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Thursday, 25 May 2017

Is describing Israel as an Apartheid State anti-Semitic?

Yet  in Israel ‘Apartheid’ is a term regularly used even by Zionists

Below is an article by Richard Kuper of Free Speech on Israel/JfJP on how the term ‘Apartheid’ is regularly used in Israel to describe the relations between Israeli Palestinians and Jews.  Yet in Britain propaganda groups, like the Jewish Labour Movement regularly accuse those who describe Israel as an apartheid state of ‘anti-Semitism’.

Tony Greenstein

The attempt to outlaw the use of the term "apartheid" in relation to Israel and its occupation has to be recognised as carrying dangers of effectively stifling debate on an issue of great importance
Two students from occupied East Jerusalem passing daily through Qalandia checkpoint to reach Birzeit University, 2014. Credit: Rich Wiles.

We are faced with an increasing onslaught on criticism of Israel with attempts being made to drawn the lines ever more narrowly.  There are accusations that any singling out of Israel is antisemitic: so, for example, calling for boycott, divestment and sanctions in Israel’s case but not in others is prima facie evidence of antisemitism, as is using the word apartheid to characterise any aspect of Israeli society.

What I would like to address here is the use of the concept of ‘apartheid’ to compare South African and Israeli society, and the dangerous suppression involved in outlawing its use. Critics say the analogy is plain wrong and therefore its use can only be malign: an attempt to delegitimate, demonise and apply double standards (to use Sharansky’s 3-D test of criticism of Israel – see the discussion Is criticism of Israel antisemitic?) about what it is that goes beyond what is acceptable. Ultimately, for many of these critics, the use of the term “apartheid” is antisemitic.
Those who argue for applying the term to Israel generally acknowledge the differences in the South African case but argue that a wider definition of apartheid, enshrined in the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid, UN General Assembly Resolution 3068, 30 Nov 1973, covers the Israeli case as well. Ben White’s book Israeli Apartheid: A beginner’s Guide (Pluto 2009) provides a good presentation of the argument. 
The deeply ingrained racism of Israel's government ministers
There have been a host of articles of the “I grew up in South Africa, so believe me when I say: Israel is not an apartheid state” type. Equally, other important South African voices have been prominent in drawing analogies between living under the two regimes. In particular, it is experience at the checkpoints that has led South Africans to say that it is “worse than apartheid”. For in South Africa, while non-whites had to carry passes, there was generally freedom of movement in the sense that you could go anywhere unless and until you were called on to produce your pass. Control in general was by post hoc police raid, in a general search for “illegal” migrants in urban areas where they were not supposed to be. Control over movement within Palestine and between Palestine and Israel is far more rigorous and rigidly totalitarian on a daily basis than it ever was under South African apartheid.

But the attempt to exclude the use of the term is quite widespread and Israel Apartheid Week arouses intense opposition. Let Baroness Deech and Riverside Labour MP Louise Ellman, Honorary President of the JLM (Jewish Labour Movement, stand for all critics. In March 2017 Deech tweeted: 
Miri Regev is now 'Culture' Minister in Israel's government
#israelapartheidweek A week of antisemitic hate, no foundation; shame on universities that host it”; the previous year Ellman declared herself  “deeply disturbed by the news that Oxford University Labour Club has decided to support Israeli Apartheid Week…”  and regarded comparisons between Israel and apartheid-era South Africa as a grotesque smear”.

I do not want to argue the case for or against the applicability or the usefulness of the concept in relation to our understanding of Israeli society here. (The argument can be made well or badly and I would recommend the writings of Israeli academic Ran Greenstein who lives and works in South Africa for a comprehensive overview. See, for example, his two concise articles in +972 arguing a) that it is a form of apartheid; but b) different in important respects from historical apartheid in South Africa. )

Here I am more concerned about recognising that the attempt to outlaw its use carries real dangers of effectively stifling debate on an important issue – and possibly devaluing the term “antisemitism” in the process. 

