June 18, 2019

Geoffrey Alderman on Margaret Hodge

Here's Geoffrey Alderman in The Jewish Telegraph taking a bit of a swipe at Margaret Hodge.  Because of The Jewish Telegraph's habit of pasting the latest article over the previous one I save Alderman's pieces to the Wayback Machine and copy and paste them here:

GEOFFREY ALDERMAN
DAME MARGARET HAS SOME EXPLAINING TO DO

THE abysmal showing of the Labour Party in the recent European Parliament elections is the cumulative outcome of many factors.

Prominent among them are said to be the prevalence of anti-Jewish prejudice in the party and the party’s seeming inability to confront the difficulty head-on.

Of course Labour has a problem with antisemitism. But so do the Tories. So does virtually every mainstream political party in this country.

In Labour’s case, however, antisemitism (too often not even disguised as anti-Zionism) has led to the exodus from the party of some of its members, and dire public warnings from others, among the most prominent of whom is Dame Margaret Hodge, Labour MP for Barking and former leader of Islington council.
On April 17, in a short but forceful speech in the House of Commons, Dame Margaret gave public expression to her concerns.

Born in 1944 as Margaret Oppenheimer to Jewish parents then living as refugees in Egypt, she spoke movingly of members of her family who had been murdered by the Nazis, and she recalled how, on a visit to Auschwitz, she gazed upon a mound of suitcases, one of which she recognised as it bore the initials of her uncle.

Powerful stuff! And, politically, more compelling still for what Hodge had to say specifically — and not for the first time — about the Labour Party of which she has been for more than 50 years a member and remains so to this day.

Ever since Jeremy Corbyn’s election as party leader, Hodge has, in fact, spent a great deal of time attacking her own party for not doing enough to stamp out antisemitism in its ranks, and she has made no secret of her personal disdain for Corbyn, whom (in a celebrated incident in the Commons on July 17 last year) she reportedly accused of being “an antisemitic racist”.

Dame Margaret is unquestionably Jewish. Yet, according to her own testimony (offered in the April, 2019, debate): “My upbringing has been entirely secular.

“I have never practised Jewish religious traditions. Neither of my two husbands were Jews. I am a consistent critic of the governments of Israel.”

Nonetheless, she added, “my Jewish heritage is central to my being”.

In an article in the online Spectator on May 8, I drew attention to the fact that as Labour leader of Islington council from 1982 to 1992, Hodge appears to have played a part — though exactly what part remains unclear — in the council’s decision to approve a planning application that would have led to the destruction of the original 1843 cemetery of the West London Synagogue and the sale of the land to developers.

I was part of the ultimately successful campaign to have the decision reversed. So was Jeremy Corbyn.
Was Mrs Hodge personally in favour of the proposal? We simply do not know.

Hodge has claimed — in The Observer on July 21, 2103 — that she feels “passionately Jewish”.

In October, 1986, members of Islington council — not all of whom were Jewish, by the way— were moved to protest against the scheduling of a race relations committee meeting on Yom Kippur.

Council leader Hodge apparently saw nothing untoward in attending the meeting.

Three years later, the media reported that members of Hackney’s Jewish communities were holding “top-level meetings with Islington council” in an attempt to buy an Islington-owned property in Stamford Hill, which the communities wanted to turn into a nursery and old people’s home.

According to press reports, “Islington leader, Margaret Hodge . . . informed groups that Islington intended to use the building for people in bed-and-breakfast accommodation”.

Hodge denied that the move was in any way discriminatory. But her apparent lack of empathy with the educational and social needs of practising Orthodox Jews surely needs some explaining.

If Hodge wishes to pursue a totally secular lifestyle, that is no business of mine or yours, but she certainly has some explaining to do!



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May 19, 2019

Geoffrey Alderman on JEWS WHO TURNED AWAY KINDERTRANSPORT KIDS

Here's another article by Geoffrey Alderman in the Jewish Telegraph which, like the previous one will probably be overwritten by the next.  So off to the Wayback Machine go I and I'm posting the article here too.
GEOFFREY ALDERMAN

JEWS WHO TURNED AWAY KINDERTRANSPORT KIDS

LAST month an important conference took place to mark the 80th anniversary of the Kindertransport.
Two leading researchers — Dr Louise London and Professor Paul Weindling — presented what was reportedly regarded as shocking evidence relating to the choice of unaccompanied German and Austrian children who were — or were not — permitted to enter the UK under the Kindertransport scheme.

Children were refused places if it was thought that they had ‘disabilities’ or had ‘too Jewish’ an appearance. What was wanted were children who were not religious and so could be all the more easily integrated into British society.

Prof Weindling cited the case of a Viennese Jewish boy whom the authorities described as “very well behaved but very slightly mentally backward”.

The application made on his behalf was rejected. We do not know what fate befell him.
As Dr London remarked, the “problem of what to do with the Jews took precedence over efforts to save them”.

I describe the evidence presented by Prof Weindling and Dr London as “shocking”. Unfortunately, those of us who have researched the Anglo-Jewish response to the Holocaust cannot have regarded it was shocking at all.

Key to the choice of Kindertransport children was the Jewish banker Otto Schiff, head of the London-based Jews’ Temporary Shelter and ‘Overseer of the Poor’ of the United Synagogue.
Schiff worked hand-in-hand with the Aliens Department of the Home Office, so that, in practical terms, Jewish refugees from Nazism were allowed into Britain — or were refused entry — on his authority.

The Home Office trusted Schiff because it knew that, in his approach to this task, he would bring to bear prejudices and preferences of which the government approved.

