Tag: Jeremy Newmark

“Antisemitism”, JLM & Free Speech: The Issues That Won’t Go Away

By Daniel Margrain

On the surface Jeremy Corbyn’s rally leading up to the Labour Party conference and his closing leadership speech in Brighton were both resounding successes. But there is a long-standing issue that many activists argue need to be addressed by the Labour leadership, namely, the continued false accusations of “antisemitism” instigated by the Zionist lobby within the party, of which Corbyn’s new found indifference to the plight of Palestinians is symptomatic. The first time Corbyn seemingly capitulated to the Zionist lobby occurred when he failed to publicly challenge the staged and contrived attacks on Ken Livingstone by Labour’s principal Zionist henchman, John Mann.

“Antisemitism”

The misnamed, Jewish Labour Movement (JLM), is the main driving force behind a proposed rule-change agenda to redefine “hate speech” as a means of nullifying all criticism of the Zionist state of Israel, and is predicated on the flawed non-legally binding International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition of antisemitism.

The IHRA definition states:

“Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish
community institutions and religious facilities.”

With the inclusion of the phrase “physical manifestations”, which might encompass criticism of Israel and Zionism, the definition is essentially meaningless.

Nevertheless, the JLM unwittingly appear not to have realized that the IHRA definition above is a vast improvement on the long and convoluted 500 word ‘antisemitic anti-Zionism’ European Union Monitoring Centre (EUMC) definition authored by attorney Kenneth Stern that preceded it.

Brian Klug, an Oxford academic who specialises in the study of antisemitism, manages it in 21 words:

“Antisemitism is a form of hostility to Jews as Jews, where Jews are perceived as something other than what they are.”

This seems to be a perfectly adequate definition. But preventing genuine cases of antisemitism is not the objective of the Zionist propaganda organisation, the JLM. Evidence uncovered by the Al-Jazeera news network, revealed that through the use of journalists and right-wing Labour MPs, their real purpose is to undermine and/or subvert a Corbyn-led Labour government by using the spectre of antisemitism as a weapon with which to achieve it.

A genuine left-wing UK party is seen as undermining what Zionists regard as the very real threat to their Eretz (Greater) Yisrael project of a territory stretching from the River Nile to the River Euphrates. The JLM is affiliated to the Israeli Labor Party and the World Zionist Organization – the latter of which pumps millions into building in the occupied West Bank through its settlement division.

Misnomer

As I inferred in a previous article, the JLM is a misnomer and is more accurately described as a Zionist movement whose aim is to proselytise for Israel. The overriding requirement for membership is an adherence to the movements’ Zionist aims which pertains to the belief that Israeli Jews have the right to settle on land in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in addition to that captured following the Six-Day War in 1967.

The contradictory nature of the organisation is highlighted by its membership criteria which excludes potential Jewish members on the basis of their lack of Zionist credentials. So we are left with the absurd situation in which Jewish members can be excluded from an ostensibly Jewish organisation. The anti-Zionist activist, Jackie Walker, although Jewish, is not permitted to join the organisation, for example. However, non-Jewish Zionists are welcomed with open arms.

This is the context in which Mike Sivier pointed out, correctly, that the proposed Labour Party rule change incorporating the IHRA definition supposedly to combat hate speech and racism is “not about antisemitism; but removing a person from the party who does not support Zionism from a position of influence.”

Moral panic

In response to a moral panic about “antisemitic anti-Zionism” seemingly spreading throughout the Labour Party membership, a loosely-knit group of Jewish Labour Party supporters called Free Speech on Israel gathered for an inaugural meeting in April, 2016. The fifteen-member group, which included Emeritus Professor of Operational Research at the London School of Economics, Jonathan Rosenhead, concluded that over their lifetimes they could muster only a handful of antisemitic experiences between them. And, crucially, although in aggregate they had hundreds of years of Labour Party membership, not a single one of them had ever experienced an incident of antisemitism in the party.

These experiences would appear to tally with the findings of the Channel 4 Dispatches programme. Despite filming undercover for six months at political meetings in an attempt to discredit Corbyn, the programme-makers could not find a single incidence of antisemitism among party activists.

CHAC report

In October, 2016, the Commons Home Affairs Committee (CHAC) commissioned a report ostensibly into antisemitism which all reasonable observers acknowledged was another biased political weapon with which to attack the Labour leadership.

In a Facebook post, Jeremy Corbyn commented on the report:

“Although the Committee heard evidence that 75 per cent of antisemitic incidents come from far right sources, and the report states there is no reliable evidence to suggest antisemitism is greater in Labour than other parties, much of the report focuses on the Labour Party.

The Committee heard evidence from too narrow a pool of opinion, and its then-chair rejected both [Labour peer and barrister] Shami Chakrabarti’s and the Jewish Labour Movement’s requests to appear and give evidence before it. Not a single woman was called to give oral evidence in public, and the report violates natural justice by criticising individuals without giving them a right to be heard.”

Corbyn continued:

“The report unfairly criticises Shami Chakrabarti for not being sufficiently independent. This fails to acknowledge public statements that the offer to appoint Chakrabarti to the House of Lords came after completion of her report, and was based on her extensive legal and campaigning experience. Commissioning Chakrabarti was an unprecedented step for a political party, demonstrating Labour’s commitment to fight against antisemitism.”

Farce

At a fringe meeting at the Brighton conference, absurdity turned into complete farce when Miko Peled, the renowned Jewish Israeli anti-Zionist activist, became the latest target of the JLMs antisemitism allegations after it was claimed he said that discussion of the Holocaust ought to be allowed, even if that meant embracing denialism or revisionism. However, activist, Tony Greenstein who was at the meeting said the claims attributed to Peled and others were a fabrication.

This led former UK diplomat Craig Murray to conclude that the “antisemtic Corbynites” meme printed in the pages of the tabloid press was Fake News. The perpetuation of this fake narrative has been reproduced consistently throughout the media that has led to the wildest of claims. During an interview on the BBC Radio 4s Moral Maze programme, for example, former representative of the Zionist Federation and current Director of Communications for the Campaign Against Antisemitism, Jonathan Sacerdoti, claimed that Jews were being driven “in fear of their lives from Britain to Israel.”

