A Judenfrei Israel Hatefest in UK Parliament

excluded april 18

I applied to go to this anti-Israel meeting in a Committee Room in Parliament on 18 April. It was hosted by Dr David Drew MP (who has ‘form’).  I was rejected. I applied at the same time under a name which did not sound Jewish. I was accepted.

The Commons’ Code of Conduct (paragraph 16) says ‘Members shall never undertake any action which would cause significant damage to the reputation and integrity of the House of Commons as a whole, or of its Members generally.’

I would say that barring someone from a meeting because they have a Jewish-sounding name is antisemitic, no? And that such a practice would indeed ‘cause significant damage to the reputation and integrity of the House of Commons as a whole, or of its Members generally.’

But look at the reply I got from Kathryn Stone OBE (the Commissioner for Standards): ‘Broadly speaking decisions about whom to invite to, and exclude from, a meeting are manifestations of the views and opinions of the individual(s) making such decisions. The Committee on Standards has made clear that it would expect paragraph 16 of the Code to be breached only in extreme and extremely limited circumstances.

So it’s OK for MPs to be complicit in antisemitic practices ……..or is it just pro-Israel Jews who are locked out ….

 

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Rosenhead and Sizer demonise and stereotype Jews on PressTV

This nasty PressTV programme was broadcast today with Jonathan Rosenhead and Stephen Sizer.

Jonathan Rosenhead leads the academic boycott and is Vice Chair of the hardcore antisemitic Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign. He’s Vice Chair of Free Speech on Israel and a leader of the closely related JVL (Jewish Voice for Labour).

Stephen Sizer left his job as a Church of England Vicar after the Board of Deputies criticised him for publishing antisemitic materials and the Bishop of Guildford banned him from comments about the Middle East on social media for six months.  Corbyn defended him.

In the programme, Rosenhead blames Jewish institutions for whipping up fears about antisemitism: “Many Jews are fearful and feel that the Labour Party is infected with antisemitism. That’s the result of the campaign by the Board of Deputies and the Jewish Leadership Council

Sizer repeats the lie about the YouGov polls, suggesting there is more antisemitism on the right than on the left.

Sizer stereotypes the UK Jewish Community:Clearly the Jewish Community – or the Zionist Community – is paranoid about Jeremy Corbyn becoming the next Prime Minister” …….. Notice how he forgets to say ‘Zionists’ instead of ‘Jews’ – thus betraying his antisemitic intent………..

…. and then implicitly demonises itThe strategy that ‘they’ [=the people who attack Corbyn, but it comes immediately after the stereotype] use is consistent, they will try and intimidate you by criticism. And if that doesn’t work they will try and isolate you by intimidating others. And if the isolation doesn’t work they will try and incriminate you – accuse you of criminal behaviour, antisemitism, Holocaust denial and so on.”

Rosenhead plays the victim: “It’s a campaign  to say we are the wrong sort of Jews and it’s not very much of  a step to say that JVL is a nest of antisemites” ….

….. lies about the Prevent counter-extremism programmePrevent is supposed to be about terrorism but it’s actually focussed on Palestine” ……….

…. and voices the antisemitic wish for the end of the Jewish State: “I believe Corbyn is bound to lead the Party towards the logic of a One State solution but One State where half the people are not disenfranchised and dominated by the other in a racist regime.”

corbyn pinter.png

And look how PressTV uses the picture of Corbyn when he first met Rabbi Pinter, to suggest that all is sweetness and light between him and the Jewish Community. But it’s a false picture: Rabbi Pinter was at the BoD/JLC demonstration against Labour antisemitism in Parliament Square and told Jonathan Freedland he’s “very unhappy” with his image being used in this way.

Antisemitism Meeting: Corbyn Economical with the Truth?

The Board of Deputies and JLC issued the following statement after their meeting tonight with Jeremy Corbyn:
corbyn meeting bod jlc apr 18

Note the BoD/JLC’s disappointment that Corbyn refused “to adopt the full IHRA definition of antisemitism with all its examples and clauses”. In fact this was NOT in the BoD/JLC’s set of conditions for Labour.  What it said was “The Party should circulate the IHRA definition of antisemitism, with all its examples and clauses, to all members and branches. The Party should work with mainstream Jewish community organisations to develop and implement education about antisemitism. This should include a clear list of unacceptable language, based on the full IHRA definition and on the examples included in your letter of 26 March.

Why wasn’t it in the conditions? Because the NEC HAS ADOPTED the IHRA. Which includes all the examples (contrary to what Jewish Voice for Labour would have you think).

Did Corbyn and Milne SERIOUSLY suggest to the BoD/JLC delegation that the IHRA Definition had NOT been adopted by Labour?

Update: Someone present at the meeting says “Their view was that the definition had been adopted but not the examples(Jonathan Arkush said this on BBC TV after the meeting).  But this is a nonsense:

1. The definition includes the examples, see link above;

2. The top sentence of the definition is unworkable in isolation (‘Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews‘).  For Corbyn/Milne to suggest otherwise, shows they  simply ‘don’t get it’ – or more likely, don’t want to get it.

Update #2: For the last two years the Jewish Leadership Council (JLC) has encouraged local authorities to adopt the IHRA definition (1). The JLC kindly shared with me their list of the LAs which have adopted. On a partial examination, I found 13 Labour-controlled authorities which either have adopted it in full or have stated that they adopted the Definition, following the government’s lead: Durham, Harrow, Lancaster (Lab minority), Dudley (Lab minority), Camden, Haringey, Burnley, Corby, Durham, Lewisham, Redbridge, Wakefield, Exeter.  I will try to complete the examination later.

In the light of this Corbyn’s backtracking looks even more scandalous and ridiculous.

