Labour's antisemitism crisis: an open letter to Jeremy Corbyn

Submitted by AWL on 27 February, 2019 - 10:38 Author: Sean Matgamna
corbyn not good enough

More debate on the Right of Return here.

Dear comrade Corbyn,

How has the crisis that grips the new, new Labour Party on antisemitism come about? How has it come to be the major scandal it is now?

Yes, the charge of antisemitism is now a weapon of the Tories, the Labour right, and the media against the Labour Party. The question that matters, though, is: are they right about it? Right about the essentials, not this or that incident or extrapolation? If the charge is true, than it overshadows everything else. Antisemitism is not just a little political blemish. It poisons and warps and rots the mind, the integrity, the spirit and the humanity of everything it touches. It puts those who let themselves be fouled by it in the same political and moral sphere - in however small a role - with those who perpetrated the greatest crime of the 20th century.

It is true, I believe, that the eight Labour MPs who have left the party over antisemitism and the Party's refusal to be firmly anti-Brexit are, in general politics, all Blair-Brownites. Nobody who watched and listened to Luciana Berger's speech explaining why she left the Labour Party will doubt the sincerity of her account of the antisemitism that has driven her and the others, or most of them, out of the Party. The alarm that has gripped the Jewish community about antisemitism in the Labour Party and the prospect of a government led by you and your close collaborators is real. It is what it seems to be, and not just a political posture to damage the Labour Party.

There is a long tradition in much of the Jewish community of support and involvement with the Labour Party. To the leaders of the Jewish community, and many Jews, including Jewish members or recent ex-members of the Labour Party, the "left" in the Party, or some of it, must appear as possible future anti-Jewish pogromists, as has much of the would-be "revolutionary" left for a long time now. I am not jumping on anyone's bandwagon in saying this. Solidarity and its predecessor Socialist Organiser - in which you wrote frequently in its early years - have campaigned against antisemitism on the left for four decades and more. We have published pamphlets about it and recently dealt with it in books.

Where has the crisis come from? From five decades of political and moral ferment on the ostensibly "Trotskyist" left in which absolute hostility to Israel, to any Israel, has slowly built up in the political atmosphere like poisonous smog.

During the Blair-Brown epoch, that "revolutionary" left was excluded and self-excluded from the Labour Party. The "Corbyn surge" that recreated a mass membership almost overnight pulled into the new, new Labour Party a lot of people educated on the Middle East question in the kitsch left. With them they brought their political baggage, and a trolling and bullying culture. On a certain level, the Corbyn surge was also an antisemitic surge. Some of them were involved in the 1970s and 80s in campaigning in the National Union of Students and on campuses against the right of Jewish student societies to exist. We have recently seen a new case of that, the first for decades, at Essex University.

There is, of course, an "objective" basis for all this in the festering Middle East conflict. There is an element of supporting the Palestinians, championing their rights which Israel often tramples on, smothered in it, somewhere. But the activists of "left" antisemitism go way beyond that necessary support for the Palestinians. Milk gone sour then "thickens" and changes its consistency. The long-existing absolute-antiZionist antisemitism dominant on the pseudo-revolutionary left has, on entry to the new, new Labour Party, on contact with it, thickened into something more virulent and poisonous. There is joy and satisfaction in self-righteous hatred, a nasty mix of aggression and self-love. "Zionist"-baiting can become an agreeable activity.

Antisemites are always perverted moralists. One measure of the absolute-anti-Zionist antisemites is that they know that the Arab and Islamic states' anti-Israel propaganda involves wholesale dissemination of old Nazi antisemitism, unrecycled and recycled, but they are not troubled by it and do not treat it as what it is: a mirror in which to look at themselves. The absolute anti-Zionists typically do not support the Palestine Liberation Organisation policy (since 1988) for a two-states settlement, an independent Palestinian state side-by-side with Israel. They are adamantly for a one-state solution, for an Arab and Islamic state incorporating the population of 1948-67 Israel, or those of the population whom it does not kill or drive out in conquering them.

The absolute anti-Zionists have not noticed that the one-state solution actually on offer is one now favoured by some of the Israeli right - a Jewish-Hebrew state ruling all pre-1948 Palestine, with a great Arab minority and for certain a long future of bitter conflict. The absolute anti-Zionists typically support and advocate Arab and Islamic war on Israel. With placards, banners, slogans, and platform speakers, this alleged left has turned "peace" demonstrations into demonstrations for war on Israel by the Arab and Islamic states. They have taken over the historical demonisation of Zionism created and spread by the Stalinist movement in Stalin's last four or five years, up to 1953. That is where all the nonsense, in Lenni Brenner's books for instance, about Zionist-Nazi affinity and alliance come from.

