Labour’s Antisemitism Fiasco Has Led To A Drop Off In Pro-Palestinian Activism – It’s Time We Found Our Voice Again

Tony Gosling tony at
Sat Mar 30 22:08:21 GMT 2019

Labour’s Antisemitism Crisis Has Led To A Drop 
Off In Pro-Palestinian Activism – It’s Time We Found Our Voice Again


In 2014, the killing of 1,900 Palestinians in the 
Gaza strip saw 150,000 people take to London’s 
streets. Yet the UK’s Palestinian solidarity 
movement has been noticeably muted in recent months
    * <>Holly Rigby
It is eight years since I attended a protest in 
the West Bank where unarmed Palestinian activist 
Mustafa Tamimi was killed after being shot in the 
face with a tear-gas canister at close range by 
the Israeli army. Horrified by the brutal 
injustice of his death, I attended Mustafa’s 
funeral days later. I witnessed the Israeli army 
shoot the tear gas canisters that killed Mustafa 
at his grieving family, as they mourned at his graveside.

It often feels that so little has changed since 
then, and that only the list of Palestinian dead 
has grown longer. Israel continues to kill 
Palestinians with impunity, and I never cease to 
be outraged by the British government’s shameful 
“diplomatic silence” and its failure to condemn 
the Israeli government for its actions.

In the last year alone, the Israeli state has 
killed 194 Palestinians, including 41 children, 
during the weekly Great March of Return protests 
that began in Gaza on 30 March 2018. Although a 
UN report has now suggested that Israel’s actions 
could constitute 
crimes, UK foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt 
abstained on a vote at the UN last month that 
would have held Israel responsible for its 
intentional use of “lethal force” against civilian protesters.

The most infamous of these civilian deaths was 
that of Razan al-Najjar, a 21-year-old nurse who 
was shot in the chest by the Israeli army while 
wearing her white medic’s uniform as she attended 
to injured protestors in the Gaza strip.

Britain’s failure to condemn this potential war 
crime has undoubtedly further emboldened the 
Israeli state. This week, Israel killed another 
medic; teenage volunteer medic Sajid Muzher was 
shot in the abdomen while giving medical 
attention to protestors in a Bethlehem refugee 
camp. Young enough to be a student in the sixth 
form at the school I teach at, Sajid’s death 
hangs particularly heavy in my mind.

Israel launches airstrikes in Gaza Strip


The failures of this government to intervene in 
these crimes only highlights how important a 
grassroots Palestinian solidarity movement truly 
is. After all, we must never forget that while it 
was Thatcher’s Conservative government who 
supported South African apartheid to the very 
end, it was ordinary British people who stood in 
solidarity with the struggle of South Africans in 
their fight for equal rights and freedom for all.

Just like South Africa then, the UK’s solidarity 
movement has repeatedly shown that many people in 
this country will refuse to stand on the 
sidelines as the British government allows Israel’s actions to go unchecked.

Tens of thousands of protestors marched through 
London in 2009 after 400 Palestinians were killed 
by Israel’s Operation Cast Lead offensive. In 
2014, these demonstrations had grown 
exponentially; the killing of 1,900 Palestinians 
in the Gaza strip saw 150,000 people take to London’s streets once again.

Yet the UK’s Palestinian solidarity movement has 
been noticeably muted in recent months; 
demonstrations outside Downing Street last year 
in solidarity with Gaza’s Great March of Return 
saw only around 2,000 activists in attendance, 
and a protest outside the Israeli embassy this 
weekend is likely to be much the same size.

There could of course be a myriad of reasons why 
this is the case. But it is increasingly clear 
that the antisemitism crisis that has rocked the 
Labour Party in recent months has deflated the 
confidence of Labour Party members like me who 
would have previously taken part in mass 
demonstrations against Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories.

This is not to deny, of course, the very real, 
abhorrent cases of antisemitism that do exist 
within Labour, which must be vociferously 
challenged. But many now feel that these have 
become even more difficult to root out because of 
the way antisemitism has often been conflated 
with anti-Zionism by those who seek to shut down 
legitimate criticisms of the Israeli state.

The Palestinian solidarity movement must not be 
afraid to speak out in the face of such attacks. 
We need more grassroots actions like those taken 
by members at the Labour Party conference in 
2018, when the hall was filled with delegates 
waving Palestinian flags and chanting “Free 
Palestine” as a motion was passed unanimously 
agreeing to freeze arms sales to Israel, were a 
Corbyn government to be elected.

Corbyn himself could make a bold statement if he 
agreed to speak at a national 
in London on Saturday 11 May, just as he did in 
2009 and 2014 before being elected Labour’s 
leader. This could reaffirm Corbyn’s 
long-standing commitment to Palestinians’ 
liberation, and generate the confidence needed to 
build a mass solidarity movement once again.

As Palestinians in Gaza take to the streets this 
weekend to mark the anniversary of the Great 
March of Return, Israel is unlikely to respond 
with either caution or restraint, making the UK’s 
grassroots solidarity movement as important as 
ever. We must never underestimate the powerful 
message this international solidarity sends to 
Palestinians struggling everyday against their oppressors.
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'From South America, where payment must be made with subtlety, the 
Bormann organization has made a substantial contribution. It has 
drawn many of the brightest Jewish businessmen into a participatory 
role in the development of many of its corporations, and many of 
these Jews share their prosperity most generously with Israel. If 
their proposals are sound, they are even provided with a specially 
dispensed venture capital fund. I spoke with one Jewish businessmen 
in Hartford, Connecticut. He had arrived there quite unknown several 
years before our conversation, but with Bormann money as his 
leverage. Today he is more than a millionaire, a quiet leader in the 
community with a certain share of his profits earmarked as always for 
his venture capital benefactors. This has taken place in many other 
instances across America and demonstrates how Bormann's people 
operate in the contemporary commercial world, in contrast to the 
fanciful nonsense with which Nazis are described in so much "literature."

So much emphasis is placed on select Jewish participation in Bormann 
companies that when Adolf Eichmann was seized and taken to Tel Aviv 
to stand trial, it produced a shock wave in the Jewish and German 
communities of Buenos Aires. Jewish leaders informed the Israeli 
authorities in no uncertain terms that this must never happen again 
because a repetition would permanently rupture relations with the 
Germans of Latin America, as well as with the Bormann organization, 
and cut off the flow of Jewish money to Israel. It never happened 
again, and the pursuit of Bormann quieted down at the request of 
these Jewish leaders. He is residing in an Argentinian safe haven, 
protected by the most efficient German infrastructure in history as 
well as by all those whose prosperity depends on his well-being.'

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