Update #3: Diane Abbott lets the cat out of the bag.  Corbyn wants to turn the clock back because he believes the statement that Israel is a racist state has some validity and shouldn’t be deemed ‘antisemitic’. So Jews are the only minority not allowed to say what constitutes prejudice against it.

(1) As of mid-January 120 authorities had adopted; now it’s probably over 150.

Methodist Denial of Antisemitism: We Call BS

In February I was present at a horrifically antisemitic  meeting at a Methodist Church in St Albans. I described it here and David Collier described it here.

I complained to the Methodist Church. I assisted them by transcribing the whole talk and flagging the parts that were offensive:

*********************************************
Reverend Rosemary Fletcher : It’s nice to see you all here. Some I know have been before, for some it’s your first time. Some of you asked me where the facilities are, they are through the door and turn left [….] Hopefully you’ve all brought your sandwiches and got refreshments as you came in. There are also leaflets and products, I guess Tim and Mayonne will introduce those in a little while.

(0.34) The usual drill of signing-in sheets, so we have a little idea of who’s here and […] when you’d like to come again.  A flyer for the next Thinking Lunch, the first of March one. The Reverend Paul ?Tapwood, A Christian response to terrorism. Paul and I were at theological college together an awful long time ago .. not sure if we’ve seen each other, since we were ordained. [….]

Not sure we will recognise each other […]

(1.32) He is the Executive Director of the Church […] Fund and his talk is ‘A Christian response to terrorism. [….]

Please take a flyer for next time.  […] If you didn’t get the chance to sign in just collar me afterwards. I’ll start here with the gentleman in the front row.

(2.06) It’s not compulsory to sign in but it is compulsory to take a flier for next time.

(2.15) I’m delighted to welcome Tim and Mayonne. We’ve never met before until today. We’ve had an email correspondence. They did a talk to a group that some friends of mine organised in Farnham.  Farnham Humanist Society.  My friend Jenny said they are brilliant, you must get them for your Thinking Lunch series

In the summer of 1962 Tim worked on a Kibbutz close to Nazareth and then travelled around Israel, before  a posting to Singapore. In 2013 shocked by the film The Promise . Returned four times meeting both Palestinians and Jews.

Homes have been demolished.

(3.45) Each time we have a speaker, any profit we make goes to a charity or an organisation of the speakers’ wishing. Please give generously.

After you’ve heard the talk. All profits to the cause that the speakers have chosen.

They will speak for about 30m and then we’ll have questions. I know some of you have to go early, that’s fine, come and go as you please.

Mayonne Caldicott: Good afternoon. Tim will do the talking for us as he is miked up.

Tim Caldicott: Good afternoon, or as they say in the countries we have spent quite a lot of time in  [….]. We’re grateful to have the chance to share some of the things we’ve learned during five visits now to Israel/Palestine. I should explain that the reason I’ve got this text here is front of me is to stop me from rambling on.

I’ll jump straight in. This slide is Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem. I’ll go straight to the title ‘Saving Israel’.  Surely with the open support of the US, surely with its superior military power, Israel needs no saving? And how does what happens to the Palestinians have any bearing on saving Israel? Why should we concern ourselves in Britain?

Well I’ll try and sketch in quickly some of the things we don’t hear from our media or from our politicians so that we can discuss what our answer would be to these issues.

(6.45) In the summer of 1962 I worked on a Kibbutz and absorbed the founding story of Israel.

It’s what Israeli Jewish children are brought up to believe, to this day. [pause, 7.20 on audio] [12:43:40 on video]

That interesting group of Israeli schoolchildren being introduced to weapons by their parents. The sort of things that they learn are ….. They study Jewish history quite separately from world history[1]. With a special emphasis from a very young age on the Shoah, or the Holocaust as we know it.  The message that they are taught is, it could happen again, unless we are vigilant and strong. About Israel, the story is that Palestine was a land without people, ready for the Jews as a people without land[2]. They’re taught that there is no such thing as the Palestinian people[3]. Only Arabs who “want to throw us into the sea”[4].

By contrast the Israeli Defence Force they are told is the most moral army in the world. So every Jewish Israeli youngster must be proud to accept military service as a duty.  It’s all that stands between Israel  they are told – the only democracy in the Middle East – and disaster.  The message all the time is “we are victims, why is the world against us? It must be because the world is antisemitic.[5]

That story is very […] to the story we in Britain believe.

Yet 20% of the Israeli population is Palestinian and their experience is somewhat different.

In the whole of Israel by the way there are only five schools where Jews and Palestinians are taught together and learn each other’s language.  And recently these schools have been firebombed. Palestinian children have to learn Jewish history.  Their curriculum is not allowed to make any mention of the Naqba or disaster of 1948.

So in 2013 we were introduced  to a different story.  Near Nablus there is a Jewish Moshav called Zippore.  There are pleasant woods there.  There’s an old Crusader fort up on the hill. You might see it on this slide here.

A rampant clump of stubble always happens around Palestinian villages. Because this is on the edge of an old Palestinian cemetery.  Old? Well they haven’t been allowed to bury here since 1949.

(10.24) Because this is what the area looked like in 1945. You can see the Crusader fort there.

There was a large Palestinian township here called Saffuriya. Not Zippore, Saffuriya.  It was blown up and levelled in the early 1950s[6]. And this was the experience of over 400 Palestinian communities.

Here is a map and it shows what the UN proposed when they proposed there should be two States in the Mandate for Palestine that Britain was relinquishing.

The light sandy coloured area was the Jewish State, the darker ochre colour was the Arab State and the international city of Jerusalem was to be subject to special rules.

The problem is that though Jews owned only 7% of the land and represented a third of the population of the Mandate of Palestine at the time, they were allocated 55% of the territory.

