Corbyn Should Refuse to Meet Jonathan Arkush and the Board of Deputies as and until they take anti-Semitism seriously!
Corbyn Should Refuse to Meet Jonathan Arkush and the Board of Deputies as and until they take anti-Semitism seriously!
The Demands of Arkush on Corbyn would reduce Labour to little more than prisoner status
Jewdas Debacle the Board of Deputies of British Jews Drop Their ‘Preconditions’
for a Meeting
The most recent wave of false ‘anti-Semitism’ campaigns began with the
thinnest of pretexts. A six year old mural,
long erased, that Luciana Berger MP, a former Director of Labour Friends of
Israel had stumbled upon. It wasn’t even clear that a picture of 6 bankers
playing monopoly on the backs of Black workers was even anti-Semitic. Only 2 of
the 6 bankers were Jewish. Indeed if you associate bankers automatically with Jews
then it is you who are anti-Semitic.
The Zionists ‘anti-racist’ demonstration where the main chant was ‘Corbyn is a racist’
But any pretext will do when needs must.
Berger, who was parachuted into Liverpool Wavertree in what was a nakedly
corrupt selection process, has a history of making false
allegations of anti-Semitism from her student days.
After getting egg on their faces over Jewdas the Board dropped their preconditions for meeting Corbyn
This pretext was however enough to set off an ‘anti-racist’
demonstration organised by the Board of Deputies outside Parliament. Such was their commitment to ‘anti-racism’
that well known anti-racists such as Norman Tebbit of ‘cricket test’ fame
participated. For those who have forgotten perhaps a reminder is due. Tebbit when an MP remarked that ‘”A
large proportion of Britain’s Asian population fail to pass the cricket test. Which side
do they cheer for? It’s an interesting test. Are you still harking back to
where you came from or where you are?” Tebbit was of the view that British Asians
really belonged back in India and Pakistan.
In 1991 Tebbit told Woodrow
Wyatt that ‘”because some of them
insist on sticking to their own culture, like the Muslims in Bradford and so forth, and they are extremely dangerous.”
There were also those well
known anti-racists from the Democratic Unionist Party such as Ian Paisley Jnr.,
who when not calling forth hell-fire and damnation upon Catholics is doing his
best to prevent the scourge of sodomy from infesting Ireland’s green and
pleasant land. In 2007 young Ian was quoted as
saying that ‘”I am pretty repulsed by gay and lesbianism.
I think it is wrong. “I
think that those people harm themselves and – without caring about it – harm
society. That doesn’t mean to say that I hate them. I mean, I hate what they
The heads of the unelected Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Jewish
Leadership Council, Jonathans Arkush and Goldstein wrote
an Open Letter to Corbyn in which they made it crystal clear that the ‘anti-Semitism’
they were talking about was integrally related to anti-Zionism:
and again, Jeremy Corbyn has sided with antisemites rather than Jews. At best,
this derives from the far left’s obsessive hatred of Zionism, Zionists and
Israel. At worst, it suggests a conspiratorial worldview in which mainstream
Jewish communities are believed to be a hostile entity, a class enemy,”
In response to a letter from Corbyn apologising for Labour’s
non-existent anti-Semitism, Arkush and Goldstein presented a set of
preposterous demands which is printed below.
In the letter, which set down a series of preconditions to be fulfilled
even before a meeting took place, Arkush and Goldstein demanded:
Ian Paisley MP, one of the ‘anti-racists’ at the demonstration outside Parliament
appointment of an ombudsman ‘to oversee
performance’ in anti-Semitism disciplinary cases which should report to the
Labour Party, the Board of Deputies and the Jewish Leadership Council.
2. MPs, councillors and other party members should not
share platforms with people who have been suspended or expelled for
antisemitism and if they do then they themselves should be suspended or, in the
case of MPs, should lose the whip.
