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Friday, 21 October 2016

Palestine Solidarity Campaign’s silence over the Zionist ‘anti-Semitism’ campaign is as deafening as it’s embarrassing

Like the 3 wise monkeys, PSC Executive neither sees, hears nor speaks of anything going wrong

PSC Executive's attitude to the anti-Semitism tsunami  
One of the problems with the leadership of PSC is that they are sometimes intoxicated by their own rhetoric.  They are convinced that, under their brilliant leadership and following the guidance of their own small political organisations, the Palestine solidarity movement is going from strength to strength in an inexorable and unstoppable wave upwards.  In their view there are no setbacks, nothing to be worried about.  Everything can only get better.

In the past year, the Zionist movement, in conjunction with the Labour Right and the establishment media, especially the Guardian, has waged a war against Jeremy Corbyn using ‘anti-Semitism’ as its chosen weapon.  The lack of any evidence of ‘anti-Semitism’ has not been a hindrance to an Establishment consensus that anti-Semitism in the Labour Party has grown like the weeds in an untended garden.
Brighton PSC demonstrator againt BBC coverage of Palestine
There has also been a rebellion in the Zionist ranks in Britain which has completely bypassed PSC Executive.  Previously the staid Board of Deputies, a bourgeois organisation dating back to George III in 1760, mounted the odd demonstration in support of Israel but did very little to combat what was seen by Zionist activists as an assertive and growing Palestine solidarity movement.  The first signs of a rebellion was when Jonathan Hoffman was elected as co-Chair of the Zionist Federation in or around 2009.  Hoffman was not a particularly bright chap and he accused the Chair of the Jewish Leadership Councillors, Sir Micky Davies, of various misdemeanours including being hostile to Israel.  Davies doesn’t tolerate fools or upstarts easily and he threatened a libel action before Hoffman made a grovelling apology.  This resulted, in 2012, in Hoffman being removed from office in the Zionist Federation but his advocacy of opposing Palestine solidarity activists on the street took root.  An example of the debate within the Zionist movement is contained in the newssheet of the Jewish Israel News Network In support of the Zionist Federation Vice Chairman and other activists

In 2014 during Operation Protective Edge, when Israel murdered 2,200 Palestinians in Gaza, including 551 children, the Board of Deputies mounted what was considered a feeble response.  Its demonstration in London barely mustered a couple of thousand people in comparison with the time when they got 25,000 on the streets.  In reaction the Young Turks, grouped around the misnamed Campaign Against Anti-Semitism mounted a demonstration against ‘anti-Semitism’ outside the Royal Courts of Justice.  Board of Deputies speakers were booed for what was considered their inactivity.  Thousands turn out for London rally against antisemitism Around the same time there was formed activist Zionist groups such as Sussex and North-West Friends of Israel, both consisting of the Zionist far-Right.  Sussex FOI were formed in reaction to the campaign against the Sodastream shop in Brighton.  They were determined to prevent a repeat of what happened in London when Palestine solidarity activists closed down Ahava in Covent Garden, which traded in stolen Palestinian beauty products.  Nonetheless the Sodastream shop, in a major victory, was shut down, but Brighton PSC received little help from PSC nationally in mounting weekly demonstrations which came under sustained and vitriolic abuse and which faced a hostile Police presence.
Demonstrators on a PSC demonstration
The ‘anti-Semitism’ campaign in the Labour Party first began with Jeremy Corbyn himself when it was alleged, by the Daily Mail and the Jewish Chronicle, that he kept the company of anti-Semites.  It then resurfaced with a vengeance this January with the bogus allegations of ‘anti-Semitism’ at Oxford University Labour Club.  Its Chair, Alex Chalmers, a former intern for the Israeli propaganda organisation, BICOM, resigned claiming anti-Semitism because the Labour Club had decided to support Israel Apartheid Week.  In March I was suspended, although given no reasons it was leaked to the Telegraph and Times, that the reasons were ‘anti-Semitism’.  In May Jackie Walker was suspended and, having been cleared of the allegation that she blamed the Jews for causing the slave trade, she was again suspended this month for remarks made in a Jewish Labour Movement ‘training event’ at Labour Party Conference..  In between Ken Livingstone was suspended for having remarked that Hitler supported Zionism.

In between we had the Chakrabarti Report which the Zionists at first welcomed but, as part of their campaign against Corbyn, later denigrated.  Coupled with that was the fake incident of ‘anti-Semitism’ at the Chakrabarti press conference with Ruth Smeeth MP weeping crocodile tears.  The latest event in the false anti-Semitism campaign has been the Report of the Home Affairs Select Committee on anti-Semitism.  The Report consciously confuses anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism.  By redefining anti-Zionism as anti-Semitism it seeks to criminalise opposition to Zionism by saying that using Zionism in an ‘accusatory’ or ‘abusive’ manner should be a matter for the criminal law. See Manufacturing Consent On ‘Anti-Semitism’
Over 100 people came to a talk I gave on anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism.  A number of Zionists were able to speak and put their view across including Lara Gantz below.  This is unlike Zionist meetings where dissenters are physically ejected or shouted down, but holding such a discussion was 'anti-Semitic' according to Ms Gantz
What has been remarkable throughout this bogus campaign, manufactured to order in the Israeli and US Embassies, is that the Executive of Palestine Solidarity Campaign has behaved like the 3 wise monkeys – they have neither seen, heard nor spoken out about what is happening.  They act like an alcoholic in denial.  The opening paragraph in the notice that has gone out about the forthcoming PSC AGM in January 2017 reads:

Thank you for your support over the past year. We have had a hugely successful year with actions and events across the country highlighting the situation Palestinians face. But there is still so much more we can do and our AGM is a key time for you, our members, to feed into our plans for the year.’
PSC Demonstration in London
One is reminded of what Bob Dylan wrote in Love Minus Zero/No Limit‘There’s no success like failure and failure’s no success at all’.  The worse things get for PSC Executive the better they are. The statement unconsciously gives witness to the problem.  The AGM is a key time 'for you, our members, to feed into OUR plans for the year.'  The role of the membership is to serve the Executive and its plans.  It has no active role in determining what the priorities are.

There are a number of reasons for this but in my view it is primarily because of the politics of what has become a self-perpetuating clique that runs the Executive.  They have depoliticised the struggle of the Palestinians and turned what is a political struggle into one of human rights.

