At first sight the
motion seems innocuous whereas in fact it is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Or maybe a Zionist in an anti-racists’ guise. There are a number of problems
with the motion:
It couples anti-Semitism and Palestine solidarity
together and assumes that there is a linkage.
In fact there is no evidence whatsoever that the Palestine solidarity
movement in Britain has, or ever has had, any connection with anti-Semitism or anti-Semites. The connections with anti-Semitic and holocaust
denial groups have been between the Zionist movement and the English Defence
League and British National Movement. In 2012 Palestine Solidarity Campaign at its annual conference voted to expel a holocaust denier, Frances Clarke-Lowes from National PSC (Brighton PSC had already done so locally) and to make it clear that Paul Eisen’s Deir Yassin Remembered had no place in the Palestine Solidarity Movement.
Jonathan Hoffman – co-vice-Chair of the Zionist Federation alongside Roberta Moore of the Jewish Defence League with the EDL in khaki in the background
Soon after Ali Abunimah and a number of
prominent Palestinians and Arabs, including Omar Barghouti of the Boycott National
Committee and Joseph Massad issued a
clear cut statement dissociating the international Palestine movement from an
ex-Israeli anti-Semite living in London, the jazz player Gilad Atzmon. Palestinian writers, activists disavow racism, anti-Semitism of Gilad Atzmon
Jonathan Hoffman of the Zionist Federation with a friend
The Community Security Trust is a far-right Zionist organisation with close links to Israel’s Mossad
2. The Community Security Trust that the SNP EDM
quotes is an overtly far-right Zionist group, which sees its role as ensuring
that the Jewish community remains free of anti-Zionist influence. It has close links to Israel’s Mossad (MI6) and
keeps copious files on Jewish activists.
Its predecessor the CSO was criticised by Liberty for having barred
5 members of the Jewish Socialists Group from a Jewish communal event solely on
the grounds of their political viewpoint.
As my letter to the signatories of the EDM makes clear the CST play fast and
loose with the definition of what constitutes an anti-Semitic incident.
The EDM claims that the biggest ‘the single
biggest contributing factor [to the doubling in anti-Semitic incidents in the
UK] to have been anti-Semitic reaction to the armed violence between Israel and
Gaza in July 2014.’ If that is true
then it also means that some people in Britain associate Israel’s genocidal attack
on Gaza with Jewish people in Britain.
Why might that be? One reason
could be Israel’s claim to be a Jewish state which acts on behalf of, not only
its own Jewish citizens but Jews worldwide.
Another reason might be the fact that the Board of Deputies repeatedly
comes out with statements and organises demonstrations and pickets, as it did
recently outside t he Palestine Mission in London, supporting Israel’s attacks
on the Palestinians. Anti-Zionist Jews
in Britain took to demonstrating outside the BOD offices in London during
Operation Protective Edge claiming that they don’t speak on behalf of us. Is it any wonder that some misguided people
then hold individual British Jews responsible for what Israel does? That is not the fault of anyone in the Palestine
solidarity movement but the Zionist movement.
The SNP MPs should direct their attention in that direction.
4. The suggestion
that our criticism of the Israeli state and its policies spills over
into ‘group-blame or racist stereotyping’ is simply a lie and we challenge the
SNP MPs to provide one example.
SNP Early Day Motion 652
That this House notes
with concern that the Community Security Trust recorded a doubling of
anti-Semitic incidents across the UK in 2014 to 1,168; further notes that the
pattern of these attacks reveals the single biggest contributing factor to have
been anti-Semitic reaction to the armed violence between Israel and Gaza in
July 2014; condemns all forms of racism and affirms that anti-Semitism has no
place in campaigns of solidarity with Palestinians; calls for the adoption of
all necessary measures to eliminate racism and anti-Semitism, while emphasising
the democratic right to criticise the governments and policies of any and all
states whilst ensuring this avoids spilling over into group-blame or racist
stereotyping; further calls on all sides of the House to combat racism, and for
hon. Members to make clear the distinction between the Jewish community and to
encourage responsible public debate and use of language around enhancing
inter-communal co-operation and education; and calls on the Government to
actively seek a just and stable resolution to the conflict that would bring the
benefits of peace to both the Palestinian and Israeli people.
