British Jewish Board of Deputies launches 10 Plagues against Palestine solidarity

The defeat of Jeremy Corbyn in the recent British elections was an event that called for celebration amongst Israel supporters. “The beast is slain”, cried Joe Glasman, head of Political and Government Investigations in Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA). Glasman’s organization is “an influential anti-Palestinian lobby group,” EI says.

Glasman was transmitting a rather bloodthirsty Hannukah video, in which he compared Jeremy Corbyn to Antiochus IV, the Hellenistic king whom the Maccabees revolted against. “Maccabees, we did it”, he congratulated his followers – “by word, and deed, by protest and tweet, by our spies and intel…”

It’s really as crazy as it can be. But wait, it’s not over. Now the British Board of Deputies (BOD) enacts a kind of biblical scorched-earth policy to ensure that nothing even remotely close to Jeremy Corbyn ever comes to threaten Zionism. Six candidates are running to replace Corbyn as leader in polling that ends April 4, and the Board of Deputies unleashed the “TEN PLEDGES TO END THE ANTISEMITISM CRISIS”. Or as the Board of Deputies puts it, “10 key points we believe Labour needs to sign up to in order to begin healing its relationship with the Jewish community.”

Of course, the mere title already reveals the fictitious nature of the whole document – since there was never an actual “Antisemitism crisis” in Labour. The whole notion was concocted by Zionist interest groups and amplified by an all too willing and sloppy mainstream press. The BOD seeks to ensure the domination of discourse about anti-Semitism by fully weaponizing the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance working-definition of antisemitism, the IHRA document that notoriously conflates critique of Israel with anti-Semitism. The pledges would also make the Jewish Labour Movement, a Zionist organiztion, an exclusive ‘trainer’ against anti-Semitism; exclude progressive Jewish organizations such as Jewish Voice for Labour, which the BOD calls “fringe organizations” (the BOD list does not name JVL but the Jewish Chronicle does); and excluding the possibility of condemned members reentering the Labour Party or being endorsed in the future.

Here’s the list as the Jewish Chronicle summarizes it:

  • Prevent re-admittance of prominent offenders
  • Provide no platform for those who have been suspended or expelled for antisemitism
  • The full adoption of the IHRA definition of antisemitism “with all its examples and clauses and without any caveats”
  • To deliver anti-racism education programmes that have been approved by the Jewish Labour Movement, which would lead training
  • To engage with the Jewish community via its “main representative groups and not through fringe organisations” such as Jewish Voice for Labour
  • To replace “bland, generic statements” on anti-Jewish racism with “condemnation of specific harmful behaviours”
  • For the Labour leader to take personal responsibility for ending the “antisemitism crisis”

(BOD’s own tweet of the list here).

Ostensibly, some of the points could be seen as addressing real concerns for anti-Semitism and Jews. But as the title of the list already portrays, the focus of the supposed concern for Jews is not really that – it is a cynical usage of ‘anti-Semitism’ in order to eradicate Palestine solidarity and to make the party more centrist and more Zionist.

BOD’s chair Marie van der Zyl said that “the relationship between Labour and the Jewish community, once rock solid, has been all but destroyed”, and that “those seeking to move the [Labour] party forward will openly and unequivocally endorse these Ten Pledges in full, making it clear that if elected as leader, or deputy leader, they will commit themselves to ensuring the adoption of all these points.”

And with hardly any hesitation, five of the six declared candidates embraced the plagues within hours, swallowing them hook, line and sinker. By Sunday evening, the day of the BOD announcement, only Clive Lewis was noted as not yet having affirmed to abide by the plagues.

We see this happening again and again, in UK, in the US – those who show solidarity with Palestinians are basically tarnished as bigots, and terrorized by the claim of ‘anti-Semitism’, which has come to mean ‘someone who challenges Jewish supremacism’. The message to anyone even thinking about leading Labour is clear: don’t mess with Zionism, or we’ll be raining frogs on you, and worse.

H/t Natalie Strecker

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