Submission to the Sami Chakrabarti Enquiry in to

Anti-semitism in the Labour Party
By Monica Wusteman, Terry Gallogly, David E Pegg
York Central Constituency
Our submission is based on our combined experience as members of the Labour Party and as
long standing activists on Palestine in a number of organizations (including the Palestine Solidarity
Campaign) which have brought us in to regular and close contact with members of the anti-Zionist
Jewish community in the UK. If anti-semitism is rife in the Labour Party as is claimed, it would be
apparent among the many Labour Party members who support the Palestine solidarity movement..

What is anti-semitism?
To address this issue, it is first of all paramount that we define our terms- what antisemitism is and
how it is to be to distinguished from anti-Zionism and legitimate criticism of the state of Israel. The
following definition is based on the Oxford English Dictionary
Antisemitism is racial prejudice resulting in action or practice directed against Jews for no other
reason than the fact that they are Jews.

Zionism and anti-Zionism
Zionism is essentially a commitment to the creation of a state for all Jews rather than one for ‘all
its citizens’ in historic Palestine. It is therefore an ideology based on discrimination on religious
and/or ethnic grounds, the implementation of which has been achieved through ethnic cleansing,
land theft and dispossession of an indigenous people. It is an ideology which has only ever
attracted a minority of Jews worldwide. Not all Jews are Zionists and not all Zionists are Jews so
anti-Zionism cannot therefore be equated with antisemitism.
Anti-Zionism is opposition to discriminatory actions of the State of Israel.
Moreover, opposition to the Zionist project does not deny the right of Israel to exist, but it does
challenge its right to exist in its current form as a racist apartheid state which flouts International
Law and the basic norms of human rights that the rest of the world are expected to abide by.
The intention of the pro-Israel lobby in this country is to gain universal acceptance for the conflation
of anti-semitism and opposition to the political ideology of Zionism in order to silence criticism of
Israel in this country. The great wave of accusations of antisemitism against members of the
Labour Party has been largely instigated with this very objective in view by members of the UK
Zionist community supported by the UK media and the pro-Israel lobby within the party.

Detection of antisemitism.
The essential origin of antisemitic prejudice is in the mind of the antisemite but probing the mind is
not easy and the recognition of antisemitism may therefore be difficult in practice. For this reason,
a group of Zionists compiled the so-called EUMC definition (European Monitoring Centre on
Racism and Xenophobia) -now the FRA (European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights). The
document lists numerous actions that were supposed to indicate antisemitism. However the EUMC
definition itself hopelessly conflates antisemitism and anti-Zionism, resulting in false positive
detection of antisemitism. The EUMC definition was never an official EU document : it was posted
for discussion and has now been removed from the FRA website: it was never adopted by any
European nation. It is vital that this discredited definition should not be allowed to distort any
measurements of the extent of antisemitism.

Freedom of Speech
As an ideology, Zionism holds the same status as other ideologies such as neoliberalism,
conservatism, Marxism, apartheid etc. As such, it cannot be beyond criticism, regardless of how
passionately members of the Zionist community here and in Israel are attached to the concept of a
Jewish state, the establishment of which has contributed substantially to the growing instability in
the region while failing miserably to provide the objective of ‘safe haven’ for Jews.
Zionists have no more right NOT to be offended by public discourse than followers of any other
political ideology, even if that discourse includes references to unsavoury events in the history of
the Zionist movement or even comparison between emerging elements in Israel polity and Fascism
– a comparison which is becoming more frequent in some sections of Israeli society. The concept
of a ‘safe space’ for Zionists is completely at odds with that of freedom of speech and respect for
the value of dissent and debate within a civilized society.

Anti-semitism and anti-Zionism and the Labour Party.
Since our party is dedicated to opposing all forms of racism, and Zionism is essentially based on
racist principles, it is clear that opposition to it is likely to be more prevalent in the Labour Party
than in the population as a whole. In our experience we have encountered very little genuine antisemitism within the Palestine movement (any identified is dealt with very speedily) and none
amongst Labour Party members we have worked along side. Occasionally, we have encountered
the use of ill- chosen language and misconceptions, but these are commonly based on ignorance
rather than authentic racist attitudes towards Jews as a whole. Here a solution can be found
through education rather than exclusion and expulsion from the Party.
We have no doubt that anti-semitism does exist, and may be increasing. However, this conflation
of anti-semitism with anti-Zionism is currently serving only to hamper attempts to identify and
eradicate genuine anti-semitism from our society.

Recommendations.
We are greatly saddened to see how certain members of the Parliamentary Labour Party appear
to be prepared to sacrifice the reputation of the Party, loyalty to an elected leader and to abandon
any appearance of party unity in order to pursue their own political agendas, including colluding
with Zionist organizations and Israeli institutions to silence criticism of Israel. We hope that the
Commission report will take steps to end this deplorable state of affairs. We recommend the
following:
·
The Commission report should include a clear and unequivocal statement that
acknowledges the right of Party members to criticize the nature of the ‘Jewish State of Israel’
without fear of reprisal.
·
Steps to oppose anti-semitism should be integrated with those against other forms of racism
such as islamophobia which, in our experience, is hugely more prevalent in society as whole as
well as within the Party.
·
The principles of natural justice require that accusations against members are made clear to
the individual. Procedures must be transparent and all information must remain confidential within
the party. Information should not be leaked to the Press. Those who do so without good reason
should be sacked and/or suspended from the Party.
·
Where malicious unfounded attacks on members have been identified, effective action must
be taken against those responsible.
·
Given the essentially racist nature of the movement, Zionist organizations, including the
Jewish Labour Movement, must be excluded from all party procedures.