Reply To: Elections Aftermath: Was our 2019 Vote & the EU Referendum Rigged? #TORYRIG2019


Home Forums Discussion Forum Elections Aftermath: Was our 2019 Vote & the EU Referendum Rigged? #TORYRIG2019 Reply To: Elections Aftermath: Was our 2019 Vote & the EU Referendum Rigged? #TORYRIG2019

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Kim Sanders-Fisher

In his recent post, “Time to Stand up and be Counted” Craig Murray’s response to the EHRC Report and the suspension of Jeremy Corbyn directly homed in on the real target being sidelined by all the political grandstanding of Sir Keir Starmer: the Palestinian people. He wrote, “Today, nothing is more important than to say that we will not be silent on the dreadful oppression of the Palestinian people; the daily beatings, killings, humiliations, demolitions, expropriations and destruction of groves that are the concomitant of Israeli illegal occupation. We will never be browbeaten into silence on the slow genocide of the Palestinian people. Nobody with any grasp on the location of their right mind believes Jeremy Corbyn to be an anti-Semite. Nobody with any grasp on their right mind believes the Labour Party is now anything but the substitutes’ bench for the Neoconservative team.” Starmer has pledged the unquestioning commitment of the Labour Party to the ruthless genocidal goals and expansionist plans of Zionist Israel!

On their website the beleaguered and suppressed Palestinian Solidarity Campaign battle for recognition of their most basic Human Rights. In the reasonable and measured, “PSC’s Response to the Publication of the EHRC Report” they understandably stress the “Palestine Solidarity Campaign’s work for the rights and freedoms of the Palestinian people is rooted in opposition to all forms of racism. This involves not only challenging and opposing individual prejudice but any belief or ideology that suggests people have superiority over others based on race, ethnicity, culture or religion, and any laws and policies that might flow from such thinking. Our commitment to tackling racism in all its forms has led us to make a number of statements and interventions on the question of how antisemitism should be tackled.”

The PSC assert that, “We have been driven to do so because of our specific concern about the conflation of antisemitism with legitimate criticisms of the oppression of the Palestinian people by the laws, policies, and acts of successive Israeli governments. The public debate around these issues, as conducted through the media, particularly in relation to the question of antisemitism in the Labour Party has become toxic in a way that not only degrades political discourse but seriously disrupts a coherent response to racism. These issues have now again come to the fore in the aftermath of the publication of the EHRC report. We will not comment on the detail of the report nor on the broader issues of the investigation. This is not the gate speech of radical Islam, but the genuine concerns of ordinary very tolerant British citizens seeking acceptable of their right to protest the persecution of their people under authoritarian Israeli occupation and the right for Labour Party members to champion their cause without facing persecutiom.”

The PSC state that, “We do believe that simply dismissing all allegations of antisemitism within the Labour Party as a smear is a form of denial that contributes to the problem. Such denial may represent a form of antisemitism in itself in so far as it is motivated by a desire to minimise and denigrate the real and lived experiences of Jewish people. However, we also challenge any notion that it is unacceptable to highlight media reporting that has served to mislead public opinion on the number of cases of antisemitism in the Labour Party. People should not be censured for such legitimate commentary, as has happened with Jeremy Corbyn. Jeremy Corbyn has been a consistent voice advocating for the rights of Palestinians and other oppressed people for many years and we are proud to have him as one of PSC’s Patrons.”

But in an entirely reasonable qualification of that statement the PSC say, “We also believe that it is a demonstrable truth that the real existence of antisemitism within the Labour Party has been used by some groups and individuals within the Party as part of a factional battle and by some outside of it for political gain. It is wrong to seek to proscribe the stating of such truths or to define them as inherently antisemitic.” They say that, “PSC’s central concern remains the conflation of antisemitism with legitimate criticism of the acts, policies, laws and constitutional order of the state of Israel. We note that the Labour Party is now required by the EHRC to draw up an action plan that includes the need to make clear precisely how it will define and understand antisemitism.”

