Campaign Against Antisemitism’s analysis is that Mr Curran’s statements amount to breaches of the International Definition of Antisemitism and qualify as antisemitic discourse according to our methodology.
By sharing a post in which it was alleged that “Zionist billionaires and millionaires in the ruling classes of the west and the US” connive with the “mass media” to disseminate “lies” in order to protect Israel from criticism ; by sharing an article alleging that “the real origin” of Labour’s antisemitism crisis was a collaboration between the Israeli Embassy and Jewish charities and community groups who are described as the “Israel Lobby” [3b]; by sharing a post alleging that attacks on Jeremy Corbyn were simply “Israel and it’s supporters trying to get rid of him” ; by alleging that the Israeli Embassy was responsible for “firing up” antisemitism [8c]; and by suggesting that Momentum founder Jon Lansman’s opposition to the antisemitism-denial group Jewish Voice for Labour might have been the result of bribery or blackmail by Israel , he was “making mendacious, dehumanising, demonising, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective — such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.”
By sharing an article alleging that Jewish groups, media and charities were not interested in incidents of antisemitism in the Conservative Party, thereby implying that this is where their political allegiance lay, Mr Curran was disseminating an antisemitic trope which has gained currency in left-wing discourse which allows the views and concerns of Jewish people not only to be dismissed, but which also seeks to demonise them by association with political groups already demonised on the left, either by employing the generalised term ‘right wing’, or by explicitly linking them with the Conservative Party, which is often associated with the notion of ‘evil’ in left-wing discourse. This further constitutes “making mendacious, dehumanising, demonising, or stereotypical allegations about Jews.”
Given that Jewish individuals and groups have been prominent amongst those who have claimed there is a problem of antisemitism in the Labour Party, by sharing an article alleging that accusations of antisemitism in Labour were being made to “silence legitimate criticism of Israel and undermine Jeremy Corbyn” [2a], in which it was also alleged that complainants were “cynically [using] rare examples” and “usually” making “false allegations” of antisemitism [2b]; by sharing an article in which it was alleged that accusations of antisemitism in Labour were “disingenuously cooked up by political opponents” [3a]; by sharing an article in which allegations of antisemitism in Labour were characterised as a “fabrication”, a “smear campaign” and a “witch hunt” which was entirely “about Israel” and “nothing to do with protecting Jews from anti-Semitism [sic]” ; by asserting that claims of antisemitism in Labour were “exaggerated” by Jewish groups in order to scare the Jewish community by “making a few dozen idiots look like a pogrom” ; and by accusing Jews of “confirmation bias” — that is, of wanting to find see antisemitism where none exists, due to personal or political prejudice [8b], he was directly deploying or disseminating material which was deploying the so-called ‘Livingstone Formulation’, by accusing Jews who cite evidence of antisemitism of lying, conspiring or having deceitful motives in doing so, when there is clear evidence that there have been breaches of the International Definition of Antisemitism. This further constitutes “making mendacious, dehumanising, demonising, or stereotypical allegations about Jews.”
Furthermore, we note that, on 26th March 2018, in a published response to complaints of antisemitism by Jewish community charities, Jeremy Corbyn MP stated: “I recognise that anti-Semitism [sic] has surfaced within the Labour Party, and has too often been dismissed as simply a matter of a few bad apples.” On 24th April 2018, in an article published in the Evening Standard, Mr Corbyn stated: “We must strive to understand why anti-Semitism [sic] has surfaced in our party…”, and “when members of Jewish communities express genuine anxieties we must recognise them as we would those of any other community. Their concerns are not ‘smears’.”
It has become common for those wishing to defend instances where antisemitic tropes are projected onto Israel, Israelis or “Zionists” to accuse those complaining of antisemitic discourse of being antisemitic themselves. Such accusations are often made in bad faith, exploiting the International Definition of Antisemitism, wherein “holding Jews collectively responsible for the State of Israel” is redefined as “conflating Jews with Israel is antisemitic”, distorting its intended meaning whilst simultaneously rejecting the use of other elements of the Definition which relate to Israel. Thus, the victims or complainants of antisemitism are made the perpetrators through a process of inversion, thereby serving the same rhetorical purpose as the so-called ‘Livingstone Formulation’, by refusing to engage with the complaint of antisemitism and instead making a counter-accusation in order to invalidate it. By using such a formulation in [8a], when the complainant had identified a clear use of a classic antisemitic trope regarding supposed Jewish power, his action constituted a “rhetorical…manifestation of antisemitism.”