Contents- please click on link to jump to paragraph header:
- A Semitic Race?
- The IHRA and Zionist thought control- Racism and Holocaust Denial slurs
- Who’s behind promoting the IHRA?
- How did Israel get everyone to adopt the IHRA Definition?
- Who has adopted the IHRA Definition?
- Labour’s antisemitism data: A Public Misunderstanding
- Impact of IHRA on Labour
- The Labour Files- Al Jazeera
- How do UK Jews feel about Israel?
- How do we fight it?
- Bad Faith Actors
- Other Organisations
The classic definition of antisemitism: “hostility to or prejudice against Jewish people” – according to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED).
The IHRA Definition of Antisemitism: created in 2009 under the name of the International Holocaust Remembrance Association, there are 11 examples given, 7 of which relate to Israel. The full definition can be found on the IHRA website here.
One of their so-called examples of antisemitism includes “claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour”. The truth is that it most definitely is: see 11 Examples — No IHRA
The IHRA definition is pushed by Zionists as being necessary to safeguard Jews.
The IHRA Definition has switched the focus away from protecting Jews from hatred to protecting Israel from criticism.
Semite– a member of any of the peoples who speak or spoke a Semitic language, including in particular the Jews and Arabs
Zionist– a supporter of Zionism; a person who believes in the development and protection of a Jewish nation in what is now Israel.
In 2015, when Zionists in the UK started calling for the IHRA Definition to be adopted everywhere, barristers and judges- of integrity (many Jewish)- were quick to point out its shortcomings. Even one of its authors was dismayed; Kenneth Stern said “The definition was not drafted, and was never intended, as a tool to target or chill speech on a college campus.” Stern was well aware that antisemitism is not the same as antizionism ( see Why the man who drafted the IHRA definition condemns its use | Jewish Voice for Labour).
Zionists ensured Westminster was an early adopter. So even our UK Government opines it is antisemitic to declare the blindingly obvious- that Israel is racist; see A definition of antisemitism – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).
Jamie Stern-Weiner has penned an up-to-date analysis of its misuse; see it on the Free Speech on Israel website: “IHRA-The Politics of a Definition” . And for a really great perspective of what’s going on, read “The chimera of British anti-Semitism, and how not to fight it if it were real” by Norman G. Finkelstein see page 19 of Socialist Fight Pamphlet no 1
See also Peter Beinart’s article of March 2019: Debunking the myth that anti-Zionism is antisemitic | Antisemitism | The Guardian
“What Is Wrong with the IHRA Definition of AS“- by Jonathan Coulter explores all the above matters.
Asa Winstanley has recently written Weaponizing Antisemitism: How the Israel Lobby Brought Down Jeremy Corbyn. It is an Amazon best-seller and important book. It has a lesson for those of us in the Palestinian solidarity movement working for social justice here and in the U.S.
A much more suitable definition can be found at the Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism (JDA) website. This definition is a tool to identify, confront and raise awareness about antisemitism as it manifests in countries around the world today. It includes a preamble, definition, and a set of 15 guidelines that provide detailed guidance for those seeking to recognize antisemitism in order to craft responses. It was developed by a group of scholars in the fields of Holocaust history, Jewish studies, and Middle East studies to meet what has become a growing challenge: providing clear guidance to identify and fight antisemitism while protecting free expression. Initially signed by 210 scholars, it has now around 350 signatories.
Aberdeen University were the first to adopt the JDA instead of the IHRA. The JDA does not suggest criticism of Israel is antisemitic. See The National’s article of 9th Oct 2022 https://www.thenational.scot/news/23033722.university-aberdeen-votes-using-ihra-definition-anti-semitism/ . But the JDA is far from perfect; see The Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism: a critical view – Mondoweiss. The best definition of antisemitism continues to be the OED one, above.
A Semitic Race?
The use of the word semitic peoples was deliberately changed by Wilhelm Marr who founded the ‘League of Anti-Semites’ in Hamburg in 1879. Marr falsely believed that Jews were a ‘semitic race’
Before that semitic people were the Arabs of the Near East including East Syria, Iran, Iraq, Afghan. Semitic tribes spoke three languages: Arabic, Hebrew and Aramaic. Very similar languages ,all could understand and converse with each other. Even Jesus spoke Aramaic.
The Europeans who came to Palestine in the 1940s were not semitic; they have lived through Europe for millennia. They knew nothing of the traditions of the lands, the people the cultures. The only real semitic Jews were those who’d remained in the land and still classed themselves as Arab Jews.
During partition almost all of the 8% Semitic Jews opted to remain as Palestinians. Almost all of the natural Jews were Orthodox.
The IHRA and Zionist thought control- Racism and Holocaust denial slurs
Two clauses in the IHRA Definition are particularly insidious. The definition claims examples of antisemitism would be:
“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.”
“Accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.”
These two clauses are truisms, yet are inserted in order to prevent pro-Palestine campaigners from pointing out these truths. There is no doubt that Israel is a racist endeavour- it has racism against non-Jews at its heart. Leaving aside the fact that a Zionist’s definition of a Jew is in itself problematic, it is self-evident that those claiming to be Jews in Israel get privileges denied to others. (see an example on our Israel & Palestine page ). And there is no doubt that from the outset Zionism was always a racist creed (see our “What is Zionism?” section). So just pointing this out nowadays can get you fired, expelled, suspended or shunned in the press.
