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My life’s work as an anti-racist and anti-Zionist activist makes me an antisemite according to Labour

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on 22 Comments

Jennie Formby
The Labour Party
Southside
105 Victoria Street
London SW1E 6QT

11/2/2020

Dear Jennie Formby,

I am writing you in the wake of recent events – the expulsion of Jo Bird and the excellent letter by Natalie Strecker, as I would like to ask you to kindly refer me to the Compliance Unit, for ‘antisemitism’ – for the reasons I detail below.

I would like to tell you about my background, in order to support my request. I am an academic, author and filmmaker, an ex-Israeli Jew who has been active for over five decades as a socialist, anti-Zionist and anti-racist activist. My parents were Polish Jews, survivors of Auschwitz and other camps. They ended forced onto death marches to the Third Reich after the Auschwitz camp was vacated by the SS in Mid-January 1945. My mother was freed by the British forces in Bergen-Belsen, and my father was freed by the US forces in Mauthausen. I was born in a Displaced Persons Camp in Italy, and arrived in Israel as a baby, during June 1948, as no European country would then accept Holocaust survivors.

I served in the Israeli Army (IDF) as a junior infantry officer, and took part in two wars, in 1967 and 1973, after which I turned into a committed pacifist. I came to study in Britain in 1972, and a short while afterwards I have learnt much about Zionism which I did not while in Israel, thus becoming an ardent supporter of Palestinian rights, and an anti-Zionist activist. I was an active supporter of the Anti-Apartheid Movement as a Labour member in the 1970s and acted against racist organisations throughout my life. My films, books and articles reflect the same political views outlined here; these include a popular book on the Holocaust (Introduction to the Holocaust, with Stuart Hood, 1994, 2001 2014), among others, a BBC documentary film (State of Danger, with Jenny Morgan, BBC2, March 1988) about the first Intifada, and a forthcoming volume on the Israeli Army (An Army Like No Other, May 2020) . I have re-joined the Labour Party after decades, when Jeremy Corbyn was elected to the leadership, as I regained hope in promoting a progressive agenda for the party, after years of Blairism.

It is evident that my background qualifies me as an antisemite according to the Labour coda based on the flawed IHRA ‘definition’ of antisemitism, or rather, the weaponised version of Zionist propaganda aimed against supporters of the human and political rights of Palestinians. But I would like to add some more damning evidence, so as to make the case watertight, if I may.

Over the decades, I took part in hundreds of demonstrations against Israeli brutalities and acted against the atrocities committed by of the military occupation, in various countries – Israel, in Europe and the US. I have published articles, made films and contributed to many books and have spoken widely in a number of countries against the Israeli militarised colonisation of Palestine, the denial of any rights to most Palestinians, the severe violations of human and political rights of the Palestinian citizens of Israel, and the brutalizing impact of the IDF on Jewish Israeli society. I have also analysed the false nature of the IHRA campaign in a recent article, written from an anti-Zionist, human rights perspective. I am active in a number of political groups affiliated or close to the Labour Party, who support Palestinian rights – Jewish Voice for Labour, and Jewish Network for Palestine, of which I am a founder member.

I am aware that according to the Labour Party rules, all the above constitute what you define as antisemitism.

Personally, it is clear to me that such accusations are false and sickening, but no one asked the members on the adoption of the IHRA definition and its examples. The adopted definition makes Israel the only state in the world which one may not criticise, unless they wish to court accusations of antisemitism. To criticise the British Empire, for example, is not anti-British, and, as we speak, still allowed by Labour Party rules. To criticise the US government for its attacks on Iraq in 1991 and 2003 is not anti-American, and still allowed by US regulations. To criticise Israeli apartheid colonialism is not anti-Israeli, neither is it antisemitic, of course. What is antisemitic and racist are the current regulations of the party, and until they are changed, Jews and others who support Palestine have no reason to support a party which treats them in this way.
The Labour Party regulations are what they are; However, I have no intention of stopping my activities, toning them down, or abandoning my principles in order to satisfy the twisted logic of the Labour Party. I insist on my right, indeed, on my duty as an ex-Israeli, as a Jew, as a citizen, as a socialist and last but not least, as a human being, to openly act against and criticise Israeli Apartheid and injustices, for as long as I am able to. I also believe that as a party member of what I believed to have turned into a progressive political organisation, this should be my right and duty; but I realise that my activities are against Labour Party dogma, regulation and current interests, so am accusing myself openly through this letter, and asking you to refer me to the Compliance Unit, so that justice may be done, and that I would be treated equally to my many friends who found themselves in the same predicament – Prof. Moshe Machover, Jackie Walker, Elleanne Green, Tony Greenstein, Glyn Secker, and many others faced with the Stalinist inquisitorial system developed by the Labour Party. If you are to separate the ‘good Jews’ from the ‘bad ‘ones, please include me in the latter group, as nothing in my academic output, teaching history, publication record, or political activity can support the claim that I am not an antisemite according to your rules. I demand that justice be done.