And even before the mandate came to an end in 1948, Jewish military forces began to implement a longstanding plan called Plan Dalet, of attacking Palestinian villages and terrorising the population so that they fled[7].  The Palestinians lacked the resources to fight back as these had been destroyed by the British in putting down the revolt of 1937/38. So by the end of 1948, the Jews had added a further 23% of the land area to what the UN had proposed for the Jewish State.  And had taken   60% of what had been proposed for the Palestinian [State].

This is what the Arabs call the Naqba, the catastrophe [8].

So there is a flaw right at the start of Israel’s story.

It was not an empty land. It was not Jews who faced being pushed into the sea. It was Palestinians, literally. They were herded into boats in Jaffa and sent down to Gaza, and in Haifa pushed onto boats and sent up to Lebanon.

So that [..] the experience of the Palestinians.  Nearly three quarters of a million Palestinians became refugees.  But 150,000 remained in what became Israel. They were regarded as enemies[9] and were subjected to military rule. And worse, they experienced the ‘Judaisation’ of their land[10]. They were (13.33) prohibited on pain of death from returning to their villages.  The land was declared quote ‘the exclusive and perpetual property of the Jewish people’.  Untended farms just lapsed into state ownership. So by 1950, 92% of the land was in Jewish hands.

Now Ben Gurion’s vision for Eretz Israel came a step further in 1967. The frontier was pushed to the Jordan. But the Israeli response made the dilemma of ‘Two People In One Land’ worse.

(14.26) By 2014 alongside 6.2 million Jewish Israelis there were – in addition to the 1.7 million Palestinian Israelis – there were now 2.8 million West Bank Palestinians and 1.7 million in Gaza.  So now Jews in Israel are matched in number by Palestinians in Israel and the occupied territories.  And remember there are still over 5 million Palestinian refugees, most now in Jordan and Lebanon although a few are hanging on in Syria.

(15.02) This is referred to in Israel as a ‘demographic time bomb’. But surely whether it’s a bomb or not depends on how Israel does  ‘occupation’.

There have been voices within Israel ever since 1968 warning of the effect that becoming an occupying power would have on the nature of Israeli society. Here is the view of one authoritative Jewish academician, Professor […] [?Leibnitz?] with a response from a former head of Shin Bet, the Israeli security service

[Video clip]

Such predictions though were ignored.The policy of illegal[11] settlements  started in 1968

An early one was Kiryat Arba. We heard from him how settlers behaved towards the Palestinians.

(18.16) [Video clip] Tim M “they’re denying it” [12.54.46 on the video]

(19.48) (12.56.18) Outside Bethlehem a special farm exists called Tent of Nations. It’s owned by Palestinians and is on one of the few hillsides left not occupied illegally by settlers.

They planted a new orchard in the valley below.  The settlers laid claim to the land. The High Court was due to decide the case shortly after this photo was taken. But not wanting to wait for the judgment, the settlers – aided by the IDF – (20.26) took matters into their own hands. Another […] was evicted. This sort of thing goes on all the time in the occupied West Bank.  In 1994 a settler murdered 29 Palestinians at prayer in the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron.  Israel decided the ensuing protests were best dealt with by separating the small settler population of the city from the 150,000 Palestinian majority.  H2 is the zone they established where 450 settlers are defended by 1500 Israeli troops. In 2013 we met a Palestinian family who still lived in H2, in the district of Tel ?Rumaya?.

(21.14) (12:57:50) A small settlement of Jews from Brooklyn overlooks their house.  The settlers act like neighbours from hell. Throwing rubbish, things like old refrigerators down into the garden, poisoning the trees. Frequently invading the house and vandalising.  This is the family.  Hassem the father is dead now.  He died from tear gas inhalation and he leaves behind  a son and two daughters. I wonder how they survive with […]

The Palestinian market in H2 has to be protected from rubbish and worse being thrown  from the settlers’ houses above. There’s no point in asking the IDF to help. They are there to protect the settlers.  Make a complaint and you could well find yourself arrested.  Peaceful protesting?  Forget it. Military Order 101 makes most of the rights we take for granted, forbidden.  We met this man ??Isser Ambler??   These are some of the things he’s not allowed to do.  Organising and participating in protesting; taking part in assemblies or vigils; waving flags or other political symbols; printing and distributing political material; influencing public opinion. All of that is illegal under Military Order 101.

??Isser Ambler?? is currently under trial on old charges that were dropped several years ago, but they’ve been  brought out again for want of a better reason to charge him.

It’s just to have a pretext for locking him away for few years, for being a persistent nonviolent protester and resister.  He leads resistance against the closure of this street, Shehade Street, next to settler homes.  A closure that’s a precursor to further theft of Palestinian property[12].

The peace process. This is the interim stage of the Oslo Peace process reached in 1995. And I’ll just explain it. The dark areas are the areas under control of the Palestinian Authority; the light yellow areas are under the joint control of Israel and the Palestinian Authority; the white area, Area C, is under the sole control of Israel. The little dots which you can see in Area C, those are settlements being established illegally[13], contrary to international law, in a part of the West Bank which the Oslo Peace process envisaged in 1998 would be handed over to the Palestinians – the whole West Bank would become the Palestinian State and Gaza too, a two state peace process.

We travelled through Area C where Israel still controls everything. We met villagers trying to resist the ethnic cleansing process going on.  Because Israel grants Palestinians almost no permits to build, but families need homes!  If you build a home for your extended or growing family then it’s liable to be slapped with a (25.13) demolition order, maybe not immediately but any time. Until they’re ready.  (25.16) And this is what it looks like.

[Video clip of house demolition]

Is occupying in this way going to save Israel?

(26.46) We listened to Osama whose house had been demolished the night before we met him

[Video or audio]

28.07 This is the harvest of aubergines ready for market.  Now rotting. Because the wholesaler didn’t want to come, he was too scared.  He didn’t want to be associated with trouble.

