Councillor Stuart Porthouse has been suspended by Sunderland Council for alleged anti-semitism.
His crime? Sharing a Facebook post by George Galloway of a interview he did for Sky TV and saying he “had a point”.
Now this poses a few interesting questions. Is stating on a TV interview that Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party are not anti-semitic – anti-semitic?
Can Sky, which broadcasted the interview, be accused of anti-semitism? Can the thousands of people who liked and left positive comments on this Facebook post be anti-semitic too? And finally, can an opinion that Jeremy Corbyn and Labour are not anti-semitic be actually anti-semitic? If so, I fail to see how.
Some of the accusations of anti-semitism have been rather bizarre of late.
Jewish Councillor Jo Bird was suspended for making a pun on ‘due process’, substituting ‘due’ for ‘Jew’.
Strangely it was OK for the Jewish Chronicle to use the same pun for a review of the film Annie Hall.
Labour MP Siobhain McDonagh linked anti capitalism to anti-semitism and Labour MP Chris Williamson, for saying nothing or doing anything that could be construed as anti-semitism was suspended in an hour.
It is true that there is a certain amount of anti-semitism in the Labour Party as it has more than half a million members and reflects society.
However, the numbers prove, anti semitism is a very small problem in Labour – less that 0.01%.
Any anti semitism has been dealt with. MPs and councillors have been expelled and the IHRA definitions were taken up, yet a significant minority are still not happy, claiming Labour is ‘institutionally anti semitic’, which is frankly ludicrous.
There are those with an agenda who are deliberately conflating anti-semitism with strong criticism of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinian people.
Would criticising the regime of Saudi Arabia be construed as Islamophobia? Of course it wouldn’t.
There is of course some cases of real anti-semitism in Labour and these must be stamped out, but there are many more distortions, half truths and downright lies being used to try to bolster the claim that Labour is virulently anti-semitic being spread in an attempt to remove Mr Corbyn and the left from Labour.
These particular accusations are totally false and need to be called out at every opportunity.
Once again, castigation of the Israeli State over its appalling treatment of the Palestinians is not anti-semitism.