The Daily Mail invoked an age-old antisemitic smear about disloyal Jews

The Ralph Miliband affair has shamed the Daily Mail, it must not be allowed to further pollute our politics.

John Mann is Labour MP for Bassetlaw and chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism

‘Antisemitism can seem a subtle, elusive business. Calling it out can feel too much like hard work, often prompting a torrent of abuse as hurtful as the original offence. But it has to be named for what it is – and not only by Jewish writers like me. History could not be clearer on this last point. Antisemitism may start with the Jews – but it rarely ends with the Jews.’

The brilliant Guardian op-ed by Jonathan Freedland ends with the above words.

This week, in attacking Ralph Miliband, the Daily Mail invoked an age-old antisemitic smear about disloyal Jews. Whatever their intention, we need to be outspoken in our intolerance of this kind of offensiveness.

The accusation that Jews have dual loyalties is not new. In 1884 Alfred Dreyfus, a French Jew whom like Miliband served his country, was put on trial and convicted for treason. Eventually exonerated, the affair divided France and inspired the political Zionist movement.

Accusations of dual loyalty also feature heavily in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the discredited antisemitic myth which was used extensively by the Nazis.

More recently at home, we had the former ambassador to Libya, Sir Oliver Miles, questioning the propriety of having Sir Lawrence Freedman and Sir Martin Gilbert sit on the Iraq war inquiry panel because of their Jewish heritage and ‘Zionism’. Within our Party, Paul Flynn questioned  Matthew Gould’s ability to represent Britain to Israel because he is Jewish.

Abroad, the accusation of dual loyalty has also taken root, in political parties in Poland, Lithuania and Latvia. A document referred to as the Prague Declaration was in recent years working its way through email accounts at the European Parliament. The document used legitimate concerns about communist regimes as a cover for the re-writing of history books to draw equivalence between Soviet Communism and Nazi Fascism.

The perverse outcome of this and the related accusation of Jewish complicity in Soviet rule led, in Lithuania, to three Holocaust survivors being subject to state investigations for alleged ‘war crimes’. This narrative was imported into this country by, among others, Lee John Barnes of the BNP, whom in his blog depicted the Holocaust as a defensive action against ‘Jewish Bolsheviks’.

The impact of the Mail attack has consequences in countries like Lithuania, where Rachel Margolis, a 91 year old partisan war hero, is now vilified by some in high authority for being a Communist. The attacks, on her and Leonardis Donskis, an MEP, are unambiguous: “Jews are Communists and Communists are evil; when we helped the Nazis we were fighting evil Communists; oh, and by the way anyone who speaks Russian cannot be a patriot and look, the [tiny and elderly] Jewish population in Lithuania speaks Russian. Therefore we cannot trust the Jews”.

It is an industrial rewriting of history in Eastern Europe to excuse mass murders carried out on behalf of the Nazis.

The Mail vilification of Ralph Miliband has consequences beyond his family and beyond Britain.

As chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) against Antisemitism, I challenge any hint of any antisemitic imagery being used in my own party. That is why I raised at the highest levels in the party and publically, including at the 2009 London international Conference on Antisemitism, my concerns about the depiction of Michael Howard as Fagin in national Labour Party 2005 election posters. It is not a populist move to criticise your own Party and its election material.

I am pleased to say that when Paul Flynn made the dual loyalty accusation against Matthew Gould, Ed Miliband acted decisively and Flynn subsequently apologised.

So too, when Tory politician Andrew Turner accused Israel of using Nazi tactics in Westminster Hall, David Cameron rightly forced him to apologise; when David Ward was abusive about the Jewish community, he was disciplined by Nick Clegg.

This is in keeping with the London Declaration on Antisemitism that the political leaders have signed which states that: “Parliamentarians should speak out against antisemitism and discrimination directed against any minority, and guard against equivocation, hesitation and justification in the face of expressions of hatred”.

