Corbyn was judged to have interfered in antisemitism cases, with the implication that his office tried to stop antisemites from being expelled. The truth was the opposite, as the EHRC quietly conceded. His team “interfered” only in the sense that they tried to speed up the handling of disciplinary cases his right-wing opponents in the party bureaucracy stalled in a bid to fuel the antisemitism smears.
Starmer is interfering in disciplinary cases too – and doing so openly and proudly, including overturning a decision in late 2020 by his National Executive Committee to reinstate Corbyn as an MP. But this time the EHRC seems unconcerned.
The EHRC has given Starmer its official stamp of anti-racism approval even as his officials drive out Jewish members in unprecedented numbers. These are Jews whose mistreatment no one in public life seemingly cares about – because they back Corbyn.
Last week, hot on the heels of that stamp of approval, and mocking the idea that Starmer’s party is interested in tackling racism, Labour barred its local constituency parties from affiliating with a range of progressive groups.
Those included Jewish Voice for Labour, which represents Jews highly critical of Israel’s oppression of Palestinians, and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, the main UK organisation representing Palestinian interests, as well as Somalis for Labour, Sikhs for Labour and the All African Women’s Group.
The Equalities watchdog’s “special measures” on Labour are also apparently not needed even though prominent Black party members, such as former shadow home secretary Diane Abbott, also a Corbyn ally, complain that Starmer’s Labour has done nothing to address anti-Black racism exposed in the recent Forde Report.
The truth is that Starmer and the establishment media will not be satisfied until they have driven a stake through the heart of Corbynism, and its genuine commitment to anti-racism and a more egalitarian approach to the economy. That is why they have never sounded more desperate to vilify him and his supporters.
It has been brought to the attention of the Labour Party that you have been advertised as a speaker for an event entitled ‘Zionism During the Holocaust – Reclaiming the Memory of All Those Who Died’, hosted by Socialist Labour Network on Friday 27th January 2023.
In line with Labour Party rules, Socialist Labour Network is a group which the NEC of the party has determined is incompatible with Labour Party values. Any support for the organisation would likely be deemed in breach of Party rules and may lead to expulsion.
But rather than back down to the cowardly threat, to which the party drone who sent it didn’t even dare put his or her name, Kapos – a constituent of party leader Keir Starmer – resigned his membership, saying that his duty to teach people about the terrible slaughter at every opportunity – and to stand up against Israeli apartheid against Palestinians – was too important to bow to petty tyrants and their so-called ‘Labour values’:
Dear London General,
Thank you for your emailed letter of the 24th of January giving me advance warning that I am likely to be expelled from the Party if I were to speak from the panel as a Holocaust survivor at the SLN (Socialist Labour Network) Webinar on the 27th January — on Holocaust Memorial Day.
The Holocaust is the most important single example of genocide, which at its worst descended into an industrial process of mass murder of millions.
As a child survivor and one of the fewer and fewer still living direct witnesses to the Holocaust I feel a compelling duty to bear witness and speak out about it at any platform that would invite me and to any audience ready to listen.
I am an activist for Palestinian human rights and an active member of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign in its Camden Branch. The defence of Palestinians living under a brutal occupation is very important to me, particularly as a Holocaust survivor. Palestinians live under a system of apartheid as recognised by Amnesty International and other major human-rights organisations. Those are my political beliefs which I claim are protected characteristics under the Equalities Act 2010.
I am not a member of SLN nor have I been following its activities, but via the book to be discussed on the 27th I have a general understanding of SLN’s views on present-day Zionism (as a political movement ) and on some of the actions of the Zionist movement during the Holocaust and WWII. I am in sympathy with some of those views on the grounds of my political beliefs mentioned above. I have personal experience of the Kastner project in Hungary which was driven by Zionist ideology.
Email and letter details courtesy of Tony Greenstein
Left-wing Jewish activist Tony Greenstein, one of the first to be expelled during Labour’s mass purge of Jews who stand up for Palestinian human rights, published the video of Kapos speaking at the event about what he saw and suffered:
Solidarity with Stephen Kapos and all those targeted by the Labour right’s regime.
