A statement to sign on antisemitism

Shalom Lappin, Brian Bix, Eve Garrard, Matthew Kramer, Hillel Steiner and Stephen De Wijze have a wide-ranging statement on contemporary European antisemitism which they invite you to sign.

It begins by summarising the the recent increase in antisemitism. It then highlights the complacency of those who don’t recognise how antisemitism interferes with the lives of Jews, especially those who participate in organised Jewish life or as Jews in wider public life.

At the heart of the statement is a rebuke to “many who flatteringly present themselves as liberals, human rights advocates, and progressives” who recognise and react sharply to the antisemitic threat of the white nativist far right, but are prepared to accept bigoted positions on Jews coming from the Islamist far right. Turning to politics about the Middle East, the statement gives several cases of exceptional treatment of Israel’s conduct and exceptional treatment of Jews in relation to Israel. It sets out and counters the defences most often made by progressives charged with being soft on antisemitism, before concluding with advice against fragmented discreet appeals to the authorities and a call to people committed to liberal democratic values not to treat antisemitism as a Jewish issue but to include it in a universal fight against racism and bigotry.

I think the statement is a good, needed rallying point, and a benchmark, which is why I signed. To sign yourself, click on the About link at the top and scroll to the green button.

11 Responses to “A statement to sign on antisemitism”

  1. Porky Scratchings (@ibngibril) Says:

    The UK Labour Party is set to elect Jeremy Corbyn it’s next leader. The epitome of the left wing drift to national socialism, Corbyn associates with Islamic Terrorists, Antisemites & Holocaust deniers.
    The problem for the left is that it self flagellates over minority rights and is intrinsically anti government & anti status quo. This means that whoever the government is, whatever the prevailing status quo..on principle this must be wrong.
    The radical fascism of political Islam should be antithetical to all on the left. It is supremacist, homophobic, mysoginistic, antisemitic, antichristian, illiberal…in fact it is hard to see any policy position that the left would not be up in arms about if they were articulated by any other political organisation or movement.
    The intrinsic problem is the left”s essential chauvinism that insists any critique of people with different skin colour is racist. This prevents discussion of the ideas and issues me instead focuses the attack on those who seek to raise the debate. The problem now is that antisemitism is acceptable again. The whining voices of Jews, the phraseology that obstructed help to Jews in Nazi occupied Europe is back in currency
    And radical political Islamists play on this. They demand rights that they openly wish to deny others and the left stands with them.
    The left is morally bankrupt. Like German Social Democrats defending the rights of Nazis to organise, the left panders to Islamofascism on the thoughtless pretext of political correctness.
    There is no place left for Jews in the Labour Party. There is no home for Jews on the left wing of UK politics…from the Greens, Labour, Scottish Nationalists & Lib Dems..all have serious antisemitic pro Islamic fundamentalist tendencies.

    As I have argued before, the choice for Jews today is to be a Jew or to be an enemy of Jews and Israel..these are stark choices…but the battle against antisemitism cannot be separated from antizionism..and as our opponents cannot be allowed to fudge this, neither can we.

    • Mira Vogel Says:

      Porky, you’ve made a caricature of the left which the Lappin et al statement doesn’t fall into. And your conclusion that “the choice for Jews today is to be a Jew or to be an enemy of Jews and Israel” doesn’t make sense to me – particularly given the statement’s appeal to progressives of all stripes. You also basically eliminate space for criticising Israeli government policy, and excommunicate the small but often thoughtful and compassionate group of people who identify as Jews but are for no-state solutions to world conflicts, including the I-P one.

      • Brian Goldfarb Says:

        Mira, isn’t the point that Porky’s caricature, like most caricatures, carries more than an element of truth in it? It hopes to magnify the truth by exaggerating it.

        • Mira Vogel Says:

          I don’t think so Brian – I think Porky means it, and I was calling it a caricature because I think it overstates & oversimplifies, towards driving wedges I don’t think should be driven, between Jews & the Labour Party.

        • Brian Goldfarb Says:

          Actually, Mira, I suspect that it’s too late for the wedges not to be driven. Ed Miliband started the process by asserting that Israel was as much to blame for the events of summer 2014 as Israel (yeah right, Israel fired 4000+ rockets at itself to justify attacking Hamas in Gaza) – a stance our local (and sadly elected) Labour candidate adopted, apparently willingly. Now Corbyn openly states that he wants Hamas and Hezbollah to be part of the process and boasts that he has friends in these organisations. He would, no doubt, dismiss as mere words or mere details those parts of their Charters that are openly antisemitic (far, far more than “merely” anti-Israel).