Hyperbole

With this kind of highly exaggerated hyperbole, Sacerdoti appears to be confusing Britain’s multicultural, secular and pluralistic liberal democracy, albeit flawed, with the inherently racist, Zionist entity headed by an Israeli Prime Minister who sees himself as the leader of the whole of the Jewish world. Clearly, it hadn’t occurred to either Sacerdoti or Netanyahu that Jews born in Britain are British, just like their Black or Asian counterparts. They are not Israeli. Therefore, Zionists can make no legitimate claim to lead or control the Jewish diaspora. To suggest otherwise is to replicate the false racist and sectarian-based trope that Zionists and Jews are synonymous, and therefore to criticise Israel is “antisemitic.”

Of course, this serves a dual political purpose. With Israel’s Jewish population decreasing in proportion to their Palestinian counterparts, the fear of antisemitic attacks against the Jewish diaspora increases the potential for Jews to emigrate to Israel, while justifying increasing levels of funding to Jewish “charities” and organisations like the highly politicised Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) and the JLM, whose interests are best served by playing up the antisemitism “threat.”

Self-determination

The narrative of Jews being threatened outwith Israel in which the so-called Jewish State is perceived as a safe haven, perpetuates the racist myth that self-determination can only be adjudged based exclusively on one specific ethnicity and religion.

The JLMs own website states:

“The [object of the] Jewish Labour Movement [is]…to maintain and promote Labour or Socialist Zionism as the movement for self-determination of the Jewish people within the state of Israel.”

The notion that passport-holding Jews born in countries like France, the US and the UK have any less of a right to self-determination than other groups with citizenship rights born in these countries, perpetuates the myth that Jews can only be safe from the threat of violence when resident in Israel, exclusively among other Jews. This, in turn, reinforces another corresponding racist myth, namely, that the concept of multi-ethnic and secular democratic liberalism is antithetical to “Jewish interests” and that coexistence with other groups is problematical.

Netanyahu outwardly expressed this kind of Jewish-Zionist conflated racist exceptionalism and exclusivity for ideological and political reasons after he attempted to shift the blame for the Holocaust from the Hitler fascists onto the Grand Mufti. From the Zionist perspective, this makes sense given that Muslims are considered to be the joint enemy of both the European far-right and their Zionist allies.

Banned

Attempts by Labour activists to challenge the curtailment of free speech by raising the issues above is the reason why those critical of Israel’s apartheid state and treatment of the Palestinians, have been banned or suspended from the party under the pretext of “antisemitism”. This was the rationale that led to the decision of Finchley and Golders Green CLP last month to reject my application for membership of the party, ostensibly based on a blog article I wrote in which it is claimed I used “Zionist” as a term of abuse – the story of which made it onto the pages of The Jewish Chronicle.

Given that Zionism is indeed an exclusivist, supremacist and racist ideology deserving of abuse, I stand “guilty” as charged. The systematic smears and attacks by Zionists against the right to freedom of speech which challenge the Zionist narrative is the kind of policy Corbyn appears happy to endorse. Indeed, the Labour leader’s close association with the JLM at conference in which he was photographed with some of their leading figures, was a kick in the teeth for the family of Labour Friends of Palestine activist, Del Singh, who died in a Taliban attack in Kabul in 2014. Tony Greenstein on twitter, exclaimed:

“Its outrageous  should hang his head in shame-its like honoring Paul Golding of  with the Jo Cox award – really sick.”

Corbyn’s repugnant rallying behind the JLM that followed his effective rubber-stamping of the IHRA definition of antisemitism, appears to be indicative of the lack of control he has within his own party. Despite all of the sound rhetoric during his 75 minute closing speech in which the Labour leader focused on the importance of unity, putting people before profit, abolishing tuition fees, rent controls, affordable housing and work-place democracy, the party continues to be dominated by right-wing Zionist forces.

There are few signs at present that he intends to confront the situation. Instead, he seems content appeasing various hypocritical and back-stabbing leading party figures like Tom Watson, Joan Ryan and Jess Phillips, who have either openly said in the past they are opposed to his policies or have abused him. Many people, including millions of Iraqis, Libyans and Syrians would not consider it spiteful of Corbyn to take a firm grip on the party and get rid of the traitors within his midst. On the contrary, they would regard it as a small step towards justice.

Compulsory deselection

Compulsory deselection is the obvious way forward. But to date, Corbyn has suffered from an inability to influence constituency Labour party policy at the local level, where the full-time paid staff are institutionalised. They see in Corbyn, somebody who is a potential threat to the status quo. The General Secretary, Iain McNicol, represents the apex of this kind of tendency towards self-preservation which explains why during the last election campaign, Skawkbox was able to allege that:

“Almost no resources were made available for the fight to win Tory-held marginals or even to defend Labour-held ones. Party officials and national executive right-wingers either assumed that Labour could not win seats or deliberately sought a bad result to undermine Corbyn.”

Of the 260+ parliamentary Labour MPs, roughly 60 hold genuine left-wing views, while a similar amount tread the ground between the left and right. The vast majority of the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) – roughly 140 – however, are right-wing disciples of the Chicago school who are unprincipled cynical opportunists or, as Tony Benn put it, “weathervanes”. They will only go with the Corbyn programme if it looks good for their money-making prospects.

Battle

This illustrates the battle Corbyn and his supporters are up against. If Corbyn ends up being too accommodating to the right-wing of the party it will only encourage them, resulting in the blunting of his radical message which is the major part of his appeal and the very reason why Labour voters, especially the young, voted for him in such large numbers in the first place.

Keeping young voters on board is particularly important given that the proposed boundary changes the Tories will be keen to bring in before the next election will benefit them by 18 seats. This will provide the ideal opportunity for Corbyn to force through the compulsory resubmission of candidates to members who are energised by a very different set of priorities to that of the right-wing within the party. If Corbyn proves brave enough to seize the moment by taking control of the party he currently lacks, all of those people who are motivated primarily by money, will disappear by stealth into the ether.

