Cameron in his New Year message demanded that if people “walk our streets, learn our schools, benefit from our society, you sign up to our values. Freedom. Tolerance. Responsibility. Loyalty.”
With the government regularly eroding civil liberties, consistently targeting Islamic beliefs, dogwhistling the far-right, and courting murderous dictators from around the world, the call for enlistment to the values of freedom, tolerance and responsibility evidences empty, hypocritical rhetoric; demagogic words to which the elite feel unbound by.
“Loyalty”, is the aspect however, which will be the focus of this series. I want my readers to place in the back of their mind the question, who indeed is Cameron and his neoconservative syndicate “loyal” to?
To answer this, we will begin by analysing Jeremy Corbyn’s predicament.
Those Behind Corbyn’s Predicament
The attacks on Corbyn have been unrelenting, and understandably so. Corbyn represents the undoing of the neoconservative/pro-Israeli grip in both domestic (security/fiscal) and foreign affairs. Just like CAGE and other Muslim organisations have recently come under fire in an orchestrated fashion in the media, Corbyn similarly – being the antithesis of neoconservative elitism – has experienced similar propaganda attacks, if not worse.
Despite Corbyn actually representing what Labour once stood for, he has been shaped by those on the “Left” as merely a “good guy” but not leadership material, whilst the right-wing have been keen to cast him as a fringe element relegated to the “hard” Left.
On the contrary, it is the malignancy which grew out of Tony Blair’s leadership which is at odds with the principles of Labour. Those currently rebelling against Corbyn provide ample evidence of this.
The prodigal son of an anti-war legend Tony Benn, Hilary Benn is now fully supportive of the pro-Israel lobby and its Zionist aims (including the Syrian war – covered in the second part). In November 2015, he addressed a Labour Friends of Israel (LFI) meeting stating,
“Our future relations must be built on cooperation and engagement, not isolation of Israel. We must take on those who seek to delegitimise the state of Israel or question its right to exist.”
His address was reproduced on the pro-Israel lobby group BICOM website. This was days before the Labour Party National Executive Committee voted to boycott security company G4S over its links to Israel. The nail in his credibility coffin was the vocal support from the right-wing.
Other Labour MPs to resign are either pro-war/Trident (Kevan Jones), or connected to the neocon/pro-Israel lobby groups. In 2011, Jonathan Reynolds was the vice chair of LFI and is currently listed as an “officer” on LIF’s website. After Corbyn’s cabinet reshuffle, BBC staff, including Andrew Neil, orchestrated a resignation of the obscure MP Stephen Doughty on a live show, lending substantial political leverage to David Cameron and his surrounding neocons. Doughty is the vice chair of Progress, a “Blairite pressure group” promoting “New Labour” values.
Progress or Neocon Pro-Israel?
Progress was founded in 1995/6 by Peter Mandelson, and his close friend and aid Derek Draper. With its right-leaning positions, it has been described as a “party within a party”. Alison McGovern who has also resigned is, incidentally, the chair of Progress. The organisation has been funded by Jonathan Sainsbury, a veteran ally of Tony Blair and also one of his biggest funders. Between 2001 and 2011 Sainsbury donated £2 million to Progress, and between 2011 and 2013, £390,000 – in the latter case breaking the electoral rules for donations. In 2013, Sainsbury discussed “progressive capitalism” at the neoconservative Policy Exchange. The event was chaired by Daniel Finkelstein – a neocon with links to the fascist hate preacher Douglas Murray and neocon Michael Gove. Jonathan Mendelsohn, who was on the board of the New Israel Fund until 2014, is a former chair of LFI. He too funded Progress and is listed as a board of director for the organisation.
An opinion piece on Corbyn by Mandelson was expected, then. Mandelson recently wrote an opinion piece in which he predictably accused Corbyn of driving the “hard-left” (meaning anti-Blairite/neoconservative and not subservient to pro-Israeli interests). Corbyn is, he writes, exerting “a suffocating grip on our party”. It is certainly ironic, because those familiar with the Blair years will recall that both Mandelson (who has in the past appeared at pro-Israel rallies with the far-right Zionist Benjamin Netanyahu) and Mendelsohn were knee-deep in disconcerting, democracy-undermining scandals.
In a hard-hitting expose by renowned journalist Greg Palast, it was revealed that Mandelson was one of the key architects of a programme to “seize the Labour Party, yank it to the right, and rename it ‘New’ Labour”, suffocating the party of its core principles. Known then as the “Prince of Darkness” and the “power behind the power of the prime minister”, his aide Draper and Mendelsohn were at the heart of the “Lobbygate scandal”. Both were caught boasting about how they could sell access to government ministers and create tax breaks for their clients.
Mendelsohn had succeeded his “close-friend” Michael Abraham Levy as chief-fundraiser in 2007. Levy had already been disgraced in the infamous cash for honours scandal. Moreover, he had bankrolled Blair while channelling to millions to Ehud Barak’s One Nation movement. With this funding came Levy’s strings: a “tacit understanding that Labour would never again, while Blair was leader, be anti-Israel”. His view on Israel and funding is perhaps best captured in a quote from his book. Describing his rise through the charity Joint Israel Appeal, and his eventual contact with politics, he wrote in his autobiography,
“It was also an unexpected introduction to the world of politics. Nominally, leadership in the Jewish community has resided with a communal body modelled on the House of Commons, known as the Board of Deputies, and with the chief Rabbi. But in fact, the key figures have for decades been an array of successful business or political personalities who organised British Jews’ involvement with, and support for, the infant state of Israel. When Arthur Balfour, the then Tory Foreign Secretary, committed Britain in 1917 to the eventual establishment of a Jewish state, significantly he addressed not to the Board of Deputies or the chief rabbi, but to Lord Rothschild.”
No sooner had Mendelsohn taken the reigns, he and another former LFI supporter were at the centre of yet more deceptive and dubious funding practices. After a series of police investigations, charges were conspiciously dropped.
A further point to note is that when Blair came into power, Mandelson was also a member of British American Project, an outfit linked to US neoconservatives (like Iraq war architect Paul Wolfowitz and Norman Podhoretz) which acts as a trojan horse for US influence on security matters. Listed among its members was notorious right-wing neoconservative Charles Moore, former editor of the Telegraph and current head of neoconservative think-tank founded by Michael Gove: Policy Exchange.
And Corbyn’s neocon detractors like Mandelson have the nerve to brand him an outlier “suffocating the party”? Indeed, it is those with dual loyalties and a penchant for cheap Reaganite Republicanism who have not only asphyxiated the Labour party, but have stifled an entire society through their domestic security policies like PREVENT, which have been instituted off the back of illegal, pointless wars. Sentencing Corbyn a threat to their elitism, they are drawn from the closet as a credible voices to architect a breakdown of Labour once more.
The threat which emanates from the pro-Israel lobbies and neoconservatives are not solely contained in Labour. These names, ideas and the foreign loyalties they represent traverse party lines, reverberating across government, and up to the head of state.
Indeed, an examination of Cameron’s “loyalties” is overdue.
 Levy, M., A Question of Honour, New York: Scribner, 2008 p.79