The second clause is also designed to stop pro-Palestine campaigners pointing out that Israel milks the Holocaust for all it is worth, and then some. Not only do Zionists relentlessly use the Holocaust as the reason why they need to take Palestinian land for “security purposes”, they keep the population of Israel itself on permanent high alert by claiming that Palestinians are about to unleash a second Holocaust amongst them. The agency authoring the new definition of antisemitism, the International Holocaust Remembrance Association, roots the whole definition around the Holocaust.
The insertion of this clause seeks to render it unthinkable that Israel exploits the Holocaust and those declaring as much have their views twisted in order to portray them as Holocaust deniers. Accusing pro-Palestine campaigners of Holocaust denial is the activity the Zionists take great delight in. Sadly, the UK media generally support such wild accusations; it sells newspapers, after all.
ODP chair Pete Gregson declared that Israel exaggerated the Holocaust for political ends and was crucified for it by the Herald and the Guardian (see here)
The Herald ran a front-page story declaring that Gregson had said the Holocaust was exaggerated. Gregson complained to the Independent Press Standards Office (IPSO); his complaint was dismissed. He pointed out to both IPSO and the Herald that they were misunderstanding basic grammar: “Israel exaggerates the Holocaust for political ends” is very different from saying “The Holocaust was exaggerated”. In the first, the subject is acting on the object in a manipulative way; the second is a generalised statement purporting to be a truism. Another example might be “Trump exaggerates racism in the US for political ends” which is not the same as saying “Racism in the US is exaggerated”.
In an effort to justify his statement, Pete had pointed out to his GMB trade union (who had originally claimed he had denied the Holocaust) that of the 11 million killed in the Holocaust, as far as Israel presents history, the slaughter was purely about 6 million Jews. Israeli university courses on the Holocaust ignore non-Jews. There is no mention of the millions of Russians, Poles, Roma and others murdered en masse. The GMB ignored Pete’s clarification and expelled him anyway, even though Rabbi Cohen testified in Pete’s defence (see the video at www.tinyurl.com/gmbihra).
Norman Finkelstein documents Israel’s use of the Holocaust as its indispensable ideological weapon in his book “The Holocaust Industry- Reflections on the exploitation of Jewish suffering.” More evidence can be found in Holocaust survivor Dr. Hajo Meyer’s 2010 speech on Israel – “The Misuse of the Holocaust for Political Purposes“.
Even Israelis admit they exploit the Holocaust. Israeli former minister of Education, Shulamit Aloni, said in a US interview that “anti-Semitism is a trick. We always use it“. The interviewer said: “Often, when there is dissent expressed in the United States against policies of the Israeli government, people here are called anti-Semitic. What is your response to that as an Israeli Jew?”. Aloni replied: “Well, it’s a trick, we always use it. When from Europe somebody is criticizing Israel, then we bring up the Holocaust….”
Presumably it was to encourage this kind of confusion that Zionists put the condition into the IHRA definition in the first place- and to deter any suggestion that they exploit Holocaust guilt.
There are those on the left, such as René Gimpel, that declare the only Holocaust is the one that took Jews. Others disagree. The following is reprinted from the Weekly Worker; a letter from Tony Greenstein (see “Mirror Image) at https://www.weeklyworker.co.uk/worker/1411/letters/
“In his letter (September 1) René Gimpel argues for the classic Zionist line that the word ‘holocaust’ is unique and reserved only for Jews. This is both racist and exclusivist, and it has led to the situation today where thousands of Israeli schoolchildren are taken to Auschwitz – not to learn the lessons of where racism leads, but to instil racism and nationalism in them.
As Gideon Levy wrote in Ha’aretz on May 2 2019, “I have yet to hear a single teenager come back from Auschwitz and say that we mustn’t abuse others the way we were abused. There has yet to be a school whose pupils came back from Birkenau straight to the Gaza border, saw the barbed-wire fence and said, ‘Never again’. The message is always the opposite: Gaza is permitted because of Auschwitz.”…
Columbia University professor Joseph Massad observes, “Israeli Zionists have appropriated events in Jewish history, including the Holocaust, for propagandistic purposes to assert their ‘right’ to Palestine – a land to which they had laid their suspect colonial claim half a century before the genocide.”
“By appropriating the Holocaust, Israel asserts that any acknowledgment of the genocide is an acknowledgment of Israel’s ‘right to exist as a Jewish state,’ while any attempt to deny this right is to deny the Holocaust,” Massad adds.
Historically, Massad notes, the Palestine Liberation Organization “always made a point of demonstrating its sympathy with the Jewish victims of the Holocaust and condemning the Nazis.”
But Israel and its backers rejected this solidarity because at the time the PLO refused to recognize and accept Israel’s claims to the land of the Palestinians.
Israel continues to milk the Holocaust. When Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas went to Germany in August 2022 and said, in response to a press question about whether he would apologize to Israel on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the attack on the Israeli sports mission at the 1972 Munich Olympics, Abbas said: “Since 1947 Israel has committed 50 massacres … 50 massacres.. 50 Holocausts”.
