As the Israeli general’s son Miko Peled warned Labour activists last year, “They are going to pull all the stops, they are going to smear, they are going to try anything they can to stop Corbyn…. the reason anti-Semitism is used is because they [the Israelis] have no argument….”
And now the Zionist Inquisition and mainstream media have ganged up to crucify Corbyn for the crimes of others. Of course Corbyn could and should have done more to crush or at least distance himself from the loonies who post deliberately hateful anti-Jewish comments. But it seems likely that many of those vile scribblers are part of the vast army of Israeli hasbara trolls and dirty-tricks agents deployed to torpedo Corbyn and the pro-Palestinian cause. They will simply re-appear in different guise.
Isn’t this a matter for the Jewish ‘family’ to resolve?
“Israel is the criterion according to which all Jews will tend to be judged. Israel as a Jewish state is an example of the Jewish character… Any flaw in Israeli conduct, which initially is cited as anti-Israelism, is likely to be transformed into empirical proof of the validity of anti-Semitism. It would be a tragic irony if the Jewish state, which was intended to solve the problem of anti-Semitism, was to become a factor in the rise of anti-Semitism. Israelis must be aware that the price of their misconduct is paid not only by them but also Jews throughout the world.”
Not my words, of course, but an observation by former Israeli Director of Military Intelligence, Yehoshafat Harkabi, in his book Israel’s Fateful Hour. His view is held by many others.
So if nothing is done to address the causes of anti-Israelism (which is the outrage many people feel) it may turn into anti-Semitism. Anti-Semitism therefore appears to be a matter between Jews everywhere and best left to them. Why bother Jeremy Corbyn with it?
Too late, the knives are out and stabbing furiously.
On the other side of the coin, as I write I’m receiving reports that Israel has blocked hundreds of Palestinian Christians in Gaza from traveling to pray at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem this Easter. Only those who are over 55 are allowed out of the prison camp, so many of them will have to travel without their relatives. Israel routinely imposes age restrictions often announcing holiday permit policies at the last minute, or even after a holiday begins, making it almost impossible for Palestinians to make travel plans.
It’s all part of the usual lockdown of the West Bank and Gaza Strip for the 8 days around the Jewish Passover holiday. And I’ve just seen videos taken in Jerusalem showing Israeli police attacking Palestinians during a Palm Sunday procession. These and other outrages are committed again and again by “the only democracy in the Middle East”, which claims to guarantee freedom of worship.
We’ve all watched in horror on TV Israeli tanks and snipers firing at unarmed Palestinian protesters in Gaza on their own side of the border, killing fifteen and injuring 1,400 with live fire, rubber-coated steel pellets and tear gas for going too near the prison fence that prevents them returning to their homes and farms. 773 had bullet wounds. This was a non-violent gathering organized by civil society. It should be remembered that Israel imposed a 300 metre no-go buffer on the Gaza side of the border fence, sometimes extending well beyond and creating a very wide high-risk zone that robs thousands of Gazans of valuable agricultural land. These ‘killing fields’ are often used by sadistic Israeli snipers for sport.
Several sources report that the Israeli Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) threatened the owners of 20 Gaza bus companies that “you and your families will be held personally responsible” if their buses brought protesters to the border. This is another typical outrage by the “the world’s most moral army”. How low, how gross its unbridled barbarism, how brutal its behaviour before anti-Israel reaction flips into anti-Semitism?
Yet Corbyn still sends out his Happy Passover messages….
Lecturing Corbyn like he’s a naughty schoolboy
While Israel ratchets-up its criminal behaviour, what are we to make of the latest instructions to Corbyn from the self-appointed leaders of the UK Jewish community, Jonathan Arkush (Board of Deputies) and Jonathan Goldstein (Jewish Leadership Council)? Note the rude, dictatorial tone.
“For whatever reasons, you have not, until now, seemed to grasp how strongly British Jews feel about the situation…..
