Jewish community will judge him and the Labour Party."
The actual list of suggestions they presented to Corbyn which they feel he was unforthcoming on are as follows (my immediate thoughts in italics):
  • A fixed timetable to deal with anti-Semitism cases 
Why just anti-Semitism? Why not all cases? Fixed timetables are always problematic as cases can be problematic. If the timetable is not met, what happens? Is the member automatically excluded, or are charges dropped? I don't think that either outcome is really useful.
  • Expedite the long-standing cases involving Mr Livingstone and suspended party activist Jackie Walker
I agree Livingston has been allowed to fester. But this is outwith Corbyn's power. This lies with the NEC. The decision to suspend Livingston 'indefinitely' was taken by the former incarnation of the NEC under Iain McNicol.
  • No MP should share a platform with somebody expelled or suspended for anti-Semitism 
Again, why the special rule for this particular offense? Why not racism or homophobia or just being scum? As it would apply to all members it could make something as simple as appearing on Question Time problematic. It would also hand power to the anti-Semites, who could effectively bar Labour MPs from appearing on any platform, just by being there. Far better to accept that there are times when MPs may have to share a platform with someone objectionable, and hold them very accountable for what they say.
  • Adopt in full the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism
I probably wouldn't have a issue with that. It is a straightforward definition.  Some people don't like it as they feel it conflates criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism, but I don't see it.  If you can't manage to criticise Israel without coming across as a Jew hating lunatic, then you probably are a Jew-hating lunatic.
  • Transparent oversight of the disciplinary process
I'm not comfortable with the idea that internal Labour Party issues are to be made 'transparent' - does that mean public? There are all manner of issues around this. Remember that disciplinary issues can result in someone being cleared - having their reputation damaged by the investigation process would be very problematic. Remember what happened to Carl Sargeant? He didn't even have any allegations publicised.
As you can see, a lot of them rely on unacceptable special pleading or violate principles of natural justice.

I am interested to know if they have issued a similar set of demands for the Conservative party?  Surely they can't be saying there is no anti-Semitism in the Conservative Party, or that its provisions for dealing with it are flawless?

A stronger message would have been one the removed some of the special pleading and focused on all forms of racism or bigotry aimed at the individual; and one that was clearly expected of all parties.  Developing a 'Code of Conduct' for for all political parties to deal with complaints like this would have been more useful than what seems to be their politically motivated campaign to target Labour and Corbyn.

Sunday 22 April 2018

Hannity II

Another conflict of interest / undisclosed relationship type thingy is emerging, involving Sean 'Death of Journalism' Hannity and people who got frequent boosts on his show, without Mr Hannity bothering to acknowledge that he had a relationship with them beyond the studio:
For months, Fox News’s Sean Hannity has promoted Henssler Financial and its Principal and Managing Director, Bil Lako. Hannity has featured articles from Lako on his website, and had Lako appear as a special guest on his radio show. Describing Lako as a “good friend”, and his “financial adviser”, Hannity failed to disclose that he stood to financially benefit from promoting Henssler.

Most recently, Lako wrote an analysis piece on criticizing the cost of the Special Counsel, writing,

“The funding is built into the congressional budget, so if you were really wondering, the citizens pick up the tab. That’s right, a political game funded by taxpayer dollars. Shocker!” Corporate documents and U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) records have revealed that Hannity is secretly a co-owner of Henssler Financial’s affiliate, Henssler Capital. His advertisement of the financial advisory firm came as the group sought and received millions of dollars in funding from investors.

Buried within Henssler Financial’s 2018 brochure are a list of its affiliates, including Henssler Property Management and the aforementioned Henssler Capital. It states, “[Henssler Capital] is owned by Dr. Gene, Mr. William G. Lako, Jr., Mr. Christopher E. Reeves, and SPMK II, LLC.”

Hannity’s involvement with Henssler Capital is shielded via his use of a shell company, SPMK II, based in Georgia. Shell companies such as the one managed by Hannity are typically able to keep their beneficiaries secret, however when a company enters into a Limited Partnership, the representative of the company must sign official documentation. In 2007, Hannity certified to the Georgia Secretary of State that he is the Manager of the General Partner SPMK II.
I'm sure Sean will quickly and efficiently respond to this, and clear everything up.

Nope, looks like he's using Twitter to grizzle about how the liberal media are on a witch hunt, fixated with smearing good honest Republicans and decent folk:
Dude!  The birth certificate!  The emails!

Another example of Mr Hannity's projection / complete lack of self awareness / supreme mastery of irony.  Or plain brazen desperation to deflect attention away from his increasingly compromised position.

Friday 20 April 2018

Sean Hannity (hopefully, the fist of many)

Then the other day:  Sean Hannity mourns the death of journalism, having personally viciously stabbed it repeatedly.

Who says Americans don't do irony?

Love the "Coming Up: Newt Gingrich" in the corner. Newts live in swamps, don't they?

