Why JVL were wrong to re-write anti-fascist history in the wake of Pittsburgh

A brief thread on Jewish Voice for Labour's deleted tweet about anti-fascism.

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Jim Denham said…
Slightly off-topic, but thought I must share:

A comrade proposed this in Stockton North CLP: it was defeated.

We condemn the terrorist attack on the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, which killed 11 people and injured several others on 27 October 2018.

We note that the alleged perpetrator of this heinous act is reported to have had a long history of antisemitic views and held a deep hatred for Jewish people.

We believe that these murders tragically demonstrate the dangers posed by the growth in antisemitic sentiments and hate speech internationally, which has arisen in a political climate where governments and opportunist politicians have encouraged the scapegoating of minorities. This trend has been reflected in the growth in antisemitic conspiracy theories and a rise in antisemitic incidents and racist hate crime more generally in the UK, as shown in recent reports from the Community Security Trust, Tell MAMA (‘Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks’) and the Home Office.

We resolve:
 To stand in solidarity with the Jewish community around the world and send our condolences to all those affected by the tragic events in Pittsburgh.
 To recognise that antisemitism exists in society and affirm our belief that such prejudice must be confronted and eradicated wherever it arises.
 To call on the Labour Party to lead the way in opposing antisemitism and fighting racism in all its forms.
 To support political education about antisemitism so that its history, causes, manifestations and effects are better understood in the party and members are confident to challenge it.
 To publish this motion as a statement via our social media outlets.

The comrade told me that:

"Arguments against included that it should be against all racism not just antisemitism … even though it clearly refers to “racist hate crime more generally”, mentions “scapegoating of minorities”, cites Tell MAMA the Islamophobia monitoring organisation and talks about “fighting racism in all its forms”.

"That all the focus is on “antisemitism this, antisemitism that”, while other types of racism don’t ever get a mention or discussed …. even though I took a motion to the CLP in July about Islamophobia and anti-migrant racism and then organised a counterprotest against a far-right group in our town that month at least in part on the back of the CLP’s support for it.

"That the person who did the killing was far-right, a Nazi, which is the very opposite of what the Labour Party stands for. Erm …. yes, that’s why the motion condemns what he did and describes his long held views and states the party’s opposition to such things. I said I was happy to add to “far-right, neo-Nazi activities” to the clause “We note that the alleged perpetrator of this heinous act is reported to have had a long history of antisemitic views and held a deep hatred for Jewish people” but they weren’t having it.

"That the motion supports political education about antisemitism when the CLP executive committee has previously voted against us doing that. Erm, yeah, it has done that, but this is a motion about the principle.

"That the whole antisemitism thing is just a game that’s being played. Who’s playing the game then?, I asked. Tell us. But, no, he wouldn’t say.

"Etc, etc."