French Jews 'face ethnic cleansing' (& Corbyn condemns, few believe him)

April 25, 2018

8-year-old Miriam Monsonego (above), daughter of school headmaster Rabbi Yaacov Monsonego, who was pulled by the hair and paraded around the school yard by an assailant who said he wanted to kill Jews in Toulouse, France, in 2012. He then calmly took out a second gun and executed her in front of the other Jewish children. He made sure to film the attack with a body cam and upload it to the internet. His video has become very popular viewing among anti-Semites.

Afterwards a teacher at another French school held a minute’s silence for pupils to honor not her, but her anti-Semitic murderer.

 

FRENCH IMAMS WHO CONDEMNED ANTI-SEMITISM THREATENED WITH DEATH BY FELLOW MUSLIMS, GIVEN POLICE PROTECTION

[Notes by Tom Gross]

I attach six pieces below. I posted them when they were first published on my website Facebook page, so some of you may have seen them already.

***

More than 300 French political leaders, intellectuals and celebrities have signed an open letter strongly condemning Muslim anti-Semitism and claiming that French Jews are in effect being ethnically cleansed from the areas they live following waves of assaults by Islamists.

Signatories include former conservative president Nicolas Sarkozy, former socialist prime minister Manuel Valls, and actor Gérard Depardieu. The manifesto was drafted by a former editor of Charlie Hebdo, the French magazine whose staff were murdered by Islamists who went on to kill shoppers at a kosher grocery.

“French Jews are 25 times more at risk of being attacked than their Muslim counterparts,” the letter says. “Ten per cent of the Jewish citizens of the Paris region . . . have recently been forced to move because they were no longer secure in certain council estates. This is a quiet ethnic cleansing.”

The letter also calls for the verses of the Koran that incite against Jews, Christians and non-believers to be declared “obsolete” in a way similar to how the Catholic church expunged anti-Semitic dogma in the 1960s.

The media reports on this French letter (such as the one from the London Times below) mention 11 Jewish victims. These are murder victims. There have also been hundreds of Jews injured in anti-Semitic attacks in recent years, in truly abhorrent instances, such as the acid placed in the pram (stroller) of a rabbi’s 14 month old baby daughter in Paris in February this year. The baby suffered burns to her back and thighs

Or, for example, this Jewish teacher in Paris had his nose broken, and a swastika drawn on his chest.

Those few French imams who have spoken out against Islamic anti-Semitism following Holocaust survivor Mireille Knoll’s murder last month, have received death threats from fellow Muslims and been placed under French police protection, according to French media.

 

HARRY POTTER AUTHOR: ‘NON-JEWS SHOULD START SHOULDERING THE BURDEN’ OF FIGHT AGAINST ANTI-SEMITISM

The third article below reports on the series of tweets sent last week by JK Rowling (who is not Jewish but is a prominent member of, and donor to, the British Labour Party) saying that “non-Jews should start shouldering the burden” with regard to fighting anti-Semitism.

She described how “UK Jews are currently having to field this kind of cr*p” by themselves and called on fellow non-Jews to stand with them. Unlike in France, few prominent British non-Jewish celebrities have joined her call.

JK Rowling has spoken out against anti-Semitism before, including in this letter which I helped her gather signatories for.

Here is a short interview with me (and the British ambassador to Israel) about that letter, with Israel Channel 2 news .

And perhaps more interesting to watch is this clip in wake of the JK Rowling letter. (It is part of a debate hosted by one of the leading female Muslim Arab hosts on Israeli TV Lucy Aharish, between myself and the head of “Peace Now” Yariv Oppenheimer.)

 

LONE MODERATE VOICES IN LABOUR

After that, I attach an important piece by Chuka Umunna, a senior moderate Labour Party politician in the UK, writing in the Independent. (For non-British readers who don’t know him, his father is Nigerian. He is seen as a potential moderate Labour rival to the far left Corbyn.)

The Independent is (after The Guardian) Britain’s most prominent left-wing publication. As an indicator of the widespread racism and anti-Semitism on the left, one need look no further than the truly revolting anti-Semitic comments left by readers under this piece on the Independent’s website, many now removed by the moderator.

 

CORBYN CLARIFIES (OR NOT)

After that, I attach a piece from yesterday’s (London) Evening Standard by British Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn, in which he condemns anti-Semitism among his supporters and apologizes to British Jews.