For some, such as your close comrades in arms of the Morning Star, this is natural enough. Called the Daily Worker in that period, it spread the absolute-anti-Zionist antisemitic poison spewing out from Russia and Russia's satellites, where antisemitic show trials were held in Hungary and Czechoslovakia. In the mid-50s the Communist Party went through a period of self-criticism. They shed those attitudes for a long time. They have regressed.

In June 2018, a writer in the Morning Star proclaimed: "No amount of protestations about the symptoms of rising anti-semitism or anti-Israel sentiment in Britain and elsewhere will end the problem until its root cause - Israel’s criminal behaviour - is dealt with". An outcry led the Morning Star to formally retract that too explicit and candid statement of what, self-righteously, they really believe. Your record shows that you are a man who has a principled commitment to a general socialism, and is freed of the occupational hazard of MPs, careerism, venal self-serving, and political scoundrelism in general. But you, comrade Corbyn, have to my knowledge never drawn a political line between your present self and the antisemitism-fomenting publication for which you wrote a regular column until elected Labour Party leader.

I was agreeably surprised, after your 2015 election as Labour Party leader, when someone told me you were for a two-states settlement. I had seen you sharing platforms at gatherings with virulent absolute anti-Zionists such as George Galloway. Many who pay lip-service to "two states" combine it with absolute anti-Zionist commentaries that imply not "two states" but the rejection of any sort of Israel. You?

Comrade Corbyn, a two-states programme for the Middle East cuts against the prevailing absolute anti-Zionism, and against the demonisation of the living "Zionists" in Israel. The absolute anti-Zionists are racists. That is a word that has lost much of its meaning and become the equivalent of a swear-word, expressing detestation and moral repugnance. It serves to obliterate all distinctions and gradations. Here it is precise, literal. The absolute anti-Zionists are "gene-ists". They have a political theory based on genetics. Their chief demand is a "right of return", meaning an organised movement to pre-1967 Israel of six million people designated as Palestinian refugees.

Only a small fraction of those six million are refugees. The rest are descendants of refugees. Yet the six million descendants of refugees are deemed to have a right to displace six and a half million Jews in the territory where their parents, grandparents, and maybe great-grandparents have lived and built an advanced society that has little in common now with the rudimentary Israeli or Palestinian society of seven decades ago. This "right of return" implies, and is meant to imply, the displacement of the Jews of Israel. By what standards do the descendants of the people who lived in that territory decades ago have the right to do that? There is no possible answer other than that they have the right genes. They are genetic descendants of the refugees of 1948 or after.

The self-righteous absolute anti-Zionist hysteria, denouncing the very existence of Israel as "racist", blunder onto the territory of pure race theory! Some of the most virulent "anti-Zionists" would translate this also into religious terms: Islam has precedence over Judaism. They also, though I don't want to stretch what I am saying here, implicitly have a "racist" definition of those whom they want to see conquered and disarmed.

Blaming only Israel for the plight of the Palestinian descendants of refugees is also prejudiced nonsense. The Palestinians who fled or were driven out in 1948 did so during a war in which Arab states, most still British-dominated, some still with British officers in important positions in the invading armies, attacked the territory allocated to the Jews by the United Nations 1947 partition plan. The Egyptian forces, at least, moved under the slogan, "Drive the Jews into the sea". About 750,000 Arabs were refugees at the end. Perhaps 600,000 Jews were driven out of Arab states, their property confiscated, then or in the next decades. Israel absorbed those Jews.

In 1945, 12 or 13 million Germans were driven out of areas of Eastern Europe where German communities had lived for hundred of years, into an economically ruined and starving Germany which nevertheless absorbed them. Perhaps half a million died of hardship or were murdered during that process. That many Arab refugees remained refugees for decades was the result of deliberate policy by Arab governments not to let them assimilate, become a general part of the population, or even work. In Jordan (1970) and Lebanon (1983), Arabs massacred Palestinian Arab refugees.