3. ‘The Party
should circulate the IHRA definition of antisemitism’, the full definition of
the IHRA with all 11 examples, 7 of which relate to comparisons with Israel. So for example anyone denying the right of
the Jewish people to self-determination or saying that Israel is a racist state
is automatically an anti-Semite.
4 The Party will not work ‘through fringe organisations who wish to obstruct the Party’s efforts
to tackle antisemitism’.
If Jeremy Corbyn were to adhere to any or all of these demands he may as
well resign, which is the whole purpose of these demands. The idea that Labour’s disciplinary
process should be subject to an external Ombudsman who reports to the unelected anti-Labour Board and JLC is too absurd for words.
The suggestion that the penalty for sharing platforms with people not to
Arkush’s fancy, even people who are suspended (and therefore presumed to be innocent)
is outrageous. But people who are
expelled are also in many cases innocent, given the kangaroo court structure
that operates in the Labour Party today.
This is an example of McCarthyism nothing more to have a list of people
you can’t even speak with.
The Zionists complain that it is a ‘smear’ to suggest that their concern
over ‘anti-Semitism’ is dictated by their support for Israel. Yet what is one to make of their demand that Corbyn
distribute the ‘full’ International
Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism, even though the
actual IHRA definition is just 39 words.
The actual definition is not only pretty useless but it is, by its own
admission, non-legally binding. It is open-ended,
uncertain in meaning and anything but a definition. It states:
is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews.
Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward
Jewish or non- Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community
institutions and religious facilities.’
The IHRA has
been more than adequately criticised by both Sir Stephen Sedley, a former Court
of Appeal judge in Defining
Anti-Semitism and in an Opinion
by Hugh Tomlinson QC. However the BOD and
the JLC want Corbyn to adopt not only the IHRA definition but the accompanying
11 examples, even though in the original documentation it states quite clearly
that ‘To guide IHRA in its work, the
following examples may serve as illustrations:’ Note the ‘may’. In other words they are not part of the
this worse is the hypocrisy of both these Zionist organisations. Both are unelected by the Jewish community in
Britain. The Board is based on synagogue
membership and Zionist organisations, thus entirely bypassing secular Jewry. The JLC is entirely self-appointed,
previously consisting of Jewish capitalists but now various Jewish community organisations. When they talk of ‘fringe’ organisations they
mean any organisation that is at all radical or anti-racist.
We saw what
they meant last week when Corbyn went to a seder evening with Jewdas. The Jewish Chronicle reported
‘Board of Deputies president
Jonathan Arkush has launched a scathing attack on the controversial Jewdas
group, suggesting they are a “source
of virulent antisemitism” and
claiming that their members “are not all Jewish”.This is a Jewish group which has contributed
significantly more to opposing fascist organisations and racism in its short
history than the Board has done in its nearly 280 years existence.
The Board of
Deputies in the 1930’s told Jews NOT to oppose Sir Oswald Moseley’s British Union
of Fascists and in the late 1970’s refused to work with the Anti-Nazi League in
its fight against the National Front because they held that anti-Zionism was
worse than fascism. This is a group that
now claims it held an anti-racist demonstration with right-wing Tories and
sectarian Ulster Protestants!
It is a
great pity that Corbyn has agreed to meet with these people at all. Their real agenda was made clear in the wake
of the murder last week of 18 Palestinians in Gaza. The Board blamed Hamas for using civilians
and children ‘as pawns’. It had nothing to say about the deliberate
use of live ammunition against unarmed demonstrators. This is just a continuation of its shameful
record concerning Israel. The anti-Semitism
controversy has to be seen in the context of its unflinching support for Israel.
Arkush himself is a prime hypocrite.
When Donald Trump came to power, after having used all sorts of anti-Semitic
hints, ads, dog whistles and allusions to Jewish financial power Arkush welcomed
him and his anti-Semitic advisers – Steve Bannon and Sebastian Gorka. As Dana Milbank wrote
in the Washington Post ‘Anti-Semitism is no longer an undertone
of Trump’s campaign. It’s the melody.’
