The pro-Palestine movement has an issue with antisemitism. From Mahmoud Abbas himself and his notorious PhD thesis that radically lowered the number of dead in the Holocaust to the Hamas charter to the Palestine Solidarity Campaign in the UK, the issue is there and the organisations can’t figure out how to deal with it.
Owen Jones writes:
Labour has bungled its response to the antisemitic fringe on the left of the party, needlessly haemorrhaging goodwill with Britain’s Jewish communities. But that is a separate issue from the stigmatising of legitimate expressions of solidarity with the Palestinian people.
In the UK the Palestine Solidarity Campaign was shown to be riddled with activists sharing antisemitic conspiracy theories on social media. Nothing seems to have happened to any of them despite the head of the PSC, Ben Jamal, saying the following:
“We stand resolutely against antisemitism and I have no truck with anybody who says “well I have never encountered antisemitism within the Palestine Solidarity movement broadly” because I have and there are those at the fringes of our movement who wish to articulate the cause for Palestinian rights through anti-Semitic narratives, through engaging in nonsense about Holocaust denial, or engaging in conspiracies about Israel’s power that draw on anti-Semitic tropes and we need to be clear that there is no place for you within our movement.”
But Ben Jamal was caught out when it emerged that a director of his organisation had done precisely that and hadn’t been sanctioned. It appears that in the Palestine Solidarity Campaign words are not matched by actions. This lack of action makes all those in a position of responsibility complicit. Jeremy Corbyn is patron of the PSC. He is complicit.
“…Israel’s power that draw on anti-Semitic tropes and we need to be clear that there is no place for you within our movement” Do these count as someone doing what Ben Jamal describes? pic.twitter.com/nWYtPhomB4
— Hurryupharry (@hurryupharry) August 9, 2018
But how can they possibly escape antisemitism? If the PSC and all Palestine supporters made an effort to deal with antisemitism how could they ever host a member of the Palestinian leadership? Corbyn came under fire in the Daily Mail for making a speech at Husam Zomlot’s wedding. Zomlot denied the Holocaust according to the Mail:
Mr Zomlot, 44, told the BBC in 2014: ‘They [Israel] are fabricating all these stories about beheading journalists in Iraq… as if they are fabricating also the story of the Holocaust, that it happened in Europe.’
The thing is that Zomlot heads the general delegation of the PLO to the United States. So if you support Palestine you have to choose; ignore the antisemitism or ignore a major Palestinian diplomat. Invariably they choose the former.
In the world Jones pretends exists it’s easy to be both against antisemitism and pro-Palestinian. In reality it’s almost impossible to do so on a practical level. When you attend demonstrations there’s a likelihood you’ll be listening to speakers with a track record for sharing antisemitic posts or expressing antisemitic discourse, such as Jenny Tonge. Similarly according to David Collier’s research there’s a good chance you’ll be manning a stall alongside someone who believes in any one of a number of antisemitic conspiracy theories and has said as much on their social media.
Corbyn’s morality is so twisted that he’s laying a wreath on the graves of men who murdered and plotted murder for a living. Jones has ended up writing columns defending people who lay wreaths on those graves and who hang out with terrorists plotting still more attacks.
Both men would claim to be peace activists.