Targeted: For more than a year now, charges that Jeremy Corbyn is antisemitic have been driving a debilitating wedge into the British Labour Party. Why are these accusations being made and, more importantly, why are they being taken seriously? The answer is to be found in the efforts of Zionists (an ideology to be carefully differentiated from the beliefs of Jewish people in general) to expand the definition of antisemitism to include any negative references to the origins, policies and actions of the Israeli state.
THE NEW ZEALAND LEFT is not alone in being torn apart by what should and should not be tolerated. Only yesterday (17/7/18) the British Labour Leader, Jeremy Corbyn, was publicly upbraided for being “an antisemitic racist” by Margaret Hodge, a senior British Labour MP. Hodge was furious that Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) has refused to accept, in full, the definition of antisemitism issued by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).
For more than a year now, charges of antisemitism have been driving a debilitating wedge into the British Labour Party. Not that very many people around the world find these charges even remotely credible. The British Labour Party has a long and proud history of standing up for the rights of all Jewish people suffering persecution on account of their religious beliefs and/or supposed “racial” identity. Why, then, are these accusations being made and, more importantly, why are they being taken seriously?
The answer is to be found in the efforts of Zionists (an ideology to be carefully differentiated from the beliefs of Jewish people in general) to expand the definition of antisemitism to include any negative references to the origins, policies and actions of the Israeli state.
On these matters, the British Labour Party can speak with some authority. It was, after all, the 1945-1951 Labour Government, led by Clement Attlee, which withdrew the last remaining British troops from Palestine on 14 May 1948 – clearing the way for the creation of the State of Israel on 15 May 1948.
British military forces, who were responsible for enforcing what was known as Great Britain’s “mandatory power” in Palestine, had come under increasingly violent attack from Zionist terror groups, such as Irgun and the notorious Stern Gang, since the end of the Second World War in 1945. In September 1947, war weary and close to insolvency, the British state announced to the world that it was no longer willing or able to carry out its duties to the Arab and Jewish populations of Palestine.
This did not, however, mean that they were blind to the strategies and tactics of their Zionist antagonists. As the party in power at the time, Labour has always known a great deal more about the nature and birth of the State of Israel than its Zionist defenders would like.
Hence the co-ordinated attack upon the Jeremy Corban-led Labour Party. As a principled leftist, Corbyn has always refused to buy into the Zionist characterisation of Israel as a state more sinned against that sinning. He has never stopped caring about the Palestinians who, for a variety of reasons (some good, some bad) were made homeless by the circumstances of Israel’s bloody birth. Corbyn’s empathy for the people whose survival has, for the past 70 years, depended upon the support and concern of the international community has been unwavering.
The prospect of such a man becoming Prime Minister of the United Kingdom is not something the Israeli Government and its supporters are ready to accept without a fight. Corbyn’s contacts with Palestinian leaders have been challenged.
Does he subscribe to their desire to wipe Israel off the map? Is that why he refuses to declare his unequivocal support for the Jewish homeland. Is he providing aid and comfort to his antisemitic supporters among the Labour Party rank-and-file? And, if he is, doesn’t that prove that he is, indeed, “an antisemitic racist”?
Crucial to the success of this campaign has been the refusal of its promoters to draw that all-important distinction between anti-Zionism and antisemitism. They allow their target audience to assume that their charges relate to behaviour conforming to the traditional definition of antisemitism: hostility to or prejudice against Jews; when what they are really talking about is the IHRA definition of antisemitism – which includes inter alia:
Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.
Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour.
Applying double standards by requiring of it a behaviour not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.
Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.
Small wonder that the NEC balked at accepting such a tendentious definition “in full”. To do so would render criticism of Israeli policy and Zionist ideology virtually impossible.
Confirmation that proscribing criticism is, indeed, the goal of the campaign against Corbyn and his supporters in the Labour Party has been provided by what the Guardian describes as “a coalition of 36 international Jewish anti-Zionist groups”. The latter have released an open letter in which the definition of antisemitism supplied by the IHRA (an organisation which began as a genuine Pan-European effort to ensure that the lessons of the Holocaust are never forgotten but which has subsequently been hijacked by Zionists and turned towards the protection of Israel) is condemned as a “distorted definition of antisemitism to stifle criticism of Israel”.
Margaret Hodge owes Jeremy Corbyn an apology.
This essay was originally posted on The Daily Blog of Thursday, 19 July 2018.