If Arkush or Goldstein were at all serious
about anti-Semitism they would question the links that the Tories have in the European
Parliament where they are members of the European Conservative and Reformists
group with Poland’s Law and Justice Party and the Latvian For Fatherland and Freedom/LNNK Party.
The Law and Justice Party is not only a far-Right racist
party but many of its members are explicitly anti-Semitic. Ha’aretz reported
that Polands new defence minister Antoni Macierewicz has asserted that the
anti-Semitic Protocols of the Elders of Zion is true. In 2002, Macierewicz told
Radio Maryja, a right-wing Catholic station that he had read the Protocols and,
while they may not be authentic they are
nonetheless true! The Nazi took the Protocols
as their bible and Hitler praised them in Mein Kampf.
In January of this year the Polish parliament passed a Holocaust
law which outlawed any mention of Polish complicity in the Holocaust or Nazi crimes
on pain of a 3 year sentence. Yet it is a fact that in July 1941 villagers in
Jedwabne in the East of Poland herded up to 1600 of their Jewish compatriots
into a barn which they then set on fire.
Two Polish historians, Anna Bikont in the
Crime and the Silence and Jan Tomasz Gross’s Neighbors:
The Destruction of the Jewish Community in Jedwabne, Poland detailed
In 2009 this controversy broke out in this country when
David Miliband criticised
the then Tory Opposition for their links with the leader of the ECR group,
Michal Kaminski. Jonathan Freedland, the Guardian’s liberal Zionist commentator
also got in on the act in an article Once no self-respecting politician
would have gone near people such as Kaminski
What was the
reaction of the Zionists? To jump up and
down about David Cameron’s tolerance of anti-Semitism? Perhaps the Jewish Chronicle had some
particularly pungent articles criticising anti-Semitism in the Tory Party? Not a bit of it. JC editor Stephen Pollard wrote
that ‘Poland’s Kaminski is not an antisemite: he’s a
friend to Jews’. How,
one might ask, was the MP for Jedwabne and the surrounding area (where other
similar pogroms had occurred) and who had been a strong supporter of the Committee
to Defend the Good Name of Jedwabne, a group dedicated to denying the village’s
complicity in what had happened, and who
opposed a national apology for the massacre, a good friend to the Jews?
answer was that Kaminski, although he was a fascist sympathiser, was also ‘one of the greatest friends to the
Jews in a town where antisemitism and a visceral loathing of Israel are rife.’ In other words he was a strong supporter of Israel,
just like Trump and his friends, and that therefore exonerated him. Pollard also defended Latvian MP, Robert Zile,
also in the ECR
group, who every year took part in a demonstration with the veterans of the
Latvian Waffen SS. He too was a strong
supporter of Israel even if he wasn’t too keen on Latvia’s Jews!
Kaminski pays a visit to Yad Vashem which is used to sanitise all visitors to Israel – whatever their pedigree
And what of
the Board of Deputies and JLC? What was
their reaction to Kaminski? Well in
October 2009 Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Ron Prossor, spoke with Kaminski on
the Conservative Friends of Israel [CFI] platform at the Conservative’s annual
conference. When the President of the BOD, Vivian Wineman, wrote to Conservative
leader, David Cameron, querying whether the Tories had checked out Kaminski’s
political record, Is
Michal Kaminski fit to lead the Tories in Europe?
despite this, even today, nine years
later the Conservatives are still members of a European
Conservative & Reformists group in the European Parliament with the
same far-Right Law and Justice Party and For Fatherland and Freedom/LNNK.
have a suggestion to Jeremy Corbyn. He should
refuse to meet with Arkush and company as and until he sees concrete evidence that
they are going to hold their Tory friends to account and insist that they
dissociate themselves from Polish and Latvian anti-Semitic parties. Indeed the composition of the ECR group is so
toxic that they should insist that the Tories pull out altogether.
