Left antisemitism

Left antisemitism: what it is and how to fight it
AWLTue, 18/09/2018 - 16:29

Since Jeremy Corbyn became leader of the Labour Party a number of political storms have taken place in which Corbyn and the wider left have been accused of antisemitism.

Some on the left contend such accusations are “smears”, with no basis in reality, fabricated by right-wing forces to impede the rise of the left.
We disagree. We have argued for many years that certain aspects of the political common sense dominant on the far left, particularly in terms of how it views the Israel/Palestine conflict have antisemitic implications.

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A racist endeavour?

Submitted by SJW on 11 September, 2018 - 10:06 Author: Michael Elms
Israel is a racist endeavour poster

One of the eleven examples of antisemitism in the IHRA is this: “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.”

With the IHRA adoption by Labour, some on the Labour left, has asserted their “right” to call Israel a “racist endeavour”.

Shortly after the Labour NEC vote a posters carrying the slogan “Israel is a racist endeavour” popped up around London.


Submitted by RodinsonReader (not verified) on Sat, 15/09/2018 - 21:46

I agree that we should be cautious about where such a statement *can* lead and often *does* lead, especially given the prevalence of conspiratorial antisemitism on the left. Uses of this slogan are often dumb and underpinned by an unthinking antisemitism which seems quite pervasive. But given the wider context (e.g. a factional battle in the Labour party) there's also a lot more to it than that. In terms of the statement "Israel is a racist endeavour", there are bad arguments in its favour, and good arguments in its favour, but these are flattened out in the IHRA example (and in this article), which effectively renders all foundational critiques of the Israeli state -- including those proposed by anti-Zionist Jews, anarchists and No Borders activists etc. -- as antisemitic, even when those critiques are applied equally (as they *sometimes* are on the left) against other colonial settler states like Australia, the US, Canada etc. And of course this is grist to the mill for those self-avowed liberals who understand racism only as an individual attitudinal defect confined to political extremists on the left and the right.

Personally I would argue that the migration of Jews to Palestine, and their aspiration for some form of national state in that territory, were legitimate and understandable in light of the Holocaust and other persecutions (i.e. what Deutscher referred to as a "raft state"); but at the same time, regretfully, a European-style "Orientalist" racism was hardwired into the Zionist enterprise from an early stage, one which has been institutionalized into the Israeli state and remains almost entirely in tact today. So is Israel a racist enterprise? Yes and no: it was, in key respects, a response to one form of racism and an expression of another. Is it any more of a racist enterprise than other European colonial settler states? No, but its racist structures were established more recently, and therefore remain in tact to a far greater (and more visible) degree, than other European colonialist endeavours; hence some (but by no means all) of the opprobrium which it attracts today.

Submitted by John Scott (not verified) on Tue, 18/09/2018 - 05:16

There is an unacknowledged lion in your path here; there is never going to be a two state solution; there will either be an Israeli ethnostate, purged of its Palestinian minority during some future war, or a democratic secular state of Israel/Palestine with equal rights for all. Socialists must opt for the latter. The only people, with the exception of yourselves and the Palestinian Authority, who claim to advocate a two-state solution are fraudsters like Hillary Clinton. Israel is a racist state in the same sense as Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the US; colonial-settler states in which the indigenes have suffered dispossession. In these cases, as in Israel, we cannot undo all past historical crimes but it is in our power to fight for the maximum possible restorative justice. As, for instance, today's Australians are Australians and not British settlers, it would be absurd and also impossible to advocate "returning" them to a homeland which is no longer theirs, neither should we demand the same of Israelis; but Australian aborigines and Palestinians are entitled to full and effective citizenship rights regardless of colour or religion. I can see little in the "anti-semitism" furore currently ongoing in the UK than a psywar op conducted by Blairite revanchists, the Israeli embassy, and the gutter media, in this instance including the Guardian.All of them the sort of people you would be well advised to steer clear of.

Submitted by Fred (not verified) on Wed, 19/09/2018 - 02:46

I think the article dodges one of the central problems, which is that the raison d'être of Israel is to privilege a particular ethnic group - Jews - over all other ethnic groups. In other words your status in Israel is defined by your ethnicity, such that if you are a Jew, you are constitutionally privileged. So when you talk about two states, will one of them, Israel, continue for example to operate the Law of Return as a law reserved exclusively for Jews? And if all ethnic groups in both Israel and Palestine were granted identical rights (inc. a Law of Return applied to all), would this not imply that there is no need for two separate states, given that until only recently there was just one?

