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British Jewish Board of Deputies launches 10 Plagues against Palestine solidarity

on 23 Comments

The defeat of Jeremy Corbyn in the recent British elections was an event that called for celebration amongst Israel supporters. “The beast is slain”, cried Joe Glasman, head of Political and Government Investigations in Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA). Glasman’s organization is “an influential anti-Palestinian lobby group,” EI says.

Glasman was transmitting a rather bloodthirsty Hannukah video, in which he compared Jeremy Corbyn to Antiochus IV, the Hellenistic king whom the Maccabees revolted against. “Maccabees, we did it”, he congratulated his followers – “by word, and deed, by protest and tweet, by our spies and intel…”

It’s really as crazy as it can be. But wait, it’s not over. Now the British Board of Deputies (BOD) enacts a kind of biblical scorched-earth policy to ensure that nothing even remotely close to Jeremy Corbyn ever comes to threaten Zionism. Six candidates are running to replace Corbyn as leader in polling that ends April 4, and the Board of Deputies unleashed the “TEN PLEDGES TO END THE ANTISEMITISM CRISIS”. Or as the Board of Deputies puts it, “10 key points we believe Labour needs to sign up to in order to begin healing its relationship with the Jewish community.”

Of course, the mere title already reveals the fictitious nature of the whole document – since there was never an actual “Antisemitism crisis” in Labour. The whole notion was concocted by Zionist interest groups and amplified by an all too willing and sloppy mainstream press. The BOD seeks to ensure the domination of discourse about anti-Semitism by fully weaponizing the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance working-definition of antisemitism, the IHRA document that notoriously conflates critique of Israel with anti-Semitism. The pledges would also make the Jewish Labour Movement, a Zionist organiztion, an exclusive ‘trainer’ against anti-Semitism; exclude progressive Jewish organizations such as Jewish Voice for Labour, which the BOD calls “fringe organizations” (the BOD list does not name JVL but the Jewish Chronicle does); and excluding the possibility of condemned members reentering the Labour Party or being endorsed in the future.

Here’s the list as the Jewish Chronicle summarizes it:

  • Prevent re-admittance of prominent offenders
  • Provide no platform for those who have been suspended or expelled for antisemitism
  • The full adoption of the IHRA definition of antisemitism “with all its examples and clauses and without any caveats”
  • To deliver anti-racism education programmes that have been approved by the Jewish Labour Movement, which would lead training
  • To engage with the Jewish community via its “main representative groups and not through fringe organisations” such as Jewish Voice for Labour
  • To replace “bland, generic statements” on anti-Jewish racism with “condemnation of specific harmful behaviours”
  • For the Labour leader to take personal responsibility for ending the “antisemitism crisis”

(BOD’s own tweet of the list here).

Ostensibly, some of the points could be seen as addressing real concerns for anti-Semitism and Jews. But as the title of the list already portrays, the focus of the supposed concern for Jews is not really that – it is a cynical usage of ‘anti-Semitism’ in order to eradicate Palestine solidarity and to make the party more centrist and more Zionist.

BOD’s chair Marie van der Zyl said that “the relationship between Labour and the Jewish community, once rock solid, has been all but destroyed”, and that “those seeking to move the [Labour] party forward will openly and unequivocally endorse these Ten Pledges in full, making it clear that if elected as leader, or deputy leader, they will commit themselves to ensuring the adoption of all these points.”

And with hardly any hesitation, five of the six declared candidates embraced the plagues within hours, swallowing them hook, line and sinker. By Sunday evening, the day of the BOD announcement, only Clive Lewis was noted as not yet having affirmed to abide by the plagues.

We see this happening again and again, in UK, in the US – those who show solidarity with Palestinians are basically tarnished as bigots, and terrorized by the claim of ‘anti-Semitism’, which has come to mean ‘someone who challenges Jewish supremacism’. The message to anyone even thinking about leading Labour is clear: don’t mess with Zionism, or we’ll be raining frogs on you, and worse.

