Freedom of speech is often characterised as a core pillar that defines liberal democracies. There are numerous instances, however, that demonstrate it as being little more than a political tool used to abuse the disempowered while silencing dissent. This has become even more apparent after incessant attacks have rocked Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, with accusations of him being anti-Semitic.
In the latest event, Jeremy Corbyn apologised for the “concerns and anxiety caused” after taking part in an event where the actions of Israel in Gaza were compared to the Nazis. The accusations are peculiar considering that the comparison was made by the late Hajo Meyer, an elderly Jewish Holocaust survivor. This follows a previous allegation of anti-Semitism after Corbyn attended a Passover event organised by Jewdas – a Jewish group critical of Israeli policy towards Palestinians.
All the while the Tories’ formal and current links to anti-Semitic political groups in Europe is wholly accepted, tolerated, and ignored by professional journalists in legion. Or take Israeli PM Netanyahu’s statement that,
“Hitler didn’t want to exterminate the Jews (until the Palestinians made him do it)”.
The neglect of rampant anti-Islam that exists across the political spectrum is a travesty in itself.
Despite these glaring contradictions, the controversy has culminated in demands from both Labour and Tory members for the Labour leadership to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism.
Currently, Labour’s approved code of conduct on anti-Semitism does not include four examples from the IHRA:
- Claiming that Israel’s existence as a state is racist
- Accusing Jewish people of being more loyal to Israel than their home country
- Requiring higher standards of behaviour from Israel than other nations
- Comparing contemporary Israeli policies to those of Nazis
Interestingly, this echoes a British draft strategy from 2009 known as Contest 2 that defined an extremist as anyone who supports armed resistance by Palestinians against Israel.
Clearly, anti-Semitism is being conflated with anti-Zionism to cover Israeli crimes. Historically the world Jewry was associated with one God, one people and the Torah. Today, it is increasingly identified with the Holocaust, Israel and anti-Semitism.
In 1982, Nachem Goldman, one of the elderly founders of the Jewish state and the Zionist movement said it is “sacrilege” to use the Holocaust as a justification for oppressing others. He understood that the sympathy evoked by the Holocaust has allowed it to become a very handy cover for Israeli atrocities and stop anyone from questioning the moral case for Israel’s existence. Yet, this has become a hugely unfashionable thing to say and some will also find it irresponsible. Others will note, it was a legitimate position against the apartheid state of South Africa for nearly eight decades.
Nonetheless, Western governments will continue to blindly support Israel as it performs a major service in relation to foreign policy. Israel is essentially regarded as a military offshoot of the US and enjoys very close intelligence relations with the West. It’s a state that depends on its Western sponsors, planted in the heart of the Middle East to maintain the balance of power between surrounding secular Muslim regimes. Since the fall of the Ottoman Caliphate, its function is to help stop a genuine, Islamic geopolitical power from emerging again.
In his book, “The Next 100 Years”, George Friedman states:
“The paradox, however, is as follows – the goals of these (military) interventions was never to achieve something – whatever the political rhetoric might have said – but to PREVENT something. The United States wanted to prevent stability in areas where another power might emerge. Its goal was not to stabilize but to destabilize, and this explains how the United States responded to the Islamic earthquake. It wanted to prevent a large, powerful Islamic State from emerging. Rhetoric aside the United States has no overriding interest in peace in Eurasia. The United States also has no interest in winning the war outright…the purpose of these conflicts is simply to block a power or destabilize the region, not to impose order.”
The perpetual problems caused by Israel’s settler colony in the region are not seen as a failure but are part of the plan. Ultimately, the latest controversies in Britain expose the arbitrary and farcical nature of freedom of speech, applied to protect the Israeli state from criticism and accountability while smearing political opponents and shutting down legitimate debate for justice.