By Supporting the IHRA Labour’s NEC has chosen to support Racist Zionists over Anti-racist Jews and Palestinians
By Supporting the IHRA Labour’s NEC has chosen to support Racist Zionists over Anti-racist Jews and Palestinians
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
Jonathan Hoffman, ex-Vice Chair Zionist Federation, removed from office for offensive behaviour to his social superiors – his sign talks of Jews as one monolithic entity – a racist concept in itself – his main chant throughout was that he represented 95% of Jews (down from 99% a few months ago!)
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 Israelquoted 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:
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
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
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
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.
What both McDonnell and Corbyn don’t
get is that the aim of the false anti-Semitism campaign is to effectthe 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
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
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.