There are many campaigns in the world over human rights.  The struggle of the Palestinians is not exceptional in that regard.  However bad the plight of the Palestinians is there are many countries where the situation is far more dire – Syria, Eritrea, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Iraq, Afghanistan etc.  What makes the Palestine struggle unique is that Israel is the world’s only active settler colonial state.  It is the world’s only apartheid state.  It is a state that is at the centre of the West’s military ad strategic presence in the Middle East.
In response to the decision of the Israeli High Court that the Jewish National Fund could not refuse to rent or lease land to Israeli Palestinians, the JNF put on its website a statement that 70% of Israeli Jews opposed this decision and that 80% of Israeli Jews prefer a Jewish state to a state of all of its citizens.  Could it be any clearer?
PSC is an organisation that supports BDS and the struggle for Palestinian rights but it is not an explicitly anti-Zionist organisation.  It has no critique of the Israeli state as an inherently racist, Jewish supremacist state which is based on the racial subjugation of the Palestinians.  Indeed its support for a 2 State solution effectively means it supports the continued existence of a ‘Jewish’ state within the 1948 armistice borders.  It supports the quisling Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, whose ‘President,  Mahmoud Abbas believes that repressing the Palestinian resistance and supporting the Israeli security forces and providing them with intelligence is ‘sacred’.  This is a regime which acted last year to actively prevent a third intifada, which brutally attacks all resistance demonstrations and activities, which uses torture as a matter of course and arrests and hands over to the Israeli military Palestinian activists.  PSC says nothing about this regime, whereas the Anti-Apartheid Movement never had any problem in criticising the leadership of the Bantustans or Buthulezi, the client Zulu leader.

It is because PSC has no analysis or understanding of Zionism, the ideology and movement which gave birth to the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians and the refugee problemthat they have no answer to the attacks by the media and the Zionists on ‘anti-Semitism’ other than to say that supporting the Palestinians is not anti-Semitic.  They have precious little to say about the racism that Israeli Palestinians experience either.

There is a belief in PSC that the false and fake ‘anti-Semitism’  campaign is an internal Labour Party matter in which they should not get involved.  This is utterly myopic.  The Israeli Embassy, which has effectively seconded one of their staff members to be Director of the Jewish Labour Movement certainly doesn’t take the same attitude.  It intervenes in every area where there is anti-Zionist or Palestine solidarity campaigning.  What is happening in the Labour Party is not confined to the Labour Party.  The affair at Oxford University was about supporting an Israel Apartheid Week.  The suspension of Labour Party activists has been on account of their criticism of Israel and Zionism.  The Home Affairs Select Committee Report which is recommending the criminalisation of criticism of Zionism is an alliance of the Labour Right and Conservative MPs.  We are heading for a situation as in France where BDS is all but illegal.  In Scotland a Palestine solidarity activist was prosecuted for shouting ‘Viva Palestina.’   To treat what is happening in the Labour Party as an internal matter is an illustration of the political weaknesses of the current PSC leadership.

The other political weakness of PSC which is allied to its lack of a clear anti-Zionist politics, is its support for 2 States.  It’s Boycott activities relate primarily to settlement goods.  It plays down a Boycott of Israel itself even though the settlements in the West Bank only exist because Israel ‘proper’ supports them.  Indeed PSC is about the only organisation to recognise the Green Line between Israel and the West Bank.  Israel certainly make no such distinction.  A 2 States solution today is a position supported by all Zionist organisations in Britain – from the Board of Deputies of British Jews to the Labour Friends of Israel and Tory politicians.  Why?  Because the Zionists know that a Palestinian state will never be formed.  They can therefore afford to support it.

The Peace Process is a war process.  It provides the cover for the continuing expansion of the settlements at the same time as it provides a pretext for the denial of any civil or political rights to the Palestinians.  Israel is today a single state, from the Mediterranean to the Jordan, but if it gave the vote and full civil and political rights to the Palestinians under occupation the Jewish state would be faced with a position in which Palestinians were in the majority.  So Israel has to maintain the present Apartheid situation which is why it prefers to maintain the fiction of 2 states.

If we contrast Stop the War Committee with PSC we see where the lethargy and inactivity of PSC have led us.  The former have kept close to Corbyn and not allowed him to water down his anti-nuclear weapons positions.  Corbyn was also a PSC patron.  He has attended virtually every PSC Conference in the past decade, or at least up to his election as Leader of the Labour Party.  Since then?  The words ‘Palestine’ have barely crossed his lips. 

But Corbyn has patronised Labour Friends of Israel and attended its fringe meetings two years in a row.  This year, by all accounts, Corbyn’s presence at the LFI meeting was marked by his friendliness to Israel’s uncritical apologists for all things Israeli.  Luke Akehurst, an unsuccessful candidate for Labour’s National Executive Committee wrote in the Times of Israel that Corbyn at the LFI reception surprised everyone with a carefully worded and balanced speech on both Israel and antisemitism, in sharp contrast to the car crash last year where he would not even say the word “Israel”.’

Corbyn has also spent the year denouncing anti-Semitism without ever once condemning the use of anti-Semitism as a weapon which has been deployed against the Left and supporters of Palestine.

Internal Problems on PSC Executive

In addition PSC has been going through a number of problems, all of which it has tried to hide from its members.  I am reliably told that Hugh Lanning, Chair of PSC resigned earlier this year and was reluctantly persuaded to withdraw his resignation.

On 23 May 2016 Lanning resigned as Chair of PSC with immediate effect in an e-mail which he sent to the vice-chair and copied to all PSC Exec members and the staff in the PSC Office.  The resignation came without any prior warning and the Exec decided to ask him to revoke his resignation.  Lanning did retract his resignation but only some 3 weeks later.  At no point have the branches been informed of these problems which come in addition to the problematic resignation of Sara Colborne, the previous Director of PSC. 

I am told that the reason Lanning resigned was that he felt the atmosphere on the Executive was negative and not supportive enough of him as Chair.   By all accounts the Executive was shocked at the way he resigned not least because of the timing which was right in the middle of the anti-semitism attacks on the whole movement when PSC should have been trying to push back on the attacks. Lanning has been on the 'let's keep our heads down and hope it will all go away' faction on the  Exec.  The PSC Executive is worried that Lanning will bale out again when he thinks the going gets tough. Apparently PSC Executive took weeks to decide he should come back but it is not clear under what terms . I have a copy of the resignation but I am not making it public at this time.

On April 11th of this year I wrote an Open Letter to the National Secretary of PSC, Ben Soffa.  I detailed the Zionist attacks on supporters of the Palestinians and anti-Zionists, including my own suspension.   

I wrote that PSC prided itself on being the largest solidarity organisation in Britain and that it had boasted in its Annual Report that it had contacted 1,042 candidates at the General Election, yet it hasn’t seen fit to contact any Labour parliamentarians to speak up against the attacks of the Zionists and MPs like John Mann and Louise Ellman.  I asked why it hadn’t organized any public meetings with people like Ken Livingstone (who of course was later suspended himself) or called press conferences, written articles etc.  I wrote that ‘PSC is renowned for its caution and timidity but there must be some limits to this.’  Unfortunately I was wrong.  There were no limits.  I pointed out that PSC had resources that other groups did not.  It has paid staff, media contacts, contacts with MPs etc. and that it was ‘inexcusable that it has done absolutely nothing to respond to the Zionists daily attacks.’   Whereas I and others had organised joint letters from Jewish groups to the Guardian and Independent and complained about the biased BBC coverage,  PSC had simply ignored what was happening. 