On the surface it is in many ways a good piece. But, true to form, a few hours after it was published, Corbyn held his long awaited meeting with mainstream British Jewish leaders, and failed to agree to any of their six requests, all of which were sensible and reasonable and a key to fighting anti-Semitism.

In light of the meeting, British Jewish leaders said his Evening Standard piece appeared to be nothing more than part of a clever PR game, and that he will continue to stonewall, and not expel Holocaust deniers and other anti-Semites from the party.

 

RAPE THREATS MADE AGAINST NON-JEWISH MP’S WIFE AND CHILDREN AFTER HE CONDEMNS ANTI-SEMITISM

For those who have watched it, this video which I posted one week ago on my Facebook page has now been watched tens of thousands of times. If you only have time to watch one video clip on the subject this week, I suggest it is this one.

 

ARAB DRESSING AS JEW, KICKED AND WHIPPED WITH A BELT IN BERLIN

Finally I attach a piece about the Israeli Arab who was violently assaulted in an unprovoked attack in Berlin by three Arabs after he dressed as a Jew because he “wanted to see what it was like” to be Jewish.

Adam Armoush told German television he was wearing a Jewish skullcap in an attempt to prove it was safe to wear one on the streets of Berlin. He was set upon in the affluent neighbourhood of Prenzlauer Berg and whipped with a belt by three men who shouted “Yahudi”, the Arabic word for Jew.

The attackers are believe to be Syrian refugees. Angela Merkel described it as a “horrific incident” and vowed that the German authorities would respond with “full force and resolve”.

***

Jewish groups are pleading with the Austrian authorities to prohibit the upcoming Ustasha (Croatian Nazi) festival planned for May 12 in Bleiburg, Austria.

-- Tom Gross


CONTENTS

1. “French Jews ‘face ethnic cleansing by Islamists’” (The Times (of London), April 23, 2018)
2. “Citing ‘Radical Islamists,’ top French figures sign letter condemning anti-Semitism” (Haaretz, April 23, 2018)
3. “JK Rowling: ‘non-Jews should start shouldering the burden’ of fight against anti-Semitism” (Jewish Chronicle, April 19, 2018)
4. “Labour can’t talk with credibility about racism until we tackle the anti-Semitism in our ranks” (By Chuka Umunna, MP, The Independent, April 23, 2018)
5. “What I’m doing to banish anti-Semitism from the Labour Party” (By Jeremy Corbyn, Evening Standard (London), April 24, 2018)
6. “Victim of Berlin anti-Semitic attack was an Israeli Arab who ‘wanted to see what it was like’ to be Jewish” (Daily Telegraph (London), April 19, 2018)

 

ARTICLES

FRENCH JEWS ‘FACE ETHNIC CLEANSING BY ISLAMISTS’

French Jews ‘face ethnic cleansing by Islamists’
By Adam Sage, Times correspondent, Paris
The Times (of London):
April 23, 2018

More than 300 political leaders, intellectuals and celebrities have signed a manifesto claiming that French Jews have fallen victim to a form of ethnic cleansing perpetrated by radical Islamists, amid the indifference of the country’s elite.

Nicolas Sarkozy, the former president, Manuel Valls, the former prime minister, Charles Aznavour, the singer, and Gérard Depardieu, the actor, are among those who have thrown their weight behind the document.

It says that France has become “the theatre of murderous anti-Semitism” with 11 Jews having been “assassinated” because of their religion since 2006.

“French Jews are 25 times more at risk of being attacked than their Muslim counterparts,” it adds. “Ten per cent of the Jewish citizens of the Paris region . . . have recently been forced to move because they were no longer secure in certain council estates. This is a quiet ethnic cleansing.”

France has Europe’s biggest Jewish community, with more than 500,000 people, and the biggest Muslim population, with about eight million people. More than 3,300 Jews left France for Israel last year, more than from any other western country.

The signatories say that radical Islamists are being allowed to act without restriction by the political establishment in France, thanks in part to the “silence of the media”. In a denunciation reminiscent of the criticism facing Jeremy Corbyn in Britain, the manifesto claims that historical far-right French anti-Semitism has been joined by that “of a part of the radical left which has found in anti-Zionism an alibi for transforming the executioners of the Jews into the victims of society”.