Whether these individuals maintain their innocence or not, the parties were not prepared to allow any perception that the line had been breached. This is what is needed now by Lord Rothermere with the Mail. Their headline stating that Ralph Miliband ‘hated Britain’ was an editorial choice and their failure to apologise is an equal miscalculation.

The motivations of the Mail are uncertain. The antisemitic trope might have been calculated or unintentional. Whatever its provenance, I certainly hope there was no political impetus behind this. It would be easy for Linton Crosby or his Labour and Lib Dem equivalents to set up ad agencies or others to do the parties’ dirty work. We must never tolerate anyone in any party using the racial or religious characteristics of the candidates to win seats.

I will continue to challenge those seeking to do so, regardless of how unpopular that might be. On 29 October, an All-Party Inquiry into Electoral Conduct that I commissioned will publish its findings. We need clear Party agreement on future behaviour.

The Ralph Miliband affair has shamed the Daily Mail, it must not be allowed to further pollute our politics.

44 Responses to “The Daily Mail invoked an age-old antisemitic smear about disloyal Jews”

  1. Martin Jennerson

    Pathetic rubbish. The idea that British Marxists should be spared accusations of a lack of patriotism is a complete joke. And as if the left don’t deserve accusations of disloyalty, and as if there isn’t purpose in leveling them, after the last 15 years in which Labour purposefully opened our borders to dilute our sense of self – balkanising the country in the process – and gave away 500k units of social housing to migrants. Those houses should have been for our own needy. Take a long look at yourself.

  2. royswales

    Another bigoted right wing nutcase speaks – really I am sick and tired of being told what values I should hold as a citizen of Great Britain

  3. Martin Jennerson

    Yes so demanding isn’t it, that old “you shouldn’t give away social housing to foreigners so that your own don’t have anywhere to live”. Such an imposition on poor old you, and you’re right to support completely messing up the country. Diddums.

  4. OldLb

    How many times do you hear the left criticise Cameron about the choices of his parents over his schooling, and not a peep about that?

    ie. Attack the parents.

    Now people point out that Adolphe Milliband, Millibands father was anti british (true statement) and the left is jumping around.

    Hypocritical shits spring to mind.

  5. OldLb

    So why didn’t Labour put migration in a manifesto as a promise? Then everyone could make an informed choice. Even better, offer a referenda.

    Ah yes, I can guess. You don’t want people to have the vote on a policy, in case it turns out you are in a minority.

  6. blarg1987

    Where does it say in Ralph Milibands works “I hate Britian”? You maybe right that inderviduals on the elft criticised the the parental choice of inderviduals but that is probabaly an inderviduals view.
    You did not get newspapers or large following websites say for example parents of pliticians hate our contry etc.

    The underlying point is the hippocracy of the Daily Mail, it says our views are based on that of our parents, that is not necessarily true, and the Daily Mial should perhaps print whe political and social views of all the parents of its writers and editors after all it is an organisation that has a very large readership and can influence public opinion.

  7. Philip

    To say that Ralph Miliband ‘hated Britain’ or was ‘anti-British’ is not a true statement, it is a lie concocted from the barest shred of evidence and completely contradicted by pretty much everyone who knew the man, left and right, Marxist and Tory (even former Tory ministers spoke out in his defence).

    To say that David Cameron’s parents were rich and sent him to a very expensive, elite school is not a lie, it is a fact that is not disputed by anyone.

    Noting who Cameron’s parents are and where he went to school isn’t an attack intended to dehumanise any of them or make them out to be outsiders or foreigners – the attack on Ralph Miliband was, on the contrary, was intended to do precisely these things.

    Do you see the difference?

  8. OldLb

    Adolphe Milliband wanted the UK to lose the war in the Falklands, started by the Argentines invading.

    The view that Cameron isn’t fit to be PM because of his parents choice is widespread.That’s identical to the Mails approach to Adolphe. No difference.

    Both views are trying to tar the child with the opinions of the parent.

