Socialist Worker

Corbyn smeared as antisemitic after he blames bankers for banking crisis

Issue No. 2622

Labour supporters lobby the national executive over a definition of  antisemitism that restricts criticism of Israel

Labour supporters lobby the national executive over a definition of antisemitism that restricts criticism of Israel (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Supporters of Israel hardened up their attacks on backers of Jeremy Corbyn ahead of the Labour Party conference this week.

Corbyn was accused of antisemitism for posting a video online on Saturday that blamed bankers for the financial crisis.

That same day several Labour MPs joined a rally organised by an Israel supporters’ group to attack Corbyn.

Margaret Hodge, Lucy Powell and Ivan Lewis were among those who joined the rally in Manchester.

Hodge—who has called Corbyn a “fucking antisemite and a racist”—claimed that “under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership the party has become a hostile environment for Jews”.

The event was reported as an anti-racist protest to say, “No to antisemitism.”

But it was hosted by North West Friends of Israel.

In 2016 that group called on its supporters to lobby the University of Central Lancashire to shut down an “Israeli Apartheid Week” event.

Breached

The university subsequently halted the event, claiming it breached the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition of antisemitism.

This says that it’s antisemitic to call Israel a “racist endeavour”.

North West Friends of Israel co-chair Raphi Bloom used his speech at Saturday’s event to link antisemitism to support for Palestine.

He accused Corbyn of “dismissing the beliefs of 90 percent of the Jewish community” for opposing Zionism, Israel’s racist founding ideology.

“We will not tolerate the antisemitism of those saying Israel—the only Jewish state in the world and the only democracy in the Middle East—is racist,” he said.

Attacks on Corbyn have centred on Labour’s recent refusal to adopt a version of the IHRA definition that said it’s antisemitic to call Israel racist.

The later adoption of the definition by Labour’s national executive was meant to put an end to the row.

Instead it has allowed supporters of Israel to conflate solidarity with the Palestinians with antisemitism.


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