Labour payouts after antisemitism claims will mean more assaults on the left – Socialist Worker

Posted By on July 23, 2020

Support for Palestine and opposing the racist Israeli state is not antisemitic (Pic: Guy Smallman)

The left faces further assaults from the right following a huge pay-out and apology to so-called whistleblowers who appeared in a BBC documentary last year.

Labours former right wing general secretary Ian McNicol has said he is suing the party. It follows a leaked report that appeared to show his role in undermining Jeremy Corbyn. And John Ware, who made the documentary Is Labour antisemitic?, has said he will sue Corbyn.

It comes after Labour, under current leader Keir Starmers leadership, apologised for criticising the documentary last year. The party also paid out a figure of around 180,000 to Ware and former Labour staffers who appeared in the documentary, in a court settlement.

The apology and settlement effectively concede the documentarys accusation that Corbyns left wing politics encouraged antisemitism to grow inside Labour. In written apologies, Labour said, Antisemitism has been a stain on the Labour Party in recent years.

If we are to restore the trust of the Jewish community, we must demonstrate a change of leadership.

It comes ahead of the imminent publication of an investigation by the Equality and Human Rights Commission into Labours handling of antisemitism accusations.

Many left wing Labour members are furious at the decision. They say Labour had strong legal advice that it could have won the cases in court.

And the leaked report appears to show that some who appeared in the documentary worked to undermine Corbyn and disrupt the partys handling of antisemitism cases.

Yet the strongest response to the documentary is to refute its central allegationthat the lefts opposition to Israel encouraged antisemitism.

The whole documentary rested on a very dangerous conflation of Jewish people with the state of Israel and its founding ideology, Zionism. This is the idea that Jewish people should have a state of their own in Palestine, and that in this state they should be the majority.

Exclusion

It justified the ethnic cleansing of some 850,000 Palestinians from their homes when Israel was created in 1948. And it justifies the racist exclusion of Palestinians from Israel today.

Many Jews oppose Zionism because of this. Yet in the documentary Ware simply said that criticism of Zionism is offensive to Jewish people because Zionism is the project that established Israel as a secure Jewish homeland.

It made Zionism appear as something integral to being Jewish, and therefore anti-Zionism as essentially antisemitic. The lefts opposition to Israel was presented as the root of the problemand clamping down on it the solution.

The documentary featured footage of Corbyn at a Palestine Solidarity Campaign demonstration leading a chant of, We are all Palestinians.

Some of those who appeared in the documentaryincluding those who received pay-outswent along with the argument. One, Mike Creighton, called opposition to Israel an obsession that just spills over all the time into antisemitism.

He said Corbyn could have dealt with antisemitism with a significant speech on the issue of the Middle East, particularly saying that Israel has a right to exist.

The Labour left keep losing the battle over accusations of antisemitism because they keep refusing to challenge the claim that opposition to Israel is antisemitic.

The accusation is more than an attack on the Labour leftits an attack on Palestine solidarity as a whole. The fight against it cant be won by trying to overcome the rottenness of Labours internal politics.

There must be a fight to defend the right to call Israel a racist state, and to resist the central accusation that opposition to Israel is antisemitic.

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Labour payouts after antisemitism claims will mean more assaults on the left - Socialist Worker

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