David Rosenberg vs Marie Van der Zyl

Earlier this month I blogged about a fetidly obnoxious piece in the Morning Star by a chap called David Rosenberg who styles himself as a ‘Jewish Socialist’. The base of this dung heap of vitriol was the libel that the Jewish leadership is unwilling to sit down with Corbyn.

Comrade Rosenberg has a blog, called Rebel Notes.  Should you have nothing better to do, you will find that the latest entry attacks Board of Deputies President Marie Van Der Zyl.  (Rosenberg is a JVL member and JVL has published the piece on their website).

But first Rosenberg attempts to lay the blame for the Windrush scandal entirely on the Conservatives. This is simply wrong. Labour also made mistakes.For example, the decision to dispose of the landing cards was taken in 2009 under Labour.

Now the attack on Ms Van Der Zyl.  Rosenberg writes that he sent a tweet to her, asking if she would add the Board’s name to the list of organisations demanding that the Conservative Party set up an inquiry into Islamophobia in the Party.  There have been a few incidents of Islamophobia in the Conservatives but nowhere near the number of incidents of antisemitism in Labour. The organisation Labour Against Antisemitism says that some 1200 members have been reported and there is a backlog of 1000 more. Why should Ms Van Der Zyl be complicit in an initiative which many see as simply a transparently obvious ruse to divert attention away from antisemitism in Labour?

Rosenberg continues his attack by reference to an iTV interview (an Israeli channel) that Ms Van Der Zyl did last week – the one where she said “It’s like Corbyn has declared war on the Jews”.

On that programme she said “The Tories have always shown themselves to be friends to the Jewish community”.  Look at that word ‘always’.  It obviously does NOT  mean (as Rosenberg took it to mean) ‘since the 1830s when the Party was founded.’  I am sure that Ms Van Der Zyl  is just as aware as Rosenberg is of the 1905 Aliens Act. No – it means the period since the May 2010 election which returned the Conservative/LibDem coalition. So let’s examine the evidence.

It is a fact that most Jews in the UK have a close affinity with Israel. The Institute of Jewish Policy Research JPR (2010) found that 81% felt either a strong or moderate attachment to Israel. It follows that the happiness of the vast majority of Jews in the UK is positively correlated with the degree of friendship shown to Israel by their government. Ms Van Der Zyl was unedeniably correct to say that the Conservatives under Cameron and then May as Prime Minister have been ‘friendly’.  Just look at their record:

  • Justified the exclusion of the Hajo Meyer events from the Holocaust Memorial Day calendar on the (correct) ground that they were ‘offensive’ (2010)
  • Stopped the political abuse of Universal Jurisdiction, whereby apart from Ministers, any Israeli who has served in the IDF risked arrest if they come to the UK (2010)
  • David Cameron and George Osborne pushed hard for sanctions on Iran (2011)
  • Resisted pressure from their LibDem junior coalition partner to condemn Israel’s incursion into Gaza (‘Operation Protective Edge’) (2014)
  • Announced new rules to curtail left-wing local authorities adopting BDS (2015)
  • David Cameron: “We’ve got to show that if you say “yes I condemn terror – but the Kuffar are inferior”, or “violence in London isn’t justified, but suicide bombs in Israel are a different matter” – then you too are part of the problem” (2015)
  • Adopted the IHRA Definition of Antisemitism (2016)
  • UK refused to sign a joint statement at the Paris Middle East peace conference – diverging from the 73 other countries – after attending only as an observer; the conference was meant to endorse the UN Security Council’s anti-Israel Resolution 2334 (2017)
  • Universities Minister Jo Johnson MP wrote to the Chief Executive of Universities UK (UUK) underlining the obligation of all higher education institutions to tackle antisemitism on campus, particularly in the context of ‘Israel Apartheid Week’ (2017)
  • Theresa May said that the UK would be marking the centenary of the Balfour Declaration with ‘pride and respect’ (contrast this with Corbyn who refused to attend a commemorative dinner with the Prime Ministers of Israel and the UK) (2017)
  • The Conservative government gave the green light to the first ever official visit to Israel by a member of the Royal Family (2018)

