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LABOUR delegates in Liverpool should welcome the letter of support from Israeli citizens for Jeremy Corbyn when party conference opens on Sunday.
The Israelis, both Jews and Arabs, understand well the scale of the injustice perpetrated for shabby political reasons against the Labour leader, a lifelong anti-racist being tainted with the smear of racism.
They recognise Corbyn as a campaigner for peace and for justice, whose election will assist the ongoing struggle for these principles both within Israel’s 1967 borders and in the West Bank and Gaza, where Palestinians will build their own independent state.
The letter justly calls out Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for his ties to anti-semites in eastern Europe and for the anti-Arab racism that he deploys regularly and especially at election time.
The still growing list of signatories signals an awareness that anti-semitism exists in all societies to a greater or lesser extent but applauds “Labour’s sustained efforts to fight it within its ranks.”
This flies in the face of a coordinated campaign within Britain, succoured by the mass media and unprincipled politicians in various parties, to pin the anti-semitism label on Corbyn.
The flimsiest pretexts, from anonymous social media comments to tenuous links with controversial characters who have attended meetings or shared online posts, are dredged up to keep the anti-semitism pot boiling.
Mass media and other organisations that dedicate resources to investigate Corbyn seem unwilling to uncover the reality that unsavoury characters from Britain’s far-right feel able to wrap themselves in Israeli flags and join protests demanding Corbyn’s removal as Labour leader.
Co-operation with the far-right on opportunist grounds, whether by Israel or its apologists overseas, is a policy fraught with great danger.
Those shouting loudest about Corbyn’s alleged penchant for anti-semitism leave no doubt that their main gripe against him is his criticism of Israel’s denial of Palestinian national rights.
The letter from Israel makes clear that its supporters are “committed to civil equality within Israel, to an end to the occupation and the blockade of Gaza, to a just peace and justice for the Palestinian refugees.”
The signatories stipulate “that, even as many of Corbyn’s critics claim to respect the right to criticise Israel in theory, in practice their attacks seem designed to shut down debate on Israel-Palestine and prevent a future Labour government from applying any real pressure on Israel to change its policies.”
This is apparent from the overwhelming silence emanating from Corbyn’s slanderers over the issue raised in the letter of “civil equality within Israel,” which always lacked substance but is now banned by law through the Netanyahu government’s nation state law that entrenches inequality.
In the same way, groups such as Labour Friends of Israel (LFI) that have been to the fore in the “Corbyn is an anti-semite” furore seek to deflect criticism that they are shills for Israeli expansionism by claiming to work for a “two-state solution.”
But whereas Corbyn’s Israeli friends confirm that they want “an end to the occupation,” LFI leaves its “two-state solution” dangling limply, refusing to identify where a sovereign Palestinian state might be sited or to suggest what pressure they think should be put on Tel Aviv to evacuate occupied Palestinian land.
The Morning Star too shares the Israeli letter signatories’ support for the Labour leadership’s “unequivocal commitment to creating a politics free of hate and prejudice” and will continue to counter false charges and facilitate discussion over how to develop such a politics.
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