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Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Labour MEPs Join With UKIP, the Front National and assorted Racists and Fascists in opposition to ‘Anti-Semitism’

Open Letter to New Labour's Anneliese Dodds MEP Does Europe's Far-Right really opposes racism?

In Israel - relationships between Arabs and Jews are condemned by all Zionist parties
 It's not a good idea to underestimate the stupidity of Labour MEPs and what passes for social democracy these days.  However the decision to support the bogus International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism alongside nearly all of Europe's far-Right parties, marks a new low, even for people like Dodds.

Last Wednesday a motion on Combating Anti-Semitism was tabled at the European Parliament.  Naturally all good men and true are against anti-Semitism and indeed all forms of racism.  That was why Hungary's Jobbik and Greece's neo-Nazi Golden Dawn parties opposed the resolution.
UKIP - like most racists and anti-Semites they support Zionism
However part of this motion, Clause C2, called on Member States and EU Institutions and Agencies to adopt and apply the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism.
Readers of this blog will know that the IHRA is a bogus definition of anti-Semitism whose only purpose is to conflate and confuse anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, [see Bogus Definition of Anti-Semitism Suffers Its First Defeat at the University Colleges Union Conference].

I therefore wrote to the only Labour MEP in the South East, Anneliese Dodds, to ask her not to vote alongside an assortment of reactionaries and racists to ‘oppose’ the Zionist definition of anti-Semitism.
Very kindly, Ms Dodds replied almost immediately.  She didn’t agree with me but, I thought, at least she took the time and trouble to respond.  Imagine my surprise when a friend up north received an identical response from Labour’s North East EU office!  Leaving aside coincidence, it would seem that Ms Dodds in incapable of explaining, in her own words, how she voted last Wednesday. 

Of course I expect no better from a brain dead New Labour MEP however that didn’t deter me from responding to ‘her’ letter.
Empty headed - Anneliese Dodds - New Labour MEP for South-East
Letter to Anneliese Dodds, Labour MEP for the South-East

Dear Anneliese

When I received your email last Sunday, explaining why you were going to vote to support the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism, I was of course disappointed that you didn’t engage with my arguments. However I accepted that there will always be times when socialists, if that is not too strong a word for you, disagree.

You will therefore imagine my surprise when a friend received an identical letter, from Jude and Paul at the North East Labour Office. I realise that brilliant (& stupid) minds work alike, but this was, as I am sure you will agree, a coincidence too far.  It would seem that you are either incapable of or unwilling to defend your decision to vote against deleting Clause C2 of the motion, which included the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism.  I would be interested to know whether it is normal practice for you to rely on a letter written by others when you correspond with your electorate and whether you inform correspondents that the letter is not in fact your own?
The Islamaphobic Danish People's supported the IHRA
You will I am sure understand why I am copying this letter to other people as it demonstrates your lack of integrity and dishonesty in passing a standard letter as your own.  You will I am sure understand why I will pass up your offer to subscribe to your newsletter since it is probably written by someone else anyway.

You state that the EU Parliament resolution on Fighting Antisemitism calls for a working definition of antisemitism.  Why is this a problem? Anti-Semitism is quite a simple concept.  Most people have no problem understanding what anti-Semitism is.  Anti-semitism is hostility or hatred directed against Jews as Jews.  

Dr Brian Klug of Oxford University, an academic expert on anti-Semitism drew up an equally simple definition of anti-Semitism.  In his lecture What Do We Mean When We Say ‘Antisemitsm’? Echoes of shattering glass’ given at the Conference “Antisemitism in Europe Today: the Phenomena, the Conflicts” held on the anniversary of Kristallnacht, at the Jewish Museum, Berlin in 2014, Klug came up with a 20 word definition of anti-Semitism: Anti-Semitism is:

a form of hostility towards Jews as Jews, in which Jews are perceived as something other than what they are  


This is 20 words in total. You say the development of the IHRA definition is a ‘tool to help practitioners and law enforcement officers to identify antisemitic incidents.’   I fail to understand how a ‘definition’ of some 420 words can be of greater use than a simple 20 word definition in helping law enforcement. What are they supposed to do before arresting someone? Write a thesis?

There is one and only one reason why the IHRA is 420 words long and that is because its main purpose is to conflate anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism.  It has nothing to do with anti-Semitism. It is no coincidence that the IHRA definition contains 11 ‘examples’ of anti-Semitism of which 7 are directly concerned with criticism of Israel and/or Zionism.

