For many years, former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters have claimed that he, and they, were targeted in a coordinated attack from the right of the party, comprising a majority of Labour MPs as well as senior party staff. The aim was to sabotage Corbyn’s chances of taking power.
Those allegations were dismissed as a wild conspiracy theory by the British media. But the first independent verification came as early as April 2020, shortly after Corbyn stepped down as leader, with the leak of a cache of internal Labour Party documents. They showed that Labour bureaucrats, responsible to the party’s general secretary Iain McNicol rather than to Corbyn, plotted to bring about their leader’s downfall, even prioritizing his destruction over winning the closely fought 2017 general election.
The impression that all was not quite how it seemed was further suggested by the absurd twists and turns in the logic of a report into Corbyn’s Labour Party published in late 2020 by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC). That this politicized, establishment body had agreed to investigate a mainstream political party for racism, directly interfering in the democratic process, was itself unprecedented.
Next, in July, a much-delayed report from an inquiry commissioned by Corbyn’s successor, Sir Keir Starmer, confirmed the contents of the leaked documents. Despite its careful wording and bogus even-handedness, the Forde Inquiry conceded that the Labour right had indeed waged a dirty factional war against Corbyn and the left of the party, weaponizing antisemitism to tar them.
Now, over the past few days, Al Jazeera has aired a shocking three-part investigation, “The Labour Files”. Running close to four hours in its online format, it is based on even more leaked documents, and reveals the complete sabotage of the party’s democratic processes by the Labour right, including by many of its senior MPs. Those processes were hijacked to carry out purges of the party’s left based in most cases on false accusations, fabrications, misrepresentations and smears.
One of the victims of those purges described the past few years in Labour as a “criminal conspiracy against its members”. Al Jazeera’s documentary series proves he is not exaggerating.
The Labour right was able to assert its power to act cruelly and unfairly against left-wing party members when Corbyn, the left’s champion, was leader. Now that the Labour right enjoys the protection of Starmer, Corbyn’s successor, it has the freedom to be utterly ruthless.
The Al Jazeera investigation finds that, although the Labour right soon settled on antisemitism as the most effective tool to vilify its enemies, it was willing to invent any smear that could be weaponized. One of the Labour right’s earliest demonization campaigns – based, as Al Jazeera shows, on fabrications and unsubstantiated hearsay – was that Labour MP Angela Eagle, who is gay, had faced a sudden wave of homophobic abuse and attacks from her pro-Corbyn constituency members. The smears provided a convenient rationale for her early attempt to challenge Corbyn as leader.
But antisemitism as a smear was generally preferred because trenchant criticism of Israel’s apartheid policies towards Palestinians has long been a distinctive marker of the left’s anti-racist politics and consistent with its earlier trenchant criticism of South Africa’s apartheid policies towards the country’s black population.
All the Labour right needed to do was blur distinctions between criticism of Israel and criticism of Jews, a conflation that was all too easily engineered when most of the public had long been confused by Israel and its most ardent supporters about that very distinction.
The establishment conspiracy
The smears were necessary because the Labour right faced two threats to its power.
Greater democratization of party rules under a previous leader, Ed Miliband, had allowed Corbyn to be elected leader with the overwhelming backing of party members – to the dismay of the majority of Labour MPs.
And Corbyn’s democratic socialism unleashed a wave of political engagement from large parts of the electorate that had felt disenfranchised by a two-party system in which both parties – Labour and Conservative – agreed on many right-wing fundamentals, such as neoliberal economics at home and neocolonial policies abroad.
Corbyn’s victory led to a surge of interest in politics. New members flooded into Labour, quickly making it the largest party in Europe and turning it into a potential grassroots movement in which the Labour right would be entirely marginalized and its agenda subsumed.
A fightback was desperately needed to reverse the tide and revoke the democratic processes that Corbyn had been able to ride to the top of the Labour Party.
The Labour right had plenty of allies in this battle. In fact, it could rely on the assistance of an entire British establishment that felt equally threatened by the rise of Corbyn: the military and security services, the ruling Conservative Party, big business, the state broadcaster and the rest of the corporate media, as well as official think tanks and establishment bodies like the EHRC.
In a very real sense, this was a conspiracy. Or, put in blunter political language, it was class war.
The playbook was well thumbed. The Labour right would claim that the party was being subjected to a hostile takeover, with Corbyn’s blessing, by the “far left”. This supposed far left – those seeking a fairer, more equal and inclusive society – would be vilified by the establishment media with a well-established trope: the “far left” would be equated with the far-right, with the implication that both shared the same brutish, undemocratic, racist impulses.
