Throwing the bathroom out with the bathwater

May 31st, 2011 by CST

This is a cross-post by Dan Sheldon, Campaigns Director of the Union of Jewish Students, from the UJS Blog

That the UCU has chosen to condemn and disassociate itself from the EUMC Working Definition of Antisemitism is no surprise. Infact, that’s probably one of the worst aspects of this whole saga – that such a policy position has been able to establish itself without much serious consideration or opposition. Such is the sorry state of the national lecturers’ union.

Why, then, have I found myself so shocked by this grimly inevitable turn of events? Why have so many Jewish students – and others – expressed outrage?

Perhaps it is because this decision betrays an ignorance one wouldn’t expect of a collective of academics. Ignorance of the nature of antisemitism, with its coded language and deep rooted stereotypes. Perhaps they are unaware of the prevalence of such prejudice, and precisely why it is considered racist? Or perhaps they are ignorant of the recent NUS Hate Crime Interim Report, a survey of over 9,000 students? It found that 31% of Jewish students had experienced a hate incident – far more than any other religious group.

Ignorance, too, of a basic logic – spelt out by Eve Garrad here – that it is possible to be critical (or more) of Israel whilst also engaging in antisemism.  To state that criticism of Israel is always antisemitic is wrong and devalues antisemitism. However, those who hold that criticism of Israel can never be antisemitic are either blind to basic logic or acting in bad faith.

Ignorance, also, of what the Working Definition actually is. How anybody who has read the Working Definition can maintain that it “confuses criticism of Israeli government policy and actions with genuine antisemitism” is beyond me. In fact, it is this very confusion that the Working Definition aims to clear up.

To be sure, the Working Definition is not perfect. It never claimed to be, hence why it is known as the Working Definition. That’s why the preamble to the definition states that it is intended to be a “practical guide”, and the definition itself contains the caveat “could, taking into account the overall context” when listing potential examples of antisemitism.

In fact, any attempt to construct a perfect definition of antisemitism, or any form of prejudice, is something of a fool’s mission. No definition can capture every possible instance of prejudice, especially within something as multi-faceted and ever-evolving as antisemitism. Nor can a single definition ever take full account of the overall context and perception of the victim.

However, to afford the Working Definition the status of a definitive, water tight definition is to construct a massive, luminous straw man in this discussion.

Let me be clear – the Working Definition is not a binding hate speech code, it is not law and it should not be treated as such. Rather, it is a useful primer on antisemitism; an accessible tool for educating on and identifying antisemitism. For universities and students’ unions, it sums up in one page what Anthony Julius’ Trials of the Diaspora does in 864. It is the start of a serious conversation about antisemitism, not the last word.

Where, then, has this misplaced perception of the Working Definition’s intent and purpose come from? No doubt there are some who misunderstand and misuse the Working Definition. Instead of using it as a pedagogical resource or a tool for monitoring antisemitism, some may attempt to use the Working Definition as a means to punish those responsible for expressions similar to those potential examples of antisemitism it lists. To the contrary, this is not the position of the Union of Jewish Students, the Community Security Trust, the Parliamentary Committee Against Antisemitism, the American Jewish Congress or anybody else who does serious work on this issue.

To pretend, as the UCU policy does, that the Working Definition “is being used to silence debate about Israel and Palestine on campus” leaves the impression that this is a widespread issue; that the Working Definition is regularly used to punish those who criticise Israel.

Where, then, is the evidence for such a claim? The example cited in the debate at UCU Congress was that the recent ‘Freedom for Palestine’ motion adopted by NUS had been objected to on the grounds that it breached the Working Definition. In fact, this example proves that it is, in fact, perfectly possible to debate and criticise Israel without being accused of antisemitism. Despite having adopted the Working Definition (twice, after full debates at National Conference), NUS was able to debate and adopt a policy extremely critical of Israel. No claims were made at the time, or subsequently, that this policy breaches the Working Definition.

Quite simply, the claim that the Working Definition – when properly used – shuts down debate on Israel does not stand up to scrutiny.

The UCU, however, cannot claim to be in any doubt about the purpose of the Working Definition. The proposers of the motion have clearly read it very carefully and they know full well that it is intended to be a working guide. They just don’t agree with the content – that’s why they have dismissed it entirely, making “no use” of it, not even in “educating members”.

If the UCU were merely guilty of ignorance, that could be understood and – through education and dialogue – resolved. If someone had proposed that the UCU adopt the Working Definition, and Congress were to reject it, that would be the result of ignorance. Regrettable, but understandable.

