Corbyn comes out counterpunching: but who’s afraid of the big bad socialist?


The unremitting demonization of Jeremy Corbyn, unleashed by a political and media establishment that exists in dread-fear of a government led by him.

That nobody wins a fight taking punches is a self-evident truth – one that cuts through the ocean of obfuscation that exists to confuse the public mind when it comes to turning it against the officially designated enemy of the moment.

There has been no more glaring an example of an attempt to confuse the public mind than the unremitting demonization of Jeremy Corbyn, unleashed and undertaken by a political and media establishment that exists in dread-fear of a government led by him. And they have good reason to dread such a government. For with it lies the promise of structural reform of the economy, delivering a greater share of the surplus to a working class left battered and bruised after almost a decade of Tory austerity.

More to the point, under such a government the array of strategic alliances that have long underpinned the country’s foreign policy, faithfully adhered to by Labour and Conservative administrations alike, is threatened as never before. Among the most important of those strategic alliances is Britain’s staunch support for the apartheid State of Israel.

This is the real reason they fear Corbyn, and this is the real reason they are determined to destroy his leadership.

Netanyahu and Corbyn

Cartoon by Steve Bell

Alas, for them however, the campaign to destroy Corbyn has crossed the line from the bad to the openly mad with the unspeakably grotesque intervention of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu’s tweet, denouncing the Labour leader’s attendance at a wreath-laying ceremony in Tunis in 2014, was a step too far, leaving open the space for a long awaited Corbyn counterpunch – one that when it came was well worth waiting for. In fact it was a counterpunch of such pristine accuracy that not only did it KO Netanyahu (figuratively speaking), it succeeded in exposing this anti-Corbyn smear campaign for the sham that it is and has been from the start.

En passant, Corbyn maintains he was present at the wreath-laying ceremony in Tunis to commemorate the victims of Israel’s bombing of the PLO’s headquarters in the city in 1985. His enemies and detractors, among them Netanyahu, allege otherwise; maintaining that the ceremony was a commemoration of members of the Palestinian militant group Black September, responsible for the abduction and killing of Israeli athletes during the Munich Olympics in 1972.

The point that should be borne in mind here is that Corbyn’s sympathy for a people suffering under the iron heel of ethnic cleansing, settler colonialism and apartheid has earned him the undying enmity of those who exist to put lipstick on the pig of such glaring and monumental injustices, ensuring that no matter the Palestinian graves Corbyn chooses to honour, it will be held up as proof of his support for terrorists and terrorism.

In other words, in the eyes of the State of Israel and its most fervent supporters, every Palestinian is a terrorist just by dint of being a Palestinian. Such a malign racist characterisation is nothing new of course. On the contrary, it links every colonial project there’s ever been, undertaken as part of the necessary dehumanisation of its victims.

But returning to Corbyn’s withering rejoinder to Netanyahu, reminding him of Israel’s most recent murderous record in Gaza, and we are entitled to believe that a turning point has been reached. Because up to then it had seemed that only one side in this fight was throwing all the punches, and that only one side was taking them.

Indeed at times Corbyn’s passivity, his unwillingness to go toe to toe, has appeared inexplicable. It was almost as if, like Winston Smith in Orwell’s 1984, he’d actually begun to believe that ‘they’ were right – that he did indeed have reason to be ashamed of his record of support for the Palestinian people and their struggle.

Not anymore.

Both within and without the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn has been beset by enemies since the day he was elected leader of the party by a landslide in 2015. That he is also surrounded by friends and supporters has failed to deter those enemies, simply because up to now passivity had been allowed to become entrenched. In this regard we are obliged to ask the following: Where is Momentum? Where is this vast army of thousands of Corbyn supporters that was formed to promote his leadership of the Labour Party? Is it a movement or is it a monument? If the former, why has it deserted Corbyn these past few weeks, leaving him isolated in the face of the mainstream media and Establishment battering he’s received? If it is the latter, a monument to who and what?

It is to be hoped that now, with the first sign of a fight back from Corbyn, his supporters are primed to join the fray and go on the offensive, pushing back against the false conflation that has been sown that opposition to Israel, on the grounds of apartheid, is coterminous with Judeophobia on the grounds of anti-Semitism.

In the person of Benjamin Netanyahu, fresh from his achievement in making Israel’s apartheid and racist character official with the passing of the country’s nation-state law, the pro-Israel lobby in Britain has been revealed for the rotten mob of defenders of the indefensible it has always been.

As the smoke clears, it is they not Jeremy Corbyn who have questions to answer. And is they not Jeremy Corbyn who have no answers to those questions.


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