Israel went nuts.
Who’s behind promoting the IHRA?
Key players in declaring that antisemitism exists (when it does not) are the Campaign Against Antisemitism, the Community Security Trust, the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM), Hope not Hate (a misnomer!), Labour Against Antisemitism, the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the Jewish Leadership Council, the three Jewish newspapers (Jewish Chronicle, Jewish News, Jewish Telegraph), UK Lawyers for Israel, Friends of Israel, Britain Israel Communications & Research Centre (BICOM) – and of course the Israeli Government. (It is estimated that 70% of the UK’s 300,000 Jews support Israel). Much of the hysteria within Labour has been stirred up by the JLM, which was relaunched in 2015 with the specific aim of dethroning Corbyn. (Read this great piece by Jonathan Cook, Jewish Labour Movement was Revived to Deal with Corbyn) . To find out more about the Board of Deputies click here .
The JLM is a particularly pro-Israel body and one does not have to be either or Labour to join. It claims to represent the Jewish people in Labour, but in no way does it do this. It is, unfortunately, affiliated to the Labour Party; it took over the mantle of Paole Zion relatively recently, which was set up 100 years ago, back when real antisemitism was very much a live issue. It played a key role in removing Corbyn from Labour.
Zionists and Israel identified him as the greatest threat to the Zionist project- they were resolute that there should never be a British Prime Minister who was critical of their apartheid regime. There is plenty of evidence to support that Israel is directly behind the scourge of bogus antisemitism. The undercover investigative documentary “The Lobby- Part 1” showed JLM supporters conspiring with the Israel embassy to discredit the Labour party and its leader. [There is a whole suite of programmes in the Lobby series which forensically analyse Israel’s role in shaping UK and US politics; they are essential viewing for campaigners].
Antisemitism was weaponised in order to purge Corbyn, the left and anti-racist campaigners from Labour, a project which has largely succeeded. So how did Israel create this tool for its defence? The IHRA’s author, Kenneth Stern, explained how the idea for a common definition was first articulated by Dina Porat in April 2004. Porat is the principal historian at Israel’s Yad Vashem – an institution that distorts the holocaust through a Zionist prism.
In August 2018, Nathan Thrall wrote this very thorough piece on BDS in the Guardian, where three-quarters of the way in, he said ‘Perhaps Israel’s most powerful tool in the campaign against delegitimisation has been to accuse the country’s critics of antisemitism. Doing so required changing official definitions of the term. This effort began during the final years of the second intifada, in 2003 and 2004, as pre-BDS calls to boycott and divest from Israel were gaining steam. At that time, a group of institutes and experts, including Dina Porat – a Tel Aviv University scholar who had a been a member of the Israeli foreign ministry’s delegation to the 2001 UN world conference against racism in Durban, South Africa – proposed creating a new definition of antisemitism that would equate serious criticism of Israel with hatred of Jews.’ The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) were prevailed upon to create this new definition and the US State Department lent a hand. It was honed over the noughties and was ready for use by 2015. One of it’s authors, Kenneth Stern, a noted Zionist, now condemns its use to stem freedom of speech. Alison Weir, in her “If Americans Knew” blog of 17 May 2017 explains fully how Israel developed the definition in her piece- International campaign is criminalizing criticism of Israel as ‘antisemitism’ .
The content of this article: The government that cried ‘wolf!’ on the deficiencies of the IHRA definition is pointed but unexceptional; what is significant is its publication in the ultra-mainstream Ynet news (in Nov 2018). In summary: The IHRA definition of anti-Semitism is problematic, as there is a difference between hatred of Jews and opposition to the policies of the Israeli government. If Israel continues to cry ‘wolf,’ international Jewry may find that valid cries of anti-Semitism end up falling on deaf ears.
Palestinians are well aware of the threat the IHRA poses to their securing equal rights. On the 28th August 2018, just before Labour’s NEC were to discuss adoption of the full IHRA, OpenDemocracy UK gave Palestinians their space to comment. “Labour must reject biased IHRA definition that stifles advocacy for Palestinian rights“. They say of the IHRA ” ‘This non-legally binding definition attempts to erase Palestinian history, demonise solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for freedom, justice and equality, suppress freedom of expression, and shield Israel’s far-right regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid from effective measures of accountability in accordance to international law.’
(Even back then, there was no disputing it was apartheid, as the the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia had noted in its 2017 report: “Israeli Practices towards the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid.”)
How did Israel get everyone to adopt the IHRA Definition?
In 2011 Jeremy Newmark implored, in a “Big Tent for Israel” event, for Jews and anybody supporting Israel (ie Zionists) to join trade unions and their local political party to mobilise. Then, as soon as Corbyn was elected leader in 2015, Newmark rebadged a virtually redundant Paole Zion, an affiliate body to the Labour Party from the Party’s early years, into the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) and set about recruiting Jews and others who supported Israel. This group was then able to command the debate from virtually inside the Party.