It is on gross historical misrepresentations such as on this question that much of the hysteria against Israel which is now a major factor in the life of the Labour Party was built over decades. Current conflicts are seen in the distorting light of this absolute anti-Zionist pseudo-history. The core and root of the main contemporary antisemitism is there in the falsified history and in the conclusion it leads to - that Israel is an illegitimate nation, that its state has no right to exist, and that Arab and Islamic states that want to put it out of existence should be supported.

Israel now acts from a position of strength vis-a-vis the Palestinians. There is a lot to criticise and condemn in Israeli policy towards the Palestinians - centrally, Israel's de facto opposition to a Palestinian state alongside Israel. But at root there is a conflict of right against right here, to which the solution should be not the destruction of Israel but "equalising up" by way of the Palestinians getting their own state.

The Jewish nation that won independence in 1948 was built up around Jews indigenous to the area. There was already a Jewish majority in Jerusalem before the migration of Jews from Europe in the 20th century. The Jewish population was augmented by refugees from Polish antisemitism in the 20th century; by refugees from Nazism in the 1930s; and by Jews in the 1940s fleeing for the lives (and pitilessly refused entry to Palestine during the war and for three years after by the British overlords, under pressure of the Arab world).

What is needed in the Labour Party is a drive to educate the party and politically beat down the ideologues of an absolute anti-Zionism that becomes barely distinguishable from antisemitism. That is what a responsible leadership should do.

The Morning Star which incites the antisemites (and in a moment of soon-retracted candour justified antisemitism as a proper response to what Israel does) is in theory for two states, but shares and propagandises for all the judgements that leads the raucous antisemites in the party to deny Israel the right to exist. So, it appears, do you. Here the question is a variant of an old one: who is to educate the educators?

As well as an educational drive in the party on this question - which includes a candid discussion of the politics of the leadership - the party should declare advocacy of the destruction of Israel, by Arab or Islamic states or whomever, incompatible with membership of the Labour Party. Encoded versions of that policy - via "right of return" for example - should not be tolerated in the labour movement. Advocacy of measures that are code for driving Israel out of existence - "right of return", "from the river to the sea", etc. - should not be tolerated in a healthy labour movement.

Probably there is very wide acceptance that Holocaust deniers should not be in the Labour Party. Among the absolute anti-Zionists there is a direct descendant of that - Holocaust mitigation, the idea that the Holocaust happened but it should be treated as if it is of no consequence in history, especially for understanding how Israel came into existence.

On one level, a middle-aged woman saying that there have been many "Holocausts" might just be a piece of heroic ignorance or the result of an epochally thick skin. In fact, even if it comes from a misdirected urge to side with the Palestinians, it is part of Holocaust mitigation. But things like that do not lend themselves to political warfare measures. Specific criticisms of Israel only become lethal and should be impermissible when they are used (as they too often are) to justify the conclusion that therefore Israel should not exist and that "we" should side with Arab and Islamic states that try to put it out of existence.

The Labour Party is the party of the broad labour movement, and therefore the concern of everyone who wishes the party well. The absolute anti-Zionist "left" are carriers of a lethal poison in the labour movement. For the same reason, people should not leave the Labour Party over antisemitism, and those who have left in disgust at antisemitism should rejoin. Fight the antisemites, don't abandon the party to them.

Debate on this issue can be found here.

Comments

Submitted by Zvi Raviv (not verified) on Thu, 28/02/2019 - 09:08

Congratulations for putting a Mirror to the ugly face, Labour is displaying now! There is a great difference between Disagreement and simple vile Propaganda!
There is no difference (for me as a jew) between the Anti-jewish propaganda of the Nazis and the current slogans chanted by the BDS and other blind supporters of the Policies that simply want to kill me and my family.

[comment cut: controvening website standards]

Submitted by R Allen (not verified) on Tue, 05/03/2019 - 13:09

In reply to by Zvi Raviv (not verified)

What are your views on the British government policy (not just Labour) that the state of Israel should withdraw to behind its 1967 borders? Is that antisemitic in your opinion? Some would argue that it is.

Submitted by Ted (not verified) on Thu, 28/02/2019 - 11:36

There's a difference between advocating a single secular democratic state and calling for the military conquest of Israel, isn't there? I doubt that over 10% of Israeli Jews would be in favour of one-state if they thought it meant a pogromist war. (Pew poll, from memory). Whether or not that's (a) practical (b) what people are really calling for is another issue.

