Pete Gregson: Why 641 Labour members & I will tell the truth about Israel even if it means party expulsion

Pete Gregson, Labour party member in Edinburgh who is under investigation by party HQ for bringing the party into disrepute, explains why he and 641 other Labour members are backing a petition renouncing Labour’s support for the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism which states that ‘Israel is a racist endeavour’ is an example of anti-Semitism

THIS is a tribute to the 641 Labour comrades who’ve signed my position at tinyurl.com/israelihra so far. Each and every one has declared “Israel a racist endeavour” and asked Labour’s NEC “to abandon the full IHRA”. Each has thought deeply about the damage the IHRA and the so-called ´anti-Semitism crisis’ has done to our Labour Party. They have had the courage to stand by their convictions in recognising the threat posed to the Labour Party by its adoption of the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism. Its founding planks of equality and social justice are at risk.

The petition is really an open letter to Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) challenging them to expel us signers from the Party, if they truly believe in their IHRA definition of anti-Semitism. This test of the NEC’s resolve was launched by me on the 4 September, the moment the BBC broadcast the tragic news that Labour had fallen in behind so many other UK public bodies in adopting the IHRA. A pernicious policy. As a Party member since ’86 (although I left for a few years over Iraq), I was horrified the way the Party was going vis-à-vis silencing strong criticism of Israel.

Where it Began

For me this battle began in August 2018, as explained in my article on the American Jewish online Mondoweiss website – based around the question posed to NEC candidates “If the IHRA is passed and I said Israel is a racist state, would I get expelled?”. Although these candidates have only now taken office, the then NEC looked pretty similar, bar a handful of new faces amongst the 39 who rule our Party.

My views are in no small way influenced by the illuminating Al Jazeera undercover investigation “The Lobby”, which I urge every citizen member to view, the better to understand who really is trying to control our country. The Israelis’ success in conflating anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism is astonishing in its double-think. It defeats reason as to why so many intelligent people have swallowed this IHRA nonsense; the Party will be tearing itself up for as long as it continues to stand by its September decision. Society too; the police, schools, universities and local authorities are all adopting the IHRA.

The statistics on Zionist power in the UK are stark. 80 per cent of Tory MPs are ‘Conservative Friends of Israel’. The explains the UK Government’s enthusiasm for the IHRA and its directives that publicly-funded bodies follow suit. Israel’s Government now controls how so many countries must view their racist endeavour. Europe and the USA have fallen into line - and everywhere we look we see those who oppose Israel’s apartheid being branded as anti-Semites.

So much depends on language. Just seeking to compare the Oxford English Definition of anti-Semitism with the IHRA’s should lead anyone willing to open their eyes to see that the latter only serves the interests of Israel in supporting its persecution of non-Jews. We are in a war of words. The Palestinians suffer the real war of bullets, bombs, forced evictions, humiliating discrimination, starvation and misery, with our media, state and church becoming complicit in their persecution. The world wrings its hands and looks away, just as Netanyahu and so many of the Knesset wish.

One or Two States?

The deeper I get into this affair, the more I realise that Labour’s conviction that only a “two-state solution” will work is another bad policy. To me, this approach smacks of South Africa’s Bantustans – where blacks in South Africa were offered the chance to rule their own affairs, leaving the rich whites to control the best of the rest.

If, on the other hand, we had a “single state solution”, we might see Israel become the kind of democratic nation that deserves to be called a democracy. That is, one where it’s 50+ racist laws are abolished and all Arabs in Israel (including Gaza and the West Bank) get to vote in Knesset elections.

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Palestinians I have spoken with support this solution. We should then see that country with an Arab prime minister. This prospect is so terrifying to Zionist leaders that they will do anything and everything to prevent it. And they are clever, as their success with the IHRA attests. The racist Nation State Law is another work of insidious genius. This apartheid will be so much harder to defeat than South Africa’s.

Internal Struggles - Anyone Can Join In

Every action matters. The UK Labour Party has, for too long, been beholden to Zionists. This summer we saw its power. Yes, I’m taking about the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) and the Labour Friends of Israel (LFoI), bodies committed to promoting Zionism in Labour.

I felt that they, along with the IHRA, represented an existential threat to the Labour Party, so I registered a complaint against them, that they had brought the Party into disrepute. ‘Of course  they were innocent’, the Head of Complaints, Sophie Goodyear, declared, as she tossed my complaint aside at the same time as her colleague, General Secretary Jennie Formby, decided that I must stand trial on charges of anti-Semitism and – yes- bringing the Labour Party into disrepute.

I urge readers to pick up the cudgel and make a complaint - you don’t even have to be in Labour to do so. The more we send in, the more power we have. For a model to build on, go to tinyurl.com/labourcomplain.

Picture courtesy of Alisdare Hickson

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