UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Contrived. Corrupt. Corrosive

Ken Livingstone’s ego was always going to be his (and arguably Corbyn’s) undoing. But the contrived charges of anti-Semitism would have been landed on the Corbynistas regardless of whoever it was within the ranks daring to challenge the pro-zionist right wing of the Labour Party. And this saddens me deeply.

There is a powerful alliance at play which is seeking, quite perversely, to distort facts to accommodate the eventual slaying of a democratically elected leader – one who has a huge mandate within the Labour party membership at large.

The left has always been clear. It understands the religious references to Zion. It is pathetic to argue that anti-Zionists ‘don’t get’ the religious context and are therefore anti-Semitic through ignorance.

The left has always acknowledged and fought for the rights of all citizens, at home and internationally, regardless of religion, to be treated fairly. But Zionism in the political context is a concept most reasonable people would be hard pressed to agree with.

The people attacking Livingstone have stood in Parliament calling for intervention, including military action, to oppose IS, a fundamentalist religious group that wants to form its own Caliphate (State) based on its interpretation of Islam; yet these same opposing forces want to silence the critics of Zionism which not so coincidentally sought, and succeeded thanks to the British Mandate in Palestine in 1948, to establish a state built on religion (and before any histrionics no one is comparing Israel to IS).

The Holocaust created the catalyst for the eventual establishment of Israel; that does not diminish or demean the Holocaust or its’ survivors but the history of the creation of Israel is not disputed by either the left or the right of the Labour party. Where they diverge is much more fundamental. Should any state be formed on religion? The answer has to be no.

The creation of Israel, through the Zionist movement, has led to the dispossession of the Palestinian people. This is an inarguable fact and yet the corrupted and deliberate misinformation, framing the debate as anti-Semitic, is intended to silence the left and threaten their own party leader. Sadly either an ignorant or colluding press has palpably failed to provide a balanced debate.

Friend after Friend after Friend of Labour Friends of Israel were rolled out across the press and yet not one serious intervention was made on the differences between racist anti-Semites and legitimate opposition to those who seek to create religious states – call this anti-Zionism if you will but opposing States based on religion is an international principal upon which the left has always fought.

In spite of the seismic differences on the creation of Israel the majority of the left accept a two state solution to the crisis in Palestine, or a one state solution that would recognise the Palestinian people and allow people to live side by side in peace. But the politics of placelessness created in Palestine is an injustice which the left must continue to fight for.

We will not be cowed by the self-interested right who are disgracefully using the language of anti-Semitism for their own domestic political gains. This of itself is an abuse of Jewish people and the Jewish religion – to use them as a proxy for their self-aggrandising internal warfare. They are a self-serving corrosive force and the left will not stop in challenging them.

Footnote: This is nothing knew – every time the left have raised the injustices of the Israeli state they have been vilified and attempts made to silence them. See this letter in the Guardian in 2004 from Ken Loach directing Jim Allen play Perdition which was censored by the Royal Court Theatre

Anna Rose