Submission to the Shami Chakrabarti Inquiry

,
“into antisemitism and other forms of racism including islamophobia, within the party”
International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network UK
10 June 2016

An anti-racist movement versus
witch-hunting with antisemitism
As Jewish members of the Labour Party, who are also in the International Jewish
Anti-Zionist Network, we do not believe that Labour is rife with antisemitism and we
are outraged that antisemitism is being used to undermine the new anti-austerity,
anti-racist and anti-imperialist Labour leadership. Below is evidence against the
witch-hunt, and of the racism in the UK which is hidden by it.
The witch-hunt against the Labour Party is an attempt to undermine the new
leadership of the Labour Party. Corbyn won nearly 60% of the Labour Party
leadership vote – a huge mandate (the other three candidates together shared the
other 40%).
Accusations were first made during Corbyn’s leadership campaign in the summer of
2015. One instance among others was John Mann MP claiming that Corbyn was
“responsible” for him and others getting antisemitic hate-mail. A few months later
accusations re-started with a member of a university labour club who had worked for
the Israel Lobby claiming antisemitism in the club. The Party was fighting crucial local
elections all over the UK and for the mayor of London where Labour's Muslim
candidate was under attack by the Tory Jewish candidate for possibly enabling
terrorism if elected – a truly racist campaign.
The issue was whether Labour could win an election. The timing of the accusations
of antisemitism had to aim at undermining Labour's candidates, thus assisting UKIP
and the Tories.
Zionists in the Labour Party, already unhappy at having a leader who is actively for
justice in Palestine, took that opportunity to undermine Labour with a charge of
antisemitism — blurred at first with antizionism.

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Racism in the UK
The Jewish communities in the UK, prior to the First World War were demonized as
dangerous fanatics infected by Bolshevism and anarchism. That was then, not now.
We have to stress – Jewish communities are no longer demonized, but others are.
As a Jewish member of our Labour Party branch said:
“As Jews we know what antisemitism is, and it’s got nothing to do with what is
happening today.”
What is happening today is:

Stop and search: people of colour are up to 17.5 times more likely than white
people to be stopped and searched by the police in certain areas of the UK. Jews
are not subject to this persecution.

Arrest: Black people are almost 3 times as likely to be arrested as those who are
white. No such disproportionate claim is made for Jews unless they are also
Black.

Monitoring of schoolchildren through the PREVENT law aimed at "radicalised"
Muslims: 577 children under 18 years of age were referred to the government's
“de-radicalisation programme” – the youngest was a four-year-old. Dozens of
children are currently in care, forcibly separated from their parents, on the basis
that they might be radicalised at home. Muslim parents live in terror that their
children could be taken from them over a chance comment made in a classroom.

Deaths in custody: there have been over 1500 deaths of people while in police
custody over the past 25 years, 500 of whom were people of colour (there have
been no successful prosecutions). We are not aware that any of the dead were
Jewish.

No Jews have been detained indefinitely and without charge in Belmarsh
prison, which holds Muslims people on suspicion of terrorism.

Deportations: women and men fleeing war, poverty, rape and other torture face
destitution and exploitation whilst in the UK, and forced removals to the very
countries they have tried to escape from (see for example here). We know of no
Jews among them.

Jewish people do not:
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Suffer the lowest wages: Jewish men are paid 24 per cent more than white British
Christian men. On the other hand, Bangladeshi and Pakistani Muslim men and
Black African Christian men are paid 13-21 per cent less, and women from nearly
all ethno-religious backgrounds are paid between a quarter and a third less than
white British Christian men.

Jewish people are about 0.4% of the population, and about 4% of Labour MPs or
ten times their proportion in the population as a whole (the Tories have slightly
less).