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Yes "smash Israel" is antisemitic
Protest against IHRA
SJWTue, 11/09/2018 - 22:01

The Labour Party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) has decided to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance's (IHRA) definition of antisemitism in full.

This is a step forward for Labour but only after weeks of indecision, confusion and lack of leadership in a row which may have caused a great deal of damage.

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Left antisemitism: what it is and how to fight it meetingsGemma_STue, 11/09/2018 - 16:15

Workers' Liberty is hosting a series of meetings across the country about antisemitism.

If you'd like more information about a meeting or would like us to organise a meeting in your area get in touch with office@workersliberty.org.

Lewisham Tuesday 18 September, 7.30, 388 New Cross Road, London SE14 6TY
Speaker: Daniel Randall, London Underground worker, RMT activist and Workers' Liberty
Facebook event

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Anti-IHRA lobby is defence of left antisemitismSJWWed, 29/08/2018 - 09:11

The decision by an “emergency meeting” hosted by Camden Momentum to call a lobby of Labour’s National Executive on 4 September, to oppose the adoption of the IHRA definition of antisemitism, is toxic.

Momentum activists have linked their opposition to the IHRA definition to the lack of internal democracy in Momentum.

But justifiable anger about the way Momentum builds and then promotes its slates for the National Executive is being used to promote the worst views of left antisemites.

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Corbyn, anti-Zionism, and antisemitism
Corbyn, anti-Zionism, and antisemitism
AWLSun, 26/08/2018 - 12:45

In video footage from a speech at a conference in 2013, Jeremy Corbyn accuses “Zionists” of failing to “understand English irony”, despite “having lived in this country for a very long time, probably all their lives”, as well as of not “wanting to study history”.

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A reply to some confused critics

Submitted by SJW on 8 August, 2018 - 10:24 Author: Dan Katz

Five Labour Party members have written an article ‘The AWL, Zionism and the struggle for equal rights in Israel/Palestine’ (bit.ly/20ma0WX) in which they accuse the AWL of being a “Zionist front organisation” outside the Palestinian solidarity movement (defined as being the PSC, BDS campaigns, Jewish Voice for Labour etc).

They accuse us of “justifying settler colonialism” and justifying “apartheid”. They accuse “powerful” organisations such as Labour Friends of Israel as organising a witch-hunt in the Labour Party.

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What Labour's code of conduct omits

Submitted by SJW on 8 August, 2018 - 10:07 Author: Martin Thomas
Labour antisemitism protest

Antisemitism, in Europe anyway, is thousands of years old, and has taken many different forms.

Since the 19th century, it has a “left-wing” variant, in which anticapitalist feeling is directed against Jews as easily-targeted scapegoats for capitalism rather than, or as well as, against the impersonal and relatively-complicated real mechanisms of capitalist exploitation and oppression.

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A short reply to some confused critics

Submitted by AWL on 6 August, 2018 - 5:00 Author: Dan Katz

Five Labour Party members have written an article ‘The AWL, Zionism and the struggle for equal rights in Israel/Palestine.’

They oppose the Two States solution; they are for BDS; they are “anti-Zionist”.


Submitted by Matthew on Tue, 07/08/2018 - 12:50

All solutions to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, especially those proposed by those outside the region, have the tendency to sound utopian given the current poisonous situation there, the two-state one no less than any other: is it likely that the setting up of two states would lead to the long period of peace required for co-operation and the easing of tensions between them, any more than it has between India and Pakistan since partition, one a declared and the other a de facto ethno-religious state, as both Israel and a Palestinian state would be, given the history of conflict not only between them but their Arab neighbours as well? And what of the Jewish settlers who currently occupy large parts of the territory of any viable Palestinian state? They would either have to flee or be expelled, unless they were to live as a minority seen as a suspect "other" and routinely discriminated against as the Arab Israeli minority is now.

I'm not convinced that the Israel-Palestinian conflict is capable of a solution any time soon, short of your wand-wielding fairy descending and dispensing the magic that would be needed to dissolve the communal hatreds which drive it. If there is a long-term solution, it probably consists of looking beyond states and borders to a much looser confederation of self-governing entities in the Middle East which don't follow the lines drawn upon it by British and French imperialism after the First World War.

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