Communist Party statement – The Struggle Against Antisemitism


The Communist Party’s long-standing and historic opposition to antisemitism

The Communist Party opposes all forms of racism and xenophobia and notes with grave concern the rise of antisemitism as part of the anti-working class ideology of right-wing populism in Britain and elsewhere. It calls on all who wish to protect the values of our movement to oppose every manifestation of antisemitism along with other forms of racism. Our party’s founders included significant numbers of comrades of Jewish culture and commitment – many of whom had fled from persecution in Eastern Europe and the Russian Empire.
These comrades led the way in combatting antisemitism in Britain in the 1920s and 30s and in particular developing a united mass movement among working people in London that blocked the advance of Mosley fascism. One of our party’s MPs, Phil Piratin, was instrumental in leading this movement. He did so again against the attempts to redevelop Mosley Fascism, exploiting antisemitism, in the later 1940s and 1950s.

In the 1970s our party was a founder member of the Anti-Nazi League and of the Anti-Racist Alliance and since then has helped make the annual commemoration of Cable Street a unifying demonstration that puts the fight against antisemitism at the centre of a united working class opposition to all forms of racism. Each year on 27 January our party supports Holocaust Memorial Day.

The formation of the State of Israel

Our party, in the aftermath of the Nazi genocide, supported the formation of a State of Israel in 1948 on the terms set by the UN resolution 187 of May 1947 – whereby it should exist on a defined territory alongside an Arab State within Palestine and ‘nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of the existing non-Jewish communities’. The editorial of the Daily Worker of 15 May 1948, in welcoming the new state, additionally urged the new State ‘to take all possible measures to live in peace with its Arab neighbours…’.

UN resolutions following the 1967 war and Israel’s annexation of Palestinian territories.

Our party supported the UN resolution 242 (1967) following the annexation of Palestinian territories in 1967. This resolution required Israel to withdraw to its pre-war boundaries and upheld the right of the people of Palestine to their own state beside the state of Israel with its capital in Jerusalem and the right of return of all refugees. This continues to be the position of our party. It condemns the subsequent actions by the Government of Israel to defy both this and subsequent UN resolutions and to fail to honour the Oslo Accords negotiated between Israel’s prime minister Yitzhak Rabin and the PLO in 1993. Our party is a member of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and supports the ‘two-state’ UN-mandated position.

Condemnation of the actions of recent Israeli governments headed by Benjamin Netanyahu.

These actions by the Israeli governments headed by Benjamin Netanyahu include a) the passage of the Nation-State Act in July 2018 which makes the right to ‘national self-determination’ in Israel ‘unique to the Jewish people’, establishes Hebrew as the official language, and in terms of all official documentation downgrades the status of Arabic, and makes ‘Jewish settlement’ a national value b) the formal shift of the Israeli government to Jerusalem in 2017 and its recognition by the United States as capital of Israel in violation of UN resolutions c) the joint 2020 initiative by the governments of the United States and Israel to secure the agreement of Arab states to the illegal occupation of Palestinian territory and to make permanent the full Israeli settlement of the West Bank. These actions violate the objectives of all those committed to the upholding of the rights of the Palestinian people to an integral state composed of all pre-1967 territories and also of those who wish to see a State of Israel living in peace beside a Palestinian State.

Continuing and robust opposition to anti-semitism.

Our party calls on all who wish to protect the values of our movement to oppose every manifestation of antisemitism along with other forms of racism. All forms of racism weaken our movement. Antisemitism has been deeply rooted within our country since feudal times and has repeatedly been used as a weapon to divide working people, particularly so at the beginning of the last century and at the time of the Bolshevik Revolution.
Our party also notes the dangers posed to the fight against antisemitism by the opportunist and politically-partisan use of unjust charges of antisemitism within the Labour movement and the current attempts to extend them to all those who wish to uphold the rights of the Palestinian people and to campaign against the illegal occupation of their land. In particular, our party opposes the demand of the current British government that public bodies receiving government funds adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism. The IHRA definition was not developed for this purpose and its principal drafter has stated it was not intended to be adopted as a legal policy document by public bodies. Its references to criticism of the State of Israel are, moreover, now compromised by the passing of the 2018 Nation State Act, as described above. Those who use this definition against anyone campaigning for the justified rights of the Palestinian people, as laid down in UN resolution, and for peaceful sanctions in order to achieve them, must be condemned as themselves actively hindering the real and necessary fight against antisemitism.

The Communist Party of Britain therefore reiterates its opposition to all forms of antisemitism. It confirms its support for a State of Israel living in peace beside a State of Palestine within pre-1967 boundaries. This commitment includes its backing for the full implementation of UN resolutions and for the use of economic sanctions to achieve these objectives. Communists in Britain pledge their solidarity with all those campaigning on this basis, against antisemitism along with the rights of the Palestinian people. This includes full support for, and solidarity with, our sister parties, the Palestinian People’s Party and the Communist Party of Israel.