Submitted by Tony Greenstein (not verified) on Fri, 01/03/2019 - 04:00

I am not going to reply in depth to this. When the Right is mounting what amounts to a slow coup against Corbyn. When Chris Williamson has been suspended, the AWL joins hands with the RIght over the fake 'antisemitism' campaign. You really are as one with the Labour Right and the reactionary attack on the Corbyn project.

It amazes me how you can even call yourselves socialists let alone Trotskyists

Submitted by R. Allen (not verified) on Tue, 05/03/2019 - 13:11

In reply to by Tony Greenstein (not verified)

I apologise for disagreeing with you, but I don't think your comment amounts to a rebuttal of the letter. I see only accusations here without evidence, which is exactly what you accuse the AWL of doing. What about facts to support your case?

Submitted by Redela (not verified) on Wed, 06/03/2019 - 19:04

In reply to by Tony Greenstein (not verified)

For many years, AWL has distinguished itself with its crass accomodation to imperialist current. Like so many Trot sects before, like Militant.

But today, boy you guys have crossed class lines. As noted up there by Tony, in the middle of the most serious threat to Corbyn (and therefore the left) you decide the best approach is to join in the witchhunt. Corbyn is our last best chance. If he fails, or if he is deposed, your 'Marxist analysis' should warn you of what comes next when social democracy repeatedly fails the working class: fascism.

Just look around Europe. As neo-liberal social democratic parties have collapsed, we have the rise of Le Pen, Wilders, Hofer et al.

In the US, the failure of Sanders gave us Trump.

In Brazil the failure of the PT (albeit one ruthlessly engineered by the ruling class) we have Bolsonaro (like the anti-Semitic Trump a strong supporter of Israel!)

If Corbyn fails, you will come to rue the day you opportunistically tried to jump on the anti-Corbyn bandwagon. You worry about anti-Semitism? Just you wait until the jackboots are marching on the streets of Britain again. You can all pat each other on the back for your superior analysis as you sit in jails.

Submitted by AWL on Fri, 01/03/2019 - 10:47

We welcome debate on this page. We operate no political censorship, but we reserve the usual editorial right to delete or cut comments which are racist or sexist; advertising; abusive; excessive in volume; or otherwise inappropriate. Visitors who persistently flout this policy will blocked.

Submitted by TONY GREENSTEIN (not verified) on Sat, 09/03/2019 - 17:03

In reply to by AWL

Dear Comrades,

A strange thing happened last night. I posted a link to a blogpost

'The Alliance for Workers Liberty’s Alliance with Tom Watson and Labour’s Right'
http://azvsas.blogspot.com/2019/03/the-alliance-for-workers-libertys_8… on here

and it hasn't appeared! I find this most surprising since you state:

'We welcome debate on this page. We operate no political censorship, but we reserve the usual editorial right to delete or cut comments which are racist or sexist; advertising; abusive; excessive in volume; or otherwise inappropriate.

My post is part of a debate. Surely Sean Matgamna isn't afraid of debating with me is he?

You say you operate 'no political censorship'. Good. I welcome this. Neither do I.

Nothing in my article was racist or sexist nor did it advertise anything nor was it abusive. Of course Matgamna argues that all anti-Zionism is 'antisemitic' but since I don't accept his point to block the link to my response is censorsip, nothing else.

Nor was my comment excessive since I posted a link to the article. I didn't copy its whole 4,000 words which was excessive.

I am therefore left puzzling as to what has happened to my comment. I can only assume it is one of those technical glitches that can happen with the best run site and I know it won't happen again.

Just in case though I will screen print this!

Yours in comradeship

Tony Greenstein

Submitted by cathy n on Tue, 12/03/2019 - 10:31

In reply to by TONY GREENSTEIN (not verified)

Don't know why the post/comment did not appear - some technical hitch I think. Please note moderation of comments on articles is essential but is not attended to daily, but we will be more up-to-speed in future. Thanks for your patience.