  9. OldLb

    There is no difference. It’s about tarring the child with the opinions and positions of the parent.

    Adolphe Milliband (his given name, not the revisionist one), did hate the UK. Take his position over the falklands war.

  10. blarg1987

    Can you refer to a newspaper article that has said that in reference to Cameron and his parents views.

    Ralph milibands views are his own and have no relation to Ed Miliband, also I am sure there are other countries you wosh to live in as do I do and I accept there are some things I do disagree with that those countries do and dislike but that does not mean I hate that country.

  11. OldLb

    Why go as far as newspapers?

    We can stay on this blog.

    http://www.leftfootforward.org/2010/02/camerons-popularity-slips-as-browns-rises/

  12. Duckman

    Not only is the Daily Muck being anti-Semitic, it is also being highly hypocritical because they say that some marxist hated Britain and yet they backed Fascism, Nazism and Mosley’s Blackshirts. What blatant hypocrisy

  13. blarg1987

    Where does it reference his parents in that article? It does not the crticism is levelled at David Cameron himslef only, not his family.

    That is different compared to the Daily Mail Article which was about Ed Millibands father, who was not in the policitical domain.

  14. blarg1987

    Add to that their former owner is now live as a tax exile in France, and the financial structure is set up to pay taxes through Bermuda nice to know the DM are pro british in all aspects :).

  15. OldLb

    It’s about Eton. That was Cameron’s parent’s decision. Not Camerons.

    It’s all about going after that.

    Just as if a Tory said that a particular MP was unfit to rule because they went to a bog standard comprehensive.

    Just the same. Tar the child for the decision of the parents.

    An example from this blog of the left doing exactly what the mail did, but the left doesn’t like it when its dished out the other way, and that’s hypocritical.

    At least we were saved from the evil world of Adolphe Milliband, unlike the poor sods on the other side of the iron curtain.

    Just how many did Stalin kill in the name of Marxism?

    You should be more careful, they may well find out what his grandfather was up to.

  16. Cole

    Well, he fought for Britain in the second world war. The Mail’s owner wrote articles supporting Hitler and the Blackshirts. I think it’s obvious who hated Britain.

  17. Cole

    Well, he fought for Britain in the second world war. The Mail’s owner wrote articles supporting Hitler and the Blackshirts. I think it’s obvious who hated Britain.

  18. Cole

    Well, he fought for Britain in the second world war. The Mail’s owner wrote articles supporting Hitler and the Blackshirts. I think it’s obvious who hated Britain.

  19. Cole

    George Orwell said conservatism was the opposite of patriotism.

  20. Cole

    Why didn’t the Tories put NHS privatisation in their manifesto?

  21. Cole

    The Mail has a long history of anti-semitism going back at least to the 30s. Indeed, Goebbels noted in his diary how anti-Jewish Mail owner Lord Rothermere was. One wonders if they’ve really changed.

  22. Coke

    What was his grandfather upto then? Tell us.

  23. blarg1987

    No the article was about Conservative falls in the polls.

    The quirp at the end was mayber he should go back to Eton, implying not his parents choice to send him to Eton is bad etc but they feel maybe he should not be in politics, which is different.

    There again any person can read any article and interprupt it differently that is the diverse nature of us.

    And as you said Stalin killed people in the name of Marxism but he was not a Marxist just as many things have been highjacked by other groups such as the St Georges Flag etc.

    And whos Grandfather are we talking about here?

  24. Alec

    He called himself Ralph. Taken in isolation, your stating the name sewn on his vest could be a stilted but innocent quirk… seen in the glow of rest of your unpleasantness it comes across as, well. inherently racist. To remind the immigrant that he never ever will truly belong.

    Different in expression not in intent from the “Barack Hussein Obama” sneer.

    Aged 17, he said something about detesting the social institutions and political elite. If you believe that this is a hallmark of dangerous subversion, say so and we will peg you as a horrendous old reactionary who thinks the same about non-conformist churches (or atheists) or republicanism or anything that doesn’t come straight out of a Miss Marple story.

