Faced with claims that Labour antisemitism poses an existential threat to Jews, on the one side, and arguments that antisemitism is neither widespread nor institutionalised in the party, on the other, it might be tempting to split the difference and assume that the truth lies somewhere in between. But Jamie Stern-Weiner and Alan Maddison say the truth of this controversy lies not in the middle but at one pole: there is no ‘Labour antisemitism crisis’.
Tag Archives: Jeremy Corbyn
Chief Rabbi Efraim Mirvis has no lessons to teach Corbyn or the Labour party about racism. In fact, it is his own, small-minded prejudice that blinds him to the anti-racist politics of the left. His ugly message is now being loudly amplified by a corporate media keen to use any weapon it can, antisemitism included, to keep Corbyn and the left out of power – and preserve a status quo that benefits the few at the expense of the many.
The witch-hunt against Jeremy Corbyn for supposed ‘anti-Semitism’ has been a consistent feature in British politics, orchestrated by Israel and its allies also in Jewish organizations. Chief UK rabbi Mirvis has just served a desperate incitement-blow in a Times article.
Chief Rabbi Mirvis, what is the clear and present danger presented by the Labour party to Jews? Perhaps you can give me a rough idea of what I should expect, so I know whether to be ready to pack my bags when the election results come through. You are right when you say “the soul of our nation is at stake.” But you don’t seem to care about how we treat the poorest and most vulnerable, how urgently we tackle climate change, or our attitude towards human rights and international law. From Robert Cohen’s letter to the Jewish leader.
Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party understands Palestine as a moral foreign policy cause of this generation, and affixes it to their material fight against neoliberal austerity. Nick Rodrigo writes that this relationship lies in the radical street politics of the British student movement between 2008-2011.
In the December election in the UK, the disparity between rich and poor; our response to the Climate Emergency; and the future of the United Kingdom all need to be central themes of the campaign. The one issue that does not need to be part of the debate is antisemitism. The charge is leveled against Corbyn because he will change policy re Israel.
Guardian editor Jonathan Freedland’s latest attack on Jeremy Corbyn robs the charge of antisemitism of its real and important meaning. His broadside is a hodgepodge of assertions based on guilt-by-association and statements taken out of context. If 87 percent of British Jews now believe Corbyn is antisemitic it is because of the media parroting pro-Israel propaganda.
Jeremy Corbyn’s success in Great Britain reflects an eroding neoliberal consensus that the establishment is fighting to maintain. To undercut Corbyn this establishment has attempted to recharacterize his support for the Palestinians and criticism of Israel as anti-semitism. These attacks have transformed the whole discursive landscape on Israel, the Palestinians, Zionism and anti-semitism in ways unimaginable 20 years ago.
Jonathan Cook writes that while there are signs politicians in the U.S. are finally ready to shine a light onto the pro-Israel lobby, the opposite is taking place in United Kingdom. He says this is due to the way the Israel lobby has recently emerged in British politics – hurriedly, and in a mix of panic and damage limitation mode due to the rise of Jeremy Corbyn, and the end of the international two-state consensus.
The charges of anti-Semitism in the UK Labour Party reflect a program by Israel supporters to smear those who bear witness to apartheid in Palestine who are slowly changing the country’s global reputation. Today a growing number of Jews support Palestinian rights, while Israel is forging a strange alliance with Islamophobes and nationalists.
UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn called for Britain to cease arms sales to Israel following a UN report that the Israeli army’s actions against Palestinian protesters in Gaza’s Great March of Return could amount to war crimes. “The UK government must unequivocally condemn the killings and freeze arms sales to Israel,” Corbyn tweeted Friday.
A new documentary called WitchHunt points out the narrow room for debate over alleged antisemitism in the British Labour Party. Anti-Zionist Jews are excluded as unrepresentative of British Jews. And why is it okay to talk about antisemitism and Zionism in Britain without asking a Palestinian what their direct experience of Zionism has looked and felt like?
