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Candidates for UK Labour Party’s governing body share their thoughts on adopting the IHRA definition of antisemitism

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Next week the UK Labour Party’s governing body, the National Executive Committee (NEC), will be voting on whether to adopt the examples put forth by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance in its definition of antisemitism. The four examples omitted at present are: 1) Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel; 2) Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis; 3) Applying double standards to Israel by requiring of it a behaviour not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation; and 4) Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour.

I wrote to all 26 NEC candidates to seek their views. Of the 15 that came back, 6 were for adopting the full IHRA definition with the examples, 7 were for no change, and 2 were unsure. Of those in favour, I posed the question “If it’s passed and I said Israel is a racist state, would I get expelled?”

The first respondent, Cate Vallis (National Policy Form Scottish candidate), said she found the view that Israel was a racist state “offensive”. I said there was no particular anti-Semitism problem in the Party. She found that “offensive” too. I said it had been manufactured to beat JC. I said that expulsions of folk like me is probably what Netanyahu wants, that he’d be happy if the British Labour Party imploded; he knows that if JC got into power, the UK would no longer let him get away with doing as he pleases. Again “offensive”.

She went onto say “There have been countless complaints from Jewish members that they feel unsafe in the party, that their points haven’t been taken seriously and that the leadership haven’t stood up for them… To be truly the party of equality, we must take the concerns of Jewish members seriously and address them”

But are those concerns about actual anti-Semitism, which is hostility to or prejudice against Jews, or anti-Zionism, which is different? Zionism believes in the development and protection of a Jewish nation in what is now Israel. Many Labourists oppose Zionism because they see in Israel its impact on non-Jews, specifically Palestinians and Arabs. MPs such as veteran Frank Field, who resigned the whip recently, mix the terms up, which is unhelpful and extremely damaging for Labour’s reputation.

An NEC candidate in support of the full IHRA, Mary Wimbury, said “uniquely denying the Jewish people a right to self-determination is problematic”. But are Jewish people the only ones who have such rights in Israel? What about the Arabs they displaced? Why should the Jews there have a greater right than they do? Is it because they suffered in the holocaust? Because two wrongs don’t make a right.

And in terms of the 3rd clause, I don’t see Israel as a democratic nation, either. Haaretz noted that the number of Arabs in Israel (including Gaza and the West Bank) will exceed that of Jews by 2020. If it were a true democracy, the country would shortly be ruled by Arabs, a prospect so terrifying to Jewish leaders that they can only maintain their control through denying the 4.4 million Arabs living in the occupied areas the right to vote in national elections.

Another NEC candidate, Luke Akehurst, said he wanted the full IHRA, because if he did not get it, then he would have to agree that the concept of Israel is racist – and that it would mean that:

– he was a racist, as he was a Zionist and ran a Zionist organisation as his day job, and hence should be expelled

– the 93% of British Jews who identify with Israel are all racists and ineligible to be involved in the Labour Party

– the Jewish Labour Movement would be ineligible for affiliation to Labour after 100 years

– Zionists like Nye Bevan and Harold Wilson would retrospectively be judged to be racists

I pointed out that there was absolutely no reason he would be at risk of expulsion for omitting the 4 examples. It may make him feel uncomfortable, of course, to have to sit at meetings with those that say the apartheid that exists in Israel is driven by misguided Zionism, but that is not the same as being himself ejected for being a Zionist.

By thinking in this way, Luke conflates Labour continuing to leave out the 4 examples with the misunderstanding that by so doing, the Party will be declaring that Israel is a racist state – which is plainly not the case. Leaving out those 4 examples just means that others who feel as I do won’t be expelled for saying the State of Israel is a racist endeavour.

And contrary to Luke’s view, omitting the IHRA examples would not mean the Jewish Labour Movement (or JLM) would be ineligible for continued affiliation to Labour. Although they are Zionists, they would not be excluded – but they may fear criticism for their unstinting support for Israel, something that would be painful for them. But their views and methods deserve to be challenged, if they are racists (in that they believe Jews should have more rights than Arabs).

The JLM have been working to nobble NEC members and have convinced a few to vote their way. This group is also affiliated to the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the Zionist Federation of the UK and organise within the World Zionist Organisation alongside their sister party in Israel, Havodah – the Israeli Labor Party. But as affiliates, they should surely support Labour’s core commitment to social justice. So does the JLM support giving Palestinians living in Gaza (and therefore in Israel) the vote? If not, and they support the two-state solution, why aren’t they campaigning for Israel to enable that?

If they do neither, they are racists, because they support discrimination against those of a different ethnicity, of denying them basic democratic rights. Amazingly, one black NEC candidate, Marianna Masters, sent me her JLM pledge certificate, telling me that “I have been very open in my support of the NEC adopting the full IHRA definition of antisemitism! As a black woman, I would be insulted if the definition of racism was messed around with to suit any agenda!” So clearly the JLM are masters of doublethink, having convinced a black candidate that Israel should not be criticised as an apartheid state.

And Luke’s statement that not adopting it means that “93% of British Jews who identify with Israel are all racists and ineligible to be involved in the Labour Party” really makes no sense. There is nothing in the clause being omitted that makes those Jews who identify with Israeli racists. However, if they turn a blind eye of the unequal treatment of Arabs in Israel, then prospective Jewish Labourists should be asking themselves how they reconcile their views with the aims of the Labour Party, whose platform emphasises greater state intervention, social justice and the strengthening of workers’ rights.

