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Statement of Principles:

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Israeli Apartheid Week 2018 – a call to Jewish students

Robert A.H.Cohen writes:

If you think we have an obligation to remember our homeland while Palestinians should be encouraged to forget theirs – that’s racism.

If you think our Jewish ‘right of return’, after two thousand years’ absence is sacred and undeniable, but the right of return for Palestinians, and their descendants, who fled their homes in 1948 is illegitimate – that’s racism.

If you memorialise atrocities carried out against the Jewish people throughout our history but downplay or dismiss the Palestinian Nakba – that’s racism.

If you think Jewish national self-determination is an incontestable right but Palestinian national self-determination must be negotiated and offered only as a ‘reward for good behaviour’– that’s racism. […]

The Big Questions, BBC1, 28 January 2018: Antisemitism and the left

Watch Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi of JVL and others debate the issue of “antisemitism and the left”

Posted 29 January 2018 at 12:57. Updated with a note from Noami Wimborne-idrissi at 14:47

Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi writes:

Former MP Chris Mullin, author of 1980s novel A Very British Coup, which imagined the establishment reaction in the event of […]

An interview with Robert Cohen

Huw Spanner interviews blogger Robert Cohen for the Church Times:

In particular, [Cohen] is calling for Churches to commit to “costly solidarity” with the Palestinian people. Among his prescriptions is “refusing to allow your local Jewish communal leadership to set the boundaries of permissible debate on Israel”.

“Jewish-Christian dialogue is about to go through the wringer,” he warned, in a blog earlier this year. “Long-standing relationships with Jewish neighbours and clerical colleagues will deteriorate long before they can be rebuilt with new foundations. . . It means you will be branded Israel haters. You will be branded anti-Semitic.” […]

The real target of “the new antisemitism” is the Palestinians

With the spread of the notion of the “new antisemitism” (encapsulated in the IHRA definition of antisemitism ), any reproach directed towards the state of Israel now assumes the taint of antisemitism. Antisemitism, Neve Gordon, an Israeli academic and activist, argues is effectively weaponised, not only to stifle speech but also to suppress a politics of liberation. Its real target is the Palestinians. […]

JVL gives full support to Kate Osamor MP

Jewish Voice for Labour welcomes Kate Osamor MP’s courageous endorsement of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) targeted on Israel as a non-violent way to advance the struggle for Palestinian rights. The pressure on her to abandon her stance is predictable. The people who berate her for endorsing a ‘morally wrong’ strategy, themselves too often defend the Israeli state, despite its record of actions and policies which are not only morally wrong but also illegal and in breach of international human rights conventions. […]

Zionism, Antisemitism and the Left Today

“I am seeking a change in the way in which Zionism is spoken about on the left. I am also calling for a more thoughtful response when the question of antisemitism is raised.”

Brian Klug’s talk, a transcript of which is reproduced here, was given as the opening contribution to a debate organised by Marxism 2017 on Zionism, Antisemitism and the Left Today. It is the first of a series of discussion articles we will be republishing about antisemitism and Zionism in the near future. […]

Jewish News: Fascinating interview with Len McCluskey

Hats off to Stephen Oryszczuk, Foreign editor of Jewish News for this lengthy, probing and insightful interview with Len McCluskey, General Secretary of Unite the Union. It ranges widely, from Trump’s Jerusalem embassy announcement, Britain’s role, talking to Hamas, Priti Patel, Ken Livingstone and more to an extended discussion about antisemitism and the Labour Party, and BDS.

And there’s a hat-tip towards JVL: “Suddenly, his face comes alive. ‘Now, Jewish Voice for Labour, which only formed at the recent Labour Party conference – I’m very, very attracted to dealing with them…'”

Read all about it! […]

A JVL response to the Jewish Chronicle on Labour’s antisemitism

Eli Hazan, a senior official in Israel’s ruling Likud party, recently branded Jeremy Corbyn as an “antisemite”. Michael Whine of the CST, while clear in his rebuttal of Hazan in claiming Corbyn was antisemitic, nonetheless unjustly described him as anti-Israel, and repeated alarmist claims about antisemitism and the Labour Party which are not borne out by the evidence – as is made clear in this JVL open letter. […]

Saying the unsayable

Uri Avnery, founder and guiding spirit of Gush Shalom, the Israeli Peace Bloc, is utterly committed to a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict. Yet, if Avnery were in the British Labour Party today he would no doubt have been suspended by now.

For he is under few illusions about what has and is done in the name of Zionism. He rejects the idea that Jews worldwide are a nation or, as he puts it: “THE BASIC trouble is that the entire relationship between Israelis and Diaspora Jews is built on a lie: the belief that they are the same people. They are not.” And he argues further, and provocatively: “ZIONISM IS an anti-Semitic creed. It was so right from the beginning.”

You don’t have to agree with Avnery to see that the ideas he is expressing are important ones, deserving a clear-headed interrogation, not hands raised in shock and horror. […]

Moshé Machover – an interview

In an international campaign organised to defend Moshé Machover by Science for the People , several important political questions emerged. In this wide-ranging interview with Machover some of these are explored: How to understand the debates and manoeuvers within the Labour Party? What is the history of Palestine solidarity activism within Labour? Why is Machover himself such a red rag to those who support Israel? […]