Reaffirming the right to criticise Israel robustly has become increasingly urgent in the light of the British government having ‘adopted’ the International Holocaust Remembrance Association definition of antisemitism in December 2016. This includes illustrative examples of what might “taking into account the overall context” be antisemitic, with no fewer than 7 or the 11 examples relating in some way to criticisms of Israel, for example “claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor”, or “applying double standards [to Israel] by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation”. Some of the dangers are spelt out in an opinion by Hugh Tomlinson QC (see “Legal opinion blasts holes in pro-Israel definition of anti-Semitism”) and by former Justice 
Stephen Sedley in “Defining Anti-Semitism” 

There is a concerted campaign to close down certain discussions and the use of terms like apartheid is increasingly likely to lead to campaigns of intimidation against universities, churches and others for daring to host discussion on these topics.

The Israel debate

What critics fail to register is how widespread the use of the term “apartheid” has become within Israel itself, either as a description of the dire realities of today, or as a warning of where the occupation can and must lead. Much of this appears in the pages of the liberal daily newspaper Ha’aretz, where criticism of the Israeli regime is most openly expressed, but the use of the term is also found in other, sometimes surprising, places.

Here, for instance, is a very recent Ha’aretz editorial “Fear at the top in Israel”, 30 Mar 2017, in which the standfirst reads:

Netanyahu and several of his ministers seem afraid above all of their image in the mirror - of leaders of a state calling itself a democracy and practicing apartheid.
And here is the proprietor of Ha’aretz, the redoubtable and much respected Amos Schocken  arguing that “Only international pressure will end Israeli apartheid “, 22 Jan 2016:

the most basic democratic values of equality before the law for all people under Israel control, and equal rights to vote and be elected, do not exist… The nearly 50 years of Israeli apartheid… The growing delegitimization of Israel is this country’s own handiwork. Should Israel decide to end apartheid, it will return to being legitimate in every respect.

Or again, senior editor Bradley Burston, who “made aliyah” (immigrated) from Los Angeles to Israel in 1976, declared in “It’s Time to Admit It. Israeli Policy Is What It Is: Apartheid”, 17 Aug 2015): “I used to be one of those people who took issue with the label of apartheid as applied to Israel. Not anymore.”

Back in 2011, former Israeli ambassador to South Africa 1992-94, Alon Liel, in saying that “Israel needs 'outside interference’” was arguing that “Legislation about to be voted on in the Knesset is strikingly similar to that from Apartheid South Africa.”

In March 2017, comedian Assaf Harel in his TV programme, "Good Night With Asaf Harel" [broadcast on Israeli TV Channel 10] castigated Israelis for ignoring the occupation and claimed that Israel is an apartheid state. Ha’aretz’s report was headlined “In Last Monologue, Israeli Comedy Show Host Implores Israelis to Wake Up and Smell the Apartheid [italics added]”, 3 Mar 2017.

Israel's President Reuven Rivlin has recently also got into the act with his strong opposition to the so-called “Regularization Law”, which enables Israel to expropriate private Palestinian land where settlements have been built. This law, he affirmed in a meeting in February 2017, only two days after it had been passed, could “cause Israel to look like an apartheid state”, 12 Feb 2017.

Professor Oren Yiftachel who has written extensively about Israeli society as an ethnocracy, has now sharpened his critique. In “Call Apartheid in Israel by Its Name”, 11 Feb 2016, he wrote:

Citizenship here is reminiscent of South Africa's in the past: Jews are ‘white’ citizens, Arabs in Israel have ‘colored’ (in other words, partial) citizenship; and Palestinians in the territories have ‘black’ citizenship, without political rights.
Yossi Sarid environment minister under Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres, wrote a decade ago, 25 April 2008:

 [T]he white Afrikaners, too, had reasons for their segregation policy; they, too, felt threatened – a great evil was at their door, and they were frightened, out to defend themselves. Unfortunately, however, all good reasons for apartheid are bad reasons; apartheid always has a reason, and it never has a justification. And what acts like apartheid, is run like apartheid and harasses like apartheid, is not a duck—it is apartheid.

Former Israeli Attorney-General (1993–1996) Michael Ben-Yair, was already on record as saying in 2002: “In effect, we established an apartheid regime in the occupied territories immediately following their capture. That oppressive regime exists to this day.” 3 March 2002. He reaffirmed this opinion in an appeal to the EU to endorse the creation of a Palestinian state and said that “Israel has imposed an “apartheid regime” on Palestinians in the West Bank” and that “the settlement movement is a political act by a state against another people and as such is the most evil and immoral act since the end of World War II.” 23 Nov. 2014.

