Required reading: Statement on ‘Labour’s problem with antisemitism’ | Jewish Socialists’ Group


I’m quoting this in full because alleged anti-Semitism is now a major political issue and the Jewish Socialists’ Group has nailed it.

Antisemitism exists and must be exposed and fought against in the same way as other forms of racism by all who are concerned with combating racism and fascism.

Antisemitism and anti-Zionism are not the same. Zionism is a political ideology which has always been contested within Jewish life since it emerged in 1897, and it is entirely legitimate for non-Jews as well as Jews to express opinions about it, whether positive or negative. Not all Jews are Zionists. Not all Zionists are Jews.

Criticism of Israeli government policy and Israeli state actions against the Palestinians is not antisemitism. Those who conflate criticism of Israeli policy with antisemitism, whether they are supporters or opponents of Israeli policy, are actually helping the antisemites. We reject any attempt, from whichever quarter, to place legitimate criticism of Israeli policy out of bounds.

Accusations of antisemitism are currently being weaponised to attack the Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour party with claims that Labour has a “problem” of antisemitism. This is despite Corbyn’s longstanding record of actively opposing fascism and all forms of racism, and being a firm a supporter of the rights of refugees and of human rights globally.

A very small number of such cases seem to be real instances of antisemitism. Others represent genuine criticism of Israeli policy and support for Palestinian rights, but expressed in clumsy and ambiguous language, which may unknowingly cross a line into antisemitism. Further cases are simply forthright expressions of support for Palestinian rights, which condemn Israeli government policy and aspects of Zionist ideology, and have nothing whatsoever to do with antisemitism.

The accusations do not refer to antisemitic actions but usually to comments, often made on social media, long before Jeremy Corbyn won the Labour leadership. Those making the charges now, did not see fit to bring them up at the time, under previous Labour leaders, but are using them now, just before mayoral and local elections, when they believe they can inflict most damage on the Labour Party led by Jeremy Corbyn.

The attack is coming from four main sources, who share agendas: to undermine Jeremy Corbyn as leader of Labour; to defend Israeli government policy from attack, however unjust, racist and harmful towards the Palestinian people; and to discredit those who make legitimate criticisms of Israeli policy or Zionism as a political ideology. As anti-racist and anti-fascist Jews who are also campaigning for peace with justice between Israelis and Palestinians, we entirely reject these cynical agendas that are being expressed by:

• The Conservative Party

• Conservative-supporting media in Britain and pro-Zionist Israeli media sources

• Right-wing and pro-Zionist elements claiming to speak on behalf of the Jewish community

• Opponents of Jeremy Corbyn within the Labour party.

The Jewish Socialists’ Group recognises that ordinary Jewish people are rightly concerned and fearful about instances of antisemitism. We share their concerns and a have a proud and consistent record of challenging and campaigning against antisemitism. But we will not support those making false accusations for cynical political motives, including the Conservative Party, who are running a racist campaign against Sadiq Khan, and whose leader David Cameron has referred to desperate refugees, as “a swarm” and “a bunch of migrants”. The Conservative Party demonstrated their contempt for Lord Dubs, a Jewish refugee from Nazism, when they voted down en masse an amendment a few days ago to allow 3,000 child refugees into Britain while Labour, led by Jeremy Corbyn, gave total support to Lord Dubs and his amendment.

The Jewish Socialists’ Group sees the current fearmongering about antisemitism in the Labour Party for what it is – a conscious and concerted effort by right-wing political forces to undermine the growing support among Jews and non-Jews alike for the Labour Party leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, and a measure of the desperation of his opponents.

We stand against antisemitism, against racism and fascism and in support of refugees. We stand for free speech and open debate on Israel, Palestine and Zionism.

Source: Statement on “Labour’s problem with antisemitism” | Jewish Socialists’ Group

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29 thoughts on “Required reading: Statement on ‘Labour’s problem with antisemitism’ | Jewish Socialists’ Group

    1. wildswimmerpete

      @John Laybourne
      “People need to understand that this is the latest wheeze to SPLIT LABOUR from top to bottom. Just in time for the May elections…”………which I suspect is engineered by Lynton Crosby possibly employing fifth columnists in the Labour movement. His Tory paymasters need to regain the confidence of the electorate.