What did the Momentum rep on the NEC, Jon Lansman, say? “I did argue at the start that it would have been politic to have included the IHRA definition together with its examples in the document before continuing as now. I think it likely that we will consider that again, following the NEC’s unanimous agreement to reopen discussion about the code, in order to better reflect Jewish community concerns.” Looks like he’s taken the bait, too.

Cate Vallis had complained of “countless” complaints from Jewish members feeling unsafe in the party. I’m surprised they feel unsafe, because I don’t know of anybody attacking them for being Jewish, though they may be getting criticised over their support for Israel. Which relates to point 1 in the omitted clause, where the IHRA claims it’s anti-Semitic to accuse Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel. And if they feel they’re on the defensive over that, then maybe that’s necessary, because they’re trying to defend the indefensible.

I think many of us in the Labour Party are beginning to think adopting point 4 is the really big problem, though, for those articulating that “the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour” would be liable for expulsion, on the grounds that they were anti-Semitic.

So why would I say such a contentious thing? Because many Israeli laws explicitly or implicitly discriminate on the basis or creed or race, in effect privileging Jewish citizens and disadvantaging non-Jewish, and particularly Arab, citizens of the state. These include the Law of Return, laws making military conscription mandatory for certain religions only, the Ban on Family Unification, and many laws regarding security, land and planning, citizenship, political representation in the Knesset, education and culture. In July the Jewish nation law defined Israel as the national home of Jewish people and downgraded Arabic from an official language, leaving Hebrew as the sole national language. If the Jewish right to self-determination means riding roughshod over the rights of others, then for the Labour Party to ignore this social injustice would be for it to go against one of its founding planks.

If Arabs are second-class citizens, and not equal with Jews before the law, then clearly Israel is a racist state. The country was established on the land of 750,000 Palestinians forcibly expelled in 1948 and founded on discrimination towards Arab people on the basis of religion and ethnicity. If that’s not a racist endeavour, I don’t know what is. Clearly Israel now has a right to exist, but it needs to make payments or accommodations with the Arabs who were driven from their homes, amend the unfair laws, give Arabic the same status as Hebrew, and stop building illegal settlements and bulldozing Arab homes. (It engages in ethnic cleansing with impunity. Haaretz notes vigilantes attack Arabs in the street and the Government, bar one man, stays quiet).

And it needs to either give Palestinians a vote in the Knesset or accept that Gaza and the West Bank are not part of Israel and help them to be truly independent. Until it does those things, it is a racist state.

I am fearful that the IHRA will be adopted in full, because it is likely be used to silence those who criticise Zionism, leading to never-ending witch-hunts as well as ongoing self-censorship, on dealing with what are the roots of the Israel/Palestine problem. And the longer that Labour battles itself over this, the harder it will be to realise its manifesto and change the UK for good.

Readers might be wondering how things will go in the September vote. Of the existing NEC candidates, I’ve had but 4 replies: 3 for no change and Jon Lansman for the full one. Given that the big unions (Unison, GMB, USDAW) want the full IHRA, it will be up to smaller unions and the MPs to control the outcome. I am not positive it will be to my favour, so, after 30 years activism, I better start packing my bags. Party members who want to keep me in Labour should vote for Peter Willsman, Stephen Guy, James Craigie, Gary Spedding, Ann Black and Darren Williams. My blog at explains more.

Pete Gregson

Pete Gregson has 2 sons and lives in Edinburgh. He campaigns relentlessly for whistleblowers; he was fired from Edinburgh Council for blowing the whistle on a scheming senior officer. He also campaigns on Government mismanagement and misuse of state funds, all through his website The theory being, that money burnt in the back office (on “suits”) would be better spent on the front line (on “kids”) - who are the future.

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58 Responses

  1. Citizen on August 31, 2018, 12:45 pm

    If the full definition with those four examples is adopted, who could doubt UK’s subservience to the foreign state of Israel? Or that this same fight is now brewing in US Democrat Party?

  2. HarryLaw on August 31, 2018, 1:36 pm

    Pete Gregson..”I think many of us in the Labour Party are beginning to think adopting point 4 is the really big problem, though, for those articulating that “the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour” would be liable for expulsion, on the grounds that they were anti-Semitic”.
    You are correct, Israel is such a racist society that Palestinian group ‘Adalah’ describe over 50 Israeli laws discriminating against Palestinians.. Including its 1950 Law of return whereby only people of Jewish origin can immigrate into Israel, its latest Basic ‘nation state law’ giving rights to Jews only is blatantly racist. How anyone could deny that Israel is a racist state beggars belief. If the fourth example is accepted by the Labour party there would be a witch hunt the like of which has not been seen since the McCarthy era in the US. The first two to go would be Jeremy Corbyn and Unite Gen Sec Len McCluskey followed by half the Labour membership.

  3. HarryLaw on August 31, 2018, 4:25 pm

    If all IHRA examples are incorporated in the LP rule book, anyone speaking the truth i.e. that Israel is a racist state, will be deemed incompatible with party membership.

    • MHughes976 on September 1, 2018, 3:47 am

      Only the beginning in a move towards making these ideas not only incompatible with Labour membership but a criminal offence.

      • Eva Smagacz on September 1, 2018, 9:12 am

        you said “[…] making these ideas […] criminal offence”.

        What I find really, really scary, is that this might come about. Noble concept of free speech will be subservient to political expediency brought about by brute political force of super minor minority interest.

        The older I am, the more obvious it is that nobody learns from history :-). Just look at the hunt for communists still going on in Poland. And we thought that we managed the transition to democracy rather well. When the worm turns, it can be ugly.

