Big Brother is watching. Freedom of thought has been outlawed. Moderation will eradicate those found guilty of deviating from collective thought, voices silenced and all evidence of a prior presence removed from history. Deleted. Forever.
George Orwell’s “1984” was an awesome and terrifying piece of dystopian literature. That said, the above is in reference to Facebook’s “Labour Party Forum”, a Closed Group of 25k+ members, here in good old 2016. I, along with many others, have been found guilty of ‘Treasonspeak’ and removed during the night, under cover of darkness. Our apparent crime? Standing up for Zionism and Israel (and Jews) when responding to a question posed on the Forum, “I am a Jew and I am a Zionist. Is there a home for me in the Labour Party?”.
The posting attracted a hugely disproportionate response in comparison to their other posts. My responses to some of the other responses related to some Jews now feeling unwelcome in the current Labour Party. One of the growing number of reasons is the Z-word. You know, Z*****t. This word immediately means enemy among many in “New Old Labour” and prompts unparalleled attraction.
Many Jews feel an understandable affinity to Israel (many also don’t) so this immediate switch to anger with the mere mention of a country’s name or the political movement which help bring about its existence, can understandably invoke the fight or flight mechanism with supporters of The Jewish State. My follow on points to those who returned fire was, “Whose Zionism do you dislike so much, mine or your version?”. The answers wobbled and rambled all over the place, but what became clear to me is, unless you personally are a Z*****t (on any wrung of the ladder), all forms of Z*****m (of which there are “100s” apparently) are various shades of bad.
The common responses see emotional temperatures soar to red-hot with regards Israel. This ‘has nothing to do with the Jews’ we are repeatedly reminded. Just Z*****m (whatever Z*****m is). But try stating you’re a Jew in the “Labour Party Forum” and I guarantee you’ll be expected to state your position on the Palestinians, if you don’t choose to offer up this info. “You’re welcome in the Party if you denounce genocide, apartheid, brutality and occupation” said one of our hosts, with arms wide open. Bless him and his welcoming spirit. It strikes me that otherwise rational, caring, well-intentioned “Labour” people can turn into totally different beasts when the word “Israel” is uttered. It’s an emotional spike that reminds me of the estate agents, school teachers and businessmen who breeze calmly through the working week, before turning into foaming, rage-filled, spit-soaked football fans on a Saturday afternoon, directing a hatred towards the opposition that would be otherwise considered extremist.
Within the blink of an eye, we were into the language of ”Rothschilds!”, “Apartheid!”, “Genocide!”, “Massacre!”, “Occupation!”, “Colonisers!”. Z*****m is the same as the Taliban apparently, because it promotes nationalism and seeks its own state. “By this logic, is the Palestinian cause is also equivalent to the Taliban, given their push for a Palestinian nation-state?”, I politely ask? No. Apparently, it’s totally different apparently, because… erm… er… ‘cos….”Rothschilds!”, “Apartheid!”, “Genocide!”, “Massacre!”, “Occupation!”, “Colonisers!”…
There are no doubt many, many good people in the Labour Party and decent people on this Forum. Prior to the last General Election, I had always voted Labour. The problem is, the good people – the people who Labour should represent and welcome and who are in there somewhere – are silent, or unable, or intimidated to say, “Whoah, hang on a minute…?”. And then get on with debating this matter. Some of the conversation and debate went just fine, ever so briefly. The problem was, no-one within the Forum, other that the few of us who outwardly support Israel, questioned the wild accusations and slurs against Israel. It seemed almost Labour policy to accept this. Jeremy’s Labour. The man who is shaping his Party and attracting his Comrades, from like-minded politicians who never thought they would see the light of day again to £3 members who can dust down their keffiyeh. The Corbyn opposition may mock him, but his election might yet be political genius.
The Labour Party Forum removed several Israel defenders (from mixed voting backgrounds) who joined to offer an alternative view to the Forum’s flow. Some were ‘researched’ and accused of such things as writing for the The Jewish Media Agency (as if this would automatically negate Labour affiliation). Yes, there was some mischief in there, though mainly in response to the self-proclaimed anti-Zionists. But in the main we defended our corner sensibly, articulately, factually and with consideration. The result of these responses to an argument, which was only meant to have one side it seems, was simple. Accuse and then block from further dialogue. Delete. Ban. Silence. The language of New Old Labour has evolved into its very own Newspeak. Or Newoldlabourspeak. Orwell created “…a controlled language created by the totalitarian state as a tool to limit freedom of thought, and concepts that pose a threat to the regime such as freedom, self-expression, individuality, and peace. Any form of thought alternative to the party’s construct is classified as “thoughtcrime”. The language lives on.
So in answer to the original question, “I am a Jew and I am a Zionist. Is there a home for me in the Labour Party?”, my conclusion is this. If you’re a Jew, then there’s probably still a place. Just about.
If you’re a Zionist… Actually no, if you even dare to vocalise a support of and belief in Israel, consider yourself “Moderated”.