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Zack Beauchamp has a long piece up at Vox, titled “The anti-Semitism controversy roiling the UK Labour party, explained.” It says that Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn gave a speech on anti-Semitism Thursday that turned out to be a “debacle” and a “mess,” because the Labour Party “is having trouble drawing the line between acceptable criticism of Israel and outright anti-Semitism.”

Beauchamp went on to offer a typical catalog of alleged anti-Semitism from Labourites. Here’s one item:

Corbyn himself made matters worse, by implicitly comparing Israel to ISIS in his speech.

 “Our Jewish friends are no more responsible for the actions of Israel or the Netanyahu government than our Muslim friends are for those of various self-styled Islamic states or organizations,” Corbyn said.


Another: A screenshot from former Labour parliamentarian Naz Shah’s Facebook page, comparing Israel to apartheid South Africa, the segregated American South, and Germany under Hitler.

Read very narrowly, Shah’s comments aren’t talking about Jews outside Israel. But the issue here isn’t that Shah is condemning UK Jews in Hitler-like terms, but rather that her attacks on Israel have been so vitriolic as to veer into what many see as anti-Semitic territory.

Screenshot of MP Naz Shah's Facebook post on Israel and Jim Crow South and Hitler, from Guido Fawkes
Screenshot of MP Naz Shah’s Facebook post on Israel and Jim Crow South and Hitler, from Guido Fawkes

Or these statements from Jeremy Corbyn that “raised eyebrows.”

Most notoriously, Corbyn once referred to members of Hamas and Hezbollah — both US-designated anti-Israel terrorist groups — as “friends,” and invited Hamas representatives to speak in Parliament.

Beauchamp’s catalog is typical: In the British argument over whether anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism, the pro-Israel side lumps in defensible statements, dumb or insensitive statements, and actual antisemitic statements from the anti-Zionists into one big pot, as co-author Johnson observed before, in a post asserting that “Anti-Palestinianism” is surely as serious a moral failing as anti-Semitism. But no one is ever called on that.

[Commentators say] it’s anti-Semitic to deny “Israel’s right to exist” without seeming to realize that Israel wouldn’t exist as a Jewish state without ethnic cleansing and discrimination.

Because nobody cares about anti-Palestinian bigotry.

No other human rights movement I can think of is automatically accused of being racist. The underlying assumption is that Palestinians just don’t matter that much, so anyone who expresses moral outrage or uses the normal tools of protest, like boycotts, can’t possibly be motivated by human rights concerns. They must be antisemites or at least examined very closely for antisemitism before being given a clean bill of health.

Vox just continues that pattern. Liberal Zionists place themselves on a pedestal, grandly informing us who is an anti-semite based on just how critical they are of Israel. It never crosses their mind that the shoe could be on the other foot– people can and should judge them as racist for implicitly assuming that Palestinians only have as many rights as liberal Zionists are willing to grant them.

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As BDS tightens the screws on Israel no surprise that the racist state responds by resorting to the old saw that the best defense is a good offense. Unfortunately for Israel the offense it chooses is that of saying we’re not the racists, you BDS’ers are; racist antisemites, that is, for falsely labeling us colonizers and practitioners of apartheid, Unfortunately here, because the evidence supporting the charge that Israelis are colonizing Palestine and enforcing apartheid… Read more »

This is yet another excellent article by Phil and Donald – THANK YOU.

Off topic. Elie Wiesel died today and before mw skewers him for his right wing zionism, I just wanted to say a few words. First: I’ve never been in prison and certainly never been kept prisoner in a death camp. Wiesel was young when he was swallowed by that monstrosity. Hungarian jews had the advantage of short stays in the camps. Most were interred in the summer of 44. Not to measure tragedies or traumas,… Read more »

Vox is hasbara on Israel. Here’s their idea of “Everything you need to know about Israel-Palestine”, on “How did Israel become a country in the first place?” Ezra Klein should hang his head in abject shame. But I suppose it might have been difficult to refuse someone who said, “You’re an up and coming reporter and analyst, so we’ll bankroll you a news website. All we ask is you be nice to the war… Read more »

OT, but worth a look: Some Israel Scientology-splaining
I wonder how Scientology outreach is faring among Palestinians. The article doesn’t say.