I trust that my request will be taken seriously and acted upon, with the same combination of dispatch, bigotry and prejudice showed towards other members already accused of this offence. Failure to do so will be tantamount to evidence that the criteria for judging the existence of antisemitism are not uniformly applied.

I am ready to provide all evidence which may be required by the investigators of the Compliance Unit, to prove my guilt. Please do not hesitate to ask for assistance on points which remain unclear.

Regards,

Prof. Haim Bresheeth

Haim Bresheeth

Prof. Haim Bresheeth is a Professorial Research Associate in the SOAS School of Interdisciplinary Studies and Director of Camera Obscura Films.

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22 Responses

  1. eljay on February 14, 2020, 9:41 am

    Zionists believe that the religion-based identity of Jewish grants to those who choose to embrace it the “right” to be supremacists, to have as large as possible a supremacist state and to do unto others acts of injustice and immorality (a.k.a. “necessary evil”) they would not have others do unto them.

    Consequently, the application of justice, accountability and equality…
    – anywhere in the world other than I-P is good; but
    – in I-P is bad, anti-Semitic and maybe even “Jew hatred”.

    There is very clearly an element of insanity to injustice and immorality that is Zionism.

  2. CigarGod on February 14, 2020, 11:12 am

    Wonderful.
    Can’t wait to read the response from representatives of The Virus.

    • JWalters on February 16, 2020, 12:05 am

      Yes, we all await the decree from the Zionist “Compliance Unit” that has taken over the Labour party. Orwell is nodding his head. A standard guideline in cases of such corruption is “follow the money”. Wondering whether “virus” or “parasite” is the better metaphor?

      • CigarGod on February 17, 2020, 11:34 am

        Good point.
        “Parasites are different from bacteria or viruses because their cells share many features with human cells including a defined nucleus. … Some parasites only replicate within a host organism, but some can multiply freely in the environment.”

  3. Bumblebye on February 14, 2020, 12:01 pm

    Martin Odoni is very upset at the consequences for one Palestine supporter who was fast-track expelled earlier this month. Rightly so.

    https://thegreatcritique.wordpress.com/2020/02/14/the-witch-hunt-may-now-have-taken-its-heaviest-possible-price/

  4. Ossinev on February 14, 2020, 1:24 pm

    Excellent news . The momentum(no pun intended) is growing. I hope that each and every member of the Labour Party (Jewish or non – Jewish) who is disgusted by this manufactured Zionist controlled hijacking of their party also “out” themselves and ask to be referred to the “Compliance” unit.

  5. MHughes976 on February 14, 2020, 6:34 pm

    I think that Natalie Strecker is an anti-S under The Definition since she uses the term ‘racist’ at a crucial point but I’m not sure that it applies to an accusation of atrocities, even major ones, so long as Jews in general are not blamed for them and so long as Nazi comparisons are not explicitly drawn. It seems to me that denouncing atrocities which might objectively be considered Nazi-equivalent is not enough to trigger The Definition, you have to say ‘Nazi’ to ‘draw the comparison’. That’s if the words of that strange, odd document are taken in their natural senses.

  6. RoHa on February 15, 2020, 2:14 am

    Were I a member of the Labour Party, I would be seriously thinking of going to George Galloway and seeing what he’s got to offer.

