During the last full council meeting on Wednesday 19th September 2018, Tower Hamlets Council unanimously endorsed a motion upholding the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition of anti-semitism. This has been noted by many as against the Palestinian people, making any criticism of Israel to be anti-semitic.
Questions that are being asked in order for Tower Hamlets Council to clarify their stance are:
- Is being critical of Israel anti-semitic?
- Is disagreeing with the two-state solution in favour of Israel anti-semitic?
- Is being critical of someone who happens to be Jewish and a supporter of Israel anti-semitic?
- Is feeling disgusted with Israel for its crimes against the Palestinians anti-semitic?
These are questions purely based on Israel and asked at a distance from the Jewish religion.
Disliking and discriminating Jews due to their faith is nothing short of being anti-Jewish.
People say that the term anti-semitism has been taken to be diluted and fit a narrative which blindly supports an apartheid state of Israel. It has been mentioned that goal posts for anti-semitism have been widened to such lengths, which has now brought about an exaggerated definition by the IHRA.
The supporters of the motion which upholds the definition of anti-semitism by the IHRA in Tower Hamlets are as below:
The Conservatives: Tory Councillors Peter Golds proposed this motion with councillor Andrew Wood as the seconder. They are known to position themselves in places and conversations where they can be identified as staunch Zionists. The irony is that not so long ago Tweedledee & Tweedledum had support from so-called “anti-war political activists” (who started their political careers from the anti-war movement and were provided a platform by their former leader Lutfur Rahman – a friend to the Palestinians). The “anti-war political activists” attempted to paint a prettier picture for the Tweedle brothers, with the favour being returned through political support for a common electoral goal, naturally. It almost made the double standards of the “anti-war political activists” sound magnanimous. However, there are still a countless number of people who see the Tories as wolves in sheep skin.
The Labour Party: It is suggested that Zionism supporting Labour councillors & councillors who needed to echo Zionist lobbyists (to survive politically); resulted in Labour votes for a Tory motion endorsing IHRA’s definition of anti-semitism in Tower Hamlets.
The Liberal Democrats: It has also been mentioned that the Tower Hamlets Liberal Democrats voted for the Tory motion, endorsing the IHRA definition of anti-semitism. This came at no surprise, considering the Lib Dem’s relationship with the Tories during the coalition government. The Liberal Democrats have one councillor, councillor Rabina Khan. Rabina was one of the few that changed paths (no pun intended), working alongside the Tories, after illustrating herself as an anti-war activist and being provided with a platform by her former leader Lutfur Rahman. There are a few others who have also joined the Liberal Democrats with Rabina, who were formerly members of the Respect Party (a pro-Palestinian anti-war party critical of Israel).
There seems to have come a time where changes have taken place, but those changes also resemble changes in principle.
Many see the disputed extension of the definition of anti-semitism by the IHRA, endorsed by Tower Hamlets, as nothing short of the betrayal of Palestinians; and the double standards of politicians in favour of short term personal goals as a failure to get justice for Palestinians.