What quickly emerged was the British equivalent of the ”Bernie Bro” narrative in the United States, when the left-winger Bernie Sanders tried to become the Democratic Party’s candidate for president against the establishment-friendly Hillary Clinton. Sanders’ supporters were falsely characterized as overwhelmingly male, bullying, aggressive and misogynistic.
In the U.K., Labour members supportive of Corbyn – drawn to him by his prominent career as an anti-racist, his support for greater wealth redistribution, and his criticism of British human rights abuses abroad – soon found themselves being tarred and purged from Labour as the equivalent of neo-Nazis. The Labour left have been reeling ever since.
The Israeli spy
To grasp the scale and sophistication of this establishment operation, it is necessary to assess the latest Al Jazeera investigation, “The Labour Files”, in the context of an earlier documentary series, “The Lobby”, broadcast five years ago by the same channel.
Together, the two series show the bigger picture of how Israel and its lobbyists found enthusiastic allies in the Labour right and the wider establishment, as well as a common purpose: to subvert Corbyn’s leadership simultaneously from within and without.
The 2017 Lobby series charted the meddling of an Israeli spy, Shai Masot, in U.K. politics. It is worth considering how that earlier exposé was treated by the British media and political class to better understand what has amounted to a comprehensive assault on British democracy.
The four-part investigation made headlines when it aired footage – shot by an undercover reporter – showing Masot actively trying, in Masot’s own words, to “take down” Sir Alan Duncan, a foreign office minister for the ruling Conservative party. Masot was operating out of the Israeli Embassy. Ostensibly he was one of its officials, but in reality, he was almost certainly working for Israel’s strategic affairs ministry, known for its black ops against prominent critics of Israel.
Masot is filmed covertly meeting a sympathetic Conservative parliamentary aide. He tells her he wants to dig up dirt on Duncan with the goal of getting him kicked out of office. Duncan was considered a liability on Israel. He had repeatedly called for Palestinian statehood – the two-state solution that is supposed to be official British policy – and had been critical of Israel’s settlements, built for Jews only on Palestinian territory and in violation of international law – a core reason why a growing body of analysts believe Israel qualifies as an apartheid state.
It is not difficult to understand why Masot singled Duncan out from the rest of the ruling Conservative Party. Almost every Tory MP is a member of the party’s Israel lobby in parliament, known as the Conservative Friends of Israel. They can be relied on to stand staunchly behind Israel, however blatant its law-breaking. Last year, it was revealed that a third of the Tory cabinet were funded by either Israel or its lobbyists.
Duncan’s ability to exert influence over British policy towards Israel appears to have been non-existent. During his time in office, no progress was made on Palestinian statehood, the settlements expanded aggressively, and Britain continued to sell arms to Israel to oppress the Palestinian people.
The Tory party aide tells Masot she “thought we had, you know, neutralized him just a little bit” – presumably a reference to making Duncan’s life harder over Israel and thereby intimidating him into toning down his criticisms. But Masot was unsatisfied. He and the Israeli government behind him did not want a prominent critic of their illegal actions speaking with the credibility conferred by having a platform inside the British establishment.
After the episode aired, British newspapers reported – even if mutedly – Masot’s role in trying to “take down” Duncan. The government quickly issued a low-key statement that Masot had been removed from the U.K. The shared narrative of the British government and media, as well as the Israeli government, was that Masot was an Israeli embassy official acting on his own initiative who had gone rogue. The matter was barely referred to again outside the fringes of social media.
The Labour connection
That was shocking in itself. But actually something even more staggering occurred in “The Lobby”. The undercover footage of Masot trying to “take down” Duncan filled only a half of one of the series’ four episodes. The other three and half showed Masot covertly helping to establish a sophisticated network of pro-Israel activists in the youth wing of the Labour Party to help take down Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the opposition.
The Israeli operation to meddle in Labour’s internal processes may have been more complex and more difficult to grasp than a single recorded conversation about trying to take down Duncan, but the implications for British democracy were far more serious. Duncan was an outlier in the Conservative Party with little real influence. Corbyn, by contrast, was a potential prime minister in waiting, a politician poised to take the reins of power and shape the policy agenda at home and abroad.
But whereas there was a short-lived outcry over the treatment of Duncan, one that led to Masot’s hurried departure, Al Jazeera’s investigations into the Israeli operation against Corbyn made no impression on the political or media debate in Britain at all.
