Jeremy Corbyn must not back down on Palestine | The Electronic Intifada
Since his election as Labour leader in 2015, Jeremy Corbyn has faced an unprecedented campaign of vitriol from the combined forces of the Jewish Labour Movement, the Board of Deputies of British Jews, right-wing Labour MPs, and pro-Israel newspapers with mainstream press and broadcast media all too happy to jump on the bandwagon.
In response there has been an impressive show of solidarity from his supporters. Following days of manufactured outrage over comments made by Peter Willsman – Labour veteran and Corbyn ally – the hashtag #WeAreCorbyn trended at number one in the UK and number three worldwide. (Willsman’s crime: to demand evidence from those denouncing Corbyn for anti-Semitism.)
This reflexive defense of Corbyn shows the level of respect for his hitherto unwavering commitment to social justice and fighting racism. The invective against him has, however, also prevented any real examination of Corbyn’s positions on Palestine -– positions that are far less radical than often presumed.
More urgently at the present juncture, save for a few dissenting voices (such as The Electronic Intifada’s Asa Winstanley), he has also escaped opprobrium for manifestly failing to push back against the smear of anti-Semitism and for becoming increasingly apologetic for past solidarity with Palestine.
This can no longer be allowed to stand. The stakes are much too high.
Reports suggest Corbyn has capitulated to the demand that Labour incorporate into its Code of Conduct all four of the thus-far resisted “examples” of anti-Semitism devised by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). This is despite Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) voting against this in mid-July.
Ostensibly, a Labour NEC working group is still “consulting” on the issue. However, Corbyn has preempted the final outcome. He has unilaterally announced Labour now has an issue with only “half of one [IHRA] example.” Worryingly, reports suggest Corbyn will seek adoption of the IHRA examples as early as 4 September, conveniently before the Labour Party Conference at the end of the same month.
These developments reveal the need for an urgent refocusing away from defending Corbyn to the real task at hand: exposing the manufactured anti-Semitism crisis and the IHRA’s assault on the right to criticize Israel.
Tragically, the fight over the IHRA now looks to have also become a fight against Corbyn.