The right-wingers are currently on the defensive and Corbyn might be advised to exploit this situation to the maximum. There were some encouraging signs during the fringe meetings at Brighton which would seem to suggest that sufficient movement within the grass roots will force Corbyn’s hand. Indeed this “stealth tactic” is one the Labour leader might be relying on and that there is sufficient movement happening behind the scenes that this writer is unaware of.

The emergence of the seemingly radical anti-Zionist JVL organisation have made in clear they will not tolerate anymore of the false antisemitic allegations made against Labour members by the JLM, and certainly the tide does appear to be turning against right-wing Zionist forces in the party. The worse case scenario is one in which these right wing elements wrestle back significant control. With hardcore Zionists like Watson and others remaining in positions of prominence and influence, will only encourage this latter eventuality.

The contradictions among the right within the party that the left has exposed, highlight the extent to which the ideological consensus between the New Labour hierarchy and the ruling Tory establishment, is structurally embedded within a dysfunctional system of state power that is no longer fit for purpose. Corbyn’s task in changing this situation around is difficult but not impossible. Perhaps he is biding his time in terms of deciding when to act decisively. Will he wait until after the next General Election? There are potentially exciting times ahead.

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Why my vote for Corbyn on June 8, will *not* be an endorsement of the Labour candidate

By Daniel Margrain

Image result for pics of jeremy newmark

On May 4, 2017, the free weekly newspaper, Barnet Press, reported on the announcement of the three Labour candidates who are to contest the seats in my area at the forthcoming General Election.

The candidate standing for the Finchley and Golders Green constituency is Jeremy Newmark, who the paper describes as a “former chief executive of the Jewish Leadership Council” and “former spokesman for Jonathan Sacks, who was Chief Rabbi from 1991 to 2013.”

Currently, Newmark chairs the Labour party-affiliated, Jewish Labour Movement (JLM). The JLM is also affiliated to the Israeli Labor Party and the World Zionist Organization. According to the UN, the latter pumps millions into building in the occupied West Bank through its settlement division.

In my view, Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader is the best thing to have happened to the party and, potentially, to the people of the country, in decades. But I’m going to find it extremely hard, on a matter of principle, to vote for my selected Labour constituency candidate whose credentials I regard to be highly questionable.

A great deal has been written and covertly filmed about how the Israel lobby and the JLM are using both journalists and the Blairite fringe of Labour MPs within the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) to undermine Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership with a view to his eventual toppling using the specter of antisemitism as a weapon with which to achieve it.

Journalist Asa Winstanley contends that no mainstream journalists “have disclosed Newmark’s long-standing role in the Israel lobby, or his record of lying about anti-Semitism.”

In an excellent piece published by the Electronic Intifada (April 28, 2016), Winstanley comprehensively analyses the McCarthy-style witch-hunts by the JLM against Israel’s critics and outlines the links between right-wing, anti-Corbyn Labour and the Israel lobby within the party.

Bogus antisemitism crisis

Winstanley meticulously shows how the Israel lobby manufactured an ‘antisemitism crisis’, pinpointing the individuals involved, the tactics and dirty tricks used and the connections to individuals whose ties lead to pro-Israel groups both in London and Israel.

The investigative journalist also shows how media outlets such as the Telegraph, Huffington Post and the Jewish Chronicle have been complicit in the systematic attempt to disorientate Labour party members and supporters by either printing misinformation or reproducing unsubstantiated accusations and antisemitic smears against individuals. This in turn, has contributed to a false media narrative.

Among the individuals who instigated the fake antisemitism row highlighted by Winstanley, are David Klemperer who opposed Corbyn’s run for the labour leadership (but has since been kicked out of the party), and former Israel lobby intern, Alex Chalmers. But it is Newmark who is arguably the most influential.

The intention of the lobby is to create the impression that antisemitism is not only more prevalent within the Labour party compared with other political parties, but that it’s also more widespread compared to other forms of racism in UK society.

Neither claim stands up to scrutiny. In relation to the latter, a 2015 survey by Pew found that seven percent of the UK public held ‘unfavourable’ views of Jews. By contrast, about a fifth held negative views of Muslims and almost two-fifths viewed Roma people unfavourably.

In the aftermath of the massacres in Gaza in 2014, the London Metropolitan police recorded 358 anti-Semitic offences. Two hundred and seventy three of these were online, 36 involved criminal damage and 38 constituted “harassment”. Eleven cases of assault were recorded in which four resulted in personal injury.

One hundred and eighty thousand offences in these categories were recorded within the wider population throughout Metropolitan London. In other words, attacks against Jews in 2014 against a backdrop in which Gaza was being pulverized, made up only one in 500 of the total, while they made up around one in 86 of the population of London as a whole.

Community Security Trust (CST) figures for the first six months of last year show a rise of 15 per cent above those from the previous year. But this is from an extremely low base. The actual number of such incidents recorded for the first half of 2016 was 557. And that figure is still below that for 2014 when the Israeli assault on Gaza occurred. So claims that there has been a ‘surge’ in antisemitic incidences in recent years are false and misleading.

In terms of the former, there is no evidence to suggest that antisemitic views are any more prevalent in the Labour party which historically has been at the forefront of anti-racist and anti-fascist campaigns. On the contrary, racism and fascism is more likely to be symptomatic of far-right politics then left-wing politics.

Take the far-right ideology of Zionism as an example. Far-right political parties court the Zionist vote because Zionism is a far-right and racist political movement which, as Tony Greenstein put it, “sought to establish a Jewish state by accepting the anti-Semitic notion that Jews don’t belong in the countries they were born in.”

As a Labour supporter of Jeremy Corbyn, the decision of whether to put my cross next to the name of a hard-line Zionist and member of the Israel lobby who has lied about antisemitism and, in my view, seeks to undermine the democratic process from within, by prioritizing the interests of a foreign power over and above those of his own constituents, is not a difficult one. Zionists like Newmark have about as much in common with Corbyn as Gandhi has with Pol Pot.

Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA)

The cynical attempts to weaponize antisemitism for right-wing political purposes is also the role of the Campaign Against Antisemitism, a British propaganda organization and registered “charity”. Formed in August 2014 during a major Israeli offensive against Gaza, the aim of the CAA is to paint Palestine solidarity campaigning and opposition to Zionism as antisemitic.

The organisation is chaired by Gideon Falter, who is also a board member of the Jewish National Fund which has a long history of supporting ethnic cleansing in Palestine. The CAAs preferred McCarthyite tactic appears to be to target left-wing political activists, Corbyn supporters and journalists who are critical of Israel by abusing and smearing them with unsubstantiated allegations.

Among those who have been libeled by the group include Rebecca Massey, a prominent Labour Party activist in Brighton and Hove, Labour parliamentary and council candidate, Dinah Mulholland and the campaigning journalist and Labour party activist, Mike Sivier.

In relation to the latter, the CAA submitted an article to the press that contained “lies, doctored quotes and misinterpretations” of Sivier’s work. This resulted in his subsequent suspension from the Labour party without a proper investigation of the facts having taken place.

If the role of the CAA is to expose genuine cases of antisemitism and to promote social harmony, one would expect it to condemn far-right fascist organisations and their supporters. But as Tony Greenstein, who has himself been a victim of CAA smears, highlighted, a search of the campaign’s archive revealed just two articles that mention Britain’s main fascist organizations – the British National Party, the English Defence League and the National Front. Those groups include Holocaust deniers within their ranks.

By contrast, Greenstein pointed out there are some 77 articles attacking Jeremy Corbyn and 32 articles in the archive that attack Shami Chakrabarti, a civil liberties campaigner and now a prominent Labour politician serving as shadow attorney general.

It is obvious that the activities of the CAA and other Zionist and pro-Israel lobbying groups such as the CST and Board of Deputies of British Jews are designed to achieve the exact opposite of what they purport to set out to do. Rather than create peace and harmony between people, they actually create tension, discord and antagonism.

This, of course, serves a political and ideological purpose. The promotion of the idea that Jews within the diaspora are under threat of antisemitism, intimidation and violence is intended to encourage their emigration to Israel thereby helping to further reinforce Zionism’s role as Israel’s state ideology.

Groups like the CAA and CST need “antisemitism” to flourish in order to justify their continued government funding and hence their existence. That’s why the latest figures released by the latter suggesting attacks against Jewish people have rocketed to record levels, should be taken with a pinch of salt. In order to establish an accurate picture, we need not only to compare levels of racist attacks more widely, but to break down the 767 antisemitic hate crimes recorded by the CST in the first six months of 2017 into categories.

While all racism is abhorrent, it should be noted that 80 violent antisemitic attacks were recorded during this period. While this is 80 too many, it’s important to look at the wider political and historical context in which these attacks have taken place and compare them with the level of violent racist attacks against other groups. But CST do not provide any context because it does not serve their narrow political and ideological interests.

The Israel lobby, who have a significant financial stake in the Labour party and further afield, clearly see Corbyn as an anathema to the realization of these interests. A Newmark victory in Golders Green and Finchley would almost certainly strengthen the Zionist position within the political establishment and thus help to bring the Zionist dream closer to fruition.

The disproportionate power the Israel lobby is able to exert is a major concern for anybody who values the principles of democracy. While it is wrong to suggest that Zionism and Judaism are synonymous, it is nevertheless apposite to point out that the majority of the Jewish demographic (59 per cent), which in its totality represents just 0.5 per cent of the British population, identify politically as Zionists.

The democratic process is not best served in a situation in which such a tiny section of the population supposedly has a disproportionately powerful lobby at its disposal. Although the majority of the world’s Zionists are non-Jewish, Zionism is at its core unquestionably a Jewish movement – indeed the major Jewish communal movement.

Over-representation

It’s the over-representation of Jews in the capitalist ruling class that gives the Israel- Zionist lobby it’s power. This is a historical phenomenon that actually explains the Zionist project itself and it’s purpose – to create a state expression for this distinctive bourgeois layer. The history of different peoples, of the relation of oppressed and oppressor peoples, is class based and linked to the different evolved class structures of those peoples.

The Jews have a more distinctive historically evolved class structure than many other groups. An understanding of the issues concerning questions of material reality and historical fact, is crucial to evaluating where we are today. The exploitation by racists of the facts, don’t make these facts less valid. As a society we need to talk about them as opposed to having them suppressed within the cloak of ‘antisemitism’.

The suppression of such questions risks their monopolization by the small minority of antisemites who have a racialised hatred of Jewish people. They are thankfully very rare. It’s important to keep talking about Zionism as a political category in order to refute the conflation between Zionism and Judaism that public figures such as Chief Rabbi Mirvis and others have so scandalously made.

Given the attempts to conflate the two, it should not come as any surprise why people would make the innocent mistake of using the term the ‘Jewish lobby’ in discussions or debates. Under such circumstances, it is easy to see how others with nefarious motives are able to exploit this misunderstanding for political and sectarian- racist purposes.

One such individual is the Zionist antisemite, Rupert Murdoch, who has complained that “Jewish-owned” newspapers are too critical of Israel. This illustrates how Zionists who loathe and resent Jews as Jews, unless they support a pro-Zionist political stance, are able to perpetuate the Jewish global conspiracy trope for their own narrow political objectives.

This rationale is used to explain why the JLM are able to prevent non-Zionist Jews from affiliating to their organisation while conversely accepting that non-Jewish Zionists are welcome to join. Significantly, in this sense, the JLM are more accurately described as a Zionist movement as opposed to a movement of Jews.

Arguably, nowhere is this dichotomy best illustrated than by the treatment meted out by the JLM to the Jewish anti-Zionist activist, Jackie Walker. The controversy that surrounds Ms Walker and others, as Mike Sivier posited “is not about antisemtism, but removing a person who does not support Zionism from a position of influence.”

The media attacks on Jeremy Corbyn, Ken Livingston, Jackie Walker and others, are politically motivated and represent a determined effort by the Israel lobby to make Britain’s Labour Party ‘a safe pair of hands’ for Israel and Zionism.