They assert that, “PSC has addressed many times its concerns regarding the examples attached to the IHRA definition that conflate criticism of Israel with antisemitism. These concerns are shared by the Institute of Race Relations; eminent legal experts including ex-Court of Appeal Judge Sir Stephen Sedley; Liberty; leading academic experts on anti-Semitism Anthony Lerman and Brian Klug; 40 global Jewish social justice organisations, and more than 80 UK-based BAME groups. We note that in its report, the EHRC made specific references to the concerns that have been expressed about the examples attached to the IHRA definition, and the view of the Home Affairs Select Committee of the need for caveats to protect freedom of expression.”

PSC state that, “Recently, UK based Palestinians wrote an open letter to the Labour Party that highlighted concerns about how the examples within the IHRA have been used to suppress the ability of Palestinians to express the truths of their own history and their ongoing oppression. They reiterated the call for “the right of Palestinians to accurately describe our experiences of dispossession and oppression, to criticise the nature and structure of the state that continues to oppress us and to openly criticise the ideology of Zionism which informs the actions, policies and laws of that state, be upheld both as a right of a people under oppression and as a right of freedom of expression respected and supported by the Labour Party leadership. Furthermore, the rights of other British citizens to respond to calls for action including via the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement to address that oppression, should also be supported and upheld.”

PSC assert that, “In order to uphold this right, the Labour Party must make clear in its response to the EHRC recommendations that it will take action to ensure that these core rights, as recognised in Article 10 of the Human Rights Act, will be protected. Without such action, Palestinians in the Labour Party will not feel they have a safe space to articulate the truths of their lived experiences of injustice, and supporters of justice for the Palestinian people will not feel protected in their right to freely express the need for the Party to take action to ensure that these injustices are addressed. The support offered to the Palestinian people by the UK labour movement has been crucial. PSC welcomed the motion recently passed by the TUC which committed it to ongoing action to oppose Israel’s plans for annexation of further areas of the West Bank which the TUC defined as ‘another significant step in the creation of a system of apartheid’.”

PSC say that, “We stand ready to support the Labour Party and all other political parties, institutions, and public bodies in taking the necessary action in support of the core rights of the Palestinian people as an oppressed people, rooted in international law, and the rights of those advocating on their behalf in the UK.” Sadly this is just one of several oppressed people being ignored by this hard right war-mongering Tory Government and their centrist enablers who have tried to seize control of the Labour Party. Their ideals do not represent the majority opinion among the membership of the Labour Party, not on the Palestinian issue, supplying arms to Saudi Arabia to bomb Yemen, or the oppression of other minority people globally. From Israel to Iran to Venezuela the Government is getting foreign policy wrong and we desperately need a change of direction that will not be led by Keir Starmer! Realistically we need to go beyond the goal of ousting this Tory Government to removing destructive elements in the Labour Party.

In his no holes bared Interview with RT Posted on Facebook, outspoken former Labour MP and strident activist Chris Williamson blurts out the disgraceful truth about fantisemitism and the EHRC Report. Williamson boldly asserts that, “This is about stopping free speech on Israel’ | Former MP Chris Williamson on EHRC report.” As one of the Labour members targeted and driven out of the Labour Party during the ongoing witch-hunt, Williamson did not go quietly; when falsely accused by EHRC he was determined to robustly challenge defamatory accusations. The EHRC backed down because they knew their flimsy ‘smoke and mirrors’ case would not hold up in Court. He proved that fighting back is the only option and in all probability the Labour Party can no longer be salvaged; we cannot afford to be overly sentimental about ditching a Labour Party that no longer espouses true Socialist values.