The Viennese boy was not rejected by the British government, but by Kindertransport officials in London. That is to say, by fellow Jews!

Is there a case to be made in defence of Schiff and his colleagues?

Anti-Jewish prejudice appeared to be on the rise in the UK at that time. With a handful of notable exceptions, the Anglo-Jewish leadership — at the head of which was the then-Board of Deputies president, Mancunian barrister Neville Laski — believed that allowing more foreign-born Germanic-speaking Jews into this country would add fuel to the fire.

Laski had no qualms in publicly articulating the view that Jews, by their conduct, fostered antisemitism. In his book Manchester and the Rescue of the Victims of European Fascism (published 2011), the late Manchester Jewry historian Bill Williams reminds us that in December, 1935, the Manchester-based Women’s Lodge of Bnai Brith resolved that “the spread of antisemitism in England is largely brought about by ourselves”.

But I need to stress that what was true of Manchester was equally true of London.
Indeed within British Jewry this view was widely shared. And because it was widely shared, during the 1930s the official organs of Britain’s Jewish communities did their best to ensure that the least possible number of Jewish refugees were admitted to the UK, and that, as far as possible, only those were admitted who might be judged to be the most easily inclined to assimilate into the host society.

Beyond that, the fewer foreign-born Jews who were permitted to enter the UK, the better.
And what of those heavily traumatised children lucky enough to be chosen for the Kindertransport? Had they all been found billets in Jewish homes, their sufferings might have been lessened.

But in 1943, Dayan Dr Isidor Grunfeld, of the United Synagogue’s Beth Din, recalled how in 1938, when the Kindertransport began arriving, Jews who had been only too willing to donate money to refugee causes “showed themselves very reluctant to take Jewish refugee children into their homes”.

While a case can be made in defence of Otto Schiff and his colleagues, it strikes me as weak.
As for Schiff himself, I never cease to be amazed at the praise still lavished upon him. I noted with dismay that as part of the 2018 Holocaust Memorial Day events, a number of posthumous awards were made to ‘Heroes of the Holocaust’.

Among the recipients was Otto Schiff, upon whose activities the then-Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, waxed lyrical.

Indeed, so preciously revered is Schiff’s memory in certain circles that a Jewish Care home in Golders Green actually bears his name. I am outraged.



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The original of this article can be seen at the Wayback Machine.

May 18, 2019

Geoffrey Alderman on Jeremy Corbyn in Jewish Telegraph

I'm sad to say that The Jewish Telegraph website is a cheap and not very cheerful affair. I don't know if they maintain an archive but I couldn't find it if they do. Geoffrey Alderman came to the defence of Jeremy Corbyn just recently in the article you see below. He wrote another similar one in The Spectator. I just wanted a quick reread of the Jewish Telegraph article but, alas, it has now gone. This is the url for the original article https://www.jewishtelegraph.com/alderman.html. Click it now and it takes you to his latest article with no pointer to his previous stuff.

Well thank goodness for the Wayback machine.  The Wayback machine is a way of archiving web pages that you think might change or disappear. Simply take a web page's url and paste it into the box marked "Save Page Now" and Wayback saves the page as it was when you do it.  Well as luck would have it, someone did just that with this https://www.jewishtelegraph.com/alderman.html.  And so I can bring you this:   https://web.archive.org/web/20190419203707/https://www.jewishtelegraph.com/alderman.html

It is the only Jewish Telegraph page ever saved to the Wayback machine, so far anyway.

So now, if you see a web page that you think is going to disappear or change and you want the original, screengrab and archive in the Wayback Machine.

Now read on....

GEOFFREY ALDERMAN

HORRORS! CORBYN’S A ‘PM IN WAITING’ – ACCEPT IT

WE live in interesting times. Earlier this month, our beleaguered prime minister, Theresa May, invited into 10 Downing Street Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition.

Her purpose in extending this invitation — which he graciously accepted — was to enlist his support in the current crisis over the precise terms of the UK’s exit from the European Union.
But don’t worry. I’m not going to bore you about Brexit.

My purpose, rather, is to focus on the person of Jeremy Corbyn, whom we must now clearly regard as a potential prime minister.

The opinion polls, which for months have been showing the Corbyn-led Labour Party trailing the May-led Tories, are now announcing a Labour lead.

I would be the last person to insist that we must trust the polls. We mustn’t. But if a general election was held soon, it is entirely possible that Labour would win more seats than the Conservative Party, whose back has been well and truly broken on the Brexit wheel.

In that scenario, the Queen would be bound to call on Corbyn to form a minority government.
What, from the point of view of British Jewry, would such a government hold in store?

In spite of numerous scare stories, I honestly can’t see such a government banning shechita or brit mila. If Diane Abbott, currently Shadow Home Secretary, found herself actually in charge of the Home Office, would she outrage her many charedi constituents by closing down synagogues and moving to deprive Jews of the rights of British citizenship?

Of course not.


We might indeed see a Corbyn-led government cosying-up to the BDS movement. Labour is already committed to recognising a Palestinian state “immediately” it forms a government, so such a recognition is a probability.

Would Israel then sever diplomatic relations with the UK? I doubt it. The recognition of a Palestinian state would remain a symbolic but, in practical terms, meaningless gesture.

Corbyn’s Foreign Secretary (the tactless Emily Thornberry) might enjoy striding on to the podium at the UN Security Council to support — perhaps even to propose — some blood-curdling resolution denouncing the Jewish state as a neo-colonialist plot.

