Asa Winstanley is an investigative journalist who lives in London and an associate editor with The Electronic Intifada.
There is a concerted campaign going on in the UK, in France, in the US and in the entire western world to suppress any form of criticism of Israel – especially the movement to boycott Israel. It takes many forms.A prime example is the current witch hunt in the British Labour Party against “anti-Semites” – a grave charge indeed. But in reality, the people being purged are those expressing support for Palestinian human rights.
In fact, there is no evidence whatsoever that the level of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party is even statistically significant, let alone any kind of grave threat.
Reputable polling suggests that the level of anti-Jewish prejudice in the UK runs at seven percent (lower than in other European countries, and far lower than hatred against Muslims in the UK). The number of allegations of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party is currently no more than 11 cases.
The number of allegations of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party is currently no more than 11 cases. In a party of 380,000 full time members (which may be as many as half a million once you add in registered supporters) that is a statistically insignificant. The level of anti-Semitism in the party is far less than in the general population – something that should be celebrated.
In a party of 380,000 full time members (which may be as many as half a million once you add in registered supporters) that is a statistically insignificant. The level of anti-Semitism in the party is far less than in the general population – something that should be celebrated.
In any case, most of these cases are falsified, as I documented in a major investigative piece this week.
What is really going on right now is a fanatical and desperate campaign, orchestrated by anti-Corbyn die-hards and Zionist hoodlums within the Labour Party to purge any criticism of Israel. They are after Corbyn’s head, as a long term activist for Palestinian rights.
The attempt right now is to declare acceptable boundaries of debate. John Mann MP, the Labour-right thug who played a key part in orchestrating Ken Livingstone’s political assassination Thursday has long been a fanatical apologist for Israel-right-or-wrong.
In 2013, he was a key witness in a court case launched by the Israel lobby suing the University and College Union for “institutional anti-Semitism”. Their crime? Raising the possibility of discussing the academic boycott of Israel. Not even endorsing it, mind you. Merely discussing it.
The tribunal judge threw the case out on every single count. It was “devoid of any merit” and “an impermissible attempt to achieve a political end by litigious means”.
Of the many in that entirely malicious case against UCU who came in for criticism from the judge, John Mann was essentially dismissed as a blow-hard and a liar. The judge pointed out that Mann claimed “any boycott of Israel or Israeli institutions” was “itself anti-Semitic”. An obviously false and political charge.
All of this has grave implications for not only the Labour Party but the entire political culture in the UK. The Tory government is also trying to use legal intimidation to prohibit local councils from taking ethical decisions to boycott Israeli goods. Anything in the service of Israeli war crimes, it seems.
In Israel itself, the campaign to crush expressions of support for the Palestinians is of course escalating. One of the main ways it has been ramping up in recent years is in what Israeli officials call its “war” against BDS, the boycott divestment and sanctions movement.
This has reached the point now that Israeli politicians are permitted by EU officials to stray extremely close to promising to assassinate a founder of the BDS movement – which, remember, is an entirely non-violent attempt by civil society to hold Israel to account for its war crimes and apartheid targeting the Palestinian people.
Amnesty International in April condemned remarks by an Israeli minister threatening “targeted civil eliminations” of BDS leaders such as Omar Barghouti. In Israeli terminology, “targeted elimination” or “targeted thwarting” (depending on the translation) is the official euphemism for the assassinations of Palestinian activists, political leaders and resistance fighters which Israel habitually carries out as a standard part of its depraved practices.
This was a very deliberate intimidation tactic by Israeli intelligence minister Yisrael Katz. At all costs, they want to crush BDS and any other form of action to hold Israel to account.
“I already feel slightly safer, having received this clear position by Amnesty International,” Barghouti told The Electronic Intifada after hearing about the human rights group’s condemnation of these Israeli threats.
Don’t be fooled by Israel’s propaganda usage of terminology such as “targeting elimination”. The CIA too, used to invoke such double-speak.
Of black leaders such as Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, COINTELPRO documents notoriously threatened that “through counter-intelligence it should be possible to pinpoint potential trouble-makers and neutralize them”.
That ended up with government death-squads on the streets of America, gunning down community activists like the Black Panther Party.
Israel’s push to do the same must be resisted.