        The more populist turn the worm takes, the less safe it is for minorities, as it is for now in UK. If the jewish population think that they can escape unscathed, I despair.


      • Keith on September 1, 2018, 11:25 am

        EVA SMAGACZ- “The older I am, the more obvious it is that nobody learns from history :-).”

        That is because we are taught myth-history which misrepresents reality in service to power.

        “He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.” (George Orwell)

      • Keith on September 1, 2018, 11:59 am

        EVE SMAGACZ- “The older I am, the more obvious it is that nobody learns from history :-).”

        And speaking of historical revisionism in support of imperial warmongering. I think we all should be offended by the orchestrated praise for deceased uber warmonger John MaCain. A petty and vicious man who never met an imperial war he didn’t promote, even supporting the Ukrainian neo-Nazis. And what do “socialists” like Bernie Sanders and Alexandra Octavio-Cortez have to say?

        “John McCain’s legacy represents an unparalleled example of human decency and American service.” (Alexandra Octavio-Cortez)

        “John McCain was an American hero, a man of decency and honor and a friend of mine. He will be missed not just in the Semate but by all Americans who respect integrity and independence.” (Bernie Sanders)

      • RoHa on September 2, 2018, 12:28 am

        You don’t really expect an American politician to have to guts to say “John McCain was a rotten pilot, a war monger, and a traitor to his country”, do you?

      • Keith on September 2, 2018, 12:18 pm

        ROHA- “You don’t really expect an American politician to have to guts to say “John McCain was a rotten pilot, a war monger, and a traitor to his country”, do you?”

        Surely there was a way to show minimal respect yet not excessively praise this warmonger. Even Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch joined in the bogus, orchestrated praise. This is part of the endless war culture. Things are going from bad to worse.

  4. inbound39 on August 31, 2018, 9:13 pm

    Any person in a Political Party in Britain or anywhere else for that matter who believes in a racist, supremacist organisation such as Zionism, which in Israel is responsible for ethnic cleansing and land theft and murder of Palestinians should be denied membership. It a red herring to say it is anti semitic because they are Jews. That has nothing to do with it. The World rejected Nazism because of similar beliefs. Zionism is a political doctrine differing from the Labour party so Zionists have no place in it. Zionist Jews have negated themselves from Labour because of their chosen beliefs. Why would any party accept those intrinsically predispositioned to committing war crimes based on race.

  5. Citizen on August 31, 2018, 11:15 pm

    Watch “Corbyn – Sachs – Hasbara Vs. Trade Union” on #Vimeo

  6. Brewer on September 1, 2018, 12:38 am

    Al Jazeera documentary “The Lobby” for any who haven’t yet seen it.

  7. Peter in SF on September 1, 2018, 5:51 am

    This article is a bit confusing because the headline refers to “Candidates for UK Labour Party’s governing body“, the text says “I wrote to all 26 NEC members to seek their views“, and then there are excerpts of replies from only one NEC member, Cate Vallis, but two NEC candidates without any reference to elections to the NEC, excerpt for the last sentence of the article, which lists the writer’s preferred candidates, but doesn’t say when the election will be. Unless “the September vote” refers to the election to the NEC, rather than a vote by the NEC on whether to adopt a change. The Labour Party’s own website lists 41 members of the NEC, not 26, and Cate Vallis isn’t one of them:

    Have any victims of the state of Israel’s actions against non-Jews received any kind of hearing in this debate? Is Ghada Karmi still around?

    I find this part problematic:

    Clearly Israel now has a right to exist, but it needs to make payments or accommodations with the Arabs who were driven from their homes, …

    How is it clear that “Israel now has a right to exist“? Or any country, for that matter? The United Kingdom has existed more than 4 times as long as Israel has, but almost half of the voters in Scotland a few years ago rejected the U.K.’s right to exist by their votes in the independence referendum, and even David Cameron said that he would have accepted the result if a majority had voted in favour.

    And Israel needs to do more than “make payments or accommodations with the Arabs who were driven from their homes“; it needs to repatriate them, as even Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have long made clear. These are people who were supposed to be Israeli citizens, even according to Israel’s own declaration of independence, but they were betrayed by their own government, which refused to recognize their citizenship after they fled the fighting or were kicked out.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius on September 1, 2018, 11:07 am

      “How is it clear that “Israel now has a right to exist“? Or any country, for that matter?”

      No nation state has the right to exist. States exist until they cease to do so. Israel did not exist 100 years ago, and it is very likely it will not exist 100 years from now. That is the way of history. Several states which existed in my childhood – Yugoslavia, the USSR, Czechoslovakia – now no longer do. That is the way of history, to which Israel is most certainly not immune.

      Besides, Israel has never declared its borders. Where – exactly – is this ‘Israel’ whose ‘right to exist’ we’re all supposed to recognise? Can anyone show it to me on a map?

      • mondonut on September 1, 2018, 1:09 pm

        @Maximus Decimus Meridius Besides, Israel has never declared its borders.

        Israel has borders with both Egypt and Jordan that are both declared and agreed to by treaty. It has declared borders with Lebanon. It has declared borders with Syria. All that remains is to come to agreement with Hamas and the PLO.

      • Talkback on September 1, 2018, 4:25 pm

        mondonut: “Israel has borders with both Egypt and Jordan that are both declared and agreed to by treaty. It has declared borders with Lebanon. It has declared borders with Syria.”

