I was disappointed, but regrettably not surprised, by your reply which did not address any of the issues we raised about the problems with the IHRA definition of antisemitism. Since we wrote the Guardian has published an essay by Nathan Thrall which describes how the definition was produced as a propaganda weapon in the Israeli campaign against BDS and labelling Israel as an Apartheid state.
As Jewish members of Lambeth Labour Party we are dismayed by your letter to the local shul.
Firstly there is no evidence that antisemitism ‘plagues ….our party’ as you assert. There is a problem of a few members out of half a million who have made antisemitic statements or shared material, mainly out of confusion or ignorance, but possibly on rare occasions out of malice. It is important that the Party adopts a rigorous procedure for dealing with any such abuse, which is exactly what the NEC Code of Conduct on Antisemitism is carefully constructed to achieve. It is exactly what the loosely worded examples appended to the IHRA definition do not. Continue reading “How Lambeth Council is getting antisemitism and the IHRA wrong”
In its July 10 letter, Hammersmith and Fulham’s Labour-run council has informed me that my appeal against dismissal from my job as a housing enforcer for “bringing the council into disrepute” has been rejected. That exhausts the council’s internal disciplinary procedures, and leaves me free to pursue a wrongful dismissal case in an employment tribunal, after going through the precondition of attempting conciliation via Acas – the government’s advice, conciliation and arbitration service.
The appeal outcome contained no surprises. It was highly predictable, leaving me with the feeling that it was predetermined for – god forbid! – political reasons. It upheld the April 21 verdict of “serious misconduct” and immediate dismissal with salary in lieu of notice – not as harsh, thankfully, as gross misconduct and instant dismissal with no salary. Continue reading “Hammersmith and Fulham Council: Reinstate Stan Keable”
Mike Cushman asks, wherefore is this racism different from all other racisms?
Advocates of the IHRA document on antisemitism often claim that antisemitism is different from all other forms of racism because it attacks a privileged group rather than a disadvantaged group – are they right? Both Jewish and non-Jewish members of the antisemite hunting pack are fond of this claim.
The answer is, of course, no and yes.
Is antisemitism different?
Historically, at the end of the 19th century and the start of the 20th century Britain’s Jews were largely a poor immigrant community, sweated labour in the garment factories and living in overcrowded slums. Antisemitism then was no different to the racism suffered now by Bengalis in the East End who have inherited their workplaces and location. Balfour’s 1905 Aliens act was driven by the same visceral racism that characterises all the subsequent migration legislation from the 1962 Commonwealth
Immigrants Act onwards. Jews then faced the same problems in accessing housing, jobs and fair treatment from public agencies that people of colour face now. So, in this respect – no, not different.
Unprecedented initiative by over 30 Jewish groups worldwide opposes equating antisemitism with criticism of Israel
Jewish groups issue joint statement against misleading definition of antisemitism used to stifle criticism of Israel and undermine free speech
Coalition of 36 groups from 15 countries defends right to criticise and boycott Israel
IHRA definition undermines both Palestinian struggle for freedom, justice and equality and global struggle against antisemitism
New York, London, Berlin, Tel Aviv (July 17, 2018) – From South Africa to Sweden, New Zealand to Germany to Brazil, for the first time ever over thirty Jewish organisations across the globe have come together in a statement opposing attempts to use a distorted definition of antisemitism to stifle criticism of Israel. The statement, spearheaded by the US-based Jewish Voice for Peace and supported by six UK Jewish groups, condemns a growing trend of legislative campaigns to target organisations that support Palestinian rights, especially the nonviolent Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Continue reading “FSOI supports global Jewish initiative against demonising criticism of Israel”
Mike Cushman condemns the suppression of Steve Bell’s cartoon of Netanyahu’s meeting with May as only the latest censoring of drawings of the Israeli PM in a bonfire of morality.
The Guardian, which regards itself as Britain’s leading progressive newspaper, has censored a cartoon drawing attention to the sycophantic nature of Theresa May’s relationship to Benjamin Netanyahu.
The cartoon drawn by Steve Bell, widely regarded as Britain’s outstanding political cartoonist, is based on a press agency photo of May’s meeting with Netanyahu at 10 Downing Street.
Bell replaced the fireplace with a drawing of murdered Palestinian medic Razan al-Najjar.
There has been no clear statement from the Guardian as to why this sharp but fair condemnation of the insouciance of the two prime ministers is antisemitic. This has resulted in speculation that placing Razan in the fireplace (the focal centre of the press photo) has been interpreted as an insensitive allusion to the Nazi crematoria. Continue reading “The Guardian censors criticism of May and Netanyahu”
Jonathan Ofir describes how a fascist group, Im Tirtzu, defames and attempts to intimidate and silence critical voices in “the only democracy in the Middle East”
This article first appeared in Mondoweiss reprinted by permission of the author
The right wing Israeli Jewish group “Im Tirtzu” has published an incitement video, featuring Adi Shosberger, who has recently called soldiers near the Gaza fence ‘terrrorists,’; and an activist from ‘Machsom Watch’ (‘Checkpoint watch’) who tells an Israeli soldier “you are a disgrace”.
Jonathan Coulter describes the weaponisation process, the targeting of the Labour Party and his own experience in challenging media distortions. He seeks to explain why this is happening, and goes on to suggest how pro-Palestinian rights activists can push back, in alliance with other groups.
Britain’s acquiescence with the weaponisation of antisemitism; can we really be so daft?
I recently launched a Judicial Review of the press regulator IPSO (Independent Press Standards Organisation) for failing to heed a group complaint about two Murdoch newspapers which had grossly misreported a House of Lords meeting to launch the campaign for Britain to apologise for the impact on the native Palestinian people of the Balfour Declaration of 1917. Between them, the newspapers had smeared a whole meeting of Palestine sympathisers as ‘antisemitic’ and, by implication anybody who spoke at or attended similar meetings.
In this endeavour I worked closely with the Hacked Off Campaign. Hacked Off has no position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict but supported me as it considers IPSO to be a ‘sham regulator’ that the press barons established to protect their own interests, and not those of the public, and because it felt that my specific complaints had merit and were important. Continue reading “Venturing into the lion’s den: the case against IPSO”