    ~alec

  25. Alec

    I don’t think the original article was well-formed enough to have been linking his rootless cosmopolitanism to his Jewish background. The DM is fairly liberal in seeking out rootless cosmopolitans regardless of racial background or creed (look at how desperately Mehdi Hasan tried to get a column).

    It was the subsequent editorial which spoke of “the jealous God of Deuteronomy” visiting the sins of the father onto the son which tipped it over the edge with the classical motif of Judaism being a vengeful religion, unlike Christianity which has excelled itself in charity and tolerance.

    ~alec

  26. OldLb

    He wanted Britain to lose the Argentine war.

    That is anti-British.

    Just a misguided idiot who supported one of the largest mass killers in the world – Adolphe that is.

    Milliband’s Grandfather was a far worse example of scum.

  27. OldLb

    Because they aren’t.

    They should. The NHS needs splitting up. The 40,000 avoidable deaths issue is a direct result of its structure.

    When you combine insurer, supplier and regulator, the patients get killed.

  28. OldLb

    There is no racism. Nice try on your part to tar the messenger.

    The problem with Adolphe Milliband is his thinking. He thought that Stalin and his policies was the solution. Given that Stalin was one of the worlds largest mass murderers, we have to question Adolphe.

    However, you are missing my main point. Namely the left like yourself will attack me for pointing out Adophle’s support for the scum of the earth. You’ll do this because you think that junior will be tarred as a consequence.

    However, when Cameron is attacked for going to Eton, a choice of his parents, you remain quite or go into yeah, lets attach him.

    Both the mail and the left have attacked people for choices of their parents, but you keep quite or make a noise when its to your favour.

    Hypocritcal scum springs to mind when people do that.

  29. Alec

    Of course it’s racist, you strange and unpleasant – not to mention dim – little man. He called himself Ralph, yet you’re repeatedly referring to him (and only him) by his full birthname to remind us all he wasn’t really British.

    I haven’t mentioned Cameron or his schooling. You’re constructing your own fantasies. And, even then, so what? You appear pathologically incapable – here and every bloody time I encounter you – of addressing the subject in hand instead of changing the subject.

    You might think we’re credulous enough to be taken in by your sophistry, but we’re not. We find it pathetic.

    ~alec

  30. Freddy

    What about when people call George Osborne Gideon ? such as this daily newspaper
    http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/brian-reade-george-osborne-would-2333408

  31. Freddy

    I thought he was talking about the English, and saying the things he said at 17 is a very good reason not to lower the voting age like his boy Edward would like to do.

  32. Alec

    I think it’s deeply, deeply twattish although I can’t quite see the Jewish link (perhaps because I don’t see Gideon as a Jewish name).

    Likewise, I thought the original article deeply, deeply twattish rather than antisemitic.

    It wasn’t under the “jealous god of Deuteronomy” that klaxons went off. In Osborne’s case, the equivalent might be speaking of him and Nathan Rothschild in the same breath. See also OldLb’s racist garbage about immigrants’ even changing their name being “rebranding

    ~alec

  33. Fritz Wunderlich

    Freedland`s piece ‘brillant’? Published by The Guardian, notorious for advertising anti-Israel poropaganda, with a lot of coded Antisemitism? You must be joking.

    Maybe it is unknown to British public, but Marr, the inventor of the term Antisemitism, was a leftist, like many German Antisemites. Wagner f.e. started out as left revolutionary. Some of the uprisings in the Holy Roman Empire of 1848 were tainted by anti-Jewish connotations.

    Mentioning that is obviously still a taboo at the left, especially the German left.

    So let`s turn to Labour`s leader. The piece of the Mail definetely is a vile personal attack using a lot of prejudices and resentments, including Antisemitism, but Antisemitism is not the dominant issue, only one of the contributions to the attack on Miliband.

