LFI calls for action as report nears

This article first appeared on the Jewish Chronicle, you can read it here

The inquiry into antisemitism allegations in the Labour Party must make clear where criticism of Israel turns into Jew-hate, its Friends of Israel group has said.

In its submission to the Chakrabarti Inquiry, Labour Friends of Israel said that “almost without exception” those suspended from the party had made comments focussing on Israel.

Many of those cases had “crossed red lines”, the group said.

The inquiry being conducted by Shami Chakrabarti – due to conclude next week – should give a clear indication of what language and imagery Labour considered “unacceptable” in otherwise legitimate criticism of Israel, LFI said.

Its 11-page submission to the inquiry notes that while the Israeli-Palestinian conflict arouses “strong passions” and fierce debate, it must be conducted without “anti-Zionist antisemitism”.

Among the “boundaries” LFI said it was seeking was the need to stop the invoking of “classic antisemitic tropes and accusations”. An end to “the denial of the right of the Jewish people to self-determination” must also be evident, the group said. Drawing comparisons between Israeli policies and those of the Nazis also crossed a red line, as did holding Jews collectively responsible for the actions of Israel. LFI also highlighted its concern that double standards were applied to Israel in a way “not expected of any other democratic nation”.

Its evidence was given to Ms Chakrabarti’s inquiry before the deadline earlier this month. The probe was launched last month following the suspensions of Labour members amid allegations of antisemitism.

Ms Chakrabarti pledged to publish her report before the end of June, but asked when publication would take place, Labour said on Monday that it was yet to announce an exact date.

Among the groups to submit evidence have been Jews for Justice for Palestinians and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

A submission by the Independent Jewish Voices group said that while “taking antisemitism seriously… is very welcome”, the inquiry’s focus on other forms of racism should be “just as serious, especially given the strength of institutional racism that results in high levels of discrimination and deprivation among black people, other ethnic minority groups and Muslims”.