Michael Foster, Owen Smith and the demonisation of Corbyn


When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser

Since Jeremy Corbyn became Labour leader he has faced an onslaught of orchestrated attempts to depose him – disloyalty from his cabinet and the PLP, ridicule  and bullying by his own MPs at PMQs, smears of antisemitism and misogyny, accusations of condoning abuse, and legal and party challenges to his leadership.

The media have colluded in this onslaught with a barrage of overwhelmingly biased, selective and inaccurate reporting – as revealed by two recent studies at the London School of Economics and Goldsmiths College – of which Michael Foster’s Nazi slur is only the latest example.

Corbyn and his supporters are being subjected to a deliberate campaign of demonisation – a technique routinely used in political propaganda.
Demonisation, and ‘black’ propaganda, were used with great effect by the Nazis to scapegoat the Jews and to justify the holocaust.
It is therefore particularly dishonourable that Foster as a descendant of holocaust survivors should resort to such techniques and cynically exploit his Jewish heritage in order to score political points against the Corbyn movement within the Labour party.

To conflate Corbyn and his supporters with Nazi stormtroopers is a disgrace to the memory of the people who suffered under the Nazis. The holocaust is not something to be bandied around whenever one disagrees with an opponent. Foster’s comments, and the Mail’s accompanying photographs of Nazi rallies and brownshirts, are a shocking misappropriation of the moral high ground.
In my opinion, such a disrespectful trivialisation of the holocaust is as unethical and unprincipled as holocaust denial itself.

Having family who died in the camps is not a green light for baseless, slanderous allegations. I am Jewish. I lost family in the camps too, and it is exactly because of this that I care about respecting the truth – and the memory of the victims.
This is also why I care about social justice, and why I support Jeremy Corbyn.
Because he is honest and decent. He stands up for what he believes in and against injustice and inequality. He doesn’t smear and attack his rivals, despite severe provocation. And he sticks to his principles.

In contrast to Corbyn, Owen Smith doesn’t seem to actually hold firm principles. Prior to his selection as leadership candidate, Smith was pro austerity, anti welfare, pro private finance, pro private healthcare, a Blair man through and through.
Since his selection he declares himself to be a left-wing radical and unveils a raft of policies that mimic Corbyn’s.

If Smith is a man of principle, how can he shift his allegiances with the changing of the winds? And why does he stay silent over the abuse of democracy which his leadership challenge to Corbyn is very much a part of?

If he cares about abuse in the Labour party, why has he not condemned Foster’s deplorable comments, or the bullying to which Corbyn has been subjected by his fellow Labour MPs, or the smears and slurs on Corbyn and his followers?

I agree with the comment on today’s Victoria Derbyshire show about the “toxic” environment in the Labour Party.
Coups, dirty tricks, disinformation, smears, spurious legal and bureaucratic challenges – these are the tactics of bullies, abusers and oppressors, as Jews, of all people, should be hyperaware.
These are unfortunately also the tactics that the Labour establishment are using to try to remove the democratically elected party leader by any means possible, no matter how dirty or underhand.
Toxic indeed


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