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Now then, the 10 Pledges. Here they are below. This thread will run through them and set out what I think about them.
Notice how even the title deals with something which isn't true. A 'crisis' is not a crisis when it involves less than 0.1% of a membership of half a million. But let's leave that to one side and move on.
1. Resolving outstanding cases swiftly, under a fixed timetable, sounds great... except if it's logistically impossible. Many legal cases drag on and a fixed timetable can't be applied. The same broadly applies to the Labour Party. Or any party, for that matter.
2. Making the party's disciplinary process independent sounds reasonable... except it:

- Means interference in those processes

- Begs the question: who is 'independent'? Everyone has their biases. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
3. Ensure transparency. Fair enough - but is the implication of this to put pressure on the party to reach the conclusion which the complainant has already reached? Allegations are not facts; due process must always apply.
4. Prevent readmittance of prominent offenders. Wholeheartedly agree, though the naming of two individuals isn't great. But beyond that: there's no place whatsoever for any form of racism in the Labour Party. Offenders should be banned for life.
5. Provide no platform for bigotry. I agree in the case of any members found guilty. I worry that this will be extended to members found not guilty - or to those who've been accused, but not convicted.

Frankly, we all know what (in fact, who) point 5 really refers to though.
6. Oh look, it's the IHRA definition. A working definition which many organisations and countries have rejected, It's poorly written, legally impracticable, its own author has criticised its weaponisation, and it has the effect of silencing pro-Palestinian speech.
A number of the IHRA examples plainly and simply chill legitimate free speech. That's why Liberty rejected it. The message is "if you're a displaced Palestinian because of Israeli policies, if you call that racist, you are an anti-Semite". Appalling.
7. The anti-racism training programme. Sounds good at first glance. My question for the Jewish Labour Movement is simple. What would this programme involve? It's for them to answer that.
8. Engagement with the Jewish community via its main representative groups. I'll paraphrase that: it's the Board of Deputies viewing itself as the Jewish community's main representative group. Even though the Jewish community has MANY representative groups.
Is there an attempt to silence those Jews who don't agree with the Board of Deputies on this? Very plainly, yes. Which, quite categorically, is not what representative groups do. Representative groups represent EVERYONE, not just those who agree with them.
9. Communicate with resolve.

10. Show leadership and take responsibility.

Yes, yes, a million times yes. Points 9 and 10 are vital and irrefutable.
So overall, I have questions about several of the points - and reject point 6 and point 8. But of course, I'm not running to be Labour leader, and am not even a member of the party at all.
In my view, the candidates have no option other than to sign up. The reason for that is what I wrote about yesterday: good politics and bad politics.

The narrative around all this is so deafening that any candidate who doesn't will be viewed as an apologist for antisemitism.
Remember the catch-22 which I wrote about a year ago. This catch-22 is why Labour failed on this; this catch-22 still entirely applies now, under any leader.
I don't blame any of the candidates for signing up. If we don't win, we can't help anyone - and this issue played no small part in our losing, so the suffering of so many just gets worse. Some will even pay with their lives.

Good politics and bad politics.
If I blame anyone at all (and I really don't: the catch-22 sets out why the bind Labour's been in has always been impossible), it's... Corbyn and his team. Who just didn't challenge the narrative, and stayed fatefully silent far too often. Poor leadership, poor communication.
For the record: just under a year ago, someone very senior from among the Labour leadership team reached out to me through an intermediary, and asked me to stop writing about two well-known celebrities, because it only gave them oxygen.
I was happy to do so, because the last thing I'd ever want to do is harm Labour's chances of winning an election. I couldn't live with myself if I did that.

It's just that their appeasement on this whole issue didn't work either. It just fed the narrative.
It is now far, far, far too late to challenge effectively. Sad but true. And my position remains exactly as before: I want and am desperate for a Labour government, and everything I write on here is focused on achieving that.
There is, though, something else which needs to be considered properly. I'm in the minority amongst British Jews. A huge majority of them disagree completely with me on this. Fair enough; that's democracy. That's debate.
But it's WHY so many British Jews differ from me or other left wing Jews which I want to focus on.