The significance of the revelations went entirely unremarked upon. It was as if espionage to subvert a potential prime minister was less important than espionage to remove a marginal government minister. Britain’s political and media priorities appeared completely back to front.
But, in fact, the situation was even worse than that assessment suggests. And to understand how, it is necessary to trace the career trajectory of Masot’s seeming protégé inside Labour, Ella Rose.
At the time of the 2017 Al Jazeera documentary, Rose was the director of the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM), a long defunct pro-Israel lobby group that was revived in 2015 specifically to fight against Corbyn.
The need for the JLM’s resuscitation was clear: Corbyn was a life-long anti-racist, one of the few British politicians who had actively struggled against apartheid South Africa and had continued the same struggle against apartheid Israel. He supported the rights of Palestinians as vocally as he once supported the rights of black South Africans. The implications of having such a politician as prime minister were not lost on Israel’s most fanatical supporters in the U.K.
Al Jazeera’s undercover reporter filmed Rose stating not only that she had worked at the Israeli Embassy immediately before taking over the reins of the JLM, but that she had worked directly with Masot. In footage not broadcast, she also said she knew Masot “very well”, and told the undercover reporter that she could help him get a job at the Israeli Embassy.
Masot himself is caught on camera speaking about the fact that it was part of his job to set up a private company in the UK – a front for the Israeli government, as he confides – to wage a secret war on activists critical of Israel. He is shown trying to establish a youth movement in Labour, again as a front for the Israeli government. Ella Rose and the JLM appear to have been integral to this plot.
So how did Al Jazeera’s documentary affect Rose and her relationship with the Labour Party? Was she investigated and booted out of Labour for her role in efforts to oust the leader of the opposition, just as Masot was kicked out of the U.K. for discussing how to take down Duncan?
Not a bit of it. True, Rose was investigated by Labour, but not at the party’s instigation and not over her close relationship with Masot.
Rose’s brief difficulties arose over an entirely different matter. She was shown in “The Lobby” making a threat to physically attack Jackie Walker, a black Jewish Labour activist critical of Israel and well known for her support for Corbyn. After watching the Al Jazeera documentary, several Jewish supporters of Corbyn, including Naomi Wimborne Idrissi, submitted an official complaint to Labour’s disciplinary unit about Rose’s threats of violence. That unit was staffed by officials hostile to Corbyn, as confirmed by “The Labour Files”, Al Jazeera’s follow-up investigation.
At the time of the complaint, as “The Labour Files” also shows, the disciplinary unit had been summarily suspending or expelling Corbyn supporters, including a disproportionate number of Jews, after scouring social media for obscure posts, often criticizing Israel. Such members were disciplined either on the basis that such criticisms qualified them as antisemites, or because they had supposedly “brought the party into disrepute”.
But leaked email exchanges aired in “The Labour Files” between Rose and the disciplinary unit show Labour officials being highly sympathetic to Rose, even though her threats of physical violence against a black Jewish woman had been broadcast on international TV just a few days previously.
In an astonishing email, Sam Matthews, head of the disputes team, wrote to Rose supportively about her violent threats, echoing her own claim – in flagrant denial of reality – that “there isn’t, nor will there ever be, any public record of you using such language”.
In stark contrast to Corbyn supporters who often found themselves facing months and years of investigation by the disciplinary unit, Rose was immediately cleared. Efforts by Wimborne Idrissi and others to appeal the decision to Iain McNicol (now Baron McNicol), the party’s general secretary and another opponent of Corbyn, were dismissed out of hand. Attempts to get Rose’s case heard by the National Executive Committee (NEC), Labour’s governing body, were secretly stymied.
Rose’s exceptional treatment was far from over, however. In 2019, two years after Al Jazeera revealed Rose’s covert alliance with Masot, she was back on TV, this time as witness for the prosecution in a BBC Panorama special supposedly exposing Corbyn as indulgent of antisemitism in the Labour Party, if not antisemitic himself. The program was a mess of unsubstantiated allegations and misleading information, as I set out in a review at the time and as “The Labour Files” shows too.
The BBC program began with tearful testimony from Rose speaking out against Corbyn and a supposed endemic problem of antisemitism in the Labour Party. Like other Jewish “witnesses” featured by the BBC, Rose was not named and her affiliation with the Jewish Labour Movement was never identified. She was presented as an ordinary Jewish party member shocked at the antisemitic taunts she said she had received at Labour’s annual party conference.