Any meeting between us must produce concrete, practical outcomes to be implemented by the Party; there is no point in meeting if the situation remains the same or continues to worsen…. We propose an agenda of actions for discussion:
- The Party leadership, and you personally, must be seen and heard to lead this work. Only your voice can persuade your followers that this a necessary and correct course of action. If actions need to be passed by the NEC [National Executive Committee] or other Party bodies, you need to take personal responsibility for ensuring this happens.
- Outstanding and future cases to be brought to a swift conclusion under a fixed timescale. An independent, mutually agreed ombudsman should be appointed to oversee performance, reporting to the Party and to the Board of Deputies and Jewish Leadership Council.
- MPs, councillors and other party members should not share platforms with people who have been suspended or expelled for antisemitism and CLPs should not provide them with a platform. Anybody doing so should themselves be suspended…
- The Party should circulate the IHRA [International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance] definition of antisemitism, with all its examples and clauses, to all members and branches. The Party should work with mainstream Jewish community organisations to develop and implement education about antisemitism. This should include a clear list of unacceptable language, such as the use of ‘Zio’ and ‘Zionist’ as terms of abuse….
- Public confirmation that the Party will seek to understand and engage with the Jewish community via its main representative groups, and not through fringe organisations who wish to obstruct the Party’s efforts to tackle antisemitism.
Nobody should be vilified for opposing antisemitism. Those Labour Party members and Labour-supporting blogs pushing the abuse are largely doing so in your name. They need to hear you say, publicly and in your own voice, that we had every right to protest about antisemitism, and that Labour MPs had every right to support us; that our concerns about antisemitism are sincere and not a “smear” as has been widely alleged (including on your own Facebook page)…. and that anyone directing abuse, intimidation or threats at those of us who oppose antisemitism is damaging your efforts to eliminate it and to start rebuilding trust. We firmly believe that this must happen urgently, and certainly before we meet.”
There’s plenty wrong with this missive besides its arrogance. Many admirable Jewish groups vehemently campaign against Israel’s crimes. The idea that Labour should only engage with the Jewish community through the BoD and JLC is ludicrous and an insult to those Jews who’ll have nothing to do with them.
The idea that anyone involved with deciding disciplinary cases within the Labour Party should report to the BoD and JLC is simply insane.
And the idea that the Labour Party, down to branch level, should be ‘educated’ by Jewish community organisations using the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism is a non-starter. Here’s why. It says:
“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.”
The House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee accepted this definition subject to the inclusion of two caveats:
- It is not antisemitic to criticise the Government of Israel, without additional evidence to suggest antisemitic intent.
- It is not antisemitic to hold the Israeli Government to the same standards as other liberal democracies, or to take a particular interest in the Israeli Government’s policies or actions, without additional evidence to suggest antisemitic intent.
The Select Committee recommended the amended definition be “formally adopted by the UK Government, law enforcement agencies and all political parties”. The Government agreed but dropped the caveats saying they weren’t necessary.
Consequently it has been condemned by experts as “too vague to be useful”. Eminent human rights lawyer Hugh Tomlinson QC said it wasn’t a legally binding definition and lacked clarity. Therefore any conduct contrary to the IHRA definition couldn’t necessarily be ruled illegal.
In Tomlinson’s view it was “most unsatisfactory” for the Government to adopt such a definition, and it could only be considered as a freestanding statement of policy. Public bodies were under no obligation to adopt or use it, nor should they be criticised for refusing. If public authorities did decide to adopt it they must interpret it in a way that’s consistent with their statutory obligations and with the European Convention on Human Rights, which provides for freedom of expression and freedom of assembly. Freedom of expression applies not only to information or ideas that are favourably received or regarded as inoffensive, but also to those that “offend, shock or disturb the State or any sector of the population” – unless, of course, they encourage violence, hatred or intolerance.
Public authorities are also under an obligation “to create a favourable environment for participation in public debates for all concerned, allowing them to express their opinions and ideas without fear, even if these opinions and ideas are contrary to those defended by the official authorities or by a large part of public opinion, or even if those opinions and ideas are irritating or offensive to the public”.