        And in 1948 it has declared borders according to the partition plan and declared (West-) Jerusalem as occupied. And since 1967 all of Jerusalem is occupied by Israel:

        “1. Reaffirms the overriding necessity to end the prolonged occupation of Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967, including Jerusalem;”

    • roseburn32 on September 1, 2018, 12:38 pm

      Pete Gregson here – author of this article; – to “Peter in SF”.
      The text should say that “I wrote to all 26 NEC candidates…”
      Mondoweiss (MW) missed the correction I asked for. Also, these are Constituency Labour Party (CLP) candidates and the only ones that ordinary mortals such as I can vote for: I’m allowed to vote for 9, and the 9 most popular are elected to form the CLP section of the NEC. Then there’s a union section (the unions get to appoint their own delegates) and a bunch of MPs, an MSP, an AM and of course our dear leader, Jeremy and his not so dear depute, Tom. The total comes to 41, but the CLP section play a very vocal and active role.
      Cate Vallis is not a member, but a respondent. If MW had gotten the first correction in, it would have been clear she was a candidate. But she’s standing for the Scottish Section of the National Policy Forum, a sister act to the NEC, which shapes the Party’s policy agenda. They’re all elected at the same time and folk cross from one to the other sometimes. The election itself closed last night at midnight; MW were a bit tardy on getting this up. But the article is still very relevant, because it’s about NEC views – they’ll be voting on the IHRA on Tues 4th Sept. Then the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) get to vote on it themselves the next day. That will be tricky, because quite a few don’t like Jeremy and will use this as a stick to beat him with – many are either pro-Israel or not keen to fall out with Netanyahu.
      Sorry you don’t like my “Israel has a right to exist” phrase, but that’s just my view.
      As for repatriation? That would be brilliant, but I doubt will happen for many. Shedloads of cash and grovelling apologies from the Israeli Government to compensate them would be a start, though.

      • Peter in SF on September 2, 2018, 5:09 am

        Pete, thanks for the clarifications. Unfortunately, I think it reflects poorly on Mondoweiss commenters that your post had been up for almost a full day without anyone else noticing that corrections were needed to it.

        I actually do not understand what your view is when you express it as “Clearly Israel now has a right to exist.” I brought up the idea of whether the U.K. has a right to exist as a way of clarifying what “right to exist” might mean, because the phrase is never used for any country other than Israel, and it sounds to me and apparently also to other commenters like a right of a state that is distinct from the rights of the citizens or residents of that state.

  8. Maximus Decimus Meridius on September 1, 2018, 6:29 am

    ” the 93% of British Jews who identify with Israel are all racists and ineligible to be involved in the Labour Party”

    This is absurd. We should stop criticising a foreign, non-alligned state because the majority of a small religious minority support it? Oh, and shouldn’t British Jews identify with Britain, not Israel?

    “Zionists like Nye Bevan and Harold Wilson would retrospectively be judged to be racists”

    Again, absurd. The vast majority of politicians from that era would be considered racist – and sexist and homophobic etc – by modern standards. Should we abolish all pro-equality legislation so as to give false view of the past?

    “But are those concerns about actual anti-Semitism, which is hostility to or prejudice against Jews, or anti-Zionism, which is different?”

    Clearly the latter. Anti semitism is a crime in the UK. If there is evidence of this in the Labour party, it should be taken to the police. However, since there is very little evidence of genuine anti semitism, it all becomes about people’s feelingz, and how they feel ‘uncomfortable’.

    It’s another version of the attempt to stifle debate in American universities. Since when have political views been deemed worthy of protection?

  9. Ossinev on September 1, 2018, 6:54 am

    ” The first two to go would be Jeremy Corbyn and Unite Gen Sec Len McCluskey followed by half the Labour membership”

    I totally agree particularly with regard to the membership. Adoption of a definition effectively thrust upon UK Labour Party members at the behest of unelected Jewish Lobby groups working on behalf of a Foreign Government which is blatantly Apartheid and Racist and whose policies and actions are the direct opposite of what the Labour Party stands for would lead to a haemorrhaging of membership and the Labour Party would IMHO implode.

    If this happens the Zionist attack jackals will on the face of it have achieved their objective of getting rid of JC and preventing a Palestinian supporting UK Government but huge wounds will have been opened in UK society and I believe that there would be a big increase in actual as oppposed to imaginary or manufactured Anti – Semitism which sadly will impact on all British Jews including those who have bravely stood up against the Zionist fanatics. On the plus side (if that can be said ) it will cause the general British public to question why the views of a miniscule minority of the UK population has lead to the disintegration of the main opposition party and the role of Israel in bringing this about will be exposed.

  10. Bumblebye on September 1, 2018, 7:01 am

    And…things may get worse. Apparently our FCO is in the planning stages for a possible move of the British Embassy oost-brexit:

    • Eva Smagacz on September 1, 2018, 9:46 am

      Well, Poland was parcelled out between three powers for good part of two centuries and rose out of ashes of the first world war.

      Zionists (in a correct political term therefore do not attack my political views saying that it is covert-cryptic-camuflaged name for Jews) formulated a political long term plan of NOT having Arabs in Palestine. This plan is still being pursued and they will not stop until that goal of effective ethnic cleansing is achieved


    • Maximus Decimus Meridius on September 1, 2018, 11:03 am

      I’m not sure how much should be read into that. I’m sure the UK government have ‘contingency plans’ for all sorts of hypothetical events. It doesn’t mean that there’s any real intention to make it happen.

      That said, we are currently seeing the immense power of the lobby in UK politics. They seem to be well on their way towards achieving the goal mentioned in the video above, ie, to make the UK more like America. So nothing would surprise me.