She would do so safe in the knowledge that American president Donald Trump would veto it. And let’s remember that on December 23, 2016, in the dying days of the Obama-led administration, a UN Security Council resolution condemning in the most explicit terms Jewish control of the West Bank and east Jerusalem — including the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem and the Western Wall — was adopted with the full-hearted consent and approbation of Theresa May and her tactless Foreign Secretary, one Boris Johnson.
The Tory-controlled UK government could have abstained. It could even have exercised its veto. It chose to do neither.

Reacting to that act of betrayal, I outlined in this column on January 13, 2017, a number of concrete measures that those who order the affairs of British Jewry might have taken to signal the community’s anger.


I suggested that May and Johnson could be disinvited from all communal events, and that Jewish groups should withdraw from co-operation with May’s government — for instance over security issues and the anti-terrorism “Prevent” agenda.

A communal macher took me aside and pointed out that these bold suggestions would never be acted upon, because those who order the affairs of British Jewry would never forego the chance of a Downing Street photoshoot and the yichus that such an opportunity apparently confers.

He’s right. By the same token, our narcissistic communal leadership would positively salivate on receiving, and being able to courteously accept, an invitation from Prime Minister Corbyn to take morning coffee or afternoon tea at No 10.

As a matter of fact, Jeremy Corbyn has an impressive demonstrable record of supporting Jewish communal initiatives.

In 2010, he put his name to an Early Day Motion — tabled by Diane Abbott in the Commons — calling on the UK government to facilitate the settlement of Yemeni Jews in Britain.

He was supportive of Jewish efforts to facilitate the speedy issue of death certificates by the North London coroner.

In June, 2015, he took part in a ceremony in his Islington constituency to commemorate the original site of the North London Synagogue.

Of course, there’s another side to this story. In relation to Jewish sensitivities, Corbyn has on too many occasions acted foolishly, I suspect without thinking through the long-term consequences of his actions.
The fact remains that he is a prime minister “in waiting”. We must learn to accept that reality.



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May 03, 2019

Transcript of Professor Cain and Tristram Hunt discussing the antisemitism in Hobson's Imperialism on Radio 3

You will have seen or heard another antisemitism smear of Jeremy Corbyn doing the rounds about how he blurbed a book called Imperialism by J.A. Hobson.  The book contains a an antisemitic reference to Jews by way of an ugly stereotypical description

Here is the BBC Radio 3 Podcast of a discussion between a Professor Cain and Tristram Hunt on the now notorious book, Hobson's Imperialism. 

Anyway, my typing is very poor so it took me forever to type this because there are some people who ought to know better and indeed do know better trying make out that the antisemitism is central to the thesis and that Professor Cain and Tristram Hunt said as much in the podcast.  Needless to say, they didn't.  They said the opposite.

Ok? It starts at about 7:33 into the podcast:

Transcript of Professor Cain & Tristam Hunt discussing Hobson's Imperialism on Radio 3

Tristram Hunt:  Here we see a cartoon in front of us from the Illustrated London News of top-hatted city gentlemen throwing their hats into the air and it says "The reaction on the Stock Exchange to the news of the Boer surrender at Paardeberg 1900".   But there's rather an interesting figure on the far right of it, isn't there?

Professor Cain: Well there's a figure who is clearly drawn as a kind of Jewish financier if you like. And there's no doubt about it that Hobson was quite ambivalent about this side of financial imperialism.  He did show some kind of antisemitic strain.

Tristram Hunt: And the figure we see before us is physically larger than the others. There's the crooked caricature Jewish nose, sideburns and he's not celebrating, he's overlooking it as if to suggest "well this was all in the plan". And is this meant to be in a sense a symbol not so much of a Rhodes as of a Rothschild?

Professor Cain: Yes, I think so and I think the implication is that, although Rhodes is a very prominent figure, it's the senior men in The City who are fundamentally in charge of this operation, this imperialist operation.

Tristram Hunt: Surely there was more than enough to critique in the imperial project and its links with The City without going down the semitic [sic] route.

Professor Cain: [This is at 9 minutes in]  Yes, I think it was a mistake.   What it reflected is the very widespread antisemitic sentiment amongst English intellectuals at that time.  But the fact is that the theory worked perfectly well without invoking any kind of Jewish conspiracy.  What you have fundamentally is what Hobson thinks of as a City conspiracy, not a Jewish conspiracy as such and the theory will work perfectly well without introducing the antisemitic element.

Tristram Hunt: Either way when we look at the power on display at the Stock Exchange and we look at the politicians, the financiers behind the imperial project it suggests some of the strength of the consensus that Hobson was up against, doesn't it?

Professor Cain: Oh yes.

The End
---------------------------------

May 02, 2019

A Day in the Life of Hobson's Imperialism on Wikipedia

In common with many people when I woke up yesterday I noticed yet another manufactured antisemitism scandal was in full swing. I knew it was manufactured because of the prominence of the words "antisemitism" and "Corbyn" in the headlines.

It turns out that Corbyn wrote an introduction to a book called Imperialism by a chap called Hobson.  I'd never heard of the book, described by Corbyn, apparently. as "brilliant".  It was The Times's Daniel Finkelstein who led the charge yesterday, typically for the antisemitism smears, the day before local elections.

It didn't take long for the poison to spread throughout the media. The words "peculiar race" popped up as the unambiguous description of Jews in Hobson's book.  In one of the anti-Corbyn threads someone very helpfully gave a link to a searchable copy of the book (without Corbyn's intro) online.