I wrote that ‘The ceaseless political attack by the Zionists on support for the Palestinians in the LP cannot simply be ignored.  They will not go away because their campaign is linked with the determination of the Right in the LP to remove Corbyn.  ‘Anti-Semitism’ is their weapon of choice.’  It pains me to say that I have been proved right.  I also predicted that ‘Until Jeremy Corbyn firmly rebuts his critics he will continue to come under attack.  Appeasement rarely works.  It is no use Corbyn saying that he opposes anti-Semitism because what he means by anti-Semitism and the Zionists mean by it are two different things.  Their ‘anti-Semitism’ is, as they freely admit, anti-Zionism.  Until Corbyn speaks out saying that yes he opposes anti-Semitism but yes he supports the Palestinians, including the Boycott of Israel, giving chapter and verse on why Israel is a racist and apartheid state, then the attacks will continue.’

On 20th April Ben Soffa responded to my letter.  The gist of his reply was contained in the following paragraph:

“Many recent attacks reflect the strategy set out by the Israeli strategic thinktank the Reut Institute in their 2010 report, which because of our successes, largely focused on PSC: 

"A central objective is to change this situation by forcing them to 'play defense'.  This means systematically exposing information about delegitimizers, their activities, and the organizations that they operate out of. The goal is to eventually frame them, depending on their agendas, as anti-peace, anti-Semitic, dishonest purveyors of double standards."

Although Ben accepted that ‘the upsurge in attempts to link support for the rights of the Palestinian people with anti-Semitism requires a new a concerted response’ referring me to a recent branch forum in Birmingham in March and promising to ‘significantly increase the priority and resources devoted to this area’ in practice  nothing at all has happened. 

The reason is clear.  PSC Executive’s idea of a response was to inform me that ‘we will shortly be launching an initiative proudly declaring not only the legitimacy of campaigning for Palestinian freedom, but our urgent duty to speak out against the onslaught faced by those living with occupation, siege and exile. This will include national press advertising, online publicity and other political initiatives.  Prominent within this will be an assertion of the right to boycott. We will be explicitly refuting the absurd allegation that refusing to buy, or declining to invest in goods, arms or services from entities due to their complicity in breaches of international law is in any way racist.’  Ben further informed me that ‘We have already begun discussions with partner organisation how we can better co-ordinate our work challenging the attempts to smear our movement. We will be seeking to bring together a co-ordinating group of organisations working in this area in the very near future.’
Ben concluded by adding that ‘I make no apology for the fact that we do not engage in every debate some would wish to involve us in. As the Reut Institute set out, there is a plan to force us to 'play defence' on the terrain chosen by those wishing to preserve the status quo in Palestine. We must not fall into the trap of allowing our opponents to set our agenda, which is precisely why PSC chooses to make the intervention we feel are most helpful to the situation, rather than seeking to make every intervention which might be possible.

There are a number of glaring problems with this.  In the first place, just because your opponents threaten to put you on the defensive, it is no reason to therefore ignore them.   If someone attacks you then sometimes you have to respond.  How you respond is a different question. The fact is that the Zionists have mounted a very concerted and successful campaign in the past few months.  The Vice Chair of the Jewish Labour Movement Mike Katz got a standing ovation at Labour Party Conference.  The reason for this is because the Zionists have launched their attacks in conjunction with the Labour Right, backed up by the Tory Party and the organs of the state. 

Whereas previously the Zionist organisations in the Labour Party and in particular Poalei Zion/JLM were largely defunct, they have recently been revived.  To ignore the Zionists in this situation is to do nothing about their attacks.  It is in essence to adopt a position of pacifism.  Not responding is tantamount to retreating.

The second problem with this is that it ignores the central thrust of the Zionist attack.  Simply declaring the ‘legitimacy of campaigning for Palestinian freedom’ is not enough.  It is effectively to ignore the thrust of the Zionist campaign.  The Zionists aren’t saying that you can’t campaign for Palestine.  On the contrary they say they support 2 states and an end to the Occupation (which of course is a lie but that is what they say).  What they are doing however is to use ‘anti-Semitism’ as a specific weapon to attack the anti-Zionist Left.  They have therefore taken out people like Jackie Walker, Ken Livingstone, Charley Allan and myself.  They have made a particular target of Jewish anti-Zionists.  In such a situation to simply say nothing other than to repeat that anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism is politically negligent if not worse.

As for holding discussion with partner organizations and ‘seeking to bring together a co-ordinating group of organisations working in this area in the very near future’ this is and was mere words.  Nothing whatsoever has been done.  The main group which has fought the ‘anti-Semitism’ attack has been Free Speech on Israel.  It has not been contacted by PSC.  Whereas FSOI has been consistently hamstrung by lack of funds and resources, PSC has these in abundance.

FSOI consists mainly, though not entirely, of Jewish anti-Zionists who have played a prominent part in rebutting the claim that opposition to Zionism is anti-Semitic.  On October 2nd I posted a short message on the Boycott Israel Network:

‘ Corbyn has backtracked on BDS and PSC has said absolutely nothing the whole past year on the anti-Semitism attack by the Zionists.  PSC's behaviour is outrageous as they have made no attempt to keep Corbyn in line’.  I referred people to an article I’d written on how Corbyn had effectively abandoned 30 years of support for the Palestinians.  Someone by the name of Salim replied taking issue with my statement:

 Tony, You say ‘PSC has said absolutely nothing the whole past year on the anti-Semitism attack by the Zionists’ .  In fact the following was issued by PSC on 3 May 2016 and publicised.’

It is true that PSC issued a statement.  The problem is that this was all that they did.

Professor Jonathan Rosenhead, who is an activist with both FSOI and also Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods responded thus:

‘I am a PSC member, and I have seen nothing in their postings that isn’t just a routine and uninspired recital of assurances that PSC, and the solidarity movement is anti-racist and certainly not anti-Semitic.

 Meanwhile a firestorm has been raging, alleging rampant antisemitism in the Labour Party in an attempt to unset Jeremy Corbyn. PSC has nothing to say about this?! Corbyn has been an excellent and committed friend of Palestine over decades. The attack on him is at least partly (ie the Zionist part) precisely because of this.

 None of the many pro-Israel Jewish Community organisations is holding back – from attacking him. They have funding, offices, staffing, media contacts. PSC is the only Palestine support organisation that has these assets, but does nothing with them. It leaves the defence against hyped and invented claims of antisemitism to be contested by voluntary organisations – BIN, Free Speech on Israel, Jewish Socialist Group – which have nothing but their enthusiasm and energy to throw into the breach.


And in these 3 paragraphs Jonathan Rosenhead set out eloquently the case against the passivity and inertia, indeed paralysis of PSC Executive.

Another activist in FSOI and J-Big, Les Levidow, also responded and again I quote what he wrote in toto:

After Salim's message there was little response on this list. Why? Perhaps because most of us have given up on PSC doing anything more than ritual repetition, so why bother complaining?  Anyway this problem should be made more explicit.  Let us review the recent history.