H/t Natalie Strecker

Jonathan Ofir

Israeli musician, conductor and blogger / writer based in Denmark.

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23 Responses

  1. eljay on January 13, 2020, 2:51 pm

    Fight antisemitism [sic] and defend Israel

    What an odd campaign pledge for an aspiring President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews. It’s as though Ms. van der Zyl were anti-Semitically conflating Israel with all Jewish Britons (and perhaps even with all Jewish citizens of homelands throughout the world).

    • JWalters on January 13, 2020, 7:21 pm

      Blaming Israel’s trail of atrocities on all Jews certainly is an anti-Semitic slur.

      • echinococcus on January 13, 2020, 7:48 pm


        Not that certain; it depends on your statistical understanding.
        We can almost certainly blame it on a majority of people calling themselves Jewish. How large a counter-minority is significant in your mind? That’s the only question that will relativize that certainty.
        I have no scruples calling “Jewish” a political action that attracts an overwhelming majority of people who identify themselves as such. This is not a reflection on the dissidents.

        To give you a term of comparison: when we discuss history and say much of Europe was invaded by the Germans in WWII, it’s obvious that we don’t include the minority of German antifascist resistance. The antifascist Germans themselves have no objection to this description.

      • Tom Suarez on January 14, 2020, 9:05 am

        Hello echinococcus, “Germans” is a nationality. “Jewish” is not, unless you subscribe to Zionism, which (obviously) you don’t. There is a clear distinction between saying “the [but understood, not all] Germans” did xyz, versus “the [but understood, not all] Jews” did xyz. The common denominator then was Germans. The common denominator here is Zionist, not Jewish (most Zionists are Christians).

      • echinococcus on January 14, 2020, 11:24 am


        I’m perfectly aware of your point.
        Mine is a statistical point that applies to any groups with a minority that opposes the dominant direction. It all depends on your threshold for significance.

        You may place that threshold at a single dissident, and there is a lot to be said for that. For the needs of everyday communication, I would set the significance threshold much higher — that was the point with using the Germans analogy.

        It is correct to differentiate between Zionist and Jewish. It’s very much less clear-cut in the case of a tribal, mytho-nationalist identification by non-religious people. Nationality by the nominal religious community, as opposed to actual religion, ie the Millet system once practiced by the Ottomans and now perpetuated by the Zionist entity, is totally invalid in our individual rights system.

        Let’s say that people who identify as Jewish (as opposed to the existing ethnicities Ashkenazi, Sefardí, Romaniote, Mizrahi, etc.) who want to change the general perception that identifies Jewish with Zionist should build up mass to a significant level that makes the separation generally perceptible.

    • RoHa on January 13, 2020, 10:13 pm

      Eljay, you may not be convinced that Jews matter more than the rest of us, but you surely cannot doubt that British Jews are of far greater consequence than mere foreign Jews.

  2. Talkback on January 13, 2020, 3:05 pm

    Anti-Semitism election row was stoked by Israel, Labour report says
    “Citing a 2017 documentary produced by Al Jazeera, which explored the relationship between the Israel lobby and British politics, Mr James, who is secretary of the 3,500-strong group, wrote that the “government of Israel is putting significant efforts and finances into influencing British politics, including the Labour Party”.

    He said the motive was to “prevent the election of a Labour government that will recognise a Palestinian state”.”

    Al Jazeera’s documentaries about the Israel Lobby in Britain and the US:

  3. gamal on January 13, 2020, 5:11 pm

    Chris Williamson tweets

    “Can you imagine previous Labour leadership candidates allowing apologists for the South African apartheid regime to lay down the law to them?

    If Gerald Kaufman were still alive he would be appalled at the cowardly response to the apologists for Israel’s apartheid regime.Chris Williamson #GTTO added,
    Chris Williamson #GTTO”

    • timfrom on January 14, 2020, 1:54 pm

      Excellent tweet from CW. Once the No 1 Parliamentary Jewish critic of Zionism, Kaufman’s been kinda airbrushed out of history during the whole A-S scam. I remember a letter of his in the Guardian that matter-of-factly asserted that the Israeli state was cynically exploiting Gentile guilt over the Holocaust in order to misdirect them over the Palestinian issue.

      No one batted an eyelid!

  4. Citizen on January 14, 2020, 7:56 am

    Seems Britain’s leadership is competing with American leadership to see who loves to be ruled by Zionists more. What if anything is the difference between the Israel lobby in Britain and the Israel Lobby in USA? How does the Brit campaign finance system compare to the USA’s?

  5. [email protected] on January 14, 2020, 10:35 am

    So, if could all agree that the Zionists used anti-Semitism as a tool to defeat the Labour Party, we need to watch out for the same thing happening to Bernie Sanders

    • genesto on January 14, 2020, 1:11 pm

      It’s already happening. It actually started in the 2016 campaign with insinuations by the Clinton/DNC campaign (Bernie not believing in God, etc.). It’s ramping up now that Bernie is leading, or close to leading, the Democratic pack.

      What’s happening to Bernie is disgusting (as it was to Corbyn), but all too predictable.

  6. Misterioso on January 14, 2020, 10:58 am

    Speaking of Britain: A very interesting article and book reviews regarding Britain’s role in the Zionists’ dispossession and expulsion of Palestine’s indigenous Arab inhabitants:

    “Britain’s poisoned legacy in Palestine” By Rod Such, The Electronic Intifada, 13 January 2020

    “Balfour’s Shadow: A Century of British Support for Zionism and Israel, by The Electronic Intifada editor David Cronin, was published in 2017, the centenary of the declaration. That same year saw the republication of Palestine the Reality: The Inside Story of the Balfour Declaration 1917-1938 by J.M.N. Jeffries, a British journalist who was contemporary with the events.

    “Prior to that was The Balfour Declaration: The Origins of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, Jonathan Schneer’s 2010 study that shouldn’t be overlooked.

    “By examining in greater detail the period between 1918 and 1948, with a focus on two central questions, Thompson makes a resounding case for what he calls ‘a fresh, evidence-based corrective review of what happened when the British were responsible for Palestine.’

    “Thompson indicates he was motivated to write Legacy of Empire in part by a House of Lords debate on the centenary that was characterized by ‘a prevailing tone of uncritical pride’ in the declaration and the almost complete disregard of Palestinians, save for a few lonely critics.

    “Named for British foreign minister Lord Arthur James Balfour, who helped craft and implement it, the declaration is a classic example of a European colonial power attempting to set the terms for the future of a non-European land without consulting the indigenous people who represented the overwhelming majority of its population.

    “Moreover, it did so by endorsing a settler-colony project that at the time was either opposed or ignored by most of the people for whom the Zionist movement claimed to speak.

    “Anti-Semitism and a version of philo-Semitism, or appreciation for Jewish culture, that essentialized the Jewish people laid the foundation for the Balfour Declaration. As British prime minister, Balfour had presided over the passage of the Aliens Act in 1905, which was intended primarily to prevent Jews fleeing persecution in Eastern Europe from entering Britain.

    “’The Balfour Declaration,’ Thompson writes, ‘was a landmark expression of nimbyism’ – an acronym for not in my backyard – that meant viewing Jewish immigration as a problem that could be solved by creating a ‘national home’ elsewhere.

    “The anti-Semitic dimensions of the declaration did not go unnoticed at the time, particularly by the only senior minister in the British government who was Jewish, Edwin Montagu. ‘The policy of His Majesty’s Government is anti-Semitic,’ Montagu stated.

    “Montagu argued vociferously against the Zionist precept that the Jewish people represented a nation. He warned that this notion would lead to pressure to expel Jews from Britain or deny them the rights of citizenship.

    “Montagu also expressed awareness that Palestine at the time was inhabited mainly by Muslims and Christians, and he recognized that the declaration could lead to their expulsion from Palestine.

    “Why Palestine?’
    ‘The narrative of Legacy of Empire revolves around two central questions.’