Good old Marxists.org.  They have a searchable copy of the book right here: https://www.marxists.org/archive/hobson/1902/imperialism/index.htm

There's only one throwaway reference to Jews by way of the words, "peculiar race" and they're so buried as to be barely even "peripheral" to the entire book. That's me moaning that I now have to search every chapter to then search the words I'm looking for.  The fact is, it is a deeply antisemitic throwaway passage but not a deeply antisemitic book.

So, go to Chapter IV and search for "peculiar" and what do we see:
These great businesses – banking, broking, bill discounting, loan floating, company promoting – form the central ganglion of international capitalism. United by the strongest bonds of organisation, always in closest and quickest touch with one another, situated in the very heart of the business capital of every State, controlled, so far as Europe is concerned, chiefly by men of a single and peculiar race, who have behind them many centuries of financial experience, they are in a unique position to control the policy of nations. No great quick direction of capital is possible save by their consent and through their agency. Does any one seriously suppose that a great war could be undertaken by any European State, or a great State loan subscribed, if the house of Rothschild and its connections set their face against it?
Again in common with a great many people I had to google "Hobson's Imperialism" because I'd never heard of it and out came Wikipedia on top. I noticed it had sections on its influence on Liberalism and its influence on Marxism but nothing about its antisemitism.  Very strange given its description in "newspapers of record" like The Times and The Guardian as a "deeply antisemitic book".

Now I remember from the great Zio "controversy", Zionists are quite adept at creating a controversy out of nothing and then zipping over to Wikipedia to have a bit of a tamper.  When I first noticed Zionists complaining that the word "Zio" is a putdown for Jews as Jews I googled "Zio". Lots of Italian restaurants popped up because Zio is Italian for uncle. I checked Wikipedia and found in the disambiguation that Zio was coming in at the botttom. A quick check of the edits and, what do you know? Zio as a "pejorative abbreviation of Zionist, often regarded as antisemitic" only appeared at the bottom of a list on 15 March 2016.  The "controversy" began in February of the same year. I think that might have been the actual start of the smear campaign.

Anyway, so I dashed over to Wikipedia to see what it had to say about Hobson's Imperialism.  Here are the contents of the page I saw early yesterday:

Contents


Today I looked again because the Hobson's Imperialism controversy is still rumbling on and, what do you know?  Look at the contents now:


See what the smear merchants did there? They've inserted "Antisemitism".  Now, let's see what the entry on Hobson's Imperialism lacked for the past 14 years:

Antisemitism
 [edit]Hobson's antisemitic views have been described as influential,[11][12] and while Imperialism does not contain the "violent anti-Jewish crudities" of his prior works,[13] it asserts that Jews dominated international finance in Europe.[14][15] According to history professor Norman Etherington this section on financiers seems irrelevant to Hobson's economic discourse, and was probably included since Hobson truly believed it.[16]

It's very scrappy, isn't it? Let's check the edits history.

See?


I hope you can see that ok but what happened is, I looked at the page first thing yesterday. There was nothing about Hobson's antisemitism nor the one passage in the book Imperialism that was antisemitic.  Yesterday was 1 May 2019. The last update to the page was 30 April in the evening but it had nothing to do with antisemitism. So sometime yesterday when lots of people were starting to realise that Danny Finkelstein's scoop was yet another rightist fantasy, someone calling themselves Icewhizz decided they had better take notice of what no-one had noticed on a Wikipedia entry in 14 years of edits, re-edits and de-edits.

Well, I suppose we are lucky that Zionism is racism or Zionists might start to notice that the "lower races" of Africa and Asia get more mentions than the "peculiar race" which gets just one mention in the fourth chapter of the book.

April 30, 2019

When Zionists spoke out against the Anti-Zionism = Antisemitism Equation II

Back in September 2017 I intended to post criticism's by Zionists of the disastrous Fraser v University and College Union (FUCU) case but I only posted this one by Adam Wagner, the increasingly notorious Zionist human rights barrister. Well here's one I remember well by another barrister, well actually a judge and a QC no less, Jonathan Goldberg. He described the Fraser case, brought by Antony Julius, as "an epic folly". Here he is in the Jewish Chronicle answering a critic of his own stance on the FUCU case:

Why the Ronnie Fraser case against the UCU was a legal and public relations disaster 

Rebecca from Finchley writes: I was furious to read your comment last week that bringing the Ronnie Fraser harassment case against the University College Union was “an act of epic folly”.  Surely it was high time the Anglo-Jewish community stood up for its rights, win or lose? 

V Rebecca, I am unrepentant in my view that bringing the Ronnie Fraser litigation was a legal and public relations disaster. All those concerned should first have reminded themselves of the rabbinical saying that “All Israel is accountable one for the other.” 

It was misconceived in law, wasted a fortune in legal costs (rumoured in legal circles to be over £500,000) but worst of all showed no Jewish seichel or streetsmarts whatsoever. You only litigate such hotly contentious matters if you are being dragged to court as the defendant and thus have no choice, or if, as claimant, you are sure to win. This case sent out the worst possible message to our many hate-filled enemies, namely that rich Jews threw huge resources at a failed attempt to stifle free speech. The result was entirely predictable and had been anticipated by several wise legal heads.

Those who now react to this defeat with sour grapes should more carefully study the judgment, which even an old warhorse like me had to read three times for all the nuances. See 
https://www.judiciary.uk/wp-content/uploads/JCO/Documents/Judgments/eemployment-trib-fraser-v-uni-college-union-judgment.pdf 

From a lawyer’s point of view, it is impeccably written and all too compelling. I cannot see any viable appeal arising from it and I would predict further damage and ignominious failure if such were attempted. 

I do not accept that the court was antisemitic, as Dr David Hirsh and others have insinuated.  Should Jews now be whiners who cannot admit we fought the wrong battle and miscalculated badly?