Contrast it with the miserable record of the Labour government under Gordon Brown (2007-10):

  • Failed to vote against Goldstone Report at UNHRC
  • Commenced arms embargo on Israel
  • The Foreign Secretary said that Cast Lead was ‘disproportionate’
  • The Charity Commission – led by a Labour Party activist – failed to make War On Want and other Charities live up to their legal obligation to tell the truth about Israel
  • Brown promoted Ben Bradshaw to Cabinet after he said on “Any Questions” (January 23 2009) “I am afraid the BBC has to stand up to the Israeli authorities occasionally… Israel has a long reputation of bullying the BBC...”
  • Decided to talk to Hezbolla
  • Initiated separate labelling for West Bank settlement goods in supermarkets
  • Failed to honour commitment to act on Universale Jurisdiction.

    Rosenberg vs Van der Zyl? No contest! Van der Zyl wins by a knockout in the first round.

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Corbyn’s IHRA Bingo Card: Full House

 

Below are examples showing that Jeremy Corbyn has a Full House on his IHRA Antisemitism Examples Bingo Card. I’ve counted Palestine Live as all 11 examples – excluding that, it would still be 6 out of 11. Notice that he has violated examples #6, #7 and #10 twice each. These – along with #8 – are the examples missing from Labour’s draft Code of Conduct.

corbyn bingo

  1. Questioned the ‘Englishness’ of an English Israel supporter (IHRA #6)
  2. Failed to see the antisemitism in Hassassian’s comments (IHRA #2)
  3. Failed to see the antisemitism in the mural (IHRA #2)
  4. Laid wreath at graves of Black September responsible for 1972 Munich massacre (IHRA #1)
  5. Hosted antisemitic meeting on Holocaust Memorial Day 2010 and failed to call an antisemitic speaker out (IHRA #2 #7 #10)
  6. Attended Passover meal on the wrong day and with an organisation that ‘is a source of virulent antisemitism’ (IHRA #2 #7)
  7. Corbyn came to the defence of Sheikh Raed Salah, who revived the medieval anti-Semitic ‘blood libel’ slur that Jews cook with children’s blood. Salah was arrested by British police in 2011 when he was due to speak at an event in the House of Commons – alongside Corbyn. In 2012 Corbyn called Salah ‘a very honoured citizen’ (IHRA #2)
  8. Jeremy Corbyn was an active member of an ‘anti-Semitic’ Facebook group, ‘Palestine Live’. The group included Holocaust denial, 9/11 conspiracy theories and anti-Semitic slurs. He said he did not see the offensive posts and left in 2015 (IHRA #1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 #7 #8 #9 #10 #11)
  9. Jeremy Corbyn had a ten-year association with a group which denied the Holocaust. Mr Corbyn was a ‘stalwart’ supporter of Deir Yassin Remembered, attending events in 2013, with the group’s founder, Paul Eisen, a self-professed Holocaust denier (IHRA #4)
  10. Jeremy Corbyn hosted an Islamic cleric in Parliament in 2009, who in 2006 wrote that ‘Europe has made political correctness, the cult of the Holocaust and Jew-worshipping its alternative religion’ (IHRA #2 #4)
  11. Corbyn called antisemitic terror groups Hamas and Hezbollah ‘our friends’ when inviting them to speak in Parliament. He claimed the invitation to Hezbollah was ‘absolutely the right function of using parliamentary facilities’ and that the group was committed to ‘social justice and political justice’ (IHRA #1)
  12. In December 2016, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn attended the book launch of – and posed for pictures with – Hatem Bazian, organised by the Islamic Human Rights Commission (the IHRC). Bazian later apologised for anti-Semitic tweets where he shared a picture of an ultra-orthodox Jewish man with the message: ‘Mom, look! I is chosen! I can now kill, rape, smuggle organs and steal the land of Palestinians ‘Yay’ #Ashke-Nazi.’ (IHRA #2 #10)
  13. Corbyn wrote a letter of support for Stephen Sizer, a vicar disciplined by the Church of England for sharing an article on social media entitled ‘9/11: Israel Did It’ (IHRA #2)
  14. Corbyn supports the right of return for all Palestinian refugees in 1948 plus their descendants. It would mean the end of Israel as a Jewish state. To desire that is antisemitic (IHRA #7)