However, the UCU has never used the Working Definition, and nobody proposed that it should start doing so. Instead, UCU has decided, apropos of nothing, to condemn the Working Definition whilst offering no serious alternative. In doing so, they have singled out antisemitism from other forms of prejudice as something only they, and not the victims, have the right to identify.

That’s where this goes beyond ignorance into genuine malice. One is left wondering what occupies the thoughts of those who are so keen to lecture Jews on what constitutes antisemitism. Jewish students are left wondering whether their lecturers’ commitment to “combat all forms of racial or religious discrimination” is anything other than hollow rhetoric.

Press TV and the Protocols

May 27th, 2011 by Dave Rich

Iran’s English-language station Press TV was censured by Ofcom this week for airing an interview with a jailed Iranian journalist which was obtained by force during his imprisonment. This is not the first time that Ofcom have ruled against Press TV, and the Iranian channel seems to be getting a bit annoyed at all the attention.

In response, Press TV have published an article on their website, written by a friend of former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke, which accuses Ofcom of being part of the plot outlined in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. (This is not a joke).

You can read more about the author of the piece, Mark Dankof, on the JHate blog. He concludes his piece by lauding Press TV:

And as for the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion and its Protocol Number 7, its statement that, “the press, which with a few exceptions that may be disregarded, is already entirely in our hands,” is only partially true.

Yes, Press TV of Iran is one of the “few exceptions” to The Lobby’s control of global print and electronically transmitted news and analysis.

On its website, Press TV describes its vision as “Heeding the often neglected voices and perspectives of a great portion of the world”. They push this idea a great deal in promoting their channel; but whenever they do so, remember that this article is the kind of thing they have in mind.

(hat tip: Modernityblog)

Conspiracy theories at the New Statesman

May 25th, 2011 by Dave Rich

Last week Mehdi Hasan, political editor at the New Statesman, wrote a column about the activities of pro-Israeli lobbyists in Washington D.C., which he sees as the cause of the current impasse in the Israeli/Palestinian peace process. This paragraph, in particular, caught the eye (emphasis added):

The Congress of the United States consists of 100 senators and 435 members of the House of Representatives; in effect, just 535 Americans are blocking efforts to bring peace to the Middle East. Why? Forget the pious guff about Israel being the region’s “only democracy” and a “valued friend and ally” of Washington. In the corrupt and dysfunctional US political system, where legislators are outnumbered by special interests, from the gun lobby to Big Pharma, the Israel lobby – specifically, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Aipac) that brags on its website about being “the most important organisation affecting America’s relationship with Israel” – has a financial stranglehold on both main parties. According to William Quandt, a former adviser on the Middle East to the Nixon and Carter administrations, “70 per cent to 80 per cent of all members of Congress will go along with whatever they think Aipac wants”.

Political blogger Guido Fawkes accused Hasan of peddling an updated version of the old antisemitic conspiracy theory, about Jews using their financial muscle to control American politics for their own benefit.

Hasan defended himself robustly in a blogpost on the New Statesman website, arguing:

The piece wasn’t supposed to be about Jews or, for the matter, the State of Israel; it was focused on the cravenness, corruption and dysfunctionality of two elected chambers on Capitol Hill that have long been in thrall to special interests – in this particular case, the Israel lobby.

Both Fawkes and Hasan base their arguments on partial readings of the original article, and a careful selection of the relevant facts. Mearsheimer & Walt’s publication of The Israel Lobby introduced a sanitised, respectable version of this conspiracy theory into mainstream circulation, which now appears quite regularly in the UK media, as CST’s Antisemitic Discourse Report (pdf) has pointed out in the past. I do not intend to adjudicate between them, other than to point out that Hasan’s use of the phrase “a financial stranglehold” suggests a malevolence on the part of AIPAC (picture in your mind somebody being strangled) that alters the tone of his argument unnecessarily.

Rather, it is the first phrase emphasised above that caught my eye: that “in effect, just 535 Americans are blocking efforts to bring peace to the Middle East.” Think about that for a moment: no Israelis, no Palestinians, no Iranians or Syrians or anybody else: just 535 Americans. Even if Hasan only means this within an American context, it is clearly nonsense. However, it is a particular kind of nonsense: the kind that claims a peaceful utopia is within reach, and could be grasped were it not for some particular group obstructing smooth passage to the glorious future that we all deserve. Historically, there are quite a few examples of political or religious utopianism identifying Jews (in some form) as that obstacle. In this article, Hasan identifies Zionists (or pro-Israelis) as the obstacle, and goes out of his way to point of that (a) they are not all Jews and (b) many Jews disagree with them.