Do those who so rashly suggest on such shaky foundations that an English court was antisemitic have any conception of the damage they are doing to our community thereby?

Of the 10 factual complaints brought by Mr Fraser against the union, all but one were found to be unmeritorious after an exhaustive 20-day evidential investigation, with detailed reasons being given as to why the court rejected them. And even that one was brought out of time.

A main premise underpinning the claim — that the union was responsible in law for anti-Israel views promulgated by individual members in its annual congresses and in-house internet chatroom — was held wrong in law. Nor was that by any means the only error of law.

The underlying notion that a commitment to Zionism should be a “protected characteristic” in English employment law was in my view almost as fanciful as suggesting that supporting Tottenham Hotspur should be a protected characteristic, because so many Jews do so. 

Who is qualified to say, unless they sat through the 20 days of evidence, that the particular criticisms made of the evidence of Jeremy Newmark and two MPs were not reasonable. And just as important, why did Mr Newmark and the others ever voluntarily place themselves in a position to be so criticised in support of a claim brought on such dubious legal foundations?

And why should the court be criticised, as so many have done in this newspaper, for saying “a belief in the Zionist project, or an attachment to Israel or any similar sentiment, cannot amount to a protected characteristic. It is not intrinsically a part of Jewishness and, even if it was, it could not be substituted for the pleaded characteristics, which are race and religion or belief.” 

The critics have chosen to take five words out of context from this much longer passage in order to condemn the court for allegedly not recognising the attachment between the Jewish religion and Israel. In context, the court was saying no more than that an attachment to the modern State of Israel (“modern” is important here) is not intrinsic to Jewishness. And that is surely correct.

I yield to nobody in my love for Israel and my support for Zionism. But who can ignore the stark fact that many fellow Jews, including, for example, certain Israeli academics and at least one sect of ultra-Orthodox Jews, are among Israel’s most rabid detractors, whereas many gentiles are fervent Zionists (Lord bless them)

Why was not a fraction of these legal resources used instead to bring a private prosecution against those activists who disrupted the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra or the Batsheva Dance Company?

Such cases would almost certainly have succeeded. Having recently attended the stellar AIPAC conference in Washington, Rebecca, I have to say this debacle would never have happened in America.

Unlike in the UK, communal organisations there are not constantly jockeying with one another for power and prestige — and the left hand actually does know what the right is doing.

September 16, 2018

North West Jewish Voice for Labour statement on "Say No to Antisemitism" Demo in Manchester

“Say No to Antisemitism” Demonstration

Manchester, 

Sunday 16th September

As members of Jewish Voice for Labour in the North West, we welcome genuine efforts to combat rising antisemitism,and indeed racism in all its forms.  Antisemitism exists in all parts of our society and,together with almost all forms of racism in the UK, there is some evidence that it is increasing. However, we harbour a great deal of scepticism and concern with regards to the demonstration today.



For the last three years there has been a concerted effort to discredit and unseat Jeremy Corbyn as Leader of the Opposition, a man who is quite possibly the most consistent anti-racist leader the Labour Party has ever known. This campaign has been led by a coalition of groups which are deeply opposed to Jeremy's championing of Palestinian rights together with political opponents many of whom have shown little previous interest in combating antisemitism. Rather than seeking to oppose genuine anti-Jewish hatred, they have cynically sought to amplify and manipulate the anxieties of British Jews in order to further their political aims.

Many of those organisations and individuals taking part this Sunday, including Margaret Hodge, Louise Ellman and the Board of Deputies,are the same instigators of the campaign against Jeremy, and purport to speak on behalf of “The Jewish Community”. There is no such thing. Jews in the UK are extraordinarily diverse, of every complexion and political persuasion. That progressive Jewish organisations, including those supporting Palestinian human rights, were excluded from participating suggests that the organisers and speakers are not acting in good faith. After all, antisemitism affects us too. For some of the headline speakers, however, the demonstration is not just about antisemitism. Rather it concerns the uncritical defence of some of the actions of the Israeli government whilst giving voice to those who want to remove Jeremy Corbyn,a consistent and principled supporter of Palestinian rights, as leader of the Labour party. We cannot emphasise enough that they do not speak for us.

Whilst we understand the anxiety that many Jewish people must be feeling after seeing shocking and frequently misleading claims in the Jewish press and the mainstream media about the Labour Party and Jeremy Corbyn, it is important to note that racist attacks on other groups such as Black and Asian people are far more prevalent. We would like to see a united campaign of Jews and other minority ethnic groups against both antisemitism and racism in it various forms.Jewish people have always been at the forefront of the labour movement, campaigning against racism in all its forms and that remains our commitment as Jews in the Labour Party.Labour has been a welcoming place for us and we do not recognise its description as a hostile environment for Jews. It is still the party for those fighting racism, and antisemitism, in stark contrast to the Conservatives.

The recent furore over the adoption of the IHRA definition and examples into the disciplinary code has been seriously misrepresented. The author of the IHRA, Kenneth Stern, an American-Jewish academic and self-avowed Zionist, has testified before the US Congress that it should not be used as a tool to combat antisemitism because of the likely impact on free speech. This view is supported by many eminent lawyers who have analysed it including Hugh Tomlinson QC, Geoffrey Robertson QC, Benedict Birnberg, and former Court of Appeal judge Stephen Sedley. The cross-party Parliamentary committee also warned it would need to have free speech safeguards added, and only 6 of the 31 members of IHRA have adopted it (three of them with a dubious record on tackling antisemitism). It has been used already at 2 North West Universities to curtail debate on Israel/Palestine. It is,therefore,wholly unreasonable to criticise the party for wanting a free speech clause in accordance with the Human Rights Act. This is essential to protect the rights of Palestinians and others who must not be silenced.  Demanding that the human rights of Palestinians be respected should not be equated in any way with anti-Jewish hatred or denying ourselves the right to self-determination.