One such example is ‘Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.’  Hannah Arendt in her book ‘Eichmann in Jerusalem’ drew attention to the fact that Jews and non-Jews cannot marry in Israel.  In Israel, relationships between Jews and Arabs are actively discouraged because in a society based on Jewish racial supremacy, intermarriage threatens the established social and racial order.  Hence was why the Education Ministry banned from the high school syllabus Dorit Rabinyan's book Borderlife, which portrayed a relationship between Arab and Jewish teenagers.  Israel Bans Novel on Arab-Jewish Romance From Schools for 'Threatening Jewish Identity'

Arendt compared this situation to the Nazis' Nuremburg laws.  But according to this idiotic definition of anti-Semitism, the greatest Jewish political philosopher of the 20th century, herself a refugee from Nazi Germany, is anti-Semitic.  There are plenty of other comparisons between Israel and the Nazis prior to 1941, e.g. segregation of education, housing, social amenities etc.

Another, equally fatuous example of ‘anti-Semitism’ is ‘Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel.’  I agree this is terrible but Zionist organisations continually say that Israel is the embodiment of modern Jewish identity.  If that is the case then clearly Jews are responsible for Israel's actions.

In an article for the Telegraph the Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis held that One can no more separate it [Zionism] from Judaism than separate the City of London from Great Britain.’  He is wrong, there is a very clear distinction between the two but is it really the case that the Chief Rabbi of British Jewry is an anti-Semite?  Surely that is a bit strong?

You, or rather your ghost writer also state that the IHRA definition is not legally binding.  Perhaps this is true at the moment, but its adoption by the European Parliament makes it one step nearer to it becoming legally binding.  There is already a clear attempt, along the lines of what has already happened in France, to make Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel illegal.  

If Israel's supporters have their way then the tactics used successfully against Apartheid South Africa will be rendered illegal if used against Apartheid Israel.  What you are doing is supporting a form of McCarthyism in which legitimate free speech and solidarity action is outlawed.

However I forgot the clinching argument in your email. Apparently ‘the definition specifically states that criticism of Israel cannot be regarded as antisemitic.’  One of the problems of having others do your writing and thinking is that you end up putting your trust in spin doctors and other varieties of the common fool. 

If you had bothered to actually read the IHRA definition you would know that it doesn’t say that criticism of Israel cannot be regarded as anti-Semitic.  If that were the case then why does the IHRA give examples of where criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic?  

What the IHRA does say is that ‘criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic.’  In other words you can’t criticise Israel unless you criticise other countries in the same way. 

Or as the Parliamentary Select Committee Report on Anti-Semitism stated
‘Israel is an ally of the UK Government and is generally regarded as a liberal democracy,... It is not antisemitic to hold the Israeli Government to the same standards as other liberal democracies.' [Paras. 23 and 24]

In other words, if you criticise the world's only Apartheid state, a state which defines itself as a Jewish state, a state not of its own citizens but Jews worldwide, then that is according to the IHRA anti-Semitic.  Anyone with an ounce of grey matter will immediately recognise that the IHRA definition has nothing to do with the popular perception of anti-Semitism, i.e. hatred, violence or discrimination against Jews.  Its purpose is to protect Israel, the West’s main ally in the Middle East.

How can criticism of Israel be similar to that against other countries when Israel is unlike any other country?  Perhaps you can name any other country which deliberately sought to engineer the ethnic composition of its population by expelling 80% of the people living there, in this case the Palestinians?  Or a country which has ruled over 3 million residents for 50 years without giving them any civil or political rights and which characterises all opposition as ‘terrorism’?  A state which has two separate legal systems operating in the West Bank – one for non-Jewish Palestinians and another for Jewish settlers.  This is the quintessential definition of Apartheid as even John Kerry all but admitted last year.

The third paragraph of ‘your’ letter is tautological and engages in a circular argument.  You say that ‘The IHRA definition does not ... limit freedom of expression. This is because the definition is not legally binding and because it specifically states that criticism of Israel as such cannot be regarded as antisemitic.’  I have already dispensed with the latter point.  The fact that the definition is not, at the moment, legally binding, does not prevent it from being part of a well funded and well organised attempt to inhibit freedom of speech. 

The rest of your letter is an example of verbal incontinence.  I would suggest that if you are seriously interested in combating anti-Semitism as opposed to acting on behalf of the Israeli Embassy, then you read the article in May’s London Review of Books by Sir Stephen Sedley entitled ‘Defining Anti-Semitism’.  You might then understand exactly what it is you have voted for and why crying wolf over anti-Semitism, is the best way of giving succour and support to genuine anti-Semites.  The article begins:
Shorn of philosophical and political refinements, anti-Semitism is hostility towards Jews as Jews. Where it manifests itself in discriminatory acts or inflammatory speech it is generally illegal, lying beyond the bounds of freedom of speech and of action. By contrast, criticism (and equally defence) of Israel or of Zionism is not only generally lawful: it is affirmatively protected by law. Endeavours to conflate the two by characterising everything other than anodyne criticism of Israel as anti-Semitic are not new. What is new is the adoption by the UK government (and the Labour Party) of a definition of anti-Semitism which endorses the conflation.
You might also want to read the Opinion of Hugh Tomlinson QC re the IHRA where he states:
21.      In my view any public authority which sought to apply the IHRA Definition to decisions concerning the prohibition or sanctioning of activity which was critical of the State or Government of Israel would be acting unlawfully if it did not require such activity also to manifest or incite hatred or intolerance towards Jews.  If an authority applied the IHRA Definition without such a requirement it would be in  breach of  Article 10 of the Convention and would,  therefore,  be acting unlawfully under domestic law in the United Kingdom.
Voting Alongside an Assortment of Racists and Fascists

The breakdown of the vote last Wednesday in support of Clause C2 of the anti-Semitism resolution is very interesting.  