IHRA DEFINITION OF ANTISEMITISM

“Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”

To guide IHRA in its work, the following examples may serve as illustrations:

Manifestations might include the targeting of the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity. However, criticism of Israel similar to that levelled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic. Antisemitism frequently charges Jews with conspiring to harm humanity, and it is often used to blame Jews for “why things go wrong.” It is expressed in speech, writing, visual forms and action, and employs sinister stereotypes and negative character traits.

Contemporary examples of antisemitism in public life, the media, schools, the workplace, and in the religious sphere could, taking into account the overall context, include, but are not limited to:

#1 * Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion.

#2 *Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective — such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.

#3 *Accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person or group, or even for acts committed by non-Jews.

#4 *Denying the fact, scope, mechanisms (e.g. gas chambers) or intentionality of the genocide of the Jewish people at the hands of National Socialist Germany and its supporters and accomplices during World War II (the Holocaust).

#5 *Accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.

#6 *Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.

#7 *Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.

#8 *Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.

#9 *Using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterize Israel or Israelis.

#10 *Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.

#11 *Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel.

 

It’s Corbyn who needs History Lessons

Jeremy Corbyn said of an English Zionist “…. They don’t want to study history”

In response to the media furore, Labour has released a transcript of more of his remarks at that PRC Conference in 2013 (H/T James Vaughan‏ @EquusontheBuses)

It was presumably released to support his statement ‘They don’t want to study history’:
corbyn balfour quote

But it shows the opposite –it’s Corbyn who is ignorant of history.

Because:

1. There was only one ‘member’ – not ‘members’ plural – of the government who was opposed to Zionism. As Geoffrey Alderman prophetically wrote three years ago:

I believe his reference to “some of the Jewish members of the cabinet” was more in the nature of a Freudian slip, and that what this error really tells us is that Jeremy Corbyn sees Jews where there are none (or at least very few). Corbyn – in other words – has a problem with Jews, whose political influence he grossly overstates.


2. As for the ‘progressive Jewish element in Britain’, the anti-Zionists in the ‘Cousinhood’ were shown to be in the minority in the Jewish Community when David Lindo Alexander QC , President of the Board of Deputies, was voted out of his position for writing a letter to The Times (jointly with Lucien Woolf,  Chairman of the Anglo Jewish Association) saying that Zionism was ‘of little interest to the mass of world Jewry, who just wished to remain loyal citizens of their own native countries’. 

And Mr Corbyn, what was ‘progressive’ in 1917 about opposing the idea of a ‘national home for the Jewish people’?  Had Israel been created ten years before 1948, millions of Jewish lives might have been saved!

With the benefit of history – which Corbyn had when he made that comment – only the most twisted antisemite could possibly use the word ‘progressive’ to describe the opponents of a Jewish homeland in 1917.

corbyn balfour picture

Corbyn and ‘Zionists’: Isn’t Irony a bitch…

So Jeremy Corbyn thinks that ‘Zionists’ cannot be properly British. For anyone who responds that this isn’t antisemitic because non-Jews can be Zionists, I refer them to David Hirsh:

‘Sometimes people say that hostility to Zionists cannot be antisemitic because many Zionists are not Jewish. Imagine if Corbyn had said this about a non-Jewish Zionist; take for example the well-known Zionist Tony Blair. What sense would these words possibly have made in that context?  ‘Blair has lived amongst us all his life but he still doesn’t understand English irony.’ Corbyn would never say that because it wouldn’t mean anything. It wouldn’t key into any emotional order; it wouldn’t humiliate Blair, it would just sound weird.