Defining antisemitism

The confusion that surrounds antisemitism could be easily clarified if the widely used definition of the term was simplified. But as a result of their decision to adopt the long and convoluted European Union Monitoring Centre (EUMC) definition of antisemitism, groups like the CAA, CST and the JLM are deliberately muddying the waters.

This deeply flawed 500 word ‘new antisemitism’ or even ‘antisemitic anti-zionism’ definition authored by attorney Kenneth Stern (strangely accepted by Jeremy Corbyn), intended to combat political criticisms of Israel, is so wide in scope that it’s essentially meaningless.

The EUMC definition, amid much opposition, was subsequently dropped by the UK government in December, 2016. Instead, the non-legally binding working definition formulated by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), was formally adopted seven months later. The IHRA definition states:

“Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred
toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed
toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish
community institutions and religious facilities.”

While an improvement on the EUMC definition, the IHRA is also similarly flawed. “Physical manifestations”, for example, might include the targeting of the state of Israel.

Brian Klug, an Oxford academic who specializes in the study of antisemitism, manages it in 21 words: “Antisemitism is a form of hostility to Jews as Jews, where Jews are perceived as something other than what they are”.

This seems to me to be a perfectly adequate definition. But preventing genuine antisemitic instances is not the objective of Zionist organisations like the CAT or the CAA. Their real purpose is to undermine a Corbyn-led Labour Government, which they view as a very real threat to the Eretz (Greater) Yisrael project of a territory stretching from the River Nile to the River Euphrates.

Both the EUMC and IHRA definitions embolden Zionists in their political attacks against Jews and non-Jews alike who are rightly critical of the illegal actions of the state of Israel. I can only assume that there is still a long way to go before the corrupting influence of Zionism is removed from the democratic institutional structure of the Labour party once and for all.

The suspension from the party of the likes of millionaire Zionist donor, Michael Foster, who compared Corbyn supporters to Nazi storm troopers, is insufficient and clearly more needs to be done. Corbyn’s apparent cosying up to Zionists like Newmark and others within the party who are among the first in line to stab him in the back, while leaving long-term comrades like Ken Livingston out to dry, is a situation that ultimately, can only end in tears for the Labour leader. Corbyn’s lack of a principled stand on this matter reflects a serious weakness in his leadership.

The kind of democratic socialism espoused by the Labour leader on the one hand, and the political ideology of Zionism on the other, are irreconcilable concepts and if he fails to get a grip on the situation it could ultimately contribute to his downfall.

 

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What the Jackie Walker debacle is really all about

By Daniel Margrain

In an excellent piece published by the Electronic Intifada (April 28, 2016), journalist Asa Winstanley shows how media outlets such as the Telegraph, Huffington Post and the Jewish Chronicle have been complicit in the systematic attempt to disorientate Labour Party members and supporters by either printing misleading misinformation or reproducing unsubstantiated accusations and smears against individuals all of which have contributed to a false media narrative regarding alleged antisemitism within the party.

Also in the piece, Winstanley outlines the links between right-wing, anti-Corbyn Labour and the pro- Israel lobby and meticulously shows how this lobby manufactured an ‘antisemitism crisis’, pinpointing the individuals involved, the tactics and dirty tricks used and the connections to individuals whose ties lead to pro-Israel groups both in London and Israel. Among the individuals Winstanley highlights are David Klemperer who opposed Corbyn’s run for the labour leadership (but has since been kicked out of the party), and former Israel lobby intern, Alex Chalmers.

Jewish Labour Movement

Arguably the most significant and influential figure behind the false claims of antisemitism that Winstanley cited in his piece, is former chief executive of the Jewish Leadership Council (JLC), Jeremy Newmark. It was while in charge of the JLC that Newmark gave evidence at a 2013 Employment Tribunal case alleging antisemitic behaviour by the University and College Union brought by one of its members. The case was dismissed by the judge in its entirety.

Newmark is currently chairperson of the Labour party-affiliated, Jewish Labour Movement (JLM). The JLM is also affiliated to the Israeli Labor Party and the World Zionist Organization. According to the UN, the latter pumps millions into building in the occupied West Bank through its settlement division. Clearly Newmark’s mission in rooting out ‘left antisemitism’ cannot be disentangled from his wider role as sympathizer and propagandist for the Zionist-Israel cause. Winstanley contends that no mainstream journalists “have disclosed Newmark’s long-standing role in the Israel lobby, or his record of lying about antisemitism.”

Pernicious

One particularly pernicious and unfounded antisemitism accusation during the last few weeks has involved long-standing, and until recently, reinstated Labour party member, Jackie Walker, who as the result of comments made at a private antisemitism training session on September 26, was removed from her role as Vice-Chair of Momentum prompting the Labour Party hierarchy to renew her suspension from the party.

Walker stands accused of four things: a) trivializing Holocaust Memorial Day, b) claiming that the threats of attacks on Jewish schools had been exaggerated, c) claiming she saw no need for definitions of antisemitism and d) commenting on the Jewish role in the Atlantic Slave Trade. Although Walker was factually incorrect about the first point by claiming HMD only commemorated the Jewish Holocaust, it’s nevertheless true that the commemoration is one in which the Jewish narrative dominates. “My aim”, Walker said, “was to argue that there are no hierarchies of genocide; there is no way to quantify or qualitatively describe the indescribable, the indescribably inhumane acts that are part of our histories”.

In relation to the second point, it would appear that antisemitic attacks on Jewish schools have indeed been exaggerated (see below). In terms of point three, Walker didn’t claim she saw no need for definitions of antisemitism, as was claimed. What she actually said was “I still haven’t heard a definition of antisemitism that I can work with”. The context of Walker’s intervention is important: A few minutes before a (Jewish) attendee at the session asked the training session tutor, Mike Katz, of the Jewish Labour Movement, “We don’t know what you’re working from. Do you think you can give us what your definition of AS is?”