  11. dgfincham on September 1, 2018, 10:12 am

    There is a further example: It is anti-Semitic to “draw comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.”

    But there is a very strong parallel between Israel and Nazi Germany. Both captured territory from their eastern neighbours in order to obtain additional “living room” for their own citizens, while at the same time subjecting the existing occupants of those territories to a brutal military occupation.

    The difference is that the Nazi occupation lasted for six years, while the Israel occupation is still on-going after 70 years.

    • Keith on September 1, 2018, 11:16 am

      DGFINCHAM- “But there is a very strong parallel between Israel and Nazi Germany.”

      True enough, but let us not forget that Hitler explicitly was influenced by the US genocide of the native Americans in his plans for creating “lebensraum” in Eastern Europe.

  12. HarryLaw on September 1, 2018, 12:02 pm

    Peter Tatchell in an opinion piece in Jewish News has this to say regarding one of the IHRA examples e.g., by claiming that the existence of a state of Israel is racist endeavor.
    “The second part is more disputable but not the way I read it. Given that the Jewish people have a right to a homeland and have historic ties to the region, it would be wrong and a violation of the IHRA to say that the existence of “a” (ie. any) state of Israel is a racist endeavour. Clearly the very existence of such a state is not, ipso facto, racist. However, the IHRA example does not preclude critics from saying that the current state of Israel does involve elements of racism (not least in the discrimination against Arabs living in Israel, as Israel’s own Or Commission confirmed).
    Since the IHRA definition refers only to the principle of the existence “a” state of Israel, and not to “the” actually existing state, criticism of the current state of Israel as racist does not fall foul of the IHRA”.
    But Professor Finkelstein in this article in Mondoweiss has this to say on that example…
    “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.” But, according to Israel’s leading historian, Benny Morris, “transfer [i.e., expulsion] was inevitable and inbuilt into Zionism,” while according to Israeli writer Ari Shavit, in his widely acclaimed bestseller, “My Promised Land,” “If Zionism was to be, Lydda could not be.” The upshot is, if Israel’s founding necessarily entailed ethnic cleansing of the indigenous population, then realization of the Jewish people’s right to self-determination must have been a racist endeavor.
    Methinks Tatchell’s views are mere semantics. Any other views on this?

    • roseburn32 on September 1, 2018, 3:43 pm

      I think you have hit upon a good point here. One of my Jewish friends in London left Labour recently cos he was fed up with meetings being dominated by the subject of anti-Semitism, he wanted other things to be discussed, But then a Labour Party member told him off for wanting to change the suject, saying he was “not the kind of jew he wanted to do business with”. Here’s a example of anti-semitism that arose through the ongoing and violent actions of Israel, which place Palestine news firmly into the centre of current debate. It puts Jews in Labour who are fundamentally against Zionism and sympathetic to the Palestinians in a tricky position, because if they ever want to talk about something else, they are seen as being evasive. I guess I bring all this up because this mate of mine believes very much in the Peter Tatchell take. When I told him last week that I thought Mr Tatchell was engaging in semantics, and that the full IHRA was a recipe for witch-hints, he was quite annoyed. But then again, my friend lives in London, which is a hotbed of angry views, whereas I live in Edinburgh, where most folk just aren’t involved in what’s going on (Scotland has far fewer Jews and Labour in Scotland is the third party, behind the SNP and the Tories, lagging on just 28% support.) And if folk here are going to dislike anybody, it’s probably going to be because they’re English. Having said that, devolution has really had an impact; Scots no longer blame the English for all their problems…. But I digress, I still think getting the full IHRA will be the death of the Labour Party, and Mr Tatchell is living in a dream

      • RoHa on September 1, 2018, 10:04 pm

        “Given that the Jewish people have a right to a homeland …”

        1. What does “homeland” mean here?
        2. How does a group have a right to one?
        3. Does a group have a right to take over someone else’s land in order to get their homeland?
        4. Are “the Jewish people” the sort of group that has such a right?

        I would love to see some Zionist try to answer these fundamental questions.

      • RoHa on September 1, 2018, 10:05 pm

        “devolution has really had an impact; Scots no longer blame the English for all their problems”

        I told you devolution was a bad idea.

      • Peter in SF on September 2, 2018, 5:45 am

        RoHa, great questions, and too bad that it takes a trained philosopher to ask them. There’s a hasbara line that denying “the Jewish people” the “right” to a “homeland” is to deprive them of the “self-determination” that other “peoples” are accepted as having, and is therefore unfair.

        The idea that “the Jewish people have a right to a homeland” raises questions about what other peoples have that same right. Kurds? Roma? African-Americans? Or any number of native American peoples, for that matter. Is the idea that they have rights to homelands, but they’ve all been too weak to exercise those rights? If that’s the case, shouldn’t we then put more attention on the denial of their rights than on the Jewish homeland that has already been secured?

        It is ironic that Zionists use the word “homeland” in the same sense that the South African apartheid regime did, because that regime created “homelands” for various African peoples against their will, as a way of keeping them out of the best lands that were to be kept for whites. Most hasbarists actually do assert that the Palestinian people have a right to a homeland, and then to show how much they care, they say that they’re working to find one within some bit of the West Bank or in Jordan. Even though the Palestinian people are explicitly defined as persons originating from an area with specific geographic boundaries, namely those of the British Mandate of Palestine, so there’s no question of where their “homeland” is in the sense of where they come from.