    “First, why was Palestine relevant to the British Empire in 1917? And second, why did British colonialism remain faithful to Zionism, even in the wake of concerted Arab resistance such as the major revolt of the 1930s?

    “Thompson answers the first question by writing that the declaration was a ‘wartime exigency’ and ‘a tale of coincidences and contingency.’ Under H. H. Asquith, British prime minister from 1908-1916, Palestine was not ‘a strategic priority.’

    “The author questions historical accounts that say Britain collaborated with Zionism under Asquith. What made Palestine relevant, he argues, was the ascension of David Lloyd George to the premiership in December 1916, along with military setbacks that risked Britain losing the world war.

    “Thompson’s case for contingency and coincidence rests with Lloyd George, a Christian Zionist who was charmed by Chaim Weizmann, one of the leading figures in the Zionist movement.

    “Weizmann convinced Lloyd George that ‘the Jews in both Russia and the US were crucial to their respective countries remaining in the war.’ The promise of a Jewish homeland would result in Jews pressuring Tsarist Russia to remain in the war and ensure that the US would become fully involved in it.

    “In short, Weizmann sold Lloyd George on what was essentially an anti-Semitic trope of the power of ‘international Jewry.’

    “Thompson posits that British ruling circles were primarily won over to the Zionist position on ideological grounds. They accepted the precepts that Jews represented a nation in exile that suffered persecution in the diaspora and therefore had the need and right to return to Palestine.

    “But this also fit well into anti-Semitic beliefs that aligning with the Zionist movement gave Britain a strategic advantage in the war due to Jewish power and influence.

    “Statements made by British leaders from the period, quoted by Thompson, eerily evoke the white nationalism emanating from the Donald Trump administration.

    “Consider, for example, Balfour’s belief that Jewish immigration to England represented an ‘invasion’ and that Jews would never fit into English society because they were ‘a people apart.’

    “Thompson quotes similar views espoused by Winston Churchill in 1920 when he wrote in the Illustrated Sunday Herald that a ‘world-wide conspiracy’ of ‘international Jews’ threatened to destroy European civilization but concluded ‘with praise for Zionism as ‘a new ideal’ that was simple, true and attainable.’

    “Britain’s faithfulness to Zionism”
    “Why did Britain remain faithful to the Zionist movement following World War I, and despite Arab resistance? Thompson answers this by recounting the many variations in British policy – from the Peel Commission report that suggested the partition of Palestine to the White Paper of 1939 – that promised an independent state with an Arab majority.

    “But in the end, none of these policies fully renounced Britain’s colonial role or embraced the Palestinians’ right to self-determination, which Balfour had outright rejected. Nevertheless, Thompson is dismayed that there was never a ‘pragmatic shift of policy in Palestine’ given the resistance Britain encountered from Palestinian revolts.

    “The British Empire no longer exists, and the sun sets now on the United Kingdom’s own backyard. Following World War II, Great Britain not only had to relinquish its empire but it had to acknowledge – especially after the US rebuked it for its role in the 1956 Suez Crisis – that it was simply a junior partner to the Americans, a role it continues to play dutifully.

    “The kind of redemption that a Corbyn government would likely have brought has received a setback. But there is still hope that both the US and the UK will one day end their role as unofficial occupiers of Palestine.”

    Rod Such is a former editor for World Book and Encarta encyclopedias. He lives in Portland, Oregon, and is active with the Occupation-Free Portland campaign.

  7. MHughes976 on January 14, 2020, 5:26 pm

    I think that the next Labour leader will rapidly visit Israel and grovel, speaking of the wonders of self determination and blooming deserts. That will end the episode for a bit and after a while ‘Labour no longer anti-S’ will be proclaimed by the Guardian and the BBC, perhaps even by the Archbishop of Canterbury. But it will take the heart out of any idea of international human rights if the important question of rights in Palestine cannot be addressed.

    • RoHa on January 14, 2020, 10:16 pm

      I suspect the Labour party will soon collapse. Over the years, but especially since John Smith’s mur heart attack, it has become a party for the fashionable pseuds, and abandoned the working class. They now seem to be abandoning Labour.

