Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Hardly A Positive Sign

Ben Soffa writes:

What would be the response if it were discovered that a senior Shadow Minister was to make a keynote speech at a thinktank whose Associate Director had previously said, “Conditions for Jews in Europe must be made harder across the board“? Quite rightfully, all hell would break loose, the event cancelled, apologies issued and people would say it set the party back. Yet swap ‘Jews’ for ‘Muslims’ in the above and that’s who will be hosting a keynote speech by Shadow Defence Secretary Jim Murphy this Thursday.

Thinktanks obviously debate a range of ideas and host or publish all kinds of thinkers, but this is not the case here. The Henry Jackson Society, who have been chosen to host Jim Murphy’s speech on “A New Model for Intervention” must regard their Associate Directory Douglas Murray as their most high profile staff member and a key driver of their politics. Nor is his shocking quote an aberration from an otherwise mainstream organisation. Murray (author of Neoconservatism: Why We Need It) is very much at home in an organisation whose former European Neighbourhood Section Director has said “No longer is it a centrist, bipartisan think-tank…Instead, it has become an abrasively right-wing forum with an anti-Muslim tinge…[that] panders to a narrow readership of extreme Europhobic British Tories, hardline US Republicans and Israeli Likudniks.”

On the eve of the tenth anniversary of the vast anti-war march, it is a cruel irony that a Labour shadow minister will be hosted by an organisation who still enthusiastically support the neo-con agenda now widely understood to have been a disaster for the Party (and the world). It was the decisive rejection of this approach which has allowed Labour under Ed Miliband to reconnect with many who became estranged from the Party in the aftermath of Iraq. Whilst not knowing what Jim will outline, it is hardly a positive sign that Labour’s policy on protecting human rights the world over will be outlined in a speech to an outfit that champions unilateral approaches and seems to have learned little from the disaster of Iraq.

With the tenth anniversary of the Iraq war looming and the undoubtedly uncomfortable publication of the Chilcot Inquiry expected next year, all of Labour’s frontbench must be clear that there can be no rehabilitation of the politics which led us to some very dark places. Labour needs an outward-looking, engaged foreign policy which appreciates Britain’s place in an increasingly multi-polar world. The neo-cons of the Henry Jackson Society should have no role in it.


  1. Ben Soffa can't imagine why it might be a threat to our liberty to be allowing Islam to grow in strength across Europe.

    Nowhere in the article does Mr Soffa even engage with Murray's perfectly well-supported argument that there is a clash between Muslim values and Western values (which renders his comparison with "Jews" utterly stupid, to any thinking person).

    Mr Soffa won't be sneering when Islam begins gaining political influence. Believe me.

  2. renders his comparison with "Jews" utterly stupid


  3. Since becoming Associate Director of the Henry Jackson Society, Douglas Murray has continued to make statements about the EDL that are (to put it tactfully, given the litigious nature of the gentleman in question) not entirely unambiguously negative.

    See Murray’s statement on the EDL on the video attached to this post (and to which Sunny links above):

    It is indeed inappropriate that Labour’s shadow defence secretary should be hosted by an organisation whose Associate Director has such views of a far-right organisation like the EDL.

  4. Because Judaism is not remotely comparable to Islam, as a threat to our way of life and our freedoms-Judaic values have intertwined perfectly well with our own, through the years.

    Islam, on the other hand, is a whole different ball game-as most observant people will have noticed.

    Nobody intelligent would make the comparison-has Ben Soffa been in a coma for the past 12 years?

  5. Judaism’s unresolved Messianic hope and expectation has issued in all sorts of earthly utopianisms: Freudian, Marxist (and then Trotskyist, and then Shachtmanite), monetarist, Zionist, Straussian, neoconservative by reference to all of these, and so forth.

    They are all expressions of Judaism’s repudiation of Original Sin, Christianity’s great bulwark against the rationally and empirically falsifiable notions of inevitable historical progress and of the perfectibility of human nature in this life alone and by human efforts alone.

    What an uneducated little man you are. If you knew anything about conservatism, the real thing rather than some neoliberal confection unheard of before the 1980s, then you would already know all of this axiomatically.