EHRC’s ruling will cruelly imperil Palestinian rights; back in mid September a group of influential Palestinians living in the UK wrote an “Open Letter to the Labour Party” on behalf of British Palestinians that Jewish Voice for Labour (jvl) posted on their website. Jvl included the following introductory comment: “British Palestinians write to the Labour Party, expressing their fears about the closing political space for talking both about Palestinian history and about their ongoing dispossession. In the face of the IHRA definition and more, they assert their right ‘to accurately describe our experiences of dispossession and oppression, to criticise the nature and structure of the state that continues to oppress us and to openly criticise the ideology of Zionism which informs the actions, policies and laws of that state’.” They call for “solidarity with Palestinians fighting their oppression, including support for action via the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement.” This article was originally published by Medium on Wed 16 Sep 2020.

In the “Open Letter to the Labour Party by British Palestinians,” printed by Medium they present their case: “We write as British Palestinians. Many of us are members of the Labour Party, some are not. We have previously expressed our fears of how the space to publicly bring the facts of the Palestinian people’s history and ongoing dispossession into the public domain was under severe threat. Then, as now, our concerns were rooted in a clear opposition to antisemitism believing that, alongside all forms of racism, it should not be tolerated within the Labour Party, the Palestinian solidarity movement, nor broader society. We write now to address our specific concerns relating to developments within the Labour party since that time.

We believe that an internationalist Labour Party has a special responsibility to redress the ongoing injustices against the Palestinian people, denied their right to self-determination during the British Mandate because of the role Britain played as a colonial power leading up to the 1948 Nakba, when Palestinians were forcibly displaced from their homes. We welcome commitments made by the party, at recent party Conferences, including rejection of Trump’s so-called “deal of the century” and any proposed solution not based on recognition of the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination and to return to their homes as enshrined in international law. We welcome the call by the Leadership team for a ban on settlement goods in response to Israel’s proposals to annex further swathes of Palestinian lands, including illegal settlements.

However, we remain deeply concerned about steps being taken which will only serve to shrink the space in the Labour party for British Palestinians and other members to assert their rights to campaign for an end to the oppression of the Palestinian people.
We respectfully but unequivocally reject any assertion that dealing with antisemitism must necessarily reverse policy commitments to protect Palestinian rights. Respect for Palestinian rights is not incompatible with the struggle against racism and antisemitism; in fact, it is integral to that struggle. We are extremely concerned by any conflation of anti-Zionism with antisemitism. Zionism is a political ideology and movement that has led to our dispossession and that sustains a state that discriminates against us and denies us our collective rights whether as victims of military occupation, unequal citizens of the Israeli state or living in exile as refugees denied the right of return to our homeland.

Benjamin Netanyahu recently described the proposed annexation of further swathes of the West Bank, a proposal rightly condemned by the Labour Party, as “ another glorious chapter in the history of Zionism”. We cannot but reject this ideology and to deny us the right to do so is a form of anti Palestinian racism. We note with concern statements made by the Labour leadership affirming support for the usage of the IHRA definition and examples, including within Labour Party disciplinary procedures, without reference to the concerns regarding the threat those examples pose to the rights of Palestinians and to party members advocating for justice for the Palestinian people. We are alarmed to note the stated intention of the Shadow Communities Secretary to urge all Labour-run councils who have not adopted the IHRA to do so, ignoring the evidence of how councils have previously used the IHRA to limit the rights of Palestinians, and of others advocating on their behalf.

In 2018 the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and the British Palestinian Policy Council made submissions to the NEC that called upon the Labour party to confirm its unequivocal commitment to the principles of freedom of expression as outlined in Article 10 of the Human Rights Act. They called upon the party to recognise the right of Palestinians to legitimately describe their experiences of oppression including by reference to terms such as settler-colonialism or apartheid. These submissions joined warnings of the threats posed by the IHRA examples to core Palestinian rights and to freedom of expression from Palestinian civil society as well as over 80 BAME organisations, including Black Lives Matter UK, prominent members of the Jewish community, leading lawyers and academic experts on antisemitism and the Institute for Race Relations.

