The ten demands the Board of Deputies make of the 6 Labour leadership candidates. Some can be construed as anti-Semitic
I was absolutely staggered when I read that the Board of Deputies of British Jews (BOD) had compiled a list of ten ‘policies’ which they ‘asked’ the six Labour leadership candidates to sign. So far five out of the six candidates have signed, Clive Lewis is the only candidate not to have signed. (Whilst writing this I learned that Lewis has stood down from the contest). When I first read about this I was angered because the BOD are known Tory supporters and are also pro-Israel, and the Labour party is supposed to stand up for, and support, oppressed peoples like the Palestinians. It is bad enough that both Emily Thornberry and Jess Phillips support Labour Friends of Israel (LFI). To be a member of LFI you do not have to be a Labour party member or Jewish, the same applies to the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM). The LFI was implicated in the four part Al-Jazeera documentary The Lobby when the then Labour MP and leader of LFI Joan Ryan was secretly videotaped conspiring on how to take MPs down with Israeli embassy staffer Shai Masot.
‘Policy’ number four names two ex-Labour party members demanding that they never be readmitted to the Labour party. I will not name those two people but suffice it to say that one of these two people is Jewish which surely would make this ‘policy’ anti-Semitic. ‘Policy’ number five does not actually mention any names but you know who they are referring to when they state “Provide no platform for bigotry: Any MPs, Peers, councillors, members or CLPs who support, campaign or provide a platform for people who have been suspended or expelled in the wake of antisemitic incidents should themselves be suspended from membership.”
It was when I reached ‘policy’ number eight that I decided to go and reread the IHRA working definition of anti-Semitism which they Labour party agreed to and one would assume the BOD would adhere to. It states “Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.” It also says that this is a “non-legally binding working definition of antisemitism” which to my mind brings into question all the people suspended or expelled from the Labour party due to unfounded and/or unproven allegations of anti-Semitism.
‘Policy’ number eight which really caught my attention states “ Engagement with the Jewish community to be made via its main representative groups: Labour must engage with the Jewish community via its main representative groups, and not through fringe organisations and individuals.” Mike Sivier responds to this policy very succinctly and, in my opinion, correctly …”This is an example of genuine anti-Semitism. The Board of Deputies is trying to ensure that groups representing a more common-sense attitude, like Jewish Voice for Labour and Jewdas, are denied a voice. That’s denying Jewish people a right to self-determination, and it’s a claim that members of this organisation are “the wrong kind of Jew”. Despicable. It’s also undemocratic, of course” …
After reading the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism and agreeing that Mike Sivier had written the simple and definite truth, I would say that in my opinion all five of the Labour leadership candidates should carefully rethink their positions and rescind their agreements to these demands … which is what they are …they are demands not policys. Labour is a Socialist party and should not be dictated to by outside influences especially when those influences are Tory supporters. The fact that they also want JLM to oversee anti-Semitic training would make me laugh if it was not so disturbing. JLM are a right wing organisation with ties to the Israeli embassy, which was revived when Jeremy Corbyn became leader of the Labour party in 2015. The JLM was actually formed in 2004 as a successor to Poale Zion which was a movement of Marxist-Zionist Jewish workers founded in Poland, Europe and Russia in the early twentieth century.
I am now in two minds as to whether I should remain a member of the Labour party and fight the right wing elements from within, or just say ‘enough is enough’, like some others, and resign my membership.
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