Tag Archive | "UK ‘anti-Semitism’"

UK anti-Semitism report tries to whitewash Zionism


Home Affairs Select Committee meeting

By Stuart Littlewood

The Home Affairs Select Committee of the House of Commons, the lower house of the British parliament, has just issued its report, “Anti-Semitism in the UK”, in response to concerns about “an increase in prejudice and violence against Jewish communities” and “an increase in far-right extremist activity”. It was also prompted by allegations of anti-Semitism in political parties and university campuses.

The following observations are based on the report’s Conclusions and Recommendations, which is as far as most people will read.

  • Israel is an ally of the UK government and is generally regarded as a liberal democracy.

Hardly. It is no friend of the British people. Nor is it remotely a Western-style liberal democracy. We share few if any values.

  • Those claiming to be “anti-Zionist, not anti-Semitic”, should do so in the knowledge that 59 per cent of British Jewish people consider themselves to be Zionists. If these individuals genuinely mean only to criticise the policies of the government of Israel, and have no intention to offend British Jewish people, they should criticise “the Israeli government”, and not “Zionists”. For the purposes of criminal or disciplinary investigations, use of the words “Zionist” or “Zio” in an accusatory or abusive context should be considered inflammatory and potentially anti-Semitic.

The Israeli regime’s inhuman policies are driven by Zionist doctrine. I doubt if justice-seekers are in the least swayed by how many Jews consider themselves Zionists. Or how many Christians do, for that matter.

  • Universities UK should work with appropriate student groups to produce a resource for students, lecturers and student societies on how to deal sensitively with the Israel-Palestine conflict, and how to ensure that pro-Palestinian campaigns avoid drawing on anti-Semitic rhetoric.

For the sake of evenhandedness, who will ensure that pro-Israel campaigns avoid drawing on hasbara lies and false claims to Palestinian lands and resources?

  • Jewish Labour MPs have been subject to appalling levels of abuse, including anti-Semitic death threats from individuals purporting to be supporters of Mr Corbyn. Clearly, the Labour leader is not directly responsible for abuse committed in his name, but we believe that his lack of consistent leadership on this issue, and his reluctance to separate anti-Semitism from other forms of racism, has created what some have referred to as a “safe space” for those with vile attitudes towards Jewish people.

The abusers, and others with vile attitudes, may well be provocateurs bent on making Corbyn look bad. In any case, why should he or anyone else feel obliged to “separate” anti-Semitism from other forms of racism?

  • The Chakrabarti Report is clearly lacking in many areas; particularly in its failure to differentiate explicitly between racism and anti-Semitism… [its recommendations] are further impaired by the fact that they are not accompanied by a clear definition of anti-Semitism, as we have recommended should be adopted by all political parties.

Who needs a special definition or actually cares about differentiating anti-Semitism from racism? They are two of the same stripe, and I suspect most of us regard them with equal distaste and have no reason to put one above the other. In short, we know racism when we see it and that’s enough.

  • The Labour Party and all political parties should ensure that their training on racism and inclusivity features substantial sections on anti-Semitism. This must be formulated in consultation with Jewish community representatives, and must acknowledge the unique nature of anti-Semitism.

Unique? Racism is racism.

  • The acts of governments abroad are no excuse for violence or abuse against people in the United Kingdom. We live in a democracy where people are free to criticise the British government and foreign governments. But the actions of the Israeli government provide no justification for abusing British Jews.

We tend to take a dim view of those who support states that terrorise others. Jews themselves have warned that Jews everywhere may suffer as a result of the Jewish state’s unacceptable behaviour. This is unfortunate as many Jews are fiercely critical of the regime’s misconduct and, to their great credit, actively campaign against it. By the way, how does the Select Committee suggest we treat those inside our Parliament who promote the interests of a foreign military power with an appalling human rights record?

  • In an article for The Daily Telegraph in May, the chief rabbi criticised attempts by Labour members and activists to separate Zionism from Judaism as a faith, arguing that their claims are “fictional”. In evidence to us, he stressed that “Zionism has been an integral part of Judaism from the dawn of our faith”. He stated that “spelling out the right of the Jewish people to live within secure borders with self-determination in their own country, which they had been absent from for 2,000 years – that is what Zionism is”. His view was that “If you are an anti-Zionist, you are anti everything I have just mentioned”.

The chief rabbi is flatly contradicted by the Jewish Socialists’ Group which says:

Anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism are not the same. Zionism is a political ideology which has always been contested within Jewish life since it emerged in 1897, and it is entirely legitimate for non-Jews as well as Jews to express opinions about it, whether positive or negative. Not all Jews are Zionists. Not all Zionists are Jews.

