Category: anti semitism

“The biggest contention that my fellow critics…

“The biggest contention that my fellow critics of the IHRA
examples have is with a particular one that focuses on calling the state
of Israel a racist endeavour. IHRA’s defenders like to say that it
allows for criticism of the policies of Israel, but not of the endeavour
of building the Israeli state per se (that is to say, Zionism).

But this is an impossible distinction to maintain in
practice. Allowing criticism of policies but not allowing a discussion
of the ideologies or political movements that are behind those policies
is nonsensical. It is like saying you are allowed to criticise
privatisation, because it is a policy, but you aren’t allowed to link
that to neoliberalism as the ideology that upholds it.

Under the IHRA, almost any discussion about
Palestine is liable to descend instantly into rancour and recriminations
on this basis, even more so than in the current febrile atmosphere.

We cannot contravene the right of Palestinians to freely articulate
their oppression, and deter human-rights groups, intergovernmental
agencies or activists from taking up their cause. Our rich history and
tradition as a labour movement of standing shoulder to shoulder with
Palestinians would be heavily penalised.

Even Kenneth Stern, who helped author the IHRA definition, opposes its
accession to concrete legal definition and a framework for tackling
antisemitism. Lawyers across the political spectrum, academics and
institutions see no legal merit or status
to the document.” [x]

politicalsci 2018-08-26 09:33:59


politicalsci 2018-08-25 09:44:42

This week over 30 global Jewish organizations …


This week over 30 global Jewish organizations have offered a statement to affirm the BDS movement, urging governments and other
institutions to take effective
measures to defeat white supremacist nationalist hate and violence and
to end complicity in Israel’s human rights violations. 

“We write this
letter with growing alarm regarding the targeting of organizations that
support Palestinian rights in general and the nonviolent Boycott,
Divestment and Sanctions (BDS)
movement, in particular. These attacks too often take the form of
cynical and false accusations of antisemitism that dangerously conflate
anti-Jewish racism with opposition to Israel’s policies and system of
occupation and apartheid.

We live in a frightening era, with growing numbers of authoritarian
and xenophobic regimes worldwide, foremost among them the Trump
administration, allying themselves with Israel’s far right government
while making common cause with deeply antisemitic and racist white
supremacist groups and parties.

From our own histories we are all too aware of the dangers of
increasingly fascistic and openly racist governments and political
parties. The rise in antisemitic discourse and attacks worldwide is part
of that broader trend. At times like this, it is more important than ever to distinguish
between the hostility to or prejudice against Jews on the one hand and
legitimate critiques of Israeli policies and system of injustice on the

The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition
of antisemitism, which is increasingly being adopted or considered by
western governments, is worded in such a way as to be easily adopted or
considered by western governments to intentionally equate legitimate
criticisms of Israel and advocacy for Palestinian rights with
antisemitism, as a means to suppress the former. This conflation undermines both the Palestinian struggle for freedom,
justice and equality and the global struggle against antisemitism. It
also serves to shield Israel from being held accountable to universal
standards of human rights and international law.

Israel does not
represent us and cannot speak for us when committing crimes against
Palestinians and denying their UN-stipulated rights.

The Nobel Peace Prize-nominated, Palestinian civil society-led BDS
movement for Palestinian rights has demonstrated an ongoing proven commitment
to fighting antisemitism and all forms of racism and bigotry,
consistent with its dedication to the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights.” [x]

In summary: the new Labour NEC guidelines on a…

In summary: the new Labour NEC guidelines on antisemitism are the result of careful consideration by a
working party set up for the purpose and including among its number two
Jewish NEC members, Jon Lansman and Rhea Wolfson.

The IHRA definition has never had unanimous support from British
Jews. Its adoption by the Conservative Government in December 2016 was
swiftly followed by the publication of a Legal Opinion,
commissioned by a Jewish-led consortium, warning that the IHRA document
was badly drafted and confusing and that it risked “unlawfully
restricting legitimate expressions of political opinion”. The Opinion
said: “…pro-Palestinian campaigners who, for example, describe Israel
as a settler-colonialist state enacting a policy of apartheid, or call
for policies of boycott, divestment or sanctions against Israel, cannot
properly be characterised as antisemitic.”

On June 15, 27 prominent British Jews concerned about the dangers of conflation issued a statement calling for clarity in identifying what antisemitism is and what it is not. They said: “criticism of Israel is not
antisemitic unless motivated by anti-Jewish prejudice” and “criticising
laws and policies of the state of Israel as racist and as falling under
the definition of apartheid is not antisemitic.”
Two weeks later this
statement was endorsed by leading public figures across a range of professions and political affiliations.

On July 17, 30 Jewish organisations in a dozen countries issued a Global Jewish Statement saying that the IHRA
definition is intentionally worded so that
legitimate criticisms of Israel and advocacy for Palestinian rights can
be equated with antisemitism “as a means to suppress the former.” This
conflation, it says, “undermines both the Palestinian struggle for
freedom, justice and equality and the global struggle against

Against this background, the NEC code should be welcomed as a
principled and useful contribution towards providing much needed clarity
both about what is truly antisemitic, and what constitutes legitimate
political discourse about Israel and Palestine. As explained by a Labour
source in response to a critical article in the New Statesman: “These
guidelines cover all the same ground as the IHRA examples, but they go
further, providing more examples and details so they can actually be
applied.” [x]

Labour’s antisemitism code is the gold standar…

The new code makes clear that discrimination against Jewish people is
unacceptable while allowing for legitimate criticism of Israel

Last week, the Labour party introduced a code of conduct on antisemitism,
stronger than anything of its kind adopted by any political party in
this country. This follows our adoption of the International Holocaust
Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) full definition of antisemitism in 2016
and Labour’s annual conference voting overwhelmingly last year to
strengthen its rules against antisemitism and racism.