    • JWalters on February 16, 2020, 12:10 am

      This conversation between George Galloway and Norman Finkelstein is a brilliant, lucid analysis of the campaign in Britain to drive people from politics with false accusations of anti-Semitism.
      “Prof Finkelstein: “What’s happening to Corbyn is a trial run for Bernie Sanders” | George Galloway”
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AbmCPIpGLHg

      • Citizen on February 16, 2020, 8:49 pm

        It’s happening now in America.

  7. on February 15, 2020, 3:00 am

    I just joined Labour, and would like to declare myself guilty of exactly the same offence as Prof. Haim Bresheeth. Sadly, the evidence against me is not as strong as the one he has laid out against himself. But I would hope that the investigators for the Compliance Unit take my word for it and accept that I am guilty as charged.

  8. gamal on February 15, 2020, 7:52 am

    “I have no intention of stopping my activities, toning them down, or abandoning my principles in order to satisfy the twisted logic of the Labour Party. I insist on my right, indeed, on my duty as an ex-Israeli, as a Jew, as a citizen, as a socialist and last but not least, as a human being, to openly act against and criticise Israeli Apartheid and injustices, for as long as I am able to. ”

    “Haim Bresheeth for Labour Leader” because you da man Haim. like in the little prince these neoliberal crazies believe they have fearsome weapons like the roses thorns to silence and destroy reputations hubris has made them idiotic, once you acquiesce what life can you have anyway. What choice does one have but to confront them, it’s a what did you do in the war Daddy moment, What a fine letter Professor.

  9. Misterioso on February 15, 2020, 9:54 am

    As predicted by several eminent Jews, Zionism has proven to be a curse for Judaism.

    In 1939, Albert Einstein wrote: “There could be no greater calamity than a permanent discord between us and the Arab people…. we must strive for a just and lasting compromise with the Arab people…. Let us recall that in former times no people lived in greater friendship with us than the ancestors of these Arabs.” (Einstein and Zionism by Banesh Hoffmann, in General Relativity and Gravitation, eds. , G. Shaviv and J. Rosen, Wiley, 1975, p. 242)

    Isaac Asimov, novelist:
    “I find myself in the odd position of not being a Zionist…I think it is wrong for anyone to feel that there is anything special about any one heritage of whatever kind. It is delightful to have the human heritage exist in a thousand varieties, for it makes for greater interest, but as soon as one variety is thought to be more important than another, the groundwork is laid for destroying them all.”

    I.F. Stone, US journalist: “Israel is creating a kind of moral schizophrenia in world Jewry. In the outside world the welfare of Jewry depends on the maintenance of secular, non-racial, pluralistic societies. In Israel, Jewry finds itself defending a society in which mixed marriages cannot be legalized, in which the ideal is racial and exclusionist.”

    Uri Avnery: “What will be seared into the consciousness of the world will be the image of Israel as a blood-stained monster, ready at any moment to commit war crimes and not prepared to abide by any moral restraints.”

    Henry Siegman, Rabbi and director of the U.S./Middle East Project:
    “Israel has crossed the threshold from ‘the only democracy in the Middle East’ to the only apartheid regime in the Western world.”

    Richard Cohen, US columnist:
    “The greatest mistake Israel could make at the moment is to forget that Israel itself is a mistake … the idea of creating a nation of European Jews in an area of Arab Muslims (and some Christians) has produced a century of warfare and terrorism of the sort we are seeing now. Israel fights Hezbollah in the north and Hamas in the south, but its most formidable enemy is history itself.”

    • JWalters on February 16, 2020, 12:11 am

      Thank you. CRUSH.

    • jon s on February 18, 2020, 3:59 am

      Nevertheless Albert Einstein was definitely a Zionist.
      Uri Avnery was a post-Zionist, an Israeli patriot and a key figure in the struggle for Israeli-Palestinian peace. All of us on the Israeli Left owe him a lot.

  10. punterweger on February 15, 2020, 11:52 am

    This is a great tactic. I only wish I were a member of the Labour Party so I could avail myself of it.

  11. Vera Gottlieb on February 15, 2020, 4:30 pm

    It has become quite obvious that this “anti Semite” nonsense serves one purpose and one purpose only: to silence those critical of israel’s policies towards Palestinians.

  12. iResistDe4iAm on February 16, 2020, 12:02 am

    Bravo Haim!

    Don’t let the UK Labour Party get away with Morality Apartheid:
    – one lax set of morality principles for Israel,
    – a different stricter set of morality principles for the other 194 countries.

  13. oldgeezer on February 16, 2020, 9:58 pm

    Labour is dead. All of the candidates and the party itself has subordinated itself to zionist demands whether reasonable or not. Many are clearly not. It’s done so stick a fork in it.

    Labour and socialist inclined people need to start a new party and let labour ferment as in a composte heap. George Galloway is attempting to do so but I have no idea of it’s potential. I used to think well of GG but his brexit stance had a lot of little england/racist tones to it. Whether he is that way or whether he was pandering to populism my regard for him took a severe downgrade.

    • gamal on February 17, 2020, 9:45 am

      From the time of at least Hugh Gaitskell Labour have always been led by people desperate to “sell out” only perhaps Foot and Corbyn had other ideas no surprises what happened to them then, the current crop of candidates are apparently abasing themselves before all entrenched powers….

      In Erins’ Isle Mary Lou and Sinn Fein, who got my vote futile though voting may be I enjoyed it one can still vote Socialist in this day and age what a wonder what a pleasure, I permitted myself a quiet Sinn Fein Abu…

  14. gamal on February 24, 2020, 11:19 am

    “The Labour Party Inquisition – a case study
    We reprint the more-than six month saga of George Wilmers’ investigation by the Government and Legal Unit of the Labour Party.

    This record raises many questions, some of which have been raised previously – such as the scant evidence on which the Party chooses to pursue an investigation, and a style of interrogation that appears designed to give those accused little choice but to incriminate themselves.

    But what may be new is the rigour of the challenge George has presented to the way in which this investigation, like others, has been conducted. As George, says it’s not as if these inquisitorial procedures are confined to his case and his purpose was to challenge the juridical foundations of the investigative process. The Party has yet to respond to this challenge.

    But this, coupled with the “I accuse myself” letters sent by a number of Jewish members, might be a turning point in what has seemed up till now a one-sided battle where those subject to allegations of antisemitism have been prevented from defending themselves.”

    apparently Dr. Wilmers is a professor of Mathematical Logic or something, to what appalling depths has the Labour party fallen, unsigned anonymous allegations, obviously Dr. Wilmers is Jewish, Jewish Labour party activists are notoriously anti semitic according to Uk Zionists and the media in general.

    “The context had been a debate on a motion put forward by local party bigwigs to “affiliate the local party to the JLM”, and had been couched in language which was clearly aimed at giving the JLM official recognition as the representative voice of “the Jewish community” in the Labour party, and by this means delegitimising the views of JVL members and of all those opposing the colonial and apartheid policies of Israel. Furthermore it was evident that this was not a local initiative, but part of a coordinated campaign, because the same or similar motions had been put forward in several other branches and CLP’s.

    Several Jewish members present, including myself, had expressed passionate views opposing the motion, which was eventually, in essence, defeated. During the course of the debate I had indeed attacked the overtly Zionist politics of the JLM and the fact that its main campaigning function within Labour appeared to be to conflate the concepts of antisemitism and anti-Zionism in order to promote the interests of the apartheid state of Israel, and to hound principled supporters of Palestinian rights by falsely accusing them of antisemitism. The proposers of the motion had quite obviously been infuriated by their unexpected defeat.

    On reflection however I could see absolutely no reason why I should attempt to answer an anonymous allegation that I had said something at a private Labour Party meeting four months previously which might constitute a breach of a rule, without even any indication as to why that rule might have been breached: apparently it was my duty to figure out my own indictment because the Governance and Legal Unit were too lazy to do so, and the anonymous accuser was presumably too busy making a plethora of other anonymous accusations to bother with such trivia.

    So, in my mounting fury, rather than engaging with the ridiculous “allegation”, I resolved instead to attempt to challenge at its base the whole monstrous edifice of inquisitorial procedures.”

    that letter can be enjoyed at link, the appendix excellent.

    https://www.jewishvoiceforlabour.org.uk/article/the-labour-party-inquisition-a-case-study/

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