Katz replied, “The standard definition of antisemitism is actually the European Union Monitoring Centre.” It was at this point, that several other members objected to the use of the EUMC definition claiming it had no status and was deeply flawed. Walker was objecting to a deeply flawed 500 word ‘new antisemitism’ or even ‘antisemitic anti-zionism’ definition authored by attorney Kenneth Stern, that is so wide in scope as to encompass political criticisms of Israel.

The reason why it is so difficult for some people to disentangle antisemitism from legitimate criticisms of Zionism as a political ideology, is because the EUMC definition often cited by those who use it as a political weapon in order to blunt all criticism of illegal Israeli land grabs, is far too long and convoluted. Brian Klug, an Oxford academic who specializes in the study of antisemitism manages it in 21 words: “Antisemitism is a form of hostility to Jews as Jews, where Jews are perceived as something other than what they are”. Klug’s far more reasonable definition is almost certainly something Walker, and many other anti-Zionists, would be willing to work with.

The fourth reason why Zionists targeted Jackie Walker was because she had the temerity to admit that some of her Jewish ancestors were involved in the sugar and slave trade in the Caribbean and West Indies. Her position was misrepresented in the Zionist Jewish Chronicle who ran with the sensationalist headlineLabour suspends Momentum supporter who claimed Jews caused ‘an African holocaust’. On the basis of this egregious lie, the campaign against Jackie Walker, a dedicated and long standing anti-racist activist, began. Walker says:

My claim, as opposed to those made for me by the Jewish Chronicle, has never been that Jews played a disproportionate role in the Atlantic Slave Trade, merely that, as historians such as Arnold Wiznitzer noted, at a certain economic point, in specific regions where my ancestors lived, Jews played a dominant role as financiers of the sugar industry, as brokers and exporters of sugar, and as suppliers of Negro slaves on credit, accepting payment of capital and interest in sugar.”

Zionist Labour Movement? 

It’s clear that the treatment meted out to Walker by the the JLM, is indicative of a movement that does not represents Jews, rather, it represents Zionists. The JLM, in other words, is a misnomer and would more accurately described as a Zionist Labour Movement. Jackie Walker, although Jewish, is not a Zionist and is therefore not welcome in the organisation. However, non-Jewish Zionists are. The organisation’s own website states:

“The Jewish Labour Movement is also affiliated to the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the Zionist Federation of the UK, and organise within the World Zionist Organisation… Our objects: To maintain and promote Labour or Socialist Zionism as the movement for self-determination of the Jewish people within the state of Israel.”

The furor surrounding Jackie Walker, as Mike Sivier states, “is not about anti-Semitism; but removing a person who does not support Zionism from a position of influence.”

Antisemitic incidences

The attacks on Walker (as well as many others in which similar accusations of antisemitism have been invoked), appear to be emblematic of a much bigger problem that goes to the heart of UK-Israel relations. On the surface, the implication appears to be that antisemitism is more prevalent within the Labour Party compared with other political parties in Britain. However, the notion that incidences of antisemitism are more widespread in a party which historically has been at the forefront of anti-racist and anti-fascist campaigns, does not stand up to scrutiny.

How about the claim that antisemitism is more prevalent compared to other forms of racism in British society? Again, the answer is a negative. A 2015 survey by Pew for example, found that seven percent of the UK public held “unfavourable” views of Jews. By contrast, about a fifth held negative views of Muslims and almost two-fifths viewed Roma people unfavourably.

In the aftermath of the massacres in Gaza in 2014, the London Metropolitan police recorded 358 anti-Semitic offences. Two hundred and seventy three of these were online, 36 involved criminal damage and 38 constituted “harassment”. Eleven cases of assault were recorded in which four resulted in personal injury. One hundred and eighty thousand offences in these categories were recorded within the wider population throughout Metropolitan London. In other words, attacks against Jews in 2014 against a backdrop in which Gaza was being pulverized, made up only one in 500 of the total, while they made up around one in 86 of the population of London as a whole.

Community Security Trust (CST) figures for the first six months of this year show a rise of 15 per cent above those from the previous year. But this is from an extremely low base. The actual number of such incidents recorded for the first half of 2016 was 557. And that figure is still below that for 2014 when the Israeli assault on Gaza occurred. So claims that there has been a ‘surge’ in antisemitic incidences in recent years are false and misleading.

Moral panic

In response to a moral panic about ‘left antisemitism’ seemingly expanding without limit, a loosely-knit group of Jewish Labour Party supporters called Free Speech on Israel coalesced for an inaugural gathering in April. The fifteen-member group, which included Emeritus Professor of Operational Research at the London School of Economics, Jonathan Rosenhead, found that over their lifetimes they could muster only a handful of antisemitic experiences between them. And, crucially, although in aggregate they had hundreds of years of Labour Party membership, not a single one of them had ever experienced an incident of antisemitism in the party.

These experiences would appear to tally with the findings of the Channel 4 Dispatches programme. Despite filming undercover for six months at political meetings in an attempt to discredit Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, the programme-makers could not find a single incidence of antisemitism among party activists. Nevertheless on the BBC Radio 4s Moral Maze programme, former representative of the Zionist Federation, Jonathan Sacerdoti – whose current job title is Director of Communications for the Campaign Against Antisemitism –  claimed that  Jews are being driven “in fear of their lives from Britain to Israel.”

Hyperbole

With this kind of highly exaggerated hyperbole, Sacerdoti appears to be confusing Britain’s multicultural, secular and pluralistic liberal democracy with the inherently racist, Zionist entity headed by a Prime Minister who sees himself as the leader of the whole of the Jewish world.  Clearly, it hadn’t occurred to either Sacerdoti or Netanyahu that Jews born in Britain are British, just like their Black or Asian counterparts. They are not Israeli. Therefore, Zionists can make no legitimate claim to lead or control the Jewish diaspora. To suggest otherwise is to replicate the false racist and sectarian-based meme that Zionists and Jews are synonymous, and therefore to attack Israel is “antisemitic.”

Netanyahu outwardly expressed this Jewish-Zionist conflated racism when he attempted to shift the blame for the Holocaust from Hitler on to the Grand Mufti. From the Zionist perspective, this makes sense given that Muslims are the joint enemy of both the European far-right and their Zionist allies.

