The current onslaught on the Labour Party by Israel’s supporters is simply breathtaking to watch for the scale of its hypocrisy and deceit. The Labour Party has adopted a code of conduct that accepted the IHRA definition but quite sensibly does not accept some of the examples provided by the IHRA that clearly do not fall into the category of anti-Jewish hatred, but are transparently designed to stifle criticism of Israel.
In particular, these are two of the clauses from the IHRA “examples of anti-Semitism” that the Labour Party code of conduct does not accept as constituting anti-Semitism and which Israel’s supporters are now demanding be accepted in full. You can see why:
“claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.”
“Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.”
How on earth could any political party adopt these “examples” as constituting anti-Semitism when the criticisms of Israel have nothing to do it?
No wonder that Hugh Tomlinson QC of Matrix Chambers in his official assessment of the IHRA definition declared that:
“The IHRA “non-legally binding working definition” of antisemitism is unclear and confusing and should be used with caution.”
It has long been apparent that many supporters of Israel have been trying to silence critics of Israel by claiming that their criticisms constituted anti-Semitism. If the IHRA definition was accepted in full they could then openly hound critics of Israel out of political parties such as the Labour Party by accusing them of anti-Semitism. One suspects that this may well be the true goal of many of the supporters of the IHRA definition.
I have not seen many Muslims write about this but one person who certainly has is Mohammed Amin, the Chair of the Conservative Muslim Forum. He writes in support of adopting the IHRA definition and says:
“The [IHRA] definition has been consistently attacked by self-described “Anti-Zionists” as attempting to shut down criticism of Israel, when it does no such thing.”
Amin’s blog includes a link to the IHRA definition where the “examples of anti-Semitism” I cited above are included so he could not have been unaware of this and yet he does not mention them in his article. How bizarre.
The ongoing onslaught on Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party – often when news breaks of its lead over the Tories in new polls – is a remarkable story made all the more remarkable by the virtual silence of the usual freedom of speech crowd. Where are all those liberals who so vocally criticised Muslims for not understanding the value of freedom of speech when they were protesting against the cartoons of Muhammad or the Satanic Verses?
I pointed out in some of my earlier blogs how important it was for Muslims to uphold these freedoms and accept that freedom means that things may well be said that are offensive to us.
Earlier today I was – once again – criticised on Twitter by the pro-Israeli website Harry’s Place – for defending Corbyn and the Labour Party in this matter. Ironically, the logo of Harry’s Place is the famous George Orwell quote “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”
Well, apart from when they want to criticise Israel’s murderous and racist behaviour towards the Palestinians, right?
The most central and attractive teaching of Islam is the concept of Tawhid – the Oneness of God. Many Muslim scholars past and present have pointed out that belief in Tawhid should result in a person being wholly unafraid of any power on earth and hence s/he should never be cowed by bullies or dictators of any type including well-organised lobby groups. The only real Power is God. And that really is the truth.