Politicians have made the “lowly electoral calculation that the Muslim vote is ten times bigger than the Jewish vote”, they say.

The 11 Jewish victims referred to in the text are a 23-year-old mobile telephone salesman tortured and killed by a gang of youths in 2006; a rabbi and three children shot by an Islamist in 2012; four shoppers murdered in a jihadist attack on a kosher store in 2015; a 65-year-old woman thrown out of her flat window last year; and an 85-year-old Holocaust survivor who was stabbed in her Paris flat last month.

 

QUIET ETHNIC CLEANSING IN PARIS

Citing ‘Radical Islamists,’ Over 250 Top French Figures Sign Letter Condemning anti-Semitism
Former president Sarkozy, five imams and actor Gerard Depardieu among signatories of open letter drafted by former Charlie Hebdo editor
Haaretz
April 23, 2018

A statement condemning anti-Semitism signed by more than 250 leading French figures including former President Nicolas Sarkozy, elected officials from various parties, writers and film stars, linked recent anti-Semitic incidents in France to radical Islam. The statement was published over the weekend by the Le Parisien daily and the Aujourd’hui en France Dimanche weekly and is the first of such prominence to explicitly draw the connection to the local Muslim minority.

Drafted by Philippe Val, a former editor at Charlie Hebdo from before the terrorist attack of January 2015, the statement begins: “Anti-Semitism is not the business of the Jews. It’s the business of all of us. The French, who have demonstrated their democratic maturity after each Islamist attack, are living through a tragic paradox. Their country has become the arena for murderous anti-Semitism.”

The statement goes on to say that in recent times, 11 Jews have been killed in France by “radical Islamists” because they were Jewish. French Jews, the statement says, are 25 times more likely to be victims of an attack than their Muslim compatriots. “Ten percent of the Jewish citizens of the [Paris region], meaning about 50,000 people, have recently had to change their residence because they were no longer safe in certain neighborhoods and because their children could no longer attend government schools. This involves quiet ethnic cleansing.”

Among the signatories is former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, actor Gerard Depardieu, former Prime Ministers Manuel Valls and Bernard Cazeneuve, former Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe, Chief Rabbi Haim Korsia, five imams and singers Charles Aznavour and Francoise Hardy.

The statement particularly cites last year’s murder of 65-year-old Sarah Halimi and the recent killing of 85-year-old Holocaust survivor Mireille Knoll, which prompted a march against anti-Semitism in Paris. Decrying lack of action in the face of this new anti-Semitism, the statement says that “Islamist radicalization and the anti-Semitism that serves as a vehicle for it are considered by a portion of the French elites as exclusively an expression of a social revolt.”

According to the signatories, “The old anti-Semitism of the extreme right is being supplemented by the anti-Semitism of a part of the radical left that has found an alibi in anti-Zionism to transform the executioners of the Jews into the victims of society.” The statement adds that a political calculus might also be behind these attitudes towards anti-Semitism: “because the electoral base composed of Muslims is 10 times greater than the Jewish vote,” the statement claims.

The document further notes that, following Mireille Knoll’s murder, there have been imams and other members of the Islamic clergy who called Islamic anti-Semitism “the greatest threat to Islam in the 21st century and in a world of peace and freedom in which they have chosen to live.” These representatives are, for the most part, under police protection.

The statement also calls for the verses of the Koran that incite against Jews, Christians and non-believers to be declared “obsolete” in a way similar to how the Catholic church expunged anti-Semitic dogma in the 1960s. The document then concludes with a call for the fight against anti-Semitism to become a “national cause before it’s too late. Before France is no longer France.”

 

JK ROWLING: ‘NON-JEWS SHOULD START SHOULDERING THE BURDEN’ OF FIGHT AGAINST ANTI-SEMITISM

JK Rowling: ‘non-Jews should start shouldering the burden’ of fight against anti-Semitism
In series of tweets, the Harry Potter author called out online antisemites
Jewish Chronicle
April 19, 2018

https://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/jk-rowling-non-jews-should-start-shouldering-the-burden-of-fight-against-antisemitism-1.462747

JK Rowling has said that “non-Jews should start shouldering the burden” with regard to fighting anti-Semitism, referencing the amount of bigotry British Jews are facing on social media.