[…] The children on the left there. What are they experiencing? What are they thinking? Well that was in November 2013. In January the IDF returned and demolished the remaining home in the community.

So where are those kids now? What are they learning in this process?

We visited the ?Aida? refugee camp in Bethlehem.  And with some children that the Israelis treated as terrorists. Striking fear into the IDF.  Stones against fully armed soldiers.  They were throwing stones at the control tower at the edge of the refugee camp. And the soldiers replied with tear gas.

(29.15) This is the sort of thing these youngsters fear, during the night time incursions which the IDF frequently makes into this refugee camp, to harass families and to arrest youngsters.

(29.24) [Video clip]

Is that enough about occupying on the Israeli side?  But I haven’t shown you – yet – the effect of Israel’s use of live ammunition in controlling unarmed civilians[14]. Like the young man in … that we met. Crippled in his leg. His story is, he was six years old, playing with his friend. An Israeli soldier started shooting and his leg was hit three times.  When he woke from the operation he was told he had lost his leg. And his reflection on that? He realised you should never simply give up. Quite some courage.

According to Sabeel, a human rights group based in Bethlehem, a ‘Captain Nidal[15]’ of the IDF has threatened young men in [..] refugee camp, as follows: “I will make all the youths of the camp disabled.  I will have all of you walking with crutches and in wheelchairs. I will make half of you disabled and let the other half push the wheelchairs.”

The Israeli Army raided [?Arisha] three times between the end of July and mid-August 2017. At least 18 youths between 14 and 27 years old were shot in their legs. 8 were shot directly in the knee and several more in both knees.

(31.58) And you wonder, is this how the Children of the Prophet[16] are meant to behave?

Time is pressing and I haven’t yet mentioned the execution by the IDF of wounded Palestinians[17].

Many cases, all captured on Youtube.

But one youngster we know crawled through a hole in a barbed wire fence to collect special herbs […] in a market just out of reach on the other side.  He was ambushed by the IDF, they knew that this was what he was going to do. He was shot in both [..]. And then he tried to pull away, he was killed.

We met his uncle, we know this happened. The most moral army in the world?

(33.00) Israel’s problem is that the record has caught up with the story – and we now know that the story was never true[18].

But we have to move on.  So next question.  What happens to the Palestinians if we are to save Israel?  Is it to be like Gaza? Blockade for 11 years.  Invaded 4 times.  The infrastructure and housing destroyed. Unemployment 41%.   People increasingly vulnerable.  Food insecurity which robs them of the opportunity to provide for their families.  Extreme poverty leading to depression and hopelessness.  Water shortage, turning saline, polluted by sewage. Unfit for humans in the view of the WHO. And a 14% jump in kidney disease directly attributable to that.

(33.53) So who might you vote for after 35 years of occupation like that? Or will the Palestinians be restricted to Bantustans, like you see in this clip?

[Al Jazeera video clip]

So will the Palestinians living in those bantustans be expected to follow the prescription of this member of the Israeli Knesset? “We must encourage Arabs to willingly leave both from the cities and from the state”. Is this what Israelis mean by ‘encouraged’?

Professor Arnon […]of Haifa University says: “We will have to kill and kill and kill. All day. Everyday”

But then he worried : “But how can the men who did the killing return home and be normal human beings?” Yes that is the dilemma.

The answer from their Prime Minister, Bibi is “We will live by the sword, forever.”

But the […] “that state living by the sword forever” is a trick

(13.12.20) They remember an earlier long [..] won by King David. ?Amner, King Saul’s army chief, asked Yoav, commander of David, “Shall the sword [..]? [….] in the land of ?Egypt. Well Yoav didn’t listen. He killed Amnon.

We met members of Kibbutz ?Zikim in 2014, and one of the things they told us, and I quote
“We’re stuck with this government. They pump up fear and paranoia. [..] extremism. It’s a sickness. If we didn’t have the Arab community we would be falling apart.”

So is it civil war that Israel  […]?

We visited [..], home to over 60,000 Palestinian Israelis. They’re citizens of Israel with votes. But without the same rights as Jewish Israelis[19]. They have more freedom and better prospects than Palestinians in the occupied West Bank. So … Will the Israeli Palestinians find themselves confined to a Palestinian homeland, when Trump’s Masterplan is revealed? Their status at a stroke reduced from citizen to guest worker? Isn’t that phrase just like [..] the Bantu, in apartheid South Africa? Because this is what happens even now if you are an Israeli Palestinian living under […]

This is a Beduin village […] in the Negev. It’s to be cleared so that Jewish Israelis can build a small town [..] on the same site, a town for Jews only[20]. […] once destroyed, will be covered  by […]

Does that sound familiar? That’s what always happens.

So this is Israel’s dilemma. They want to be a state for Jews only[21].  And they want to be seen as a democracy.  But if Israel stretches from to Med to the Jordan and contains over 6 million Palestinians, it cannot be a pure Jewish state and also a democracy.  On the other hand, ending the occupation would challenge to the core the way Israelis think about themselves.  And equally (these are some of the objects)  what would Israeli society look like, without the occupation?

[13.15.08 on video]
Lording over Palestinians’ daily life is deeply rooted in Israelis’ day to day experience[22]. Peace frightens many Jewish Israelis because it means losing privilege[23].

So the Occupation must be maintained[24]. But quietly. Because ending it would undo Israeli identity.

Even recognising that occupation exists undermines the way Israelis see reality[25].

So equally it’s for us – British people – hearing this story – to decide what we’re prepared to allow and what we’re prepared to do if the treatment of Palestinians just does not fit with our values.

Here are some of the ideas. You could go there, take a study tour, with ICAHD [..] or [..] Amos Trust. Or an organisation called ?Oratory.

Join the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign and meet other people with similar concerns about what’s going on.

And support the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement[26].

