Candidates for the leadership of the UK’s Labour Party have capitulated to new demands from the Israel lobby.
In what was clearly a coordinated action, all five candidates who have received sufficient nominations to be on the ballot paper in the leadership contest instantly agreed to the Board’s demands.
These included the supposedly left-wing shadow minister Rebecca Long-Bailey. She commands the most support among Labour members, according to one opinion poll, with Keir Starmer, the party’s main spokesperson on Brexit, in second position.
The group Labour Against the Witch Hunt has condemned the demands, calling on candidates to reject them.
Long-Bailey posted a fawning blog post on The Times of Israel website acceding to all the Board of Deputies’ demands.
In a sign of how the witch hunt has becoming increasingly McCarthyite, she committed to expelling Labour members supposedly guilty of “diminishing the problem of anti-Semitism.”
Thornberry gives the game away by openly stating that the so-called crisis is really all about defending Israel. She reveals that she launched a “battle” against Corbyn’s advisers over the 2019 manifesto’s Palestine policy – which included a commitment to an arms embargo against Israel for the first time.
The Board of Deputies is an organization that spends most of its time lobbying for Israel, but is also a Jewish communal body.
In its list of 10 demands, it said that Labour members who “support, campaign or provide a platform” to anyone disciplined by the party for alleged anti-Semitism “should themselves be suspended.”
Another of the stipulations would give “Jewish representative bodies” – presumably including the Board itself – an effective veto over Labour’s disciplinary processes, including the handling of confidential data.
The Board is also demanding that the Jewish Labour Movement be put in charge of “anti-racism education” and run the party’s anti-Semitism training.
The Jewish Labour Movement is an openly Zionist organisation with intimate ties to the Israeli embassy in London. It has been at the forefront of the manufactured “Labour anti-Semitism” campaign against Corbyn over the last four and a half years.
The Board also calls for Labour to endorse the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance “working definition” of anti-Semitism “without qualification.” That controversial document has not been drawn up as a tool to fight genuine anti-Semitism; most of the “examples” cited by it concern Israel.
Among other stipulations, the document prohibits denying “the Jewish people their right to self-determination” by criticizing Israel as “a racist endeavor.” This potentially forbids Labour members from advocating for a unitary democratic state for everyone in historic Palestine.
But Corbyn unsuccessfully attempted to append a qualifying statement to the document before it formally became party policy. Corbyn had sought to give Labour activists the freedom to describe Israeli policies as racist.
Labour is also running an election for deputy leader. That post became vacant following the resignation of Tom Watson last year.
The left-wing group Jewish Voice for Labour has condemned the Board’s interference. “That this hostile body should be given a prominent – if not dominant – voice in the internal affairs of the Labour Party beggars belief,” the group stated.
“The Board of Deputies have never fought anti-Semitism,” he wrote. “My father, like Jeremy [Corbyn’s] mother, took part in the 1936 Battle of Cable Street against [Oswald] Mosley’s British Union of Fascists. The Board of Deputies told him and other Jews to stay at home.”
Other anti-Palestinian activists have made their own demands on Labour.
David Hirsh, an academic who campaigns against the Palestinian call for a boycott of Israel, tweeted that Labour must “beg” Luciana Berger, Joan Ryan and Louise Ellman – three former MPs who are part of the Israel lobby – to come back.
- Labour witch hunt
- Board of Deputies of British Jews
- Labour Party
- Jeremy Corbyn
- Rebecca Long-Bailey
- Labour Against the Witch-hunt
- Jon Lansman
- Emily Thornberry
- Jewish Labour Movement
- IHRA definition of anti-Semitism
- Tom Watson
- Dawn Butler
- Richard Burgon
- Jewish Voice for Labour
- Tony Greenstein
- David Hirsh
- Luciana Berger
- Joan Ryan
- Louise Ellman
- Keir Starmer