Labour and the Jews: from ethnic cleansing to truth and reconciliation

97i/16/huty/6851/17Who is responsible for the Middle East conflict? And how do we help resolve it? We can do no worse than to begin by looking at Labour’s own history.

On this day in 1944, Labour’s annual conference was taking place in London. A week before D-Day and two weeks before V1s started hitting London, the Allies were making progress through Italy and were bombing targets in France in preparation for the invasion. And amidst all that, Labour delegates were focussed on “The International Post-War Settlement“, on how to build a post-war world.

They knew about the Holocaust though they had not yet really understood its magnitude. And in building a new world, they were prepared to contemplate some drastic measures. I recently purchased a copy of the NEC statement which was agreed at the conference. It included, in a section headed “Palestine”, the words I found profoundly shocking when I first read them: Continue reading

Why the Left must stop talking about ‘Zionism’

Star of David, blue sky, zionismThere is every justification for talking about the rights of Palestinians, for campaigning against the profound injustice that has been done to them and for criticising the actions and policies of the Israeli government but there is no defence for antisemitism, whoever makes the accusation.

As the Jewish Socialists’ Group (JSG) has rightly argued, “accusations of antisemitism are currently being weaponised to attack the Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour party with claims that Labour has a “problem” of antisemitism.” A group of Jews also wrote to the Guardian this week to add that: Continue reading

Corbyn and the Israel/Islam/Putin/Trident critique

Hammer Corbyn1An entire journalistic cottage industry now exists (such as here and here and here and here) devoted to making the claim that Jeremy Corbyn is an overgrown adolescent CNDer harbouring a lingering atavistic attachment to Russian nationalism, with participants frequently coming as close as libel laws permit to averring outright anti-semitism on the Labour leader’s part.

It’s not that Jezza is actually a goose-stepping proto-pogromist himself, the story goes. And probably he wouldn’t have given Litvinenko that polonium-210 laced cuppa with his own fair hand. But that’s only because he normally gets Seumas Milne to run FSB errand boy duties for him. Continue reading

What hope for Gaza?

Destruction in Gaza after Israeli bombardment, part of Operation Pillar of Defense Date	by Scott BobIn 1993 the Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestinian President Yasser Arafat shook hands on the lawn of the White House to seal the deal of the Oslo Accords (Oslo I). The terms of the accord were vague but gave rise to hope and received support from both Palestinians and Israelis. The accord envisaged an agreement leading to a “final status” solution to the Palestine/Israel conflict within five years.

In 1995 negotiations in Egypt (Taba) tried to put flesh on the bones of Oslo I (the result being referred to as Oslo II). This divided Palestinian territories into a series of regions most of which were controlled by Israel. It also set up the Palestinian Authority for which Yassar Arafat was elected as the President. Continue reading

Labour Friends of Israel continues to whitewash war crimes

Palestine1One year on from the tragic events in Gaza last summer, and the British Israel lobby is still trying to distract us from Israel’s crimes by highlighting perceived wrongdoing by other sides.

In her piece for Left Foot Forward, Jennifer Gerber makes a number of claims which require refutation: Hamas’ responsibility for provoking ‘the conflict’; the use of ‘terror tunnels’; Hamas use of human shields; and finally what Gerber laughably calls, ‘Israel’s attempt to avoid civilian casualties’.

Continue reading