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:
- Applying double standards by requiring of it a behaviour not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.
- 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:
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!