Did Corbyn spin doctor Seumas Milne’s 2014 speech breach antisemitism definition?

Yesterday, the Labour Party adopted – at least for the time being – the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism with all its examples, though with a caveat which Labour Friends of Israel claimed had the potential to undermine the example which labels antisemitic calling “the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor”. 

One example from the IHRA definition recently approved by the Labour Party not directly related to Israel seems relevant in light of a 2014 speech by Seumas Milne – currently Jeremy Corbyn’s communications chief and then Guardian associate editor – that we highlighted in a post at the time.

The IHRA example defines as antisemitic the following:

Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion

Now, here’s Milne on Aug. 9, 2014, during Israel’s war with Hamas, speaking to tens of thousands of anti-Israel protesters at Hyde Park in London:

(See the full speech here.)

His speech was consistent with a Guardian op-ed he wrote several weeks earlier which similarly defended the Palestinian ‘right’ of armed resistance, while arguing that Israel, as the ‘occupying power’, had no such right to defend itself against Hamas.

Let’s remember that Milne wasn’t referring to the Palestinian “right of resistance” in the abstract, but in the context of an ongoing war between Israel and the terrorist group, Hamas, a group which was launching, and had previously launched, deadly attacks on Jewish civilians in Israel – attacks inspired by an extremist ideology.

Here’s the IHRA example again:

Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion.

To those who’d argue that Milne didn’t technically violate the definition because Hamas was attacking ‘Israelis’, and not Jews qua Jews, remember that, despite claims for Western media consumption that their problem is only “Zionism”, not Jews, remember that the Hamas charter quotes Islamic religious texts to justify killing the Jews, regardless of whether they’re in Israel or elsewhere.  One article (28) also makes it quite clear their desire to eliminate Israel is inspired by the fact that its Jewish and has a Jewish population.

Whether or not Milne ran afoul of the working definition in that 2014 speech, his justification for the intentional killing of Israelis by a terror group certainly runs afoul of even the broadest definition of moral decency. 

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