I will never accept that anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism. There are some circumstances when it is, definitely; but as a basic rule? Absolutely not.
But many perfectly reasonable British Jews take a completely different view. They know their history: they know why it was abundantly necessary for Israel to come about. They know about 2000 years of antisemitism: isolation, deportations, pogroms, violence, murder, the Holocaust.
And now, they view Israel as their safe haven if something so awful should ever happen again. So when Israel is criticised - even, by some, continually demonised - it hurts them. It hurts them to their very core. And it makes them wonder what the left thinks about their lives.
In my opinion, we're now well into a process which changes antisemitism as always understood into anti-Zionism. Meaning those who strongly criticise or condemn Israel's conduct in future will automatically be labelled as anti-Semites.
Why doesn't the Board of Deputies criticise the Tories or hold them to the same standards? It's not because they're apologists for bigotry and racism or something. It's because the Tories are viewed as Israel's friend... and therefore, as friends to the Jewish people.
What do I think of that position? I think it's absurd. But I would think that... because I'm in a minority. Just as Bundist Jews were in a minority too. This argument has gone on within Judaism for 100 years and more.
What I, or left wing Jews, automatically regard as antisemitism is not what so many British Jews regard as antisemitism. Over recent decades especially, Israel has become central to the identity of many British Jews... so to criticise Israel is to criticise them.
I think that explains why so many British Jews abandoned Labour when Ed Miliband recognised Palestine. Because they fear it someday happening again; they fear needing safe haven in Israel. So when Israel's enemy is supported, they are appalled.
Please let nobody misunderstand the above: I am absolutely NOT accusing British Jews of 'dual loyalties' or anything so offensive. I'm merely highlighting the importance of Israel in so many Jewish people's lives and identity. Which it is: and always has been in our religion.
So the whole purpose of this thread is to ask people to put themselves in the shoes of British Jews. What it looks like to them when we automatically support Palestine and ignore the reality of Hamas and Hizbollah.
What they see when we highlight the atrocities of the Israeli government and military and/or call for boycotts while saying nothing about the atrocities of so many other governments and militaries: including that of Hamas.
Take a look at this map. Israel isn't just tiny (the size of Wales, for heaven's sake). Its surrounded by peoples (if not, in Jordan or Egypt's case, governments) which hate it and want to destroy it.
What do you think that's going to do? It's going to cause fear among Israelis growing up. It's going to make them desperate to protect their country at all costs. And it's going to cause fear, even panic, among Jews all over the world who KNOW why a Jewish state is so important.
People may well respond to the map above with a map of Palestinian territory since Israel's formation. Fair enough, I don't disagree. But neither you nor I live somewhere which is bombarded with rockets all the time - or where neighbouring peoples want you gone. Destroyed.
The great tragedy of so many Israeli governments since the collapse of the Oslo Peace Process is: their policies do terrible harm to their country's reputation and image. Their policies are so bad, it all but enables anti-Semites to demonise Jewish people like me.
But shall I put it this way? Israel-Palestine is not and has never been all one way. It's far, far, far more complicated than that, and it always has been. So when people just demonise Israel, they're not educating themselves about the complexity of the issue. At all.
And when some of them go on to ridiculously accuse Israel of somehow controlling things in British politics, they don't just sound ludicrous. They're engaging in antisemitism themselves.
Israel is a tiny state in the Middle East. Like all states, it has security and secret services; like all states, it seeks to further its own interests. That doesn't magically make it able to control the world. It makes it like just another state.
And yes yes, I know, The Lobby...

1. Many states seek to influence the politics of others. In Shai Masot's case, he was caught trying to do this and sent home.

2. Joan Ryan was offered a million quid to pay for Labour MPs to visit Israel. That's it. That's all it amounted to.
Good grief people: lobbying occurs from many groups and states ALL THE TIME. Lobbying, very often, is why trade deals get done. So if we go on to do post-Brexit trade deals, will those countries be demonised in the same way? Of course not.
But if we just focus on Israel this, Israel that, so bloody often, it hurts so many Jewish people. And it's just plain bad politics. Awful - because we cannot influence Israel/Palestine. And we've made our ability to do so even less than before by leaving the EU.
Finally, there's a personal question for me. As I've highlighted so often how the narrative on antisemitism on the left bears no relation to the reality, you know what I believe? I think if I applied to join Labour, I'd be rejected.
And why? Because people would argue that I'd tried to 'minimise the lived experiences of British Jews'; because people would argue that I'd downplayed antisemitism altogether. Despite my being Jewish myself and only ever basing my views on evidence.
And of course, as I've argued above that it would be bad politics for the leadership candidates not to accept the pledges, by extension, it'd be bad for the Labour Party if I continued to write about all this from within it.
So for the exact same reason I didn't join under Corbyn, I won't be applying to join under whoever the next leader is. Purely and simply: it's to maintain my editorial independence and not be silenced on an issue of such importance.
But to all those who stay in the party, or who go on to join it: I would ask them to read this thread, reflect on it, and put yourselves in the shoes of so many Jewish people in the UK. It's vital that you do so if Labour are truly to move on, together, with trust restored.
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