UPDATE: Yes, I added to this post, what you want to fight about it?
This blog has mostly switched to topics around technology and information security. But the point of knowing how to do anything online online is having something to say there. In a previous version of the site, I used to have this “worth repeating” section up in the top corner. It was essentially a a rotating set of quotes using a WordPress plugin. Most of these were just some stylised text and an image, but when the entry on Hajo Meyer came up, I had the above video slapped in, instead. Watch it now. I’ll wait here.
If anything he said is controversial to you, then maybe reflect on why you find it that way. Meyer died in 2014, but in 2010 he had spoke at a Holocaust Memorial Day event hosted here by then obscure backbencher Jeremy Corbyn. Meyer’s talk was along a familiar theme for the Holocaust survivor: “Never Again for Anyone – Auschwitz to Gaza.”
So why are we talking about it in 2018? Well, Corbyn is now head of the Labour party, The Tory-led government is hopping from one disaster to the next and need a distraction; there are entrenched interests inside Labour who’d like to see the party move back to the more comfortable centre right; and some outside the party would like to keep Labour in the role of shadow government for a while longer. People are using Meyer’s message of hope, optimism and justice as an attack vector against Corbyn by implying that Meyer’s words are somehow anti-semetic. It’s all pretty sick. And to do so, they have to omit Meyer’s existence at the event since they negates their arguments.
Standard disclaimer: Yes there are anti-semitic individuals inside Labour, as there are even more in the Conservatives, and yet still more in American political parties. They are shits. Fuck them.
So, on a day when actual true-life well documented racist Tommy Robinson gets a jail sentence tossed out and walks free, it seems that what some people really want to spend their time on is building a case that someone else (Corbyn) is a racist because he invited a Holocaust survivor to talk at a Holocaust memorial event. Keeping up?
In taking down Corbyn, or trying to damage Labour itself, it seems a number of people have no trouble attacking the reputation of a deceased man who survived the worst that history of the 20th century had to offer and let this inform his hope for humanity as opposed to opting for what most of us might do: Hunker down and hate the world.
Meyer was someone who was a direct victim of Nazi atrocities and has witnessed subsequent history through this lens, developing a more comprehensive understanding of what “never again” should mean. There is nothing “anti-semitic” about his message. To suggest otherwise is a form of hate speech itself. If you believe that that Meyer stood for amounted to hate speech, then you suck. Fuck you. Fix yourself.
The first group on the attack is are factions in the press. The main trending headlines of the day are targeted at promoting the concept that Corbyn made these comments himself. This is important. It’s a form of Attack SEO, meant to provoke outrage instead of explaining an event, or even more important, explore exactly why it’s being brought up now.
There are certain things that you can’t talk about, but others can. Certain words or connotations that only some people can use. Rational people know what these are; trolls get in idiosyncratic debates about them; and it’s a certain variety of crass opportunist somewhere a bit further up the sociopathic spectrum than most of us, who try to misappropriate these topics to attack people.
Hajo Meyer could talk about the Holocaust and make allegorical comparisons to the treatment of Palestinians because of his unique, personal experience and his identity as a Jew. It would be pretty out of order, and be shocking to the rest of us for someone like Corbyn to go there. But none of these headlines bothered to say something more honest, such as “Corbyn hosts Auschwitz survivor to reflect on the horrors of the Holocaust and what never again should be about”.
The BBC and most other news failed today to even mention Hajo Meyer’s name while covering this non-story, let alone the context from which he was speaking. Right now, Polly Mackenzie is on Beeb’s #BBCPapers segment actually attributing Hajo’s remakrs directly to Corbyn while the presenter just dully nods, as challenging as a chia pet while the misinformation oozes across homes throughout the country.
The second group of trying to jump on this are the in-fighters in Labour. Example: The MP for Liverpool Riverside, Louise Ellman, quickly jumped on the interview phone tree to express her outrage of the 2010 event. She’s seemed to have forgotten that she was there.
Then there are people who don’t even care about this issue, but want to score a point because they disagree with Corbyn or Momentum or Labour on completely different things. I disagree with Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour on some big areas. It’s got absolutely nothing to offer on Brexit, and no reasonable counter-policy to the present government’s views on Syria, Yemen, Russia, Ukraine and other gripping areas of foreign policy. It avoids confrontation at a self-defeating cost.
If you want your views to carry any weight, you need to apply them consistently. On the issue of Syria, for example, there is a state orchestrated mass-scale atrocity taking place in the country. Outside the country, it’s treated like political football. If you either defend or deny this fact, you’re part of the problem. But some elements on the Left do just this. It’s true in both the U.S. and UK, the left has huge blindspot on foreign policy and when it can’t just focus on anti-imperialism or anti-intervention of the West. And a not a small percentage of the Corbynista Front or the People’s Front of Corbyn are guilty of this. But that has nothing to do with Hajo Meyer or whether somehow Corbyn, who is supporter by several Jewish groups, is somehow an anti-semite. That’s just wrong. And it’s stupid.
It’s interesting that all these groups will ignore the actual diversity of voices on the topic, particularly in Jewish media and organisations. They ignore that Jewish Voice For Peace, Jewish Voice for Labour, and +972 and hope you won’t notice them, either. This, to me, is also an act of hate by omission.
But Corbyn and Labour politics aside, it’s cowardly to try and use the legacy of a human rights advocate like Meyer to try and win cheap political points. Hajo Meyer was a freedom fighter. You be one, too.