With the Oxford Union Labour Club conflict, the 'antisemitism' smear campaign began in February and soon escalated.  Spearheaded by the Jewish Labour Movement, all the pro-Israel forces were throwing their resources into intervening in the Labour Party. Regardless of whether we are members, we all recognised the necessity of a coherent counter-strategy, especially against the JLM and its allies.  We set up FSOI to do so. 

Some of us also asked PSC to deploy its significant resources for such a counter-campaign.  After several weeks delay, PSC issued the 3rd May statement below.  This does not even name the smear campaign.  It could have been the start of a counter-campaign, but instead it was a perfunctory gesture: end of story. 

When Bernard Regan was a speaker at a Haringey public event (probably in May), I distributed the FSOI flyer and spoke from the floor, asking everyone to help counter the smear campaign.  His reply was basically, "They want us to stop talking about Palestine, so we will continue raising the issue."  Some PSC people said to me that we need not (or even should not)  involve ourselves 'in internal disputes within the Labour Party'.  This response mis-recognised the enemy attack in several respects, thus justifying no change in PSC's activities and targets.

With our scant resources, FSOI has tried to oppose the JLM agenda in many ways. We have regularly sent letters to the press, but only a few get published.  We have tried to contact, defend and link LP members who were suspended for supposedly antisemitic comments.  We organised interventions against the smear campaign at the Liverpool LP conference. Given PSC's much greater resources and paid staff, what has been its contribution?

As a symptom of a deeper problem, we have just seen a Zionist press report on pro-Palestine fringe meetings during the LP conference.

The pro-Palestinian fringe meetings were downbeat, focused only on settlements, not on any broader agenda. The MPs who spoke from the platform at these events took a moderate and considered line. In fact, most of them are people who spent the summer trying to unseat Corbyn as leader.

Judging from this and other reports, such events gave anti-Corbyn, LFI-affiliated MPs a convenient cover, e.g. by merely criticising settlements, supporting official recognition of Palestine, advocating a 2-state solution, etc.  Apparently little or nothing was said about BDS, much less the colonial-settler character of Israel (except by Manuel Hassassian).  So MPs can be pro-Israel and pro-Palestine at the same time! The Zionist lobby had little to fear from such events.

Those events symptomise a general political approach which weakens the solidarity movement.  A minimalist agenda helps our enemies to distinguish between 'legitimate criticism of Israel' (e.g. settlements) and 'antisemitism', e.g. opposition to Zionism.  What was PSC's role in influencing those fringe events?  How it will try to correct the above problem?


Despite talk of 'partner organisations' PSC Executive is highly sectarian.  It works with virtually nobody.  It hasn't even bothered to contact FSOI about how it might help.  It opposed last year working with 'Together Against Prevent'.  This has to change.

What Can Be Done?

The key figures on PSC Executive belong to a secretive political group, Socialist Action or associated splinters from the old International Marxist Group.  They are uncritical of bourgeois nationalism and reject direct action or much political activism.  Hence PSC has been completely uncritical of Mahmoud Abbas’s quisling Palestinian Authority, even though it is a sub-contractor for the Israeli Defence Forces.  This is in contrast say to Electronic Intifada which hasn’t hesitated to criticise what it terms the Vichy administration in Ramallah. See for example The Palestinian Authority stands in the way of the Palestinian struggle

PSC has become an organisation which simply engages in routinism – an annual lobby of Parliament, a week around the Nakba or the Hewlett Packard  boycott, worthy in themselves but they are incapable of adapting to what is a changed political climate.  In a situation where the Zionist movement is on the attack, simply confining oneself to routine activities represents an abandonment of politics. 

At the forthcoming PSC AGM it is essential that a number of people from the branches stand for election to the Executive.  There urgently needs to be some new blood and new ideas on the Executive.  I am myself prepared to stand for election although I had hoped that having served in the formative period of PSC in the 1980’s that I wouldn’t have to stand again.

In addition there is a need for a serious review of the way PSC operates.  It has a number of paid staff but they don’t seem to be used in a particularly productive way.  PSC rests on the activity of its branches but the organisation as a whole is less than the sum of its parts.  Although the constitution (which is no longer available on-line)  makes provision for regional representatives on PSC Executive, the Executive has in the past consciously sought not to implement this clause.

There is an urgent need for a dedicated Branch Development Officer to encourage the growth of new branches and to consolidate and help existing branches and indeed to try to co-ordinate things like speakers’ tours.

It is clear with the attacks on the new President of NUS that there is an urgent need for some co-ordination and support for existing Palestine societies, given the amount of support and funding that goes to the Union of Jewish Students, which is a wholly Zionist outfit.

I want to suggest a Review of PSC is immediately set up from this Conference consisting of 6 people, including the National Secretary and one other Executive member, which can make proposals for the future operation of PSC.  It is long overdue when there was a systematic investigation into how PSC is working, its faults, failures but also successes and how things can be improved.

Such a review would look at existing fundraising and improving it, the deployment of staff and any other matter that can lead to an improved and functional PSC.

It is also crucial that the Executive consist primarily of activists and not those whose days of activity have long since gone.  It is crucial that within the next year, a regional structure of PSC is implemented and that regional representatives, elected by the branches, take their position on PSC Executive.  The days when PSC Executive is seen as the monopoly of one or other political grouping must end.  This is crippling PSC’s effectiveness.  This doesn’t mean a witch hunt of any political group  but a recognition that PSC belongs to its members.

The most crucial problem with PSC is not organisational but political.  I suggest a number of things:

i.               It is long overdue that PSC junked its 2 state position and came out clearly in favour of a democratic and secular unitary state.  Israel today is a single state, there is no green line, but it is a state where half the population – the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza – have no civil or political rights. 

No doubt this will need fighting for in the trade union and labour movement but we cannot avoid this fight.  Yes people are comfortable with the idea of 2 states.  It sounds as if it will satisfy everybody but in practice it satisfies only one side – the Zionists. 

ii.             A 2 state solution omits the question of Zionism.  Zionism, the movement which established the Israeli state does not and never has recognised a shared sovereignty over what it terms the Land of Israel (Eretz Yisrael).  No member of the Israeli government supports a 2 state solution but Netanyahu is happy to pay lip service to the idea, despite rejecting it at the 2015 Israeli general election because he knows and the Americans know, that verbal acknowledgment of 2 states allows settlement building to proceed apace.  Further it allows Israel to maintain a situation of apartheid whereby for another 50 years, Palestinians will live under a separate system of laws and military rule.
Tzipi Hotoveli - Israel's religious nutcase of a Deputy Foreign Minister
When Tzipi Hotoveli, Israel’s Deputy Foreign Secretary saidThis land is ours. All of it is ours. We expect as a matter of principle of the international community to recognize Israel’s right to build homes for Jews in their homeland, everywhere.”  We should believe her.  Even if a 2 state solution were desirable, which I don’t accept, it is no longer feasible.  That is why all Britain’s Zionist organizations, from the Jewish Labour Movement to the Board of Deputies support it!  PSC at present is utterly stupid for not being able to recognize reality. 

iii.           We should also explicitly reject the idea of a Jewish state.  A Jewish state in the context of a settler colonial state can only mean that the state is inherently racist.  Being Jewish means possessing apartheid-style privileges.  PSC should be an explicitly anti-Zionist organisation.  If we are sincere in saying that Israel is an apartheid state we have to oppose the ideology of that state, Zionism.

iv.           PSC needs to recognize that the outcome of the Oslo Accords in 1993, when the PLO and Israel reached an agreement, is that Israel has been able to subcontract out, a considerable part of the repressive activities of the Israeli state to the Palestinian Authority.  The PA quite consciously acts as the arms of the Israeli Defence Forces.  For this it receives aid money.  We should be quite clear about the nature of the PA.

