Socialists Against Antisemitism was set up in 2018 by a group of Jews and non-Jews from the left of the labour party who are concerned with the amount of antisemitism being expressed within parts of the left, and in politics more generally. Too often, people have sought to minimise or write off this antisemitism as ‘slurs’, claiming that they are often ‘manufactured’ by ‘Blairites’, ‘Tories’ and/or ‘Zionists’.
Our group contains people who identify as left-wing Zionists, as non-Zionists and as anti-Zionists. We differentiate ourselves from other groups such as Jewish Voice for Labour because, despite our often strongly critical views about the government of Israel, the occupation and other human rights issues, we also see that antisemitism is often thinly disguising itself as anti-Zionism or being anti-Israel.
We have to clarify the fact that it is NOT anti-semitic of itself to criticise the government of Israel, its politics, its leaders, the occupation etc. The issue is that all too often people criticize Israel in an antisemitic manner. It should not be difficult to avoid this.
We’re also different from the Jewish Labour Movement because we take a different stance on Israel, and our members tend to be further to the left than the average JLM member. We strongly identify as left-wing socialists.
Our goal is to highlight antisemitism wherever we see it, with the objective of reducing it, but we are particularly sensitive to left-wing antisemitism because :
- Socialism is a political ideology which stands against all forms of racism and discrimination. It therefore should not exist on the left.
- We are socialists and we don’t want antisemitism (or any forms of racism) in our own camp.
- A sometimes vocal minority on the left seek to deny its existence.
We plan to accomplish our goal through disseminating information on social media, our blog site, campaigning and protesting (e.g. the anti-Icke protests), direct engagement with major figures in the Labour party and trade unions, and other activities.