Board of Deputies demands we stop bringing evidence into discussions on Labour and antisemitism

Jeremy Corbyn
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The Board of Deputies of British Jews (BoD) essentially seemed to admit on 19 July that it has no evidence of a ‘Labour antisemitism crisis’.

‘Please don’t mention any context’

In a letter to Labour’s shadow cabinet, MPs, and ruling body, the BoD wrote:

Citing a supposed number of offences as a small percentage of membership as a means to minimise the problem should cease.

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But Jewish Voice for Labour (JVL) media officer Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi told The Canary:

This seems to be – as Jamie Stern-Weiner has pointed out on Twitter – an admission that the BoD has no evidence to back up its claim that the Labour Party is riddled with antisemitism. Therefore, it seeks to deny the party the right to provide facts demonstrating that the claim is false.

There is much more that could be said about the Board’s arrogance in seeking to prescribe for the Labour Party the manner in which it should implement its internal disciplinary processes. None of its demands would have any beneficial impact on the party’s attempts to deal with the real threat of racism, including antisemitism, within its own ranks and in society at large. They would serve only to inflict yet more damage on the party when it should be surging forward in the battle to replace a disastrous Conservative government. The party’s leading bodies should stand firm in defence of Jeremy Corbyn, the general secretary and other staff who find themselves under attack

Disciplinary cases relating to alleged antisemitism among Labour members since September 2015 reportedly relate to 0.06% of the party’s 540,000 members. Labour says:

This represents a tiny minority, but one antisemite is one too many, and we will continue to act against this repugnant form of racism.

There is no one view of the ‘Jewish community’

In its letter, the BoD also called on Labour to work solely with “mainstream Jewish community organisations”. But JVL has challenged the “assumption of homogeneity in the Jewish community”, telling The Canary:

Those that take a different view are ‘not real Jews’, or they are ‘bad Jews’, or ‘self-hating’. In fact, Jews are as diverse as any other section of the population, with differing views about politics, social issues and everything else… To suggest otherwise is to deploy a racist stereotype.

The Canary contacted the BoD for comment, but had received no response by the time of publication.

IHRA

The BoD’s letter also demands that Labour “promote the IHRA definition of antisemitism, with all its examples and clauses”. Yet many people, including Kenneth Stern – a lead author of the definition, have criticised its application. Stern said he never intended for the definition:

to provide a framework for eviscerating free speech or academic freedom, let alone labelling anyone an antisemite.

And 24 Palestinian organisations, trade unions and networks in the UK have said:

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.

The BoD has waded in again, claiming to speak for all Jewish people in the UK, which JVL points out is itself a “racist stereotype”. And in doing so, the BoD has essentially admitted that it has zero evidence of a ‘Labour antisemitism crisis’.

Any antisemitism in Labour and wider society is something that we must continue to fight against. Weaponising anti-Jewish prejudice to damage political opponents only obscures that fight.

Featured image via Sky News/ YouTube

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    1. This MSM hysteria on the alleged anti-Semitism within the Labour Party is not founded on either fact or evidence but on mass hysteria, lies, propaganda and political motivation to prevent the Labour Party gaining power with a truly transformative Manifesto. This is all they can come up with to beat Labour with. Those Labour MPs who collude with this hysteria should not stand in the next General Election if their aim is to bring down Corbyn who is the only truthful, decent, intelligent Politician in any of the Parties and a damned fine leader of the Labour Party.

      The thing with hysteria is that it has two ways to go, either it will calm down or it will tip into rank insanity. It has tipped into insanity big time and those who support these lies are not thinking straight. The truth that the BoD cannot escape is that there is NO EVIDENCE at all to suggest anti-Semitism is rife within the Labour Party so now they want to change the rules of engagement by setting the scene where their point of view will be rubber stamped as fact. Democracy has no place it seems in the BoD’s anti Corbyn campaign just the same as it has no place in Israel’s massacre, dehumanisation and murder of Palestinians. Israel are not interested in anything other than obliterating the Palestinians and interfering in Nation’s politics to secure their own interests.

      Shame on the Friends of Israel in Parliament.

      Steve Bell’s cartoons which were banned in the Guardian depict this irrationality and insanity beautifully.

    2. The fact that complaints have been made about X% of a set of people about transgression Y does not have the logical conclusion that only that same X% have transgressed. (In this case 0.06% of Labour members about A/S)

      Consider the fact that 9,000 people were prosecuted for mobile phone use whilst driving in 2017. Does that mean that only 9,000 people (0.03% of drivers) used their phones whilst driving in that year, so there isn’t really a problem?