There was no way the Panorama team did not know who Rose was. It was in the public record that she had been a former Israeli embassy employee. She had admitted working with Masot, an Israeli spy who was filmed trying to “take down” a British government minister and setting up a network of advocates for Israel in Labour to take down Corbyn. She was the head of an organization, the JLM, whose barely concealed mission was to advocate for Israel in the Labour Party and damage Corbyn. And she had been filmed boasting extravagantly about using Israeli martial arts to attack a black Jewish woman at a time when she herself was claiming to be a frightened, vulnerable member of the Labour Party being victimized by antisemites.
All of this was highly relevant if viewers were to assess the credibility of Rose and the other anonymized members of the JLM who acted as witnesses against Corbyn. And yet none of this background was referred to by Panorama – a violation of journalistic ethics, as well as the BBC’s duty to deal fairly with British viewers who are required by the government to pay for its services.
That the BBC misrepresented the evidence of antisemitism in Labour is all the graver because the corporation is Britain’s state broadcaster. The program amounted to blatant interference by the British establishment’s chief media platform against the opposition leader only months before an election.
Rose and the JLM further interfered in the British political process on behalf of Israel and the British establishment by initiating complaints of racism against Corbyn’s Labour Party to the Equalities and Human Rights Commission. The EHRC agreed to investigate Labour while rejecting parallel demands to investigate the Conservative party at a time when black, Asian and Middle Eastern Tory members, including former government ministers, had repeatedly pointed to evidence of systematic racism in the party’s ranks, including from the then prime minister, Boris Johnson.
What has happened since? Rose’s career in the Labour Party has flourished. Last December, she was selected as a Labour council candidate for Barnet, North London, and won a seat in the May elections. Last year, it was announced that Rose had been accepted to one of 360 highly prized places on Labour’s “future candidates program”, seen as a stepping stone to Westminster. It was reported that thousands of other applicants were rejected.
Crushing party democracy
Al Jazeera’s new documentary, “The Labour Files”, differs from its predecessor, “The Lobby”, in showing how the Israeli Embassy and its activists were pushing at an open door when it came to subverting Corbyn’s leadership.
If the lobbyists worked covertly, it was not because the Labour Party bureaucracy had any interest in foiling their activities. It was out of necessity: to make sure their concocted antisemitism claims were harder to rebut and sounded more credible to the general public, and to avoid exposing the machinations of Labour’s right-wing officials who were as keen to see the back of Corbyn as Israel itself was.
What Rose and other pro-Israel activists were doing was colluding with the Labour right to crush Labour’s brief experiment in party democracy that had mistakenly allowed a popular left-wing figure in Corbyn to come within sight of No. 10, Downing Street.
As mentioned earlier, the British establishment was genuinely alarmed at the prospect of someone like Corbyn fighting them publicly and from within. Corbyn seriously threatened to redistribute wealth and limit corporate power, and challenged the British state’s lightly veiled colonialism: its foreign policy bullying; its arming of allies that systematically violate human rights; and its waging of wars to control global resources.
Rose and the other activists not only had assistance from Israel and its agents like Shai Masot, but from every wing of the British establishment. Singing in unison, the establishment’s chorus about antisemitism and a supposedly racist Labour left could drown out and vilify any countervailing voices, however plausible.
That very much included Corbyn’s long-time, anti-racist allies on the Labour left, especially its black and Jewish members radicalized by their experiences of dealing with the racism of British society and the British establishment.
Wimborne Idrissi, who founded Jewish Voice for Labour (JVL) as a counterweight to the JLM and to demonstrate that many Jews in the party supported Corbyn, has been repeatedly investigated and suspended by party bureaucrats. She is, remember, the Jewish member who tried unsuccessfully to get Rose disciplined over her violent threats against Jackie Walker, a black Jewish party member.
This month, Wimborne Idrissi was the only Jew elected by the membership to Labour’s NEC, its governing body. But Starmer’s officials quickly suspended her once again – apparently to deprive her of a seat on the body that oversees disciplinary cases and has been singling out Corbyn-supporting Jews, like herself and her allies in JVL. The party machinery has been carefully rigged under Starmer to make sure that no dissenting voices on its purges of the left are heard.
Confident that there would be no negative coverage from the establishment media, in stark contrast to the constant barracking of Corbyn, Labour officials stripped Wimborne Idrissi of her pass to the annual party conference this week. One can only imagine how the media would have reacted had Corbyn’s officials barred Ella Rose or any other JLM member.
