Fight antisemitism – though it doesn’t exist

May 26, 2016 at 6:04 pm (anti-semitism, Brum, conspiracy theories, israel, Jim D, labour party, left, Middle East, Pabs, palestine, zionism)

I have just received a leaflet from the Birmingham branch of Socialist Resistance, advertising a meeting entitled ‘Fight antisemitism – Fight Zionism’. The speaker is Roland Rance, and one side of the leaflet carries a statement supposedly (*) from him:


Roland Rance, a socialist Jew and anti-Zionist writes:

The current controversy over alleged anti-Semitism in the Labour Party comes from a convergence of several different forces: apologists for Israeli, always keen to denounce supporters of Palestinian rights; the Labour right, looking for any stick with which to beat Corbyn and the left; and the Tories and their press supporters, desperate to prevent a Corbynled Labour victory. It is no coincidence that this issue burst into public during an election campaign marked by outright racism and Islamophobia.

These attacks are rooted in a continuing campaign to change the meaning of the term anti-Semitism, to include anti-Zionism, or even opposition to Israeli policies and practices. We must be clear on this: anti-Semitism, like all forms of racism, has no place on the left, or in society as a whole. Zionism is itself a racist ideology, and anti-Zionism is a legitimate political position. We should also bear in mind that an increasing number of Jews oppose Zionism and very many Zionists (probably the majority) are actually not Jewish, but fundamentalist Christians.

The targets of the current attacks (some of whom are themselves Jews) are not antisemites. Some of them may have been guilty of clumsy phrasing or thoughtless responses; but they are not anti-Jewish racists. Most of the attacks are based on comments on social media, some dating back years; it is evident that there has been a systematic trawl through people’s previous activities.

We must resist this. We call for free speech on Israel, and an end to the witch-hunt. We oppose racism, whether directed at Jews, at Muslims, or at any other community. And we stand firmly alongside the Palestinian people in their struggle for liberation and justice.


The leaflet also carries this cartoon by the, err, “controversial” cartoonist Carlos Latuff:

How to get rid of Anti-Semitism

So there we have it: according to Socialist Resistance, antisemitism “has no place on the left” and, indeed, as proof of that statement, it simply does not exist on the left! All allegations of antisemitism come from “apologists for Israeli … the Labour right … and the Tories”.

None of the individuals recently accused of antisemitism are guilty, and anti-Zionism cannot ever be antisemitic. As a result of these false allegations, free speech itself is now at stake!

In other words, “nothing to see here, comrades, move on!”

* in fairness to Roland Rance, I note that the wording of the leaflet seems to be loosely based upon a much longer and more nuanced article by him on the Socialist Resistance website, that does very reluctantly admit that in one or two isolated and extreme cases antisemites have “infiltrated” the left and the pro-Palestinian movement. It’s a politically weak and evasive article, but nowhere near as bad as the appalling drivel put out under his name, by his comrades in Birmingham.


  1. Andrew Coates said,

    The central problem is the definition of ‘Zionism’ ‘is’ a racist ideology.

    It is, by definition, nationalist, and nobody doubts that forms of nationalism can be racist.

    But ‘it’ is an umbrella term for a variety of ideas, just as ‘Islamism’ is.

    If we state that Islamism *is* *a* racist ideology – and there’s more than enough evidence that many Islamists are racists – would Socialist Resistance be happy to put out a leaflet saying so?

  2. Jim Denham said,

    This, in today’s Morning Star, contains some strange and evasive wording, and also the laughable suggestion that the UCU should be a model for dealing with anti-Semitism, but at least it recognises that the problem exists, and does not attempt to defend Livingstone:

  3. Southpawpunch (@Southpawpunch) said,

    I don’t know what nuances may have been left out but what Roland is arguing is sound and also standard in the far Left, except for the AWL.

    What I do know is that he doesn’t say what you claim he says – he doesn’t say “All allegations of anti-Semitism come from “apologists for Israeli … the Labour right … and the Tories”. He says, correctly, the current controversy (not individual claims) is caused by them and also not out of concern for Jews, but to attack Corbyn.

    There doubtless were examples of anti-Semitism raised but very many of them were spurious. I thought the example of a Labour parliamentary candidate (so probably a Labour right-winger) in Surrey was a genuine one with her talk of ‘big noses’ but I saw a credible post by her saying Guido Fawkes has removed text from her comment to destroy the context which was that it was just a sarcastic recitation of lines from the film The Infidel (scripted by David Baddiel).

    The evidence that the storm was just an insincere manoeuvre is the little attention that was paid to anti-Semitic attacks on Miliband when he was Labour Leader, such as the openly anti-Semitic comments of a Tory council candidate and, what I think, was the ‘clever’ anti-Semitism of the Sun front page about him and a bacon sandwich. These received little comment at the time in complete contrast with the present matters just because it’s the latter that can be used to attack Corbyn.

    I predict here the next attack on Corbyn through similar means in future. It may well start with a Guardian article called something like ‘The Hard Left’s problems with women’.

    Are you either too slow to see a manoeuvre or is it that you have just a cynic who knows their criticism is baseless but is also politically useful?

    • Jim Denham said,

      “Are you either too slow to see a manoeuvre or is it that you have just a cynic who knows their criticism is baseless but is also politically useful?”

      I’m someone who opposes antisemtism regardless of where it comes from.

      • Southpawpunch (@Southpawpunch) said,

        So former, rather than latter.

        I might be wrong on ‘women’ being the next stick to beat Corbyn. Spectator 21/5 article by Tristram Hunt: ‘Labour’s England problem’

        But then I’d expect a host of forthcoming articles entitled things like ‘Labour’s problem with National Security, Wealth Creation, the rights of whatever group abroad and who are but a cover for a NATO attack on their enemy, etc.etc

        Maybe you can raise your game to see the motivation behind such and the often spurious content of the accusations.

      • Jim Denham said,

        “Maybe you can raise your game to see the motivation behind such and the often spurious content of the accusations”.

        I’m someone who opposes antisemtism regardless of where it comes from.

  4. Fight antisemitism – though it doesn’t exist — Shiraz Socialist | Occult news said,

    […] via Fight antisemitism – though it doesn’t exist — Shiraz Socialist […]

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