Criticism of Israeli government policy and Israeli state actions against the Palestinians is not anti-Semitism. Those who conflate criticism of Israeli policy with anti-Semitism, whether they are supporters or opponents of Israeli policy, are actually helping the anti-Semites. We reject any attempt, from whichever quarter, to place legitimate criticism of Israeli policy out of bounds.

On the chief rabbi’s other point, what right in law do the Jewish people have to return after 2,000 years, forcibly displacing the Palestinians and denying them the same right? Besides, scholars tells us that most returning Jews have no ancestral links to the Holy Land whatsoever.

  • CST [Community Security Trust – a Jewish vigilante and disinformation and propaganda body with close links to the Israeli security service Mossad] and the JLC [Jewish Leadership Council – an Israeli stooge organisation] describe Zionism as “an ideological belief in the authenticity of Jewish peoplehood and that the Jewish people have the right to a state”. Sir Mick Davis, Chairman of the JLC, told us that criticising Zionism is the same as anti-Semitism, because: “Zionism is so totally identified with how the Jew thinks of himself, and is so associated with the right of the Jewish people to have their own country and to have self-determination within that country, that if you attack Zionism, you attack the very fundamentals of how the Jews believe in themselves.”

The Select Committee is careful to say that “where criticism of the Israeli government is concerned context is vital”. The committee therefore need to understand that the so-called Jewish state is waging what amounts to a religious war against Christian and Muslim communities in the Holy Land. Ask anyone who has been on pilgrimage there. And read The Jerusalem Declaration on Christian Zionism, a joint statement by the heads of Palestinian Christian churches. It says:

We categorically reject Christian Zionist doctrines as false teaching that corrupts the biblical message of love, justice and reconciliation.

We further reject the contemporary alliance of Christian Zionist leaders and organisations with elements in the governments of Israel and the United States that are presently imposing their unilateral pre-emptive borders and domination over Palestine. This inevitably leads to unending cycles of violence that undermine the security of all peoples of the Middle East and the rest of the world.

We reject the teachings of Christian Zionism that facilitate and support these policies as they advance racial exclusivity and perpetual war rather than the gospel of universal love, redemption and reconciliation…

In seeking to defend Zionism the Select Committee fails to put the opposing case – for example, that many non-Jews regard it as a repulsive concept at odds with their own belief. There is no reason to suppose that Zionist belief somehow trumps all others.

  • Research published in 2015 by City University found that 90 per cent of British Jewish people support Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state and 93 per cent say that it forms some part of their identity as Jews…

Did researchers ask British Muslims and Christians about the Palestinians’ right to their own state?

This research sounds like a swipe at people who are accused of “delegitimising” Israel by questioning its right to exist. Actually, Israel does a very good job of delegitimising itself. The new state’s admission to the UN in 1949 was conditional upon honouring the UN Charter and implementing UN General Assembly resolutions 181 and 194. It failed to do so and repeatedly violates provisions and principles of the charter to this day.

Israel cannot even bring itself to comply with the provisions of the European Union-Israel Association Agreement of 1995, which makes clear that adherence to the principles of the UN Charter and “respect for human rights and democratic principle constitute an essential element of this agreement”.

In 2004 the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague ruled that construction of what’s often referred to as the Apartheid Wall breached international law and Israel must dismantle it and make reparation. The ICJ also ruled that “all states are under an obligation not to recognise the illegal situation resulting from the construction of the wall and not to render aid or assistance in maintaining the situation created by such construction”. Israel nevertheless continues building its hideous wall with American tax dollars, an act of hatred against the Palestinians and a middle-finger salute to international law.

Here at home powerful Friends of Israel groups are allowed to flourish in all three main parties in the UK. Their presence at the centre of government and in the fabric of our institutions is considered unacceptable by civil society campaign groups and a grave breach of the principles of public life. The backlash to growing criticism of Israel’s stranglehold on its neighbours and increasing influence on Western foreign policy is mounting intolerance, Hence the Inquisition, which lately has been directed against Labour’s new leader, Jeremy Corbyn, an easy target for orchestrated smears given his well known sympathy with the Palestinians’ struggle and his links to some of Israel’s (not our) enemies.

The shortcomings of the Select Committee’s inquiry are obvious. Its report doesn’t properly consider the opposite view. It is half-baked. It is lopsided. It is written in whitewash.

