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Richard Burgon: He has no need to apologise.

I can’t say I’m impressed with Richard Burgon’s rationalisation of his remarks about Zionism, that were caught on video five years ago.

Investigative journalist Iggy Ostanin posted a video showing Mr Burgon denying having made the comments to the BBC’s Andrew Neil, followed immediately by proof that he did:

Interesting clip, that.

It’s from 2014, when the Israeli government had launched Operation Protective Edge, a hugely-controversial offensive against Palestinians in Gaza in which it was estimated that more than 2,125 Palestinians were killed and more than 10,500 wounded, compared with 67 military and six civilian Israeli deaths, with 469 Israeli soldiers and 87 civilians wounded.

It is known that Israeli government policy is to deprive the Palestinian people of their land and – if they resist – of their lives. We have seen that in action but if you would like evidence of their behaviour, here’s some:

According to Maureen Murphy, “The Israeli military killed one Palestinian child in the West Bank and Gaza per week on average last year, typically injuring them in their upper body and head. You can’t blame Hamas for Israeli snipers training their guns at children’s torsos and heads, however hard you try.” She supported this with a link to evidence. Read it here.

The ideology that informs these atrocities is Zionism. It is an ethno-political belief that a Jewish nation in what is now Israel should be established and – now that it has been – developed and protected. It should never be connected directly with the Jewish people as a whole; they are separate and many Jews reject Zionism, especially as it is practised by the Israeli government and its supporters.

It is an ideology of hatred. Before Israel was established, it was considered by many to be anti-Semitic. Think about it: anyone saying they support the migration of Jewish people away from their current home to a foreign land (that was already occupied, remember) could open themselves up to accusations that they hate Jews because they are Jews – the classic definition of the anti-Semite.

Now Israel has been established, anybody supporting the Zionism practised by its government and soldiers is supporting the theft of Palestinian land and the displacement – or genocide – of Palestinian people. And it could still be said to be anti-Semitic as the behaviour of the Israeli government and its soldiers is likely to breed opposition against them that develops into hate. That hate could then be spread to apply to all Jews.

Oh, and it turns out there are many Jews who don’t support Zionism. Many do, but if anyone tries to tell you they speak for all Jews in supporting this ideology, they are lying.

In this context, it is clear that Mr Burgon’s comments in 2014 were reasonable expressions of opinion, based on the facts. As they continue to be. It’s just a shame he felt he had to backtrack on his words about Zionism as practised by the Israeli government.

His critics – defenders of Zionism like The Board of Deputies of British Jews (who don’t represent a huge number of British Jews at all – secular Jews represent a third of the population in the UK and have nothing to do with the BoD), Jonathan Goldstein of the Jewish Leadership Council, Labour Friends of Israel director Jennifer Gerber and Jewish Labour Movement chairman Mike Katz – have tried to equate peaceful opposition to their hate-filled ideology with hatred of all Jews and that is nothing but a lie. It’s a despicable lie, at that.

Why have they done it? Well…

Another commenter, Phil Vanes, suggested: “Do remember me saying some time ago that because Corbyn is untouchable, his opponents will instead concentrate on picking off his close supporters one by one. Well guess what? It looks like it’s Richard Burgon’s time now.”

One more point: In the clip of him attacking Zionism, Mr Burgon calls for Labour Friends of Israel (LFI) resign from that group “to show support for all humanity” instead of supporting the atrocities carried out by the Israeli government and its soldiers, yet we have seen LFI’s Jennifer Gerber, and Mike Katz of the Jewish Labour Movement, condemning those words.

Logic dictates that they must therefore support the atrocities in the articles to which I have linked above.

LFI and the JLM support the theft of Palestinian land.

LFI and the JLM support violence against – and the murder of – Palestinian people.

Their outbursts against Mr Burgon prove it.

Or are we about to see a protestation of opposition to these Israeli atrocities? I won’t hold my breath waiting.


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