In a series of tweets sent yesterday, the bestselling Harry Potter author showed examples of anti-Semitism and apologetics for it, and described how “UK Jews are currently having to field this kind of cr*p.”

Ms Rowling had retweeted the comedian David Baddiel, who had screenshotted a tweet someone had sent him which said: “You disgusting yid, nobody is proud of you. I bet you can smell the change in my pocket”. The comedian had sarcastically captioned it “anti-Semitism isn’t a real thing.”

Ms Rowling, who also writes the Cormoran Strike novels under the pseudonym of Robert Galbraith, then began to screenshot some of the replies she was getting on the subject of anti-Semitism. In response to one person who tweeted saying “Judaism is a religion not a race” in an attempt to deny that anti-Semitism is racism, she said “most UK Jews in my timeline are currently having to field this kind of cr*p, so perhaps some of us non-Jews should start shouldering the burden.

“Antisemites think this is a clever argument, so tell us, do: were atheist Jews exempted from wearing the yellow star? #anti-Semitism.”

Twitter
@jk_rowling
Most UK Jews in my timeline are currently having to field this kind of crap, so perhaps some of us non-Jews should start shouldering the burden. Antisemites thinks this is a clever argument, so tell us, do: were atheist Jews exempted from wearing the yellow star? #anti-Semitism

After retweeting a “Basic test for Anti-Semitism” formulated by David Schneider, another Jewish comedian, Ms Rowling showed another response she had received, which suggested that “arguing against anti-Semitism is extremely culturally insensitive to Muslims.” She described it as “mind-boggling.”

The author then tweeted that “The ‘Arabs are semitic too’ hot takes have arrived,” a reference to a bad-faith argument (that Arabs are technically Semites too and so cannot be antisemitic, despite the phrase being coined in 19th century Germany specifically to describe hatred of Jews).

On the same topic, she then tweeted a picture of the dictionary definition anti-Semitism, which is “hostility to or prejudice against Jews.” Along with the definition, Ms Rowling wrote: “Split hairs. Debate etymology. Gloss over the abuse of your fellow citizens by attacking the actions of another country’s government. Would your response to any other form of racism or bigotry be to squirm, deflect or justify?”

Finally, in response to someone who claimed that she was “tweeting against Labour again”, the author said: “No, I was tweeting about the anti-Semitism that’s rife on Twitter. You then jumped into my mentions to imply that ‘anti-Semitism’ is widely-accepted code for ‘Labour’ these days. You might want to rethink that career in PR.”

No, I was tweeting about the anti-Semitism that’s rife on Twitter. You then jumped into my mentions to imply that ‘anti-Semitism’ is widely-accepted code for ‘Labour’ these days. You might want to rethink that career in PR.

 

“LABOUR CAN’T TALK WITH CREDIBILITY ABOUT RACISM UNTIL WE TACKLE THE ANTI-SEMITISM IN OUR RANKS”

Labour can’t talk with credibility about racism until we tackle the anti-Semitism in our ranks
We can’t attack the racism that may lie behind the Tories’ mistreatment of the Windrush generation when we don’t get our own house in order on hate
By Chuka Umunna, MP
The Independent
April 23, 2018

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/labour-party-antisemitism-jeremy-corbyn-chuka-umunna-windrush-a8318436.html

“The failure of the Labour Party to deal consistently and effectively with antisemitic incidents in recent years risks lending force to allegations that elements of the Labour movement are institutionally antisemitic.” That was one of the principal findings of the House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee in the 2015-2017 parliament, of which I was a member. We made this finding in our report on anti-Semitism in the UK following a lengthy inquiry into the subject, which we published in October 2016.

It did not make for pleasant reading. Our report painted a picture of rising anti-Semitism in the UK over the last few years. There had been a 29 per cent increase in police-recorded antisemitic hate crime in England, Wales and Northern Ireland between 2010 and 2015, compared with a 9 per cent increase across all the hate crime categories.

Unfortunately, the picture has got worse, not better, since then, with figures from the Community Security Trust showing antisemitic incidents hitting a record high last year.