But I should warn you, if you do join the PSC, Israel won’t in future allow you entry to the country. Support for non-violent dissent is clearly seen in Israel as dangerous actually.  So gradually it seems ghetto walls[27] will be built and extend and surround all of Israel, exactly as Netanyahu has envisaged. He’s on the record as saying that’s his solution.

Personally Mayonne and I have been […] We think trying to separate the two peoples in this land of Palestine is a big mistake.  And I want to show you a clip to show you what happens when people do dare to meet and listen and acknowledge each other’s story.   In Jerusalem we met people from the Bereaved Families Forum where Jews and Arabs come together, each having lost family members to the conflict.  And they’re able to recreate a closeness of Muslims and Jews that used to exist in Palestine in the 1920s. [..] the violence respectively of the Holocaust and the Naqba.

[Video clip]
******************************************

You can see, it’s all there: Holocaust Revisionism; judging Israel differently to other democratic nations; mendacious, dehumanizing and demonising allegations about Jews; using Nazi language about Jews. Plus the lies, plus the presence IN A CHURCH of the PSC, an organisation riddled with hardcore antisemites and Holocaust Deniers.

Note that the Methodists’ definition of antisemitism appears to encapsulate the IHRA Definition, widely accepted including by all major parties, over 200 local authorities and the UK government:

methodist 1

The response to my complaint was signed by Rev Dr David Chapman. You can read it here:

methodist 2

In short, it is a disgrace. It shows no understanding whatsoever of the contemporary problem of antisemitism and even no recognition of the Methodists’ own definition of it.Peace frightens many Jewish Israelis because it means losing privilege” – what an obscene antisemitic lie.  Where is the ‘privilege’ in having to send your children away to the army, knowing there is a risk of them being killed or maimed? Where is the ‘privilege’ in being blown up by a suicide bomber or attacked with a knife? And where is the recognition of the sacrifices Israelis made for the peace treaties with Jordan and Egypt?

I appealed to the ‘connexional complaints panel’ (Rev Andrew Goodhead, Rev Brenda Mosedale and Rev Christopher Jones). They quickly agreed with Rev Chapman’s whitewash.

The meeting at Marlborough Methodist Church on 1 February was an obscenity. Shame on those Methodists who fail to call out racism for what it is.

[1] Not true; caricatures Jewish people and culture

[2] This was never said by a Zionist. Also not true; caricatures Jewish people and culture

[3] Not true; caricatures Jewish people and culture

[4] Not true; caricatures Jewish people and culture

[5] Not true; caricatures Jewish people and culture

[6] Incites hate against Jews. Saffuriya aligned with the Arab irregular forces. It was hostile and had joined those trying to destroy the Jewish state.

[7] Not true; Plan Dalet was a defence plan. Incites hatred against Jews.

[8] Holocaust Revisionism. Discriminates against Jews. The Holocaust was in no way equivalent to the few thousand Arabs displaced by Jews in 1948 (se Efraim Karsh, http://www.paulbogdanor.com/israel/karsh1948.pdf).

[9] Not true; incites hatred against Jews

[10] Not true; incites hatred against Jews

[11] No court has ruled them illegal; incites hatred against Jews

[12] Not true; no such ‘theft’ is planned, neither has there been ‘theft’. Incites hatred against Jews

[13] See above; no court has found them illegal. Incites hatred against Jews

[14] Not true; Incites hatred against Jews

[15] No clue given who he is; unable to verify. Incites hatred against Jews

[16] Judging Israel by standards not applied to other nations.

[17] A lie which incites hatred against Jews

[18] Suggests Israel falsifies history; incites hatred against Jews

[19] Arabs have the same rights as Jews. Incites hatred against Jews

[20] Not true; Incites hatred against Jews

[21] Not true; Incites hatred against Jews

[22] Outrageous deeply antisemitic lie. Incites hatred against Jews

[23] Outrageous deeply antisemitic lie. Incites hatred against Jews

[24] Outrageous deeply antisemitic lie. Incites hatred against Jews

[25] Outrageous deeply antisemitic lie. Incites hatred against Jews

[26] The Methodists do not have a Boycott policy. Completely wrong to have this policy recommended in a Church

[27] ‘Ghetto walls’ is a Nazi comparison which is antisemitic if used about Jews

Update: I appealed to the heads of the Methodist Church, Rev Loraine Mellor and Rev Canon Gareth Powell.  They claimed they do not have the power to overrule the decision. They asked me to remove from this blog the names of those who considered my complaint. I refused. They must be able to be held accountable for their appalling decision.

Labour in Barnet

Labour candidates in Barnet are suggesting that if Labour takes control of Barnet on May 3, the Council will become a bastion in the struggle against the antisemitism cultivated by the Labour leadership.  You would imagine that would mean they would all accept the IHRA definition of antisemitism, wouldn’t you.

Liberal Rabbi Danny Rich is a Labour candidate in West Finchley Ward. He does not accept the IHRA definition because he does not accept that ‘Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination’ is antisemitic.  Those considering voting for him may think this important information.

On March 21 2010 Liberal Rabbi Rich allowed Jeff Halper (then of “Israel Committee Against House Demolitions ”) to have a platform at the Montagu Centre (Liberal Judaism’s main building). The meeting was organised by “Jews for Justice for Palestinians” but Rabbi Rich let the hall to them and was at the meeting.

Jeff Halper openly advocates ‘One State’. Rabbi Rich was widely criticised for giving him a platform. I have copies of emails to him from Senior Communal Leader A (“It is remarkable that you hosted such a person”) and Senior Communal Leader B:

“I just cannot imagine why any Jew, particularly a Zionist Jew, would invite Jeff Halper to speak in public to a predominantly Jewish audience in this country. Halper believes in a one state solution – the end of a Jewish State – and believes Israel to be an apartheid regime. He continually criticises and demonises Israel and is a perfect tool for all those who want to delegitimise and destroy our State of Israel. Whereas I truly believe in freedom of speech and democracy, and Israel also believes the same, I find it incredible that you should give a platform to this man who has sufficient opportunities to speak with our enemies and who supports our enemies.”