Thank you for your letter of 26 March, setting out your detailed views
on the problem of antisemitism in the Labour Party.
We are sure you saw the strength of feeling in the mainstream Jewish
community that was expressed in our open letter and in Parliament Square on
Monday. These were unprecedented steps on our part and we hope you understand
the seriousness of such a communal action. It arose from nearly three years of
cumulative anger and despair in the Jewish community at repeated, numerous
cases of antisemitism in the Labour Party and failures to deal with them in a
decisive, swift and public manner. For whatever reasons, you have not, until
now, seemed to grasp how strongly British Jews feel about the situation. Your
letter was a welcome change in this regard, but only if it kick starts strong
actions and leadership against the problem.
Consequently we appreciate your apology for the pain caused by
antisemitism in the Labour Party and for your prior comments regarding the
antisemitic mural; and your acknowledgement that this is not just “a matter of
a few bad apples”, but represents a particular way of thinking. For the situation
to meaningfully improve, rather than keep worsening, this understanding will
require embedding across the Party.
Any meeting between us must produce concrete, practical outcomes to be
implemented by the Party; there is no point in meeting if the situation remains
the same or continues to worsen. In this spirit, and to enable a meeting to
take place, we propose an agenda of actions for discussion:
The Party leadership, and you personally, must be seen and heard to lead
this work. Only your voice can persuade your followers that this a necessary
and correct course of action. If actions need to be passed by the NEC or other
Party bodies, you need to take personal responsibility for ensuring this
Antisemitism disciplinary cases
Outstanding and future cases to be brought to a swift conclusion under a
fixed timescale. An independent, mutually agreed ombudsman should be appointed
to oversee performance, reporting to the Party and to the Board of Deputies and
Jewish Leadership Council.
Relations with suspended members
MPs, councillors and other party members should not share platforms with
people who have been suspended or expelled for antisemitism and CLPs should not
provide them with a platform. Anybody doing so should themselves be suspended
from membership; in the case of MPs, they should lose the party whip.
The Party should circulate the IHRA definition of antisemitism, with all
its examples and clauses, to all members and branches. The Party should work
with mainstream Jewish community organisations to develop and implement
education about antisemitism. This should include a clear list of unacceptable
language, based on the full IHRA definition and on the examples included in
your letter of 26 March.
Public confirmation that the Party will seek to understand and engage
with the Jewish community via its main representative groups, and not through
fringe organisations who wish to obstruct the Party’s efforts to tackle
These changes must be sustained and enduring. There needs to be an
agreed process to monitor the progress and implementation of these actions in
To conclude, your personal pledge to be a “militant opponent” of
antisemitism and to always be our ally are vital statements: the situation
demands it and we would expect nothing less. In this light, there is an urgent
matter that we need you to address. People inside and outside the Jewish
community are repeatedly subjected to abuse and insults for raising the issue
of antisemitism in the Labour Party. This even affects those Labour MPs who
showed their solidarity with the Jewish community on Monday.
This is a disgrace: nobody should be vilified for opposing antisemitism.
Those Labour Party members and Labour-supporting blogs pushing the abuse are
largely doing so in your name.
They need to hear you say, publicly and in your own voice, that we had
every right to protest about antisemitism, and that Labour MPs had every right
to support us; that our concerns about antisemitism are sincere and not a
“smear” as has been widely alleged (including on your own Facebook page); and
that anyone directing abuse, intimidation or threats at those of us who oppose
antisemitism is damaging your efforts to eliminate it and to start rebuilding
trust. We firmly believe that this must happen urgently, and certainly before
we can meet.
We hope this can be the start of a process of constructive anti-racist
work in the Labour Party, one that will help to rebuild the relationship
between the Party and the Jewish community. The Party and the Jewish community
deserve nothing less.
Jonathan Arkush – Board of Deputies president
Jonathan Goldstein – Jewish Leadership Council chair