Shulamit Aloni, Minister of Education under Yitzhak Rabin, wrote an article in Yediot Ahronoth, English translation, 10 Jan 2007, called “Indeed there is Apartheid in Israel”:

[She elaborated] Jewish self-righteousness is taken for granted among ourselves to such an extent that we fail to see what’s right in front of our eyes. It’s simply inconceivable that the ultimate victims, the Jews, can carry out evil deeds. Nevertheless, the state of Israel practises its own, quite violent, form of Apartheid with the native Palestinian population. The US Jewish Establishment’s onslaught on former President Jimmy Carter is based on him daring to tell the truth which is known to all: through its army, the government of Israel practises a brutal form of Apartheid in the territory it occupies.

Respected NGO B’tselem, The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, has long used the concept of apartheid in its various reports.
Back in its definitive Land Grab study in 2002 of Israeli settlement practices, it concluded:

Israel has created in the Occupied Territories a regime of separation based on discrimination, applying two separate systems of law in the same area and basing the rights of individuals on their nationality. This regime is the only one of its kind in the world, and is reminiscent of distasteful regimes from the past, such as the Apartheid regime in South Africa.

Subsequent reports have only accumulated evidence that strengthens that conclusion.

Danny Rubinstein, a columnist for Ha’aretz likened Israel to apartheid South Africa during a United Nations conference at the European Parliament in Brussels on 30 August 2007. A UN report records his saying that “Israel today was an apartheid State with four different Palestinian groups: those in Gaza, East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Israeli Palestinians, each of which had a different status.” 

Here is yet another Ha’aretz editorial in October 2014, following the ruling by Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon barring Palestinian workers from using Israeli public transport. Under the heading “Welcome aboard Israel’s apartheid bus” 27 October 2014, he wrote:

The minister’s decision reeks of apartheid, typical of the Israeli occupation regime in the territories. One of the most blatant symbols of the regime of racial separation in South Africa was the separate bus lines for whites and blacks. Now, Ya’alon has implemented the same policy in the occupied territories. In so doing, he justifies the claims of those who brand Israel internationally as an apartheid state.

In yet another example, Professor Daniel Blatman of the Hebrew University, writing in “Heading Toward an Israeli Apartheid State”, 4 Apr 2011, drew the connection between what was happening in the occupied territories and what was happening in green-line Israel:

Israeli racism, whose natural 'hothouse' is the colonialist project in the territories, has long since spilled over into Israeli society and has been legitimized in the series of laws recently passed in the Knesset.

[And further] I believe… the aim of this legislation is the gradual establishment of an apartheid state in Israel, and the future separation on a racial basis of Jews and non-Jews.

To round out this brief survey of an ongoing historic debate, I would like to cite two former Prime Ministers of Israel, both issuing dire warnings as to where Israel was headed should it not end the occupation of the Palestinian territories.

First Yitzhak Rabin’s warning of the dangers of apartheid reported in the Times of Israel, 25 Sep 2015, warning of the danger of apartheid:
 “In a previously unpublicized recording of a 1976 interview, Israel’s fifth prime minister Yitzhak Rabin can be heard calling the still-nascent West Bank settlement movement “comparable to a cancer,” and warning that Israel risked becoming an “apartheid” state if it annexed and absorbed the West Bank’s Arab population.”

And finally, David Ben-Gurion himself. The renowned Israeli journalist Hirsh Goodman, who had left South Africa for Israel because of the former’s antisemitism and racism, after marching victoriously through the Sinai as a paratrooper in the Six-Day War, recalls in his memoirs Let Me Create a Paradise, hearing David Ben-Gurion on the radio warning that Israel must rid itself of its Arab territories lest it “become an Apartheid state”…

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Because he is Jewish, Israel’s Nazi –like Deputy Speaker, Bezalel Smotrich, will not be removed from the Knesset

