Supporters of the Conservative Party – and of the Israeli government’s racist policies of persecution against Palestinians – are selling you a pup. Don’t let them.
The Labour Party is not facing any real crisis about anti-Semitism; the words you are hearing spoken about it, and reading in the newspapers and online, are attempts to whip up anger against Jeremy Corbyn, based on a false premise.
There is nothing wrong with Labour’s new code of conduct on accusations of anti-Semitism; it is, in fact, better than the flawed International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance ‘working’ definition.
Those who suggest otherwise – including Jon Ashworth and Barry Gardiner, as mentioned in the excerpt below – are promoting a mechanism for allowing the Israeli government to get away with its policy of unbridled race-hatred against the Palestinians.
(They are also promoting a mechanism by which right-wingers both within and outside Labour can get rid of people they consider undesirable – like This Writer. If you would like to learn more about my own fight against false accusations of anti-Semitism, and think you might want to contribute to my fund for legal action, please visit my JustGiving page.)
And they are supporting those who will simply use the IHRA definition as a stick with which to beat the party even more.
Under the IHRA ‘working’ definition, any criticism of Israeli behaviour would be deemed an offence against that country’s right to self-determination and would be vilified as anti-Semitic, allowing the racists to go on purging that country of people belonging to a different race.
The problem – as I’ve mentioned previously – seems to rest on the belief in the mythical (it doesn’t actually exist) Macpherson principle that an incident must be racist if the victim claims it is so.
Macpherson only set this out as a rule for the recording of allegedly racist incidents – intending that they should be treated as potentially racist while a proper investigation took place into the realities of the situation.
Well, there’s an old saying: Sauce for the goose – if a behaviour is wrong for one side, it is wrong for both.
Palestinians who are suffering because the Israeli government is driving them out of settlements across the country (after the passing of its recent “Israel as a nation-state of the Jewish people” Act), and for all the other reasons they are being persecuted, may also claim racism – although they don’t have a dedicated name for it.
As Labour supports Article 1(2) of the 1948 UN Charter referring to “respect for the principle of equal rights and self determination of peoples”, the Party must be clear that the Palestinian people have the same right to self-determination as any other people. To deny that right is to treat the Palestinian people unequally and is therefore a form of racism (I am paraphrasing paragraph 12 of the party’s new code of conduct on anti-Semitism here – sauce for the goose, remember).
So those who are demanding that Labour revert to acceptance of the IHRA ‘working’ definition are – unquestionably – racists.
They have no answer to this argument, so feel free to use it against them at every possible opportunity.
Let’s watch them try to squirm out of the logical dead-end they have created for themselves.
Jeremy Corbyn is facing mounting pressure to tackle the party’s crisis over antisemitism after three Jewish newspapers jointly condemned the party, with two shadow cabinet members among a series of senior figures calling on the Labour leader to change course.
Two shadow cabinet members openly called for the party to reverse its opposition to fully adopting an internationally-recognised definition of antisemitism, while other figures privately expressed anger at the situation.
A day after the Jewish Chronicle, Jewish News and Jewish Telegraph printed unprecedented joint front-page editorials calling a Corbyn-led government an “existential threat” to Jewish life in the UK, there was no official response beyond a brief party statement defending the current policy.
Jonathan Ashworth, the shadow health secretary, said he was “very depressed” by the editorials and called for the NEC to reverse its decision.
The shadow international trade minister, Barry Gardiner, told Jewish News that he believed it “would have been better for the party to adopt the IHRA definition in full with all the examples”.
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