Submitted by Paton John (not verified) on Fri, 01/03/2019 - 18:29

Congratulations on a very historic ally accurate presentation on the evolution of the demography of Palestine 1900 - 2019. By 1947 there was a Jewish majority in the part of Palestine allocated to the state of Israel by the UN. Israel ACCEPTED the UN judgement. All the neighbouring Arab states denounced the UN judgement and invaded Israel. In the bitter fighting that followed both sides committed massacres in overrunning villages. The religious leader of Muslim Palestinians, Haj Amin Al Huseini , issued a call on the radio for Muslim people living in Israeli allocated areas to flee to Arab countries. As a result huge numbers of Arabs fled to Jordan, Egypt Lebanon and Syria where the government kept them in refugee camps rather than encourage their integration into the host community. The article is also accurate about the difference between Israel’s treatment of it’s Palestinian population ( full political rights ) and the treatment of Jews in Arab countries ( persecution and expulsion ) . Yes the current Israel government is racist and persecuting Arabs in the Occupied Territories and Socialists are right to oppose this . The solution is a two state situation after a return to the the pre-1967 boundaries . Denouncing Israeli policy in the occupied territories is not anti-semitic. Denying the right of Israel to exist IS anti-Semitic . Incidentally some of the criticisms of this AWL article are prime examples of attacking the writer not the writing . I have never before read such accuracy and perception from a Trotskyist - quite an eye-opined for this ageing Dennis Healey fan !

Submitted by Vince Martin (not verified) on Fri, 01/03/2019 - 19:04

When long serving Labour MPs desert the party but keep their seats and openly commit to voting with the Tories to prevent a General Election depriving them of those seats what are we to think? When they happily combine with ex-Tory MPs who have consistently supported austerity and thus nearly a decade of misery for the poor and disabled, dismantling the welfare state and wrecking the future of our children what are we to think? When a newly progressive and aanti-racist party of over a half million members is painted as a cesspit of anti-Semitism what are we to think? When a life-long anti-racist and friend of Jews is called a "fucking anti-Semite" in Westminster by a Labour MP and she is not investigated or sued for defamation of character what are we to think? When our freedom of speech on violent action by any state is to be curtailed if it might be construed as hatred of the ordinary inhabitants of that state what are we to think? Indeed are we to be allowed to think any more?

Submitted by Paul Muddle (not verified) on Fri, 01/03/2019 - 22:36

I agree with the broad thrust of the article but how do you reconcile opposition to the right to return with support for Zionism? I assume you support the right of Jews to return to Israel (and have no issue with that) but to be consistent the same right must be accorded to Palestinians and a future Palestinian state.

Submitted by Gerry Downing (not verified) on Sat, 02/03/2019 - 05:03

The AWL's Sean Matgamna has really gone over the top this time; he has exposed himself as a racist bigot and a disgrace to the name of socialism, let alone Trotskyism.

Note the coded attack on Jackie Walker and the justification of the AWL participation in her victimisation.

And he can only manage a throwaway comment in defence of the Palestinians:

"Israel now acts from a position of strength vis-a-vis the Palestinians. There is a lot to criticise and condemn in Israeli policy towards the Palestinians - centrally, Israel's de facto opposition to a Palestinian state alongside Israel. But at root there is a conflict of right against right here, to which the solution should be not the destruction of Israel but "equalising up" by way of the Palestinians getting their own state."

"Israel now acts from a position of strength" FFS as in the mass murder of defenceless civilians in Operation Cast Lead? Let us try that out in another way: "Hitler operated from a position of strength in regard to the Jews and disabled and communists etc....." Note its errors are not the heinous war crimes of sniper killings of demonstrators in Gaza over the last year, No demands for justice there. "Centrally" their crime is opposing a logistically impossible two-state solution "de facto", but mass murder? Who cares about the mass slaughter and maiming of Palestinians, the racist bigot says in effect.

And the "middle-aged woman" is obviously Jackie Walker, of course:

"On one level, a middle-aged woman saying that there have been many "Holocausts" might just be a piece of heroic ignorance or the result of an epochally thick skin. In fact, even if it comes from a misdirected urge to side with the Palestinians, it is part of Holocaust mitigation. But things like do not lend themselves to political warfare measures. Specific criticisms of Israel only become lethal and should be impermissible when they are used (as they too often are) to justify the conclusion that therefore Israel should not exist and that "we" should side with Arab and Islamic states that try to put it out of existence"

One would need to suffer from a great deal of "heroic ignorance" and "thick skin" to mention the 10 million slaughtered Africans in the Congo at the turn of the 20th century of the almost 6 million slaughtered in recent decades for imperialism's profits.

"The Labour Party is the party of the broad labour movement, and therefore the concern of everyone who wishes the party well. The absolute anti-Zionist "left" are carriers of a lethal poison in the labour movement. For the same reason, people should not leave the Labour Party over antisemitism, and those who have left in disgust at antisemitism should rejoin. Fight the antisemites, don't abandon the party to them."