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, UKComments Off on UK anti-Semitism report tries to whitewash Zionism

“Official” UK anti-Semitism definition gets two-finger salute from legal experts


Israeli flag overshadowing UK Union Jack

By Stuart Littlewood

The enemies of free speech were having a whale of a time – until this week. Britain’s political parties, further education establishments and BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) groups had been bludgeoned into silence on Israel’s crimes by a bogus definition of anti-Semitism formally adopted and deployed by government, police and assorted pro-Israel pimps, stooges and creeps.

Their bully-boy tactics have now been upset by Free Speech on IsraelIndependent Jewish VoicesJews for Justice for Palestinians and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, who asked top legal experts for an opinion on this sinister farce.

Wilfully flawed definition

The root cause was been an exceptionally silly, non-legally binding working definition of anti-Semitism issued by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) as follows:

Anti-Semitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred towards Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.

The House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee accepted the IHRA definition subject to the inclusion of two caveats:

  • It is not anti-Semitic to criticise the government of Israel, without additional evidence to suggest anti-Semitic intent.
  • It is not anti-Semitic to hold the Israeli government to the same standards as other liberal democracies, or to take a particular interest in the Israeli Government’s policies or actions, without additional evidence to suggest anti-Semitic intent.

The Select Committee recommended this amended definition be “formally adopted by the UK government, law-enforcement agencies and all political parties, to assist them in determining whether or not an incident or discourse can be regarded as anti-Semitic”. The government agreed but dropped the caveats, saying they weren’t necessary.

Definition “too vague to be useful”

Eminent human rights lawyer Hugh Tomlinson QC has sharply criticised the definition.

Firstly, it wasn’t a legally binding definition so didn’t have the force of a statutory one. And it couldn’t be considered a legal definition of anti-Semitism as it lacked clarity. Therefore, any conduct contrary to the IHRA definition couldn’t necessarily be ruled illegal.

Secondly, the language was far too vague to be useful as a tool, and it was “most unsatisfactory for the government to adopt a definition which lacks clarity and comprehensiveness”. In Tomlinson’s view, the government’s decision to adopt the IHRA definition was simply a freestanding statement of policy – a mere suggestion as to a definition of anti-Semitism that public bodies might wish to use. No public body was under an obligation to adopt or use it, or, given the unsatisfactory nature of the definition, should be criticised for refusing.

He warned that if a public authority did decide to adopt the definition then it must interpret it in a way that’s consistent with its statutory obligations. In particular, public authorities cannot behave in a manner inconsistent with the European Convention on Human Rights, which provides for freedom of expression and freedom of assembly. Freedom of expression applies not only to information or ideas that are favourably received or regarded as inoffensive, but also to those that “offend, shock or disturb the state or any sector of the population”. Unless, of course, they amount to a call for violence or a justification of violence, hatred or intolerance.

A further obligation put on public authorities is “to create a favourable environment for participation in public debates for all concerned, allowing them to express their opinions and ideas without fear, even if these opinions and ideas are contrary to those defended by the official authorities or by a large part of public opinion, or even if those opinions and ideas are irritating or offensive to the public”.

So, in Tomlinson’s opinion the IHRA Definition does not mean that calling Israel an apartheid state that practises settler colonialism, or advocating boycott, divestment or sanctions (BDS) against Israel, can properly be characterised as anti-Semitic. Furthermore, a public authority seeking to apply the IHRA definition to prohibit or punish such activities “would be acting unlawfully”.

Government’s “naive stance”

Retired Lord Justice of Appeal Sir Stephen Sedley also weighed in with advice, criticising the IHRA working definition for lack of legal force. “At the same time, it is not neutral: it may well influence policy both domestically and internationally.”

He added that the right of free expression, now part of our domestic law by virtue of the Human Rights Act, “places both negative and positive obligations on the state which may be put at risk if the IHRA definition is unthinkingly followed”. Moreover, the 1986 Education Act established an individual right of free expression in all higher education institutions “which cannot be cut back by governmental policies”.

According to Sedley, the IHRA definition is open to manipulation. In his view, “what is needed now is a principled retreat on the part of government from a stance which it has naively adopted in disregard of the sane advice given to it by the Home Affairs Select Committee”.

Many objections to this “official” anti-Semitism definition, and the way it is used, are underpinned by Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which says:

  • Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers.
  • The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.

Also, Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights bestows on everyone “the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers”. All such rights, of course, are subject to the usual limitations required by law and respect for the rights of others.

Attempt to bury UN report on Israeli apartheid

Perhaps university vice-chancellors and party leaders will now find the backbone to resist the bluster and intimidation of the pro-Israel lobby, especially after the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) produced a report (on 15 March) establishing what most of us have known for donkey’s years: that Israel is a thoroughly nasty apartheid regime.