      1. Mike Sivier Post author

        … or just undermine confidence in Labour until it is less strong than in the Tories.

  1. jeffrey davies

    its a great pity while the torys use this to hid away their dirty linen least we forget isreal has become the dictator jeff3

  2. Roland Laycock

    This should not be brushed under the carpet I have no problems with any race or people there are good jews and bad jews the good are very good and the bad are very bad the same with americans the media manipulate the people for the rich and until these people are sorted there will always be a problem the Jewish Socialists’ Group are right

  3. Rupert Mitchell (@rupert_rrl)

    Thank you for this post which makes excellent and informative reading to all of us who are against racism of any form. As this post rightly points out, comments about any particular country’s actions do not necessarily constitute either love or hatred towards it.

    Sadly the recent remarks made in bad taste are being blown up by those opposed to the Corbyn leadership which, in themselves, are a form of racism and are to be deplored.

  4. Luther Blissett

    John Mann described at the Fraser v UCU Employment Tribunal; [quote]148 ….. We did not derive assistance from the two Members of Parliament who appeared before us. Both gave glib evidence, appearing supremely confident of the rightness of their positions. For Dr MacShane, it seemed that all answers lay in the MacPherson Report (the effect of which he appeared to misunderstand). Mr Mann could manage without even that assistance. He told us that the leaders of the Respondents were at fault for the way in which they conducted debates but did not enlighten us as to what they were doing wrong or what they should be doing differently. He did not claim ever to have witnessed any Congress or other UCU meeting. And when it came to antiSemitism in the context of debate about the Middle East, he announced, “It’s clear to me where the line is …” but unfortunately eschewed the opportunity to locate it for us. Both parliamentarians clearly enjoyed making speeches. Neither seemed at ease with the idea of being required to answer a question not to his liking.[/quote]

  5. Terry Davies

    antisemitism has to be distinguished legally from anti Israeli governmental policies.
    the Israseli government and tories are using a general label to discredit the palestinians and labour party.
    commentators on here seem to be evidence of the confusion which has culminated due to these occurences.
    simply expressed anti semitism is wrong and illegal especially in germany due to the holocaust and victimisation of jews during world war 2. however the Israeli government have adopted policies which effectively victimise palistinean. this is wrong and strongly condemned by many nations.
    Those who oppose the policies and Israeli government are not being antisemetic in attitude.
    This continuum has various degrees which is why a legal distinction globally accepted will benefit world peace and give support to a long term resolution to the conflict between the Israelis and palestineans.
    uncaring tony blair will undoubtedly have recognised this but wanted to stay on the gravy train so didnt focus the media on such information during rare interviews.

  6. John

    The word racism, has become nothing more than a misused slur. Bandied about by the hard of thinking and those with an axe to grind. Often by those scratching around in the dirt for anything perceived as moral high ground. A word exploited to the point it means little beyond a lazy pejorative used to try and shut down uncomfortable truths and legitimate discussion.

    The word anti-semitism is all of that multiplied by ten.

    Being Jewish is not belonging to a race, any more than being catholic is. This whole Jewish race theme is part of the much bigger and widespread rewiring of history, mainstream consciousness and general perception being undertaken by the criminal cult via controlled mainstream media.

    Accusations of anti-semitism are a blunt weapon, a deliberate assault, a slur designed to force denial and change the subject. It only works because the lobotomised masses have been carefully conditioned to let it and encouraged to participate, thus bolstering it’s effectiveness.

    The criminal Zionist cult, have cynically expoited historic suffering and successfully assimilated most Jews in to their criminal nationalistic cult that must never be mentioned, politically, for fear of being castigated. In so doing they’ve created a deflective shield that precludes any serious examination of their criminality.
    The exception, of course, in the US especially, is when that political overture is one of unwavering support and pledges of further western tax payer funding for the illegal colonial expansion project from political Zionist quislings and mercenaries to their cult.

    As a result any challenge to the historic fabrications, distortions and revisions being peddled by the abomination called Israel and the criminal cult running it, the Zionists, to disguise and legitimise their criminal enterprise. A brutal colonial imposition, an invented people and the requisite theft of others land and resources to sustain them, must be shut down at every opportunity.

