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Op-Ed video: 'It's absurd to equate anti-Zionism to antisemitism'

Andrew Feinstein, a former adviser to Nelson Mandela, who will stand against Keir Starmer in his UK constituency in the 2024 general election, accuses Israel of weaponising antisemitism

Andrew Feinstein, a former South African MP and adviser to Nelson Mandela, has said efforts to equate anti-Zionism with antisemitism are "absurd".

Feinstein, who is preparing to stand against Labour leader Keir Starmer as an independent candidate in the 2024 general election, told Middle East Eye that "to say that someone is antisemitic because they are prepared to acknowledge the reality that there were an enormous number of people who suffered as a consequence of the creation of the state of Israel, and therefore label them all antisemitic, is just intellectually and politically untrue.

"The state of Israel has very consciously and very sadly decided to utilise this weaponisation of antisemitism in order to stop criticism of itself and to try to stop any criticism of what it is doing in Gaza.

"This is an abuse and misuse of the suffering of the Jewish people," said Feinstein. "It's effectively saying: 'We claim the suffering for ourselves, and because of that suffering, anything we do is right and can't be criticised even by fellow Jews.'"

The son of a Holocaust survivor, Feinstein has been under investigation by the Labour Party since November 2021, after he described Israel as "a brutal, rogue, apartheid state just like my home, South Africa, was".

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Feinstein is among a new wave of independent candidates running against Labour MPs who failed to vote for a ceasefire in a parliamentary vote in November.

Andrew Feinstein is an independent candidate for Holborn & St Pancras. Andrew is a former ANC MP. He served under Nelson Mandela in South Africa’s first democratic parliament following a period in exile fighting apartheid. Andrew helped to draft South Africa’s ground-breaking financial management legislation, before resigning in protest at the Party’s failure to investigate a notoriously corrupt arms deal. Andrew has since become an influential writer, campaigner and investigator challenging the corruption of the defence industry and the ill-effects of militarism.
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