Unfair Attack on UK’s Labour Party

The British Labour Party is under attack for “anti-Semitism” because a few of its members have made remarks critical of Israel and Zionism, but this assault is an abuse of a very serious accusation, says Lawrence Davidson.

By Lawrence Davidson

How do you misuse a racial prejudice? At first glance this ought to appear to be an absurd question. Racial prejudices already constitute the distortion of perception and emotion. Nevertheless, when a particular prejudice has a distinct pedigree and an age-old definition, and then is purposely exploited (particularly by those purporting to represent its victims) solely for political gain, the issue of misuse becomes anything but absurd.

The racial prejudice in question is anti-Semitism, one of the most devastating of bigotries and responsible for untold misery. It has always been defined as hatred of Jews as Jews. This hatred is underpinned by a vast number of historical myths and fantastic conspiracy theories, but at its core, what we have here is close to pure racism – a Jew is bad not because of what he or she has done, but because of some racial taint.

Jeremy Corbyn, the new leader of Great Britain's Labour Party.

Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of Great Britain’s Labour Party.

 

Now here is the complicated part. This age-old definition has been reformulated by an ideologically driven sub-set of Jewry – Zionists – for political purposes. The Zionists have declared that there is no difference between the State of Israel and the worldwide community of Jews and therefore, if you are opposed to Israel you are anti-Semitic.

This identification of Israel and the Jews en masse is historically, demographically and certainly religiously false. But no matter, the Zionists shout this redefinition loudly and endlessly. And, by backing their claim with political pressure and a lot of money, they have managed to get it accepted in some Western political circles. This, then, is what constitutes the misuse for political purposes of a dangerous racial prejudice.

 

Having laid this foundation, the Zionists are now using this bastardized concept of anti-Semitism as a weapon against those critical of not the Jews as a group, but the political state of Israel, its policies and behaviors, which are, themselves, racist and barbaric. Indeed, it is Israeli behavior, specifically toward the Palestinians, that has encouraged a revival of anti-Semitism after more than a half a century of quiescence – thus the very striking irony of the Zionist insistence that opposition to Israeli racist policies is itself a racial prejudice.

Attack on the British Labour Party

There are many examples of this Zionist perversion, but the latest one is a full-blown attack on those members of the British Labour Party who are critical of Israel yet not of Jews as such. Charley Allan, a columnist for the British paper Morning Star, has described the resulting atmosphere as a “witch hunt.” Below are two examples of isolated statements made by Labour Party members which have caused a purposefully exaggerated brouhaha over the issue of anti-Semitism.

In late April, it was revealed that Naseem Shah, the Labour MP for Bradford West, had posted on her Facebook account a map that showed Israel transferred to within the borders of the U.S. She labeled it as “a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” Shah’s posting, which she sourced from the website of the Jewish-American scholar Norman Finkelstein, was made at the height of Israel’s 2014 invasion of Gaza and pre-dated her election to Parliament.

While the suggestion of the wholesale transference of Israel to the U.S. is but a fantasy, associating the U.S. and Israel certainly has an underlying logic. The United States is Israel’s major protector and financier. The U.S. Congress treats Israel as a privileged 51st state. And, most of those who emigrate from Israel go to the U.S.

Accusations that Shah’s post was an anti-Semitic attack on Jewry were belatedly raised, leading to her suspension from the Labour Party pending an investigation. She subsequently, and rather abjectly, apologized.

Nonetheless, the fact is that Ms. Shah’s display of the map was not anti-Semitic at all. It was not an attack on Jews as such, and there is no evidence that it was motivated by a hatred of Jews. What is really objectionable is the Zionist effort to perversely manipulate the post as if it really was anti-Semitism, in order to attack those opposed to their own racist political ideology.

The second example concerns the veteran Labour Party leader Ken Livingstone, who is also a former mayor of London. In late April, Livingstone stated on a British radio program that “Hitler was a Zionist” whose policy was that “the Jews should be moved to Israel.” Now this is certainly not a true statement.

What is true is that Hitler wanted the Jews out of Germany. Up until 1938 they could leave that country (albeit without any possessions) if they could find another country that would let them in (which wasn’t easy). During this time Hitler did not particularly care where the German Jews went, and most who did have the foresight to leave did not go to Palestine.