The report was authored by Richard Falk, Professor of International Law and Practice Emeritus at Princeton University and a former UN human rights rapporteur for the Palestinian territories, and Virginia Tilley, Professor of Political Science at Southern Illinois University. It established on the “basis of scholarly inquiry and overwhelming evidence, that Israel is guilty of the crime of apartheid”. Such was the fuss kicked up that it has been withdrawn from UN websites.

But don’t worry, you can read it in full here. If short of time skip to the Conclusions (page 52), which include:

The authors urge the United Nations to implement this finding by fulfilling its international responsibilities in relation to international law and the rights of the Palestinian people as a matter of urgency, for two reasons.

First, the situation addressed in the report is ongoing… In the case of Israel-Palestine, any delay compounds the crime by prolonging the subjugation of Palestinians to the active practice of apartheid by Israel. Prompt action is accordingly imperative to avert further human suffering and end a crime against humanity that is being committed now.

Secondly, the extreme gravity of the charge requires prompt action. Since the 1970s, when the international campaign to oppose apartheid in southern Africa gathered momentum, apartheid has been considered in the annals of the United Nations and world public opinion to be second only to genocide in the hierarchy of criminality.

This report accordingly recommends that the international community acts immediately, without waiting for a more formal pronouncement regarding the culpability of the state of Israel, its government and its officials for the commission of the crime of apartheid…

The authors of this report conclude that the weight of the evidence supports beyond a reasonable doubt the contention that Israel is guilty of imposing an apartheid regime on the Palestinian people. The prohibition of apartheid is considered “jus cogens” in international customary law. States have a separate and collective duty (a) not to recognise an apartheid regime as lawful; (b) not to aid or assist a state in maintaining an apartheid regime; and (c) to cooperate with the United Nations and other states in bringing apartheid regimes to an end [my emphasis]. A state that fails to fulfil those duties could itself be held legally responsible for engaging in wrongful acts involving complicity with maintaining an apartheid regime.

Another excellent piece of work by Richard Falk, for which he’ll get no thanks. As many of you know, he is himself Jewish.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZIComments Off on “Official” UK anti-Semitism definition gets two-finger salute from legal experts

“Official” UK anti-Semitism definition gets two-finger salute from legal experts


NOVANEWS
Israeli flag overshadowing UK Union Jack

By Stuart Littlewood

The enemies of free speech were having a whale of a time – until this week. Britain’s political parties, further education establishments and BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) groups had been bludgeoned into silence on Israel’s crimes by a bogus definition of anti-Semitism formally adopted and deployed by government, police and assorted pro-Israel pimps, stooges and creeps.

Their bully-boy tactics have now been upset by Free Speech on Israel, Independent Jewish Voices, Jews for Justice for Palestinians and thePalestine Solidarity Campaign, who asked top legal experts for an opinion on this sinister farce.

Wilfully flawed definition

The root cause was been an exceptionally silly, non-legally binding working definition of anti-Semitism issued by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) as follows:

Anti-Semitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred towards Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.

The House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee accepted the IHRA definition subject to the inclusion of two caveats:

  • It is not anti-Semitic to criticise the government of Israel, without additional evidence to suggest anti-Semitic intent.
  • It is not anti-Semitic to hold the Israeli government to the same standards as other liberal democracies, or to take a particular interest in the Israeli Government’s policies or actions, without additional evidence to suggest anti-Semitic intent.

The Select Committee recommended this amended definition be “formally adopted by the UK government, law-enforcement agencies and all political parties, to assist them in determining whether or not an incident or discourse can be regarded as anti-Semitic”. The government agreed but dropped the caveats, saying they weren’t necessary.

Definition “too vague to be useful”

Eminent human rights lawyer Hugh Tomlinson QC has sharply criticised the definition.

Firstly, it wasn’t a legally binding definition so didn’t have the force of a statutory one. And it couldn’t be considered a legal definition of anti-Semitism as it lacked clarity. Therefore, any conduct contrary to the IHRA definition couldn’t necessarily be ruled illegal.

Secondly, the language was far too vague to be useful as a tool, and it was “most unsatisfactory for the government to adopt a definition which lacks clarity and comprehensiveness”. In Tomlinson’s view, the government’s decision to adopt the IHRA definition was simply a freestanding statement of policy – a mere suggestion as to a definition of anti-Semitism that public bodies might wish to use. No public body was under an obligation to adopt or use it, or, given the unsatisfactory nature of the definition, should be criticised for refusing.