Halper has also used Nazi analogies to describe Israeli policy (also antisemitic under the IHRA Definition)

After the meeting Danny Rich wrote the following on my JC blog: (his post was on 22 March, the blog was dated 20 March): “Liberal Judaism rejects the allegation that the advocacy of a one state solution is by definition antisemitic”

In an email to me (17/3/10) Rabbi Rich wrote “advocates of a one state solution are not, in my view, by definition antisemitic”

On 23/7/10 Rabbi Rich wrote in an email to me “I do not accept your [!] definition of antisemitism, and will continue to believe and state that ‘calling for a one state solution is not necessarily antisemitic’.

At a meeting at Kingston Synagogue in October 2010 Rabbi Rich was on the same platform as me. He made a comment – heard by all in the audience – that the Zionist Federation (of which he was a Patron) was allied with the EDL. Such a comment from a ZF Patron at a public meeting is completely unacceptable. A Patron is supposed to help the organisation which appoints him, not defame it! (Attempts to remove him as a Patron were unsuccessful).

In his JC Column on 13 January 2012, Professor Geoffrey Alderman wrote of Rich: “He is, for example, on record as denying that the so-called “one-state” solution is “by definition” antisemitic, whereas I would have thought it obvious that any denial of the right of Jewish self-determination must, by definition, be so.”

More recently Liberal Rabbi Rich spoke alongside Peter Kosminsky, the Director of “The Promise” . (The ZF issued a Press Notice protesting at the lies and distortions in “The Promise”). He also spoke alongside Deborah Fink, a founder of “Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods”. The meeting was organised by the profoundly anti-Israel group “Friends of Sabeel” as well as “Jews for Justice for Palestinians”.

Please bring these facts to the attention of anyone you know in the West Finchley Ward of Barnet.

Kangaroo Court for Antiracist MP

This is a guest post. The author wishes to remain anonymous.

On March 26th, my MP, Thangam Debbonaire, attended a rally against antisemitism in London. Her reward from the Constituency Labour Party (CLP) was to be summoned to ‘explain her actions’. The date for the interrogation was set for April 5th. With some trepidation (I am a Jewish party member and anticipated the airing of some unpleasant tropes) I decided to attend the meeting to support Thangam. The motion against her asserted that she ‘should not have joined… to protest against unspecified and unsubstantiated allegations of “anti-semitism” in her own party.’ There were three Motions on the agenda reflecting this criticism, including an amendment.

I was encouraged when an email from the new NEC General Secretary, Jennie Formby, was read out at the start of the meeting:

‘Over the past few weeks there has been an increased discussion about antisemitism in the Labour Party and wider society, both in media and amongst members. I understand some local Labour Party members may be planning to discuss this matter, at branch and constituency meetings. As Jeremy Corbyn has made clear, tackling antisemitism in the party is a central priority. If your party is considering holding such discussions, please therefore make every effort to ensure they take place on our founding principles of solidarity, and equality. Criticism of any individual or organisation who has expressed concern about antisemitism would be deeply unhelpful to that process. I would urge all members and CLPs to actively support Jeremy’s commitment to taking immediate and effective steps to combat antisemitism. We are proudly anti-racist, and at our best when we work together uniting people in hope, and against fear and division. Yours, Jennie Formby, General Secretary.’

Alas, the encouragement was short-lived since the three motions up for discussion flew in the face of this request from the top of the Party. The disillusion, in fact, was instant, as the Chair (Annie Thomas) implicitly suggested that the accusations of antisemitism were a distraction from more important issues such as child poverty:

We missed that opportunity, as instead we’ve been focusing on other things; and the killing of civilians in Gaza [N.B no mention of Kashmir] has received scant attention. The recent furore started with a little known six year-old Facebook comment, and has escalated into demonstrations by groups hostile to Corbyn and the Labour Party, but attended by some Labour MPs, Tory MPs and the DUP. It was disheartening. In December we had a visit from a member of JVL, Richard Cooper. The discussion on antisemitism was well received, there was unanimous support for what he was saying… and I want us tonight to affiliate to the JVL to also reaffirm our commitment to Jeremy Corbyn and to fight the Tories, and not let the media divide us.’

She then called on Michael Levine to submit his amendment to the main motion (which proposed ‘an affiliation to Jewish Voices for Labour (JVL) including a donation of £150’). The amendment stated that ‘many recent accusations of anti-Semitism against Labour Party members are in the form of attributing guilt by association’ (presumably an example would be Corbyn taking tea with members of Hamas and Hezbollah). The irony of this appeared to be lost on the CLP members: How can it be acceptable for Corbyn to associate with terrorists on the one hand, but unacceptable, on the other, for Thangam to attend a rally where – unbeknown to her – Lord Tebbit and Ian Paisley Jnr happened to be present? And for Corbyn to share platforms with Sheikh Raed Salah (who revived the medieval antisemitic ‘blood libel’ slur that Jews cook with children’s blood), and Paul Eisen (a self-confessed Holocaust denier)?

Mr Levine proposed the amendment thus: ‘We know that if at some time in the future there were to be a powerful fascist party attacking the Jews it would be the Labour Party that would rally round them.I was bursting to respond, that it sure as hell it didn’t feel like it! Kevin Whitston then seconded the amendment by condemning Guardian journalist Hadley Freeman for writing about Corbyn’s association with known antisemites: ‘There has to be a revulsion – I would have thought – at the way in which basic, democratic, liberal values – I’m not even talking here about socialism – to meet and to talk and exchange ideas, is under threat because of the associations that can be drawn out, and people can be damned by association.’ Again, blatant inconsistency with the charge against Thangam. He went on to claim that this Amendment  ‘tries to say what it thinks antisemitism is. Now that’s pretty courageous!’ (The amendment repeated the useless Klug definition of antisemitism, prejudice ‘against Jews as Jews’; it ignored the IHRA definition that has been widely accepted including by Labour).