Though historically inaccurate, Livingstone’s statement was not anti-Semitic. Its principal subject was Hitler and the Zionist movement, and, again, there is no evidence that it was motivated by hatred of Jews. Nonetheless, for making his statement Livingstone has been accused of being anti-Semitic, and he too has been suspended from the Labour Party pending an investigation.

Pope Francis praying a separation wall in Palestine on May 25, 2014. (Photo credit: Pope Francis's Facebook page.).

Pope Francis praying a separation wall in Palestine on May 25, 2014. (Photo credit: Pope Francis’s Facebook page.).

It would seem that the present Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, is running scared, tossing out members like Shah and Livingstone, rather than counterattacking against Zionist offensive with the truth – that the charge of anti-Semitism is being improperly exploited for political purposes.

Corbyn himself, who is of the left wing of the party, and has repeatedly expressed sympathy for the plight of the Palestinians, is probably among the real targets of this campaign of intimidation. It seems that the right wing of the party has joined up with the British Zionists to run Corbyn out of office using, or rather misusing, the charge of anti-Semitism.

Despite what amounts to ever-present paranoia in some circles, there are no signs of a future Holocaust in the making. That does not mean that history holds no important lessons for the Jews. It certainly does.

The primary lesson is that the Jews, like other minority groups, need to protect their collective interests by maintaining strong support for universal civil and human rights, as well as the rule of law both domestically and internationally. However, there is another lesson the past, and specifically the Holocaust, ought to have taught us: that it is dangerously counterproductive to engage in a defense of group interests that involves the persecution of others.

To the extent that they have followed this path, the Zionists have failed to learn from history.

Therefore, it is not the Jews as a people who are remiss. It is only those who have abandoned the protections of civil and human rights and now flout international law in favor of a cruel nationalist policy. The Zionist claim that they have pursue this path to protect the Jewish people is highly suspect for, since its founding, Israel has always been the most dangerous place a Jew can reside.

We are led to the conclusion expressed by Professor Stephen Bronner in a deeply insightful work entitled The Bigot. “Disentangling genuine prejudice from a legitimate critique of Israeli territorial ambitions should be the aim of all progressive inquiry into the problem of anti-Jewish bigotry.”

That critique of Israel’s behavior is not only legitimate, but central to future peace in the Middle East.

Zionism is an ideology gone seriously astray. And the use of the charge of anti-Semitism as a weapon against its critics is a dangerous exploitation of that age-old bigotry as well as a betrayal of the lessons of history.

Lawrence Davidson is a history professor at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. He is the author of Foreign Policy Inc.: Privatizing America’s National Interest; America’s Palestine: Popular and Official Perceptions from Balfour to Israeli Statehood; and Islamic Fundamentalism.

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11 comments for “Unfair Attack on UK’s Labour Party

  1. mal
    May 10, 2016 at 10:52 am

    israheili intel has been falsely (and continually) crying anti semitism through their media mind control agents since the massacres and mass murder in gaza in summer 2014. this is all a fraud to prevent criticism of israheili war crimes. Google news search: rising tide of anti semitism and see the mind control op for yourself.
    To identify the truly sick racists google: chief rabbi of Israel says only purpose of goyim is to serve jews, life of goyim worth same as donkey. Obadiah Yosef.
    Netanyahu says this loser was the greatest mind of this
    generation. hey, check it out for yourself.
    http://www.timesofisrael.com/5-of-ovadia-yosefs-most-controversial-quotations/

  2. Erik
    May 10, 2016 at 6:52 am

    Every group has its right wing as described by Aristotle, the ones who
    1. Claim and create an outside threat so as to pose falsely as protectors and accuse their opponents and moral superiors of disloyalty;
    2. Claim that everyone who opposes or denounces any member of their group is an enemy of the entire group;
    3. Take property from other groups to distribute to their supporters as rewards.
    One can see this in practice even within factions at social and recreational groups. That is how they work, there is no training or ideology behind it, merely selfishness and its usual excuses.

    The only value of zionism to jews is that everyone can see that the one is wrong and selfish while the other is no different from the rest of humanity. Otherwise their conduct is a disaster to jews everywhere, and the supreme irony of the results of nazism.

    But the irony of jewish fascism is nothing new: everywhere some fraction of the victims of bullying become bullies. Jewish fascism is a very serious problem in the US, and for the world, and the UN is right to denounce them.

