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Labour anti-Semitism row serves Israel supporters: Analyst

A row over UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn and his party’s definition of anti-Semitism only serves those supporting Israel as they insist the party should ban any criticism of the regime and its actions, says a political analyst. 

Chris Bambery, a UK-based journalist and author, told Press TV on Saturday that pro-Israeli advocates were desperate to force Corbyn and Labour to accept a special international anti-Semitism code or face their political pressure.

“It stems from an attempt to portray Jeremy Corbyn and the opposition Labour party as ant-Semitic despite Corbyn’s own records of opposition to all forms of racism including anti-Semitism,” said Bambery.

The expert said “the Labour has not agreed to and is not in the process of agreeing to” demands for adopting a definition of anti-Semitism which includes the fact that it is anti-Semitic to criticize Israel.

He said Corbyn and Labour resist the pressure because if they adopt the definition, it would violate the rights of many Jewish people who are critical of Israel and its actions like those who support a campaign to boycott Israeli products produced in the occupied Palestinian territories.

“Those behind the campaign are pressuring the Labour to accept their demands or they will label Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party as anti-Semitic,” said Bambery.  

He said the pressure against Corbyn comes as he has repeatedly reiterated that he has a record in fighting anti-Semitism and his family fought against the fascists in the 1930s to defend the Jewish community.

“Any attempt to portray him as anti-Semitic is ridiculous,” said the expert.

On Thursday, three Jewish newspapers in Britain with strong connections to Israel launched an unprecedented and coordinated attack on Corbyn, claiming a government led by him would pose an “existential threat” to Jewish life in the UK.

The Jewish News, The Jewish Chronicle and The Jewish Telegraph produced similar front pages attacking the Labour Party’s decision not to fully adopt a controversial working definition of anti-Semitism produced by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), which claims describing “Israel is a racist endeavor” as an example of anti-Semitism.

The three publications also attacked the Labour Party’s alleged “terrible record” on anti-Semitism since Corbyn became leader in 2015. They claimed that the party under Corbyn entertains “contempt for Jews and Israel” and that the Labour Party is now confronted by the very real possibility of being seen as “institutionally racist.”

They then justified the joint editorial attack on Corbyn “because of the existential threat to Jewish life in this country that would be posed by a Jeremy Corbyn-led government.”

The three newspapers concluded their editorial attack with a clear ultimatum to Corbyn and the Labour Party, saying, “... implement IHRA in full or be seen by all decent people as an institutionally racist, antisemitic party.”

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