In an article for the Middle East Eye blog lamenting Jeremy Corbyn’s departure from the Labour leadership and Sir Keir Starmer’s accession, the outspoken activist Ghada Karmi makes a series of antisemitic statements.
Dr Karmi, a medical doctor and now a Research Fellow at the University of Exeter, observes in her article that “while much has been made of the capitalist establishment’s role in Corbyn’s downfall due to his socialist economics, it was the pro-Israel lobby that dealt the final blow.” She goes on to say that “persistent campaigning by this lobby since 2016” was “largely mediated” by Labour’s Jewish affiliate, Labour Friends of Israel and a Jewish communal charity and was “likely coordinated by the Israeli embassy”. This ‘campaigning’ achieved its aim: it “transformed [Mr Corbyn] by this propaganda into a racist and antisemite”.
Dr Karmi is suggesting that the Israeli embassy has played an outsized role in British politics and that the Jewish groups calling out Labour’s anti-Jewish racism – of which there are many more than those that she identifies – are doing Israel’s bidding. According to the International Definition of Antisemitism, “Making mendacious, dehumanising, demonising, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective” and “Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations” are examples of antisemitism.
Moreover, the suggestion that antisemitism in Labour is a ‘smear’ or “propaganda” has been a common trope deployed to deflect criticism of the Party’s institutional antisemitism over the past several years and to imply that the Jewish community has had an ulterior motive in pointing out anti-Jewish racism in Labour, including that it is doing Israel’s bidding.
Dr Karmi goes further, wondering whether Sir Keir’s pledges to “root out” antisemitism in the Labour Party is in “hopes to win over the [Israel] lobby”. “If so,” she warns, “he may find, as Corbyn did, that such zealous appeasement will not insure him against its further demands if he steps out of line.”
Whilst Dr Karmi applauds some of Sir Keir’s appointments and policy statements, she is concerned that he apparently “calls himself a supporter of Zionism” and “says he believes in the State of Israel”. However, she insists that this position is “incompatible” with opposition to “Israel’s legitimacy as an exclusive state for Jews” (whatever she means by that phrase) and that he must understand – as, interestingly, she alleges that Mr Corbyn does – that “terminating Zionism is the only way to a permanent peace.”
She concludes by noting that “these are uncomfortable ideas for Starmer and all Western politicians. They would prefer to persist with the myth of a Palestinian state living ‘alongside Israel’, so as to avoid confronting the true situation.”
Clearly, Dr Karmi believes that Zionism – the ideology underpinning Israel’s creation – is racist, and that Israel is essentially a racist endeavour and should be destroyed. Indeed in the past she has also reportedly welcomed Israel’s destruction.
The Definition specifies that “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination (e.g. by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour)” is antisemitic.
There is no place for an antisemite to teach on campus, and Campaign Against Antisemitism shall be writing to the University of Exeter calling for Dr Karmi to be removed from her position, and to the General Medical Council which regulates doctors.
If any students are concerned about antisemitism on campus or need assistance, they can call us on 0330 822 0321, or e-mail [email protected].