Socialist Resistance stands in full solidarity with NUS President-elect Malia Bouattia, who is facing spurious charges of antisemitism. It is clear to us that the motivation for these untrue allegations is that she is a Muslim woman in a prominent public position, and that she has the temerity to oppose Israel’s ongoing oppression of the Palestinian people.
These allegations are based on selective, out-of-context quotes from Ms Bouattia’s statements, designed to present the false impression that she is attacking Jews rather than the Israeli state and its supporters. In fact, it is these supporters who, by habitually conflating Jewish identity with support for Israel and Zionism, are displaying the real antisemitic attitude.
This is only part of a series of attacks on Muslim students. The ‘Prevent’ program, which Bouattia has rightly placed herself in firm opposition to, has the potential to put Muslim students (amongst other groups) under watch for simply disagreeing with government policy and the actions of the British state.
Malia Bouattia is not the only target of such attacks. Bradford West MP Naz Shah (who has been described by Bradford’s Rabbi as “a friend of the Jews”) was forced to resign as PPS to Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, and was later suspended from the Labour Patty, after retweeting a comment about relocating Israel to the US mid-west, which would not be out of place in political debate in Israel.
Although these attacks were motivated in part by Islamophobia and sexism, it is not only Muslim women who have been targeted in this manner. Veteran anti-fascist and anti-Zionist activist Tony Greenstein has been expelled from the Labour Party for alleged “comments”. He has not been allowed to know the charges against him, but they have been revealed to the Daily Telegraph and the Times, both of which were later obliged to retract and apologise for alleging that Greenstein was an antisemite.
The purpose of these false allegations is twofold: to embroil opponents of the neo-liberal agenda, particularly supporters of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party, in a time-wasting attempt to defend themselves and their views; and to delegitimise effective support for the Palestinian struggle and criticism of the Israeli state.
Socialist Resistance reaffirms our support for the right of the Palestinian people to return and self-determination, and our solidarity with all those unjustly smeared and penalised for taking such a stand. Antisemitism, like all forms of racism (including Zionism) has no place within the labour and socialist movement; but opposition to Zionism is not antisemitism.