MK Bezalel Smotrich at the Knesset, December 2016. Emil Salman
Bezalel Smotrich is, even in Zionist or Israeli terms, a bigot, but in Israel being an anti-Arab bigot is no great matter.  The fact that he is also a Jewish Nazi is of no relevance.  In July last year, the Knesset passed legislation, The Expulsion Law [see After Stormy Debate, Knesset Approves Law Allowing Ouster of Lawmakers] which allowed for the expulsion of members who are guilty of incitement to racism.  However although the legislation does not say so, it is clearly understood that the law only applies to Arabs.  That is also understandable – Israel is after all a Jewish state.
Smotrich's beast parade
As the article below explains, Bezalel Smotrich, a member of the Habayit HaYehudi (Jewish Home) party, which is a member of the governing coalition, has a long record.  From organising a ‘beast parade’ of donkeys and other animals, as a parody of Jerusalem’s Gay Pride demonstration to supporting the present practice in Israeli hospitals that Jewish women have the right to a maternity ward that doesn’t contain Arabs.’ 'Israeli maternity wards segregate Jewish, Arab mothers'
Of course you have to understand that his wife ‘“is truly no racist, but after giving birth she wants to rest rather than have a hafla” — a mass feast often accompanied by music and dancing — “like the Arabs have after their births.” He went on to say that “It’s natural that my wife wouldn’t want to lie down [in a bed] next to a woman who just gave birth to a baby who might want to murder her baby twenty years from now.” adding that “Arabs are my enemies and that’s why I don’t enjoy being next to them.”
Smotrich at the illegal Amona outpost

Smotrich’s non-racist wife (because Zionists have a different definition of racism from most normal human beings) ‘Revital, later told Channel 10 that she had “kicked an Arab obstetrician out of the [delivery] room. I want Jewish hands to touch my baby, and I wasn’t comfortable lying in the same room with an Arab woman.” Lawmaker backs segregated Jewish, Arab maternity wards
Fortunately Bezalel’s remarks are not according to Israel’s anti-racism laws racist because all discrimination on the grounds of religion is automatically not racist!  Except when it comes to Arabs.
However Smotrich has outdone himself with his latest remarks calling for the lessons of Joshua (the wiping out of the inhabitants of Jericho, yea even including their children) to be applied to the Palestinians of the West Bank.  However, as in the case of his aforementioned remarks, there is nothing illegal about them, even though he is advocating what the Nazis did to the Jews because they too are based on religion.
Of course there are some people in Britain, not least the Labour Party, who believe that any 
comparisons between Israel, Zionism and the Nazis is anti-Semitic.  Indeed the new International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism defines comparisons between Israel and the Nazis as anti-Semitic.
The Zionists beginning with Herzl have been hostile to Armenian attempts to remember their holocaust
Shami Chakrabarti, in her Report on Racism and Anti-Semitism demonstrated that she didn’t have a clue as to why people compare Israel’s actions with the Nazis.  Clue:  Israel bases its legitimacy on the Holocaust and accuses its opponents variously of anti-Semitism, being Nazis, Kapos, traitors etc. despite the fact that Israel, as an ethno-religious state bars an uncanny similarity to Nazi Germany prior to 1941.
In day -to-day political debate, it is always incendiary to compare the actions of Jewish people or  ins titutions anywhere in the world to those of Hitler or the Nazis or to the perpetration of the Holocaust. Indeed such remarks can only be intended to be incendiary rather  than persuasive.  

According to Chakrabarti’s idiotic recommendation as to what constitutes anti-Semitism and the IHRAA definition of anti-Semitism, Israel’s Ha’aretz newspaper and Professor Blatman who wrote the article are guilty of ‘anti-Semitism’.
Of course in the real world most people will understand that advocating the genocide of an ethnic group or people is, almost by definition, Nazi like and those who tolerate such racism, which is what the Israeli government and the Labour Zionist opposition are equally guilty of is complicity in Nazi-like behaviour

Those who, like the Jewish Labour Movement and Israel’s emissary in the Labour Party, Jeremy Newmark, cry ‘anti-Semitism’ whenever Israel is criticised, are guilty of complicity in the Nazi like behaviour of the Bezalel Smotrichs of this world.