Many JLM members secured posts in Labour HQ and in the trade unions. Zionist activists then set about convincing major bodies that Jews were at risk and that the only way they could be protected was by adopting the IHRA definition of antisemitism. From 2015 to 2018, they largely succeeded. This was achieved through cultivating a hysteria in the media that Jews felt vulnerable without it; Rhea Wolfson in the Scotsman July 2018, for example. Wolfson served on Labour’s NEC and she and Jon Lansman were key in getting Labour to adopt the IHRA definition.
Essentially one might ask, as Gregson did in these Mondoweiss pieces of Sept 2018 on the full IHRA “If it’s passed and I said Israel is a racist state, would I get expelled?” and his following article on the fallout in UK Labour “Why let Netanyahu write the Labour rulebook?”
Further research led to greater revelations: in September 2022 he had this published Do Jews in the UK have significant leverage on Israel? – Redress Information & Analysis (redressonline.com)
Who has adopted the IHRA Definition?
All the major trade unions (bar the PCS) had adopted the IHRA definition before the fateful Labour NEC meeting of the 4th Sept 2018. (Wolfson, for example, was also active in the GMB). As had all the major political parties (bar the Greens) and the UK government. It is important to note that at no time were rank and file party members and trade unionists invited to debate the matter. In every case, Zionists – Jewish officers or senior elected members at the top of these bodies- were able to convince their Executives that it must be adopted in order for Jews to feel safe. Labour was the toughest nut to crack, given Corbyn’s views: but the major trade unions all hold two seats each on Labour’s NEC, so once the unions had adopted it, they were mandated to get the NEC to do the same-and the combined votes of them, plus NEC CLP reps such as Lansman and Wolfson, plus LFI politicians- was enough to force it through.
All the major political parties (bar the Greens) have adopted the definition, as have the Westminster and Scottish Governments. Which explains why most politicians are terrified of saying Israel is racist; if they did, the Zionists would ensure they got expelled.
It’s very important to understand that in every organisation that has adopted the IHRA, it has been done without referring to the membership or users. In every case, the Executive Committee has approved it behind closed doors.
And in the context of arguing for its adoption, these Zionists had leverage on account of Holocaust guilt (the UK had done little to help the Jews during WW2) and the work of the Community Security Trust, who had been working hard to document every single tweet or Facebook posting they could find that criticised Zionism as an example of a hate crime, reports which the BBC then published, suggesting that attacks on Jews were rising exponentially and they needed protection. And so the Executives complied in mandating their bodies to adopt the IHRA definition. Thus, at a stroke, millions of UK citizens lost their full freedom of speech on Israel. It was a clever approach- all these bodies, not being publicly funded, were not bound by freedom of speech legislation. Suddenly, campaigning against apartheid in Israel could see you suspended, expelled, shunned or even unemployed.
The success of the Zionist lobby in seeing their IHRA Definition widely adopted across British institutions is best reflected in viewing the media’s treatment of Israel/Palestine. Up until 2012 the BBC and the rest of the mainstream media were becoming increasingly pro-Palestinian, a trend that has since been sharply reversed. “Peak-Palestine” was achieved in Feb 2011 by the C4 broadcast of “The Promise”, (which had up till 2008 been a BBC project) , in a series about a young woman who goes to present-day Israel and Palestine, determined to find out about her soldier grandfather’s involvement in the final years of Palestine under the British mandate. It is impossible to imagine such a TV series being made now. Since then, it is of note that 38% of the BBC Board are now pro-Israel/pro-Zionist. The BBC’s political editor was in place at exactly the right time to do the maximum damage. Corbyn was repeatedly skewered by Laura Kuensberg from the Glasgow Zionist lobby; she brought him down with help from fellow Zionist, Jonathan Freedland at the Guardian. Kuensberg and others, calling themselves Jews, rose to their influential positions in the 6 years following the “Big Tent for Israel”. The matching ascent of Zionists such as Rea Wolfson and Jon Lansman within Labour helped ensure that the IHRA Definition became entrenched in the public mind as an acceptable definition of antisemitism. As a result, the media are unwilling to criticise Israel as racist, as this is now deemed “antisemitic”.
Around 40% of UK local authorities – who are publicly funded- have adopted the definition, which means Council workers must beware. Council bosses can argue that those breaching the IHRA Definition have “brought the Council into disrepute”. Paul Johnson was suspended for declaring Israel racist- but after a strong campaign, the charges were dropped. See Paul’s story on our Rogues Gallery page.
Colleges and Universities are under ongoing pressure to adopt the IHRA too. In January 2021, UK Gov Secretary Gavin Williamson told university vice-chancellors that if a majority of universities failed to adopt the IHRA definition by December, then he would take action, alluding to the possibility of funding cuts. Lawyers and judges wrote to him to complain about this action, but it is still on the cards. In Jan 2022, Tory Education Minister Nadhim Zahawi said adoption of the definition was ‘essential, not optional’ for UK universities. But other countries academic associations have successfully resisted the imposition of the IHRA- Canada, most recently. Aberdeen University were the first to use the Jerusalem Declaration of Antisemitism (JDA) instead of the IHRA. The JDA does not suggest criticism of Israel is antisemitic.
If your trade union expels you for bogus AS, please join Prospect. They have not adopted the IHRA definition and will represent you, wherever you work. And note- the only major party not to adopt the definition is the Greens.