The politics of ‘antisemitism’

The notion that British cities are rife with antisemitism, in which boycotts of Israel are regarded as emblematic, is a rationalization that serves a political purpose. Currently, the non-Jewish population of Israel stands at about a quarter of the total and the proportion is growing. The Zionists need to halt the demographic shift and the way to do that is to invent, provoke or exaggerate, in the UK and elsewhere, instances of the “new antisemitism.”

Zionism is threatened from within, so Israel needs a new influx of Jews in order for the Jewish state to survive in its current form. Indeed, antisemitism is the flesh and blood that Zionism and all related industries and institutions connected to it feed off in order for them to be able to continue justifying both their and Israel’s existence. The implied racism inherent in the notion that there is a correlation between Zionism and Judaism, is offensive to the silent majority of Jews who want nothing to do with the supremacist, racist state.

The UK government is losing the moral high ground by seeking to quash anti-Israel boycotts and prevent legitimate political activism more generally. Ultimately, it has to be a legitimate course of action in a democracy for a group of people to be able to pass a resolution condemning a country because they are opposed to its political values. The cynical attempts of right-wing Zionist elements within the hierarchy of the Labour Party to drive a wedge between traditionalists and Blairites, using the specter of antisemitism as their ideological weapon, is an obvious smokescreen as a basis in which to discredit all legitimate support for the Palestinians by influential or prominent figures both inside and outside the Labour Party. The deliberate misrepresentation of the views of Craig Murray by Zionists at the forefront of the anti-Corbyn campaign, is an example of this.

Israel lobby & the CHAC report

The appointment of the ultra-Zionist Mark Regev to the role of Israeli ambassador to the UK, arguably set in motion the failed Corbyn coup attempt in which the openly hostile anti-Corbyn figure John Mann, initially operated as the Zionists principal henchman. It was therefore unsurprising that Mann and the JLM, among others, praised the Commons Home Affairs Committee (CHAC) report ostensibly into antisemitism published a few days ago which all reasonable observers perceive as nothing other than a biased political weapon with which to attack Corbyn’s leadership.

In a Facebook post, Jeremy Corbyn commented on the report:

“Although the Committee heard evidence that 75 per cent of antisemitic incidents come from far right sources, and the report states there is no reliable evidence to suggest antisemitism is greater in Labour than other parties, much of the report focuses on the Labour Party.”

“The Committee heard evidence from too narrow a pool of opinion, and its then-chair rejected both Chakrabarti’s and the Jewish Labour Movement’s requests to appear and give evidence before it. Not a single woman was called to give oral evidence in public, and the report violates natural justice by criticising individuals without giving them a right to be heard.”

“The report unfairly criticises Shami Chakrabarti for not being sufficiently independent. This fails to acknowledge public statements that the offer to appoint Chakrabarti to the House of Lords came after completion of her report, and was based on her extensive legal and campaigning experience.

“Commissioning Chakrabarti was an unprecedented step for a political party, demonstrating Labour’s commitment to fight against antisemitism.”

The pro-Israel lobby, who have a significant financial stake in the Labour Party and whose influence spreads throughout the British political establishment more generally, clearly see Pro-Palestinian Corbyn as an anathema to their wider interests viz a viz Israel. Certainly the Hasbara propaganda web site, UK Media Watch, regard the witch-hunt against Corbyn, as well as the attempts by his detractors to disorientate the membership, as ‘a job well done’.

Conclusion

Politically, the purpose of the misuse of antisemitism by Zionists is to quash all legitimate criticisms of Israel, its oppression of the Palestinian people and, by extension, Muslim/Arab nationalist aspirations more generally. The attacks on Jackie Walker and others are political and represent a determined effort by the Israel lobby to make Britain’s Labour Party safe for Israel and Zionism. Ultimately, the contrived ‘antisemitism crisis’ within the party is outflanked by the far greater problems it has with modern day Zionist aspirations which are never addressed.

Israel’s ‘friends’ within the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP), for example, continue to remain silent about the illegal ongoing dispossession of Palestinians from their land and the historical Zionist programme of ethnic cleansing of which Plan Dalet, the Koenig PlanOperation Cast Lead and Operation Protective Edge are historical manifestations. Ultimately, the real target of the Zionists is not Jackie Walker, but the prospect of a Corbyn-led UK Labour Government, which the Zionists view as a very real threat to their Eretz (Greater) Yisrael project of a territory stretching from the River Nile to the River Euphrates.

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Antisemitism: the myths & the maths

By Daniel Margrain

A great deal has been written about how the Blairite fringe within the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) are attempting to undermine Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership with a view to his eventual toppling using the specter of antisemitism as a weapon with which to achieve it. Arguably the most comprehensive analyses of the McCarthy-style witch-hunts undertaken so far (which ironically have involved Tony Greenstein, who has been at the forefront of moves to combat genuine cases of antisemitism on the fringes of the Palestine solidarity movement), has been undertaken by the journalist Asa Winstanley. In an excellent piece published by the Electronic Intifada (April 28, 2016), Winstanley outlines the links between right-wing, anti-Corbyn Labour and the pro- Israel lobby within the party. He meticulously shows how this lobby manufactured an ‘antisemitism crisis’, pinpointing the individuals involved, the tactics and dirty tricks used and the connections to powerful individuals whose ties lead to pro-Israel groups both in London and Israel.

Among those the journalist points to are two individuals who instigated the antisemitism row, David Klemperer who opposed Corbyn’s run for the labour leadership (but has since been kicked out of the party), and former Israel lobby intern, Alex Chalmers. Perhaps significantly, Winstanley points to a more influential figure behind the false claims of antisemitism. That figure is former chief executive of the Jewish Leadership Council (JLC), Jeremy Newmark, now the chairperson of the Labour party-affiliated, Jewish Labour Movement (JLM). The JLM is also affiliated to the Israeli Labor Party and the World Zionist Organization. According to the UN, the latter pumps millions into building in the occupied West Bank through its settlement division.