Imagine if a politician had said this about a group of black people or a group of Muslims: that in spite of having lived in this country for all their lives, they were unable to understand English irony.’

And here is Richard Millett in today’s Mail:

‘I am English. I have been part of English irony, humour, culture, for the last 50 years. It just seems to be that I am not part of Jeremy Corbyn’s Britain.’

Daniel Sugarman in the JC hammers the point home:

**
‘I know exactly what the line from Corbyn supporters is going to be, because I’ve already seen it being used online.

Zionist doesn’t necessarily mean Jew.

That’s true. There are many Christian Zionists, for example.

But you would have to have very few brain cells indeed not to comprehend that for over a century, “Zionist” has been used by racists on the far-right, and increasingly on the far-left, as a euphemism for “Jews.”

But it goes beyond that. Because I know exactly who that group of “Zionists” are who Jeremy Corbyn was referring to.

They go along to such events because they are not willing to let what is very often open hatred and bigotry go undocumented and unchallenged.

To a man and woman, they are all Jewish. With no disrespect meant to non-Jewish Zionists, this group of activists are driven to attend ostensibly “anti-Israel” events, week in and week out, year in and year out, because they know where such hatred can lead, in a way that many non-Jews never could.’

**

Here’s what Corbyn said again:

“The other evening we had a meeting in Parliament in which Manuel made an incredibly powerful and passionate and effective speech about the history of Palestine and the rights of the Palestinian people. This was dutifully recorded by the – the thankfully silent Zionists who were in the audience on that occasion and then came up and berated him afterwards for what he had said.  They clearly have two problems: one is they don’t want to study history and secondly having lived in this country for a very long time, probably all their lives, they don’t understand English irony either. Manuel does understand English irony and he uses it very very effectively.”

He was speaking at the Quaker Centre in London (the Friends House) at a Palestine Return Centre Conference on 19 January 2013. The meeting where ‘Manuel’ (Hassassian, the Palestinian Representative in the UK) spoke was a few days before, on 15 January, in the Boothroyd Room in Portcullis House (UK Parliament). There were no “thankfully silent Zionists” (plural) who “berated” Hassassian for what he said. Corbyn only used the plural to make his put-down more dramatic.

As Daniel Sugarman writes, ‘I know exactly who that group of “Zionists” are who Jeremy Corbyn was referring to.’  It was Richard Millett and me of course. But I wasn’t there on 15 January 2013. I was preoccupied with the Board of Deputies’ ill-fated Oxfam project (the vote was on 20 January 2013). Only Richard was there. Only one ‘Zionist’ (singular).

And look at what a Labour ‘source’ said:

‘Mr Corbyn was referring to both Jewish and non-Jewish activists[my bold] in a speech about the need to better teach the history of the Israel-Palestine conflict and the brutality of colonialism, occupation and partition.’

In other words, ‘when he said ‘Zionists’, oh no, he didn’t mean ‘Jews’ ‘

Sorry but it won’t wash. There was only one ‘Zionist’ there who ‘berated’ Hassassian ….and he isn’t an Amish or a Buddhist.

So what happened at that meeting on 15 January 2013? What did Hassassian say that caused Richard to ‘berate’ him at the end of the meeting? (Btw Richard ‘debates’, he doesn’t ‘berate’, much as Corbyn wants to use pejorative words about ‘Zionists’). Well fortunately we have Richard’s blog:

We, the Palestinians, the most highly educated and intellectual in the Middle East, are still struggling for the basic right of self-determination. What an irony. How long are we going to suffer and be patient with Israel? You know I’m reaching the conclusion that the Jews are the children of God, the only children of God and the Promised Land is being paid by God![my bold] I have started to believe this because nobody is stopping Israel building its messianic dream of Eretz Israel to the point I believe that maybe God is on their side. Maybe God is partial on this issue.”

