The Labour Party NEC election has seen the nine Jeremy Corbyn supporting candidates win - and with a convincing margin - every single seat up for grabs. This comes as a superb result for those within the party, including the leadership, who are pressing for a more democratically accountable Labour.
The media however, have largely pressed on with a spread about Peter Willsman’s re-election to the NEC after the allegations of antisemitism.
The allegations were that Peter Willsman made antisemitic remarks at a previous NEC meeting, however, upon actual review of the evidence, it is clear the remarks were not anti-Semitic but they were certainly provocative.
What did Peter Willsman say?
He states that “some of those in the Jewish community are Trump fanatics”, the key word in this is ‘some’. He never called all Jewish people Trump supporters, nor did he claim that the Jewish community as a whole were to blame, there was no blanket blame upon an entire group of people.
He calls on the 70 Rabbis to back up their claims that antisemitism is “severe and widespread within the Labour Party” and further calls on others in the meeting to back up these claims. You can listen to the clip which was posted by the Jewish Chronicle on YouTube.
Willsman is an individual who often gets into passionate rants about things he believes in and this can come across negatively, even so, the remarks he made are clear and he doesn’t blame Jews but specifically Trump fanatics within the Jewish community, in the same way that there are Al Saud fanatics within the Muslim community, or white supremacists within the Christian community. The list of extremist views within any community goes on and on, it is something that exists in every community and this includes Judaism.
The antisemitic focus
Margaret Hodge has let the mask slip entirely and has explicitly stated that even if the NEC decide to adopt the full the IHRA definition of antisemitism (the EUMC), Jeremy Corbyn should resign as leader, saying that he is the problem rather than anti-Semitism.
This perfectly encapsulates the whole antisemitism trope used by opponents of Jeremy Corbyn to undermine his leadership; whilst there is much to be desired in his handling of the claims in trying to appease them, the whole scenario is a farce. What Hodge said also ensures that no matter what Corbyn does, they will not stop until he is removed.
This whole furore has been created to undermine Corbyn who is a powerful voice for Palestinian rights, something which the Israeli government seem to dislike, but he is also vehement anti-Capitalist and known Socialist. Which those within the Jewish community who have come out in opposition to Corbyn (mainly the Board of Deputies of British Jews) are either former members of the Conservative Party who have held high advisory positions or Conservative in ideology. Furthermore, the Zionist lobby within the UK are generally Conservative supporters.
The IHRA definition of antisemitism
Further back, the Labour Party adopted most of the IHRA definition of antisemitism (the only political party with a working definition within its rulebook), they only left out some of the examples that came with it over concerns that they had and will help to suppress criticism of the Israeli government.
The definition itself has been rejected by the UN over these very same concerns and the man who wrote the EUMC, Kenneth Stern, later gave evidence to congress in the US over the absurdity of the appliance of the EUMC within university campuses and elsewhere. He stated,
“The EUMC’s “working definition” was recently adopted in the United Kingdom, and applied to campus. An “Israel Apartheid Week” event was cancelled as violating the definition. A Holocaust survivor was required to change the title of a campus talk, and the university mandated it be recorded, after an Israeli diplomat complained that the title violated the definition”.
He also went on to say that,
“My fear is, if we similarly enshrine this definition into law, outside groups will try and suppress – rather than answer – political speech they don’t like. The academy, Jewish students, and faculty teaching about Jewish issues, will all suffer”.