Wimborne Idrissi is clearly seen as the “wrong kind of Jew” by the Labour right and the establishment media, including The Guardian newspaper that cheerled the campaign against Corbyn and has barely bothered, despite its profession of concern about antisemitism, to report on Labour’s systematic abuse of the JVL’s membership.
The Labour Files is replete with examples of Labour Party officials and the media, especially the BBC, applying double standards, deceiving the public, misrepresenting events, making fantastical claims, and promoting outright lies in promoting the Labour antisemitism narrative.
There are far too many instances to mention them all. Here are just a few of the nadirs:
• BBC’s Panorama program against Corbyn prominently featured a claim by Ben Westerman, a member of Labour’s disputes team, that he personally faced antisemitic abuse during a meeting to investigate antisemitism. He did not mention that it was two elderly Jewish women whom he met. In the program, he wrongly claims that one of the Jewish women asked him if he was from Israel. A tape recording made by the women shows that, in fact, she asked him what branch of the Labour Party he was from.
• Panorama selectively edited and misrepresented an email sent by Corbyn’s chief of staff, Seumas Milne. Panorama wrongly suggested that it was evidence of Corbyn’s office actively interfering in the handling of disciplinary hearings to clear political allies accused of antisemitism. In fact, Milne offered his view only after Labour HQ’s most senior staff asked for his guidance. His comment, far from constituting interference, referred to difficulties the party bureaucracy faced in the optics of investigating a Holocaust survivor for antisemitism. Milne rightly suggested that the party was getting involved in the Jewish community’s internal political arguments about Israel – or as he put it, “muddling up political disputes with racism”.
• Panorama broadcast incredible and entirely unsubstantiated claims by Izzy Lenga, a colleague of Rose’s in the JLM whose affiliation was not identified. She alleged that “every single day” she faced antisemitic abuse “telling me Hitler was right, Hitler did not go far enough”. In fact, as a search of earlier media reports confirm, Lenga appeared to be referring to a problem with neo-Nazi posters at her university in 2015. There was no suggestion in those contemporaneous reports that the Labour Party or any of its members were responsible. It appears to have been the work of far-right activists. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence – something Panorama seems to have recklessly ignored in advancing claims that damaged Corbyn.
• Halima Khan, who worked for the investigations team under Starmer, says she was instructed to scour through social media posts of identified individuals to find any material that could be construed as antisemitic, and that “Palestine” was one of the search terms they were supposed to use. Staff, she says, were expected to respond immediately when The Jewish Chronicle or Jewish News contacted them with a name. She further notes that when she asked if her job might be at risk for expressing support for the freedom of the Palestinians, the response was: “I’ll have to get back to you on that.”
• Several of the groups most vocal in fighting against Corbyn and Labour’s supposed “antisemitism crisis” had a history of being closely involved with Islamophobic far-right groups like the English Defence League. One, who has been convicted of aggressive bullying in his attempts to silence Corbyn supporters, was nonetheless seen as a suitable person to be invited on to the BBC to criticize Corbyn as a racist. The blog of another Jewish anti-Corbyn activist with an EDL past became the source of several anti-Corbyn stories that the establishment media eagerly turned into front-page stories.
• The Labour Files unearths video footage of Dan Fox, a former director of Labour Friends of Israel, which represents a third of Labour MPs, attending a small private meeting at the home of Sharon Klaff, an active Jewish EDL supporter. He is seen referring to her as “an old friend” as others at the meeting express opposition to Labour’s Sadiq Khan becoming mayor of London because he is a Muslim. Fox is the partner of prominent anti-Corbyn MP Stella Creasy.
• The entire membership of the pro-Corbyn Wallasey constituency party, in Merseyside, was suspended for more than a year by Labour HQ on the basis of a dossier compiled by an anti-Corbyn local councillor, Paul Stuart, claiming that 17 people at a constituency meeting had overheard horrifying homophobic abuse of its anti-Corbyn MP, Angela Eagle. These claims received widespread and supportive media coverage. Leaked documents reveal that, in fact, the only evidence supplied by Stuart were claims made by four of his relatives. Stuart also manufactured evidence against the head of the constituency party to get him removed. He further claimed to have found a strategy note circulating in Wallasey proving that the pro-Corbyn Momentum group was plotting a hostile takeover of the Labour Party through “Trotskyite entryism” – a tactic ascribed to the far-left Militancy Tendency back in the 1980s. The media widely reported the document as proof of the nefarious practices of the Corbyn left. In fact, the alleged Momentum document had been copied verbatim from an old book review on the Militant Tendency.