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The data published by the Commission for Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs does not include all the children arrested by Israeli occupation forces this year, which, according to some sources, is above 750December 27, 2022 by Peoples Dispatch
More than 600 Palestinian children were kept under house arrest by Israeli occupation forces in 2022, according to the Commission for Detainees’ and Ex-Detainees’ Affairs, a prisoners’ rights body, which issued a statement on Monday, December 26. Minors were detained by the Israeli state for periods ranging between a few days and, in some cases, years, Wafa news agency reported.
The detained children are not allowed to move freely, or even go to school without an escort. They are also forced to wear tracking devices throughout the detention period.
The commission describes two kinds of detention of Palestinian children. One is in which the child stays with their family while an Israeli court decides on the case. This often takes months, and the family is often forced to pay a heavy amount as surety. To access such large sums of money, families often have to take loans or sell their property. In the second category, Israeli forces make Palestinian families take their children outside the city or town during the period of the trial, and arrange for their own stay there while the court decides the matter.
The commission notes that such Israeli detention leaves prolonged physiological effects on both the children and their families. It deprives the children of their right to education and creates a constant feeling of fear, anxiety, and deprivation.
Israel’s treatment of Palestinian children violates the provisions of international humanitarian law, which specifically addresses protecting the interests of children while setting the conditions of their detention.
Until 2009, when Military Order 1644 was promulgated by Israel in the West Bank, Israeli courts would try Palestinian children as young as 12 in the same courts as adults, and with no specific protections in place. Military Order 1644, however, set up separate military courts for the trials of children, and determined the Palestinian age of maturity to be 16. Israel does not classify Palestinians over the age of 16 as children, despite the age of maturity for Israelis being 18 years.
Deadly year for Palestinian children
At least 54 Palestinian children have been killed by Israeli forces or settlers in the occupied territories in 2022. Out of these, 35 were killed in the occupied West Bank, and 19 in the occupied Gaza strip. At least 958 Palestinian children were wounded by Israeli forces or settlers across the occupied territories in the same period, and over 750 have been arrested or detained.
Some sources quote a higher number of children killed by Israeli forces this year in the West Bank. According to Defense of Children-Palestine, one of several Palestinian human rights groups the Israeli government has branded as “terrorists” and banned, “Israeli forces repeatedly and systematically shoot to kill Palestinian children in violation of international law.” It claims that 13 Palestinian children were killed in Jenin alone this year.
The youngest Palestinian child killed by Israeli forces was 7-year-old Rayan Suleiman. He was being chased by Israeli forces, who were threatening to arrest him near Bethlehem, when he died of cardiac arrest.
2022 was also the deadliest year for Palestinians in the occupied West Bank since 2005, when the UN started recording daily deaths. According to the UN, more than 166 Palestinians were killed in the West Bank this year.
Jenin, in the northern occupied West Bank, has been particularly targeted by occupation forces this year under the so-called “break the wave” operations launched in March. In near daily raids, Israeli forces have killed 59 Palestinians in Jenin alone this year.
Apart from Israeli armed forces, illegal settlers in the occupied West Bank have also killed at least four Palestinians this year, and carried out numerous attacks on Palestinian villages, their farm lands, and their businesses.
Starmer’s role has been simply to emasculate the Labour Party, and to purge it of any elements that might seek to pose a threat to rampant neo-liberalism and wealth inequality. His efforts to ban Labour MPs from supporting striking railway workers must be anathema to anybody who has the slightest feel for the history and traditions of that party and indeed the most basic understanding of its very raison d’etre.
This Tony Benn quote from the 1980’s has come into vogue because it is prophetic, and the process appears now complete:
If the Labour Party could be bullied or persuaded to denounce its Marxists, the media – having tasted blood – would demand next that it expelled all its Socialists and reunited the remaining Labour Party with the SDP to form a harmless alternative to the Conservatives, which could then be allowed to take office now and then when the Conservatives fell out of favour with the public. Thus British Capitalism, it is argued, will be made safe forever, and socialism would be squeezed off the National agenda. But if such a strategy were to succeed… it would in fact profoundly endanger British society. For it would open up the danger of a swing to the far-right, as we have seen in Europe over the last 50 years.
