BobFromBrockley has the news.
Toby has been a member of the Green Party for 10 years and he was the Chair of a working group on antisemitism established after a number of incidents:
[…] of course, members of the Green Party can´t be prejudiced. If they accuse members called “Levy” of being Israeli academics in disguise defending Israel, they can´t be rehashing old Jewish conspiracy theories. If they circulate emails from David Duke, a key figure in the Klu Klux Klan, on how “Jewish Zionists” are shaping American policy in Israel in alliance with Obama (thereby rehashing not only anti-semitic myths but also an alliance of this with anti-Black racism), they can still work in Caroline Lucas´s office and be on the list for the European elections. If they circulate emails accusing Jewish members of parliament of double loyalty (to Israel and the UK), there´s no need to suppose that they are re-hashing the anti-Catholic discourse which surrounded JF Kennedy´s run for office in 1960. If they talk of the “squealing zionists”, there´s no reason for them not to be respected party figures.
To be fair, after all of this, the party did recognise that there was an issue. A report commissioned by the Green Party Regional Council (GPRC – a powerful decision-making body in the decentralisd power structure of the party), and written by two non-Jewish members, said that these were examples of a toleration of low-level anti-semitism, and that therefore a working party on anti-semitism was recommended to be established. Although kicked into the long grass at first, it started work when a senior figure recommended an article by a known holocaust denier on his blog. But the working party was quickly an impossibility. I should know: I was the chair, a position I only adopted when no one else was prepared to.
Read what happened next here.
Update 1: Some interesting discussions are taking place on Bob’s blog, including a visit by Cllr Darren Johnson.
Update 2 (from Mira): And including this comment by a Tim Dowling, worth reproducing in full:
- “One of the things about prejudice is that while it is universal in its characteristic manifestation as unreasoning opposition to a stigmatised other (the main function of prejudice being to stigmatise analeptically or recursively without leaving room for a critical weighing of the stigma as a premise – re Ms. Fink’s contribution) every type of prejudice is also uniquely molded and faceted by the ocular characteristics of the other it seeks to eradicate, and has therefore unique (and negatively creative) vileness. And yes, all prejudice is pragmatic symbolic erradication.
In the case of antisemitism, it is really impossible to discuss it at all without the due pragmatic (and historically grounded) weighing up. Antisemitism has murdered, exiled and unspeakably disfigured an incommensurable number of human existences. It has helped to destroy every society in which it has ever taken root. It is arguably the back cause of Israel’s foreign policy (the “twin” as Toby calls it – with possibly more than conscious accuracy).
Antisemitism is always, always the sign that the body politic or corporate organisation in which it flourishes is sick unto death. This is a historically proven verdict, the degree of denial of which is one measure of ignorance. Its appearance anywhere is therefore a cause for the gravest concern, as well as a reason to desert from the ship it is on, if one does not wish to go down with the ship.
Other types of prejudice exist that are equally vile, just as a range of illnesses exist that can painfully kill a body. Antisemitism, in this sense, is distinguished not by its vileness, but by its exceptionally insidious nature, which makes it possible for the antisemite to propagate his or her views under the guise of defending other groups of people whom it can usually be shown to have damaged substantially. Or under the guise of redressing some kind of balance which turns out to be an a priori feature of the antisemitic discourse.
Or possibly under the political relegation of a complex idea such as Zionism, whose place in intellectual history is multifoliate. Or the speculative and slanderous marginalization of an individual, as if the individual’s projected vulnerability were not also tactically collective.”