One might wonder what Liberty, our very own civil rights body, is doing about the IHRA Definition? Precisely nothing, in spite of being persuaded by JVL activist and Liberty Committee member Jonathan Rosenhead into adopting a 2018 AGM motion against it. See Tony Greenstein’s blog of October 2018 Why are the Officers and Employees of Liberty Refusing to Implement its Policy of Opposition to the IHRA? In 2019 Pete Gregson repeatedly emailed, then struggled at the AGM to get some action too, with no more success. Sadly, luminaries such as Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, support the IHRA Definition, so Liberty probably think they’re doing right by keeping out of it.
Labour’s antisemitism data: A Public Misunderstanding
(also see our other page on Corbyn: https://bogusantisemitism.org/corbyns-capitulation/#corbyn-knew-there-was-not-much-real-antisemitism-in-labour)
Anti-Semitism in Labour? It was never really a problem. But media hysteria portrayed it as one. THE SHAMI CHAKRABARTI INQUIRY of 2016 begins: “The Labour Party is not overrun by antisemitism, Islamophobia or other forms of racism..” So what happened over the following two years? Zionist groups, using the IHRA Definition as a base, used the media to declare that Labour had a problem. The interviewees featured in “Bad News for Labour: Antisemitism, the Party and Public Belief ”, published in 2019, thought that 25-40% of Party members had had complaints made about them for antisemitism. In fact, only 0.1% had been investigated!
The figures from General Secretary Jennie Formby of 11 Feb 2019 showed that over the preceding year 1,106 complaints had been lodged: 433 related to non-Labour members; 96 members had been suspended; 146 had a written warning; 211 were served notice of investigation; 220 had insufficient evidence. It shows:
– 99.9% of Labour members had never been accused of antisemitism (530,000 members)
– a huge proportion of claims about ‘Labour’ behaviour didn’t involve Labour members at all
– around a third of complaints that did involve Labour members are so unfounded that they didn’t stand up to the first level of scrutiny
Skwawkbox’s excellent piece said much on the issue. Of course, since then thousands have been driven out of the party for standing up for Palestine and calling out Israel’s racist regime. Read some of their stories on our Rogues Gallery page.
On the 10th July 2019, BBC’s Panorama’s “Is Labour Antisemitic?” implied it really was. But the programme was horribly biased, largely informed by JLM ex-staffers at Labour HQ. RESIST has put together an excellent 1-hour documentary called “Reaching Over the Noise” challenging those claims of antisemitism in Labour- more here. See the 2-minute trailer here featuring several rabbis (including Rabbi Ahron Cohen of the Neturie Karta) explaining that they believe Labour has been the victim of a lie.
Greg Philo, lead author of Bad News for Labour remarked in an interview with Jacobin magazine that “Both the BBC and even a paper like the Guardian have contributed to public misunderstanding of this issue. They have a moral duty to discuss the new evidence and analysis that we have offered. But both have not covered it. That is a key source of their power — they can impose silence and simply refuse to discuss their own role.”
Impact of IHRA on Labour
At the peak of Corbyn’s popularity there were around 530,000 members; now there are around 300,000. Many have left over disappointment at what the Party has become since Corbyn was dethroned; many have been driven out on bogus antisemitism charges. Some resigned after they were investigated or suspended; others were expelled. (This act signals a reverse to type, for historically Labour has always supported Israel, as this Electronic Intifada video on “How they brought down Jeremy Corbyn” shows)
In October 2020, the Equality and Human Rights Commission published its report on Labour. The report claimed there were “serious failings in the antisemitism complaint handling system”, “significant failings in the way the Labour Party has handled antisemitism” and “serious failings in leadership”. “We have concluded that there were unlawful acts of harassment and discrimination [against Jews] for which the Labour Party is responsible. None of these statements were true; what the EHRC were really saying was that not enough Labour members had been expelled quickly enough for breaching the IHRA Definition. Ludicrously, it claimed that “suggesting that complaints of antisemitism were fake or smears” was in itself an example of antisemitism!
Two individuals were singled out for criticism- Ken Livingston and Cllr Pam Bromley. Ken had pointed out that Naz Shah MP’s comments were not antisemitic [she had posted on social media a graphic suggesting that Israel should be relocated to the United States, with the comment ‘problem solved’, and a post in which she appeared to liken Israeli policies to those of Hitler] . Pam had been vociferous in pointing out that Labour had not done enough to challenge bogus antisemitism accusations.