  7. Culturejunky

    This is a superb article and brilliant to see clear and rational thinking about a subject that a lot of people find difficult to talk about. Surely the key to eradicating all forms of racism and prejudice is to be able to talk about the subject openly and freely, debate it rationally despite controversial topics and understand what it actually is. For those that oppose all forms of racism in it’s most sinister forms, those Jewish and not Jewish this article is very important. Thank you.

  8. Dave Dennis.

    It is refreshing to be able to read the views of the people all this publicity refers to and I say thank to you all for your honest remarks which as one of said will not reach the media simply because they wish to destroy Jeremy Corbyn and are not interested in the truth.

  9. Dr Mark Casson

    If I say that Netanyahu’s policies are wrong -headed then that is fine. If I say that Israel harvests Palestinians’ organs or tortures children in jails that is an anti-Semitic blood libel. If I say Israel should not exist that is a denial of Jewish rights and is clearly anti-Semitic. To support the destruction of Israel is to support eradication of the Jews and those who pretend differently are anti-Semitic.
    I can support Arab Palestinian rights without denying Jewish Palestinian rights.

      1. John

        To support the destruction of Israel has got nothing whatsoever to do with eradication of Jews. That’s just the same old hyperbolic, hysterical clap trap peddled by the Zionists and used to affiliate and assimilate all Jews into their cult, no one is calling for that anyway.

        The internationally recognised ’67 border, which already includes stolen land, is where the so called state should be, which is nothing more than a western sponsored colonial expansion project in the heart of the Arab world anyway. Of course the criminal cult running the place have other ideas.

        Many real Jews are against the state because it defies the religion it cynically exploits for political, material and financial gain. They argue with justification that it is an abomination, in the true sense of the word and ungodly.

        All legitimate dissent is of course diligently suppressed.

      2. Dr Mark Casson

        I am saying that being against some of the Israeli government’s policies is not anti-Semitic but anti-Zionism is, in 2016, anti-Semitic. And furthermore, no-one seems to understand where to draw the line. – so I am drawing it for you. I supported the Labour Party for years, but not any more. When a house gets infested you either treat it radically or you move. Since I can’t rely on Corbyn to treat it, I am moving.

      3. Mike Sivier Post author

        What do you mean by that? Corbyn has acted very quickly.
        Anti-Zionism isn’t anti-Semitism in any sane person’s lexicon.

  10. Dr Mark Casson

    Since nearly half of the Jews of the world live in Israel, calling for the destruction of Israel is clearly an anti-Semitic metaphor. Where is your sympathy for the 850,000 refugee Jews expelled and dispossessed from Arsb countries?
    Having seen here what a toxic uninformed bunch looks like I now understand Labour’s problem.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Nobody’s saying Israel should be bombed! Try to have a sense of proportion.
      It simply seems clear that there are serious political issues with the state of Israel. Some have called for it to be dissolved and replaced with a more tolerant nation. What’s wrong with that?

      1. Ratdoll

        Mike silver you are a stupid little man. If you are Jewish you should remember that arab terrorist organisations want to kill all Jews anywhere in the world so being in the UK wont keep you safe. The Nazis would also have killed you or your parents for being Jewish. By the way ISIS, Hizballa and Hamas would aslo kill you if you were Chistian. But it seems you are so stupid you probably dont underatand what Im talking about. So carry on trashing Israel

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        No, I’m not Jewish.
        But thanks for showing that sectarian abuse isn’t solely directed at Jews.

    2. John

      Now there’s a great irony, perhaps you yourself should look beyond the Zionist’s propaganda and carefully rewired nationalistic history lessons to gain better insight and understanding of how that entity created it’s homeland fantasy.
      The subterfuge, malice, terrorism and murderous brutality employed to foment hatred in the Arab world, import a fearful population and ethnically cleanse an entire region are well documented and all played out long before the great excuse had even been conceived.

  11. Dr Mark Casson

    It is already super-tolerant particularly for a country constantly at war. Are you going to replace Saudi Arabia or China with something “more tolerant”?
    I can see that I am wasting my time. Bigotry cannot be challenged with facts and logic.

Comments are closed.