      • Talkback on September 2, 2018, 9:17 am

        Peter in SF: “There’s a hasbara line that denying “the Jewish people” the “right” to a “homeland” is to deprive them of the “self-determination” that other “peoples” are accepted as having, and is therefore unfair.”

        The line is nonsense.

        First of all the right to self determination is exercised by the people OF a country. For example the people OF Palestine pre 1948. It’s the right of habitual residents, denizens and/or citizens. And it’s a post colonial principle that people in former colonies, protectorates or other dependent states (states under mandates) should have the right to GOVERN themselves. It has nothing to do with a group of people living around the world having the right to immigrate into a territory without the consent of its native population and creating a state that primarily serves them. That’s called “settler colonialism” and Apartheid.

        Secondly. If denying the Jewish “people” an imagined right that is nothing else than a racist and abstract* perversion of the concept of national self determination is antisemitism than what is denying the people OF Palestine in 1948 their real legitimate right to have their state under mandate released into independence?

        [*] Abstract, because it seems to be a right that exist without even occupying a specific territory (to “a” homeland). The Jewish people in 1948 were not the people who occupy a specific territory like for example the people of Kosovo, or the Kurds.

        Thirdly. Jews are not a constitutive people. In every other country the people of the country are its constitutive people. If you become a citizens you acquire the state’s nationality. Not so much in Israel where only Jews are the nation of the state and the other citizens are only “citizens” in name, but not with the full rights that citizens/nationals in other state have. These full rights are only reserved for the Jews who managed to differentiate between nationals and citizens similar to the Nazis (reichsbuerger vs. citizens).

      • RoHa on September 2, 2018, 7:53 pm

        Peter, Talkback, good points.

        But do leave a bit of space for the Zionists to give their answers. I’m sure they are bursting with detailed responses that will be so convincing that we will all be instantly converted into staunch supporters of Israel.

      • RoHa on September 4, 2018, 9:44 pm

        Hmmn. No Zionist responses to my questions, yet.

        It’s your fault, Peter and Talkback. We know Zionists are shy, retiring, creatures, and when they saw how much space your comments took up, they must have been put off.

        Otherwise they would have produced those overwhelming arguments I have been waiting for.

      • Talkback on September 5, 2018, 8:23 am

        RoHa: “Otherwise they would have produced those overwhelming arguments I have been waiting for.”

        Don’t worry. I figured out that their Hasbara loop repeats after 23.463 days in average. So you will have another chance. Over and over and over again.

      • eljay on September 5, 2018, 9:39 am

        || Talkback: … I figured out that their Hasbara loop repeats after 23.463 days in average. … ||

        Yeah, it’s been a while since Jack Green was around to amuse.

    • RoHa on September 1, 2018, 9:58 pm

      “Given that the Jewish people have a right to a homeland and have historic ties to the region, it would be wrong and a violation of the IHRA to say that the existence of “a” (ie. any) state of Israel is a racist endeavour. ”

      Suggesting that Israel is the homeland of “the Jewish people” implies that it is the homeland of British Jews, since they are part of “the Jewish people” .
      This, then, suggests that Britain is not their homeland, for if Britain were their homeland, they would have one, and therefore no need for Israel.
      This, in turn, suggests that, although they are British Citizens, born in Britain from families that have lived in Britain for generations, grew up and were educated in Britain, and make their homes and lives in Britain, British Jews are not really British, but some sort of alien presence.

      Lord Sacks denounced this idea as anti-Semitic when it was attributed to Corbyn. I have no doubt we will see similarly fierce comments about Tatchell.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius on September 2, 2018, 10:31 am

      Peter Tatchell has done a lot of great work, but in recent years he’s become an establishment gatekeeper.

      “Given that the Jewish people have a right to a homeland and have historic ties to the region, it would be wrong and a violation of the IHRA to say that the existence of “a” (ie. any) state of Israel is a racist endeavour. Clearly the very existence of such a state is not, ipso facto, racist. ”

      When challenged, Tatchell always claims he is a strong supporter of the Palestinian cause, but he certainly doesn’t sound like it here. The question isn’t really if “the Jewish people have a right to a homeland”, the question is the Jewish people have a right to a homeland at the expense of the Palestinian people – ie Israel. If you look at it that way – and it is the only morally honest way to look at it – then it is undeniable that Israel IS a racist endeavour. Inherently so. The only way you can pretend otherwise is by airbrushing the Palestinians out of the picture. If the only way you can justifty something is by pretending its victims – millions of them – simply don’t exist, that basically makes our case for us.

      • gamal on September 2, 2018, 4:09 pm

        “Peter Tatchell has done a lot of great work”

        I remember Tatchell, I am not going to check, I seem to recall Tatchell from the Blair Peach (Clement Blair Peach) times, people like him were used to obscure that the work was being done by communities, largely women, mature women at that, many of them black or those hard white working women you used to find in London.

        Though it will no doubt serve to mark me as a pitiless hooligan and primitive I still think Tachell being knocked out by Mugabes security man is one of the funniest things I have ever seen, perhaps the ghetto turned me brutal, judge for yourself, not a mark on him, a loyal imperialist first known as an ‘extreme leftist’, he was operating in South London in the East End when I was young then re-emerged as a Gay Rights campaigner, those times have largely faded for me.