Hassassian was saying that G-d funds the ‘Promised Land’ specifically for Jews and no other. If it’s antisemitic to suggest that Jews control the Federal Reserve Board, how much more so is it to suggest that Jews also control the chequebook of the Almighty? And then we get the reference to the supposed ‘messianic dream of Eretz Israel’. Jews are not satisfied with the current land area of Israel, they want the whole area ‘from the river to the sea’, driving out all others. Another deeply antisemitic reference.

But Jeremy Corbyn is as incapable of seeing the antisemitism as a blind man is incapable of seeing the sunrise. He is blind to antisemitism, unless it comes wrapped in a blackshirt or a swastika, with knuckledusters. Unless it’s in Cable Street on 4 October 1936. And that is the problem. Even if you don’t ‘get’ antisemitism, can you seriously vote for someone as Prime Minister who refuses to ‘get’ it, or more likely is incapable of doing so? Yet who still insists he is an antiracist and whose core supporters doggedly persist in saying the same thing?

And I have news for you Jeremy. When the National Anthem is sung, we English Zionists sing too ….

Irony’s a bitch isn’t it?

We’ve got a little list

There was a terrifying meeting in London last night (21 August).

Terrifying because Israel hate – much of which was antisemitic – flowed freely.

Terrifying because like a Nazi rally, there was no-one allowed in who might voice opposition to the hate- and no journalists!

Terrifying because of the thunderous applause that greeted each speaker.

Terrifying because EIGHT Jews who had waited patiently in the queue to enter were prevented from attending. They were: Ambrosine Shitrit , Mandy Blumenthal , Sharon Klaff , Joseph Cohen , Terri Spector , Mike Abramov, Melanie Gharial, me.

Terrifying because the organisers must have prepared a dossier – with photographs – of ‘Jews to be Refused Entry’ (WHO ELSE WAS IN THAT DOSSIER? HOW MANY JEWS? WAS CORBYN’S PERSONAL SECRETARY INVOLVED IN DRAWING UP THIS LIST TOO?)

Terrifying because this book was on open sale on the Communists’ table outside the venue (the home of the ‘Ethical Society’, what an irony) :

communist book 21 conway hall august 2018
Terrifying because of the physical violence used on Sharon Klaff when she saw the book and took it to examine it and photograph it :

headlock conway hall august 2018
Terrifying because of the antisemitism voiced by several of the 50 or so Corbyn supporters who arrived after the hall was filled to capacity (400), several of whom remained outside. It is reasonable to assume this was representative of several of the 400 inside as well.

***

I’ve been through the organisers’ video and here are the lies (some antisemitic, others not) that we were prevented from witnessing……… (The video is incomplete – the Chair Christine Blower also said there would not be time for questions). I don’t provide evidence but it is easily available.

Richard Kuper (JVL): Labour’s Code of Conduct goes further than IHRA. IHRA says that criticism of Israel is likely to be antisemitic unless proved otherwise. The EUMC definition of antisemitism was found to be ‘not fit for purpose’. IHRA is ‘not a document that can stand the weight that has been put on it’. IHRA puts the onus on critics of Israel to justify the fact that they don’t have ‘ulterior motives’. The aim of IHRA is to introduce the notion that criticism of Israel is probably antisemitic. Israel refuses to define its borders and has been in illegal occupation of another people’s land for over 50 years.

