September 11, 2008

Reporting the Green Conference resolution on antisemitism

Posted in british greens, israel at 11:11 am by Mira Vogel

There are some things to clear up about Anshel Pfeffer’s Jewish Chronicle piece.

“The original motion said that antisemitism also included elements of anti-Zionism and called for the Greens to adopt the European Union’s definition of antisemitism.”

The original motion C15 can be found on the Agenda (PDF – see p22). C15 was more qualified and pragmatic than the article suggests. The signs were that it would have been futile to call for the Greens to “adopt” the EUMC definition of antisemitism – instead C15 required that it be “considered”. And C15 did not claim that antisemitism includes anti-Zionism, because this is not always the case and because giving the impression that it was always the case would have jeopardised the motion.

Despite our efforts to raise awareness of a phenomenon without trying to bolt down either the phenomenon or conversation about it, the motion proved too controversial and was pared away to something toothless – well-meaning but not equal to the job.

The article also missed out the very important requirement that Green representatives should condemn antisemitism in the event of unavoidable platform-sharing with antisemitic organisations. Platform-sharing is sometimes inevitable but the Green Party has policy to put clear political distance between us and, say, the BNP. Nevertheless Caroline Lucas has a record of sharing-platforms with Hamas speakers, and of supposing concerns about antisemitism to really have a pro-Israeli purpose.

Lastly, the dreadful fringe on anti-Zionism was off-programme – the conference organising committee had attempted to merge it with another fringe raising awareness about antisemitism but both fringe organisers objected. As a result official status wasn’t offered to either.


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