The EHRC were working to the wrong definition of antisemitism; they had adopted the McPherson principle that if a minority felt they were being discriminated against- then, of course, that must be the case. And so because so many Zionists were claiming victim status (because of their support for Israel), then, of course, this must really be because they were Jews- not because they were Zionists. The EHRC’s investigation had been prompted by complaints made to them by the Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) and the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) in the summer and autumn of 2018. Corbyn observed in June 2020- before their Labour investigation had been published that the Tories made EHRC “part of the government machine”, says Corbyn – LabourList. Skwawkbox revealed in the same month that the EHRC director failed to declare donations to Tory party – and EHRC defends her – SKWAWKBOX. The EHRC has dropped its investigation into Islamophobia in the Tory Party, in spite of more than 300 complaints. The Morning Star observed in July 2019 that the EHRC was closely involved with the Tory Government EHRC Exposed Part 4: ‘Impartial’ watchdog probing Labour plans to invite Tory spin doctors to board meetings | Morning Star (morningstaronline.co.uk)
Following the publication of this deeply flawed report in 2020, the press and politicians could state that Labour had a problem with antisemitism. The sad fact is that the EHRC is no longer the champion of equality that Labour had planned it to be, when they established it in 2007. Over the past 10 years, the Conservatives have effectively taken it over and it is now used as a tool to bash progressive thinking on the head. Most recently, in Jan 2022, it has come under attack; there is presently a legal attempt to deprive it of its status as an independent group with the UN following its advice on transgender rights. This “Equality watchdog” has been accused of excessive government interference and ‘politically motivated’ appointments.
In the summer of 2021, Labour’s NEC declared it was proscribing four “toxic” organisations which promoted communism, declared anti-Semitism allegations were overblown and demanded whips restore Corbyn as a Labour MP. These included Resist, Labour Against the Witchhunt (who declare anti-Semitism allegations have been politically motivated) and Labour In Exile, (who welcomes expelled or suspended members) – and the communist Socialist Appeal. This resulted in an estimated 1,000 Labour members being expelled, including Ken Loach and veteran campaigner Graham Bash, both supporters of LAW.
In January 2022, Rachel Reeves MP said “that it was a “good thing” Labour membership was dropping as it allowed the party to shed unwelcome supporters and rid itself of the “stain” of anti-Semitism.”
Read human rights lawyer Sir Geoffrey Bindman on Labour’s antisemitism scandal: ‘There has been political manipulation‘
The Forde report of July 2022 commissioned by Starmer notes that allegations of antisemitism in Labour were “weaponised” for factional political purposes- see Forde: damning of both sides – a former Corbyn staffer’s analysis – SKWAWKBOX . Starmer’s and JLM’s response, like that of almost the entire UK ‘mainstream’ media, has been to simply pretend the report doesn’t exist
Looking at the population as a whole, Pew surveys between 2004 and 2016 show no increase in anti-Jewish sentiment throughout this period.
Proportion of the British population with an ‘unfavourable’ opinion of Jews
The Labour Files- Al Jazeera
An excellent summary of this short series (broadcast in Sept 2022) can be found on Media Lens here. The 4 episodes are available on YouTube:
Part 1: The Purge
Part 2: The Crisis
Part 3: The Hierarchy
Part 4: The Spying Game
In Sept 2022, in the 3 days running up to Labour’s Annual Conference, Al-Jazeera broadcast each night an episode of The Labour Files: The Purge – a new investigation based on the largest leak of documents in British political history. The Labour Files examines thousands of internal documents, emails and social media messages to reveal how senior officials in one of the two parties of government in the UK ran a coup by stealth against the elected leader of the party.
See the 1 hr 14 min first programme – the Purge – at https://youtu.be/elp18OvnNV0. The program will show how officials set about silencing, excluding and expelling its own members in a ruthless campaign to destroy the chances of Jeremy Corbyn becoming Britain’s prime minister. Candidates for key political roles were blocked and constituency groups suspended as the party’s central office sought to control the elected leadership.
Al Jazeera follows up this in Can the UK’s Labour Party heal its internal divisions?, where it reviews responses to the first programme; it is 25 minutes long and is at https://youtu.be/XpCiCRWeG8k
THE MOST ILLUMINATING PROGRAMME IS THIS ONE: see the second programme – the Crisis – lasting 1 hr 23 mins at https://youtu.be/5DTMF0MSXng. Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit uncovers the true story behind the “crisis of anti-Semitism” that engulfed the British Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn. It made him appear unfit to govern and led to a crushing electoral defeat.
The third programme, – the Hierarchy– lasting 55 minutes https://youtu.be/P-cHBQf5z_M exposes how a battle for the heart of the UK’s main opposition party led to combatting anti-Semitism while creating secret dossiers to suspend Muslim members and shut down local democracy. Labour’s campaign to present a tough image on anti-Semitism while ignoring other forms of discrimination drove many staff to resign. One senior Labour staffer of Asian descent compared working in the Labour offices to be attacked by a racist thug. CORRECTION: An earlier version of this film reported that some WhatsApp messages about MP Diane Abbott suffering illness came after she announced that she had diabetes. In fact, some of the messages were written before her condition became publicly known.
The fourth and final programme – The Spying Game – lasts 20 minutes at https://youtu.be/db-Gpmfajp8 and tells the sinister story of how The Labour Party used hacked data from a journalist to investigate their own members who were critical of the party. Despite questionable ethical and legal issues, and with the knowledge of the party’s leadership, the hacked emails were used as evidence to discipline Labour councillors and activists in a London borough. The Spying Game lifts the lid on underhand tactics inside the Labour Party to impose order on party rivals using stolen confidential data.
The ongoing refusal of the media to address what’s happened to Labour was illuminated in October 2023 Watch: LBC cuts off caller the moment he mentions Al Jazeera’s ‘Labour Files’ – SKWAWKBOX
https://www.youtube.com/embed/2l3j_eKywkM?feature=oembedLabour is no longer a safe space for Jews- especially Jews critical of Israel
How do UK Jews feel about Israel?