But as well as some welcoming this positive and progressive move, Labour
has come under criticism from some MPs and Jewish communal
organisations for not simply reproducing the IHRA’s working examples
word for word. But, far from lowering the bar for what constitutes
antisemitism, this code lifts it. It requires a higher standard of
behaviour than the IHRA examples do. Labour’s code should be seen as the
new gold standard.

I have been vocal in talking about my experiences of antisemitism and in calling out the blindness to antisemitism
and unconscious bias against Jewish people that pervades our society
and politics, including when it appears on the left. I have argued for a
long time that Labour must lead the way in tackling this evil within
our own party, and pressure other political parties to follow suit.
That’s why I was so pleased to support this code when it was unanimously
approved last week by Labour’s national executive committee, of which
I’m a member.

The code fully adopts the IHRA definition, and covers the same ground
as the IHRA examples, but it also provides additional examples of
antisemitism while giving context and detailed explanations to ensure it
can be practically applied to disciplinary cases within the party.
Three of the four examples that the party has been falsely accused of
omitting are explicitly discussed in the code.

The only part of the IHRA working examples that is not explicitly
referenced relates to claims about the state of Israel being a racist
endeavour (this is a subset of an example, not a standalone one). Of all
the elements in the IHRA examples, this is the one that runs the
greatest risk of prohibiting legitimate criticism of Israel. It cannot
possibly be antisemitic to point out that some of the key policies of
the Israeli state, observed since its founding days, have an effect that
discriminates on the basis of race and ethnicity.

If legitimate criticism of Israel were to be curbed, that would
infringe on the rights of other oppressed groups, who have suffered at
the hands of discriminatory Israeli state policies.
The Palestinians
have experienced decades of occupation, gross human rights violations,
and war crimes. The Bedouins have had their homes destroyed, the latest
example being the demolition of Khan al-Ahmar.
And ethnic minorities within Israel have been treated appallingly, such
as the Sudanese and Eritrean refugees who have been detained and
deported, and questions over the treatment of Ethiopian women, including allegations they were given birth control without their consent.

It cannot be right that one vaguely worded subset of one IHRA example
can deny other oppressed groups their right to speak about their own

Conflating legitimate criticism of Israel with antisemitism is
dangerous and undermines the fight against antisemitism.
Clear and
detailed guidelines are essential to ensure that antisemitism isn’t
tolerated, while protecting free speech on Israel’s conduct within a
respectful and civil environment. This is what Labour’s code of conduct
provides. We should be celebrating and replicating it.

• Jon Lansman



jeremy corbyn: *meets with board of deputies, the jewish leadership council, and the community security trust in order to implement changes to deal with anti-semitism and ensure that the labour party is a welcome home to members of all communities*


conservative party: *immediately dismisses and ignores allegations of islamophobia stating that the muslim council of britain are linked to terrorists and can’t be trusted*


“A working group has been reviewing party pro…


working group has been reviewing party procedures to identify how they
can be made more efficient and robust. Our new General Secretary Jennie
Formby reported on our work at the last National Executive Committee
meeting, which was received positively. I look forward to bringing our
final recommendations.

When I have faced antisemitism, whether
within or outside of our movement, Jeremy has been an ally, Jennie has
been an ally, as have many other Labour comrades.”

 – Rhea Wolfson, Labour NEC CLP rep.

“Jonathan Arkush has never spoken for me, nor …

“Jonathan Arkush has never spoken for me, nor for many other young,
progressive Jews. He certainly does not speak for me today. I’ve had the
honour of working closely with Jeremy Corbyn, one of the most
principled people in politics.

As a former member of the Jewish
Leadership Council Board, I can’t be dismissed as as someone on the
fringes of the Jewish community, as many of my friends and comrades

Arkush’s claims are entirely without foundation. The
evidence he cites? Jeremy’s criticisms of the actions of the Israeli

Mr Arkush’s conflation of antisemitism with criticisms of the Israeli
government undermines the fight against antisemitism and distracts us
from challenging this evil in our society.

But this isn’t to say
that antisemitism doesn’t exist within the Labour Party. It does and
Jeremy made his commitment to eliminating it absolutely clear.

working group has been reviewing party procedures to identify how they
can be made more efficient and robust. Our new General Secretary Jennie
Formby reported on our work at the last National Executive Committee
meeting, which was received positively. I look forward to bringing our
final recommendations.

When I have faced antisemitism, whether
within or outside of our movement, Jeremy has been an ally, Jennie has
been an ally, as have many other Labour comrades.

Jonathan Arkush wants to see antisemitism eliminated, he should be
working with us to achieve that, instead of making outrageous personal

Anyone who knows, has met, or worked with Jeremy Corbyn, as I have,
knows that he does not have a prejudicial bone in his body, and is
utterly committed to tackling antisemitism, as he is all forms of
discrimination and oppression, which he has fought against all his life.

commitment to Labour is unwavering and I am proud of the work that
Jeremy is doing to tackle antisemitism in politics and wider society.” – Rhea Wolfson

Conservative Party leaflet from 2018:Alongside…

Some things never change.

Conservative Party leaflet from 1964:


Conservative Party leaflet from 2018:


Alongside pictures of Jeremy Corbyn and London mayor Sadiq Khan,
it warns Labour would turn it into “boroughs like Hackney, Newham,
Camden and Barking, rather than a traditional part of Essex”.