July 23, 2018

Spot the difference: Deborah Maccoby on how the Jewish Chronicle's Daniel Sugarman misrepresented Labour's take on antisemitism


In an online JC article published Friday July 20,
Daniel Sugarman sets out to enlighten JC readers about the row over Labour’s new definition of antisemitism. He tells us he will explain “how we reached the point where Jeremy Corbyn was branded ‘antisemitic’ and ‘racist’ to his face by one of his own MPs” and will elucidate “what Labour left out” of the full IHRA definition.
First, Sugarman sets out the eleven points in the IHRA definition which Labour adapted. Here they are, copied and pasted from the IHRA website:
Contemporary examples of antisemitism in public life, the media, schools, the workplace, and in the religious sphere could, taking into account the overall context, include, but are not limited to:
  • Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion.
  • Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective — such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.
  • Accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person or group, or even for acts committed by non-Jews. 
  • Denying the fact, scope, mechanisms (e.g. gas chambers) or intentionality of the genocide of the Jewish people at the hands of National Socialist Germany and its supporters and accomplices during World War II (the Holocaust).
  • Accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.
  • Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations. 
  • Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor. 
  • Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation. 
  • Using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterize Israel or Israelis.
  • Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.
  • Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel.”
So far, so good. Sugarman reproduced these eleven examples correctly – except that he left out the bit at the beginning about “could, taking into account the overall context”.
Critics of the IHRA definition examples have pointed out that they are a confusing mixture of items that are incontrovertibly antisemitic and others that are controversial and problematic because they could be used to close down legitimate criticism of Israel. This was why the Labour Party definition leaves out four of these eleven examples. However, contrary to what has often been claimed, the new definition does not omit them entirely – it clarifies them later on in the document.
Eleven take away four makes seven. Sugarman, however, does not list the seven examples - for reasons which will perhaps become clear. Instead he just tells us about them.
To make up for his omission, here are the seven examples from the Labour Party’s revised antisemitism definition (typed out from another piece on the JC’s website).
Test: spot the four that have been taken away from the IHRA definition.
“9. The following are examples of conduct likely to be antisemitic. They are in part derived from the IHRA working examples:
a. Calling for, aiding or justifying the killing or harming of Jews in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist form of religion.
b. Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotyping allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective – such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.
c. Accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person or groups or even for acts committed by non-Jews.
d. Denying the fact, scope, mechanisms (e.g. gas chambers) or intentionality of the genocide of the Jewish people at the hands of Nazi Germany and its supporters and accomplices during World War II (the Holocaust).
e. Accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.
f. Using the symbols and images of classic antisemitism (e.g. claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterize Israel or Israelis. Classic antisemitism also includes the use of derogatory terms for Jewish people (such as ‘kike’ or ‘yid’); stereotypical depictions/descriptions or character traits, such as reference to wealth or avarice and – in the political arena – equating Jews with capitalists or the ruling class.
g. Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the State of Israel. “
Have you worked out which four are missing? The answer is:
Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.
Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.
Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.
Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.
Notice first that, by leaving out these controversial, problematic points, the Labour Party is able to tighten up the incontrovertible ones that remain. There is no longer the weak, mealy-mouthed “could, taking into account, the overall context, include”. Instead there is the forthright “likely to be antisemitic”. So far from weakening or neutering the examples of antisemitism, the Labour Party has actually strengthened them.
Now for the test. How many did you get right? I am guessing that you got four out of four. After all, there are only four of them – is it really so difficult to get all four right? Moreover, Sugarman claims to be explaining the subject to readers.
Yet Sugarman only scores three out of four. He first mentions the loyalty issue, pointing out “Labour’s definition relegates it to further down the document, where it is merely described as ‘wrong’”. Then he writes:
“Labour also decided to omit three examples of how criticism of Israel can be antisemitic: Claiming the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour, using symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterise Israel or Israelis and comparing Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.”
Do you see what he has done there? Instead of the third missing example -- “Applying double standards by requiring of it a behaviour not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation” – he has put “using symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterise Israel or Israelis”.
Did he just make a mistake? Or is it a deliberate falsification?
In fact, if you look at this example in the new Labour definition, not only is it there (9f) – it is actually strengthened, with further examples not included in the full IHRA definition:
“f. Using the symbols and images of classic antisemitism (e.g. claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterize Israel or Israelis. Classic antisemitism also includes the use of derogatory terms for Jewish people (such as ‘kike’ or ‘yid’); stereotypical depictions/descriptions or character traits, such as reference to wealth or avarice and – in the political arena – equating Jews with capitalists or the ruling class.”
But Sugarman’s article gets worse. The suspicion that this is a deliberate lie on his part is compounded by the paragraph that comes next in his piece:
“In fact, Labour’s definition directly contradicts the second and third examples [ie ‘using symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterise Israel or Israelis and comparing Israeli policy to that of the Nazis’], saying ‘Discourse about international politics often employs metaphors drawn from examples of historic misconduct. It is not antisemitism to criticise the conduct or policies of the Israeli state by reference to such examples unless there is evidence of antisemitic intent’.”
Sugarman is here quoting from clause 16 of the new Labour Party definition – the very last clause in the document. It is a clarification of the omitted example of “comparing Israeli policy to that of the Nazis”. It reads in its entirety:
“Discourse about international politics often employs metaphors drawn from examples of historic misconduct. It is not antisemitism to criticise the conduct or policies of the Israeli state by references to such examples unless there is evidence of antisemitic intent. Chakrabarti recommended that Labour members should resist the use of Hitler, Nazi and Holocaust metaphors, distortions and comparisons in debates about Israel-Palestine in particular. In this sensitive area, such language carries a strong risk of being regarded as prejudicial or grossly detrimental to the Party within clause 2.1.8.”
The new definition is saying, therefore, that “comparing Israeli policies to that of the Nazis” is not antisemitic, unless there is evidence of antisemitic intent, but – in a strong warning against using the metaphor – points out that it “carries a strong risk of being regarded as prejudicial or grossly detrimental to the Party”. This warning is completely left out by Sugarman, in what seems to be a deliberate distortion of clause 16..
Much worse, though, is his use - or rather misuse – of clause 16 against “the second example” –ie “using symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterise Israel or Israelis”. Sugarman writes that clause 16 “directly contradicts” this example. As we have seen, clause 16 bears no relationship to this example at all, as it is not omitted from examples “likely to be antisemitic”. But Sugarman insidiously insinuates that the Labour Party document is implying that, just as the Holocaust or apartheid South Africa were examples of “historic misconduct”, so were the blood libel and the claim that Jews killed Christ – ie they actually happened; Jews did kill Christian children to bake their blood into the Passover unleavened bread and Jews did kill Christ; and it is not antisemitic “to criticise the conduct or policies of the Israeli state by references to such examples unless there is evidence of antisemitic intent”.
Of course there is no such implication in the Labour Party document at all. The implication is deviously and insidiously invented by Sugarman in order to create the impression that the new Labour Party definition is antisemitic.
The JC should apologise for this incorrect and insidious piece and withdraw or at least change it.

