The Independent London Newspaper
24th May 2017

Labour and anti-Semitism – the smear campaign explained…

    Published: 19 May, 2016

    • FOR the past three months the Labour Party has been hit by allegations that anti-Semitism is widespread among its members.  

    This smear campaign lacks any basis in evidence that a significant problem exists or that it has increased recently.  

    Nevertheless the smears have gained the collusion of numerous Labour Party politicians, especially London’s new mayor Sadiq Khan, as well as Assembly Member Andrew Dismore, as in his letter thanking constituents (New Journal, May 21).  

    The smear campaign has been jointly promoted by pro-Israel groups, the mass media and Jeremy Corbyn’s enemies, both outside and inside the Labour Party, seeking to undermine his leadership. The campaign began in mid-February when Alex Chalmers resigned as chair of Oxford University’s Labour Club, claiming that  the party had “some kind of problem with Jews”, as widely reported in the mass media.  

    As it turned out, he had previously worked for the Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre (BICOM), a central agency of the Israel lobby.  

    Within the Labour Party the campaign is driven by the so-called Jewish Labour Movement, really the UK section of the Israel Labour Party, a party supporting the Occupation of Palestine. 

    As a consistent feature, the smears conflate anti-Semitism with anti-Israel or pro-boycott views.  

    The Labour Party has suspended more than 60 members, many of them long-time anti-racist activists, on the basis of vague allegations or for comments which are not anti-Semitic. For example, Naz Shah MP retweeted a sarcastic map from Norman Finkelstein’s website.

    And Ken Livingstone noted the collusion between the early Nazi regime and the World Zionist Organisation, as documented in its own archives and by several Jewish historians.  

    To counter the smear campaign, labour movement activists have formed a new network, “Free Speech on Israel, Jews and friends who say that anti-Zionism is not anti- Semitic”.  We issued a statement: Labour Jews assert, the Labour Party has no “problem with Jews”, along with a model motion for branches of the Labour Party and trade unions.  

    Please look at our website and put our motion to your branch.  

    LES LEVIDOW
    Free Speech on Israel, NW5

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