IJV response to EHRC report


October 30, 2020 by IJV

As British Jews committed to working for a just peace between Palestinians and Jews in the Middle East, we are dismayed by the bitterness and division currently raging in and around the Labour Party in the wake of the EHRC report on antisemitism in the Labour Party. These inward-looking arguments do nothing to help the crucial struggle against anti-Semitism and at the same time draw attention and energy away from the plight of Palestinians, which continues to worsen while simultaneously fading as a matter of international public and political concern. We call on everybody in the Labour Party, and also on our fellow Jews in Britain, to seek to move beyond the current dispute and to focus on working together for equal human rights and dignity for everybody in the Middle East.

7 thoughts on “IJV response to EHRC report

  1. Mark says:

    I don’t agree that the legal body’s ruling and the LP’s insisting on its validity faced by Jeremy Corbyn’s bullish reiteration of his position does nothing to combat antisemitism. I feel strengthened by it and I am sure others do too. The one who cries antisemitism faces a default argument that they are the guilty party, and are not uncommonly derided as heinously objectionable for raising the issue. Have you not seen this?

    Have you not heard in the way Corbyn addresses this issue, as in Rebecca Long Bailey’s Guardian piece, an empty formal gesture, and essentially dismissive, before moving onto the real and important issues?

    Is the polarization of radical socialist interests with Jewish ones not akin to the unthinkability of feminist claims and the argument, which is an actual position, that women’s liberation should wait until after? It is unthinkable because the ideological/historical formation of selves and ways of doing things cannot easily be foregrounded. Hence the obviousness of the polarization. Like positivism.

    I see the implications of this being a long term struggle. This does not not sit well with populist imperatives. (I follow Pitts and Bolton here and elsewhere).

    The report affirmed that that general line of argument, of placing the accuser or complainant in the wrong is, or is liable to be, part of the antisemitic attack. It is a cultural meme and not new. I see it as clearing the way, carte blanche, absolution in advance.

    As Phillip Spencer has pointed out, there isn’t anything radical about obedience to prejudice against Jews. But to know this is not a consensus position in left wing talk today, despite the formal, impatient, and essentially blind phrases. The argument is still made that Jeremy Corbyn couldn’t be complicit in any of this as a lifelong antiracist. This is mindless repetition and not on the page.

    Are the writers of this piece genuinly unaware of the deligitimization of talk of antisemitism?

    How would acknowlegement of this hurt Palestinian interests? Good G-d. If there is such a contradiction in wanting a just and possible solution in Palestine and tackling a new phase in “the struggle against antisemitism”, one had perhaps better embrace it.

  2. Mark says:

    A highly public event in which a prominent political leader is sanctioned for reaffirming a dismissive position that a legal ruling calls antisemitic praxis – doesn’t seem so inward looking to me. That reminds me of the definition of private space as non political where abuse of women can be cast as a distraction from the real issues.

  3. Jerry Peyton says:

    I wonder who Mark is. His writing is a masterpiece of elaborate opacity that leaves me completely flummoxed as to what it is all about. It needs translation into ordinary parlance. It seems to me to be entirely possible that the problem of antisemitism in the Labour Party, while real and present, and regrettable in that reality and presence, has indeed, as Corbyn and many others have said, been exaggerated in its actual extent. Repeat, extent. Assertions of this extent are never accompanied by solid evidence of that asserted extent, which is only ever asserted, assumed, insinuated. It is therefore reasonable for the reader of reports about it, who is not involved in any of it, to conclude that exaggeration is entirely possible. Mark, for all his astonishing command of whatever it is he is talking about, certainly says nothing to alter this. If he has evidence of it – of the actual extent, rather than of presence per se – let him put it to me, and to the world. Then he wouldn’t have to baffle us with his Byzantine expositions.



  4. Mark says:

    I just wanted to say to Mr Peyton, thank you. Your response, which I learned from, prompted contemplation and celebration. Happy Hanukah.

    • Simon Colbeck says:

      Thanks to Mark for a mercifully brief celebration of his own obfuscation.

      • Mark says:

        Clarity is so important to me too, though unfortunately I often fall short of it. Writing is hard work and in my enthusiasm about communicating, words tumble out without me doing the necessary slowing down and ordering. Thoughts need a lot of space to develop, and I tried to say much too much, overcondensing. And yet it seems pretty clear that on one level I was heard, and the delight with which my unclarity is being received is about scoring a win for the camp of those who are right. And in fact I was celebrating Mr Peyton’s ability to communicate something of the background to his political stance, his anxious concern about who I was, his assertion of a vernacular to indicate belonging, his fastening onto the question of evidence as if this was all that needed to be discussed, the defensive anti intellectualism. This is what made me celebrate; it is scary to argue and online with strangers, and on reflection, despite his attacks, I felt that for me, some kind of dialogue had occurred. I am interested in how we form our political views and commitments, and the circumstances in which we do that. Mr Peyton took the trouble to convey some of that “lifeworld” (the background from which we emerge to do our theorizing, and from which we cannot detach, if I understand Maurice Merleau Ponty, following Husserl, on this).
        כל ישראל חברים – there is beloved community

  5. Dear moderators, I think I have entered my reply to Simon Colbeck in two places, anyway twice – can you kindly just consider it as one, and as a reply to him. Thank you!


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