Open Letter to Signatories of the SNP Early Day
Member of Parliament,
am writing to you because you have signed an Early Day Motion on anti-Semitism
and Palestine solidarity.
one of the original founders of Britain’s Palestine Solidarity Campaign. I am also Jewish. As well as having been an anti-fascist
activist for over 30 years, I have also sought to successfully exclude
anti-Semites such as Paul Eisen and Gilad Atzmon from the Palestine solidarity movement. Mr Eisen was only discovered by the mass
media during Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign this year but I exposed him 8 years ago. [The Seamy Side of Solidarity, Guardian
Comment is Free, 19.2.2007]
it may be well intentioned, the EDM is both misguided and wrong.
The EDM notes the doubling of anti-Semitic
incidents across the UK in 2014, as recorded by the CST. The CST’s statistics are not reliable and
neither is the information they distribute.
October 27th they boasted, regarding the attempt by the Home Office to deport the
leader of Israel’s Northern Islamic League, Raed Salah, that ‘CST
provided evidence of Salah’s inflammatory and antisemitic statements to the
Home Office and we are pleased that this evidence was accepted by the court.’
they didn’t publicise was that the Upper Immigration Tribunal overturned this
decision on appeal.
principal source for the decision to ban him, … was a report compiled by the
CST. Almost a year on, all four charges
against Salah, supporting his deportation, have been thrown out by the vice-president
of the Upper Immigration Tribunal. In his ruling, Mr Justice Ockelton said May
was misled and “under a misapprehension as to the facts”….
CST’s confidential advice to the home secretary was accompanied by a
well-orchestrated and poisonous campaign against Salah in the media, who so
swiftly and conclusively condemned him as a “hate preacher”.
The CST is a far-Right Zionist organisation
bankrolled by Gerald Ronson, a right-wing industrialist. It has a political agenda and is vehemently
anti-Palestinian. When I received two
posts at my blog, one denying the holocaust, the other expressing a desire that
my family and myself had perished at Auschwitz, I filed a complaint. The CST determined
that the former post was anti-Semitic but not the latter – because it was
posted by a Jew (& Zionist).
The EDM ‘affirms
that anti-Semitism has no place in campaigns of solidarity with Palestinians’. This presumes that anti-Semitism has ever had
a place in the Palestine solidarity movement.
This is wholly untrue. Indeed the
main bastion of support for Israel and Zionism lies on the anti-Semitic far-right
of British and European politics. Both
the BNP and EDL are ardent supporters of Israel and its attacks on
Muslims. The EDL has attacked a number
of Palestine events. In Birmingham theyattacked a PSC stall displaying an Israeli flag in one hand and giving Hitler
salutes with the other!
4. The EDM states that ‘violence between Israel and
Gaza’ in July 20014, in fact an unprovoked attack by a military superpower on a
civilian population, when over 550 children died, produced a rise in
anti-Semitic incidents in Britain. The
reasons for this should be obvious.
Israel claims its actions are those of a ‘Jewish’ State and that they
are carried out on behalf of all Jews, not merely its own Jewish citizens. Even worse, the Board of Deputies of British
Jews has repeatedly organised demonstrations and issued statements supporting
the attacks on Gaza.
August 2014 a group of British Jews held a demonstration outside the Board’s
offices ‘BritishJews Against Genocide Protest Outside the Offices of the Board of Deputies of British Jews’ protesting at the fact that the Board
deliberately associates the Jewish community in Britain with Israel’s murderous
attacks on the Palestinians. The Board
of Deputies deliberately makes British Jews targets for those angered by
Israel’s actions. It is not surprising that
some people take the Board at its word and then attack individual Jews.
such attacks have nothing to do with the organised Palestine solidarity
movement and your strictures would be better directed at those who are
primarily responsible for associating British Jews with Israel’s actions. We agree that people should not ‘group blame’
Jews for Israel’s actions, however your words would be better directed at those
As currently worded, the EDM is directed at the
wrong target. In so far as there has
been an increase in anti-Semitic incidents as a result of Israel’s genocidal
and racist behaviour, these are random attacks by individuals who have nothing
to do with the Palestine solidarity movement.
These are the names and email addresses of the SNP and other dupes who have signed this motion. Please contact them to let them know your feelings on the matter