Ex Labour MP breaks open the heart of the antisemitism smear campaign on BBC Newsnight

Clare Short
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Former Labour MP Clare Short got right to the heart of the antisemitism smear campaign against the Jeremy Corbyn-led movement on 28 May.

“Widening of the definition”

Short, who resigned from Tony Blair’s front bench over the invasion of Iraq, told Newsnight host Emma Barnett:

What’s happened is there’s been a widening of the definition of antisemitism to include criticism of Israel. Then, anyone who’s sympathetic to the plight of the Palestinians is called antisemitic.That is what’s happened.

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Indeed, on 4 September 2018, Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee (NEC) caved into pressure and adopted the controversial International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition in full. This decision came despite the evidence that some of the examples given alongside the definition could be used to smear critics of Israel. Examples such as “claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour” risk blurring the line between criticism of Israel and antisemitism. As such, the definition has been used to shut down events exposing Israeli apartheid at UK universities.

Although the NEC fully adopted the definition, however, Channel 4 claimed on 29 May 2019 that there is still “no mention” of the IHRA definition or its examples in Labour’s 2019 rule book.

Evidence, please

On Newsnight, Short continued:

All the research evidence… shows that there is not a lot of antisemitism in the Labour Party.

Indeed, studies into antisemitism put the matter into perspective. A 2017 report from the Institute for Jewish Policy Research, for example, emphasised that antisemitism is prevalent across society, including on the left. But the renowned Jewish thinktank also concluded that:

On the political spectrum, levels of antisemitism are found to be highest among the far-right

Antisemitism exists in Labour, but reportedly relates to around 0.1% of the 540,000-strong membership. Corbyn’s political opponents, however, have exaggerated the issue beyond all recognition.

“Make this distinction”

On the BBC, Short rounded off by insisting that criticising Israel is not the same as being antisemitic:

Everybody should make this distinction. Antisemitism is evil. Extending the definition to prevent people having any sympathy for the suffering of the Palestinians is a misuse of that allegation.

The IHRA examples relating to Israel remain problematic for Labour. Because they have given powerful legitimacy to political opponents who want to equate criticism of Israel with antisemitism. And Clare Short is quite right to call out the terrible implications of that.

We must continue to push a brighter vision for this country and the wider world. That means crushing genuine antisemitism, showing solidarity with Palestinians living under apartheid, and challenging the smear artists out to overthrow Corbyn and his allies.

Featured image via BBC Newsnight

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    1. Clare Short:
      “What’s happened is there’s been a widening of the definition of antisemitism to include criticism of Israel. Then, anyone who’s sympathetic to the plight of the Palestinians is called antisemitic. That is what’s happened.”

      No, that is not what has happened. It is perfectly possible to criticise Israel without falling foul of the IHRA definition (or any other reasonable definition) of antisemitism. And who are these people supposedly calling “anyone who’s sympathetic to the plight of the Palestinians” antisemitic?

        1. Ha ha. Spot on. The labour’s antisemitism issue is 2 words. Benjamin Netanyahu . Anyone who denies this is either on his team or has a screw loose.

          The man has a history of full on attack to anyone or anything that is critical of him, Israel and their right to occupy stolen land. Throw in a bit of genocide and skulduggery, stir over low heat, a dash of lies and you have Netanyahu’s recipe for good governance.

          I am not an antisémite in any way. But, put me on the to of the list of anti Benjamin Netanyahu any day. The man is a monster.

    2. Criticism of a religion can also raise tropes and accusations of ‘isms’ as well. As non-believers, atheists or agnostics we are allowed to disagree with religions or parts or aspects of religions without feeling wary before we discourse that we will find ourselves dubbed or labelled with some despicable anti-religion’s threatening terminology of the pariah.

    3. Claire Short was bang on the money….and don’t say you weren’t warned…the UK has manged to drive itself up a cul de sac regarding this issue which has led to the farce of Lord Falconer call for Willsman’s expulsion, even though ex Labour MP Joan Ryan was caught bang to rights, & at the same time condemning Labour for Campbell’s expulsion…this is the same Lord Falconer whoses impartiality was questioned when it was mooted that he may be asked to oversee Labour’s disciplinary procedure…

      1. When Corbyn’s opponents made their “how to get rid of Corbyn to do list” I bet that anti-semitism wasn’t even in the top 10…way behind Putin puppet & Maoist bicyclist. The use of anti-semitism in order to unseat Corbyn is shameful…but the real scandal is that the MSM have gone a long for the ride…

    4. Once upon a time, people who hated jews were rightly described as antisemites, today however, people whom zionists intend to silence are tarred with that same brush.