The media uncritically bought Newark’s assertion that antisemitism is rife within Corbyn’s Labour party. But as Winstanley contends, no mainstream journalists “have disclosed Newmark’s long-standing role in the Israel lobby, or his record of lying about anti-Semitism.” Winstanley also shows how media outlets such as the Telegraph, Huffington Post and the Jewish Chronicle have been complicit in the systematic attempt to disorientate Labour party members and supporters by either printing misinformation or reproducing unsubstantiated accusations and smears against individuals all of which have contributed to a false media narrative.

The implication appears to be that antisemitism is not only more prevalent within the Labour party compared with other political parties but is also more prevalent compared to other forms of racism in UK society more widely. Neither claims stand up to scrutiny. There’s no evidence to suggest that such views are any more prevalent in a party which historically has been at the forefront of anti-racist and anti-fascist campaigns. On the contrary, racism and fascism is more likely to be symptomatic of far-right politics then left-wing politics. Take Zionism as an example. Far-right political parties court the Zionist vote because Zionism is a far-right and racist ideology. More widely, a 2015 survey by Pew found that seven percent of the UK public held ‘unfavourable’ views of Jews. By contrast, about a fifth held negative views of Muslims and almost two-fifths viewed Roma people unfavourably.

Interestingly. I recently came across the following blog piece, originally posted last August by Mira Bar-Hillel. Although, Bar-Hillel’s use of the term “Jewish Lobby”  is, I would contend, inappropriate, the piece is nevertheless an extremely lucid, revealing and well-written account of the extent to which the Zionist pro-Israel lobby have managed to inculcate their propaganda within the wider UK political and media discourse, the consequences of which appear to be adversely impacting on the democratic process. Mira Bar-Hillel’s sound and well articulated arguments fit in well with the current ‘antisemitism’ debacle discussed above. This is Mira Bar-Hillel’s post in full:

It has become universally acknowledged that #antisemitism in this country is rising massively to alarming record-breaking levels. Most commentators accept this as a simple fact and some respond by demanding curbs on free speech, including senior MPs and even Ministers.

The myth that British Jews are living in fear of life and limb suits some people, to whom I will refer as the “Jewish Lobby”. I will do this because it is true, and because I have been called an #antisemite so often and so publicly (and that’s just by Danny, Lord Finkelstein of Pinner) that that must be true as well.

But the rise in #antisemitism is a myth and one which needs to be busted. And if it takes a Jewish #antisemite to do it, then so be it, with help from the Metropolitan Police.

When I asked the Met for figures and breakdowns of so-called “hate crime”, they were happy to oblige, adding that nobody asked them for these figures until I did. The results will strike fear into those obsessed with scaring British Jews, but actually show there is little to worry about.

In 2014 the police recorded 358 anti-Semitic offences. This is 177 fewer than claimed by the Community Safety Trust, but then the CST is a well-funded Jewish Lobby which would not exist without #antisemitism, real or made-up. The Met’s figures, by the way, also recorded 1,481 reports of homophobic attacks and 611 of Islamophobic ones (generally accepted to be massively under-reported).

The Met’s breakdown of anti-Semitic crime in London in 2014 – which included the aftermath of the Gaza massacres and the media coverage they got – was as follows: FOUR cases of assault with injury (only ONE GBH); seven cases of Common Assault; 36 cases of Criminal Damage to a Motor Vehicle and 38 of “Harrassment”, which could mean anything. The rest were online

Compare that if you will to 180,000, which is the total for offences in these categories recorded by the Met in 2014. So attacks against Jews made up only one in 500 of the total, while they make up around one in 86 of the population of Metropolitan London. We should all be so lucky.

So why are prominent, educated and articulate Jews behaving as though their future here is suddenly at serious risk? Why does Maureen Lipmann regularly pack her bags, citing #antisemitism in between appearances in the media and radio discussions on the subject – only to unpack again?

And why is Danny Cohen, 40, recently appointed Director of BBC Television at £320,000 a year (poor didums), telling a Jerusalem conference that he “questions the long-term future for Jews in the UK”, adding  “I’ve never felt so uncomfortable being a Jew in the UK as in the last 12 months” – which was when he was promoted to his powerful new job?

Possibly because they have chosen to believe the CST’s “statistics” rather than the police. The well-funded CST regards posters saying “Free Palestine” as #antisemitic events. Last August: Graffiti was daubed on a pavement reading ‘Jews kill Palestinian babies’. You may recall that in August the UK media was full of images and reports of Palestinian children and babies being killed by Israel in Gaza (the eventual total being 550).

The graffiti may have an unpleasant reminder, but it was factually correct. And it was certainly not a crime, more a report of a crime. So next time you see the CST figures, have the salt cellar at the ready.

Jews make up 0.5% of the population of this country but run a very effective lobby, which is their right. It is also the right of the other 99.5% to be aware of this fact and what it means in democratic terms. And before you descend upon me from a great height and add “Jew Hater” to #antisemite, I would like to put a few things on the record.

My father left Berlin in 1933 in the face of the real and imminently dangerous #antisemitism of Kristalnacht. My mother followed him in 1936 from Cracow, which fell to the Nazis in 1940. I was born in Palestine – yes, PALESTINE – in 1946, after my father, who volunteered to join the British Army to fight the Germans came home to Jerusalem. Most of their families (and mine) perished in Hitler’s camps and one of my uncles was saved by Oscar Schindler.

I grew up and was educated in Jerusalem, served in the IDF in the mid-60s and lived through the Six Day War. I was then a news reporter on Israel Radio until 1972. I then became aware that the Israeli government – decades before Netanyahu – had no interest in negotiating away occupied territory for peace.

Long before the atrocities of the occupation turned Israelis into what the late Professor Isaiah Liebovich called “JudeoNazis” (long before the baby burning) and their country became, according to Desmond Tutu and countless others, an Apartheid State, I could feel the rot setting in and wanted none of it.

So, in the words of Bob Dylan, “Call me any name you like, I will never deny it –

“But farewell, Angelina, the sky is erupting, I must go where it’s quiet”.