Annie Thomas’ response was bewildering. She said that the CLP had already accepted the Amendment… but that the floor was open for anyone wishing to speak against it…

Thankfully there were a couple of speakers took her up on this, one of whom said:

I really feel the amendment and the Motion is not fit for purpose. For an anti-racist Party debating racism, the amendment is only concerned with protecting those accused. We wouldn’t act this way with any other form of prejudice, we wouldn’t go out of our way to have an amendment solely for protecting those who associate with racists. The whole purpose of this is an opportunity to stamp out antisemitism, and an opportunity, as the General Secretary says, to eradicate the stain in the Labour Party, so this is a missed opportunity.’

A woman then called out the hypocrisy of finding Thangam ‘guilty by association’, but Corbyn not. For this she received a resounding, pleasantly surprising round of applause. But then she was interrupted by the Chair who barked: ‘Finish up! Finish up!’ well within her allotted two minutes.

There followed the vote on the amendment. It had to be recounted twice but in the end the amendment was rejected (89 to 98, with 12 abstentions).

While the main motion (proposing affiliation with JVL) didn’t criticise Thangam explicitly, the implication was clear (‘A number of Tory MPs, Norman Tebbit and Ian Paisley Junior from the DUP also supported the same demonstration’). The inference was that Thangam had attended the rally in bad faith – to collude or share a sinister platform with the enemy. It also claimed that ‘Portions of the media and politicians hostile to the interests of the LP have weaponised recent allegations into unfair criticisms of the Labour Party and Jeremy Corbyn’.

Now one would have to be extremely naive to believe that the press and media wouldn’t report subjectively on such matters (whether they be right-wing or left-wing), because that is their business. And if something reported doesn’t fit with one’s world view, it doesn’t necessarily render it untrue. Corbyn has recently warned in a vaguely ominous manner that: ‘Change is coming’ with reference to press regulation. This will no doubt please his Canary-reading supporters, who only wish to hear about misdemeanours within other political parties.

The main motion proposed affiliation to JVL. JVL is a small, recently formed outlier group of Jews and non-Jewish supporters whose mission is to undermine the Jewish Labour Movement, to dismiss claims of antisemitism in the Labour Party and to promote an antizionist agenda. JVL opposes the IHRA (International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance) definition of antisemitism (which Labour has adopted) because it exposes their frequent anti-Israel propaganda as a cover for antisemitic tropes. In fact, several members of JVL have already been suspended or expelled from Labour for antisemitic rhetoric and online abuse (e.g. Jackie Walker and Tony Greenstein, among others).

A man asked why the motion was not proposing to affiliate with the JLM (Jewish Labour Movement) since ‘they’ve been in existence and supporting the Labour Party for 100 years’. He was ignored. He also pointed out the inflammatory nature of the following paragraph in the motion, which – given the context – can only be referring to Jews:

When people see inequality, ecological disaster and war alongside the accumulation of unprecedented wealth, in the private hands of a few, it is reasonable that they seek out explanations.’ [The solution …..‘A confident and participatory socialist politics’].

I was relieved when this motion was defeated, though again narrowly: 84 for, 108 against, 21 abstentions.

A second motion – from Ashley branch, proposed by Jo Benefield, calling on Thangham to explain why she went to the rally – was astonishingly marked in the agenda ‘to be noted’, i.e. not debated. It criticised Thangam for going to the rally ‘to protest against unspecified and unsubstantiated allegations of “anti-semitism” in her own party.’ It suggested that allegations of antisemitism in Labour are ‘unspecified and unsubstantiated’ and ‘It is the political right that is permeated with the poison of anti-Semitism, and the left wing who have consistently stood in solidarity with Jewish people against persecution and oppression.’

Upon the marking of the Motion, Ms Benefield declared: ‘It’s all smears!A case in point… Given its provocative, rabble-rousing content, it was also telling that the Executive wanted the Motion ‘noted’, rather than rejected after discussion. Effectively the meeting was fixed by Momentum.

A Motion on Gaza was then quickly hurried through, with no debate… No one dared.

Thangam then gave an informative, vibrant presentation about drugs policy alongside some experts, and I thought that was the end of the antisemitism debate. But no. In the Q+A about drug regulation, a woman, let’s call her ‘L’, resumed the fray: ‘Why did you think it was right to go on the demonstration against antisemitism that brought the Labour party into disrepute?’ A man at the back joined in, chastising Thangam for attending the antisemitism rally instead of holding the government to account over Cambridge Analytica (as if the two were mutually exclusive alternatives). He said she was ‘disappointing’, and harangued her for ‘joining a whole bunch of MPs with that “no confidence” motion, in 2016’ , saying it was a tactic to distract attention from the Chilcot Report and the Panama Papers – ‘You failed miserably!’  he shouted.

Justifying attending the rally (!) Thangam explained that on Monday, March 26th, there were no votes in Parliament, so few MPs were in. However she is a Whip, and Whips, she said, have to be present every day. She was told by the Chief Whip that as Corbyn was not available to receive the letter from the rally organisers, he and others were going instead, and that this had been agreed. She said, ‘Jeremy has said very, very clearly that he supports the rights of MPs to protest. And you know what, I think that Jeremy’s got a standing history of protest, so he’s led by his example. I went, because my Jewish friends and colleagues asked me to go. [Applause.] I went with a group of Labour MPs, and I went because I thought that this party is opposed to all forms of racism, and Jeremy’s said so, many times.’ At this point, shouting and heckling started up, predominantly from ‘Mr Cambridge Analytica’. The Chair appeared to have abdicated from her duty to keep order. The man persisted, so Thangam picked up her things and walked out, with the Chair irrelevantly bellowing into the microphone after her: ’I don’t think in this whole affair the word DESELECTION has ever come about!’

