If there is one lesson Corbyn must learn it is that you cannot appease Zionists or Racists
Why the IHRA removes Palestinian from history - again
I cannot vouch for the accuracy of this report in today's Times but if it is true then the behaviour of the majority of the NEC yesterday was shameful. This is particularly true of Lansman because in his article Labour’s antisemitism code is the gold standard for political parties Lansman wrote defending the notion that people should be able to criticise Israel as a racist state without being accused of antisemitism. Lansman wrote:
The only part of the IHRA working examples that is not explicitly referenced relates to claims about the state of Israel being a racist endeavour (this is a subset of an example, not a standalone one). Of all the elements in the IHRA examples, this is the one that runs the greatest risk of prohibiting legitimate criticism of Israel. It cannot possibly be antisemitic to point out that some of the key policies of the Israeli state, observed since its founding days, have an effect that discriminates on the basis of race and ethnicity....
If legitimate criticism of Israel were to be curbed, that would infringe on the rights of other oppressed groups, who have suffered at the hands of discriminatory Israeli state policies. The Palestinians have experienced decades of occupation, gross human rights violations, and war crimes. The Bedouins have had their homes destroyed, the latest example being the demolition of Khan al-Ahmar. And ethnic minorities within Israel have been treated appallingly, such as the Sudanese and Eritrean refugees who have been detained and deported, and questions over the treatment of Ethiopian women, including allegations they were given birth control without their consent.
I’ve just been in Israel, where I met people from all different backgrounds, organisations and political persuasions. Those I met, Jewish as well as Palestinian citizens of Israel, spoke about racist state policies, not just in relation to the occupation and settlements, but also within Israel itself – the segregation of housing, education, employment, and systematic economic disadvantage. The Palestinian minority within Israel is as entitled as Jews in Britain to define the discrimination they have experienced as racism. Such criticisms cannot, and must not, be silenced.
It cannot be right that one vaguely worded subset of one IHRA example can deny other oppressed groups their right to speak about their own oppression. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t contexts in which claims about Israel being a racist endeavour are antisemitic or made with antisemitic intent. But the IHRA’s wording is not sufficiently clear. Labour’s code of conduct provides the necessary explanation to ensure that legitimate criticism of Israeli policies is not silenced, while not tolerating comments which deny Jewish people the right to self-determination or hold Israel to unfair standards not expected of other states.
To now refuse to have supported Corbyn's mild statement when he agreed with it in order to appease the Zionist lobby is truly shameful. And the same goes for all other members of the NEC.
It is clear that given the failure of Lansman to back up his own words and the failure of the Left on the NEC to stick by their principles that we have to campaign around the principle that 'Israel is a racist state.'
The decision of Labour’s National Executive Committee to back the full IHRA definition of anti-Semitism, a document whose only purpose is to conflate anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, is a gift to the Zionists and the Right in party. It is another example of the political confusion at the heart of the Corbyn project and the treacherous role of Momentum's Chair Jon Lansman who lobbied for the adoption of the IHRA.
Noone has yet explained why there is a need for a 500+ word definition of 'antisemitism' when the Oxford English dictionary definition - 'hostility to or prejudice against Jews' consists of just 6 words. Why should a definition described as 'bewilderingly perplexing' by Professor David Feldman an expert in Antisemitism be adopted? Why does support for Israel have anything to do with anti-semitism?
The IHRA has been slammed by Hugh Tomlinson QC, Geoffrey Robertson QC, Professor David Feldman and SirStephen Sedley amongst others, yet despite these criticisms, the NEC took its decision today to adopt the whole of the IHRA. A definition of 'antisemitism' that the antisemitic Prime Minister of Hungary, Viktor Orban, and the antisemitic government of Poland have no difficulty accepting.
In do doing the NEC flew in the face of all evidence. For wholly unprincipled reasons – they thought they could buy off their Zionist detractors. In the years ahead they will learn just how wrong they were. The more you pay a blackmailer the higher the ransom.
