Paul, a Labour member from Sheffield, said Labour members should be involved in Stand Up To Racism. “There’s no barrier to the Labour Party being involved with Stand Up To Racism,” he said. “Many Labour activists are already involved”.
The event showed that, a year after the election, Labour activists are looking for campaigns and activities—and are often already campaigning. That has to be built into a bigger, joined-up national fight to bring down the Tories.
Standing up for Palestine
Labour activists defied attempts to silence their right to criticise Israel and speak out for Palestinians at a session at the Arise festival. Speakers said the right had tried to side-line the issue of Palestine—and that the left had to put Palestinians back at the centre of the debate.
The Labour right want to force the party to adopt a definition of antisemitism that says it’s antisemitic to call Israel a racist state. This would deny Palestinians the ability to describe the root of their oppression by Israel.
Yet, as speakers pointed out, Palestinians have barely figured in the debate. Palestinian academic Karma Nabulsi said, “In this debate the Palestinian people have been made invisible. The battle is to make them visible.”
Jenny Manson from Jewish Voice for Labour said recent accusations of antisemitism against the left had made activists “terrified” to speak out against Israel.
Hugh Lanning from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign called for “a network of support for Palestine inside the Labour Party to help people counter the climate of fear”.
He added, “The real issue is freedom of expression on Palestine inside and outside the Labour Party”.