Calling Israel an apartheid state or advocating BDS against Israel couldn’t properly be characterized as anti-Semitic. Furthermore, any public authority seeking to apply the IHRA definition to prohibit or punish such activities “would be acting unlawfully”.
Retired Lord Justice of Appeal, Sir Stephen Sedley, also offered advice, criticising the IHRA working definition for lack of legal force and because “it is not neutral: it may well influence policy both domestically and internationally”.
He added that the right of free expression, now part of our domestic law by virtue of the Human Rights Act, “places both negative and positive obligations on the state which may be put at risk if the IHRA definition is unthinkingly followed”. Moreover the 1986 Education Act established an individual right of free expression in all higher education institutions “which cannot be cut back by governmental policies”.
In Sedley’s view the IHRA definition is open to manipulation. “What is needed now is a principled retreat on the part of Government from a stance which it has naively adopted.”
In any case Labour Party members will surely know that Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights bestows on everyone “the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers”. Such rights of course are subject to the usual limitations required by law and respect for the rights of others.
An inconvenient truth?
So how could the IHRA definition ever be accepted by Labour? Would the party really allow itself to be pushed by the BoD and JLC into such a minefield? Who are the Semites anyway?
Recent DNA research indicate that most of those living today who claim to be Jews are not descended from the ancient Israelites at all and the Palestinians have more Israelite blood than the Jews – they are the real Semites. Research by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and published by the Oxford University Press in 2012 on behalf of the Society of Molecular Biology and Evolution, found that the Khazarian Hypothesis is scientifically correct, meaning that most Jews are Khazars. Probably no more than 2% of Jews in Israel are actually Israelites.
The Khazarians, who were never in Israel, converted to Talmudic Judaism in the 8th Century. So even if you believe the myth that God gave the land to the Israelites, he certainly didn’t give it to the Khazarians. Russian ‘Jews’ like the thug Lieberman, Israel’s defence minister, and countless others who flooded into the Holy Land intending to kick the Palestinians out, have no biblical or ancestral claim to Old Israel. Lieberman rejects UN calls for an inquiry into the Easter slaughter of Palestinians on the Gaza border, mentioned above and condemned across the world, and says his soldiers “deserve a medal”. That other unpleasant individual, prime minister Netanyahu, was also full of praise saying “well done to our soldiers”.
The Johns Hopkins study was published 5 years ago. Has it been refuted? If they got it right, and Palestinians are the true Semites, the whole anti-Semitism thing becomes an upside-down nonsense. The anti-Semites are actually the racist Israeli regime, its nasty witch-hunters and the brainwashed stooges among our politicians, in our Government and embedded in our political parties…. including Corbyn’s accusers.
Yes, Jeremy Corbyn needs to dislodge the anti-Jew morons and racist crackpots, of which there are many in all parties. He should also disband Labour Friends of Israel – an aggressive mouthpiece for a foreign terror regime has no place in a British political party. For balance the pro-Palestine camp inside and outside the political parties needs to purge its foul-mouthed nitwits.
What to do with the Goldstein/Arkush letter? It would be politically incorrect to bin it. Maybe it ought to be filed in Labour’s pending tray until the BoD and JLC publicly admit that there’s something very rotten in the State of Israel, condemn the Israeli regime’s wanton cruelty and mega-crimes against the Palestinian people, and promise to help sort out their ‘family’ problem.
2 April 2018
After working on jet fighters in the RAF Stuart became an industrial marketing specialist with manufacturing companies and consultancy firms. He also “indulged himself” as a newspaper columnist. In politics, he served as a Cambridgeshire county councilor and member of the Police Authority. Now retired he campaigns on various issues and contributes to several online news & opinion sites. With a lifelong passion for photography, he has produced two photo-documentary books, one of which can be read online at www.radiofreepalestine.org.uk.