  13. roseburn32 on September 1, 2018, 6:21 pm

    If the full IHRA were adopted, I wanted to consider how many Labour Party members could be expelled, like me. I reckon 100,000. How so?
    I believe most of the 150,000 of Labour’s 552,000 members who joined since Corbyn was elected will share his views. Most will see Israel as a racist state.
    If you want to see more of my reasoning, and why what happened to Pete Willsman of the NEC recently is an example of an early witch-hunt, see

  14. HarryLaw on September 2, 2018, 4:54 am

    The Labour party are going to pay for not fighting back against the smear campaign on Anti-Semitism, MP Margaret Hodge called Corbyn “a fucking Anti-Semite and a racist” recently for which she received a letter warning that she is being investigated by the LP. This letter prompted her to compare it to how her family must have felt ‘like a Jew in Germany in the 30s’, The LP investigation was dropped after she warned of legal action, she did not apologize Now she is at it again “Dame Margaret Hodge accused the Labour leadership of a ‘hatred of Jews’ in a new escalation of her condemnation of Mr Corbyn”. As Professor Finkelstein said he knows these people, they will not give up until they have destroyed Corbyn and everything he stands for.

    • Maghlawatan on September 2, 2018, 9:35 am

      Hodge is insane. The LP should be purged of Zionists. None of them care about the UK poor anyway.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius on September 2, 2018, 10:04 am

      Isn’t it odd that ‘Dame’ Hodge has known Corbyn for nearly 40 years, yet never once referred to him being an antisemite until a few months ago? This despite the fact that she has always been a political opponent of Corbyn? In fact, she hasn’t been that interested in antisemitism full-stop. Someone did a search on her Twitter account – which she has been running for 8 years – and there’s not a single mention of it until this year.

      Not to mention that she was previously known – insofar as she was known at all – for her exploits in tax-dodging and covering up abuse at a care home. Now she’s this fragile, victimised old ladies who must be treated with kid gloves and whose opinions – however outrageous – cannot be criticised. Like I said above, if you’re a British public figure who wants your slate wiped clean, criticse Corbyn in public, preferably for ‘antisemitism’. Look at failed PM Gordon Brown, now making headlines on the news for …. yes, you’ve guessed it, slagging off Corbyn at a meeting of a group funded by the Israeli embassy.

      • HarryLaw on September 2, 2018, 11:09 am

        Maximus Decimus Meridius More on that Brown speech to the Jewish Labour Movement who are affiliated to the World Zionist Organization (WZO) – according to the UN, WZO pumps millions into building in the occupied West Bank through its settlement division. “We must never allow ourselves to be in a position where we are the problem.
        ‘So I want to make it very clear to you today that the IHRA’s definition of anti-Semitism is something that we should support unanimously, unequivocally and immediately.’
        Mr Brown said those who claimed that the definition inhibits the right to criticise Israel are peddling untruths.
        In a fiery speech, the former Prime Minister also demanded that those accused of anti-Semitism in Labour should be dealt with immediately.
        He said: ‘Not only must we unanimously agree with that definition of Antisemitism, we must discipline those who undermine t.’
        He said that Labour must be ‘cleansed’ of anti-Semitism.
        Have you got that, anyone who questions the IHRA definition and examples must be disciplined? Presumably also the Author of the IHRA Kenneth Stern, many QC’s and Professors and probably half the Labour membership. What a clown.

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius on September 2, 2018, 3:07 pm

        Truly sinister.

        Plus, it says “those accused of anti-Semitism in Labour should be dealt with immediately.”. So you don’t have to be actually convicted of antisemitism – however broadly defined – just to be ‘accused’ of it. In other words, Brown is saying that it’s enough for someone to simply say that this or that Labour member is ‘antisemitic’ and that’s enough for the to be ‘dealt with immediately’.

        This has-been, this failure as a PM whose only positive achievement was to keep Britain out of the Euro (and even that wasn’t really down to him) is now a moral authority? This is sheer bullying and blackmail. Even if the Blairites get what they want and their sacred ‘definition’ is adopted wholesale, they must be idiots if they think the public don’t know what’s actually going on.

  15. Ossinev on September 2, 2018, 1:18 pm

    So the sad pathetic Dame Margaret Hodge is at it again:
    “Scrolling through her notifications, she told the audience that she has been called a ‘treasonous gutless liar’ and an ‘apartheid apologist’ among other slurs.

    She added: ‘On an hourly basis there are people calling my office to be abusive. They are all men.

    ‘In my view, there is a very strong misogyny element to this.’

    So just to spice it up she has now introduced “mysogyny” into the alleged Anti-Semitism equation.
    She claims that on an hourly basis they are calling her office to be abusive and they are “all men”. So all you men out there in the UK and in particular Labour Party members and I hope that you are taking this outrageous slur on board. It is blatant Anti – Menism and you should contact your local MP`s and demand that the Labour Party should take immediate action against her for inciting hatred of men and perhaps come up with an acceptable working definition of Ant-Menism.

    Please please close the door quietly when you leave the Labour Party Ms Hodge. You will leave with that nice little Dameship which was granted to you despite your religion and despite your dodgy tax affairs and despite your gross mishandling of child abuse in Islington

    I do so hope that it will goodbye and good riddance. You are a disgrace and an insult to the Labour Party and its core values. Oh and feel free to categorise my comments as a “mysogynistic notification”.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius on September 2, 2018, 4:02 pm

      I do hope ‘Dame’ Hodge’s office recorded all these ‘abusive’ phone calls so that she can take the evidence to the police for possible prosecution. Just like she has done with all that ‘evidence’ of ‘antisemitism’. Oh wait she hasn’t done that. Neither has anybody else. Since antisemitism is a crime in the UK, and is apparantly so prevalent in the Labour party, evidence should be very easy to find.