These are just a few proposals as to resolutions to PSC Conference.

Tony Greenstein

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Hastings Festival for Socialism this Sunday

This Sunday the Hastings Labour Movement is holding a festival 4 socialism at which Jackie Walker and myself, amongst many people will be speaking.

Louise Raw in particular is a feminist historian who has written a well researched book about the Matchgirls' Strike of 1888: 'Striking a Light: The Bryant and May Matchwomen and their Place in History'

Open Letter to John Mann MP from a 90 year old Jewish Doctor

Re; Your (self appointed) role as ‘Witchfinder General’ of the Labour Party.
This is a quite brilliant open letter from a 90 year-old Jewish doctor to that unashamed self-publicist John Mann MP.

Tony Greenstein
narcissistic and attention-seeking
Dear Mr Mann, 18/10/2016

It is with a sense of deep distaste personally, and an even deeper concern for the future of our freedom of speech, generally, that I have viewed your recent antics. In my opinion, your behaviour appears both narcissistic and attention-seeking, in the extreme. Whether it is at a level at which one could view it as pathological, I am not sufficiently qualified to say, but it is my view that ‘the man on the Clapham omnibus’ may, reasonably, harbour suspicions.
Your ambush of Ken Livingstone, with pre-arranged media presence is a case in point. Any less reasonable man may have told you to ‘clear off’. Instead he tried, in a calm manner, to point out the historical evidence to support what he had said. His words fell on (your) deaf ears, for you, of course, had decided already that he ‘would float if you threw him in the river’ (the test applied, historically, vis a vis witchcraft). Cynical observers too, may, possibly, take the view that you are attempting, on behalf of others, to airbrush history, in the name of anti-Semitism.
John Mann at the centre of an 'anti-Semitic storm' despite not being Jewish!
Are you not aware of the potential of historical resonance here? Let’s, for the sake of argument, turn history on its head and assume that the Nazis had won WW2. You can imagine, can you not, that they would want to stamp out any reference to the ‘Final Solution’? After all, political opponents in actual historical fact had already gone to the extermination camps, along with the mentally ill, those with learning difficulty, Roma and the Jewish community. So, one might imagine that the Nazis might encourage the denunciation of those who would wish to speak the truth, as ‘Jew lovers’ and make them targets for ‘neutralisation’. Do you take my point? Thankfully, such a situation never came about, thanks to the sacrifice of over 400,000 people, including my own brother, (and many more from other nations) who gave their lives to preserve our freedom of speech.
Let me now refer to matters In connection with Jackie Walker, the former vice-chair of Momentum and with whom we share membership of the Labour Party. I do not wish to refer to the specifics of the matter as her appeal against suspension from the Party is pending, (although the issue of the circumstances of her ‘entrapment’ and ‘denunciation’, are deeply worrying to me). However, your comments that all Labour members who supported her “should be expelled from the Party,” which were reported in the media, absolutely appalled me. The implied ‘guilt by association’ is akin to the ‘fellow traveller’ accusations made during the McCarthyite era in the USA. Shame on you.

There seems to be a desire, on your part, to conflate (i.e. run together as if they represent the same meaning), the words and concepts of anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. Or perhaps you are just confused? I never have been. To me anti-Zionism represents political opposition to a style of social and political expression stemming from a particular religious interpretation of Judaism. Anti-Semitism, on the other hand, refers to a dislike of Jews, which is rooted in the same xenophobic soil as other forms of racism. When this is openly displayed, we, in Britain have anti-discrimination laws, including those relating to hate speech. Now...the application of and efficacy of our legislation is a matter open for debate and is something you can, potentially, influence as an MP. Why then, at this present time, are you focusing your attention on the Labour Party?

That brings me to the issue of the political motivation for your actions. It has been suggested that your prime motivation, given your position on the right-wing of the Labour Party, is to attempt to undermine the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn and all that he stands for. I was a committed and experienced member of the Socialist Medical/Health Association (affiliated) since 1946 and have been a member of the Labour Party since 1972, or thereabouts. As such, I find it difficult not to agree with such a conclusion, in the current circumstances. No doubt your fairly regular visits to Israel (as a consequence of your documented links with organisations and individuals there) must be enjoyable for you on a personal level, but would not, surely, be sufficient incentive, in of themselves?

No.... my view is that, to use military terms, you represent a sniper with a long range rifle, ‘softening up’ the enemy, causing confusion in the opposing ranks, picking off individuals and making people afraid of putting their head above the barricades. You are, however, in my view, waiting for your ‘General’ a.k.a. Tony Blair to come and rally the troops for a counter-offensive. I admire your loyalty to him, but would point out that he doesn’t have an awfully good record militarily. That poor record had quite a lot to do with the allies he chose, or was coerced by (in that regard it was interesting to see Mr Blairs’ presence, almost as if he were still a head of state, at the recent funeral of Shimon Peres, in Israel).

So there we have it....I have concern about the nature of your personal behaviour: I am a Corbyn supporter, and have great sympathy with the situation of Ken Livingstone and Jackie Walker, to whom I offer my solidarity: I am also not afraid to look to history for lessons and I view your actions as being ‘McCarthyite’ in nature: I refuse to conflate Anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism and I see through your cloak of justification and heap scorn upon your underlying political motivation......

So, please feel free to denounce me, though, I suspect, that you lack the moral and political courage to do so.

Throughout my 90 years, I have always held to a belief in the essential goodness of people. That belief has been severely tested in recent times, as I have witnessed your machinations and those of the Labour PLP.

Today, the mere demands of day to day living tax me greatly, but with all the energy I can muster, at the age of 90 years, I offer you, Sir, unfortunately, not fraternal wishes, but my heartfelt derision.

British, Socialist Jew.

