The Haringey IHRA debacle
Haringey Council passes Motion to stifle Freedom of Speech on Israel
The motion to adopt the IHRA definition (and guidelines) was passed. Residents who see the guidelines as a curtailment of free speech, to the detriment of occupied Palestinians were dismissed and excluded.
What has been played down is that there were many Jewish activists among the protesters in the public gallery. The abuse directed at these Jewish members since, ironically contravene the motion they have just passed ‘Denying the Jewish people their right to self determination’.
Concerned Haringey residents had written to the Senior Councillors prior to the meeting and given them a legal opinion from Hugh Tomlinson QC. Commissioned by Free Speech on Israel, Independent Jewish Voices, Jews for Justice for Palestinians and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, it can be seen in full here and showed that the definition (and guidelines) were an infringement on freedom to criticise Israel. The definition is particularly offensive to Jewish people who do not consider themselves zionists and those who work for the freedom of Palestinians, as it conflates being Jewish with being Pro Israel.
Councillors had refused to allow a deputation — with speaker from Jews for Justice for Palestinians — to address the Council meeting. No debate was permitted at the Council meeting. The motion was proposed by the Labour leader and after it had been seconded, the Labour whip forced an immediate vote. The Labour leader and Labour whip dismissed what seemed to be an option floated by the meeting Chair that the motion could be deferred as it was getting very late in the evening. Most councillors did not feel confident enough about what they were voting for to even look at the people in the public gallery — those residents who had attended to let Councillors know that there was a large opposition to what officials were about to vote for. Full minutes can be found here.
Indeed it appears that after the meeting, Labour councillors were not aware that the Labour Party had agreed to adopt the IHRA definition; including the House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee two caveats (see Hugh Tomlinson QC report above). What they voted for was the original government accepted definition so went against party policy.
Jonathan Coulter— Bromley Liberal Democrats, who has a keen interest in the Middle East concurred saying that ‘The whole Lib Dem minority contingent voted for the motion. I spoke to three of them afterwards and found they didn’t understand what they were voting for: none of them had studied the ‘guidance’ containing ‘contemporary examples of antisemitism within public life’, and one expressed the opinion that the Pro Israel lobby was too powerful to oppose. Another sought to justify Lib Dem behaviour on the grounds that they were only a minority and could not influence the final outcome.’
Even more worrying was that according to eye witnesses the Labour Councillor to the right (seen in the photo below) at first refrained from voting, only to have the councillor to the left of the photo, take hold of his arm and force the man to put his hand up to vote. It was non violent but an act of political strong-arming in every sense.
What we here at YSV won’t tolerate are the usual false smears, fake news and troll network attacks that are set into motion the moment anything can be connected to @jeremycorbyn — Joe Goldberg, the first to break the ‘news’ was not chairing the meeting and contradicts himself by saying people in the gallery were Labour members, then Momentum members 15 minutes later. How could he know who they represented. This should ring alarm bells.
It’s also interesting to note he follows (unwisely) our favourite anonymous sock-puppet account Gnasherjew and its more tolerable looking sister account LAAS, who along with the infamous Anti Corbyn Twitter troll network, have desperately rallied around him post meeting. We are unsure as to why, as he was only one of many in attendance who would have heard the protests from the public gallery. But we have seen the usual trawling through social media and work accounts of the public gallery attendees and fundamental invasion of privacy usually only reserved for enemies of the News International Group. Nothing to do with Corbyn though. Nothing at all.
This piece has been written with the help of campaigners who have talked to various sources.