• One of the anti-Corbyn Labour activists whose name keeps appearing is Luke Stanger. He hounded a prospective Labour parliamentary candidate, Pamela Fitzpatrick, with accusations of antisemitism and Holocaust denial after her Harrow East constituency voted to affiliate with the pro-Corbyn Jewish Voice for Labour rather than the anti-Corbyn Jewish Labour Movement. Other Labour activists in Brighton and Hove found Stanger regularly writing threatening and abusive messages accusing them of antisemitism.
• Despite being suspended pending investigation by Labour HQ for his bullying and threats, often against women and Jews, he found protection from the Labour right. He remained on the campaign team for Hove’s anti-Corbyn MP, Peter Kyle. His response to the disputes unit was secretly written by Luke Akehurst, who sits on Labour’s governing body, the NEC, and is also the director of the lobby group, We Believe in Israel. Stanger was represented by one of London’s most prestigious and expensive law firms, Mischon de Reya. Some 14 right-wing Labour MPs rallied to his defense, writing character references, including the current shadow justice minister, Steve Reed. And John Stolliday, the former head of the governance and legal unit, offered his support. When Labour’s top disciplinary body eventually voted to expel Stanger, the expulsion was never carried out.
• The very same senior Labour staff who claimed to be deeply concerned about institutional racism towards Jews in the party under Corbyn are shown in the leaked files to be regularly sharing private messages that express the most ugly racism towards black party members and MPs. Under Starmer, this racism appears to have intensified. Labour head office has colluded in concealing law-breaking, covert surveillance and data collection of Asian party members, as a prelude to suspending the entire London constituency of Newham, apparently because it is heavily dominated by the local ethnic minority community. And ethnic minority staff in Labour head office who have raised complaints about these actions have been dismissed from their jobs.
The question that keeps surfacing as Al Jazeera documents this and much, much more about the endless smear campaigns is how has it been left to a Qatari TV network to bring these revelations to public attention? How has none of this been visible on the British media’s radar for the past seven years?
The answer is highlighted by the complete lack of coverage of Al Jazeera’s latest revelations. The British media has not just failed to report on what should have been staring them in the face over five years of Corbyn’s tenure as leader and the past two years of Labour’s purges, under Starmer, it has also refused to report on, or investigate further, the evidence when it has been handed to them on a plate by Al Jazeera, now and back in 2017.
In recent days, media outlets have turned a blind eye to evidence of malpractice, rule-breaking and fraud by Labour Party staff, just as five years ago they turned a blind eye to the role of Masot in subverting the Labour Party and to the evidence of his close ties to groups like the JLM.
And that is for a very obvious reason. The entire British media willfully colluded in those smear operations, precisely because they feared Corbyn, and what he represents, as much as the Labour right and the rest of the establishment did.
Which BBC program will acknowledge Al Jazeera’s revelations, let alone pursue them further, when the BBC’s flagship news investigation program, Panorama, is deeply implicated in the very smears Al Jazeera exposed. The BBC would in effect be investigating its own malpractice.
And similarly for the Guardian. To investigate the leaked documents would convict the paper – traditionally seen by many Labour voters as their house journal – of colluding in a bogus antisemitism narrative against the Labour left that it played a central role in building. The Guardian would expose itself not as it wishes to be seen – as a fearless, independent newspaper confronting the British establishment with uncomfortable truths – but as a key pillar of that very establishment.
The reality is that no one with a major platform in Britain wishes to stand up for a genuinely popular or pluralistic politics. The system is as rigged as it looks. Labour’s democratic processes can be sabotaged, the wishes of its members subverted, the rule book torn up, and the only significant voice that will be raised is a Gulf-owned website – one that can be dismissed, however much evidence it marshals and however many experts and witnesses it cites, as axe-grinding or antisemitic.
Which is why there will be little to no pressure on the BBC or the Guardian to dig deeper into a story with huge ramifications for the future of Britain. And Keir Starmer will continue to go unchallenged as he falsely claims – in a party that now requires its members to sing an anthem glorifying the rule of kings – that Labour is a vibrant, democratic party.
Feature photo | Illustration by MintPress News
Jonathan Cook is a MintPress contributor. Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books are Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East (Pluto Press) and Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair (Zed Books). His website is www.jonathan-cook.net.