Hasan clearly understands the pitfalls of writing on this subject, and he has genuinely tried to avoid producing an antisemitic article. The problem is that his article is basically just another conspiracy theory. It offers a simplistic argument that completely ignores the hopes, fears, needs and goals of Israelis and Palestinians themselves, or of any other actors in the region, and imagines that the whole problem could be solved by a wave of America’s magic wand (or a shake of its big stick).

To put this in context, Lawrence Freedman’s A Choice of Enemies devotes around 550 pages to American foreign policy in the Middle East. It spans five Presidents, from Carter to Bush jnr.; yet AIPAC is listed in the index just three times, and two of those refer to episodes where they failed to influence American policy as they wished. The book’s Dramatis Personae lists 85 American politicians, officials and their advisers, but not a single lobbyist. (I appreciate that some people seem to believe Freedman is part of the same conspiracy as AIPAC, but I don’t accuse Hasan of that). Freedman’s is far from the only book to shed light on the complex, messy and often contradictory processes and interests that go into American policy making in this region (Steve Coll’s Ghost Wars is another). Pro-Israel lobbyists play a role, but nothing like the dominating role Hasan suggests. It reflects very poorly indeed on the New Statesman, and much of the wider left, that this sort of thinking has replaced the kind of proper political analysis on which the magazine built its reputation.

This is one reason why Fawkes (and probably others) read Hasan’s article and sensed an antisemitic argument: it mimicks the thought structure of antisemitic conspiracy theory, despite Hasan’s genuine efforts to avoid fingering Jews as the culprit. The other reason is that contemporary antisemitism often uses ‘Zionist’ as an avatar for ‘Jew’. Any article about Zionists, or pro-Israelis, using financial pressure to manipulate American politics, especially for the purposes of war or oppressing non-Jews, is likely to carry an antisemitic echo. I appreciate that it can be difficult to write about pro-Israel lobbying in American politics without falling into this trap. Avoiding conspiracy theories and not attributing great, unseen malevolent power to dark Zionist forces is a good place to start.

UCU, EUMC, antisemitism and anti-Zionism

May 20th, 2011 by Mark Gardner

People who carp and quibble over definitions of racism often have ulterior motives; and even more so, when they seek to outlaw the mere suggestion of a certain definition of racism.

When the British National Party shouts “Rights for Whites” whilst urging racism against non-whites, you know what kind of self-serving hypocrisy you are dealing with. In the context of Jews and antisemitism, however, you have the striking phenomenon of far left organisations and individuals who bitterly oppose racism and are very quick to see and oppose it in all sorts of places: but are deeply and actively hostile to mainstream Jewish perceptions on antisemitism.

Step forward, then, the Executive Committee of the University and College Union (UCU), who have proposed a resolution for UCU’s forthcoming conference to banish all use of the “working definition of antisemitism”, which was drafted for law enforcement and human rights agencies by the anti-racism watchdog of the European Union, the European Union Monitoring Centre (EUMC, now renamed Fundamental Rights Agency) back in 2004/2005. It is not that the UCU approves of antisemitism, far from it: but its disapproval of antisemitism comes strictly within its own terms and its own guideleines, and appears utterly subordinate to its own ideological wordview. 

The Monitoring Centre compiled the “working definition” because this was a central recommendation of its own 345 page report “Manifestations of Antisemitism in the EU 2002-2003.” (Large pdf here. In particular, see p.3-4, 23-33, 318-329). This major report was the Centre’s initial response to the wave of antisemitic violence and intimidation that struck European Jewish communities in September 2000, concurrent with the beginning of Israeli-Palestinian violence that became known as the Second Intifada; and then again in 2002-2003 as the conflict intensified.   

The report’s conclusion “Proposals For Action” (p.327) calls for its findings regarding antisemitism to “be seen within a general framework of measures against racism, Islamophobia, xenophobia , and related intolerances”. It starts by asking for legislation to be implemented that “will introduce effective, proportionate and dissuasive criminal penalties and define antisemitic acts”. Next, there is a section on “Recording Antisemitic Incidents”. It begins

The EUMC urges the Member States to establish specific mechanisms to record incidents of antisemitism.  

It continues

…consider adopting measures for police cooperation under Article 34 of the EU Treaty, which would work towards the collection and dissemination of data on antisemitic offences, with the close cooperation of EUROPOL and EUROJUST.

