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How the Israel lobby is using Owen

Jones

Guardian columnist Owen Jones will headline an event for the


Jewish Labour Movement, a group involved in Israels effort to
thwart the Palestine solidarity movement. (Marc Lozano/Flickr)

Asa Winstanley-21 February


2017
Last week the Jewish Labour
Movement announced that Guardian columnist Owen Jones will be
the big name speaker at an event the group is holding on 2 April.
Jones will lecture on left anti-Semitism, the Middle East and the
Labour Party.

The Jewish Labour Movement scoring Jones appears to be a high-


profile instance of a new push endorsed by Israels government to
ensure that Palestine solidarity instigators are singled out
from so-called soft critics of Israel.

According to The Jewish Daily Forward, the strategy jointly


developed by the Reut Institute and the Anti-Defamation
League (ADL) calls for a big tent approach that accepts
progressive critics of Israel while also demanding an all-out
assault on leading critics of Israel, sometimes using covert
means.

The instigators must be singled out from the other groups, and
handled uncompromisingly, publicly or covertly, the Reut-ADL
report states, according to The Forward, which obtained a copy on
condition it not publish the entire document.

The Jewish Labour Movement, a pro-Israel organization within the


UKs main opposition Labour Party, appears to be on board with
this strategy.

Al Jazeeras recent undercover documentary The Lobby revealed


the Jewish Labour Movements close ties to the Israeli embassy,
as well as its campaign against BDS, the boycott, divestment and
sanctions movement.
Splitting the left
Following the announcement that Jones would headline the Jewish
Labour Movement event, Nazareth-based journalist Jonathan
Cook criticized the Guardian columnist for promoting a group
shown to be acting as a front for the Israeli governments
efforts in Labour.

Jones replied with a blog post calling his critics conspiracy


theorists and reaffirming that he was very glad to speak at this
pro-Israel groups event.

I am a passionate opponent of anti-Semitism in all its forms,


overt or subtle. It has to be fought, relentlessly, wherever it
appears, including on the left, Jones asserted an implication
that his critics might condone or tolerate anti-Semitism.

Whether Jones realizes it or not, he is facilitating the strategy of


isolating Palestine solidarity campaigners by performing the role
of soft critic of Israel.

Any division in Labour ranks over Jones decision will likely be


seen by Jewish Labour Movement leaders as a success.

Indeed, undercover footage revealed by Al Jazeera last month


shows Jewish Labour Movement chair Jeremy Newmark boasting
in front of the Israeli ambassador that his group had created a bit
of division within Momentum by convincing a close ally of Labour
leader Jeremy Corbyn to speak at one of its events on an openly
Zionist JLM platform.

Momentum is the left-wing faction in Labour established to


support Corbyn.
At the private meeting between pro-Israel activists and Israeli
ambassador Mark Regev at the Labour Party conference in
September, Newmark also claimed that he had intelligence that
Momentums political directors had passed a vote of censure
on Clive Lewis, just for coming to our meeting and speaking.

Member of Parliament Clive Lewis was at the time shadow


defense secretary and considered a rising star in the Labour Party.

Over the course of 2016, Corbyn, a veteran campaigner for


Palestinian rights, faced
a manufactured anti-Semitism crisis, that coincided with efforts
to force him out as party leader.

Whipped up by right-wing figures in the party, along with internal


pro-Israel groups such as Labour Friends of Israel, as well as by
Jewish Labour Movement chair Jeremy Newmark, the allegations
included exaggerated and, in some cases, wholly fabricated
claims about anti-Semitism by party members.
Al Jazeera documentary The Lobby showed how a Labour Friends
of Israel leader concocted a false allegation of anti-Semitic
comments against a party member at last years Labour
conference.
Failing strategy
A key part of the strategy pushed by Israel and its surrogates is to
smear supporters of justice for Palestinians as anti-Semites.
In this context, the Jewish Labour Movement has promoted a
discredited definition of anti-Semitism that conflates criticism of
Israel and Zionism with anti-Semitism.

But the Reut-ADL report concludes that multi-million dollar efforts


to combat BDS have largely failed, according to The Forward.
The newspaper says that the reports authors consider that the
BDS movement has grown twentyfold since 2010. But they
lament that anti-BDS results remain elusive.

The new Reut-ADL plan echoes reports in Israeli media last


September that Israels strategic affairs ministry has been waging
a classified, under the radar campaign of black ops against
the BDS movement.

Amid reports of this covert campaign, a Palestinian human rights


lawyer in The Hague has received anonymous death threats that
are being investigated by Dutch police. The lawyer, from the
human rights group Al-Haq, has been working with
the International Criminal Court as it probes possible war crimes
committed by Israel against Palestinians.

There have also been sophisticated cyber attacks against


websites associated with the Palestine solidarity movement.
The ADL has a documented history of infiltrating and
sabotaging US solidarity campaigns with Palestine, as well
as campaigns against the South African apartheid regime.
Backed by Israel
Co-opting progressive figures, or soft critics of Israel, such as
Clive Lewis and Owen Jones, is a key element of the Reut-ADL
strategy the proverbial carrot, to accompany the stick.