A survey of British Jews by City University London in 2015 shows deep disagreement on the term “Zionism”, with 41 % not taking up the political identifier “Zionist.” 31 % identified as anti-Zionist or non-Zionist, while 10 % said they were unsure. The survey also found that the number of British Jews who call themselves “Zionist” dropped from 72 % in 2010 to 59 % in 2015.
But it concludes that all Jews in Britain support Israel. That is not true- the Neturei Karta don’t – and there are at least 100 of them. Neturei Karta – CDAMM
In terms of numbers, the Neturei Karta is a minority within a minority. According to some estimates, its 5,000 or so followers are mostly concentrated in Jerusalem, with tiny pockets of influence in haredi communities in London and New York (Jewish Virtual Library 2017). The total population of haredim, meanwhile, is growing exponentially worldwide. Haredim now constitute nearly one-sixth of more than six million Israeli Jews and between 12 and 16 percent of the 270,000 Jews in Britain (Lavi 2014; Staetsky and Boyd 2015: 5–6). Despite its small size, however, the Neturei Karta has exerted considerable influence on debates about the relationship between Judaism and Zionism which continue to this day.
Ashkenazi Claims to Palestine Debunked by DNA & True History – video by Blackstone Intelligence Network; a Jewish journalist reports on the results of his 23andMe DNA/Genetic testing. He learns that he is 100% Jewish Ashkenazi. But the test also reveals that none of his ancestry is connected to the Jews of the Bible.
Neturei Karta explain in their excellent website how and why many Orthodox Jews reject Israel JUDAISM AND ZIONISM ARE NOT THE SAME THING
Robert Cohen of Jews for Justice for Palestinians wrote this piece for Mondoweiss on Sept 17th “If you want a fair definition of Zionism, it’s best to ask a Palestinian”
An interesting survey of how Jews in the UK feel about Israel is published by Independent Jewish Voices here. It revealed a community closely tied to Israel (78% “care deeply” about Israel against 5% who don’t) but highly critical of the Israeli government, while disturbed by what they see as biased media coverage. It indicates that the viewpoint of Independent Jewish Voices is that of at least a significant minority, and possibly a majority, of Jews in the UK.
We can conclude that somewhere between 60% and 80% of British Jews support Israel.
The Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations is an umbrella organisation representing over a hundred congregations and educational establishments in Greater London. In a statement issued by twenty-nine leading rabbis from the group in late 2018, they explained they supported “respected” Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and distanced themselves from “irresponsible claims in the media that the Jews of Britain are outraged towards the Labour party’s respected leader Jeremy Corbyn. They have spread rumours that the Jewish population are considering leaving the country for fear he becomes Prime Minister.”
Many Haredi Orthodox communities are largely anti-Zionist in outlook, as are many non-Orthodox and secular Jewish citizens, and are angered by attempts to conflate anti-Zionism and antisemitism.
Rabbi Yaakov Shapiro on Israel’s Nation State Law “Israel is not the nation state of the Jewish people; it is the nation state of the Israeli people”
“Israel, Zionism and Jew are wove into cloth such that criticism of Israel or Zionism is transmogrified into criticism of Jews and magically becomes anti-Semitic.”
– Glyn Secker, Jewish Voice for Labour
How do we fight it?
The adoption of the definition was never put to the rank and file, so union and party members need to lobby their executives for change. Here is a model motion for your Labour branch, CLP or union branch. Please try and get this adopted so as we can force changes in Labour and union policy.
Visit the Canadian website No IHRA for more ammunition.
Also note that the Left Legal Fighting Fund are supporting Ken Livingston and Pam Bromley over their being named in the flawed EHRC report- if they win in court, it will begin to expose what has really been going on. See our Legal Battles page.
If you’ve got money, please donate to Christopher Reeves fundraiser for The Big Lie, a film which will expose what has happened to Labour over the past seven years.
And if you can’t wait for that, watch IndyMedia’s 1-hr film on You-tube, released in Nov 21 “Reaching over the noise- Is Labour Really antisemitic?” See the follow-up on Resist TV’s FB programme from Dec 2021 asking “Is Labour really antisemitic?” where pundits over one hour explains why it’s not.
Read up on the problems with the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism from the views of many prominent legal minds who declare it unfit for purpose here Also see Scottish Parliament Cross Party Group on Palestine’s submission to the Independent review of hate crime legislation in Scotland (April 2019)
People are slowly waking up to this IHRA Definition of Antisemitism.
In April 2023 the UN was being lobbied to adopt the IHRA Definition- but there is opposition UN urged to reject antisemitism definition over ‘misuse’ to shield Israel | Antisemitism | The Guardian
Then, in June 2023, the European Legal Support Centre published their report: <strong>BREAKING-New Report Reveals Human Rights Violations Resulting from IHRA Definition of Antisemitism </strong> (elsc.support)
And of course you can get involved with us and help spread the word to defend those unjustly accused.