There is no doubt that this whole anti-Semitism farrago of nonsense has been state directed and driven by the needs of British foreign policy. Jews are the alibi not the cause. The fears, which have been deliberately stoked, of British Jews, are being used as a political prop in the war against Corbyn.
|Paul Besser with Paul Golding, Britain First Fuhrer holding a cross. Despite being a member of a holocaust denial group Besser is happy to join a group of Zionists protesting about 'antisemitism'|
|Paul Besser with his friend Jayda Fransen, Deputy Fuhrer of Britain First - a loyal Zionist|
|Harry Markham in hat leaning on the barriers accuses us of racism whilst demonstrating with members of different fascist groups - Besser in the blue cap|
|The Zionist counter-demonstration - The person in the blue baseball cap is Paul Besser, former Intelligence Officer for Britain First, a neo-Nazi group|
Anti-Semitism was the weapon that the Right chose to wield. It is ostensibly an appeal to people who are progressive. Of course they could have chosen to attack Corbyn for his opposition to the bedroom tax or cuts in the NHS but I suspect they would not have achieved the same resonance as fake 'anti-semitism. ‘Anti-Semitism’ makes the Right appear radical.
The decision by the NEC to add a rider saying that their adoption of the IHRA will not impair freedom of speech in the Party is a nonsense when the whole purpose of the IHRA, as even its author Kenneth Stern admits, is to chill free speech.
|This summed up the demonstration - no to the IHRA yes to a Boycott of Israel|
|A group of Orthodox Jews also joined us for the protest|
The IHRA has no reason to exist other than to inhibit free speech and to make people think twice before they open their mouths. That is why the reaction to today’s decision by Labour Friends of Israel’s Director Jennifer Gerber is completely predictable. Gerber claimed that the NEC’s decision was “appalling” ‘ and that the “freedom of expression" clause “totally undermines the other examples the party has supposedly just adopted”.
The Times of Israel quoted LFI as saying that Corbyn ‘totally undermines’ the decision to accept the full definition by including ‘unnecessary’ clarification.
Gerber has a point of course. What is the point of adopting a definition of anti-Semitism which seeks to outlaw free speech on Palestine and Israel if you then say that nothing in that definition will be allowed to infringe on free speech? It is the politics of the madhouse.
|Naomi Wimborne-Iddrissi speaking from Jewish Voice for Labour|
Unfortunately instead of standing up to the supporters of Apartheid Israel and the Zionist movement, Corbyn and Jon Lansman in particular have equivocated throughout and lent credence to the idea that anti-Semitism is a problem in the Labour Party.
Jeremy Corbyn had a very simple choice when these allegations first arose and that was to say two things:
i. That he condemned anti-Semitism and all forms of racism, not least that which is enshrined in the Zionist nature of the Israeli state in the form of Jewish supremacism
ii. That he opposes the weaponisation of anti-Semitism by supporters of Israel. He could have even said that accusations of 'antisemitism' are the standard retort by Israeli apologists to criticism of their state .
|The Zionists really don't understand why free speech on Palestine is necessary - after all support for the Palestinians is automatically 'antisemitic'|
It was only a day ago that we won a great victory. All 9 left candidates were elected to the NEC (if you count Lansman as on the left). Despite the best efforts of Lansman and his aide, Laura Parker, who messaged Momentum members on their famous victory, ‘forgetting’ to mention that Pete Willsman had also been victorious. This victory proves that the Left in the Labour Party remains strong. Yet instead of seeking to shore up the Left Corbyn and his advisers continue to believe that they can appease the Right when experience demonstrates that whatever concession is made they will take it as a sign of weakness.
John McDonnell’s stupid and cowardly statement that Labour should adopt the IHRA in its entirety in order to put the false anti-Semitism campaign to bed beggars belief. It is cowardly because instead of defending Palestinian rights McDonnell chooses to appease the Zionists, the oppressor, and to prioritise the views of racist settlers over their victims.
