I have an apology to make.
This Site has been unusually quiet for a few weeks now. Usually I manage to put out anything between five and 10 articles a day but lately I have had trouble getting even a single piece to the public.
This is because I have been writing huge amounts of text intended to defend myself against false accusations of anti-Semitism that have been made against me by an anonymous accuser who contacted the Labour Party, and by the Conservative-supporting press.
I do not believe these accusations have been made because of any anti-Semitism in my work or my personal attitudes. My opinion is that they were intended to stop me producing articles for This Site which support a Labour government.
If you would like to learn more about the attack on me, and would consider contributing to me efforts to raise funds to challenge these claims in court, please visit my JustGiving page.
This is not about racism; it is about politics. It is about undermining support for a Labour Party that would help all people in the UK.
Look at the latest stunt: Three Jewish newspapers teaming up to attack Labour’s refusal to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working – take note of that word, “working”; we’ll come back to it – definition of anti-Semitism.
A government led by Jeremy Corbyn would pose an existential threat to Jewish life in the UK, a joint editorial published by the country’s three most prominent Jewish newspapers has claimed.
The Jewish Chronicle, Jewish News and Jewish Telegraph each produced similar front pages for their Thursday editions attacking the Labour party’s decision not to fully absorb an internationally accepted definition of antisemitism into its code of conduct, and its wider record on the issue since Corbyn became leader in 2015.
Does anybody else think this is a response to the 36 international Jewish organisations who came out in support of Labour, last week?
Oh, you didn’t hear about that? I’m not surprised – it was hardly reported here in the UK. Fortunately, quite a few of us read The Canary and know what’s going on.
That website stated: “Jeremy Corbyn has received a major boost from 36 Jewish groups worldwide, embarrassing the corporate media. The Labour leader is currently under pressure from the press, the right of his party, and the conservative Board of Deputies of British Jews. They are pushing for Labour to adopt wholesale the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition of antisemitism into its rule book.
“On 17 July, 36 Jewish groups from around the world said that the IHRA definition “intentionally” equates “legitimate criticisms of Israel… with antisemitism”. And later in the day, Labour’s ruling body approved a new code of conduct that included a version of the IHRA definition without the examples that could stifle legitimate criticism of Israel.
“For the first time, 36 Jewish groups (including six based in the UK) have come together in a move that strengthens the position of Corbyn and organisations that support Palestinian rights.
“Their statement says the IHRA definition is “worded in such a way” as “to intentionally equate legitimate criticisms of Israel and advocacy for Palestinian rights with antisemitism, as a means to suppress the former”.
“Spearheaded by the US-based Jewish Voice for Peace, the groups continued: “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.
“”We urge our governments, municipalities, universities and other institutions to reject the IHRA definition and instead take effective measures to defeat white supremacist nationalist hate and violence and to end complicity in Israel’s human rights violations. Israel does not represent us and cannot speak for us when committing crimes against Palestinians and denying their UN-stipulated rights.””
The international response has been to support Labour and it seems the three newspapers attacking the party are doing so in order to reinforce the trumped-up opposition to the party’s policies and boost support for the Conservatives.
Now look at the way The Guardian reports the same issue:
Concern has been expressed about the refusal of the party’s national executive committee (NEC) to accept the full text of the working definition of antisemitism produced by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). The document provides a definition and 11 examples. The former is accepted by Labour, but not all of the latter.
Labour’s NEC objects to the example that defines “claiming that the existence of a state of Israel is a racist endeavour” as antisemitism. The party said it was concerned about creating a code that could be “used to deny Palestinians, including Palestinian citizens of Israel and their supporters, their rights and freedoms to describe the discrimination and injustices they face in the language they deem appropriate”.
See how it is slanted to suggest that Labour’s modifications to what is – let’s remember – a working definition (one that is intended to be modified to improve clarity) are cause for concern.
In fact, Labour’s changes are welcome because they take away the automatic assumption that the state of Israel cannot act in a racist way.
Consider current Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s racist “Israel as a nation-state of the Jewish people” Bill. It permits neighbourhoods to block people of specific nationalities or religions from moving in, removes Arabic as an official language, and directs judges to look for precedents from Jewish legal rulings in instances where Israeli law offers no guidance.
It isn’t about protecting Jews; it is about persecuting Arabs.
But people who make this point can be accused of anti-Semitism by those like the editors of the Jewish Chronicle, the Jewish News and the Jewish Telegraph, pointing at the example in the IHRA working definition.
This isn’t even the only place where the working definitions examples let the document down.
Another example of anti-Semitism is described as “Making … stereotypical allegations about Jews … such as… the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.” But what about Shai Masot?
He was a staff member at the Israeli embassy in London who was caught conspiring to influence UK politics in the interests of his country; a Jew trying to exert control over the UK government. Under the working definition of anti-Semitism, anybody accusing him of that would be smeared as an anti-Semite – but the allegation was true.
And Mr Masot said members of organisations including Labour Friends of Israel and Conservative Friends of Israel were among his supporters. To the best of my knowledge, no questions have been asked of those groups – for fear of the action being labelled anti-Semitic?
I wonder if these abuses of the term “anti-Semitism” stem from the misinterpretation of the so-called Macpherson principle – that a racist incident (including anti-Semitism) is “any incident which is perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person”.
This was devised as a tool to encourage the recording of allegations of racism by the police, after a “refusal to accept racist motivation by a number of officers” was noticed in the investigation of the Stephen Lawrence case.
But the so-called Macpherson principle is now being used to suggest that any claim of anti-Semitism, made by someone claiming to be a victim, must be automatically accepted as anti-Semitism, without investigation.
It is wide open to abuse. As Professor David Feldman stated in his sub-report to the All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism: “it is unambiguously clear that Macpherson intended to propose that such racist incidents require investigation. He did not mean to imply that such incidents are necessarily racist. However, Macpherson’s report has been misinterpreted and misapplied in precisely this way.”
Labour’s modification to the IHRA example regarding Israel as a racist endeavour states that: “It is not racist to assess the conduct of Israel – or indeed of any other particular state or government – against the requirements of international law or the standards of behaviour expected of democratic states (bearing in mind that these requirements and standards may themselves be contentious).” I would go on to state that criticism of Israel as a racist endeavour could be considered anti-Semitic – but only if evidence of anti-Semitic intent was proved.
Simply put: There should be no automatic assumption of anti-Semitism, just because somebody claims it.
The claim of anti-Semitism should be recorded and the accusation investigated. Only after a full – and impartial – investigation should any final conclusion be drawn.
That is justice.
If we take the alternative currently being offered, then, as Professor Feldman states, “we open the way to conceptual and political chaos”.
Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:
Here are four ways to be sure you’re among the first to know what’s going on.
1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.
2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical
3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/
Join the Vox Political Facebook page.
4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at http://voxpoliticalonline.com
And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!
If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!
Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.
The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:
Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:
The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here: