October 27, 2016

Support for Malia Bouattia against HASC

We, the undersigned, unequivocally support Malia Bouattia, the current NUS president and applaud her impeccable record fighting anti-Semitism, racism and her unwavering support for international students. 
The Home Affairs Select Committee this week released its report into anti-Semitism. As well as gratuitously levelling attacks against twice elected Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and former director of Liberty Shami Chakrabarti, judgment is also reserved for Ms Bouattia. It claims that she has "failed to take sufficiently seriously the issue of anti-Semitism".
Ms Bouattia has fought tirelessly against all forms of racism, anti-Semitism, sexism and homophobia. To name but a few of her many achievements and commitments, she previously called for a review into institutional racism (including anti-Semitism) in the NUS, spearheaded solidarity initiatives for migrants and refugees in Calais, campaigned against the deportation of international students, worked on interfaith projects and safe spaces for faith students, co-led the largest opposition to the controversial PREVENT agenda; and all alongside her constant work with student unions across the country to dismantle racism.
The disparity between the report’s representations of Ms Bouattia compared with her actual record should be cause for real concern. The misuse and abuse of anti-Semitism belittle genuine threats against the Jewish community, primarily posed by a newly consolidated far-right in a post-Brexit landscape.  
The full list of 181 signatories can be found here.
Dr Tanzil Chowdhury, University of Manchester
Professor Norman Finkelstein, Sakarya University
Emeritus Professor Moshe Machover, KCL
Deborah Maccoby, Signatory of Jews for Justice for Palestinians
Emeritus Professor Colin Green, UCL
Professor Haim Bresheeth, SOAS

October 25, 2016

Deborah Maccoby clarifies Howard Jacobson's "Let's be clear...." article

I've just been having a bit of a natter with Deborah Maccoby by email and she mentioned Howard Jacobson's appalling Observer (in print, Guardian online) article headed,  Let’s be clear – antisemitism is a hate apart
I have now read Jacobson's piece, which was in print in the Observer on Sunday....it is typical Jacobson logic....what he seems to be saying is: the Palestinian solidarity movement thinks that Zionism is racism and that therefore anti-Zionism is not racist; Jacobson claims that on the contrary Zionism is not racism; ergo anti-Zionism must be racist; because it is racist it is antisemitic, because antisemitism equals racism; at the same time, antisemitism is unique and different from any other racism!  That is Jacobson logic.....
Brilliant! Short and to the point.

See also Tony Greenstein's blog here: http://azvsas.blogspot.co.uk/2016/10/as-guardians-anti-semitism-campaign.html

Book Review: The Left's Jewish Problem by Dave Rich

I was asked to review Dave Rich's book for an academic website.  I was asked to take it seriously and write about it as befits a scholarly work.  I found that impossible and wrote the following instead.  Now read on.....

The Left's Jewish Problem: Jeremy Corbyn, Israel and Anti-Semitism by Dave Rich

I suspect the book is timed to cash in on Jeremy Corbyn’s rise to the leadership of the UK Labour Party as Corbyn seems something of an afterthought for its author, Dave Rich.  Dave is a committed Zionist so no doubt he also wanted to play his part in undermining a left Labour leader who has a high profile in the Palestine solidarity movement.

The book has lots of Zionist staples like the Jewish right to national self-determination. There are lots of stretches of people’s meaning and out of context quotes to portray Israel’s opponents and even victims as being antisemitic.  The holocaust is instrumentalised to justify Israel’s existence without the author realising that this undermines the idea of Jews being a standard case for national self-determination which is supposed to accrue to communities with territorial contiguity and raises the idea that, instead, Jews are a special case.

Dave avoids analysis or even definitions of terms.  He avoids analysis of what Zionism means to its victims.  He avoids saying what it means to or for its Jewish beneficiaries except to say that this ideological choice is an integral part of their identity.  He avoids details around implementation of the Zionist project and he mostly avoids the various imperial supports the project has received and without which Israel couldn’t exist.

Remarkably for a book supposedly about antisemitism, Dave fails even to define that. He doesn’t mention, for example, the so-called EUMC working definition which his employers at the Community Security Trust learned to love.  He certainly uses parts of the definition.  For example, when Israel is compared to the Nazis, this is offered by Dave as an example of antisemitism.  His failure to analyse Zionism or Nazism or refer to the racism essential and common to both enables this given.

Dave’s only mention of Israel’s founding war on the Arabs is plain wrong. Dave claims “five Arab armies had invaded their new Jewish neighbour”.  Arab armies have never invaded Israel. The Zionist movement had already ethnically cleansed 300,000 Palestinians by the time Arab armies mobilised against an already expanding Israel.

He fails to consider the Eurocentrism that would allow for the Labour Party to propose in 1944 the “transfer”, ie the ethnic cleansing, of all of Palestine’s Arabs.  For Dave, the labour movement was all cloth caps, trade unions and Poale Zion (now calling itself the Jewish Labour Movement, JLM).  And somewhere between the old days and the rise of the new left, the youth wing of the Liberal Party, the Young Liberals, decided to call Israel out as a state not significantly different from the apartheid regime of the Republic of South Africa.  Without analysing either Zionism or liberalism, Dave doesn’t have to consider the glaringly illiberal tenets of the former to see how repugnant they are to the young activists of the latter.

And so to the new left whose ideas and genealogy get mangled by Dave.  Where he quotes work, he doesn’t seem to understand it.  Abram Leon for example, is chastised by Dave, of all people, for mostly ignoring Palestine.  But Leon was explaining the Jewish identity, hostility to Jews and the ahistorical nationalism of the Zionist movement. So why mention Leon? Because his book is called The Jewish Question and an idiot called Gerry Downing claims that global affairs are run by what he calls “the Jewish question”. If Downing claims inspiration from Leon then, like Dave, he hasn’t understood him.  Contrary to Dave’s claim, we do not have to read Leon to understand Downing. But the spurious linkage is made because Downing was suspended from the Labour Party during Corbyn’s time as leader even though he survived Kinnock, Blair, Brown and Miliband.

The new left was hostile to Stalinism but not for Dave.  The anti-Zionism that was coming to the fore as Israel’s atrocities became more widely known, is attributable, according to Dave, to the failure of the new left to rid itself of an important tenet of Stalinism: anti-Zionism, itself an aspect of Stalin’s antisemitism. 

The new left together with mass immigration ushered in the rise of identity politics.  For Dave the new left likes identity politics like children used to like playing cowboys and Indians.  New leftists like to be the Indians, then they can wear keffiyehs and run around upsetting cowboys like Dave.  Dave doesn’t consider the various issues arising out of a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural working class and how the leftist demand for equality means more than simple bread and butter issues.  He doesn’t dismiss identity politics out of hand.  He even admits that Zionists have played identity politics themselves and even got away with it for a while which is presumably why they are now trying it on again.  The problem here is that for Zionists it is a game of pretending that ideology is identity and that’s too absurd to sustain.

For Dave, organisations, like ideologies, become identities.  There’s a whole chapter on When Anti-Racists Ban Jews.  Back in the late 1970s some university Jewish societies were banned over their affiliation to the World Zionist Organisation and Congress.  The ban was under students’ union’s “no platform for racists” policy, it wasn’t the banning of Jews as Jews. There were leftists who opposed the ban because they claimed that it was wrong tactically. Dave seems to have tried but could not find a former supporter of the no platforming of Jewish societies who would now say that the policy was actually antisemitic.

Dave’s Conclusion doesn’t actually conclude.  It’s anecdotes about events since he wrote the book.  Among others, there’s Jackie Walker’s hacked facebook conversation with a Zionist friend about Jewish involvement in the slave trade. Dave attributes this to the influence of an antisemitic Farakhan disciple rather than a clumsily and privately expressed statement of fact.  He then berates her for saying that she was being targeted for her support for the Palestinians. There was a clue in that she was hacked by the Israel Advocacy Movement.  But to add to his omissions, Dave doesn’t do detective work.

October 22, 2016

Judaism Jim but not as we knew it

This is getting totally weird.  First we had the spectacle of the Chief Rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, lying about the origins and status of the modern ideology of Zionism within Judaism, now we've got an antisemitism watchdog reinventing Judaism too.  I thought one of the most famous of the Jewish high holy days was Yom Kippur.  I also thought that Yom Kippur was a fast and that everyone knew it, even non-Jews.  Well now it turns out that Yom Kippur is a festival and has been since as far back as 1948. See this from Dave Rich's book, The Left's Jewish Problem:

Well I'm not aware the left has a Jewish problem but the right definitely has a Judaism problem.

Smile and the world smiles with you unless you're Ruth Smeeth

If you listen to this interview on LBC between Nick Ferrari and Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi you will hear Nick Ferrari insist at least twice that he had seen Ruth Smeeth MP flee the Chakarbati report launch in tears.  He said he saw the tears.

If you google Ruth Smeeth tears you will see just about every UK media outlet runs with the same allegation.  But when you look at the clip here she makes out that she takes umbrage at something a black activist said, something about her working hand in hand with some journalists present.  At first it looks and sounds like she found the whole thing amusing and it's possible she couldn't believe her luck at the opportunity to make a scene and stage a walkout.  She said "how absolute dare you?"  She was smiling when she said it.  The journo sitting next to her said something like "antisemitism at the antisemitism report launch".  There was nothing antisemitic said. Simply a statement of fact.  But also, there were no tears, just a smile from Ruth Smeeth, a childlike exclamation from her ("how absolute dare you?") and a false allegation from a journo friend.

It's quite remarkable that journalists have had since 30 June 2016 to expose the lies told about this non-incident and still Nick Ferrari was confident enough to repeat the lie which Naomi refuted.  Now in the case of Nick Ferrari he must have personally lied about something. Did he see the video? If so, he saw no tears. Or was he lying when he said he had seen the video? Either way, the Zionists feel they are on such a roll now they believe they can get away with the most flagrant falsehoods even when incidents are recorded and anyone can see.

PS: if you watch the LBC clip (and I don't know how long it will be up there) it's worth pointing out that the filming was done in secret.  Naomi wasn't told that they were filming, still less that they were going to host the film on their website together with an article that led to the Zionist MP, Wes Streeting denouncing Naomi as a "massive racist".

If you follow the thread you will see that Wes Streeting backpedaled on his false allegation when other tweeters - who he eventually blocked - called him to account.

October 19, 2016

Are Zionists trying to cause Antisemitism?

I've just been reading Dave Rich's ludicrous book, The Left's Jewish Problem.  I've returned to it because I was looking at another book, a serious one this time, called A History of the Jews Ancient and Modern, by Ilan Halevi.

In Rich's book he gives Tony Greenstein a few mentions one of which is as follows:
Tony Greenstein, who was, and remains, an avid proponent of the idea that the Zionist movement benefits from, and proactively encourages, anti-Semitism (including, he alleges, collaborating with Nazism).
Having read his book it is clear that Dave Rich is in deep denial about the many crimes of Zionism including that little bit in brackets on the end of the snippet.  I'm saying Rich must know about the several instances of Zionist collaboration with the Nazis. The guy has a PhD and now a book on anti-Zionism and antisemitism.  Could so many years of research (ok the book was a rush job) really not yield to Rich what it has to serious scholars?

But that wasn't what made me return to the book.  If you look at the way the Zionist movement is throwing its weight around in the UK ever since Jeremy Corbyn became leader, it's not an edifying spectacle. I mean it must be causing antisemitism given the unjust and unfounded nature of the allegations.  Even the Home Affairs Select Committee on Antisemitism admitted in its report that there was no more antisemitism in Labour than in any other mainstream party but that it was going to try to get laws passed making it difficult or impossible to criticise Zionism.  This must cause great anger among those minorities who really do suffer everyday threats of violence and on-going social and economic exclusion.

It does look a lot to me that the Zionists do want antisemitism and Tony Greenstein is right.  Other reviewers of Dave Rich's book have noted that while he tends to conflate Jews and Zionists he never really defines or analyses Zionism in terms of beneficiaries or victims.  He simply says that Jews are instinctively bound to Israel or some such.  Having read his shock horror response to Tony's calm take on the Zionist approach the diaspora it is possible that he really doesn't know much about Zionism except that it established a state in Palestine for people like him and me to call our "homeland".

So back to Ilan Halevi. I was reading one of the bits on Zionism when this quote from Theodor Herzl leapt out at me:
We shall have to sink still lower, we shall have to be more widely insulted, spat upon, mocked, beaten, robbed and slain before we are ripe for the [Zionist] idea.
Well, I'm guessing that Dave and co. aren't quite trying to make that happen, though their recent exclusion of Haredi Jews from the Home Affairs Circus means that they don't much care for those Jews who are the most "widely insulted, spat upon, mocked, beaten, robbed" and possibly "slain".  Of course some of those ignored Haredi Jews are Neturei Karta so they'll never be ripe for "the idea".

But I digress.  Tony is of course absolutely right.  The Zionists want the real antisemitism, as in racism against Jews, but they want to forbid anti-Zionism, that is the racists want to forbid anti-racism.

See a difference between Antisemitism and Anti-Zionism? No problem, just erase the line

I read Dave Rich's book recently and he mentions having done a PhD. I was curious about it so I googled Dave Rich PhD. Top of the list was The Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism's "About" page, and there's Dave.

Dr Dave Rich

Dave studied for his PhD at the Institute. His research covered the emergence of left wing anti-Zionism in Britain after 1967, particularly in student politics, and responses to it from UK Jewish organisations. He is particularly interested in the relationship of anti-Zionism to antisemitism, and the boundaries that separate them, that fuel debates over the ‘new antisemitism’.
Dave Rich works for the Community Security Trust which claims to oppose antisemitism but seems to put more energy into opposing criticism and condemnation of Israel.  And now having read the book, The Left's Jewish Problem: Jeremy Corbyn, Israel and Anti-Semitism, it turns out that Dave has been looking at the difference between anti-Zionism and antisemitism so that he can claim there is no difference.  He does this by claiming that Jews have such an instinct for supporting the colonisation, conquest and ethnic cleansing of Palestine that to oppose the Zionist ideology amounts to antisemitism.  This of course involves the redefinition of antisemitism so that anti-racists become antisemitic. Sadly it also has the effect of making ill-informed people subscribe to the old antisemitism because of course Dave and others like him, including now a Home Office Select Committee have decided that Jews and Zionists are the same thing.  All very sad and very irresponsible.

I didn't find the PhD by the way. I would be curious to have a quick look at it because Dave certainly doesn't seem to be down the intellectual end of the Zionist movement.

I wouldn't recommend the book.  There's a withering review on Red Pepper here and the always (overly) polite Richard Kuper has done one on Amazon here.

PS: I've decided to save people work by posting in full Richard Kuper's review here:

The Left’s Jewish Problem is an ideological tract and an intervention in the current battle in the Labour Party. It is designed to show “a sickness at the heart of left wing British politics… silently spreading, becoming ever more malignant” (cover blurb). That sickness is the sickness of antisemitism.

Of course there are antisemitic ideas around in Britain and it would be nonsense to assume that the left was immune. But Rich is on a mission to show antisemitism as widespread, systematic, hegemonic on the left.
As Rich is aware, there isn’t much Jew-hatred of a traditional kind around on the left, There is, rather, he believes, a different kind of antisemitism, expressed as an anti-Zionism of the left, in which movements and thinkers have come to view Israel and Zionism as “a product of western colonialism rather than a liberation movement against it”.

That large sections of “the left” fell out of love with Israel and came to rally around support for Palestinian rights and a Palestinian state is relatively uncontested. But why the change? For Rich, this shift couldn’t be a response to events, analysis, or improved understanding. It was, rather, an ideological hijacking by the “New Left”.
Rich’s New Left, with Corbyn as its embodiment, is a curious construct. “As New Left superseded Old,” he writes, “so identity politics replaced class politics as its primary mobilising idea… [This New Left represents] a new social class, rooted in intellectual and cultural professions, populated by public sector workers whose political agenda would come to be dominated by identity and iconoclasm.”

So the movement behind Corbyn is somehow viewed as a break with all tradition, rather than a popular, deeply-rooted, left trade-union and social movement, trying to incorporate class and identity issues, in a desire to restore something of older Labour concerns: equality, social ownership, trade-union rights, anti-imperialism and more.
Rich operates with free-floating, unchanging essences. So Zionism is, was and always will be nothing but self-determination/national liberation. Who could possibly criticise that? So by definition describing Israel as a colonial-settler or apartheid society can’t have any truth in it. Is can only be an emotional attempt to demonise Israel. For Rich, such concepts are products of a New Left mind set: the apartheid analogy was “hardwired into left wing anti-Israel politics in Britain during its formative [anti-apartheid] years in the 1960s and 1970s.”

But what if these concepts are gaining ground precisely because they make increasing sense of an emergent reality? Events have played crucial role in shifting ideas on the left in relation to Israel-Palestine – from the 1956 Suez invasion to the televised spectacle of phosphorus bombs falling on Gaza and bodies of children in the rubble.

Whatever Zionism might or might not have been originally, what has it become? Israel’s colonisation of the West Bank continues unabated. Green-line Israel’s discrimination against its increasingly second-class Palestinian citizens, and their physical displacement in the Negev, rolls on. What Israel is now needs to be judged by what it is doing, not by its ideological self-image. Israel’s actions are what are delegitimising it, not any antisemitism of the left.

It is clearly wrong to argue that all claims of antisemitism are simply made in order to silence criticism of Israel. Allegations of antisemitism should be taken seriously and investigated swiftly. But making an allegation is not the same thing as establishing a fact. Rich is entirely oblivious to (or simply ignores) the context in which recent accusations emerged – why, for example, emotionally charged posts and tweets from the 2014 Gaza war should only be dredged up in 2016, under Corbyn’s leadership. It does not take much to see the timing as contrived, rather than an innocent desire to unmask antisemitism.

Clearly, insofar as some remarks are antisemitic they need to be confronted. Conspiracy theories, e.g. that Israel founded Isis or that Jews escaped 9/11, should be dismissed out of hand. Individuals who make them should be dealt with appropriately. But appropriately means appropriately. It doesn’t mean suspensions without charge, condemnation without a hearing, or leaking stories to the Jewish Chronicle or Daily Telegraph - in short, the weaponisation of antisemitism and the complete absence of due process we have witnessed in recent months. On all this Rich has nothing to say.

If Rich’s book encourages us to be more precise in our language, to temper how we express our emotional outrage at the things Israel does with impunity, to be more strategic in how we build support for Palestinian rights, it may (inadvertently!) achieve something useful. But in its own terms, it must be treated as a polemical intervention rather than a serious analytical contribution to our understanding of antisemitism (or the left) today.
Good stuff. I said Richard is very polite. The Red Pepper review though is a real skewering but I gather Dave and his CST cohorts are paid to be a brazen embarrassment to the Jewish community.

October 18, 2016

Zionist Antisemitism and the Reinvention of Judaism in Home Affairs Select Committee Report

I just had another look at the Home Affairs Select Committee Report on Antisemitism report.  It makes for such depressing reading I can only take in little looks at a time.  I was just looking at what I thought was the Chief Rabbi's contribution and I was struck by the casual way his evidence was used, it was gleaned from something he wrote for the Daily Telegraph.  I was also struck by his sheer dishonesty though Lord Sacks was a hard act to follow where dishonesty was concerned.

See this:
In an article for The Daily Telegraph in May, the Chief Rabbi criticised attempts by Labour members and activists to separate Zionism from Judaism as a faith, arguing that their claims are “fictional”. In evidence to us, he stressed that “Zionism has been an integral part of Judaism from the dawn of our faith”. He stated that “spelling out the right of the Jewish people to live within secure borders with self-determination in their own country, which they had been absent from for 2,000 years—that is what Zionism is”. His view was that “If you are an anti-Zionist, you are anti everything I have just mentioned”
That's utterly absurd. If Zionism goes to the "dawn of our faith" what happened between the destruction of the second temple and the rise of the Zionist movement in the late 1890s?  There were Zionistic ideas around before then but they tended to lead to the excommunication and even execution of their promoters.

Another question is, so what?   Even if Judaism does demand a Jewish supremacist state based on colonial settlement and ethnic cleansing, why should anyone else accept that?  The Chief Rabbi's sheer dishonesty or ignorance about the history and tenets of his own religion gives you some idea of why the Haredim (ultra-orthodox Jews) were excluded from the HASC's process.  If Satmar Jews were called upon they would say, as they often do, that "Zionism and Judaism are diametrically opposed".  Even the now Kahanist inclined Lubavitch would have to admit that they only became Zionist when the Jewish state moved from being an issue to a fact in 1948. Not the "dawn of our faith" then.

Moving on from the exclusion of the wrong kind of Jews I saw this:
Similarly, CST and the JLC describe Zionism as “an ideological belief in the authenticity of Jewish peoplehood and that the Jewish people have the right to a state”. Sir Mick Davis, Chairman of the JLC, told us that criticising Zionism is the same as antisemitism, because:
Zionism is so totally identified with how the Jew thinks of himself, and is so associated with the right of the Jewish people to have their own country and to have self-determination within that country, that if you attack Zionism, you attack the very fundamentals of how the Jews believe in themselves.
Neither CST nor the JLC are essentially religious so they had to admit that Zionism is an ideology not a religious tenet or religion in its own right but look at how Sir Mick Davis expressed himself:
Zionism is so totally identified with how the Jew thinks of himself
"How the Jew thinks of himself"?  Leaving aside that for Davis, the Jew is a "him", it looks like an extract from a Nazi tract.  Do Zionists know what they're messing with?  And to think they cry when you call them racist.  The Jew, the Jews, Zionism, Israel are all the same to them.  The individual, the race, the ideology, the state, and for the Zionists that is in reverse order of importance to them.

They're riding a tiger and they don't seem to know it.

October 17, 2016

By its own admission Home Affairs Select Committee on Antisemitism barked up the wrong tree and had nothing to bark at anyway

What a performance about nothing.  The antisemitism crisis "engulfing Labour" has been about nothing, nothing at all.  Well alright, not completely nothing.  The rise of a Palestine solidarity supporter and leftist, Jeremy Corbyn, to the leadership of the Labour Party has sent Tories, Blairites and Zionists into a blind panic but as far as antisemitism goes there is little or nothing to see here.  I can't see and read the whole report.  I just look at snippets at a time.  I know there are outright lies in it from the precious little that I have read.  In fact I just saw this almost by accident:
Mr Livingstone has since admitted that it was “rubbish” to refer to Hitler as a Zionist. Regardless of academic rigour, his decision to invoke Hitler in a debate about antisemitism and Zionism—in defence of a Facebook post [by Naz Shah] comparing Israel with the Nazis—was unwise
Rubbish it may be but Ken didn't refer to "Hitler as a Zionist", he said Hitler supported Zionism for a time and he did.  Naz Shah didn't compare Israel to the Nazis, though there's no reason why she shouldn't. She invoked Martin Luther King to say that legality isn't the sole or a key determinant of right and wrong.  And it wasn't Ken who invoked the Nazis anyway, it was his interviewer, Vanessa Feltz.

Now my guess is that the pack of lies we've just seen gives a flavour of the whole report but something I saw on Twitter yesterday is a stand-out not as a lie but as a fact.  Here's the report.  Now see this:
Despite significant press and public attention on the Labour Party, and a number of revelations regarding inappropriate social media content, there exists no reliable, empirical evidence to support the notion that there is a higher prevalence of antisemitic attitudes within the Labour Party than any other political party. We are unaware whether efforts to identify antisemitic social media content within the Labour Party were applied equally to members and activists from other political parties, and we are not aware of any polls exploring antisemitic attitudes among political party members, either within or outside the Labour Party. The current impression of a heightened prevalence of antisemitism within in the Labour Party is clearly a serious problem, but we would wish to emphasise that this is also a challenge for other parties.
This is strange, if they wish to "emphasise the challenge for other parties" why didn't they?  Because they weren't trying to undermine other parties.  Because there are no other mainstream parties with a leader that supports (or supported) the Palestinian cause.  And that's what this has all been about, protecting the racist war criminals of the State of Israel from the criticism and condemnation that any illegitimate racist entity would attract irrespective of the ethno-religious identity of those it purports to represent.

October 16, 2016

Charedi Jews complain of being excluded by Home Affairs Select Committee on Antisemitism

Here's a curious tweet from the Shomrim group, which is a "Proactive Neighbourhood Watch" group in Stamford Hill, which is home to probably the largest so-called ultra-orthodox Jewish (or frummer or Haredi) communities in the UK.

Looking at the statement, it claims the Home Affairs Select Committee on Antisemitism in the UK report  "focuses primarily on the difference between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism.... it's important to note that the parliamentary enquiry did not request any evidence from the most visible section of the Jewish community, the Charedi Community, where the majority of the attacks are in person rather than online, leaving victims very vulnerable and are usually clearly and unequivocally anti-Semitic". [emphasis added and possibly innecessary]

Actually I disagree that the report focuses on the differences between anti-Zionism and antisemitism. It is clearly aimed at redefining the latter as the former whilst ignoring "clearly and unequivocally anti-Semitic" actions because they befall the wrong kind of Jews.

This exclusion of the people most likely to suffer real instances of antisemitism more than anything actually in the enquiry or its report exposes the whole exercise as a politically partisan charade whose sole purpose was to protect The State of Israel and its supporters from criticism and condemnation.

October 08, 2016

Smearing anti-racists to protect Zionism

The above title was the heading for a letter by Free Speech on Israel's Les Levidow to the Camden New Journal. The letter appears in the print edition but not (yet) on line. Here it is:
As Vice-Chair of the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM), Mike Katz has again asked the Labour Party to expel members for antisemitic views and for a rule change making this easier. Otherwise the Party will be seen as ‘not welcoming to Jews’ (Katz plea, CNJ, 29.09.2016).  Which Jews does he mean?  And how does the JLM define ‘antisemitic views’?   

The latter question was raised at the JLM’s training session on antisemitism during the Party’s September conference.  Running the session, Mike Katz eventually claimed that the standard definition of antisemitism is ‘the EUMC definition’, i.e. from the European Union Monitoring Committee.  Many Jewish participants there objected, for good reasons: The EUMC never adopted the ‘working definition’ which was temporarily on its website; its successor body has disavowed it.  Although the definition rightly begins with ‘hatred toward Jews’, it also encompasses any views ‘Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g. by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour.’  

The latter criterion aims to protect some Jews’ emotional or political attachment to Israel, despite its basis in colonial-settler racism which continues today.  This is perversely equated with 'Jewish self-determination'.  The JLM is affiliated to the Israeli Labour Party, which early on urged employers to select ‘Jewish-only Labour’, has supported new Jewish settlements and today colludes with anti-Arab racism. 

In the Labour Party here, why do pro-Israel activists want to make expulsions easier?    Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership has mobilised and attracted new Labour Party members sympathetic to the campaign of Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment (BDS) against Israel.   Many Jewish members are dissociating themselves from the Zionist project.  To counter these anti-racist forces, the JLM smears them as antisemites.  Many have been suspended from the Labour Party, with little recourse to the due process that was advocated by the Chakrabarti Commission.  In these ways, the JLM aims to protect the colonial-settler character of Israel. Both should be opposed as racist.  For more information, see our website.

Les Levidow, Free Speech on Israel, www.freespeechonisrael.org.uk

UPDATE: The letter is now on line at the Camden New Journal online

October 03, 2016

JC denies access to Jackie Walker article

I'm getting an Access Denied message on this Jewish Chronicle post but thankfully it is still accessible through Google cache. Google cache doesn't last long so here is the article in full:

Pressure grows on Labour as Momentum expected 

to 'remove' Jackie Walker

By Marcus Dysch, September 30, 2016

Jackie Walker, vice-chair of the Momentum group, on Channel 4 News (Photo: Channel 4)
Jackie Walker, vice-chair of the hard-left Momentum activist group, is expected to be removed from her position on Monday following comments she made about Holocaust Memorial Day.
The move is expected to be confirmed at a meeting of the committee of the pro-Jeremy Corbyn group after a Momentum spokesman told the Guardian that senior members were seeking to remove Ms Walker.
It is not known whether she will be suspended by the group, or by the Labour Party, of which she is a member.
In Monday’s Jewish Labour Movement training session on tackling antisemitism, which took place at the party conference in Liverpool, Ms Walker criticised Holocaust Memorial Day, claiming it should remember genocides other than the Shoah.
She was told that the annual memorial did recognise other episodes of mass murder, but Ms Walker, the vice-chair of the hard-left Momentum group, went on to claim she had not seen a definition of Jew-hate which she could “work with”.
Ms Walker – an ally of Jeremy Corbyn – was suspended and investigated by the party earlier this year for claiming Jews were responsible for the slave trade and an “African holocaust”.
The renewed calls for her to be expelled from Momentum came as Ms Walker defended herself on Channel 4 News.
In an interview with Cathy Newman, Ms Walker said she was not antisemitic, but admitted to being anti-Zionist.
She added: "Whoever leaked this story from a training event had malicious intent in their mind."
The claims of antisemitism were politically motivated, Ms Walker suggested, adding that “prominent” Jewish groups agreed with her.
There were also reports that Jon Lansman, the Jewish founder of Momentum and a friend of Ms Walker, had “reached the end of his tether” and wanted her to be thrown out of the group.
Further pressure came from the TSSA trade union. Manuel Cortes, its general secretary, said: "I am deeply saddened that a fellow member of our Labour and trade union family holds such antisemitic views.
"I am asking Jackie that in the interests of unity she resigns at once from our party and also as vice-chair of Momentum.
“If she doesn't, both the Labour Party and Momentum need to act to get rid of her at once. Furthermore, TSSA will reconsider our union's support for Momentum if she is still in post by this time next week."
Tony Greenstein, a Jewish anti-Zionist activist who was himself suspended from Labour earlier this year, wrote to the party’s National Executive Committee members on Thursday night telling them the JLM session had been “a publicity stunt”.
He wrote: “Jackie's points re the Holocaust not being a solely Jewish preserve and the fact that the definition of antisemitism is contested, are not in any way antisemitic.
“This artificial and concocted hysteria has nothing to do with antisemitism and everything to do with the Zionist movement’s attempt to construct a hegemonic narrative concerning the Nazi Holocaust.”
John Mann, the Labour MP who chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism, said: "Enough is enough. Though she claims impunity for many reasons, Jackie Walker’s behaviour is discriminatory, provocative, offensive and by any standard unacceptable in a modern political party.
"Not only has she caused offense personally, she has inspired waves of antisemitic and racist backlash including Holocaust denial.
"Not only must she be expelled from the Labour Party immediately but all those abusing others in supporting her must go too.
"Temporary suspensions are not good enough, these people must be given permanent bans and no platform to express their antisemitism anywhere in the Labour Party, if we are to be serious about opposing anti-Jewish hatred.”

 The last time I noticed the JC denying access to an article was when it wrote in praise of some pig food product in its travel section and a reader complained. I wonder what's not so kosher about the above article.

UPDATE: 9/10/2016 The article has now been restored to the JC website complete with at least one libel.