All the members of that well known anti-racist party UKIP voted to support the IHRA.  

The far-Right European and Conservative Reform Group voted by 57-4 to support the IHRA.  This included the racist and anti-Semitic Polish Law and Justice Party.  Perhaps you don’t remember when David Miliband, as Foreign Secretary in 2009 , ‘tore into the Waffen-SS sympathisers in the Latvian party Cameron had also embraced. Is Michal Kaminski fit to lead the Tories in Europe?
Robert Ziles of the Latvian LNNK - loves Israel and loves anti-Semitism

Miliband was referring to Robert Ziles, of the Latvian LNNK, who last Wednesday voted like you to support the IHRA.  Ziles likes to spend a weekend in March paying tribute to Latvian members of the Waffen SS and marching with them.  Ziles too apparently condemns 'anti-Semitism'.

Amongst other supporters of the IHRA were Le Pen’s Europe of Freedom & Direct Democracy Group, which voted by 25-5 to support the IHRA.  All members of the Front National and Herr Strache’s Austrian Freedom Party (formed as a neo-Nazi party) voted to support the IHRA.
Victor Orban's Fidesz hates refugees, loves Hungary's war time Nazi collaborators but supports the IHRA
We should not, of course, forget that other well-known anti-racist party, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s Fidesz, which apart from its enlightened policies when it comes to refugees and asylum seekers smiles benignly on the growing rehabilitation of Admiral Horthy, the ruler of Hungary under the Nazis from March 19th until July 7th when some 437,000 Jews were deported to Auschwitz.  Fidesz has openly tolerated and played along with anti-Semitism in Hungary yet 10 of its MEPs had no hesitation in voting in favour of the IHRA.

Perhaps I could refer you to an article by Randolf Braham, the historian of the Hungarian Holocaust, The Reinterment and Political Rehabilitation of Miklós Horthy

As Donald Trump has demonstrated, White Supremacists like Donald Trump's Strategic Advisor, Steve Bannon and Breitbart News demonstrates, support for Zionism and Israel goes hand in hand with anti-Semitism.  After all if you don't want Jews in your own country why not support their removal to the 'Jewish' state of Israel.  

I guess congratulations are in order for having voted alongside almost all the racists and anti-Semites in the European Parliament in support of a Zionist definition of anti-Semitism. 

Given all these allies that you have made in the fight against ‘anti-Semitism’ have you ever considered forming another parliamentary group, ‘Anti-Semites against ‘anti-Semitism’?  

Yours sincerely,

Tony Greenstein

 Letter from Ms Dodds and others in Defence of Their Vote to Support the IHRA

Sunday 28 May 2017

Dear Tony,

Thank you for your email concerning the European Parliament's Resolution on Fighting Antisemitism. This Resolution is intended to contribute to countering the rise in antisemitic attacks in the EU. It calls for a working definition of antisemitism, promotes the security of Jewish communities, and calls for the appointment of special envoys and all-parliamentary groups on fighting antisemitism.

The Resolution calls for the adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism. This definition is not legally binding and serves as a tool to help practitioners and law enforcement officers to identify antisemitic incidents. The definition specifically states that criticism of Israel cannot be regarded as antisemitic.

We acknowledge concerns regarding freedom of speech and would not accept any attempt to equate antisemitism with criticism of Israel. The IHRA definition does not do this, nor does it limit freedom of expression. This is because the definition is not legally binding and because it specifically states that criticism of Israel as such cannot be regarded as antisemitic. The definition was adopted by the UK Government with the support of the Labour party in December 2016.

Labour MEPs support the European Parliament's resolution as it is an important measure to counter the rise in antisemitic attacks in the EU. Language or behaviour that displays hatred towards Jews is antisemitism, and is as repugnant and unacceptable as any other form of racism. This Resolution condemns this and calls on EU Member States to take further action to actively protect Jewish communities.

Labour MEPs will continue to raise these concerns and monitor the definition in practice.
Thanks again for getting in touch; If you are interested in keeping updated on my work, both here in the South East and in the European Parliament, you can sign-up for my report back e-newsletter here http://www.AnnelieseDoddsMEP.uk/e_newsletter

Yours sincerely

Anneliese Dodds MEP

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