Bernard Regan (PSC): [This was particularly vicious] The people who most delegitimise Israel are the Israeli politicians. 85% of the deaths in Gaza in Operation Cast Lead (2008-9) were non-combatants [The true figure was 50% – Israel achieved the lowest ever proportion of non-combatants to combatants in asymmetric warfare]. Antisemitism has no place in the PSC. [A straight lie. It’s riddled with antisemitism]. In the 2014 ‘Protective Edge’ Operation, 83% of the casualties were non-combatants [the true figure was around 40%, less than half this number] Israel committed “genocide”. East Jerusalem is surrounded by settlements that are being absorbed into the body of the Israeli state. There is carte blanche for settlers to attack Palestinians. The situation in Israel is worse than apartheid in South Africa. The Israeli ‘ruling class’ doesn’t want the Palestinians.

Lindsey German (Stop The War, ex-SWP): Antisemitism in Labour far less of a  problem than Islamophobia in the Conservatives. “Supposed” antisemitism in Labour. Those who criticise Corbyn for antisemitism are in reality terrified of a Labour leader opposed to the way Israel treats the Palestinians. Israel has just passed a law that makes it even more of a state where Palestinians are discriminated against. Israel is a state built on discrimination. The descendants of Palestinians do not have the right to go there [Truth: Arabs who fled in 1948 did have the right of return; few wanted to come back to a Jewish state]. Israel shot 60 people for daring to demand the right of return [Truth: most of those shot at the border were terrorists trying to break into Israel, presumably to kill] “I don’t know how much the Israel Embassy was involved in these attacks on Jeremy Corbyn” [an appalling dog-whistle with zero evidence]. “There is a major operation linking antisemitism with the question of opposing what Israel is doing.”

Huda Elmi (Somali-born JC9 Momentum Candidate for Labour NEC) : Have to see the antisemitism debate through the links to colonialism; erasing indigenous populations.[Here comes intersectionality….]  Israel is a settler-colonial state [of course ….] Palestine is important because the era of colonialism is not over.  The money of the IMF and the World Bank is stained with blood. “The IHRA definition is trying to subvert our ability to be loud and unapologetic about being anticolonial” [!] “Banning kosher meat does not fall foul of the IHRA” [Yes it does – IHRA: ‘Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.’]. The IHRA criminalises Palestinian activism.

Salma Karmi-Ayyoub (British-Palestinian Human Rights Lawyer): Israel spearheaded the campaign to silence criticism of Israel. The campaign is about Israel trying to solve its legitimacy crisis. Israeli propaganda says ‘the new antisemitism is really anti-Zionism.’ Corbyn is too much of a threat to be tolerated. She referred to ‘the land of Palestine’.

Rob Ferguson (Jewish SWP member, Steering Committee Free Speech on Israel):  The process of dispossession and exclusion of the Arabs began before 1948. Ahad Tamimi harks back to pre-1948 “when Jew, Christian and Arab could live happily in a state of equality, free from oppression”. ‘They’ are terrified of this argument getting a hearing.

Glyn Secker (Secretary, Free Speech on Israel): We don’t need lectures  from the Mail, which sided with Mosley’s Fascists [Truth: Mail proprietor Rothermere saw Hitler as defence against Germany falling to the Communists. But Rothermere was far from completely fooled by Hitler’s propaganda. In October 1934 he wrote to Neville Chamberlain (then Chancellor of the Exchequer) describing the Nazi leadership as ‘dangerous and ruthless oligarchs’].

Tariq Ali: For many years, European citizens have rated Israel as the country which most threatens peace. [Truth: there was just one such survey, in 2003!]. Policies of “driving the Palestinians out” have been followed by politicians in Israel from 1948 onwards. Netanyahu is responsible for cold-blooded murder of Palestinians. 46-48% of young Jews in the US are not interested in Israel [This is pure fiction. The 2013 Pew survey estimated that of the 18-29 age group, only 19% said that Israel was not an important element of being Jewish and only 11% said they were not at all attached to Israel]. Raul Hilberg said Norman Finkelstein hadn’t gone far enough [Truth: He never said this. He did call Finkelstein’s book ‘The Holocaust Industry’ “a breakthrough” and he did state that Finkelstein “was on the right track” in his description of how the World Jewish Congress negotiated with the Swiss banks. However he was alone among scholars in this assessment of ‘The Holocaust Industry’. The scholar whose work on the Holocaust was the “stimulus” for the book, University of Chicago Professor Peter Novick, warned: “No facts alleged by Finkelstein should be assumed to be really facts, no quotation in his book should be assumed to be accurate, without taking the time to carefully compare his claims with the sources he cites … Such an examination reveals that many of those assertions are pure invention.”]

