The keynote motion from the steering committee of “Labour Against the Witchhunt” to the LAW conference on 2 February sums up the core elements of left antisemitism.
LAW is not focused on the many hundreds of socialists expelled from the Labour Party, without notification of charges, hearing, or appeal, since 2015, on grounds of association (however loose) with left¬wing groups such as Workers’ Liberty, Socialist Appeal, or Left Unity. Its prime concern is with Labour Party members charged with antisemitism.
The motion says that Corbyn is “totally unacceptable” to “Britain’s establishment” — he represents a threat to “the strategic alliance with the US” because of his “critical attitude towards Israel”. Israel is the US’s “most reliable strategic asset in the Middle East”. Its “alliance” with the US has the “enthusiastic support” of “the majority of the Israeli¬Jewish population”, whereas “the Palestinian natives and the wider Arab nation” are opposed to “Israel’s ongoing settler¬colonialism”. The forces conducting a “war of attrition” against Corbyn therefore include “the Israeli state and the pro¬Israel lobby”. Their “most potent weapon” is “false accusations of antisemitism”, inluding the equating of anti¬Zionism with antisemitism. Corbyn’s response has been to “appease the Zionist lobby”. But every concession has “further emboldened the Zionist lobby”. This “policy of appeasement” culminated in the Labour Party’s adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism. This has “massively expanded” the scope for “false allegations of antisemitism”.
LAW will therefore expose the role of “the Israeli state and Zionist organisations in fabricating the antisemitism ‘crisis’ in the Labour Party”, and preach contempt for “the Jewish Labour Movement, an openly Zionist organisation which supports a racist project of colonisation.” All the main themes of left antisemitism are there: Zionism is “racism” (so the very existence of Israel, above and beyond any particular policy, is “racist”); the only way to be “critical” of Israel is to condemn its very existence; Palestinian Arabs born outside the territory now Israel are “natives” of it, whereas Jews born there are “settler-colonialists”; the first response to any complaint of antisemitism is to interpret it as a contrivance to serve reactionary motives; those reactionary motives, based in Israel, are the central driver of world politics...
No viable campaign against the expulsion of socialists from the Labour Party can be built by tying it to these conspiracy theories.