When talking about anti-Semitism, it is important to define the term. Broadly speaking, we adopted and endorsed the definition used by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, though the committee proposed an additional clarification to ensure that freedom of speech is maintained in the context of discourse about Israel and Palestine, without allowing anti-Semitism to permeate any debate. What this definition makes clear is that anti-Semitism is a particular, distinct form of prejudice.

But it is also clearly a form of racism too. My father arrived in this country in 1964. In the general election that year, Britain saw the Conservative Party wage one of the most racist parliamentary elections ever seen in the West Midlands constituency of Smethwick, which included the use of a slogan I slightly adapt as I don’t want to repeat the full extent of its ghastliness here: “If you want a negro for a neighbour, vote Labour.”

One of the reasons my late father, a black man, always supported the Labour Party was because we historically have always been anti-hate and anti-racist, something which the Tories sought to use against us in Smethwick.

It was impossible for our select committee to do our inquiry in 2016 properly without looking at anti-Semitism in politics. Our report stated unequivocally that all of the main political parties have had various controversies and problems with anti-Semitism over the years. We questioned all the main parties in detail and took evidence – in public and private – as well. However, I am a Labour Party member. I joined the party, at least in part, because of its history of fighting racism and, while I don’t want to see any hatred or prejudice anywhere, I feel a particular responsibility to act where I see it in my own party.

So, when I questioned the witnesses we heard from in that inquiry – witnesses who included Jeremy Corbyn and the former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone – I was robust. I acted without fear or favour. I treated cross-examination with the seriousness and focus demanded by the issue, and would not let tribalism get in the way of doing so.

One member of Labour’s shadow cabinet at the time – he is still a member of it – told me he thought my questioning was inappropriate because, as a Labour MP, I should not publicly challenge the leader on anything. What he and many others fail to realise is that the issue of antisemitism and racism is not actually about Jeremy Corbyn (although his handling of it is obviously flawed). He is not the victim here – and the issue is far bigger than one party leader.

Our report found there is endemic antisemitism in parts of the Labour Party, and some of the evidence we heard was shocking. Despite that, some continue to deny that it was and remains a problem. One supporter of my party posted on my Facebook page commented saying our report was “utter rubbish” and said it was “a disgrace it was signed by a Red Tory and a Jew.” He was referring to me and David Winnick, the other Labour MP who was a co-author of the report and is Jewish.

Many who took exception to the report ended up proving their own antisemitism, somewhat ironically. A Labour Party supporter posted in response to my questioning of Ken Livingstone that “Chuka is well and truly in the pockets of ‘The Lobby’.” For the avoidance of doubt, he was not referring to the so-called lobby of Westminster journalists.

Another said on Twitter that we were “a bunch of embittered Zionists who are intent on smearing” Jeremy Corbyn. This accusation of smearing the leader has shamefully been parroted since by some members of the Parliamentary Labour Party.

Most disappointingly, in his response to the report, not only did our leader make basic factual inaccuracies about its contents but he seemed incapable of acknowledging the Labour movement has a particular problem with antisemitism. He even went so far as to insinuate that we were using the issue as a “weapon” (his words, not mine) for political purposes.

Coming from a family which has had direct experience of racism, I found this to be grossly insulting and offensive – I made my feelings clear about this at the meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party which followed publication of the report.

It is therefore unsurprising that antisemitism has continued unabated in and around the Labour Party since 2016. Just this month, Peter Kirker – who is a member of the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy executive and has been a party officer in London and the Midlands – wrote in the Morning Star under the headline “Enough already with this Zionist frenzy”, in a piece which stated that “the noise around anti-Jewish racism has been engineered from within the murky right-wing world of British Zionism.”

The online abuse I quote above is, of course, nothing compared to the abuse meted out to Jewish Labour Members of Parliament and activists. My friends Luciana Berger, the MP for Liverpool Wavertree, and Ruth Smeeth, the MP for Stoke-on-Trent North, and others described in vivid detail the true awfulness of what they have been subject to last week. They have to live with this every day.

Sadly, even when there is an admission that antisemitism is a problem, too often it is followed by an avalanche of “whataboutery” by people in the party: But what about the Tories? But what about Gaza? But what about the bias of the mainstream media? Of course these are important issues. But the question on this issue is: if antisemitism exists in the Labour Party, which it clearly does, then what is the party going to do about it?