Furthermore the Pew Research Centre found that although 7% of the population
have unfavourable views of Jewish people; 26% have unfavourable views of
Muslims; and 50% of Roma. They say that
“Negative sentiments about all three groups are consistently more common
among people on the ideological right”.
What antisemitism in the Labour Party?
We do not know precisely what antisemitism the accusers are referring to since the
reports and the discussions we have been part of are consistently un-specific. Any
antisemitism in the Labour Party (and there may be some) has no official backing or
reflection in any program or any other political consequences that we have been able
to discern. The only concrete charges, conveniently labelled antisemitism, relate to
criticisms of Israel, support for BDS, and expressions of antizionism. This view was
promoted, yet again, a few days ago by Danny Danon, Israel’s ambassador to the
UN:
“BDS is the true face of modern anti-Semitism”
We have read and heard distortions, manipulated information, and downright lies
about people accused of antisemitism in the Labour Party, and a total lack of due
process in the way these accusations have been pursued. Some have found out
about their suspension from the press before they received notification.
It can’t be an accident that all the accused we know of are people of colour, or
Jewish, or Irish, or life-long anti-racists, or some combination of these. The
systematic attempt to equate criticism of Israel’s racist and murderous acts in
Palestine with antisemitism is not only aimed at silencing our outrage at their
occupation, and undermining our BDS campaigning, but to make it increasingly
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difficult for the Labour Party to reach out to some of its natural constituents – those
who have least in this society, people of colour, Muslims, immigrants.
In one case allegations of antisemitism were used even against a Zionist Jewish
woman: Rhea Wolfson. Her candidacy to replace Ken Livingstone on a slate
supporting Corbyn’s leadership on the NEC during his suspension, was rejected
because a member of her Constituency Labour Party (CLP) claimed that Momentum,
which supported her, was antisemitic. As a result her CLP voted not to support her
and thus made her ineligible to run (a candidate for the NEC must be support by their
own CLP). She had been attacked by fascist antisemites on Facebook. But in the
Labour Party she was attacked not because she was Jewish but because she
supported Corbyn. Thus charges of antisemitism are a weapon not against racism
but against Corbyn.
Baroness Royall’s Inquiry
This Inquiry into the Oxford University Labour Club stated that there is no evidence of
institutional antisemitism in the Labour Party – although her recommendations read
as if there is:
“Training should be organised by Labour Students together with the Jewish
Labour Movement for officers of all Labour Clubs in dealing with antisemitism.”
Before giving such responsibility to any unelected body like the JLM, we need to take
a careful look at who they are and what they stand for.
One object of the JLM is:
"To maintain and promote Labour or Socialist Zionism as the movement for
self-determination of the Jewish people within the state of Israel."
One of the values of the Jewish Labour Movement is:
“To promote the centrality of Israel in Jewish life . . .”
The Jewish Labour Movement is:
“. . . affiliated to the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the Zionist Federation
of the UK, and organise within the World Zionist Organisation alongside our
sister party in Israel, Havodah - the Israeli Labor Party.”

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1. Havodah – the Israeli Labor Party
Earlier this year the JLM's “sister party” Havodah unanimously passed Isaac
Herzog’s (their leader), diplomatic plan. He explained that the Havodah:
“wish to separate from as many Palestinians as possible, as quickly as
possible . . . we’ll erect a big wall between us. . . We want to finish it, to
complete the barrier that separates us.”
Herzog insisted in April that his party were no “Arab lovers”. He has since sent a
letter to Jeremy Corbyn “appalled and outraged” at examples of alleged antiSemitism in Labour”.
2. The World Zionist Organisation (WZO)
WZO is funded by the Israeli state. Its aims include:
"to promote Zionism & the Zionist idea and the Zionist enterprise . . . instilling
the centrality of Israel and Jerusalem its capital deep within Jewish
consciousness, encouraging the return to Zion . . . settling the land . . . " [1]
The United Nations report that in 2014 the Israeli government allocated $35 million to
WZO’s settlement division which funds and organises Israeli settlements on
Occupied Palestinian land in violation of international law. [2]
Given these affiliations and these aims we must consider that the JLM represents the
interests of a foreign Apartheid state in the Labour Party.
3. The Zionist Federation of the UK (ZF)
The ZF is an umbrella organisation for many Zionist groups in the UK: they say they
are the “leading Israel advocacy organisation”. They campaign to undermine the
Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS); and demonstrated in support of
Israel during the 2014 bombing of Gaza where, among others, over 500 Palestinian
children were killed. On the demonstration they were supported by, the WZO and
the Jewish National Fund.
There have been repeated instances of ZF activists, demonstrating alongside the farright EDL (English Defence League) and the Jewish Defence League (which the FBI
called a "violent extremist Jewish organization").
4. The Board of Deputies of British Jews
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The Board of Deputies, the so-called “voice of British Jewry", says it has “been
leading the fight against the BDS campaign against Israel”. The Board lobbied in
defence of Israel even during the 2014 bombing of Gaza:
“Throughout Operation Protective Edge, the Board has been working . . . to
maximise grassroots activities in support of Israel at this time.”
Why is such a racist organization with such affiliations, also affiliated to the Labour
Party where it can undermine its electoral prospects, its reputation and its politics
generally?
What does the JLM say to Jewish people who don’t agree with them?
JLM Young Members most recently had to backtrack from saying that the Jewish
signatories to a Guardian letter distinguishing between antizionism and antisemitism
were:
“. . . only identifying as Jews for purposes of taking such contrary positions”.
Perhaps in response to protests that it was offensive – even antisemitic – to portray
non- and anti-Zionist Jews as imposters for disagreeing with them, JLM deleted this
sentence from their post. Their implication that if you are not Zionist, you are not
really Jewish – is a most racist assumption.
Outside of Zionism and Israel, the JLM brings no labour connection to the Labour
Party. They have no good reason to be affiliated and good reason to be disaffiliated.
The only component that justifies using the word Labour in their title is their affiliation
to the World Labour Zionist Movement which seems only to exist fleetingly on the
internet. We know of no relationship to trade unions or any other body representing
workers.
The JLM is an example of how Israel is represented within the Labour Party, and it is
certainly one of the forces empowering this witch-hunt. Their problem, like in every
other witch-hunt, is that it is difficult to find what does not exist, in this case
widespread antisemitism.

