|Assembling for a 1000-strong march in Newcastle, July 2014|
Her target is not any racist organisation or policy, but rather our city's vibrant and diverse movement for peace and justice in Palestine.
It indicates the remarkable impact of our city's protests and campaigning against Israeli violence in Gaza that an uncritical supporter of Israel like Jackie Slesenger has written this. It is a sign of acute weakness on the part of Slesenger and other defenders of Israel's sustained onslaught on Gaza's civilian population. Let's remember that Israeli forces killed over 2000 people including 500 children, destroyed basic infrastructure and made many more Palestinians homeless.
All this has nothing to do with anti-Semitism, contrary to her utterly unfounded claims. Sadly she appears to be cynically using that baseless smear to cover for - and justify - her support for Israel's obscene violence against Gaza. This regrettably obscures the real issues in Palestine and makes it harder for all of us to confront genuine cases of anti-Semitism.
There is absolutely no need for anyone to resign from the Newcastle Holocaust Memorial Day committee, as she has done. It is meant to be a commemoration independent of any other political disagreements.
Slesenger is the one who has dragged the issue of commemorating the Holocaust into debates about Palestine. This does a massive disservice to both the Holocaust's victims and the contemporary politics of Palestine.
I am proud to have helped organise Newcastle's protests, marches and vigils for Gaza during the summer, and to be working with people of all backgrounds to build an on-going movement for peace and justice in the Middle East. This is a movement with opposition to all forms of racism, including anti-Semitism, at its core.