Tony Greenstein

The Israeli Lawmaker Heralding Genocide Against Palestinians

Deputy Speaker Bezalel Smotrich's admiration for the biblical genocidaire Joshua bin Nun leads him to adopt values that resemble those of the German SS

Daniel Blatman May 23, 2017 9:28 AM

Tomer Persico quoted remarks that MK Bezalel Smotrich (Habayit Hayehudi) made recently at a conference of religious Zionists, where he presented his plan to offer the Palestinians three options: leave the territories, continue to live there with second-class status, or continue resisting, in which case “the Israel Defense Forces will know what to do.” These are chilling words that are liable to lead Israel into committing the horrific crime of genocide.

It’s hard to believe that an elected representative of a party in the governing coalition could raise the option of genocide if the Palestinians don’t accept the terms he’s willing to offer them: either emigration, or life under an apartheid regime based on principles of Jewish law, which would be even worse than the one that existed in South Africa. Smotrich, a deputy speaker of the Knesset, is the most senior government figure to date to say unabashedly that the option of genocide is on the table if the Palestinians don’t agree to our terms – and it’s clear they won’t agree.

Smotrich relies on the biblical Book of Joshua as his model. Researchers of genocide in the ancient world have already determined that the Book of Joshua is an important document for examining the characteristics of genocide in the ancient world. Some of its components differed from the genocides of the 20th century, but the Book of Joshua describes actions that were explicitly defined as genocide in the 1948 UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. The convention defines anyone who commits such acts as someone who committed crimes against humanity and must therefore be put on trial.

This is how the Book of Joshua describes the conquest of the city of Ai (Joshua 8:24-29): “And it came to pass, when Israel had made an end of slaying all the inhabitants of Ai in the field, even in the wilderness wherein they pursued them, and they were all fallen by the edge of the sword, until they were consumed, that all Israel returned unto Ai, and smote it with the edge of the sword. ... So Joshua burnt Ai, and made it a heap forever, even a desolation, unto this day. And the king of Ai he hanged on a tree until the eventide; and at the going down of the sun Joshua commanded, and they took his carcass down from the tree, and cast it at the entrance of the gate of the city, and raised thereon a great heap of stones, unto this day.”

The 1995 massacre in Srebrenica, an atrocity slightly less terrible than the biblical one, was defined as genocide by the United Nations. Article 2 of the genocide convention states that “genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.” These acts include “killing members of the group”; “causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group”; “deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part”; and “imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group.”

Had the conquest of Ai taken place today, Joshua bin Nun would have been brought to court in handcuffs and tried on charges of genocide. And that’s Smotrich’s model.

Article 3 of the convention states that punishable actions related to genocide include genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, “direct and public incitement to commit genocide” and “complicity in genocide.” It would be interesting to hear what an expert in international law would say about Smotrich’s remarks.

Smotrich’s admiration for the biblical genocidaire Joshua bin Nun leads him to adopt values that resemble those of the German SS. Naturally, he didn’t take the trouble to make such comparisons, since someone who supports genocide doesn’t try to understand the worldview of the genocidaires who preceded him.

From God's mouth to Himmler's ears
Smotrich's hero, Heinrich Himmler with Reynhardt Heydrich

This is how God explains to Joshua why Israel was defeated in one of its battles against the enemy (Joshua 7:11-12): “Israel hath sinned; yea, they have even transgressed My covenant which I commanded them; yea, they have even taken of the devoted thing; and have also stolen, and dissembled also, and they have even put it among their own stuff. Therefore the children of Israel cannot stand before their enemies, they turn their backs before their enemies, because they are become accursed; I will not be with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed from among you.”

Or in other words, conquest and annihilation must be carried out according to precise instructions from God. When Israel violates these instructions by seizing property and looting without permission, they are punished.

The similarity between the biblical text and what Heinrich Himmler said to senior SS officers in Poznan in October 1943 is chilling. Here is what Himmler said: “I am referring here to the evacuation of the Jews, the extermination of the Jewish people. ... The wealth they possessed we took from them. I gave a strict order ... that this wealth will of course be turned over to the Reich in its entirety. We have taken none of it for ourselves. Individuals who have erred will be punished in accordance with the order given by me at the start, threatening that anyone who takes as much as a single Mark of this money is a dead man.”