The JLM’s proposed Rule change
Any rule change that they propose should be examined with great scepticism. The
current Rules state that
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“The NCC shall not have regard to the mere holding or expression of beliefs
and opinions”;
the JLM intends to add,
“except in instances involving antisemitism, Islamophobia or racism”;
This would introduce thought police and perpetual witch-hunts. It is extremely
dangerous and must not be allowed. In addition they say that in relation to
“antisemitic, Islamophobic, racist language, sentiments, stereotypes or actions
in public, private, online or offline”, “the NEC may have the right to impose the
appropriate disciplinary options”. [our emphasis]
It would thereby make thoughts and opinions, even in private, subject to
punishment. The JLM are abusing the politics of anti-racism in order to have
Orwell’s ‘thought police’ and ‘thought crime’ enter the Labour Party using the Trojan
Horse of antisemitism. They cannot reasonably believe that Labour will vote for that,
but they are no doubt planning to have a wonderful time disrupting the party and
preventing it from preparing to win in 2020.

Is there a history to amendments like this?
The JLM's chair, Jeremy Newmark, was called out by Employment Tribunal judges in
2013 for giving “evidence” that claimed that the University College Union was
antisemitic. Newmark's evidence was condemned as "untrue", "false", "playing to the
gallery", "extraordinarily arrogant" and "also disturbing". The judges concluded that
"a belief in the Zionist project or an attachment to Israel … cannot amount to a
protected characteristic” under the Equality Act of 2010. This sets a clear red line
between antizionism and antisemitism, a line which should be applied when
considering any allegations of antisemitism in the Labour Party.
The judges were also "troubled by the implications of the claim. Underlying it we
sense a worrying disregard for pluralism, tolerance and freedom of expression”.
The JLM attempts to enshrine just such a disregard with its proposed rule change
which says in part:

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“a hate incident . . . [is] defined as something where the victim or anyone else
think it was motivated by hostility or prejudice based on disability, race,
religion, transgender identity, or sexual orientation . . .”
This interpretation of the McPherson report on institutional police racism following the
murder of Steven Lawrence, directly contradicts the submission by Professor David
Feldman, in his January 2015 sub-report to the All-Party Parliamentary Group
Against Antisemitism, chaired by John Mann, where, on the Macpherson principle, he
stated that:
“. . . it is unambiguously clear that Macpherson . . . did not mean to imply that
such incidents are necessarily racist. However, Macpherson’s report has
been misinterpreted and misapplied in precisely this way. Its authority has
been thrown behind the view that such incidents should, by definition, be
regarded as racist. In short, a definition of antisemitism which takes Jews’
feelings and perceptions as its starting point and which looks to the
Macpherson report for authority is built on weak foundations.”
The witch-hunt against Corbyn's Labour Party is a manipulation of anti-racism which
elevates antisemitism over every other form of racism and discrimination, and thus
deprioritizes every other form of racism which the Labour Party (and Corbynites in
particular) have been confronting in the society generally as well as within Labour. It
cannot go unnoticed that the vast majority of Jews in the UK are white, which helps
to clarify that the elevation of antisemitism is racist in and of itself.

Conclusion and recommendation
We have seen that antisemitism is alleged depending on whether the national
interests of Israel and/or the interests of those opposed to Corbyn’s leadership, are
helped or hindered. Lives, and first of all the lives of people of colour, depend on
whether or not Corbyn and anti-austerity win the next election. Keeping the Labour
Party led by Corbyn out of power, seems to be the primary concern of the witchhunters and those on whose behalf they act.
The anti-racist constituency is much larger than UKIP, the EDL and the Tory Party
would lead us to believe. Not only people of colour, but white people who are
dedicated to anti-racism and who marched in their thousands saying "Refugees
Welcome Here", many of whom are part of mixed-race families, know very well the
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discrimination and violence that they and their relatives have had to confront. Many
of those white people are Jewish and many Jewish people carry on the Jewish
tradition upheld by Marek Edelman, a leader of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising who
said:
"To be a Jew means always being with the oppressed and never the
oppressors."
He remained anti-Zionist to the end of his life.
Instinctive discomfort, criticism, and even fury, at this witch-hunt is of course not
limited to antizionists. Many people in the Labour Party and in society are unwilling
to back a witch-hunt of any kind, including people often sympathetic to the
Palestinian cause but who may also be sympathetic to Israel. What is unacceptable
and appalling is prioritising this form of racism over every other.
We have never heard the JLM define the antisemitism they say they have witnessed
or experienced in the Labour Party. They imply where they do not state that
antisemitism equals antizionism or BDS campaigning, or criticism of the state of
Israel or of other Zionist organisations, or even raising the question of the illegality or
apartheid nature of that imperialist regime which occupies Palestine.
The Jewish Labour Movement is an organised force within the Labour Party
which has helped drive the witch-hunt forward. They are a Zionist attack on
the anti-racist movement. Since it stands opposed to the aims of the Labour
Party, its affiliation should be rescinded. This does not imply a witch-hunt
against any particular member of the JLM who is a member of, or wishes to
join the Labour Party and advance its principles and aims.

Footnotes
1] No other state in the world recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
[2] In particular article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (UK)
www.IJAN.net IJAN.UK@yahoo.com

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