Anti-Semitism should have no place in the pro-Palestinian movement

It’s up to all pro-Palestinian campaigners to stamp out any anti-Semitic sentiments when they see them.

It’s up to all pro-Palestinian campaigners to stamp out any anti-Semitic sentiments when they see them

70 attacks have been reported on Jews in the UK since the Israeli war on Gaza began on July 8, two thirds of which are directly related to the conflict.

It goes without saying that this is an incredibly worrying trend. And as the Palestinian death toll mounts past a thousand, it appears to be spreading.

I was on the Stop the War demonstration in London on Saturday. It was huge (between 50,000-100,000), and it was peaceful. It was also incredibly diverse, with Jews for Justice for Palestinians marching alongside Muslims, students and peace campaigners.

But there were some disturbing sentiments expressed on banners and placards. I saw the flag of Hezbollah, the armed Lebanese Islamist party classified as a terrorist organisation in many countries. Other marchers reported seeing placards saying ‘Research: The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion’, the famous anti-Semitic conspiracy document, with a Star of David dripping in blood.

When confronted, the Jewish pro-Palestinian was hurled with abuse such as ‘Jews are the problem. If you’re a Jew, you’re racist, you’re what we’re demonstrating against’. There were also pretty horrifying Nazi allusions, including signs saying ‘Hitler you were right’. And chants from ‘No justice, no peace’ seemed to try to legitimise anti-Israel violence, at a time when an immediate end to hostilities needs to be the priority.

Daniel Randall writes:

“While outward displays of “classical” anti-Semitism are rare, subtler themes are more common. Placards and banners comparing the Israeli state to Nazism, and its occupation of Palestine to the Holocaust, and images melding or replacing the Star of David with swastikas, are, while far from universal, relatively commonplace. The politics of this imagery, too, has an anti-Semitic logic.”

The Muslim Council of Britain has rightly condemned all such imagery, as well as the incidents which have doubled in recent weeks.

The Community Security Trust also reports violence against Jews and Jewish buildings not at the march, including a brick thrown at the window of a synagogue in Belfast. Much of the non-violent incidents have occurred on Twitter, including the #HitlerWasRight hashtag which gained some following. Such actions represent the politics of the far-right – similar to the surge in anti-Muslim hate crime following the killing of Lee Rigby – and have no place in a progressive movement.

Now the All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism are to launch a report into the spread of these hate attacks. But it’s up to all pro-Palestinian campaigners to stamp out any anti-Semitic sentiments when they see them – we must be vigilant in confronting it at all times.

Jews and Muslims must be able to demonstrate arm in arm against the war on Gaza – the movement for peace and human rights is nothing if it is not tolerant. It is especially nothing if it is not peaceful or respectful of human rights.

Follow Josiah Mortimer on Twitter

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42 Responses to “Anti-Semitism should have no place in the pro-Palestinian movement”

  1. Mike Stallard

    What is the left actually for? I thought, myself, it represented the poor, the workers and the vulnerable against people who wanted to rob, hurt and exploit them? Have I got that wrong?

    It is quite obvious to me that the Jews are defending their country against cynical people, often living abroad, who are using Muslim children and women, hospitals and schools as human shields and employing teenagers as street fighters. What the Hamas leaders are doing is absolutely wrong. It is, apart from anything else, exploiting the weak and vulnerable and amounts – yes – to child abuse. How can anyone on the left support that?

    It is also quite obvious that the Gazan Muslims are scared and being bombed as civilians without any thought by the Israelis. That awful programme last night showed how children are being corrupted in Syria and I am sure the same might well be true in Gaza. The Jews are behaving appallingly too.

    Both sides are behaving like barbarians. And religious barbarians at that. Both sides ought to be ashamed of themselves. Both sides: there is no right and no wrong here: both are wrong. But if one stops…

    Can’t the people of the left see that?

  2. subtleknife666

    Well, I wholeheartedly agree that condemnation of the despicable Zionist regime in occupied Palestine should not lead anyone to be hateful to Jews in general. Hating Jews is no better than hating Blacks or Asians or Muslims.

    However, on the subject of that foul, murdering, corrupt, despicable regime in the Zionist entity: do you know what Nazism is? Nazism is fascism plus racism. The definition is as simple as that, as any political-science textbook will tell you.
    And since it’s totally obvious that that Zionist regime is utterly fascist and utterly racist, where does that leave us? That regime is a Nazi regime and should be treated as such. The international community is prevented from treating that regime as it deserves by one thing: the behaviour of the pro-nazi regime of the United States of America.

  3. Guest

    Blah blah you make excuses for your anti-Semitism.

    At least you’re consistent in your wingnut beliefs over countries, mind you.

  4. Leon Wolfeson

    Excuse me, many of us can. Don’t confuse the left with the extremists on the left.

    But you do what you say others do there, as you say “Jews”. No, it’s the Israeli government. Moreover, slamming religion foe the sake of it, seeing only two sides… (Hamas, Fatah, other Islamists in the Gaza Strip, normal Palestinians, Isralie Left, Israeli Settlers, Israeli Government, Bedouin Arabs in Israel….)

    If Israel stops defending itself, what would you think would happen? But if Hamas stopped attacking Israel…no, false equivalence there. You’re making the very argument you just condemned the left for! Your “quite obvious” acceptance of a propaganda line…

  5. AlanGiles

    Sadly the most diplomatically worded condemnation of the Israeli government is taken as evidence of anti-Semitism. It was ever thus

Comments are closed.