Tariq Ali (contd): It’s not antisemitic to oppose Israel, any more than it’s Islamophobic to oppose the monstrous regime in Saudi Arabia. [Truth: IHRA does not say ‘it’s antisemitic to oppose Israel’. To suggest that human rights in Israel are on a par with those in Saudi Arabia is ludicrous. And it is not hard to think of expressions of distaste for the rulers of Saudi Arabia which WOULD be Islamophobic].

‘Open Letter’ to Labour members invites Holocaust Denial

Åsa Jansson of Hove Labour Party is asking for signatures for an ‘Open Letter’ to Labour’s NEC. The letter asks the NEC to ignore calls to adopt the missing four examples in the IHRA definition of antisemitism. It focuses on two of them:

  1. Applying double standards by requiring of it a behaviour not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.
  2. Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, eg by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour.

The estimable organisation ‘Labour Against Antisemitism’ has expertly and with commendable restraint given Labour members several reasons against signing:

laas fisk open statement aug18 1laas fisk open statement aug18 2

However anyone considering signing needs to be aware of two further calumnies. 

One: The letter says that Israel has ‘recently adopted a law relegating Israeli Arabs to second class citizens.’ This refers to the new Nation State Basic Law.

(i) The most contentious part of the bill – the approval of separate communities – was dropped at a late stage.

(ii) The Law states that ‘The right to exercise national self-determination in the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish people’ but that is simply the general principle of nation states. For example the Catalans in Spain or the Kurds in Turkey would not be permitted to set up their own nation states within these countries.

(iii) The statement in the Law that the state’s language is Hebrew is simply a recognition of the de facto position. It changes nothing. For example, government documents published additionally in Arabic will remain so. Finally the statement that the state views the development of Jewish settlement as a national value is again part of the founding principle of the state.

Two: The worst part of the letter:

Our Palestinian members must be able to speak freely about the Nakba and about the current system of apartheid and ongoing ethnic cleansing just like our Jewish members must be able to speak freely about the Holocaust.

Look at what Jansson is doing. She is not merely comparing antisemitic discourse with true statements about the Holocaust. That would be bad enough. She says that Jews must be able to ‘speak freely’ about the Holocaust. Implying that all narratives about the Holocaust should be heard without criticism. Including Holocaust Denial and Holocaust Relativism.

Some 2000 Labour members have signed this offensive nonsense. They surely need to reconsider!

Lord Phillips of Sudbury thinks Jews complain about antisemitism too much

Our old friend Lord Phillips of Sudbury (LibDem) (“America is in the grip of a well-organised Jewish lobby“) has been quiet for some time – he retired from the Lords in 2015. But up he popped on BBC Radio 4 World at One today (24:16)  He was at the Tunisia Conference that Jeremy Corbyn attended.  Presumably he called the BBC to tell them, jumping at the chance to voice his repugnant views on the BBC.

He defended Corbyn laying the wreath for the Black September terrorists who were complicit in the Munich massacre in 1972.  “It was part of a very busy … very crushed programme .. I could quite imagine he was asked to go along and lay a wreath …… I could absolutely imagine that he was drawn into this slightly shambolic, huge meeting and laid a wreath that he thought just for the people who died, and then got caught up in what he’s now caught up with – and of course we live at a moment in time when the sort of antisemitic thing has in my view grown out of all control and good sense.

A LibDem Peer defending the Labour leader for an act which has been pretty much universally condemned …….. Demonisation of Israel makes strange bedfellows,