      The Zionist’s expansionist agenda pursued by the Israeli state against the wishes of many Israelis and Jews around the planet, results in blatant atrocities perpetrated upon their neighbours, in flagrant disregard of international law, whilst those who do object to this crass and brutal expansionism in pursuit of “lebensraum” are apparently antisemites !

      It seems that these self righteous aggressors can and do protect themselves from justified criticism and internationally sanctioned constraint by playing the ‘anti semitism card’. The fact that despicably nasty things happened to Jews, among others, in WWll has allowed for a certain latitude in critique of their leaders’ subsequent actions. This does not however and never can, allow carte blanche to misbehave in whatsoever manner they see fit for the rest of time.

      To misquote Voltaire “If you want to know who rules, look to those you cannot criticise”. Most of us, educated in the west, have been conditioned for generations not to question the moral consequences of zionism’s expansionist agenda, via a perverted synthesis of pseudo- political correctness and unremittingly selective reportage, systematically conflating the nature and principles of Zionism, Judaism and the Israeli state to the point where far too few seem to recognise the fundamental differences.

      Time to break our conditioning and take a cold hard look at ” those we cannot criticise”

      1. “Once upon a time, people who hated jews were rightly described as antisemites, today however, people whom zionists intend to silence are tarred with that same brush.”

        Do you think you are one of the “people whom zionists intend to silence”?

        “The Zionist’s expansionist agenda pursued by the Israeli state against the wishes of many Israelis and Jews around the planet, results in blatant atrocities perpetrated upon their neighbours, in flagrant disregard of international law, whilst those who do object to this crass and brutal expansionism in pursuit of ‘lebensraum’ are apparently antisemites !”

        Now why would people who accuse the world’s only Jewish-majority state of pursuing “lebensraum” be considered antisemites?

        “It seems that these self righteous aggressors can and do protect themselves from justified criticism and internationally sanctioned constraint by playing the ‘anti semitism card’. The fact that despicably nasty things happened to Jews, among others, in WWll has allowed for a certain latitude in critique of their leaders’ subsequent actions. This does not however and never can, allow carte blanche to misbehave in whatsoever manner they see fit for the rest of time.”

        When you say “their leaders”, you wouldn’t be conflating Jews and Israel, would you?

        “Most of us, educated in the west, have been conditioned for generations not to question the moral consequences of zionism’s expansionist agenda, via a perverted synthesis of pseudo- political correctness and unremittingly selective reportage, systematically conflating the nature and principles of Zionism, Judaism and the Israeli state to the point where far too few seem to recognise the fundamental differences.”

        Really? I would say that the actions and existence of the state of Israel come in for massive and open criticism, including from those “educated in the west”. Maybe these Zionists aren’t doing a very effective job of silencing critics of their nefarious schemes.

        “To misquote Voltaire ‘If you want to know who rules, look to those you cannot criticise’.”

        Actually, you are misquoting Kevin Alfred Strom, noted neo-Nazi, Holocaust denier and child pornography aficionado.

    5. Anyone else remember when The Canary thought the most important issue of the day was the reproduction rate of orthodox Jews in Britain? (about 40,000) Any criticism of gender or equality issues among British Muslims (2.5M) accompanied by pictures of women in Burkas?
      ttps://www.thecanary.co/global/2016/08/25/ultra-orthodox-jewish-sect-issues-controversial-decree-women/

      Or when they wrote a whole article about Israel’s (probable) involvement in the Venezuelan “coup” (actually a pro-democracy movement), while producing no actual evidence, featuring Israeli flags on marches (selected from a range of dozens of flags used at the protests)?
      https://www.thecanary.co/global/world-analysis/2019/02/05/israel-backs-venezuelan-coup-remember-long-record-supporting-latin-america-far-right/

      Or Israel’s (probable) funding of The Independent Group, again, no actual evidence provided?
      https://www.thecanary.co/uk/analysis/2019/02/20/theres-a-huge-question-mark-over-whos-funding-the-ex-labour-and-tory-mps/

      Or the repeated use of Asa Winstanley’s conspiracies (now suspended from Labour for antisemitism) as their “news” source, and the championing of Jean Fitzpatrick (somehow not yet suspended) who claims that being in an Israel advocacy group will “get you a job at Oxford University” (no evidence provided)?

      It seems very little happens in the world The Canary opposes which isn’t being orchestrated by people who have big noses and go “oy vey”.

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