The "absolute anti-Zionist "left"", of course, is all those who oppose Zionism and defend the Palestinians according to the warped logic of this right-wing Zionist bigot.

And I missed the last comment, the appeal to the right-wing bigots Independent Group who have such an appalling anti-working class Blairite record to come back and assist the AWL in its mission to destroy the rest of the left. This is truly shocking!

"For the same reason, people should not leave the Labour Party over antisemitism, and those who have left in disgust at antisemitism should rejoin. Fight the antisemites, don't abandon the party to them."

Submitted by Gary Hollands (not verified) on Sat, 02/03/2019 - 12:40

This article is awful, so awful it would take a response twice its length to answer it. It is basically an exercise in revisionism. It talks about the exodus of Jews from Arab countries, many were forced out but many also chose to leave. This falsehood is used for a cynical exercise in victim blaming, a justification for the mass expulsion of Palestinians.

The author throws accusations of racism at the 'absolute anti-Zionist "left"', which is a euphemism for anti-Semitic. But then engages in racism (as well as straw man arguments) on the issue of right to return.
The right of return is dismissed for Palestinians on the specious grounds of the, "..displacement of the Jews of Israel". We'll leave aside that the author seems ignorant there's also a sizeable Arab population in Israel, a population itself suffering displacement.

But the racism of this piece is revealed for all to see with the question, "By what standards do the descendants of the people who lived in that territory decades ago have the right to do that?".
The author is completely silent on Israel's Law of Return and with good reason. It grants rights to return for Jews and descendants of Jews, rights that the writer of this piece argues should not be extended to Palestinians. That is racism pure and simple.

This article is just another attack piece against the left of the party using the groundless slur of systemic anti-Semitism.

The only difference between this and and the right-wing and their media allies is that the author hides behind a left veneer.

Submitted by R. Allen (not verified) on Sun, 03/03/2019 - 16:21

In the days when South Africa was still a state governed by apartheid laws, the AWL was admirably energetic in denouncing it. But Israel, which under the current administration is equally an apartheid state, gets nothing more than a mild slap on the wrist for failing to respect the human rights of Palestinians.

In this long, rambling letter you will find no mention of the fact that in Israel there are two categories of citizens, one category having certain important rights and privileges, such as the right of self-determination, and the other one not. The evidence for this outrageous statement? Look no further than the Basic Law of 18 July 2018, which states the distinction in black and white. Long observed in practice, this legislation merely provides irrefutable proof of what many of us have suspected for some time.

So when will the AWL wake up and denounce apartheid in Israel? Or is that a hopelessly naive question?

Submitted by R. Allen (not verified) on Mon, 04/03/2019 - 15:10

This letter states that "In Lebanon (1983), Arabs massacred Palestinian Arab refugees." This is, shall we say, a somewhat biased version of what happened. The Kahan Commission, set up by the Government of Israel itself, found that the Israeli military played a significant part in the massacres by the Christian Phalange militia (I doubt the Phalangists would relish being called "Arabs", by the way). Ariel Sharon, defence minister at the time, was accused of encouraging or even orchestrating the massacre. It is somewhat disingenuous to attribute this to unspecified "Arabs", though it is good that the author at least appears to regret the incident.

Submitted by Bert Brech (not verified) on Wed, 06/03/2019 - 14:10

This could all have been put much more simply. Corbyn is fierce in condemning Israel but is cold or silent on Israel's right to exist. He therefore gives the impression of rejecting a legitimate Zionism. This nullifies the friendly attitude to Jews and Zionism Israel has had except in the bad era of Ernest Bevin as Foreign Minister. Corbyn could overcome the anti-Semitism crisis in the Labour Party by going to Israel, stressing his friendship for the Jewish state despite criticisms about the Palestinian issue. But he won't do so.

Submitted by R. Allen (not verified) on Tue, 12/03/2019 - 15:02

In reply to by Bert Brech (not verified)

This is a very sound point. Corbyn should acknowledge two things. (a) the state of Israel has a right to exist. (b) Israel should be, in perpetuity, a place where Jewish people anywhere in the world can be sure of finding a safe refuge from any future threat of persecution, ie the right of return for Jews should be acknowledged. This is an essential corollary of the historic fact of the Jewish holocaust.