And now this:
Hannity declared––and brought up Rush Limbaugh‘s words agreeing––that the media is obsessed with trying to “tear this President down” and they’re going after big supporters like himself because he “challenge[s] their rigid radical left-wing ideology” and “expose[s] the deep state.”

The Fox News host went on to say he’s at least “honest” about who he is and declare, “The media is guilty of every single solitary thing they’ve been accusing me of.”
Someone needs to explain to Sean Hannity what 'projection' means in psychology.

Oh, Sean, I guess this outpouring suggests you know you might be in a little bit of trouble. Still, I guess you've got lots of friends out there, because it isn't like you're a professional rightwing media thug or anything.

"Schadenfreude" is the word we are all groping for.

Wednesday 18 April 2018

More on Labour / Anti-Semitism

So, someone decided to stage a Three Billboards style protest about anti-Semitism outside Labour Party headquarters.

Clever, eh?  That'll show that nasty old anti-Semitic Labour Party the errors of its ways.

Obviously a stunt like that requires a bit off effort and money to stage.  It was carried off by something called "Community United against Labour Party Antisemitism’ aka Culpa.

Their spokesman is someone called Jonathan Hoffman who seems to be quite vociferous on twitter about anti-Semitism and how much he dislikes Jeremy Corbyn.  Beyond his high volme tweeting, Mr Hoffman has a considerable cyber-footprint.

Let's look into some of the organisations that have hosted Mr Hoffman's views, shall we?

  • On visiting the United With Israel website, I was prompted to watch "A moving tribute to fallen IDF soldiers" and asked whether I thought Jerusalem is the true capital of Israel.
  • Harry's Place is somewhere I haven't looked at in years. Glancing in today I see the first article, by 'Lucy Lips' describing Jewish Voice Labour ' as 'Quislings.' Quisling, you will recall, is the fellow who served as a Nazi figurehead in Norway in WW2. Yup, that's someone describing Jews as Nazi collaborators. Wonder if that will get bigged up by Jonathan Hoffman? Or is it only ant-Semitic if Corbyn does it, Jonno?

  • UK Media Watch admits openly (though perhaps disingenuously) that it was established to promote "Fair and accurate coverage of Israel."
  • Z-Word seems to be a defunct, indeed perhaps entirely deleted, blog, run by the American Jewish Committee which describes its mission as "Advocating for Israel and the Jewish People." Interesting they put Israel first ...
Hoffman was also, apparently, chairman of something called the Zionist Federation until 2012, at which point he seems to have been booted out of it for abusing people he did not agree with and for cosying up to the racist English Defence League. I am not making this up.

It was interesting to discover the intriguing connections between an anti-Corbyn stunt and various pro-Israel organisations. This is nothing to do with anti-Semitism, it is obviously a hatchet job on Corbyn because of his pro-Palestinian views and links.

Labour and Anti-Semitism (probably the first of many)

So, you might wonder what has prompted me to stir in my Cthulhuesque slumber?

Today in parliament a debate was held on the issue of anti-Semitism.  Its a rather important issue and one which - you'd hope - would transcend party politics.  Sajid Javid, opening the debate for the Conservatives:

"While I would much rather that this issue transcended party politics [It does, there are plenty of anti-Semites in your own party.  The problem is that you are incapable of transcending party politics.] as other forms of racism have done for a long time, we cannot and we must not ignore the particular concern with elements within the Labour party [but we'll pretend there isn't anything to worry about in the Tory party]. Nor can we ignore the fact that this increasing concern has correlated with the current leader of the opposition, and the waves of activists that have come with him [Even though research has indicated anti-Semitic attitudes have waned since Corbyn became leader and the are less common in Labour now than in the Conservatives. Those activists - also known as young people - are far more likely to reject anti-Semitism than older people, who disproportionately support the Conservatives].”

 Javid uses a debate on a serious issue to attack Labour and Corbyn, and accuses young people of being swivel-eyed anti-Semites. You wonder why young people scorn the Tories?

 He also says, "I thank the leader of the opposition for attending this debate. It won’t perhaps be the most comfortable three hours of debate that he has sat in on, but he makes the most of it and his effort is appreciated for attending. There has, frankly, been a deeply worrying lack of leadership and moral clarity on this issue from him."

Clearly indicating that this is simply going to be a party political attack on Labour, and particualrly on Corbyn; and repeating the false claim that Corbyn is somehow vacillating because he isn't doing things he is not actually able to do.

There are words to describe him, but they can not be used here.

Obviously, there have been constant allegations, insinuations and unfortunate interventions from George Galloway:

(Can anyone recall a post-2004 intervention by George Galloway that was not unfortunate?  why is he even a thing anymore?)

I'll try to post some of my branes on this issue ... and other stuff as well.

I'm sure my thoughts will have as decisive an impact in the matter of anti-Semitism as they have on every other matter.


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