In every genocide, the supreme authority insists on order and discipline from those responsible for carrying it out, in accordance with criteria which he sets. Members of the SS were convinced they were men of integrity, with clean hands, who didn’t loot their victims’ property. Does Smotrich believe the ethics of the Book of Joshua could serve as an example for how the Palestinians should be treated today?

Smotrich has a reputation as a racist and a homophobe. Now it turns out that he also potentially supports mass murder. In any enlightened society, one can find people like this in dubious pubs, in Munich or Mississippi, that are frequented by skinheads tattooed with swastikas. But in Israel, the person saying this is a representative of the state.

One obviously can’t expect Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to do anything about this. But the real danger to Israel comes from the hundreds of Knesset members and public figures from other parties – including Likud, Yesh Atid and even Zionist Union – who understand quite well where Smotrich and his colleagues in the Habayit Hayehudi party are dragging the state, but are afraid to stand up, form a united front with the Israeli left and tell the public the truth: Smotrichism, like Hitlerism, Stalinism and Maoism before them, is an ideology that leads to the perpetration of genocide.

If those who understand this don’t rise up and eliminate this danger now, this will be the tragic end of the Palestinian people. But it will also be the end of the vision of a sovereign Jewish existence in Israel.

Prof. Blatman is a historian of the Holocaust and genocide at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. 

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Labour Changes Manifesto as a result of Zionist Pressure – No Condemnation of Israeli Settlements or Violence

Once again Corbyn Backs Down as Zionist Lobby Continues to Attack him
The article below by Asa Winstanley makes it clear that the draft Labour manifesto was altered as a result of  pressure from the Labour Friends of Israel, which is nothing more than a front for the Israeli Labour Party, and the Jewish Labour Movement, an extension of the Israeli Labour Party inside our Labour Party.  

A statement that the expansion of settlements on the West Bank was ‘wrong and illegal’ was taken out at the last minute.  Likewise a statement that ‘that Labour “cannot accept the continued humanitarian crisis in the Occupied Palestinian Territories” was also removed.

The humanitarian crisis in Gaza includes hunger, people dying for lack of medicines, water that is 90% unfit to be drunk and an  inability to rebuild after Israel's last attack because Israel refuses to allow building materials in (in conjunction with the Egypian police state under Sisis with whom Israel works).  Couple this with electricity for 3-4 hours a day, 80% unemployment, Israel regularly shooting and killing Gaza fishermen because Israel doesn't like Palestinians in Gaza having independent access to food resources, and you have a humanitarian catastrophe.  Corbyn's gutlessness in not facing that snake Tom Watson down and insisting that Israel is at fault is despicable.
The equation of Israel's continuous military violence with Palestinian attempts to fight back is an example of how far Corbyn has capitulated to Watson and co
The idea that 'rockets' from Gaza, which are little more than car exhausts and which haven't in any case been fired now for some 2 years, equates to the FI-5 fighter planes of Israel and the one ton bombs they drop on civilian areas is to equate the violence of the Yugoslav resistance with that of the Nazis.

The reason why the initial policy statements were dropped?  These statements were unbalanced.  Presumably a condemnation of Apartheid in South Africa would also have been ‘unbalanced’ as far as the White Supremacists were concerned.  How can you be neutral between an occupier and the occupied?  The idea of 'equivalence' between an occupier and an occupied people, who are subject to the full force of military repression is obscene.
Showing the typical Zionist ingratitude, Jeremy Newmark of the racist Jewish Labour Movement makes it clear that he doesn't and won't support Corbyn as Prime Minister - fortunately Newmark is in an unwinnable 

Israel maintains a military and settler colonial occupation of the West Bank.  3 million Palestinians have no civil or political rights.  They are governed by an entirely different set of laws and regulations to Jewish settlers, Military Law as opposed to Israel’s civil law, is usually known as Apartheid.  When one takes into account that Israel’s Palestinians are also treated as a guest population, segregated and the subject of violence and discrimination, in Israel on sufferance, then the removal of even the reference to the continued humanitarian crisis, especially in Gaza is a disgrace.