    Understandingly the defenders pick out Antisemitism, as the other used resentments and prejudices are far too tricky and can backfire.

    And what is the stance of Miliband on Antisemitism and its newest symptom, Antizionism?

    And what about the support of the Antisemite Livingstone by Milliband? Must it get personal that Miliband understands allying with Antisemites don`t protect against Antisemitsm?

    A lesson a lot of the complete idiots of Jewish origin who support BDS or PSC still have to learn.

  34. henrytinsley

    Of course they are. Everything is being put out to tender.

  35. henrytinsley

    Typically tasteless and nasty ploy referring to Miliband as ‘Adolphe’, especially when around 40 of the family were murdered by the Nazis.

  36. Stephen Wigmore

    There’s no need to look for monsters under the bed.

    Traditionalist conservative tabloid hates communists. Hardly needs further analysis.

  37. Cole

    Lots of of people opposed the Falklands War, or indeed the invasion of Iraq. That doesn’t mean they ‘hate Britain’. Unlike World War 2, neither of these were wars to prevent us being invaded by another country run by thugs and murderers.

    Of course in 1940 many right wingers wanted to do a deal with Hitler. Fortunately this was stopped by Labour, the Liberals and the patriotic Tories around Churchill.

  38. Return of the King

    This propaganda piece fails to mention that Ralph Miliband was indeed a Jewish Marxist who made statements to the effect that he almost wished Britain lost World War II because the people were too patriotic, as well as wanting Britain to lose the Falklands War to the military dictatorship in Argentina. Fact, fact, fact. The shabbas goy who sucks up to Jews because he thinks it will help him attain wealth and power, a la John Mann MP or the Italian pornographer Emile Zola, is an age old practice, too. Instead of sucking up to Jews in the hope that they will make you wealthy, Mr. Mann, your energy would be far better spent serving the interests of your English constitutents.

  39. Return of the King

    Mosley loved the British people. Ralph Miliband was an anti-gentile Jewish Communist, who supported that movement because he thought it would help his race attain complete power over the world. Ralph Miliband didn’t love working-class British people at all. Jewish Communists only hoped to use the working-class as pawns… nowadays they’ve moved on to immigrants, feminists and homosexuals instead.

  40. Alec

    What else do you expect from a rancid racist reactionary?

    ~alec

  41. uglyfatbloke

    He was n’t anti-British, but he did loathe English nationalism – that’s not the same thing at all.

  42. What is Truth?

    ”Age old anti something-ist smear”
    Why is something necessarily invalid, because it is old? Is this part of the extreme radical left’s contempt for all traditions, an extension of their language-control program (P.C) or merely a mix of both? If what the author is implying is that because virtually all Europeans in history have hated Jews with much vigour, that means that the Jews must necasarrily have acted with righteousness and honour and that the Europeans must have been ”hating on them” for NO reason at all.. The Jews have been expelled from England, Italy, Germany… many times before we reached the modern age… what caused this outrage?

  43. Lamia

    Mr Mann, you refer to challenging two (TWO!) instances of possible antisemitism in the Labour Party and then move on to discussing the Tories. But Labour is in a league of its own here.

    Wherefore Martin ‘Long tentacles of Israel reaching into British politics’ Linton? Lord ‘Jewish friends pressured the courts to convict me’ Ahmed? Gerald ‘Here come the Jews’ Kaufman? Or genocidal Hamas fans Jeremy Corbyn and Sadiq Khan?

    Ken ‘Jews don’t vote Labour because they are wealthy, and Qaradawi’s website was hacked by zionists in order to make it look like he had made homophobic remarks’ Livingstone? You might not have heard of Mr Livingstone, but he was Mayor of London (a small town in the South East of England).

    Your party stinks of this stuff. For it to turn around and accuse the Mail, on no evidence whatsoever when it ignores the most blatant use of anti-Jewish language and tropes suggests not just hypocrisy but desperation.

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