We reiterate our call that the right of Palestinians to accurately describe our experiences of dispossession and oppression, to criticise the nature and structure of the state that continues to oppress us and to openly criticise the ideology of Zionism which informs the actions, policies and laws of that state, be upheld both as a right of a people under oppression and as a right of freedom of expression respected and supported by the Labour Party leadership. Furthermore, the rights of other British citizens to respond to calls for action including via the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement to address that oppression, should also be supported and upheld.” This letter was signed by the following members of the Palestinian community.

“Dr Hafiz Alkarmi, Chairman of the Palestinian Forum in Britain; Iyas Alqasem, Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) exec and founder and trustee of Hope and Play charity for Palestinian children; Omar Al-Qattan, Businessman and Philanthropist; Sawsan Asfari, Executive director of the Galilee Foundation; Tamara Ben-Halim, Human Rights Advocate; Zaher Birawi Chairman, Europal Forum; Selma Dabbagh, Author; Professor Izzat Darwazeh, UCL; Professor Kamel; Hawwash, University of Birmingham; Feras Abu Helal, Editor-in-chief, Journalist; Nadia Hijab, President, Palestinian think tank; Ben Jamal, Director PSC; Dr Ghada Karmi, Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter; Dr Ahmad Khalidi — St Antony’s College, Oxford; Chris Khamis, Labour International; Omar Mofeed, Ealing central and Acton constituency Labour Party ( CLP); Adnan Sabbah, Lawyer; Atallah Said OBE, Former Chair, British Palestinian Policy Council; Ali Saleh, President of the (Association of the Palestinian Community in the UK (APCUK); Kareem Samara, Composer/Musician; Aimee Shalan, Humanitarian and human rights advocate; Professor Suleiman Sharkh, University of Southampton.”

On the Website RS21 “Revolutionary Socialism in the 21st. Century” they also express their courageous solidarity support on the 19th of September by publishing the same letter of appeal in a post entitled, “Open letter: Palestinians in Britain demand freedom of speech. They report that, ‘The Labour Party’s willingness to censor criticism of Israel gives license to a broader crackdown on anti-racist, anti-Zionist speech across society. Palestinians in Britain are the first victims of this censorship, and are leading the fightback against it. We republish below an open letter from a number of Palestinians in Britain. The letter was originally written to protest the Labour Party’s ongoing moves to silence and suppress criticism of Israel within the party, including the party’s support for the discredited IHRA definition of antisemitism’.”

RS21 state that, “Since it was written the letter has itself been effectively embargoed and marginalised by several Labour Party-aligned publications who were approached to publish it, despite the letter’s careful language and moderate political tenor.” They call out publications that should have demonstrated fairness and impartiality, but failed in their duty, saying, “LabourList and the New Statesman refused to publish the piece; Tribune, a publication associated with the left wing of Labour, has ignored the piece for two months, despite repeated inquiries by its own former editor, Mark Seddon. We republish this letter here in solidarity with all Palestinians and in defence of the right to oppose Israeli apartheid and settler-colonialism. As the letter-writers comment: ‘Zionism is a political ideology and movement that has led to our dispossession and that sustains a state that discriminates against us and denies us our collective rights…We cannot but reject this ideology and to deny us the right to do so is a form of anti Palestinian racism’.”

For the Labour Party to abandon support of the Palestinian cause would represent a severe betrayal of not just the Palestinian people, but also an abandonment of the consensus opinions of the Labour Party membership regarding the Party stance on Middle East policy. It would represent the unambiguous acceptance of global Corporate expansion and exploitation of developing nations to the detriment of local and indigenous people worldwide. This represents a complete capitulation of Labour values. A genuinely committed Socialist Party cannot simply decide to abandon one sector of its population and maintain credibility as a movement; so we must judge the Labour Party accordingly. But the majority are the instrument of change and we must fight to eradicate policies that do not reflect the Socialist ideal. We cannot accept the propaganda that our radical Left agenda lost the Covert 2019 Rigged Election; we must challenge the industrial scale fraud with a full Investigation to force the Tory Party and their enablers out of office! DO NOT MOVE ON!