  16. amigo on September 2, 2018, 3:00 pm

    Does anyone know if there is an , Anglican/Presbyterian?Catholic/Muslim/ etc etc ,Labour Movement .

    If not , it would be an appropriate time for all religious groups within the party to form such and not leave this privilege to one group so they can cause havoc in the labour community, all in the defence of a foreign entity that interferes in the internal politics of a sovereign Nation.We all know who I mean.

    Just heard Hodge/Sacks on the Andrew Marr show.He clearly did not have the journalistic integrity to put these fifth columners on the spot.More kid gloves by the BBC.

  17. roseburn32 on September 2, 2018, 7:08 pm

    In today’s Guardian: “As Palestinian Arab MPs in Israel, we salute Corbyn as a champion of peace and justice”.
    These MPs set out their fears for the future and show they see how the full IHRA would set huge challenges for JC supporters and progress towards peace

  18. Ossinev on September 3, 2018, 7:39 am

    “I do hope ‘Dame’ Hodge’s office recorded all these ‘abusive’ phone calls so that she can take the evidence to the police for possible prosecution”

    A very good point. Not sure whether Ruth Smeeth has done this. I expect that the UK Police would be delighted to receive all 25,000 LOL potential new cases ( NB that figure may well have doubled in recent weeks). Hodges has not quoted a running total only referred to a “weekly” scenario – perhaps she doesn`t want to get into a ratings war with her fellow Israeli Firster or perhaps someone in the club has advised her not to rain on Smeeths parade.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius on September 3, 2018, 12:35 pm

      Indeed. I wonder if they get together in meetings to discuss that? Or maybe they have a FB group?

      BTW, Hodge’s latest unhinged rants – encouraged and indulged by the BBC et al – prove that those of us who said it was madness not to proceed with disciplinary action against her were right. When she made that horrific comparison to her grandfather having to escape the Nazis, she should have been expelled forthwith for bringing the party into disrepute. No more chances. But now she’s been left free to call her own party leader all the names under the sun, without the slightest reprimand. Insane.

      We’ve discussed this before I know, but Corbyn, much as I admire him, has handled this whole manufactured crisis very, very poorly. It may be too late to retrieve the situation now. Watch the NEC capitulate and the lobby move in for the kill.

      • Keith on September 3, 2018, 4:59 pm

        MAXIMUS- “We’ve discussed this before I know, but Corbyn, much as I admire him, has handled this whole manufactured crisis very, very poorly.”

        Time will tell, but I tend to agree. When attacked by a bunch of thugs wearing brass knuckles, it is a poor strategy to turn the other cheek. And to allow your staunch supporters to be thrown out of the party? At the very least, he has been disloyal to folks who deserved a lot better.

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius on September 4, 2018, 10:25 am

        Yes, I was very disappointed when he threw Ken Livingstone under the bus. Maybe he thought that would appease the hounds… instead it made them scent blood, as any of us could have told him.

  19. roseburn32 on September 3, 2018, 8:48 pm

    The NEC will decide today. It has been described in one Labour newsletter ( as a head-to head between JC and Jon Lansman of Momentum .
    But two of the Momentum slate, Rachel Garnham and Darren Williams told me they oppose the full IHRA. Ann Henderson was (as usual on most things I ask her) undecided. The other 4 didn’t reply to my query. Peter Willsman opposes the full one. 3 unions want the full one; the rest are undeclared.
    I’ve posted this article to all 39 members of the NEC (it’s not 41; 2 have two positions) and our 257 Labour MPs, begging them to consider the impact of expelling so many of us if they go for the full IHRA.
    It’ll be interesting to find out tonight if my words have had any effect. Of course, the Labour MPs vote on it themselves tomorrow..

  20. roseburn32 on September 6, 2018, 3:50 am

    Labour members declare Israel to be a racist endeavour in challenge to NEC ruling

    As soon as the NEC announced they were adopting the full IHRA guidelines, which indicate that those calling Israel a racist endeavour were anti-Semites, volunteers were coming forward to present themselves for disciplinary action. Just hours before, the Party had allowed freedom of speech for those who appreciated that Arabs were second-class citizens in Israel. Now they may face expulsion.

    As soon as the announcement was made, at 6pm, Peter Gregson, an Edinburgh Party member of some 30 years’ activism, launched his petition to Andy Kerr, NEC Chair; Jeremy Corbyn and Tom Watson on . In the space of 2 days, 43 Party members from around the UK had come forward to put themselves in the firing line. The petition remains open and can be found at

    Pete Gregson had this to say: “ The NEC has caved into Zionist pressure by adopting the full anti-Semitism definition. It is now deemed anti-Semitic to say Israel is a racist state and is no true democracy. If you as a Labour Party member think we must have full freedom of speech, please challenge the NEC to expel you for saying Israel is a racist endeavour, by signing the petition. The idea behind this is to draw out how serious the NEC are about freedom of speech and to challenge the notion that Israel is a democracy.”

    “Labour was founded on social justice – and that’s what this is about. Every Muslim terrorist dies with a few of us alongside, partly because of the abomination that is happening to Arabs in Israel. It is the biggest recruiting tool for Al Quaeda, ISIS and the rest. What the West has done and continues to do to Arabs in league with Israel has resulted in too many innocent deaths. So by doing nothing about Israel, we give a reason for another angry bomber to blow up our children”.

    PS I sincerely believe that if enough sign they won’t expel us. It won’t be worth the candle. And it will send a strong message to all Party members that it is still OK to say that Israel is a racist state

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