John Mann MP,
House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA
Cc Jeremy Corbyn MP, Leader of the Labour Party,
Ken Livingstone, Jackie Walker

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Manufacturing Consent On ‘Anti-Semitism’

Modern Day Alchemy - Home Affairs Select Committee Transforms Anti-Zionism into Anti-Semitism
The House of Commons Home Affairs Committee has just published a Report, Anti-Semitism in the UK.  The first and most immediate question is why, when other forms of racist attacks are at an all-time high, the Committee should spend its time examining the least widespread or violent form of racism?  By their own admission, anti-Semitic hate crimes, however defined, total just 1.4% of all such crimes, yet anti-Semitism has its own Parliamentary Report. 
To many Zionists, anti-Zionist Jews deserve to be victims of anti-Semitism for ignoring the 'attraction' of Zionism
In its section ‘Key Facts’ the Committee informs us that there has been a rise of 11% in anti-Semitic incidents in the first half of 2016 compared with 2015.  Shocking you may think.  The rise is from 500 to 557.  But 24% of the total, 133 incidents in all, were on social media.  Of the increase in anti-Semitic incidents, fully 44 of the 57 were on social media.[1]  Obviously it is not very pleasant to receive anti-Semitic tweets such as those above (which were sent by Zionists!) but it is clearly different from acts of violence.
If one looks closer at the Community Security Trust’s Report quoted from then it turns out that there were just 41 violent incidents.  If one delves a little deeper it turns out that there was actually a 13 per cent fall in violent incidents for the first half of 2015 and none of these were classified by the CST as ‘Extreme Violence’, i.e. they involved potential grievous bodily harm or threat to life.  This is good not bad news.  Why would the Select Committee wish to exaggerate the incidence of anti-Semitism?
Anti-Semitic tweet from a Zionist
Most of the anti-Semitic incidents involved ‘verbal abuse’ and it is difficult to know how many of these were genuinely anti-Semitic and how many were of the kind ‘why do you bomb children in Gaza’.  G given that the Board of Deputies of British Jews does its best to associate Jews with Israel’s war crimes, is it any wonder that some people take them at their word?
Contrast this with anti-Muslim hate crimes.  According to a report from the Muslim Hate Monitoring Group Tell MAMA, British Muslims are experiencing an “explosion” in anti-Islamic.
The annual survey by Tell MAMA found a 326 per cent rise in incidents last year, while the Muslim Council of Britain group of mosques said it had compiled a dossier of 100 hate crimes over the weekend alone.
Unlike anti-Semitism, ‘many attacks are happening in the real world – at schools and colleges, in restaurants and on public transport. The number of offline incidents rose 326 per cent in 2015 from 146 to 437’  The effect has been that many Muslim women – especially those wearing Islamic clothing –were being prevented from conducting normal “day to day activities”.[2]
In its concern to marry anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism the Committee 'forgot' about the only visibly Jewish community in Stamford Hill of Ultra Orthodox Charedi Jews who do experience anti-Semitism
Yet the Committee, which was chaired by Keith Vaz, has shown no interest in anti-Muslim racism.  Why might that be? 
Somewhat confusingly for a Report that is supposed to be about anti-Semitism, another of its Key Facts tells us that ‘Research published in 2015 by City University found that 90% of British Jewish people support Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state and 93% say that it forms some part of their identity as Jewish people, but only 59% consider themselves to be Zionists.’  [3]  In reality this Report is not about anti-Semitism but the use of anti-Semitism as a weapon against anti-Zionists.
This Report dips in and out of what it is quoting without any attempt to put anything in perspective.  It probably is true that 90% of British Jews support the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state, but how many of them appreciate that a Jewish settler colonial state is an inherently racist state?   What is interesting is that although the Report admits that only 59% of British Jews consider themselves Zionists, 31% don’t.   Even more interesting, the Report states that ‘in 2010, 72% of the respondents classified themselves as Zionists compared to 59% in the present study.’  As to why that is, the Report offers two different explanations:
i.                    Jews believe that criticism of Israel is incompatible with being a Zionist and
ii.                  the frequent use of the term ‘Zionist’ in general discourse as a pejorative or even abusive label discourages some individuals from describing themselves as a Zionist.
If the latter is correct, then this is clearly a good thing as anti-Zionist criticism of the State of Israel is having some effect and is deterring Jewish people from identifying with a racist ideology.  However the Committee draws the opposite conclusion because it considers Zionism a good thing.  Therein lies the problem.
Amongst other ‘key facts’ was the report of a survey of Labour Party members who joined after the 2015 General Election, 55% of whom agreed that antisemitism is “not a serious problem at all, and is being hyped up to undermine Labour and Jeremy Corbyn, or to stifle legitimate criticism of Israel”.[4]  Clearly, despite the bombardment of the mass media about fake anti-Semitism, most party members are dismissive of this fable.  When Owen Smith debated Jeremy Corbyn in Cardiff and claimed that he hadn’t taken ‘anti-Semitism’ seriously, he was booed.  In reality very few Labour Party members sincerely believe in this hype.
A Report whose primary motivation is to attack Corbyn and the Labour Left
It is curious that a Report on anti-Semitism should start off with a section ‘Anti-Semitism in the Political Parties’ before homing in on just one party, Labour.  Labour is the target throughout this ill-conceived and politically tendentious Report.  It immediately begins with the suspension of Naz Shah and Ken Livingstone and others (who it estimates range from 18-40) for’ anti-Semitism’.  Since no one has been tried or found guilty of ‘anti-Semitism’ one can only assume that the presumption of innocence has been abandoned by lawyer Chuku Ummuna and his Tory friends.  Livingstone expressed an opinion that Hitler supported Zionism.  He may be right or wrong, it may even give offence to those who find the truth unpalatable, but anti-Semitic it is not.  Naz Shah made a joke about how much nicer it would be if Israel was located within the borders of the USA as that would mean less death and destruction all round.  She borrowed a map that originated with the Jewish Virtual Library, hardly the greatest act of anti-Semitism the world has known!
After noting that the vast majority of anti-Semitic attacks come from the far-Right, the Report then speaks about ‘the fact that incidents of antisemitism—particularly online—have made their way into a major political party’ despite not having established any facts to support this.  It is this sleight of hand, asserting that which it is supposed to be proving, which runs throughout this Report.
The Report tried to come up with a definition of anti-Semitism but it did this in a very curious way by aiming to maintain ‘an appropriate balance between condemning antisemitism vehemently, in all its forms, and maintaining freedom of speech—particularly in relation to legitimate criticism of the Government of Israel.’  It is curious in two ways – firstly what has criticism of Israel got to do with a definition of anti-Semitism?  The underlying assumption is that criticism of the State of Israel is somehow anti-Semitic.  Because Israeli racism  is based on its self-definition as a Jewish state, i.e. a state where Jews have privileges, it is assumed that criticism of its racism is therefore anti-Semitic.  This is the ‘logic’ that the Report employes throughout.  Anti-Semitism is hatred of or discrimination against Jews as individuals or violence against them.  A state is not an individual or a victim of racism.  Secondly what is ‘legitimate’ criticism of Israel and in whose eyes?
The Report then dabbles with the MacPherson definition of a ‘racial incident’ suggesting that the definition of a racist incident should be “any incident which is perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person”.  Again this is fundamentally dishonest because they ignore the context, which was the refusal of the Police to record as racial incidents, incidents perceived as racial by the victims.  MacPherson did not imply, unlike the Committee, that a perception of racism is therefore proof of guilt.