Bad Faith Actors
A note of warning- various bodies who one might expect to campaign against Israeli apartheid appear to have been infiltrated by Zionist sympathisers, who oppose campaigning against Israel. Groups such as Stand Up to Racism (SUTR) are comfortable with Zionists joining in their marches, waving Israeli flags. And SUTR are a front for the SWP- sometimes they do good work, but basically they do not oppose Zionism. Read about it in Tony Greenstein’s blog entry of March 2021 “Why does Stand Up To Racism refuse to stand up to racism when it comes to Israeli Apartheid?”
It has also been suggested that Stop the War Coalition has also been infiltrated in the same way.
It is suspected that even pro-Palestinian bodies, such as the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) have also been infiltrated. Which may explain their refusal to state openly that bogus antisemitism exists and that Corbyn is its greatest victim. PSC are – and always have been – fairly silent on this matter. Corbyn is one of PSC’s patrons, but the PSC gave him very little help throughout his demonisation, bar mentioning that he was a great supporter of Palestine.
They have also not campaigned particularly strongly against the IHRA definition of antisemitism- to the point where the RCG campaigning body “Fight Racism, Fight Imperialism” openly wondered if PSC had adopted the IHRA definition themselves!
It’s important to understand that the IHRA definition of antisemitism utterly undermined those who campaign for Palestine, because to state that Israel is a racist endeavour is now deemed to be an example of antisemitism. When the freedom of speech of literally millions of people to openly criticise Israel was undermined to the extent that they could be expelled, sacked or shunned for so doing, what did PSC do? They did virtually nothing.
Ben Jamal wrote a paper that hardly anybody saw. Many were surprised that PSC had been so silent about the right to campaign for Palestine being removed so crudely and violently, in that anti-racist campaigners were being portrayed as Jew-haters and therefore no better than Nazis. Yet the PSC simply had nothing to say.
In November 2020, after the deeply flawed EHRC Report into Labour was published, the PSC made this response which more or less accepted it, whilst making some observations about human rights that neither they, nor any other body or individual that they mention, have done anything to uphold in court. Persecuted campaigners are, by and large (excluding David Miller) left out to dry. And even David Miller got nothing more than a statement, pointing out he’d been unfairly treated..
One would have expected PSC to kick up a fuss, to loudly protest, to mount a proper campaign against the IHRA… but they did… not much. They really made themselves irrelevant to serious campaigners. It was not until September 2021, some three years AFTER the IHRA had done its dirty work, that PSC acted to set up a completely separate website about the IHRA definition. With little fanfare and no publicity, it has sat moribund since. A visitor to the site in March 2022, looking for news saw this:
It shows that no news is being posted; the site is derelict. But we know that pro-Palestine campaigners (eg Corbyn) are attacked as Jew-haters on a daily basis. However, anyone looking to the PSC’s IHRA website for news on this would see none- and so it would seem to the wider world that there really is as little bogus antisemitism about as Sir Keir Starmer claims.
It is partly because of PSC’s crass intransigence on the matter of bogus antisemitism that the Campaign Against Bogus Antisemitism (CABA) had to be set up. For obviously if PSC were doing their job properly and supporting pro-Palestine activists fully, there would be no need for CABA. (CABA has now metamorphosed into One Democratic Palestine). It can’t be denied that PSC do some good work, but much of the time it is simply not good enough. And on bogus antisemitism they are silent. Observers may get the impression that they care more about the sensitivities of Zionists than they do about the Palestinians.
It takes very little detective work to find out that the PSC Secretary is Ben Soffa; Ben is Head of Digital Organising at the Labour Party, which has been expelling lefty Palestine campaigners with gusto recently- but it appears that Ben’s job is safe. So Ben basically works for.. Sir Keir Starmer, Leader of the Labour Party. And it is public knowledge that Keir Starmer is an enthusiastic Friend of Israel. Go figure..
In May 2019, campaigner Pete Gregson, an ardent anti-Zionist campaigner, applied to join PSC, was accepted – and then a month later was told that his membership had been refused. A fellow campaigner who sought to get Pete’s treatment discussed at the Jan 2020 PSC AGM (as the PSC Constitution states it should have been), was then, in turn also expelled. Read more about the PSC treatment in Pete’s entry in our Rogues Gallery.
STOP PRESS 15.3.22 – The Edina-Gaza Twinning campaign wrote to Ben Jamal, PSC Director asking for support in twinning Edinburgh with Gaza; the request was ignored. See the email here . PSC support the two-state solution for Palestine and acknowledge Israel’s right to exist. This is the Fatah and Palestine Authority position but not that of the majority of Palestinian people. This may be the reason that PSC refused to support Gaza Twinning, or it may be that they have swallowed the Israeli argument that twinning with Gaza would be to support Hamas. Either way, it represents an indication of their corrupt perspective on Palestine matters.
STOP PRESS – 11.4.22 – PSC General Secretary Ben Soffa appears to be working for Zionists when, as Head of Digital at the Labour Party he removes You-Tube Video of 2021 Conference motion favouring Palestine, at Starmer’s request – see post Starmer denies Israel is apartheid, then tells Ben Soffa, Head of Labour Digital and PSC Secretary, to remove You-tube conference motion supporting Palestine – One Democratic Palestine (onepalestine.land)
Where else can you go to find out more?
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