Editor's note:  The JC has now emended the article but with no apology for the original falsehood and no note of the amendment.
Here is the original article from google cache:

What is the IHRA definition of antisemitism? And why has Labour outraged Jews by rejecting it?


How we reached the point where Jeremy Corbyn was branded 'antisemitic' and 'racist' to his face by one of his own MPs
British Jews are furious the Labour party refused to accept the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism and adopted its own instead. The refusal has pushed Labour to the brink of a civil war with its Jewish parliamentarians and members.
But what is the difference? And how did it take us to the point where Jeremy Corbyn was branded “antisemitic and a racist” to his face by one of his own MPs?

The IHRA definition

A total of 31 countries have adopted the IHRA definition of antisemitism, as well as more than 130 UK local councils, the police, the Crown Prosecution Service and the judiciary. The definition was an offshoot of one created in 2005 by the European Union’s Monitoring Centre for Racism and Xenophobia, then the EU’s leading anti-racism body. When EU directives changed the role of the agency, it no longer promoted the definition, and the IHRA stepped into the breach.

What Labour left out when it chose its own version

The IHRA definition specifies eleven “contemporary examples of antisemitism”, while making it clear that there may be others.
These are:
  1. 1. Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion.

  2. 2. Making mendacious, dehumanising, demonising, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective — such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.

  3. 3. Accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person or group, or even for acts committed by non-Jews.

  4. 4. Denying the fact, scope, mechanisms (e.g. gas chambers) or intentionality of the genocide of the Jewish people at the hands of National Socialist Germany and its supporters and accomplices during World War II (the Holocaust).

  5. 5. Accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.

  6. 6. Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.

  7. 7. Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.

  8. 8. Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.

  9. 9. Using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterise Israel or Israelis.

  10. 10. Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.

  11. 11. Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel.
Labour’s definition omits or redefines a number of these. First, it omits describing the “dual loyalties” trope as antisemiticAccusing Jews of having dual loyalties was a tactic of both Nazi Germany and Stalin’s Soviet Union. The IHRA defines this clearly as an example of contemporary antisemitism.
Labour’s definition relegates it to further down the document, where it is merely described as “wrong”.
Labour also decided to omit three examples of how criticism of Israel can be antisemitic:Claiming the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour, using symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterise Israel or Israelis and comparing Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.
In fact, Labour’s definition directly contradicts the second and third examples, saying: “Discourse about international politics often employs metaphors drawn from examples of historic misconduct. It is not antisemitism to criticise the conduct or policies of the Israeli state by reference to such examples unless there is evidence of antisemitic intent.”
Claiming Israel is a racist endeavour is not, as has been claimed, the same as saying that Israel has acted in a racist manner, or has racist policies. Describing Israel’s very existence as a racist endeavour means you believe that everything about Israel, from its very beginning, has been racist.
There are many ways to criticise Israel which do not fall foul of the categories mentioned in the IHRA definition. The IHRA definition specifically says that “criticism of Israel similar to that levelled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic.”
Despite this, claiming Israel is fundamentally a racist endeavour is nowhere to be found in Labour’s definition of antisemitism.

Antisemitic intent

In some examples set out in the Labour definition, the text says that mentioning something is not antisemitism “unless there is evidence of antisemitic intent.”
This contradicts the Macpherson principle, which states minorities should be allowed to define the racism they face. But one QC has noted: “It’s not just a breach of Macpherson. There is no requirement in discrimination law to show intention to discriminate to prove you have been discriminated against or harassed on grounds of race/ ethnicity. [Labour] are laying themselves wide open to discrimination claims.”

