The Blairite Roots of the IHRA Controversy

Regretfully the Labour Party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) have now agreed (as of yesterday) to accept all eleven examples relating to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism. The one saving grace in their making this decision is that they agreed to include “a statement which ensures this will not in any way undermine freedom of expression on Israel or the rights of Palestinians.”

Of course, this latest capitulation on the part of the NEC has been interpreted as a sign of weakness on the part of the many conservative activists who are determined to depose Jeremy Corbyn’s progressive policies at any cost. Hence Jennifer Gerber, the director of Labour Friends of Israel, responded to the NEC decision by saying:

“It is appalling the Labour party has once again ignored the view clearly and repeatedly stated by the Jewish community: that it should adopt the full IHRA definition without additions, omission or caveats.”

The Jewish Leadership Council maintained similar criticisms noting that:

“It has now become absolutely clear that the Leader of the Party attempted shamefully to undermine the entire IHRA definition.”

This is all nonsense, but it is nonsense that is saturating the mainstream media, and Corbyn’s critics and their allies in the mainstream media have now seen fit to launch yet another fresh attack upon Corbyn’s alleged anti-Semitism.

Frontpage of The Times (September 5) “Jeremy Corbyn slapped down by allies over antisemitism”

When Corbyn’s critics point to the IHRA definition as being infallible, and go on to smear Corbyn as a racist, we should recall the names of the politicians who, in 1998, founded the predecessor organisation to what is now called the IHRA.

However, if you look on the website of the IHRA you will only find the name of one of its founders, that being the Swedish Social Democrat prime minister Göran Persson; but the other cofounders of the IHRA’s forerunner organization were the US president Bill Clinton, and the then UK prime minister Tony Blair.

We should recall that it was the “third way” pro-austerity politics of Blair, Clinton and Persson, that divided the working-classes of their respective countries, and helped contribute towards creating the social conditions that allowed racist political parties to flourish, whether that be in Britain or Sweden. All three leaders have also been keen supporters of imperial wars of aggression.

Finally, let’s not forget that at the same time as Corbyn is being attacked in nearly all of the British media, the same media outlets are running uncritical stories about Blair’s latest attempts to woo far-right, openly racist politicians in Italy to get them to invest in BP’s controversial bid to build an oil pipeline from Azerbaijan to southern Italy. (“Tony Blair has ‘friendly, positive meeting’ with Italy’s Matteo Salvini,” Guardian, September 5)

Blair is of course the same hypocrite, who as a proud supporter of Israeli war crimes, spoke to the media the day before yesterday’s NEC meeting to demand that Corbyn “repent and recant as quickly as possible so as to regain the trust of the Jewish and general public”. As Blair put it:

“Jews have been in Britain since 1656, I know of no other occasion in these 362 years when Jews – the majority of our community – are asking, ‘Is this country safe to bring up our children?’. Now, this is very, very worrying.” (September 2)

Blair then highlighted the real fears haunting his fellow Blairites, the Tories, and the mainstream media, when he talked about the political “struggle” that is presently being waged by his allies against what he called the “fringe and far left elements” within the Labour Party. And the reason for this enduring fear is Blair and Company’s fear of democracy, especially the ongoing calls by ordinary Labour members for the adoption of open and democratic selection processes of all Labour Party candidates.



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