The new chairman of the Conservative Party has called Britain’s principal Palestinian rights organisation a “radical fringe group,” in a written submission to parliament published this week.
Sir Patrick McLoughlin, who replaced Lord Feldman as Tory chairman when Theresa May became prime minister, made the comment about the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) in a letter to the Home Affairs Select Committee, which is conducting an inquiry into anti-Semitism.
Addressing boycotts of Israel and the left-wing of British politics, he noted that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is “a patron of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign radical fringe group”.
In the letter, written in August, McLoughlin says Corbyn “endorsed the boycott of Israeli settlement goods and was receptive of academic boycotts of Israeli universities involved with the arms trade”.
In a letter to the Home Affairs Select Committee, which was also published this week, PSC chairman Hugh Lanning said: “Anti-Semitism is racism pure and simple, it should not be tolerated in any society. As an anti-racist organisation we abhor anti-Semitism, as we do all types of prejudice and discrimination.”
He said the PSC had “taken action against members for failing to uphold PSC’s constitutional aim of campaigning in a manner which opposes all forms of racism”.
However, he added that “confusing or conflating support for Palestinian rights with anti-Semitism is both untrue and dangerous… we must all be able to support human rights for Palestinians without being branded as racist”.