All UK governments for the past 70 years have recognized Israel as a legitimate state, and anyone wanting to be a credible alternative leader in the UK will have to do the same. Personally, I would be very surprised if Corbyn were prepared to deny either (a) or (b) above. But he gives the impression that he might, which is highly damaging to the Labour Party.

By the way, he could take the opportunity at the same time to restate another position of successive UK governments, including the present Conservative government: that under the relevant UN resolutions, Israel should withdraw from the remaining territories occupied after the 1967 war. This, as we all know, is not going to happen this side of hell freezing over. But it would enable him to prove that he is not prepared to sell human rights short for the Palestinians: no more, at least, than any other British politician who has talked harshly on this matter, but carried a very, very small stick.

Submitted by Jason Schulman on Wed, 06/03/2019 - 23:29

There's a big difference between advocating a secular democratic state in which Israel-born Jews have liberal/democratic but no *national* rights, and a binational state in which they do. One should be very clear about which scenario one advocates.

It may be the case that no two-state settlement is viable any longer. Some democratic socialists in Israel -- and Palestinians in the occupied territories -- have come to this conclusion, and the AWL (including Sean) should take it seriously.

The question is then how to convince the majority of Israeli Jews to agree to creating a binational liberal democracy in all of historic Palestine. I don't know how that's to be done either. A Palestinian "one person, one vote" in the West Bank -- which would accept that the WB is now permanently part of "Greater Israel" -- is all I can think of.

In any case Chris Williamson is pals with the odious Vanessa Beeley, propagandist for Syrian dictator and mass-murderer Bashar al-Assad, and shares her views re: Syria, and he should've been kicked out of Labour for that alone. ALL dictator-apologists, of whatever sort, should be kicked out of Labour -- and that includes Andrew Murray and Seamus Milne.

On Beeley, see: https://medium.com/@Brian_Whit/vanessa-beeley-the-syrian-conflicts-godd…

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 07/03/2019 - 13:14

"Nobody who watched and listened to Luciana Berger's speech explaining why she left the Labour Party will doubt the sincerity of her account of the antisemitism that has driven her and the others, or most of them, out of the Party."

You have really lost the plot.

Submitted by Jason Schulman on Thu, 07/03/2019 - 22:20

Very much worth a read -- I hope Sean M. and others in AWL read it and take it seriously (anyone calling it "racist" should read more carefully):

https://zochrot.org/en/article/56516

Submitted by Tony Greenstein (not verified) on Fri, 08/03/2019 - 21:05

This article by Sean Matgamna is truly a disgraceful capitulation to the Right. Given that what Matgamna says the AWL agrees with, then one must assume that this article reflects the organisation's position and that expulsion for supporting a right of return for Palestinian refugees or calling for a democratic secular state in Palestine is the agreed policy.

I have written a response

The Alliance for Workers Liberty’s Alliance with Tom Watson and Labour’s Right
http://azvsas.blogspot.com/2019/03/the-alliance-for-workers-libertys_8…

Submitted by R. Allen (not verified) on Mon, 11/03/2019 - 11:10

Great letter, and Jason Schulman raises an interesting point. It seems to me that the choice is between a greater Israel including the West Bank, ie a single state solution, and a two state solution which would leave Israel with rather less, roughly on the 1967 borders plus greater Jerusalem let us say, and a Palestinian state in most of the West Bank. The former solution would mean that the Palestinians would not be able to have full voting rights in the larger Israel, without endangering the Jewish majority and threatening the Jewish nature of the state. The latter solution would involve Israel withdrawing a substantial proportion of the settler population, never an easy move in a coalition government where settler interests are well represented. It is not at all clear to me which solution will eventually be adopted, or whether the government of the day will simply put off a concrete decision while events take their course, probably in the long run the worst of all possible alternatives.

Submitted by cathy n on Tue, 12/03/2019 - 10:45

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Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 11/09/2019 - 02:02

El enlace: https://www.upf.edu/es/web/e-noticies/archivo/-/asset_publisher/wEpPxsV…
analiza como el antisemitismo sigue siendo un problema social generalizado y profundamente arraigado a la historia.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 11/09/2019 - 02:04

The link: https://www.upf.edu/es/web/e-noticies/archivo/-/asset_publisher/wEpPxsV…
analyzes how anti-Semitism remains a widespread social problem and deeply rooted in history.

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