Regardless of who endorses the IHRA definition of antisemitism, Israel is a racist state. Massacre and ethnic cleansing of the native Palestinian people birthed the State of Israel and those running the state have found it difficult to break the habit. Israel is the fruit of violent conquest by European colonists who, like the British and Spaniards before them, believed they had a god-given right to pillage, displace or dominate all militarily weaker peoples.
Israel not only displays the intense popular racism characteristic of settler colonial states; structures of state-enforced racism, i.e. apartheid, blight the lives of Palestinians throughout the entire area that the Israeli State controls.
By accepting the IHRA bogus definition of antisemitism the Labour Party, however, is now in opposition to those who acknowledge “that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour”. The Labour Party now lines up with the Tories in saying that it is “racist”, possibly criminal, to assert that Israel is a racist endeavour.
And if Israel is not a racist endeavour then the Palestinians can not be the victims of a racist programme of ethnic cleansing. This is the true goal of those promoting the IHRA definition, the Israeli Embassy and their various friends of Israel groups, most of whom defend - like Blair and Brown - the actions of Israeli snipers who are massacring Palestinian demonstrators.
Perhaps the Labour Party will insist in future that the sun rises in the west; that will not change the reality any more than joining the IHRA attack on free speech will stop Israeli snipers murdering Palestinians while they demonstrate for their freedom from a racist state. Nor will it change the racist reality of Palestinian house demolitions, burning of Palestinian farms, trees and families, mass incarceration and torture of Palestinians, repeated massacres of Palestinians, humiliating checkpoints for Palestinians that Jews sail through. In the State of Israel Jews are legally, politically, economically privileged over Palestinians from birth.
If Israel’s behaviour from 1948 till today - oppressing, dispossessing and segregating Palestinians - cannot be called a racist endeavour, the word is emptied of all meaning, for Israel is a social system that US White supremacist leaders envy and wish to emulate. An Israeli Interior Minister publicly rebuked African asylum seekers: "Muslims that arrive here do not even believe that this country belongs to us, to the white man.”
We have seen before a barrage of mass media lies and feeble opposition – hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and Afghans died as a result. Blair and Brown, Murdoch and the BBC who lied Britain into aggressive wars are reprising the same role against the Palestinian people.
There have been various responses to the use of the IHRA definition to silence criticism of Israeli apartheid: New Labour and the Tories rushed to embrace it; Corbyn supporters capitulated yesterday after years of endless attacks. (The attacks will only intensify until he is replaced by Blair Mark 2).
Smearing supporters of Palestinian freedom as racists, many of us lifelong anti-racist campaigners, masks the burgeoning alliances between pro-Israel lobbies and extreme right antisemitic forces.
The constant efforts of the Board of Deputies to conflate widespread and unstoppable opposition to a racist state with antisemitism endangers the Jewish community, as does the parallel effort to marginalise and delegitimise the increasing numbers of Jewish voices prepared to stand up for justice and freedom for the Palestinian people.
Here in Scotland, the governing Scottish National Party endorsed the IHRA definition without a murmur of dissent, contrary to the conclusions of its own study under Lord Bracadale, who insisted that protecting political entities such as Israel under the cloak of anti-hate crime legislation could endanger free speech rights.
SPSC will defy this attack on free speech. We will show in everything we say and write that Israel is a racist state - much worse, in the words of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, than was apartheid South Africa.
The Labour retreat comes on the heels of coordinated US-Israeli attacks on Palestinian refugees; ongoing Israel massacres even while the US works to ‘disappear’ the refugees from the concerns of the UN and UNRWA and to award Jerusalem to the regime. Under Trump the US has bared the fangs that Obama concealed behind honeyed words.
The fight for Palestinian freedom from a bestial regime is now joined to our own fight for free expression at home. Join us.
Scottish PSC National Committee
5th September 2018
101 Rose Street South Lane
Edinburgh EH2 3JG
00 44 (0)795 800 2591