Israel’s Arab MPs back Corbyn – and oppose IHRA definition – in antisemitism row

In a Knesset session, Arab MPs protest against recent legislation that defines Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people.

If your knee-jerk reaction to the headline is, “They would, wouldn’t they?” then you need to read what follows.

You see, the letter from the Joint List MPs in the Israeli Knesset – who include one Jewish representative – could really put the cat among the pigeons.

It highlights the double-standard of a UK organisation setting Jews above all other minorities – giving them protections available to nobody else – when the self-defined “nation-state of the Jewish people” has just stolen rights from all minorities in Israel.

It highlights the fact that the IHRA working definition of anti-Semitism – which the Labour Party in the UK is under extreme pressure to adopt in full – prohibits opposition to Zionism, which is not a characteristic of Judaism but a political philosophy that, as characterised by the government of Israel, is racist.

Where does this put those in the UK who are demanding that Labour adopt the IHRA definition?

Where does it put Gordon Brown, who has put pressure on Labour’s NEC to adopt IHRA in full, “unanimously, unequivocally and immediately”, saying Labour is all about equality and solidarity?

IHRA would grant Jewish people more privileges than any other minority in the UK. That’s not equality. The demand that Labour supports Zionism is not solidarity.

It would be collusion in racism, as the Joint List letter makes clear.

Where does it put Margaret Hodge, who has admitted that the anti-Semitism row in the Labour Party is about right-wingers like herself and Mr Brown trying to remove Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the party?

She said: “The problem is that he is the problem.”

It puts them on particularly weak territory.

And where does it put Labour’s National Executive Committee, which is due to vote in a meeting on Tuesday, on whether to adopt the full IHRA definition, with all its examples including support for Zionism with all the implications of support for racism that it entails?

If it supports the change, the NEC will be deliberately provoking constituency party units that have supported the current code of conduct, which supports the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism but omits some examples in favour of explanations that improve on those put forward by the IHRA – removing ambiguities that prohibit criticism of Zionism and/or policies of the Israeli government?

It leaves them up to their necks in the… soup.

If they support a move to describe criticism of racist Israeli policies as anti-Semitic; if they support demands to prohibit criticism of the racist, land-grabbing and genocidal political philosophy that supports such policies; if they support self-determination for Jewish people but not for Palestinians…

They will be worse than those who are demanding it of them – because they will be silencing international condemnation that may be the only way to prevent the name of Palestine becoming just another entry in a history book – and the Palestinian people being the victims of another avoidable genocide.

A political alliance of four Arab-dominated parties in Israel’s parliament have broken ranks with fellow legislators to announce their support for Jeremy Corbyn.

In a letter to the Guardian, the Knesset members said they commended the Labour leader for “his long-standing solidarity with all oppressed peoples around the world, including his unflinching support for the Palestinian people”.

They added: “We stand in solidarity with Jeremy Corbyn and we recognise him as a principled leftist leader who aspires for peace and justice and is opposed to all forms of racism, whether directed at Jews, Palestinians, or any other group.”

“As long as efforts to curb anti-Jewish sentiment in the UK are focused on combating the disparagement of Jews merely for their membership in a minority group, they have our full support,” said the group, which includes the deputy speaker, Ahmad Tibi. But they added that the definition of antisemitism “goes far beyond anti-Jewish animus to include anti-Zionism”.

Arab and other minorities in Israel have felt under threat after the Knesset passed a law in July declaring that only Jews have the right of self-determination, encouraging Jewish settlement, and downgrading the status of the Arabic language.

The Joint List letter said Palestinian citizens of Israel have “yet to experience a single day of equality”, adding that millions more in the West Bank live under occupation and “under siege in the Gaza Strip”.

“Incredibly, instead of taking that government to task for its unadulterated racism, the British political class ignores the Palestinian historical plight,” it said. “With the Netanyahu government ramping up the racism, our struggle for survival is more precarious than ever.”