The Report quotes a government statement that ‘it is for the victim to determine whether a crime against them was motivated by a particular characteristic (the Macpherson definition)’.  An absurd statement which is not the MacPherson definition, since that applied to Police perceptions not the judicial process of inquiry.  A victim’s testimony may be good evidence but that is all it is.  It is not determinative.
The purpose of the Committee’s Report is a transparent as it is shallow.  It quotes the ‘International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism which in relation to criticism of Israel:
‘Applying double standards by requiring of it a behaviour not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.’
The Committee demonstrates its ignoranxw since Israel is not a nation, nor does it claim to be so.  It is a state of the Jewish people, regardless of whether they live in or outside Israel.  Nor is Israel a democratic state since it rules over 4.5 million people who have neither civil nor political rights.  It is an ethnocracy, in which settlers rule over a people who are considered guests at best.[5]
Apparently ‘Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.’ Is anti-Semitic.  Leaving aside the small fact that Zionists, including Israeli government politicians repeatedly use the Nazi period and the Holocaust to justify their actions, does this principle hold good for other states?  Were the demonstrators in France in May 68 anti-Semitic for chanting ‘CRS-SS’ at the riot police?
‘Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel.’ is also apparently anti-Semitic.  I have great sympathy with this but the Committee’s attention should be directed primarily at Zionists who go to great lengths to associate British Jews with Israel’s war crimes!  Indeed the Report notes that ‘Sir Mick Davis, Chairman of the JLC, told us that criticising Zionism is the same as antisemitism’  because, in the words of the Chief Rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis ‘Zionism has been an integral part of Judaism from the dawn of our faith”.  The conclusion cannot be other than that British Jews are collectively responsible for Israel’s crimes.  What a tangled web the Committee weaves.
The most blatant attempt to equate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism is the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism which the Committee accepts:  ‘Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour.’
Firstly there is no Jewish people.  There are French, British, Argentinian and other Jews, who are members of their respective nations.  Only anti-Semites claim that regardless of where they live, Jews form one seamless nation.  It was a proposition that Hitler adhered to.  Apparently it also finds favour with Chuka Ummuna’s Committee too.
As for the Committee’s claim that the existence of the Israeli State is a racist endeavour, that is a matter of opinion or fact.  It has nothing to do with racism.
Without even bothering to examine the question, the Report says that Israel is ‘generally regarded as a liberal democracy’.  The question of what constitutes a liberal democracy is an interesting one but Israel is anything but a democracy by any normal definition.
i.                    Although Israeli Arabs have the vote their representatives are vilified and demonised and Haneen Zoabi of the nationalist Balad Party has had to be protected by security guards from other Knesset members.  Arab parties also have no influence and have never been part of an Israeli government.
ii.                  In a Jewish state policies and laws are draw up with the intention of benefiting one sector only - the Jewish community.  In every area of public life there is entrenched state sponsored discrimination -  be it education funding, local authority grants, land access or police coercion and repression.  The Centre for the Rights of the Arab Minority Adalah has compiled a list of 50 discriminatory laws.[6]
iii.                Israel is in a permanent state of emergency, even though it faces no military threat.  It is a state where torture is legally allowed, where administrative detention is used to imprison (mainly Palestinian) dissidents for repeated bouts of 6 months.
iv.                Israel is a state where all publications have to submit to the military censor whose remit has extended to cover government archives.  The Military Censors can prevent the unsealing of archives and even worse, prevent physical access to archives which were once available.  This is because of digitalisation.[7]
v.                  Four and a half million Palestinians are subject to permanent military rule without any political or civil rights.
To call Israel a ‘liberal democracy’ is to render the term meaningless.  By this definition Apartheid South Africa could also have been considered democratic.
The Use of the Term Zionist
Despite allegedly being a Report on Anti-Semitism this is really about Zionism which, it concedes is ‘a valid topic for academic and political debate’.  Of course anti-Semites substitute the term ‘Zionist’ for ‘Jew’’ but that is precisely why it is incumbent upon us to make a clear distinction between Zionism and being Jewish.  Yet both Sir Mick Davies and the Chief Rabbi gave evidence to the Committee that Zionism and Judaism are one and the same.  It is a testimony to the Committee that it never saw the contradiction.
Where the Committee’s Report becomes a threat to freedom of speech and basic civil liberties is in its recommendation (Para. 32) that:
‘For the purposes of criminal or disciplinary investigations, use of the words ‘Zionist’ or ‘Zio’ in an accusatory or abusive context should be considered inflammatory and potentially antisemitic.’ Anti-Zionism it is proposed should be made, in certain circumstances into a hate crime.  This is the criminalisation of speech.  ‘Zionist’ or its abbreviation is a political not an ethnic or racial category.  That although 59% of Jews consider themselves Zionists, 31% do not.  There are millions of non-Jews who are also Zionists, especially fundamentalist Christians.  Is it anti-Semitic to accuse them of being Zionists?!
The Committee quotes the Institute for Jewish Policy Research that between 4% and 5% of British adults could be termed ‘clearly anti-Semitic’.  In other words 95-96% are not anti-Semitic.  Would that the same could be said of Islamaphobia.  Aabsurdly the Committee concludes that ‘it is alarming that recent surveys show that as many as one in 20 adults in the UK could be characterised as “clearly antisemitic”.’  One wonders what the Committee will say when an opinion poll gets around to measuring anti-Muslim racism!
Contrast this with Israel where no less than 48% of Israeli Jews, a plurality, want to physically expel Arabs from Israel and 79% believe Jews are entitled to preferential treatment in Israel.  It is clear that British  people are remarkably free of anti-Semitic sentiments.[8]
Politically tendentious
When it comes to the affair of Oxford University Labour Club the Committee makes its intentions clear.  It complains that the Baroness Royall Report wasn’t published by Labour’s National Executive Committee in full.  That might be because it contained no evidence of anti-Semitism at the Labour Club.  When Royall first reported, she wrote on the web site of the Zionist Jewish Labour Movement that:
 ‘I know that you will share my disappointment and frustration that the main headline coming out of my inquiry is that there is no institutional Antisemitism in Oxford University Labour Club.’ 
What kind of political clown is disappointed that she couldn’t find any institutional anti-Semitism?  In fact Royall found no individual anti-Semitism either.  By her own admission she was ‘honoured but daunted when asked by the NEC to undertake this inquiry.’ [9]  It was clearly all too much for her.  What she found was a remarkably thin gruel.  She reported that she was aware of ‘one case of serious false allegations of antisemitism which was reported to the police.’   