      1. Any form of racism should be opposed, I must point out though that Jews are not a race. Can’t convert to Samoanism and become Samoan, but can convert to Judaism and become Jewish. It is patently obvious that this unending and scurrilous slander of a man who has fought against racism his entire life and the attempt to label the Labour Party as institutionally “anti semitic” has two intended results. First to shut down valid criticism of the ongoing crimes against Palestinians- the definition of anti semitism has a large number of examples that refer to such criticism. The second intended aim is to undermine Corbyn’s leadership from within and without the party. Please correct me if I’m wrong but your comment seems to imply but not state that anti semitism IS rife in the party when there is no evidence of any such thing. With the shambolic state of Britain’s government, ministers resigning or intending to resign if the blatant racist “BoJo” becomes PM, and the escalating “tension” in the Persian gulf you’d think your(I’m a kiwi) politicians and media would have really important stuff to deal with. Strange then isn’t it that so much attention is paid to this nonsense. By the way and I know off topic but it’s darkly amusing to hear your government talk about “international law” which confusingly applies to Iran but not the country which helped destroy Iraq and Libya which are crimes regarded as the “supreme war crime, aggressive war”.

    3. Graham,

      Interesting point of view. I do not agree though because the whole thing, as stated by the head of the BoD is to sacrifice Corbyn presumably on the alter of Israel’s vested interests. Do not forget that an Israeli Embassy worker was caught on video offering a £1m bribe to Labour MP Joan (I’ll take it’) Ryan to bring down Corbyn and to smear him. The same BoD admitted to trying to bring down another Labour MP Duncan because he criticised Israel of its actions in Palestine. So it has nothing to do with allegations of anti-Semitism within the Labour Party particularly at a time when this Tory Government are aligning themselves with extremely right wing Central European Governments, when their own Prime Minister in waiting is a rank Racist some of which has pouted from his mouth is truly offensive and the rampant Islamophobia within the Tory Party. What is being investigated as ‘anti-semitism’ is, in fact, criticism of Israel’s continued massacre and murder of Palestinians. The two are qualitatively different. Remember also that Margaret Hodge accounts for over 200 of the allegations submitted. That speaks volumes. Don’t forget also that the Foreign Office under BoJo paid the Integrity Initiative over £1m to run a smear campaign against Corbyn.

      The whole thing is an exercise in bringing down Corbyn and preventing the election of a Labour Government no more no less. What we have here is the Israeli Government being allowed to substantially interfere with the UK’s politics by paying their ‘Friends of Israel’ mob in Parliament to keep this compaign going.

      Personally, I would say the nation couldn’t give a stuff about these alleged allegations. What they do care about are their jobs, their houses, affordable housing, good quality healthcare, cheap transport and other basic essentials to a civilised society. Interestingly enough, the more they continue this delusional, hysterical insanity in which it appears that they are now believing their own propaganda, Corbyn’s share of the vote increases.

      1. “What is being investigated as ‘anti-semitism’ is, in fact, criticism of Israel’s continued massacre and murder of Palestinians.”

        Any evidence for that assertion, dissidents_unite?

        1. Yes Thomas Grubb – just look at what is being classified as anti-Semitism; a Labour MP alerting JC to the fact that, at a rally, an anti-Corbyn Friend of Israel MP was passing confidential documents to a journalist from the Daily Torygraph; Chris Williamson MP saying that the Labour Party had not been robust enough in making a stand against these allegations; Joan Ryan (as seen in the video the Lobby) went into an apopletic fit when asked how a two state solution could be achieved given the Israeli Government’s continued illegal land grabbing and the issue to do with the settlements. Joan Ryan went into meltdown and decided these questions were ‘anti semitic tropes’ and made a formal complaint of anti-Semitism against the person asking the questions when even her own Parliamentary Assistant had said that nothing anti-Semitic had been said but that it was all about how ‘they felt’ about the questions. The BoD heavily criticsing Corbyn’s statement that the Labour Party will recognise Palestine, the relentless, sustained campaign against Corbyn by the BoD based on outright lies, half truths, misinformation on the basis that he has been heavily critical of the Israeli Government’s murder, subjugation and inhuman treatment of the Palestinians. The BOD is also now stating that any investigation on anti-Semitism should not be evidentially based but that the allegations should be taken as fact and the people responsible sacked in any event. It just so happens that those involved are close allys of Corbyn. If you read Leading Jewish Leader’s and previous Jewish Leaders statements they clearly and unequivocally state that at every opportunity any criticism of Israel’s actions in Palestine should be shouted down as anti-Semitic and the critics should be exposed and be destroyed in terms of reputation.

          If you actually watch the Lobby you will see two representatives of the Israeli Government telling Labour MPs just how to bring anti-Semitic allegations against Labour Party members and MP. Go figure

      2. I’m not sure how you can disagree with the pure logic of what I say. It doesn’t have to be about A/S – it could be about anything.

        The number of transgressions is not necessarily limited to the number of complaints; consider the British Crime Survey which consistently records more crimes than those reported to the police.

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