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Statement of Principles:

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A victory for Moshé Machover

We reproduce the recent exchanges between Moshé Machover and the Labour Party about his reinstatement, which was decided yesterday, 30th October. Judge for yourselves, but the letter from Sam Matthews, Head of Disputes, is grudging to the point of rudeness. There is no apology and he says nothing of substance about the smears of antisemitism which still hang over Machover’s head.

We haven’t heard the last of this case. […]

René Cassin: the Jewish Voice for Human Rights – Fellowship Programme

The René Cassin Fellowship Programme (RCFP) explores Jewish visions for a just society and provides individuals with the knowledge, skills and contacts needed to enhance their activism in the areas of social justice and human rights. The RCFP brings together a cohort of exceptional professionals to explore human rights issues from a uniquely Jewish perspective. As a supporter your webperson received the above email about their training programme with a link to forward to friends. […]

Marie Schmolka, who inspired the Kindertransport

Anna Hájková & Martin Šmok remember Marie Schmolka, a lifelong Social Democrat in Czechoslovakia, who coordinated assistance to refugees from the Nazi regime, and inspired the Kindertransport. She has been forgotten. The preparatory committee for the Marie Schmolka Memorial wants to change that and will soon start soliciting donations to support the memorial — a plaque at her house in Gospel Oak, a statue in Prague, and a prize for historical work addressing female Jewish social workers in the Holocaust. […]

Labour says it is time to recognise a Palestinian state

In a wide-ranging interview with Middle East Eye, Shadow Foreign Minister Emily Thornberry states forcefully that the Balfour Declaration should indeed be marked as “a turning point in the history of that area and I think the most important way of marking it is to recognise Palestine”. […]

Why Corbyn should not “celebrate” the Balfour Declaration

Michel Segalov writes: “This celebratory dinner will no doubt see nostalgic celebrations of imperialism that ignore Britain’s role in fuelling an international conflict that has cost so many lives, and Corbyn is right to avoid it” […]

An alternative Balfour Declaration by a leading Sephardi Jew living in Palestine at the time

There were always other Jewish voices, particularly among Jews living in Palestine at the time. Scholars have recently republished Yosef Castel, a well-known public figure in Jerusalem, who prepared an alternative version of the Balfour declaration.

Castel saw that Declaration as “the principal obstacle” to cooperation between Jews and Arabs, since it “terrified” the Arabs. He therefore urged Lord Balfour to change his declaration with a provision saying that Jews would “develop the other inhabitants’ current national home … and uphold their legal rights over the land.” In other words, unlike the Zionist movement, he thought Arabs also had national rights to the land. […]

Len McCluskey on antisemitism

We reprint here – taken from the provocatively named Israel Hate Watch website – the recent correspondence between Luke Akehurst, Director of We Stand by Israel, and Len McCluskey, General Secretary of Unite.

We do so for a number of reasons (a) to show the systematic campaign mounted by We stand by Israel (300 emails to McCluskey, identical to Akehurst’s); (b) to expose the shallowness of the arguments made by We Stand by Israel; c) to give wider publicity to McCluskey’s cautious and careful response; and (d), since we are mentioned a number of times, to show the kind of distorted campaign being waged against JVL. […]

What is it to be Jew-ish?

Jo Bird writes: “One of my parents is Jewish, the other is not. For many years, I didn’t feel Jewish enough, or pro-Israel enough, to name and claim my experiences as Jewish. This is my story.” […]

The antisemitism allegations revisited once again

Another fine contribution towards sorting out what was actually said and what wasn’t in the furore about alleged antisemitism, at the Labour Party conference and more generally. A treasure trove of information, links and references, and careful analysis of who actually said what and how it was mistranslated, selectively raided, or worse. […]

The end of the British consensus on Israel

Robert A.H.Cohen writes: “[T]he formal Jewish leadership in the UK are painting themselves into a blue and white corner and looking ever more out of touch with a general public which is beginning to understand that Israel/Palestine is a conflict about human rights and not about terrorism.” […]