AntiSemitismWatch has extensively covered Labour’s ever-deepening anti-Semitism crisis as well as, crucially, offering an explanation as to the main driver behind it, simply and plainly rooted in and derived from hatred of all matters Israel.
It was a decision by Oxford University Labour Club to endorse Israeli Apartheid Week which triggered the row about anti-Semitism within Labour.
The club’s co-chairman, Alex Chalmers, resigned, saying that a “large proportion of Oxford University Labour Club and the student Left in Oxford more generally have some kind of problem with Jews.”
He condemned Israeli Apartheid Week as “a movement with a history of targeting and harassing Jewish students and inviting anti-Semitic speakers to campuses”.
It can now also be revealed that a previous Israeli Apartheid Week event, in Leicester last year, was attended by Mohammed Dawood, a serving Labour councillor in the east Midlands city.
Cllr Dawood, a former assistant mayor of Leicester with responsibility for housing and social care, recently tweeted a film showing the burning of the “Zionist entity flag”, the Israeli flag.
On social media, Cllr Dawood has described Israelis as “colonisers”, said that artists who go to Israel are “like [those] performing in Sun City [the resort in the South African bantustan] under Apartheid” and retweeted a statement that Israeli troops are “Zionist terrorists”.
A spokesman for the organisation Jewish Human Rights Watch called on Labour to expel Cllr Dawood.
Additionally, Labour MP Louise Ellman, who is herself Jewish, has said that while Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn had spoken out about the issue, not enough was being done to actually tackle the problem.
She said that party members were being allowed to “get away” with posting anti-Semitic comments online.
“I am very concerned about anti-Semitism in the Labour Party. Most members of the Labour Party are not anti-Semitic but some are,” she told Sky News’s Murnaghan programme.
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell, a close ally of Mr Corbyn, insisted they were committed to dealing with the issue.
“You can be a critic of the Israeli state and its role, but you mustn’t allow that to in any way be used by anti-Semites. We’ve got to root that out and we will do,” he told BBC1’s The Andrew Marr Show.
That statement is perhaps considered by some as a little ironic considering The Daily Mail recently published details of articles from The Labour Herald newspaper, required reading for the Left in the 80s. This included a 1985 piece, published during John McDonnell’s co-editorship spell at the newspaper, which compared the Israeli government to the Nazis by claiming it confined Palestinians to ‘concentration camps’.
A few weeks later, the paper went on to endorse terrorist attacks against the country’s authorities, to counter what it called ‘the racism at the heart of the Israeli state’.
When the Board of Deputies of British Jews met the Labour leader in February, although he told the delegation he opposed anti-Semitism “from any part of the political spectrum”, when highlighted that his past engagements with dyed-in-the-wool anti-Semites, including representatives of Hamas and Hezbollah needed to be acknowledged and a line drawn under them he only committed himself to “reflect further” on such connections. This does not go nearly far enough especially since we are talking about Holocaust deniers and terrorists. Moreover, since that February meeting Corbyn has not issued any formal response to his period of reflection!
AntiSemitismWatch says that it is clear there is no end in sight to this Labour anti-Semitism crisis and there will not be until they grapple with their inconvenient truth. As the ‘natural home’ of modern anti-Israeli movements, like BDS and its acolytes including Israeli Apartheid Week; movements now widely regarded as systemically anti-Semitic, the political left is in danger of becoming similarly systemically anti-Semitic, and so is the Labour Party.