    It is also sad to see that democracy in a jewish culture is no more able to prevent dominance by the classical scams of the right wing. But then no group would seek to concentrate ethnically without such leaders.

    • Erik
      May 10, 2016 at 7:15 am

      For those who don’t like the right-left nomenclature, Aristotle calls the right wing “tyrants” which once meant leaders of a democracy, but had come to mean bad leaders. It can happen on the economic left of course, but they generally collect on the right wing of their group, claiming to be conservative about some doctrine of the group they are parasitizing, but conserving only personal wealth and power.

  3. Jerry
    May 9, 2016 at 8:10 pm

    To Prof. Davidson, this Jew says, “Amen”. Likewise to Uncle Sam’s Comeuppance and Zachary Smith.

  4. Zachary Smith
    May 9, 2016 at 6:59 pm

    In late April, Livingstone stated on a British radio program that “Hitler was a Zionist” whose policy was that “the Jews should be moved to Israel.” Now this is certainly not a true statement.

    It’s quite near enough to the truth.

    http://www.jstor.org/stable/2722221?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

    That’s only the first page of the book review. The rest of it is on the internet somewhere because I downloaded it all within the past week – but I don’t have time to dig it all out again.

    The Haavara agreement was a profitable deal for both the Nazis and the Palestine Zionists. The former got cover for the bad treatment of the German Jews which had already begun, and relief from world-wide pressure for a general boycott. The Zionists got many thousands of skilled workers and quite a lot of money.

    Oddly enough, it was only recently I learned of this agreement. That the Jews of Palestine were willing to sign trade deals with the Nazis was even more shocking to me than finding out that the Vatican was equally willing to deal with the devil.

    IMO the Labor Party of the UK deserves all the kicking around it gets on this issue, for telling the simple truth isn’t acceptable to the swinish leaders of Holy Israel anymore. Oh, and that Corbyn fellow needs to grow a backbone.

  5. Lawrence Needs Schooling
    May 9, 2016 at 4:19 pm

    I read Mr. Davidson’s article with interest. His premise, as I see it, is that criticism of Israel should not be conflated with anti-Semitism, hatred of jews just for being jews. In that respect, he is correct. Israel, as a nation, can be criticized or challenged just as any other nation for actions that are controversial. The problem is that Mr. Davidson has dismissed one of the main definitions of bigotry. That is, when the focus on one set of peoples is disproportionally microscopic while for the same behaviors, others are not challenged (or vilified). The fact that there is a permanent agenda at some UN meetings to discuss Israeli human rights issues while no other nation enjoys this status IS anti semitic and racist. The tone of Mr. Davidson’s article would lead you to believe that it is not, since it is just pointing out transgressions that are “facts”. This definition of bigotry is pretty universal. For instance when Harvard admissions panels in the early 20th century disqualified jews and others from admission based on things they did that were done by other people they admitted to the school, this was prima facie bigotry. Here it is the same thing. Massive overcriticism of Israel while the rest of the world is burning IS anti Semitism as there is only one reason for that and it is that Israel is a jewish state. This is true of the UK Labor party where it is okay to delegitimize Israel because they seemingly have issues but the context of behaviors is ignored (suicide bombings, stabbings, tunnels into sovereign territory). Oh, speaking of tunnels, I am sure if somehow ISIS captured Maryland, he would not be legitimizing tunnels to kill Pennsylvania children from ISIS Maryland into his home state of Pennsylvania. The fact that the same situation is viewed differently by Mr. Davidson when it occurs in Israel raises more questions about Mr. Davidson than his positions on criticism of Zionism versus judaism.
    I just discovered this article with no background on Mr. Davidson’s other articles, if there are any, but I would guess that Mr. Davidson supports BDS, especially on campuses. The problem with BDS is the same problem as the UK Labor party and some others in that there is a huge effort to delegitimize Israel while ignoring context, many other countries (Syria for one?), etc. That is racism. (If I attributed BDS to you Mr. Davidson and I am incorrect, I apologize, I just cant wait to see if you respond and then remember to respond, Call it an educated guess).
    Finally, I would like to bring into the mix the likes of Mosab Hassan Youssef (The Green Prince), Kasim Hafiz (who as a Pakistani Muslim said he went to Israel expecting racism against Muslims and found none), Ahmed Meligy (ostracized by most of his friends and family in Egypt for proclaiming the truth that there is no significant racism in Israel), Nonie Darwish, etc. It only takes a Google search to find these people and others who sacrifice much in their lives to counter the mass flow of BDS, UK Labor attacks against Israel (and jews, sorry Mr. Davidson). These are the real heroes, not Mr. Davidson, myself or most others. They are the ones going against the tide of misinformation and manipulation.
    I am going to guess that Mr. Davidson has never been to Israel. I would urge him to visit and see for himself, objectively, the situation in Israel as well as Palestine; to see for himself a Tel Aviv bus where a woman in niqab, Israeli soldier, Orthodox priest, tattoed punk girl and others all on the same public bus with nothing unusual about it. Then objectively walk through Gaza City wearing orthodox jewish garb (that was a joke Mr. Davidson, don’t do that or you wont live long – racism by Gazans? Nah not in Mr. Davidson’s world).