As we now know, the antisemitism continued as the Middle East situation dragged on. Indeed, the antisemitic reaction to the conflict between Israel and Hamas in Dec 2008/Jan 2009 suggests that the problem has worsened.

The Centre’s “working definition” is to help European Police to recognise antisemitism when they attend the scene of a crime, and to help human rights agencies to recognise antisemitism when it is raised with them. It is merely “a practical guide” to aid the recognition and understanding of antisemitism; and to help standardise European-wide data on this subject. That is why it begins:

The purpose of this document is to provide a practical guide for identifying incidents, collecting data, and supporting the implementation and enforcement of legislation dealing with antisemitism.

Similarly, that is why it ends with explanations of “Antisemitic acts” that are “criminal”; “Criminal acts” that are “antisemitic”; and “antisemitic discrimination”. 

The “working definition” is not so necessary in Britain perhaps, where antisemitism is generally well understood and defined by politicians, courts, Police and Jews: but it is of great importance in those many EU member states where antisemitism is poorly recognised and largely unrecorded by the authorities. It should go without saying that these member states include countries whose Jewish populations need every help they can get, having teetered on the brink of extinction in the post-Holocaust era.

The egoists who comprise the British far left, and the ivory tower navel-gazers who get so uptight over philosophical distinctions about antisemitism, need to accept that this subject is not about  them (if they can bear such a thought). Rather, its purpose and primary benefit is about helping Police from Poznan to Ploiesti to recognise when a crime against Jews is (or is not) antisemitic. This is precisely why the “working definition” is not a long or difficult theoretical document. It is one sheet of A4 paper and is deliberately kept simple so as it can be easily translated and understood by anyone who might need to use it. (A full copy of the “working definition” can be seen here.)

As a “working definition” that is to be consulted in event of a hate crime, the document should also have a very obvious potential utility when institutions are drawing up, or implementing, codes of conduct and behaviour. It is entirely correct and natural, therefore, that an institution that cared about its Jewish members should wish to consult and utilise the guide. Even more so, when that institution knows the strength of feeling surrounding Israel, is embroiled in debate on Israel, and knows of the arising concerns of its Jewish members. This, for example, is why the National Union of Students correctly wishes to make use of the guide.

The guide most emphatically does not tell European Police forces, the National Union of Students, or anybody else, what absolutely is and is not antisemitic. Rather, it states that antisemitism “could” look like this, or like that. It lists six bullet point examples of things that may, or may not, be antisemitic. It is a starting point for anybody who wishes to take a serious look at what antisemitism is, and at what those on the receiving end perceive it to be. It is most certainly not intended to be an end point in any such discussion, that is why it clearly and deliberately states

could, taking into account the overall context

Then, it repeats the “could” and the “context”, (my emphasis) listing a further five bullet points as

Examples of the ways in which antisemitism manifests itself with regard to the state of Israel taking into account the overall context could include

The wording of the UCU resolution ignores all of the above rationale for, and nuance within, the EUMC text. This will reinforce the impression that there is a crushing lack of empathy for (mainstream) Jewish concerns within UCU. Disgracefuly and deceitfuly, it makes no mention of “could” or “overall context” within the EUMC guidelines. It most certainly does not mention EUMC’s desire to identify antisemitic hate crimes and safeguard the human rights of Jews. Instead, the “working definition” is depicted as if it were a draconian edict

the EUMC definition confuses criticism of Israeli government policy and actions with genuine antisemitism, and is being used to silence debate about Israel and Palestine on campus.

My colleague Dave Rich has written elsewhere of the EUMC guide, that

A document that was written as a practical guide for law enforcement has been invested with much greater meaning than ever intended or than it actually carries, by people on all sides of these arguments.

Certainly, if the academics union feel the EUMC “working definition” has been wrongly used then they should argue their case: but the claim that it has no place to even be heard, will surely be interpreted by most Jews (and many others) as further proof that this union is a lost cause. 

This UCU resolution, therefore, is not merely a transparently self-serving hypocrisy. It will serve to (even) further alienate Jews from the union; and it will make it (even) harder for antisemitism to be raised there as a matter of concern. Under what circumstances can we now envisage this union reversing such opinions?

Furthermore, the formulation of the preamble reinforces the notion that those who complain about antisemitism are essentially doing so in order to shield Israel; and not because they are genuinely concerned about antisemitism. This implies that CST, the Union of Jewish Students and other anti-racist groups such as Engage, are more concerned about Israel than they are about British antisemitism. Ultimately, it carries the implication that people who complain about antisemitism in any Israel-related context are likely to be a bunch of liars, dancing to a pre-ordained tune.