          And wedges aren’t being driven between the UK Jewish population and the Labour Party? Those parts of that population that are still inclined to vote Labour, that is, given that many have already left the voting patterns of their parents & grandparents behind.

          And I’m not talking about the “as-a-Jew” section, either.

          Do you really think that if Corbyn is elected as Leader of the Labour Party, they have a snowflake’s chance in hell of winning the next election? I don’t, and I wouldn’t vote for a Corbyn-led Labour Party either.

        • Mira Vogel Says:

          Hi Brian, my other half, along with the rest of my local Labour Party are for Kendall. I doubt Labour wouldn’t have got in here if Corbyn had been in charge (and if you’re interested in why, see http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2015/08/why-did-labour-lose).

          There are many in Labour who do not support Corbyn and, as Sarah wrote here not so long ago, those who do are likely to have little awareness of his international leanings. And my hunch is a sizable number of those who are aware think them irrelevant given the UK’s lapsed influence (I think they’re wrong, but it does allow me to think better of them). So although I’m not a member of Labour and won’t be paying £3 because I don’t think the rule that allows me to do so is very democratic, I have a different view of the Labour Party from Porky.

          And on this blog we’ve always resisted our trade union being characterised by antisemitism, or the Palestinians being characterised by their secular or religious nationalists, or the Israelis by theirs. In the face of Israel boycotts we try to extend solidarity to Israeli bridge-builders, no matter how weak they seem at this time. And many of us have stuck with UCU. That’s a general approach and I don’t think the Labour Party is far enough gone to be an exception.

        • Brian Goldfarb Says:

          I would have probably stuck with UCU as well, were I still in academic employment, although I would, by now, have long left the Branch Committee membership and attendance at Branch meetings. It would have become a cynical insurance policy membership.

          Not knowing your constituency, I’m in no position to wonder and it may because it’s late, but I don’t follow the logic of your comment “I doubt Labour wouldn’t have got in here if Corbyn had been in charge…” – or do you mean that you live in a “we weigh Labour votes round here, not count them” constituency?

          Okay, maybe many are indulging themselves, but given Corbyn’s UK policies (ignoring international aspects of his views), he is still at huge risk of writing an even longer suicide note for the Party – which is still my natural home. Indeed, the email to our newly minted Labour MP is mentally written in the even of a Corbyn win, congratulating the Party on losing at least the next (2020) election.

          And that doesn’t thrill me. I’m even less thrilled at his “friendship” with all sorts of extremists who would love to see me dead before my natural span is up.

        • Mira Vogel Says:

          Since my last comment we’ve had the poll that suggests Corbyn was most popular across party support (though not as popular as none-of-the-above). I tend to think a populist – left or right – could win this country if things get much worse economically.

          I’ve also been following the Twitter stuff about the nastiness of Corbyn supporters and it’s good to see it being challenged by Corbyn supporters – Owen Jones retweeting the Corbyn campaign’s entreaty that their supporters behave respectfully to opponents, for example. I understand the skepticism of the people who say this is just Corbyn PR, but PR or not it needed to be done (and I think that it’s needless & unconvincing for Corbyn opponents to amplify nasty tweets from his supporters if they only have a tiny number of followers).

        • Brian Goldfarb Says:

          You might be right about “populism”, but that might make decidedly unpleasant reading in the light of the comment and link I’ve just posted on the next article down (on Corbyn’e candidacy).

  2. Absolute observer Says:

    I love when what passes as political comment passes into a parody of itself.
    ‘The intrinsic problem is the left”s essential chauvinism that insists any critique of people with different skin colour is racist.’

    Would that be the same as, ‘you can’t say a word against the Jews without being called an antisemite’?

    And, paradoxically concerning your references to fascism and national socialism – as if what is going on today has any resemblence to Weimar – is the idea that ‘you are with us or against us’, that you are a friend or an enemy.Perhaps you need to examine your own fascism before commenting on others………

    Or to put it more bluntly, my only choice is to be a Jew or an enemy of a Jews? – how dare you. GFY and take your fascism with you.

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