How British Jews reacted

Labour’s definition has seen a rare level of opposition from within the Jewish community.
A total of 68 Rabbis, from all religious denominations, signed an open letter imploring Labour’s National Executive Committee to adopt the full IHRA definition.
And some of Israel’s most vocal critics within the Jewish community have spoken out against Labour’s definition. Yachad UK, the left-wing advocacy group, noted the “overwhelming attachment that Jews feel to Israel”.

Why did Labour do this?

Two years ago, Labour indicated that it would accept the full IHRA definition. But a few months ago, when Jewish representative organisations met with Mr Corbyn over antisemitism, one said: “The Labour leader… would not commit to adopting the IHRA definition in full."
Some key allies of Mr Corbyn have made comments in the past which could amount to antisemitism according to the IHRA definition. Seumas Milne, Mr Corbyn’s communications director, referred to the creation of Israel “a crime” during an address to a rally in 2009.
Mr Milne and others would not be in trouble for past comments, if Labour adopted the full IHRA definition.
There was no suggestion that people be called to account retroactively for previous statements. But they would not have been able to make similar comments so freely in future.
---------------------------------
How the article appears on the JC website now though still bearing the date 20 July 2018:

What is the IHRA definition of antisemitism? And why has Labour outraged Jews by rejecting it?

How we reached the point where Jeremy Corbyn was branded 'antisemitic' and 'racist' to his face by one of his own MPs
British Jews are furious the Labour party refused to accept the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism and adopted its own instead. The refusal has pushed Labour to the brink of a civil war with its Jewish parliamentarians and members.
But what is the difference? And how did it take us to the point where Jeremy Corbyn was branded “antisemitic and a racist” to his face by one of his own MPs?

The IHRA definition

A total of 31 countries have adopted the IHRA definition of antisemitism, as well as more than 130 UK local councils, the police, the Crown Prosecution Service and the judiciary. The definition was an offshoot of one created in 2005 by the European Union’s Monitoring Centre for Racism and Xenophobia, then the EU’s leading anti-racism body. When EU directives changed the role of the agency, it no longer promoted the definition, and the IHRA stepped into the breach.

What Labour left out when it chose its own version

The IHRA definition specifies eleven “contemporary examples of antisemitism”, while making it clear that there may be others.
These are:
  1. 1.  Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion.

  2. 2.  Making mendacious, dehumanising, demonising, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective — such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.

  3. 3.  Accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person or group, or even for acts committed by non-Jews.

  4. 4.  Denying the fact, scope, mechanisms (e.g. gas chambers) or intentionality of the genocide of the Jewish people at the hands of National Socialist Germany and its supporters and accomplices during World War II (the Holocaust).

  5. 5.  Accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.

  6. 6.  Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.

  7. 7.  Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.

  8. 8.  Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.

  9. 9.  Using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterise Israel or Israelis.

  10. 10. Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.

  11. 11. Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel.
Labour’s definition omits or redefines a number of these. First, it omits describing the “dual loyalties” trope as antisemiticAccusing Jews of having dual loyalties was a tactic of both Nazi Germany and Stalin’s Soviet Union. The IHRA defines this clearly as an example of contemporary antisemitism.
Labour’s definition relegates it to further down the document, where it is merely described as “wrong”.
Labour also decided to omit two examples of how criticism of Israel can be antisemitic:Claiming the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour and comparing Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.
In fact, Labour’s definition directly contradicts the second example, saying: “Discourse about international politics often employs metaphors drawn from examples of historic misconduct. It is not antisemitism to criticise the conduct or policies of the Israeli state by reference to such examples unless there is evidence of antisemitic intent.”
Claiming Israel is a racist endeavour is not, as has been claimed, the same as saying that Israel has acted in a racist manner, or has racist policies. Describing Israel’s very existence as a racist endeavour means you believe that everything about Israel, from its very beginning, has been racist.
There are many ways to criticise Israel which do not fall foul of the categories mentioned in the IHRA definition. The IHRA definition specifically says that “criticism of Israel similar to that levelled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic.”
Despite this, claiming Israel is fundamentally a racist endeavour is nowhere to be found in Labour’s definition of antisemitism.

Antisemitic intent

In some examples set out in the Labour definition, the text says that mentioning something is not antisemitism “unless there is evidence of antisemitic intent.”
This contradicts the Macpherson principle, which states minorities should be allowed to define the racism they face. But one QC has noted: “It’s not just a breach of Macpherson. There is no requirement in discrimination law to show intention to discriminate to prove you have been discriminated against or harassed on grounds of race/ ethnicity. [Labour] are laying themselves wide open to discrimination claims.”

How British Jews reacted

Labour’s definition has seen a rare level of opposition from within the Jewish community.
A total of 68 Rabbis, from all religious denominations, signed an open letterimploring Labour’s National Executive Committee to adopt the full IHRA definition.
And some of Israel’s most vocal critics within the Jewish community have spoken out against Labour’s definition. Yachad UK, the left-wing advocacy group, noted the “overwhelming attachment that Jews feel to Israel”.

Why did Labour do this?

Two years ago, Labour indicated that it would accept the full IHRA definition. But a few months ago, when Jewish representative organisations met with Mr Corbyn over antisemitism, one said: “The Labour leader… would not commit to adopting the IHRA definition in full."
Some key allies of Mr Corbyn have made comments in the past which could amount to antisemitism according to the IHRA definition. Seumas Milne, Mr Corbyn’s communications director, referred to the creation of Israel “a crime” during an address to a rally in 2009.
Mr Milne and others would not be in trouble for past comments, if Labour adopted the full IHRA definition.
There was no suggestion that people be called to account retroactively for previous statements. But they would not have been able to make similar comments so freely in future.