Corbyn spent 30+ years in the Palestine solidarity movement.  His capitulation to the Zionist lobby is sad.  The same lobby which, in the case of the Jewish Labour Movement voted 92-4% to support Owen Smith last summer.  The Chair of the JLM Jeremy Newmark has made it clear that in the event of him being elected, fortunately very unlikely, he would not support Jeremy Corbyn alongside a number of right-wingers such as Hove’s Peter Kyle and John Woodcock.
The Zionists would have Labour be even handed between a military occupation and the rights of those who live under occupation
The Israeli state isn't the cuddly and warm Jewish state that its propagandists over here put over.  Israel is the state that forged the closest alliance with Apartheid South Africa.  It is the state that supplied, armed and trained the Guatemalan military who murdered up to 200,000 Mayan Indians.  In other words Israel is a pariah state led by war criminals.

Unfortunately there is no Palestine solidarity group inside the Labour Party to counter the Israeli Embassy’s groups – Labour Friends of Israel and Jewish Labour Movement.

Tony Greenstein

Israel lobby claims “win” over Labour manifesto changes
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Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn launching the party’s 2017 manifesto. (Labour Party)
A section about Palestine in the UK Labour Party’s new manifesto was significantly altered after intervention from the Israel lobby.

The main opposition party published a list of pledges this week ahead of a general election on 8 June.
A draft of the manifesto was leaked to the press last week.

Reference in the draft to “expansion of Israeli settlements on the Palestinian West Bank” being “wrong and illegal” was removed from the final document.

A second line stating that Labour “cannot accept the continued humanitarian crisis in the Occupied Palestinian Territories” was also removed.

According to London newspaper The Times, the changes were made after Jeremy Newmark, chair of pro-Israel group the Jewish Labour Movement, complained about the draft being an “unbalanced, partisan” text.

The final document demanded both “an end to the [Israeli] blockade” of Gaza, its “occupation and settlements” and an “end to [Palestinian] rocket and terror attacks.” By doing so, it created a false equation between the violence of Israel, a highly militarized state, and the resistance tactics used by some Palestinian groups in response to Israeli oppression.
Palestinian state
But Labour’s commitment to recognizing a Palestinian state was also made more explicit in the final version.

The draft had only said a Labour government would “support Palestinian recognition at the UN.” The final version commits the party to “immediately recognize the state of Palestine” if it wins the election.

Labour Friends of Israel, a pressure group within the party, has described the changes as a “difficult win,” according to The Jewish Chronicle.

Jeremy Newmark did not reply to request for comment.

Newmark is a long-standing leader in the UK’s Israel lobby, and has a history of working closely with the Israeli government against the Palestine solidarity movement.

He is standing as Labour’s candidate for a north London seat in Parliament.

The final version of the manifesto’s section on Palestine seems to have been essentially reverted to the pledges Labour made before the 2015 general election. The two wordings are almost identical, apart from the references to Palestinian “terror attacks” and the “state of Palestine.”

The manifesto now says that “there can be no military solution to this conflict and all sides must avoid taking action that would make peace harder to achieve.”

The 2017 Labour manifesto has been hailed as radical and is proving to be popular with voters.
Although Labour is still trailing the ruling Conservative Party in opinion polls, its ratings have been surging after unvealing a series of policy proposals.

Supposedly “radical” Labour policies such as building 100,000 social-rent homes a year and slightly increasing tax for those with an annual salary exceeding £80,000 ($104,000) were once polical consensus, carried out by Labour and Conservative governments alike.

It is only because politics in the UK swung so far right under Margaret Thatcher’s Conservatives in the 1980s, and later under Tony Blair’s New Labour, that current leader Jeremy Corbyn’s modest social democratic program can be portrayed by a hostile media as a dangerous and “radical” document which would take the UK “back to the 1970s.”

But when it comes to Palestine, the manifesto seems to reflect long-failed conventional “wisdom.”
And it proposes no sanction that would hold Israel to account for its human rights violations against Palestinians. Even the draft version contained no such proposal.

When it comes to foreign policy, Corbyn’s “radicalism” remains very much constrained by the Labour Party’s right-wing, pro-Israel remnants.