It seems the great campaigning group Hope Not Hate has been hoodwinked by those who want to mire the Labour Party in evidence-less claims of anti-Semitism.
After three Jewish-orientated newspapers published a joint front page attacking the party (as usual, with no solid evidence on which to base their words). Their complaint was that Labour had “diluted” the IHRA working definition of anti-Semitism, when in fact the party’s code of conduct strengthens it.
But it seems HNH’s Nick Lowles swallowed the lot unquestioningly. He wrote:
It is now immaterial whether or not Labour really does pose an “existential” threat to British Jews. That is the perception felt by a growing number of British Jews right across their community. Some people are talking about leaving the country if Labour wins a General Election. The fact is that a large number of people in the Jewish community are fearful of the prospect of a Labour government.
This is the view of many British Jews. We must accept that, and we have to deal with it. It is not my position as a non-Jew to deny the right of my Jewish friends to feel as they do. That’s not how we approach the racism suffered by any group. It cannot be the position of the Labour Party to dismiss their concerns.
Of course, the Labour Party has not dismissed concerns about anti-Semitism. It has bent over backwards to acknowledge and investigate them – to the point that it is now doing its utmost to find even innocent party members guilty of it, in a vain attempt to avoid further censure.
Nor is Mr Lowles right about the way we approach allegations of racism. If these are reported to the police, they record them as racist incidents – that’s the Macpherson principle, much-touted by the anti-Semitism whistleblowers, in action. But they still investigate the allegations fully and form their own conclusions about whether a crime was committed, and whether it was racist.
None of the above is to deny that a number – perhaps even a growing number – of British Jews feel that Labour poses a threat to them. How can they help it, with so much of the British mass media feasting on the material provided by organisations claiming to stand up for them, such as the unelected, undemocratic Board of Deputies.
Mr Lowles demands that Labour should accept the full definition of the IHRA working definition of anti-Semitism – which is a nonsense because Labour has accepted the definition in full. It is only some of the examples provided with the definition that Labour has modified, and accepting the examples instead would be watering down Labour’s code of conduct, not the other way around as has been claimed.
He also claims the IHRA definition is the internationally-recognised definition of anti-Semitism. In fact it has been recognised by only 31 of 195 countries.
The reason Mr Lowles has made these mistakes is simple: He hasn’t done his research. All he has done is swallow down every unevidenced claim that has been thrown his way.
Don’t get me wrong; it is right to treat accusations of anti-Semitism as real – while they are being investigated. But any investigation has to be full, and without fear or favour in any direction.
This is where Labour has let itself down. The party has correctly identified many cases of genuine anti-Semitism – but this seems to have been simply due to its determination to say every single defendant must be guilty. Consider the treatment of Marc Wadsworth – outrageously accused of anti-Semitism under false pretences by MP Ruth Smeeth and then hounded out of the party on a charge of bringing it into disrepute. In fact, it is his treatment by Labour that harmed the party’s reputation.
My own case is yet to be heard, but I have made it clear that Labour’s National Executive Committee, in its sheet listing the charge against me and its particulars, included a directive to the investigating panel to find me guilty, no matter what – in order to improve the party’s image among observers. There is no effort whatsoever to suggest that the panel’s verdict should support any principles of justice.
That is what will do the most harm to the Labour Party.
It is also the reason I am crowdfunding in order to take my own accusers to a genuine court, to have the matter against me judged according to the law of the land. If you are willing to help me, please visit my JustGiving page and pledge what you can.
Beastrabban has published a couple of articles on the subject of Hope Note Hate’s mistake.
This one examines the underlying attempt to stifle debate about the actions of the Israeli government – its policy of apartheid operated against Palestinians, and its appalling human rights abuses against the same people.
And this chronicles an attack on Hope Not Hate, by a Jewish write, for making a personal accusation against Jeremy Corbyn that carries no weight at all.
Both are well worth reading, as useful background information.
The bottom line is that those – like Hope Not Hate – who have smeared Labour Party members on the basis of false or evidenceless claims are helping to generate the very atmosphere of fear among British Jews that they bemoan.
The Labour Party itself is not guiltless in this regard – as I have clarified, above. The party’s attitude is self-defeating, as it is perpetuating the very situation it is trying to control.
And it could all be resolved if those involved took one very simple step. All those writing articles should be taking it already because it is a basic rule of journalism:
Check your facts.
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