Jonathan Cook says that elites in the U.S. and Europe have moved on from their once-defensive posture that Zionism is not racism. Now, they are on the attack. Their presumption is that anti-Zionism is synonymous with racism and across the West there are efforts to codify this into law. Nowhere is this clearer than in France where Emmanuel Macron recently threatened to outlaw anti-Zionism.
Israeli left Zionist Union lawmaker Ayelet Nahmias-Verbin attended a UK Labour conference, where she said that Jeremy Corbyn is an anti-Semite because he is not “balanced” on the Israel-Palestine issue but that it would be impossible for Benjamin Netanyahu to be a racist.
There are lots of good reasons to think the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism, now adopted “in full” by Labour’s national committee and by Labour MPs, is, well, a bit rubbish, writes Robert Cohen: “The truth of the matter is, the Jewish community can no longer define ‘Zionism,’ or indeed ‘anti-Semitism,’ without the help of Palestinians.”
Pete Gregson on the fallout in the UK Labour Party after the vote adopting the full IHRA definition of antisemitism: “What we are seeing is a Party in fear of the media, allowing Zionists to undermine freedom of speech. What we need to do is show those in fear of bad press that the NEC cannot pay lip service to a thing that it does not believe in. For who can argue that Israel is not a racist state? It’s as if we’re allowing Theresa May and Netanyahu to write our rule book here.”
The UK Jewish establishment war on Jeremy Corbyn continues with Rabbi Jonathan Sacks likening him to British pol Enoch Powell, infamous for a bigoted speech. British Jewry is weakening its battle against real anti-Semitism, and weakening its connection to minority communities that face harsh discrimination.
Next week the UK Labour Party’s governing body, the National Executive Committee (NEC), will be voting on whether to adopt examples of antisemitism put forth by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance in its definition of antisemitism. Pete Gregson wrote to all 26 NEC candidates to seek their views on the vote. Of the 12 responses that came back, 5 were for adopting the full IHRA definition and examples, 6 were for no change, and 1 was unsure. Of those in favor, he posed the question “If it’s passed and I said Israel is a racist state, would I get expelled?”
In a few days Britain’s Labour Party will decide if it will adopt a controversial definition of anti-Semitism. Norman Finkelstein writes, “If the Labour Party adopts these taboos, respected scholarship will be suppressed while Israel will become the beneficiary of a pernicious double standard.”
A coalition of 24 Palestinian civil society groups, including the largest trade unions, professional associations and refugee networks, released a statement urging the UK Labour Party and trade unions to reject the “biased, anti-Palestinian” IHRA definition of antisemitism which seeks to conflate antisemitism with criticism of Israel. The definition they say, “aims to silence criticism of Israeli policies that clearly violate Palestinian human rights.”
On August 19, Israeli Advocate Eitay Mack filed a freedom of information request to shed light on the government’s role in the ongoing smear campaign against UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn. In an interview with Mondoweiss, Mack spoke about his motivations behind filing such a request, the significance of Israel’s possible interference in UK politics, and the Netanyahu government’s failure to challenge real threats of anti-Semitism in Europe and around the world.
Last week an unprecedented intervention occurred into the debate in the UK over the definition of antisemitism. Over 80 community, professional and rights-based organisations representing black, minority ethnic and diaspora peoples decried what they say is the framing of antisemitism in a way to ‘silence’ Palestinians, and other migrant groups, from speaking about their history.
In a piece in the New York Review of Books on the Labour anti-semitism controversy, Matt Seaton lumps anti-Zionism with anti-Jewish bigotry. The unspoken assumption of the article is that Palestinians have no right to be anti-Zionist and that anti-Zionism is a form of vitriolic zealotry and can never be a principled human rights position.
The current hysteria engulfing the British Labour Party is based on the premises that anti-Semitism in British society at large and the Labour Party in particular has reached crisis proportions. There is no evidence for either claim, Norman Finkelstein shows.
Jimmy Wales the founder of Wikipedia has disappointed a lot of folks in the last day by siding with Israel over the latest exchange of fire between Israel and Gaza, and by essentially accusing British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn of anti-semitism.