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.”
Margaret Hodge "suggested that the antisemitism row would only end if he [Corbyn] stood aside." That doesn't sound like someone concerned about antisemitism in the ranks of the party. She also tellingly says: “The problem is that he is the problem.” Ah. So not antisemitism.
— Revolution Breeze #IamvotingLabour (@suejonessays) September 2, 2018
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.”
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