The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 27th October 2017

Witch-hunt continues

JEREMY Corbyn is now well established as Labour leader since the results of last May’s election and the right wing of the party is having to reconcile itself to the prospect that he will be there for a long time. They have mostly given up trying to undermine him and those close to him, and are now trying to convince him that they are long-term loyal supporters and to sway his policies closer to their own.

But there is one issue that won’t go away — the issue of trying to paint leading Corbyn supporters — and Corbyn himself by association — as anti-Semites.

When the media campaign against Corbyn was at its height these allegations arose against a number of leading activists. They were suspended and an inquiry was launched during which Corbyn took a hands-off stance. Shami Chakrabarti, formerly of the civil rights organisation Liberty and now a Labour peer, drew up a code of practice which recognised that criticism of the Israeli government’s policies did not amount to anti-Semitism.

Separately a court ruling concerning the issue in student unions came to the same conclusion. Support for Palestinian human rights is not the same thing as anti-Semitism.

That was well over a year ago but the leading Labour activists who were victimised by this witch hunt have not yet been reinstated in the Labour Party. And they include a number of Jewish people who are opposed to the ongoing Israeli persecution of the Palestinians, such as Tony Greenstein and Jackie Walker.

Jeremy Corbyn failed to attend a Labour Friends of Israel fringe meeting at last month’s conference in Brighton and he has been criticised by right-wing Zionist sympathisers for declining an invitation to attend a dinner to commemorate the centenary of the Balfour Declaration — the western imperialist carve-up of the Middle East that paved the way for the creation of the state of Israel in 1948.

The Balfour Declaration condemned the peaceful Palestinian nation to lose its sovereignty and its home, piece by piece as the state of Israel has expanded and swallowed up nearly all Palestinian land. The Palestinians now live either in exile or under the increasing racist harshness of Israeli military rule.

United Nations resolutions condemning this have been ignored.

Just last week in Tel Aviv a rally was organised to support an Israeli soldier who murdered a wounded Palestinian by shooting him in the head as the victim lay on his back — it was marked by chants and banners calling for the mass murder of all Palestinians.

There have been massive rallies and social media campaigns calling for Palestinian genocide that are ignored by western mainstream media and Facebook despite concerns and collaborations aimed at stopping ‘calls to violence’.

The Israeli government relies heavily on money and weapons from the USA to act as its agent in the Middle East — helping the USA to crush progressive Arab governments and controlling the supply of oil.

But things are changing. Global warming has prompted the development of alternative sources of energy, and renewable energy sources such as sunlight and wind are turning out to be significantly cheaper than oil.

The United States empire is failing and now its power structures are being destabilised from inside by the maverick President Donald Trump. Political divisions within the USA are deepening — leaving Israel feeling very insecure.

The cause of Palestinian rights is also growing around the globe, with more and more countries recognising the right of Palestinians to their own land and nationhood.

Being the US’s battering ram within the Middle east is not a comfortable position for the people of Israel — but their government has isolated them so much from their neighbours that they fear the consequences of a sudden collapse of US support.

They have crushed the Palestinians politically, militarily and economically. Palestinians have no choice but to fight to survive.

This is the background to the continuing efforts to keep the witch-hunt against alleged anti-Semites alive. It is not directed at real fascists and anti-Semites — and there are plenty of these around in the growing extreme right wing in the USA, in Europe and in Britain. It is directed at any kind of support for the rights of Palestinians.

It is time for the Labour leadership to take a stronger line against this anti-Palestinian racism, to call it what it is and openly to renounce support for the Balfour catastrophe and the legacy of British imperialism, along with the Sykes-Picot settlement — and reinstate the witch-hunt victims.