It is stupid because the Zionists are not going to call off the attacks until Corbyn is gone and if McDonnell thinks they are going to let him slide into power he is very much mistaken. They are already gearing up to demonise him too in terms of what he has said in the past. See for example the Jewish Chronicle article at the end of July. Revealed: John McDonnell signed Early Day Motion welcoming launch of extreme anti-Zionist group
What both McDonnell and Corbyn don’t get is that the aim of the false anti-Semitism campaign is to effect the removal of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader. It has no other purpose. The demand from former Prime Minister, Gordon Brown that the IHRA be adopted in full is part of this campaign. Does anyone seriously think that Brown, who campaigned on the slogan ‘British Jobs 4 British Workers’, the exact same slogan of the BNP and National Front, is seriously concerned with combating any form of racism?
|Margaret Hodge genuinely doesn't understand why there is any need for free speech on Palestine - quite understandable in the circumstances|
This is confirmed by Margaret Hodge. She made it crystal clear that the anti-Semitism campaign would continue as long as Corbyn is leader. What is it that McDonnell or Lansman for that matter don’t get. As the Guardian noted:
‘Margaret Hodge has signalled that Labour MPs critical of Jeremy Corbyn are digging in for a long struggle against his leadership as she suggested that the antisemitism row would only end if he stood aside.
It is time to take a principled stance. Labour’s Anti-Semitism Code of Conduct is not only dead in the water but it is also completely inadequate resting as it does on nearly all the IHRA examples as Brian Klug demontratedf
On a brighter note the joint demonstration today by Jewish Voice for Labour, Labour Against the Witchhunt and the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network was magnificent. Over 400 people turned up to show their opposition to the IHRA and to demonstrate their anger at the false accusations of anti-Semitism. A number of Momentum groups were present as Lansman slunk in without saying a word.
There was a small Zionist counter demonstration of about 10 people. Quite amazingly it consisted entirely of the Zionist fascists that I have documented here, here and here thus proving that Zionism is today moving further and further to the far Right. Prime amongst those in attendance was the former Intelligence Officer for Britain First Paul Besser. Others in attendance like Jonathan Hoffman and Mel Gharia are Tommy Robinson supporters. Despite this these fascists had the cheek to call Labour a fascist party. Hoffman, who isn’t even a Labour Party member is also active in the so-called Labour Against Anti-Semitism.
|Britain First's Paul Bessser giving the V sign at the back and Mad Mel Gharia at the front - her main claim to fame, apart from being an ex-page 3 Sun model is her tongue|
|Gary Benjamin (back left), Paul Besser with camera in blue cap|
|A new group - Fascists Against Antisemitism|
|This is the Zionist counter-demonstration - consisting of members of different fascist groups such as Britain First, Jewish Defence League and Pegida including the notorious Jonathan Hoffman (with megaphone)|
It was good to see so many Momentum banners – Brent, Newham and of course Brighton and Hove. In Brighton we had quite a tussle between Lansman’s supporters and his opponents before we finally secured the right to take the banner.
One difference of opinion that I feared beforehand, between those opposed to Labour’s Anti-Semitism Code of Conduct and those supporting it did not manifest itself on the demonstration. We were all opposed to the IHRA which of course was what the NEC was discussing.
One thing is for certain. The IHRA will not stop the fake anti-Semitism campaign. On the contrary the NEC’s decision will give it renewed strength. That is why we must redouble our efforts to go back to an anti-racist position. Anti-Semitism is not a problem in either the Labour Party or indeed British society. It is Islamapobia, anti-Roma racism and anti-Black racism which should be our key priority. It isn’t Jews who are being deported, it is Black people. It isn’t synagogues which are being firebombed it is mosques. It isn’t Jews who experience police stop and search or deaths in custody. It is about time that the Labour Party, if it means what it says about racism, stops pandering to a small but vocal group of people whose only concern is the State of Israel.
When Labour Friends of Israel say that the free speech addition to the adoption of the IHRA is an ‘unnecesary’ clarification we should respond that far from being unnecessary, free speech is integral to what we believe in and stand for. Free speech may not exist for Palestinians in Israel but we are not going to introduce Israeli ‘democracy’ inside the Labour Party.