Starmer is in one sense the apotheosis of this process. Not only has he acted to purge the Labour Party of socialism, he also offers so very little of a meaningful alternative to the Tories that there is very little danger of the Tories being voted out of office. Not only is he a safe right-wing backstop, he is a self-redundant safe right-wing backstop.
The Guardian has long been viewed as the voice of the liberal-left in Britain, so it surprised many during the Corbyn leadership to see it act as one of the main media vehicles through which the campaign to bring him down was fought.
The paper was a key part of the “anti-semitism crisis” that engulfed Corbyn’s leadership. From 2016-19, the Guardianpublished 1,215 stories mentioning Labour and anti-semitism, an average of around one per day, according to a search on Factiva, the database of newspaper articles.
In the same period, the Guardian published just 194 articles mentioning the Conservative Party’s much more serious problem with Islamophobia. A YouGov poll in 2019, for example, found that nearly half of the Tory party membership would prefer not to have a Muslim prime minister.
The Guardian’s coverage of anti-semitism in Labour was suspiciously extensive, compared to the known extent of the problem in the party, and its focus on Corbyn personally suggested that the issue was being used politically.
The late Jewish anthropologist David Graeber commented after the 2019 election: “As for the Guardian, we will never forget that during the ‘Labour antisemitism controversy’, they beat even the Daily Mail to include the largest percentage of false statements, pretty much every one, mysteriously, an accidental error to Labour’s disadvantage”.
( Middle East Monitor ) – The Encyclopaedia Britannica defines a pogrom as “a mob attack, either approved or condoned by authorities, against the persons and property of a religious, racial, or national minority”.That is exactly what is happening today against the Palestinian people in Jerusalem.
Palestinians are not a minority in Palestine – the country that lies between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. But due to Israel’s apartheid regime that has ruled the country since 1948, the majority of Palestinians were expelled from the areas that today form so-called “Israel proper”, and which many Palestinians term “1948 Palestine”.
Due to a slow process of Israeli ethnic cleansing since then, Palestinians are no longer the majority in Jerusalem. But in recent weeks that process has sped up in that city, the historic capital of Palestine.
Some truly terrifying clips have been circulated online – including by credible journalists – showing rampaging mobs of mostly young Israeli men attacking Palestinians in Jerusalem and chanting “Death to the Arabs” (while being incited and led by mainstream Israeli political and religious leaders).
This is not a new phenomenon, but it has increased in recent weeks, partly due to a ruling by an Israeli court demanding new expulsions of Palestinian families from the Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah.
The families have been until the start of May to leave their homes and hand them over to Israeli settlers.
These actions by the apartheid state of Israel have only encouraged the “Death to the Arabs” hate mobs. And therein lies the key to understating the essence of a pogrom.
A pogrom is carried out by violent mobs, who are deemed in the discourse of the government and of the corporate media to be “extremists”. There is no doubt that these mobs are far-right Jewish-supremacist extremists by any objective definition.
But they are not extremists in terms of the mainstream of Israeli political discourse and – crucially – of the actions of the racist state itself.
You can see this very clearly in a viral video clip that was circulated by the American anti-Zionist group, Jewish Voice for Peace.
The clip was from a 2009 film about Sheikh Jarrah. But as JVP notes, it could easily have been filmed today. Expulsions of Palestinians by mobs of highly ideological religious Zionist fanatics are still frequently carried out, in the same way seen in the clip.
But the most telling part of the video is perhaps not so much the actions of the mob itself, but how they are endorsed and backed by the racist state.
You see the thugs of Israel’s highly-armed military “Border Police” force standing by and watching the takeover, making sure that the Palestinians are not able to defend themselves or their homes.
This is the very definition of a pogrom.