This resolution therefore not only hurts Jews and the fight against antisemitism, it actually reinforces antisemitism; and does so notwithstanding that noisy minority of people of Jewish identity or origin, who consciously parade their Jewishness in order to help legitimise political and rhetorical attacks upon Israel and Zionism and Zionists (and therefore the broad mass of their co-religionists, over 70% of whom self-identify as Zionists).

The resolution comes under the header, “Campaigning for equality”. It would be funny, or at least ironic, were it not so Orwellian.   

In all of this, it is important to see the wood for the trees. Usually, when arguments about definitions of racism occur, observers generally agree upon some accepted shades of grey, such as the idea that racism can be inadvertent on the part of the perpetrator; and also that actions falling shy of deliberate racism can, nevertheless, have racist knock-on effects and impacts. (These are usually deemed as being bad things, worth not only acknowledging but actually highlighting, in order to better combat in anti-racist solidarity.)   

In Britain, the Lawrence Inquiry (by Sir William MacPherson into the Metropolitan Police’s flawed handling of the murder of black teenager, Stephen Lawrence), thrust the notion of “institutional racism” into our definitions and understanding of this complex mix; acknowledging that the culture of organisations could be racist. Again, this could be deliberate or inadvertent on the part of the perpetrators, but such an organisational culture could be significantly mitigated against by decently engaging with those perceiving themselves to be on the wrong side of the racist stick.

The ideological warriors behind this UCU resolution, however, have no need for such touchy-feely time wasting and universalist anti-racism. They know where they stand on this issue, and if it helps root Zionists out of their midst, why the hell should they worry?

(Note – the Engage website is indispensible for anyone seeking further information on the history of UCU’s repeated clashes with opponents of antisemitism, including UCU’s rebuttals. The full text of the UCU motion and comment from David Hirsh of Engage can be found here.)

Progressive antisemitism, and the lessons of history

May 17th, 2011 by Dave Rich

I have written before on this blog about the failure of too many people in the West to recognise antisemitism when it occurs, or to accept it as a relevant factor when analysing the actions of people or organisations who are hostile to Jews or to Israel. This is why I do not expect any mainstream media analyses of the Hamas-Fatah reconciliation, or the prospects for Middle East peace, to include consideration of this speech by Hamas MP Yunis Al-Astal, broadcast on the Hamas-run Al-Aqsa TV station last week:

The [Jews] are brought in droves to Palestine so that the Palestinians – and the Islamic nation behind them – will have the honor of annihilating the evil of this gang. […]

All the predators, all the birds of prey, all the dangerous reptiles and insects, and all the lethal bacteria are far less dangerous than the Jews. […]

In just a few years, all the Zionists and the settlers will realize that their arrival in Palestine was for the purpose of the great massacre, by means of which Allah wants to relieve humanity of their evil. […]

When Palestine is liberated and its people return to it, and the entire region, with the grace of Allah, will have turned into the United States of Islam, the land of Palestine will become the capital of the Islamic Caliphate, and all these countries will turn into states within the Caliphate. When this happens, any Palestinian will be able to live anywhere, because the land of Islam is the property of all Muslims.

Until this happens, we must reject all the resettlement plans, naturalization, or even reparations prior to the return of the refugees. […]

This is classic genocidal language: not just the overt threat of annihilation, but the Nazi-like comparison of Jews to bacteria or vermin. Moreover, it is not exceptional to hear this kind of talk from Hamas or from other Islamist groups; MEMRI’s website is replete with examples. It is not CST’s place to address questions of internal Palestinian politics or the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, but I have one observation to make about this speech: Al-Astal, as a Member of Parliament, is one of the very people who are said to give Hamas its legitimacy and justify international engagement with the group.

Europeans, more than anybody else, should understand the destructive power of antisemitism when it mobilises political movements that achieve power. Hamas-run Gaza is not Nazi Germany, and Israeli Jews are not in the same position that European Jews were in the 1930s; but still, Europeans should be the last people to turn a blind eye to this kind of speech, or to brush it under the carpet.

There is plenty of evidence that antisemitism is commonplace in parts of the Arab world. One friend of mine, when browsing in Dubai’s largest bookshop during a recent holiday, found a copy of Henry Ford’s International Jew sandwiched between books by Norman Finklestein and Martin Gilbert. Another friend, passing through Bahrain airport, saw an Arabic edition of Mein Kampf for sale. If anecdotal evidence of that nature is unsatisfactory, how about polling data: the Pew Global Survey (pdf) in 2008 found that over 90% of the populations of Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon had unfavourable opinions of Jews. It is hard to think of any other question that would elicit that level of unanimity.