He warned that if a public authority did decide to adopt the definition then it must interpret it in a way that’s consistent with its statutory obligations. In particular, public authorities cannot behave in a manner inconsistent with the European Convention on Human Rights, which provides for freedom of expression and freedom of assembly. Freedom of expression applies not only to information or ideas that are favourably received or regarded as inoffensive, but also to those that “offend, shock or disturb the state or any sector of the population”. Unless, of course, they amount to a call for violence or a justification of violence, hatred or intolerance.

A further obligation put on public authorities is “to create a favourable environment for participation in public debates for all concerned, allowing them to express their opinions and ideas without fear, even if these opinions and ideas are contrary to those defended by the official authorities or by a large part of public opinion, or even if those opinions and ideas are irritating or offensive to the public”.

So, in Tomlinson’s opinion the IHRA Definition does not mean that calling Israel an apartheid state that practises settler colonialism, or advocating boycott, divestment or sanctions (BDS) against Israel, can properly be characterised as anti-Semitic. Furthermore, a public authority seeking to apply the IHRA definition to prohibit or punish such activities “would be acting unlawfully”.

Government’s “naive stance”

Retired Lord Justice of Appeal Sir Stephen Sedley also weighed in with advice, criticising the IHRA working definition for lack of legal force. “At the same time, it is not neutral: it may well influence policy both domestically and internationally.”

He added that the right of free expression, now part of our domestic law by virtue of the Human Rights Act, “places both negative and positive obligations on the state which may be put at risk if the IHRA definition is unthinkingly followed”. Moreover, the 1986 Education Act established an individual right of free expression in all higher education institutions “which cannot be cut back by governmental policies”.

According to Sedley, the IHRA definition is open to manipulation. In his view, “what is needed now is a principled retreat on the part of government from a stance which it has naively adopted in disregard of the sane advice given to it by the Home Affairs Select Committee”.

Many objections to this “official” anti-Semitism definition, and the way it is used, are underpinned by Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which says:

  • Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers.
  • The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.

Also, Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights bestows on everyone “the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers”. All such rights, of course, are subject to the usual limitations required by law and respect for the rights of others.

Attempt to bury UN report on Israeli apartheid

Perhaps university vice-chancellors and party leaders will now find the backbone to resist the bluster and intimidation of the pro-Israel lobby, especially after the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) produced a report (on 15 March) establishing what most of us have known for donkey’s years: that Israel is a thoroughly nasty apartheid regime.

The report was authored by Richard Falk, Professor of International Law and Practice Emeritus at Princeton University and a former UN human rights rapporteur for the Palestinian territories, and Virginia Tilley, Professor of Political Science at Southern Illinois University. It established on the “basis of scholarly inquiry and overwhelming evidence, that Israel is guilty of the crime of apartheid”. Such was the fuss kicked up that it has been withdrawn from UN websites.

But don’t worry, you can read it in full here. If short of time skip to the Conclusions (page 52), which include:

The authors urge the United Nations to implement this finding by fulfilling its international responsibilities in relation to international law and the rights of the Palestinian people as a matter of urgency, for two reasons.

First, the situation addressed in the report is ongoing… In the case of Israel-Palestine, any delay compounds the crime by prolonging the subjugation of Palestinians to the active practice of apartheid by Israel. Prompt action is accordingly imperative to avert further human suffering and end a crime against humanity that is being committed now.

Secondly, the extreme gravity of the charge requires prompt action. Since the 1970s, when the international campaign to oppose apartheid in southern Africa gathered momentum, apartheid has been considered in the annals of the United Nations and world public opinion to be second only to genocide in the hierarchy of criminality.

This report accordingly recommends that the international community acts immediately, without waiting for a more formal pronouncement regarding the culpability of the state of Israel, its government and its officials for the commission of the crime of apartheid…

The authors of this report conclude that the weight of the evidence supports beyond a reasonable doubt the contention that Israel is guilty of imposing an apartheid regime on the Palestinian people. The prohibition of apartheid is considered “jus cogens” in international customary law. States have a separate and collective duty (a) not to recognise an apartheid regime as lawful; (b) not to aid or assist a state in maintaining an apartheid regime; and (c) to cooperate with the United Nations and other states in bringing apartheid regimes to an end [my emphasis]. A state that fails to fulfil those duties could itself be held legally responsible for engaging in wrongful acts involving complicity with maintaining an apartheid regime.

Another excellent piece of work by Richard Falk, for which he’ll get no thanks. As many of you know, he is himself Jewish.

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, UKComments Off on “Official” UK anti-Semitism definition gets two-finger salute from legal experts


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