View image on Twitter

Follow

JewishLabourMovement @JewishLabour
Great to be with @OwenJones84 and Chair of
young @HavodaParty
at the @SocialistSocs party #Lab16
6:30 PM - 26 Sep 2016
The Reut-ADL report appears to have been a year in the making,
although its roots lie further back.
An influential Reut strategy in 2010 called on Israeli spy agencies
to sabotage and focus on attacking catalysts in global centers
of Palestine solidarity.

In a 2010 PowerPoint presentation, Reuts founder Gidi


Grinstein termed such cities as London, Madrid and the San
Francisco bay area hubs of delegitimization which aim to
promote one man, one vote in all of historic Palestine as
opposed to the current reality of a Jewish state alongside an
Israeli occupation regime in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Grinstein, who revealed the new Reut-ADL strategy earlier this


month, had said in his 2010 presentation that it was imperative to
prevent the implosion or political collapse of Israel in a manner
similar to the fall of the South African apartheid regime.

That strategy also called for driving [a] wedge between soft and
hard critics of Israel and other Palestine solidarity activists Reut
terms delegitimizers mainly due to their support for BDS.
The Jewish Labour Movements Newmark said in 2010 that the
Israel lobby group of which he was then chief executive had
contributed heavily to the compilation of the Reut report.
Slide from a 2010 Reut Institute presentation at the Herzliya
conference.
The 2017 Reut-ADL strategy places a renewed emphasis on
embracing the so-called soft critics in order to isolate them from
instigators and delegitimizers who call for effective measures
to hold Israel accountable or who question Zionism, Israels state
ideology.

Reut Institute and ADL leaders have boasted that their report has
the backing of Israels strategic affairs ministry, which is
spearheading the countrys anti-BDS effort. The JTA news
agency calls this endorsement an important signal that even a
right-wing government favors the big tent.
Enter Owen Jones
In his defense of his planned lecture for the Jewish Labour
Movement, Owen Jones offers a message that is a fit with the
Reut-ADL strategy.

Jones reaffirms his criticism of Israels occupation of Palestine


and writes that he believes in a just peace for both Arabs and
Jews, providing security and peaceful coexistence. That process
involves dialogue.

But Jones says nothing about BDS or any other method to hold
Israel to account. He did not reply on Twitter to questions
from The Electronic Intifadas Ali Abunimah asking if he supported
a boycott of Israel.

In substance, Jones position is nearly identical to that of Labour


Friends of Israel and the Jewish Labour Movement, which both
ostensibly advocate a two-state solution but oppose all practical
efforts to support Palestinian rights.

Follow
Peter Mason @pejmason
Really excited to be launching @JewishLabour's inaugural Henry
Smith Memorial Lecture
featuring @OwenJones84 http://www.jlm.org.uk/hsml
7:13 AM - 14 Feb 2017
Indeed, the false accusation of anti-Semitism against the Labour
Party member documented in the Al Jazeera film was conjured up
because the member had challenged Labour Friends of Israel
chair Joan Ryan over what her group proposed to do in order to
stop Israeli settlements.

Labour Friends of Israel has campaigned even against boycotts of


firms such as G4S that are directly involved in Israeli
settlements and the abuse of Palestinians, including children, in
military detention in the occupied West Bank.

Lawmakers affiliated with Labour Friends of Israel wrote to Labour


leader Corbyn asserting that such boycotts seek to delegitimize
Israel and do nothing to further the cause of peace.

Yet last month, Ryan introduced a bill in Parliament proposing an


international fund to promote coexistence and dialogue
between Israelis and Palestinians language identical to that
deployed by Owen Jones.

Such dialogue is promoted to deflect pressure from Israel and


leave the status quo that the BDS movement seeks to change
Israeli occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid intact.
Undercover footage showed Israeli embassy agent Shai
Masot, second from left, conferring with Jewish Labour
Movement leader Jeremy Newmark and Israeli ambassador Mark
Regev.
The undercover footage of the private meeting at the Labour
Conference shows Jeremy Newmark sitting next to Shai Masot, the
Israeli embassys disgraced senior political officer.

Masot was forced to leave the UK last month after the Al Jazeera
documentarys revelations made headlines. He had been caught
plotting to take down a senior government minister.

The documentary also showed him claiming credit for incubating


a Young Labour Friends of Israel group.
After The Lobby aired, Jeremy Corbyn called for an
investigation into Israels undue influence on British democracy.

In January, the chair of a powerful parliamentary committee


announced that he would include the Shai Masot affair in a new
Middle East inquiry.

Meanwhile, Israel lobby groups can chalk up a success with the


recruitment of Owen Jones in their effort to split supporters of
Palestinian rights.
Posted by Thavam