Source: Israel’s Arab MPs back Corbyn in antisemitism row | World news | The Guardian

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  1. Zippi September 3, 2018 at 3:31 am - Reply

    Why did £abour decide to adopt the I.H.R.A. definition of anti-Semitism, anyway? Surely there is no significant difference, in terms of minority privilege between that and adopting all of the examples. Was £abour’s code Of Conduct not robust enough? Given that racially and religiously aggravated hate crimes are covered by both the Crime and Disorder Act (1998) and The Criminal Justice Act (2003), was there any need, at all, to adopt this definition, when any person committing acts of anti-Semitism would be breaking the law? Had £abour not adopted this definition, it might not be in the mess in which it now finds itself although, those who have been trying to get rid of Jeremy Corbyn since he was nominated, would have come up with something else.
    The major problem is one of perception; many of us within the Party can see this for what it is but many do not and those who are not members, will have been subjected to perhaps the biggest brainwashing scam in modern times. All that they will see is a Party that is racist and anti-Semitic with a leader who cavorts with terrorists and attacks Jews. I have yet to see evidence of the alleged attack, or a reason why. Why Jews, especially given that Muslims are the Enemy Of The People, currently, all over Europe? Why now? Before this, were people really that bothered about Jews? For the most part, who can tell who’s Jewish, anyway?
    With Gordon Brown on board and Rabbi Sacks’ hysteria (and rumours of Tony Blair crawling out of his coffin… again!) I see little prospect of those examples not being adopted. Rational debate has gone to the Moon and I don’t see it coming back any time soon. (I hadn’t intended to make a rhyme!)

    • Mike Sivier September 3, 2018 at 10:01 am - Reply

      Labour’s code of conduct is better than the IHRA definition and examples.

      The feeling was that, given the amount of discontent whipped up by Mr Corbyn’s opponents, it would be reasonable to have a policy on anti-Semitic behaviour within the party structure. It was inevitable that the nuisances would stir up nonsense about it, though, and the leadership should have anticipated that.

      I agree with pretty much everything in your second paragraph (although obviously I take your line that Muslims are “the Enemy Of The People” as referring to the way they are perceived, not what they are. I state this for clarification as we do sometimes get more literally-minded readers here).

      • Zippi September 3, 2018 at 11:59 am - Reply

        Mine apologies. Aye, I should have put that phrase in inverted commas. I meant it, though, not in the way in which they are perceived but how they are treated, which is possibly why I chose Title Case, rather than inverted commas.
        What I meant in my first paragraph is that by choosing to incorporate any definition of anti-Semitism, £abour has, effectively, granted minority privilege to Jews. Why should they and no other minority group, have special status, or protections, within the Party? The way that things are going, right now, anybody would think that they are the only people in the Party who matter. This minority privilege creates bad feeling, thus hostility towards Jews is likely to increase, which is pretty much what Kenneth Stern warned about. If you are going to do it for one, you must do it for all.
        “If denying the right of Israel to exist is enshrined as antisemitism by law, would Congress then pass parallel legislation defining opposition to a Palestinian state as anti-Palestinianism? Would it adopt a definition of racism, perhaps including opposition to affirmative action? Would it pass laws defining Islamophobia, anti-LGBT animus, anti-immigrant bias, anti-white bias, etc.? And if campus political speech cannot employ “double standards,” as the Department of State definition rejects regarding Israel, does this mean that political speech against China or Russia or the U.S. which doesn’t employ parallels against other countries might someday be legally suspect too?” Kenneth Stern

        • Mike Sivier September 3, 2018 at 12:20 pm - Reply

          Yes. I’ve mentioned minority privilege for Jews in the article and agree with your opinion.

  2. Barry Davies September 3, 2018 at 9:35 am - Reply

    Not all jews are semites and not all semites are jews the Arabs are correct.

    • Mike Sivier September 3, 2018 at 9:51 am - Reply

      That’s not the issue. They are correct, though.

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