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Sunday, July 08, 2018

Labour missteps on anti-semitism - again

I have been away for a week and, although I have done my best to keep up with current events through social media, was quite shocked when I saw the detail of what Labour are proposing with regards to their internal anti-Semitism agenda.

It appears that rather than accept the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of anti-Semitism, which has been adopted by thousands of public bodies and by political parties throughout the United Kingdom, Labour are seeking to build their disciplinary process around a much narrower view.

As Nick Cohen writes on the Guardian website, Labour has dropped the alliance’s stipulation that it was racist to accuse Jewish citizens of having a greater loyalty to world Jewry than their own country, or to hold Israel to a higher standard than other democratic nations:

The international definition implies that Ken Livingstone’s “Hitler was a Zionist” fake history or comparisons of Israel with Nazism are racist. Labour prefers to hide in a forest of equivocation. It is normal to draw metaphors from history, its Jewsplainers state. It is not antisemitic to use them “unless there is evidence of antisemitic intent”. As you can rarely look into another person’s soul and prove intent, I take that to mean Labour is giving many of its racists a free pass.

Its press officers assured me that the party wasn’t rigging the system. As they are good people wasting their lives working for compromised men and women, they must believe it. We do not. Recently departed Labour staffers describe as a “political project” the party’s decision to make Jews the only ethnic minority Labour denies the right to define the racism they face. Dissident leftists are already providing examples of the anti-Jewish hatred the new guidelines might allow.

This equivocation and sleight of hand by the Labour Party must surely undermine any credentials they had left as a radical, forward-thinking party. When combined with Jeremy Corbyn's capitulation to the Tories hard Brexit agenda, we really have to question what Labour are really for?
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