This is a serious problem, yet it gets very little attention in Western debate about Islamist movements and politics, and is a particular blind spot for much of the Western left. Relevant here is Alan Johnson’s explanation of how what he calls the “pro-tyrant left” developed its current way of thinking:

After 1989, and especially after 9/11 and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the old idea that Stalinism (its crimes notwithstanding) was objectively progressive against the West, morphed after 1989 into the idea that all opposition to “US imperialism” or “Empire” was a “resistance” or “multitude” that must be (its crimes notwithstanding) supported, or at least not opposed energetically.

This pro-tyrant left thinks it holds the key to the entire world in the palm of its hand. If America is opposed to a tyrant, then—there is some dubious logic here, but this really is the crucial move—the tyrant must be opposing America. And—this is the last stretch, stay with me—therefore the tyrant is an “anti-imperialist” and, objectively, “progressive.”

There are some other conclusions that can follow from this: if the tyrant is antisemitic – as many are – then by this way of thinking, antisemitism must also be anti-imperialist and progressive. Alternatively, if you are the sort of person who only recognises antisemitism as a part of European far right politics, then if you consider a tyrant to be progressive you are likely to find it hard to accept that he (it is usually a he) is also antisemitic. Furthermore, if people on the global left see Hamas as part of their movement, then when Hamas MPs call for Jews to be annihilated this allows this kind of language to enter the debate on the left, or at least makes it less likely that people on the left would recognise and reject it as they should.

Johnson concludes with a description of the more diluted version of this way of thinking which is found in the liberal-left parts of Britain’s politics, media and NGO sector:

And these ideas have been adopted in softer forms throughout the culture—we see it in the refusal of emotional commitment to the West in its battles against dictators and terrorists, the refusal to credit the West with anything but malign intent, the tendency to blame ourselves when we are attacked, the demonization of Israel, and the pathological refusal to see plain the nature of forces such as Hamas and Hezbollah, who were defined by the leading American academic Judith Butler as “part of the global Left.”

I would add: we see it in the way that antisemitic language and imagery is increasingly common in pro-Palestinian campaigning in Britain; and is rarely challenged from within those ranks.

Nudge-nudge, wink-wink.

May 16th, 2011 by Mark Gardner

If you had to guess which of the competing parties at the recent May 5th elections was talking about the “Zionist-led Labour Party“, what one would it be?

Had Zionism been a salient feature of Ed Miliband’s leadership of the Labour Party then we could, perhaps, make some kind of an excuse for “Zionist-led Labour Party”. But it has not. Not at all.     

So, who would say such a thing? And why does “Zionist-led” matter to them?

To help, here is the full sentence with the party name removed:

The XXX has emerged as the main electoral force on the left of British politics having outpolled the other ‘left’ parties that we have taken on. This gives us an excellent springboard since we are likely to benefit from the growing dissatisfaction with the capitalist, warmongering, Zionist-led Labour Party.

Step forward, the Socialist Labour Party, latest in a depressingly long line of left-wing winners of the nudge-nudge, wink-wink, know-what-I mean award.


Less funny, of course, would be a Britain in which accusations of being “Zionist-led” became a regular part of electoral campaigning. (As opposed to the current situation, where the Guardian and the Independent newspapers merely refer to American presidents and Capitol Hill in this manner. Such as here and here.)

Demonstration at the Israeli Embassy: a clarification

May 13th, 2011 by CST

CST is aware that a demonstration in support of Israel has been organised to take place outside the Israeli Embassy in London this Sunday (this is totally separate from the ‘We Believe in Israel’ event on the same day). Some of the advertising for this demonstration claims that it has been organised in co-ordination with CST.

CST would like to make it clear that we have not organised this demonstration, and we will not be providing security for it.

We will not be providing security because we believe that members of the English Defence League plan to attend the demonstration, and that the organisers have not taken sufficient steps to prevent this from happening.

UPDATE: After further discussions over the weekend with the organisers of this demonstration, CST was given the assurances we were seeking that the organisers had distanced themselves sufficiently from the EDL. Consequently, CST provided security for the demonstration yesterday.

CST has made it very clear that the EDL threatens law and order with its intimidating behaviour, and the racist activity and far right connections of its leaders and members.

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