    • Uncle Sam's Comeuppance
      May 9, 2016 at 6:49 pm

      Who but Israel has been engaged in committing a seventy year genocide that’s “justified” by the perpetrators with their belief in their own combination of racial and religious supremacism? Who has bribed and coerced Western governments like Israel, to get backing and “legitimization” for a state birthed through (Zionist) terror gangs? Who besides Israel has the Western media serving as a propaganda arm for seventy years of ongoing war crimes? Israel, born through terrorism and undue political influence, has become THE most successful religious extremists of the last century. There is no valid excuse for Israel or their complicit Western enablers.

    • Zachary Smith
      May 9, 2016 at 7:03 pm

      I hope for his sake this fellow is paid by word count.

    • Oddlots
      May 9, 2016 at 11:28 pm

      I’m curious as to whether you’ve had occasion to see the documentary film “The Guardians” in which, as far as I can recall, the last three or four leaders of Shin Bet decried the occupation as inexorably destroying Israel.

      The “maximalist” position that Netanyahu seems to represent strikes me as fraught with enormous risk and a risk that is hidden. That risk is: those with a certain sympathy with Israel as a flawed but existing, relatively stable construct – like all nations (see Syria) – will lose ALL sympathy when legitimate criticism is demonized in the way epitomized by the controversy in the current Labour Party.

      It’s a bit like that Gatsby line where a character was asked how he went bankrupt and he responded: “Slowly at first, then all at once.”

      BTW I really appreciated you gratuitously bringing up BDS.

    • Peter Loeb
      May 11, 2016 at 10:16 am

      to “LAWRENCE NEEDS SCHOOLING….”

      Perhaps it is you who needs schooling. By the way,
      have you seen the monthly photos of blown up
      homes in Palestine, which anyone can view in the US.
      Do you remember perhaps any of the brutalities
      of Israel against Palestinians there? Have you read
      of the manipulation to establish any”homeland” in
      a land where most were Muslims, a few Christians and
      Jewish settlers who opposed Zionism? Are you
      aware of the billions of dollars of aid the US gives
      Israel? You have perhaps heard of the tax-free IRS
      means to enable funding of discriminatory (Jewish only) “settlements”?

      And on and on.

      Israel is a shame to civilization and the US should indeed be
      ashamed for protecting it from scrutiny.

      —-Peter Loeb, Boston, MA USA

    • Tom Hall
      May 13, 2016 at 3:23 am

      “The problem is that Mr. Davidson has dismissed one of the main definitions of bigotry. That is, when the focus on one set of peoples is disproportionally microscopic while for the same behaviors, others are not challenged (or vilified).”

      The point made here is one routinely cited by Israel’s defenders. Criticism of that state, its laws, institutions, policies, official ideology and military practices is automatically rendered illegitimate unless accompanied by detailed, equally comprehensive critiques from the same quarter against each and every species of injustice on earth. Any focus on Israel, for whatever reason, even if you’re a direct victim of its actions, constitutes anti-Semitism.

      The classic example of this tactic is the Israeli apologist’s retort, “What about Tibet?”, raised by someone with no discernible interest or involvement in that cause. It may even be that activists working on behalf of Tibet’s independence find themselves confronted with the demand from Chinese propagandists, “What about Israel?”

      Obviously, no movement on behalf of oppressed peoples anywhere can be held to such absurd and disingenuous standards. Focusing on specific regimes of injustice is a prerequisite for change. And in the case of the enormous crimes carried out by the state of Israel, there’s nothing “microscopic” about the scale of examination. “Forensic” is the word I’d choose.

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