Hastings Council has reportedly refused to condemn calls for the destruction of the Jewish state.
The chant, “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free”, which only makes sense as a call for the destruction of the world’s only Jewish state – and its replacement with a State of Palestine – and is thus an attempt to deny Jews, uniquely, the right to self-determination, was heard in an anti-Israel rally in Hastings town centre in May.
According to the International Definition of Antisemitism, “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination” is an example of antisemitism.
Hastings Borough Council, which is led by the Labour Party, adopted the Definition last year after a campaign by Dany Louise, a councillor who had bravely resigned from the Labour Party over antisemitism.
Ms Louise, no longer a councillor, called on the Council to implement the Definition and condemn the recent chanting, which she described as “naked antisemitism on the streets of Hastings.” Ms Louise told Campaign Against Antisemitism that two other residents (one Jewish, one not) also sent in written questions to the Council on the same subject, but the Chief Legal Officer rejected all three questions late enough not to leave time for revised questions to be submitted.
The Officer wrote to her: “I have considered your question in accordance with…the Constitution and decided to reject your question as it is not about a matter for which the Council has a responsibility, power, duty or function.”
Ms Louise said: “I was absolutely shocked by the Chief Legal Officer’s rejection of my written questions. In truth, I doubted that the Council leader would take them seriously, but it did not occur to me that they would be rejected entirely, for spurious reasons unrelated to the content of the questions. I find it altogether unsatisfactory – it is an anti-democratic and morally bankrupt action from the Council.”
She added: “I’ve been dealing with this Labour group for about four years now. It has been heart-breaking and phenomenally frustrating attempting to encourage this group to engage or deal with the antisemitism in their ranks. They have simply refused to acknowledge the issue, let alone discuss it in any sensible adult manner.”
Campaign Against Antisemitism’s Antisemitism Barometer 2020 showed that three in five British Jews believe that the authorities, in general, are not doing enough to address and punish antisemitism.