I felt so sorry for Thangam, I followed after her out of the building. After a brief conversation, I returned home in a state of shock. The atmosphere in the room had been intimidating. Where was the respect? Our hard working, brilliant MP was being abused and bullied – not only via the appalling Motions, but from the CLP table as well as the floor. Surely, only a racist would criticise an MP for attending an antiracist rally…

The MP said later in a statement: ‘Unfortunately, my attempt to explain my attendance at the rally was shouted down and no attempt was made to stop this. I therefore left the meeting as it was unproductive. I have no problem being held to account — but this must be in an environment where I can give my response.’

Thangam Debbonaire retained her seat in 2017 with a massive majority of  37,336, reversing a LibDem majority of over 11,000 in 2010. It’s the fourth safest Labour-held seat in the UK! Despite her achievements, Momentum Bristol often call for her deselection – no doubt because in 2016, she ‘resigned’ from the front bench and joined 171 other Labour MPs in a vote of no confidence in Jeremy Corbyn. But what actually happened, according to fellow MP, Chi Onwura, writing in the New Statesman, was:

In September Jeremy gave me the job of shadow minister for culture and the digital economy. In the January reshuffle he gave half the job to Thangam Debbonaire. As the leader, he had every right to do so; unfortunately he omitted to tell her or me. When he realised what he had done, he gave the role back to me, without telling Thangam. So far, so annoying, but to be fair uncertainty is part of every reshuffle.  However Jeremy then went on for the next two months refusing my insistence that he speak to Thangam, indeed refusing to speak to either of us, whether directly or through the shadow cabinet, the whips, or his own office.

‘No one knew what he wanted us to do, no one was clear on what we should be doing. Jeremy made it impossible for two of the very few BME women MPs to do their jobs properly, undermining both us and Labour’s role as the voice of opposition to the government. I had undertaken a hugely labour-intensive Freedom of Information request on library opening hours, correlating the results to demonstrate how they had fallen exponentially under the Tories. It was impossible to launch a Labour opposition campaign to protect libraries when no one knew if they were part of my brief or not.  All that work went to waste.

‘If this had been any of my previous employers in the public and private sectors Jeremy might well have found himself before an industrial tribunal for constructive dismissal, probably with racial discrimination thrown in – given that only five per cent of MPs are black and female, picking on us two is statistically interesting to say the least. Indeed as Thangam was undergoing treatment for cancer at the time he could have faced disability action as well. In any other job I would have called on my union for support in confronting an all-white management which prevented two of its few black employees from doing their jobs. I would have expected the Leader of the Labour Party to condemn such ineffectual management which allowed such abuse.

‘But Jeremy dismissed criticism that he was undermining his shadow ministers – just as he had earlier dismissed criticism that not appointing a woman to any of the great offices of state showed a lack of commitment to gender equality. He would decide what the great offices of state were. As I have said previously, being a white man comes with many privileges. Deciding what constitutes gender or ethnic equality isn’t one of them.’

To conclude: I applaud Thangam for her bravery in attending the rally. Knowing as she did how Momentum has taken control of her Constituency Executive, she could so easily have opted for the quiet life and stayed away. Most at the rally were Labour supporters who just want the antisemitism problem addressed so that they can remain in the Party with a good conscience, or rejoin if they have left in protest. Furthermore, many of the Labour MPs and Councillors attended because they have witnessed or experienced dreadful antisemitism. The charge that they’re undermining the party is spurious – not least because in doing so they would also be undermining their jobs.

It’s bad enough seeing so much Holocaust inversion, Israeli-Nazi comparisons, antisemitic conspiracy theories re. 9/11, the Rothchilds, MSM media, in Labour forums. But in Bristol on April 5th, 2018 – with almost half the room voting for motions that condemned an MP for opposing antisemitism – I felt like I’d met it head on. 

 

Labour, Antisemitism and Those Polls: The Facts

There have been widespread claims on the Left that (a) Antisemitism is worse on the Right than the Left and (b) that antisemitism in Labour has fallen under Corbyn.  Those claims need to be factchecked as they will almost certainly be made in the debate in Bristol West on Thursday and in many other subsequent debates where Labour MPs who attended the counter-antisemitism rally last Monday are called to account (of course to oppose an antiracist rally is itself racist……..).

The first claim is based on a Jewish Policy research paper. I deconstructed it here. The raw data are OK but the way they are written up is shameful. Essentially the definition of ‘antisemitism’ included in the writeup excludes all the data which relate to Israel. It’s like excluding all of the Israel-based examples from the IHRA Definition. But it is Israel-based antisemitism which is the problem on the Left. This chart – taken from the JPR paper – shows the problem.  The Left only look at the left hand chart. But  look at the right hand one! (but note that the anti-Israel attitudes are not those in the widely accepted IHRA Definition).

jpr charts

The claim that antisemitism has fallen under Corbyn can be seen for example here.

Deconstructing it is easy. There are two stages.

First, their researcher has simply transcribed the data from the CAA/YouGov surveys incorrectly, see below.

sqwawkbox
The improvements in ‘think they’re better‘ and ‘too much media power‘ are both significantly overstated as a result.

But second, the CAA/YouGov poll DOES NOT ASK about the key anti-Israel tropes in the IHRA Definition: saying that Israel is a racist state, making Jew/Nazi comparisons, holding Israel to a different standard from that of other democratic nations and holding Jews everywhere responsible for the actions of Israel.

But (again) these are the key areas of leftist antisemitism!