The Big Ride for Palestine and the Labour Party

palQuite apart from the high-profile members of the Labour Party who have been expelled or had their membership put on hold while they are examined for anti-Semitism, another ludicrous affair within that Party has come to the light of public attention.

In 2019, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), received copies of email correspondence between council officers in Tower Hamlets, as only revealed following a Freedom of Information request (FOI). The correspondence showed that council officers had refused permission for the ‘Big Ride for Palestine’ to use any council properties or to use any of the streets in the area to promote or carry out their event, citing the highly controversial International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) ‘working definition’ of anti-Semitism.

The ‘Big Ride for Palestine’ was organised to highlight the crimes against humanity suffered by Palestinians at the hands of the Israeli occupation of that country and to raise both public awareness and money to give direct aid to the suffering Palestinians by (a) providing food, medicine, medical supplies, clothes, books, toys and school supplies to children, (b) helping to supply clean, safe water for all, but especially children, by building and installing water purification units in schools and pre-schools throughout Gaza; (c) helping to fund clinics, kindergartens, counselling centres, libraries, parks and playgrounds, sports teams, arts and media programmes; (d) getting scholarships to talented high school graduates in the West Bank and Gaza to obtain degrees and the skills to make important contributions to their communities and their country.

Bicycle riders in the ‘Big Ride for Palestine’ completed either 44 miles – the total length of the military fence isolating Gaza from Israel and Egypt, or 36 miles – the section of the military fence within Israel alone. Constituency Labour Party branches in London who tried to condemn the Tower Hamlets council action last year and to support the ‘Big Ride for Palestine’ this year found that propositions that they had tabled for discussion within their own meetings had been ruled ‘out of order’ by the Labour Party and could not therefore, be discussed. Once again, the reason was possible contravention of the IHRA ‘working definition on anti-Semitism!’

When that Zionist entity, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) gave the world its own version of anti-Semitism as a ‘working definition’, it was recognised by anyone with common sense to be a weapon to defend the outrageous and barbaric occupation of Palestine by the Zionist occupation commonly known as Israel. Every war crime committed by the Zionist settlers and soldiery was defended simply by accusing anyone who raised or criticised these practices as anti-Semitic!

The IHRA definition is quite short; “Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.” The definition, however, carries 11 clarifications with it that the IHRA insist must be adopted with it for it to be the IHRA definition, these are:

1. Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion.

2. Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective — such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.

3. Accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person or group, or even for acts committed by non-Jews.

4. Denying the fact, scope, mechanisms (e.g. gas chambers) or intentionality of the genocide of the Jewish people at the hands of National Socialist Germany and its supporters and accomplices during World War II (the Holocaust).

5. Accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.

6. Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.

7. Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour.

8. Applying double standards by requiring of it a behaviour not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.

9. Using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterise Israel or Israelis.

10. Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.

11. Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel.

This definition and list is so wide-ranging and purposely vague that only gullible fools or those who knowingly support the bloody stranglehold that the Zionist Israeli occupation has on the state of Palestine and its people would even consider accepting it in its entirety.

In September 2018, the NEC decided to add all 11 IHRA examples (unamended) along with the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism to the Labour Party rules. A few days later the Parliamentary Labour Party voted by a majority of 205 to adopt the unamended definition to their standing orders.

So, who are the Semites? “a member of any of the peoples who speak or spoke a Semitic language, including in particular the Jews and Arabs” says the definition in the ‘Oxford Languages.’ While the Encyclopaedia Britannica says that a Semite is a “member of a people speaking any of a group of related languages presumably derived from a common language, Semitic …. The term came to include Arabs, Akkadians, Canaanites, Hebrews, some Ethiopians, and Aramaean tribes.”

That some of these people founded/adopted the Jewish religion or follow it is without doubt, but it does not follow that all Semites are Jewish or even that all Jews are Semites. The fact that Jewish religious texts are written, and spoken religious ceremonies are conducted, in a Semitic language does not make Jews Semitic any more than Catholic bibles and ceremonies in the Latin language make all the Catholics worldwide one race or Latin!

Judaism is a religion and like any other religion can be entered by those who can convince the appropriate authority of that religion that the candidate sincerely accepts all the beliefs and practices of that religion and can successfully show that to the appropriate authority.

The Merriam Webster Thesaurus gives us a definition of Judaism as; “a religion developed among the ancient Hebrews and characterized by belief in one transcendent God who has revealed himself to Abraham, Moses, and the Hebrew prophets and by a religious life in accordance with Scriptures and rabbinic traditions”.

Since not all Jews are Semites and not all Semites are Jews, Judaism is not a race. This leaves us with the conclusion that anti-Jewish statements, although unpleasant, are no different in theory to anti-Islamic statements (the Zionist occupation of Palestine is always releasing anti-Islamic statements, and worse, they are habitually and purposely committing murder, theft and other atrocities against followers of the Islamic religion, many of whom are actually Semites).

The IHRA and their ‘working definition of anti-Semitism’ promote only a very strange version of opposing anti-Semitism which in practice is very pro anti-Semite as long as those Semites are the vast majority of Semites i.e., Moslem, Christian or atheist.

The only anti-Semitism that must be opposed, according to the IHRA, is where the Semite in question is associated with a community that identifies with the Jewish faith and its traditions (even though many of its members may be atheists or agnostics). In fact, that opposition to and protection from ‘anti-Semitism’ extends to any member of such a community wherever they originate or whatever language they speak.

We do acknowledge that members of such communities were murdered in Nazi death camps in numbers that can only be described as a holocaust. We also acknowledge that alongside that holocaust in the fascist death camps there took place the holocausts of gypsies, people of other religions, mentally disabled people, a vast number of Soviet people many of whom were atheists. We acknowledge that the world has seen many other holocausts throughout history, not least that of the indigenous peoples of the Americas. And we acknowledge the ongoing persecution of the Palestinian people by the Zionist occupation of Palestine, a holocaust designed to remove those non-Jewish Semitic peoples from their land by mass murder and eviction at the point of bayonets.

The Tower Hamlets incident, in which raising funds to provide basic humanitarian aid to people persecuted by Israel was equated to anti-Semitism, only goes to expose the real nature of the Labour Party, its utter degeneration into a tool of imperialism in its domestic and international policy.

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