The constitution of the Labour Party says the Labour Party is a “democratic socialist party” and we seek to create, amongst other things, a community where “we live together, freely, in a spirit of solidarity, tolerance and respect”. It also says that we seek to create a society which “delivers people from the tyranny of prejudice”. As Martin Luther King said 50 years ago this month to America: “Be true to what you said on paper.” The Labour Party has lost its moral compass on the issue of antisemitism, and needs to reflect on the values it was founded upon.

It’s time to clear the large backlog of antisemitism cases in the party, rather than just sitting on them. It’s time to rebuild relations with the Jewish community, who understandably do not feel that Labour is a safe place for them. And it’s time to stop merging criticisms of the policies of Israel or capitalism with a commentary on Jewish people – something which happens time and time again in the party. How can we criticise the Conservative Party for running a racist, Islamophobic and prejudiced London Mayoral campaign in 2016, call them to book for delivering clearly racist leaflets last month in local elections Havering, or suggest racism lies behind the Tories’ mistreatment of the Windrush generation when we don’t get our own house in order?

Nothing currently illustrates just how broken British politics has become than the issue of antisemitism in Labour and the Tories’ appalling treatment of the Windrush generation – each of the main parties attacks the other on the issue, but both lack the credibility to do so in the eyes of many because of their party’s record on addressing prejudice within their own ranks.

A Jewish member of my constituency party – one of our most dedicated and active – emailed me a few weeks ago. She wrote: “What’s a dedicated Labour member such as myself supposed to do now? How many more incidents such as this should I take on the chin and stay in the party? How, when time and time again people I’ve supported and congratulated for winning elections turn out to hold antisemitic views, could I ever campaign and support anyone in the party, outside my immediate circle?

“Why should any Jewish person vote Labour?”

This is an instruction to act. We must do so.

 

CORBYN CLARIFIES

What I’m doing to banish anti-Semitism from the Labour Party
By Jeremy Corbyn
The Evening Standard (London)
April 24, 2018

https://www.standard.co.uk/comment/comment/jeremy-corbyn-what-i-m-doing-to-banish-antisemitism-from-the-labour-party-a3821961.html

Anti-semitism is a poison that must be challenged wherever it raises its head, across Europe and at home. Hatred and bigotry towards Jewish people has no place in our society, whether on the streets or online. And that of course goes for the Labour Party too.

Today I am meeting leaders of the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Jewish Leadership Council to discuss working together to tackle both old and new forms of anti-Semitism.

We have a particular duty to lead the fight against anti-Semitism in and around our party and movement. Jews have found a natural home in the Labour Party since its foundation, and been central to our movement.

The party has a long and proud record of standing against anti-Semitism. Jews belong in the Labour Party and we are utterly committed to making it a safe and welcoming place for them.

But we must also face the uncomfortable fact that a small number of our members and supporters hold anti-Semitic views and attitudes, which need to be confronted and dealt with more rapidly and effectively.

The evidence is clear enough. Labour staff have seen examples of Holocaust denial, crude stereotypes of Jewish bankers, conspiracy theories blaming 9/11 on Israel, and even one member who appeared to believe that Hitler had been misunderstood.

So let me be clear. People holding those views have no place in the Labour Party. They may be few — the number of cases over the past three years represents less than 0.1 per cent of Labour’s membership of more than half a million — but one is too many.

We are taking action. In the past fortnight more than 20 individuals have been suspended from party membership, and more are being investigated. But we have not done enough to get to grips with the problem, and the Jewish community and our Jewish members deserve an apology. My party and I are sorry for the hurt and distress caused.

We must strive to understand why anti-Semitism has surfaced in our party, which has always stood for equality for all and opposed racism and discrimination.

As I indicated in my letter last month to the Board of Deputies and the Jewish Leadership Council, there are two particular contemporary sources. First, individuals on the fringes of the movement of solidarity with the Palestinian people can stray into anti-Semitic views.

The struggle for justice for the Palestinian people and an end to their dispossession is a noble one — just as a genuine two-state solution is essential to lasting peace in the Middle East. But when criticism of or opposition to the Israeli government uses anti-Semitic ideas — attributing its injustices to Jewish identity, demanding that Jews in Britain or elsewhere answer for its conduct, or comparing Israel to the Nazis — then a line must be drawn.