In the clip posted by JVP, Israeli settler leader Jonathan Yosef is shamelessly explicit about all this, saying: “We take house after house. All this area will be a Jewish neighbourhood … We are going to the next neighbourhood and after that we’ll go [to] more. Our dream [is] that all East Jerusalem will be like West Jerusalem. [A] Jewish capital of Israel.”
He then gives a far clearer, far more honest – and frankly more accurate – definition of Zionism than the lying dissimulators of liberal and “left-wing” Zionism ever could (with their nonsense about “Jewish self-determination” in a country which has never been exclusively Jewish):
“I see this as a continuation of the Zionist project. The return to Zion. Is it at the Arabs’ expense? Yes. But our government institutions were also built at the expense of Arabs who lived here. And so was the state itself,” he says.”
Everything Yosef said in this definition of Zionism is objectively true. The difference though, is that he thinks that such violent, racist extremism is good and praiseworthy, while I (and the vast majority of people around the world) reject it as a horrifying injustice.
Yosef is no marginal figure or merely some obscure wild-eyed extremist. As my colleague David Sheen reports, he sits on Jerusalem’s city council for Shas – a religious extremist party which also happens to have won the third highest number of seats in Israel’s parliament in the election last month.
But the Palestinians show no sign of backing down, lying down, giving up, or, – in the words of Zionism’s racist founder Theodor Herzl – allowing Israel to “spirit the penniless population across the border” of Palestine.
( Middle East Monitor ) – UN Special Rapporteur Michael Lynk’s criticism of the forthcoming US-Israeli annexation of more Palestinian land offers a good start to collective political action against Israel, if only the international community would show that it is willing. “The plan would crystallise a 21st century apartheid, leaving in its wake the demise of the Palestinian’s right to self-determination. Legally, morally, politically, this is entirely unacceptable,” declared Lynk.
The UN official described the repercussions of annexation as creating “a cascade of bad human rights consequences” and insisted that the international community can no longer play its acquiescent role to Israeli violations. “The looming annexation is a political litmus test for the international community. This annexation will not be reversed through rebukes, nor will the 53-year-old occupation die of old age,” he warned.
This is not the first time that Lynk has offered a harsher criticism of Israel than the appeasing commentary which is typical of UN officials and institutions. In the past, he recommended international sanctions against Israel and supported the International Criminal Court (ICC) in its investigation of Israeli war crimes against the Palestinian people.
Lynk’s words draw attention to the UN’s political flaws and the endorsement of human rights violations committed by its member states. As Israel moves towards annexation, the international community is unlikely to assess its own complicity. The US-Israeli annexation plans are built upon decades of international endorsement of Zionist colonisation. To oppose annexation – one of the last steps that Israel is embarking upon to complete its colonial project – is not enough. Diluting settler-colonisation to “53 years of occupation” is also inconsistent and a misrepresentation of the causes of Palestinian displacement.
The US may currently be playing a more prominent role, but the international community has magnified the US-Israeli relationship to deflect attention from the historical process leading to the current dynamic. The international community’s endorsement of the Israeli colonisation project is a major violation that remains overlooked. What the US and Israel have achieved under the Trump administration is a reflection of an ongoing cycle of intentional political oblivion at a global level.
Having shone the spotlight on the US-Israeli collusion, the international community has availed itself of a temporary lull in scrutiny of its action, particularly its inaction when it comes to the Palestinian people’s political rights. In truth, the international community’s action can be summed up in the 1947 Partition Plan, after which reliance on statements and condemnations became the diplomatically-accepted means of purportedly championing Palestinian rights. Lynk’s statements, albeit devoid of direct references to Israeli colonisation, point towards international culpability.
In recent years, the two-state compromise remains the most blatant evidence of international culpability in preventing Palestinian reclamation of their land and rights. Just as annexation has been declared in violation of international law, the two-state diplomacy must also be held accountable for paving the way to annexation. This necessitates a complete reversal of the politics that have sustained the UN so far. There cannot be a unified political front against Israel if two-state politics is not abandoned. Stopping annexation requires a reversal of Israeli colonisation; anything less is an affirmation of treason against the Palestinian people.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.