      • RoHa on January 15, 2020, 12:52 am

        Bad writing. The working class now seem to be abandoning Labour, not the pseuds.

  8. HarryLaw on January 14, 2020, 8:50 pm

    One of the contenders for leadership of Labour Party is Emily Thornberry ….“If I was leader, I would simply not have that. Instead, driving antisemitism out of Labour would be my most urgent and immediate priority. No more suspensions, training sessions, or forgiveness, I would just kick these scumbags out of our party, the way we should have done long before now.
    Then we need to get down on our hands and knees to the Jewish community and ask them for forgiveness and a fresh start. I know that this will be a long road, but we need to take the first step, and prove that we mean it”. The Labour party is a lost cause with people like her leading it.

  9. HarryLaw on January 14, 2020, 9:07 pm

    Here is a rebuttal of the Bod’s 10 pledges from Jewish Voice for Labour
    Also in my opinion pledge 3 which reads .. “Key affected parties to complaints, including Jewish representative bodies, should be given the right to regular detailed case updates,on the understanding of confidentiality”. In my opinion this is a criminal offence which all 5 contenders inc. former Director of Public Prosecutions Sir K.Starmer declare that they intend to commit or conspire to commit in breach of section 170 of the 2018 Data protection act UK.

    • MHughes976 on January 15, 2020, 4:07 am

      Thank you for all that information, Harry. Perhaps the confidentiality clause can be used to stop a bit of the rot, but I think that in any event it will take only one word from Ms. van dear Zyl to end the political career, at least through mainstream parties and mainstream journalism, of anyone in the UK. Thornberry certainly sounds as if she means it and has internalised the message, though I noticed that some of the comments on the screed to which you referred us suggest that this is overstated convert zeal. The Zionist cause just seems to keep winning.

  10. Ossinev on January 15, 2020, 10:17 am

    I am happy to be enlightened or corrected on this but I am not aware as yet of any the claims of Anti – Semitism by BOD or any other Zionist Lobby Group or “charity ” against someone who is as his or her`s democratic right ( till now) to complain about the actions of a foreign state ,Israel , being challenged in the UK courts as being inherently defamation of character.

    The concerns raised by the JVL are cutting and to the point. Yes huge damage has been done to the Labour Party and the image of Labour as a result of this carefully orchestrated conspiracy by a foreign government but one reassurance is that the Ultra Zionists attack dogs here in the UK having been unleashed by their masters back in Israel will be very difficult to rein back in now that they have tasted all that blood and slain the demon Corbyn (whoops “blood libel” accusations) and appear to be continuing their campaign when sound advice would be to back off and lay low. The reassurance being that it will further expose the hypocrisy of the batch of Labour leadership candidates and also further expose to the general British public the bizarre influence which a tiny (.04%) proportion of the UK population appears to have over political issues in the country.
    =Truly protocolesque?

  11. HarryLaw on January 15, 2020, 12:57 pm

    Ossinev, Tony Greenstein took a case against the Campaign Against Antisemitism I think he is appealing the judgement, as you know l ibel/defamation cases involve large amounts of cash.
    On February 15th 2019 at a Preliminary Issues Hearing to determine the meaning of what the CAA said, Judge Nicklin ruled that calling someone an ‘antisemite’ is a matter of opinion not fact! Nicklin chose to ignore the fact that the misnamed ‘Campaign Against Antisemitism’ called me, 5 times, a ‘notorious antisemite’
    Calling people ‘antisemites’ is the go to insult of those who spend their lives defending the world’s most racist state. A state whose Prime Minister admitted last Sunday is not a state of its own citizens but only of its Jewish citizens.
    Here is the case….

  12. Ossinev on January 15, 2020, 2:07 pm

    @Harry Law .
    Many thanks for the feedback and the link. With regards to the CAA and the plot to prevent Corbyn at all costs you may be interested in the following:

    A classic example of an attack dog licking its chops after “slaying” the target prey and now feasting on the ” carcass”. Truly disgusting.

    But hey remember what goes round ……

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