All she had to say was that ‘I received a number of complaints of incidents of alleged antisemitic behaviour by individual members of OULC. I have also received evidence that members of the Club, including past office holders of  the Club, have not witnessed antisemitic behaviour by other members. ...It is clear to me from the weight of witnessed allegations received that there have been some incidents of antisemitic behaviour ... However, it is not clear to me to what extent this behaviour constituted intentional or deliberate acts of antisemitism. This is particularly true of historic hearsay evidence.’  We get no inkling as to what this behaviour consists of.  In the end she sees ‘no value in pursuing disciplinary cases against students who may be better advised as to their conduct’ which suggests that whatever she was told was clearly not serious.  It is little wonder that the Report was not published. 
Even the Parliamentary Report observes that these allegations arose when the non-Jewish Zionist Chair of Oxford University Labour Club, Alex Chalmers, a former intern for the Zionist propaganda organisation BICOM, objected to the Club supporting Oxford University’s Israel Apartheid Week.  The Committee fails to explain what this has to do with anti-Semitism.
Malia Bouattia – President of the National Union of Students
In attacking the President of NUS, Malia Bouattia, a refugee from real oppression in Algeria, for ‘anti-Semitism’ the Committee descended into the gutter.  It relied on McCarthyite guilt by association and did not have the integrity or honesty to invite her to give evidence.  Instead it quoted the Union of Jewish Students, for whom Israel advocacy is an integral part of its constitutional requirements, that the statement the University of Birmingham is “something of a Zionist outpost” is anti-Semitic.  Why this is anti-Semitic is never explained.  Presumably the UJS and the Committee, in conjunction with the BNP and other fascist organisations, agree that to be Zionist is to be Jewish.  There is no other logic.   It is no more racist than describing the University of Sussex as a radical outpost.
On the basis of the above the Committee concludes that ‘The current President of the National Union of Students, Malia Bouattia, does not appear to take sufficiently seriously the issue of antisemitism on campus’  The Jewish students it refers to are representatives or supporters of the pro-Israel UJS.  Anti-Zionist Jewish students are, of course, invisible to the Committee as are anti-Zionist Jews generally.
Ill Intent
In the section entitled ‘Political Discourse and Leadership’ the Report says:
‘A number of hard-left organisations, such as Unite Against Fascism, Stop the War Coalition and Palestine Solidarity Campaign, have clearly taken a pro-Palestinian and anti-Israeli Government stance. These organisations hold or participate in marches, some of which have been attended by leading politicians such as Mr Corbyn.’  This is called killing two birds with one stone!  How anyone can describe Palestine Solidarity Campaign as ‘hard left’ is beyond comprehension.  The attendance of Jeremy Corbyn though is clearly an added bonus for the Chuku Ummunas of this world. 
The Committee also regurgitates the false allegations of Board of Deputies President Jonathan Arkush that on some demonstrations ‘there were “huge marches” in London at which people held placards that read “Hitler was right.” (para 99).  This is an outright lie.  Not an iota of proof has been provided to substantiate this assertion.  For a report heavy on pictoral descriptions one might expect a photograph to back this up.  It is an evidence free assertion that typifies the whole report.
The Report is critical, in a nit picky way, of the Chakrabarti Report quoting the Board’s observation that it does not deal with ‘anti-Semitism’ and ‘anti-Zionism’ on the left.  Maybe that’s because there is none!  The Report does however mention (paras. 103/104) the false allegations of anti-Semitism at the Chakrabarti Press Conference by Ruth Smeeth MP, who Wikileaks outed as a protected agent for the US Embassy.[10]  What was the anti-Semitic statement that caused this fake victim to walk out?  ‘Ruth Smeeth is working hand-in-hand with the right-wing media to attack Jeremy”.   I defy anyone to show how this is anti-Semitic since Marc Wadsworth, the Black activist who said it, didn’t even know she was Jewish.
The Committee concludes that the Chakrabarti Report ‘is ultimately compromised by its failure to deliver a comprehensive set of recommendations or to provide a definition of antisemitism.  Given that the definition of anti-Semitism has eluded far wiser people than Chakrabarti, perhaps because the very concept of anti-Semitism is now so politically loaded, the failure to provide an all-encompassing definition is neither here nor there.  The Committee after all also failed to provide one.  The best it could do was to say that it ‘broadly accept(s) the IHRA definition’ with 2 caveats regarding criticism of the Israeli government.
Chakrabarti’s problem was that there is next to no anti-Semitism in the Labour Party.  There is certainly criticism of Zionism and the Israeli state, but despite much muddying of the waters, most people still refuse to accept that criticism of the West’s armed watchdog in the Middle East is anti-Semitic.
What the Committee does do is to try and discredit Shami Chakrabarti through hint and innuendo.  Her acceptance of a peerage somehow discredits her Report.  This is an institution where the giving of money to a party in exchange for a peerage doesn’t even raise an eyebrow.     
 It is a measure of the political desperation of the Report that it picks up on the Jackie Walker debate on which I have previously reported.[11]  It did this without asking her to give evidence.  Its comments are inaccurate and frankly malicious.  It states that:
Jackie Walker, who was temporarily suspended from Labour earlier in the year for stating that Jewish people were the “chief financiers” of the slave trade, reportedly criticised Holocaust Memorial Day and said that she had not heard a definition of antisemitism that she could “work with”.’  Since Jackie did not say that ‘Jewish People’ were the chief financiers of the slave trade this is nothing short of malicious.  Secondly, how is saying that one hasn’t heard a definition of anti-Semitism that one can work with, anti-Semitic? 
It is therefore not surprising that, after much malicious and tendentious commentary, under the title ‘Other Political Activity’ the Committee concludes that ‘there exists no reliable, empirical evidence to support the notion that there is a higher prevalence of antisemitic attitudes within the Labour Party than any other political party.’  This throws into stark relief the Report’s vacuity.  It demonstrates that this is above all a Report of the Labour and Tory Right.
The Report depends almost exclusively  on evidence from  pro-Israel, anti-Corbyn sources.  This alone demonstrates that this Report is a one-sided propaganda exercise.
But the most remarkable omission of all is the fact that the one Jewish community which is visible in its distinctive appearance and which does suffer anti-Semitic attacks, the ultra-Orthodox haredi community of Stamford Hill, London isn’t even mentioned!  As the President of the Stamford Hill Shomrim (Guards) Rabbi Herschel Gluck states: 
‘While this report focuses primarily on the difference between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism.... it’s important to note that the parliamentary committee did not request any evidence from the most visible section of the Jewish community,  the Charedi Community, where the majority of the attacks are in person rather than online... and are usually clearly and unequivocally anti-Semitic.  I repeat my call to the Home Office to understand the real life anti-Semitism that members of the Charedi Jewish Community experience...’
It is not surprising that the only Jewish community to experience anti-Semitism was ignored, because this Report was not about anti-Semitism but about redefining anti-Zionism as anti-Semitism.  Truly this Report is risible. 
Tony Greenstein

[4]           Professor Tim Bale, Dr Monica Poletti and Professor Paul Webb, Submission to the Chakrabarti Inquiry on behalf of the ESRC Party Members Project, 3 June 2016.
[5]           Twice, in 2013 in Uzzi Ornan v the State of Israel and again in 1972 in Tamarin v State of Israel the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that there was no such thing as an Israeli nationality.  In Tamarin Justice Agranat ruled that ‘the desire to create an Israeli nation separate from the Jewish nation is not a legitimate aspiration.’  It would ‘negate the foundation on which the State of Israel was established.’
[9]           Baroness Jan Royall, Allegations of anti-Semitism, Oxford University Labour Club
[10]             In a cable the US Embassy placed ‘strictly protect’ after Smeeth’s name.