Anti-Zionism is not in itself anti-Semitic and many Jews themselves are not Zionists. But there are also a very few who are drawn to the Palestinian question precisely because it affords an opportunity to express hostility to Jewish people in a “respectable” setting. Our movement must not be a home for such individuals.

Second, there are people who have come to see capitalism and imperialism as the product of conspiracy by a small shadowy elite rather than a political, economic, legal and social system. That is only a step from hoary myths about “Jewish bankers” and “sinister global forces”.

These views do no service to the struggle for a just society. Instead, they reproduce the sort of scapegoating that we recognise when directed at ethnic or religious minorities.

Anti-Semitism was responsible for the worst crimes of the 20th century. According to a survey conducted last year by two leading Jewish community organisations, anti-Semitic views are held by a minority in Britain, and are more likely to be found on the right of politics. But we did not look closely enough at ourselves.

I also believe our party’s structures, built to service a far smaller membership than we have now, have been simply not fully fit for purpose when it has come to dealing with complaints about anti-Semitism.

The problem has been aggravated by social media, which is where most of the instances of abuse appear to take place. Some high-profile cases have also been delayed by legal proceedings, and the reforms proposed by Shami Chakrabarti two years ago to make our response more effective were not fully implemented.

That is why our new general secretary Jennie Formby has, on my instruction, made it her priority to get on top of this problem and ensure that all complaints are dealt with swiftly and fairly, with investigations resourced as necessary. She will be setting out her plans in the coming weeks, including the appointment of a new legal adviser, and we are already taking action in many cases.

We will also embark on a programme of political education to deepen Labour members’ understanding of what anti-Semitism is and how to counter it.

When members of Jewish communities express genuine anxieties we must recognise them as we would those of any other community. Their concerns are not “smears”.

I want to engage with the full range and diversity of Jewish organisations and have no truck with any attempt to divide the Jewish community into the “right” and “wrong” sort of Jews. Debate and pluralism are abiding characteristics of the Jewish community, and I celebrate them both within and without the Labour Party.

I hope that by taking the steps outlined, Labour will be reconnecting with our finest traditions of solidarity and equality. We stand with any community beleaguered or subject to hateful prejudice.

We cannot and will not fail our Jewish brothers and sisters now.

 

VICTIM OF BERLIN ANTI-SEMITIC ATTACK WAS AN ISRAELI ARAB WHO ‘WANTED TO SEE WHAT IT WAS LIKE’ TO BE JEWISH

Victim of Berlin anti-Semitic attack was an Israeli Arab who ‘wanted to see what it was like’ to be Jewish
By Justin Huggler, Berlin
Daily Telegraph (London)
April 19, 2018

One of the victims of an anti-Semitic attack in central Berlin that shocked Germany this week is not Jewish, it has emerged.

Adam Armoush told German television he was wearing a Jewish kippah skullcap in an attempt to prove it was safe to wear one on the streets of Berlin.

But the experiment went wrong when he and a companion were set upon in the affluent neighbourhood of Prenzlauer Berg and whipped with a belt by three men who shouted “Yahudi”, the Arabic word for Jew.

The main suspect in the attack, a 19-year-old Syrian named only as Knaan S, surrendered to police yesterday. It is not clear whether he is a refugee.

The 21-year-old Mr Armoush is an Israeli citizen of Arab descent. “I’m not Jewish, I’m an Israeli, I grew up in Israel in an Arab family,” he told Deutsche Welle television.

A Berlin resident, he said he had worn the skullcap to make a point after being warned by a friend it could be dangerous on the streets in Germany. “I was saying it’s really safe and I wanted to prove it, but it ended like that,” he said.

Mr Armoush said he had grown up in an atheist family in the Israeli city of Haifa. He began to video the assault on his smartphone after the three men shouted insults at him and his companion. He suffered bruises and minor injuries in the attack.

“Honestly, I’m a little surprised a thing like this could happen,” he said in a separate interview with Israeli television.

The incident is the latest in a series of violent anti-Semitic attacks which are causing growing concern in Germany.

Angela Merkel described it as a “horrific incident” and vowed that the German authorities would respond with “full force and resolve”.

Mr Armoush said he would not allow the assault to stop him wearing a skullcap. “I’ll keep the kippah, no matter what others think,” he said.

 

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