Support Chris Williamson: Seven things you can do

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  1. Use either of these draft motions  in your Labour Party branch/CLP. If successful, please send it to Jennie Formby and to LAW, so that we can publish it alongside other statements and resolutions here. Please note: We hear that in some branches and CLPs, the chair prevented the meeting from discussing motions in support of Chris, because of apparent recent advice by Labour HQ. This seems to be fake news! It appears that Jennie Formby’s wording was taken from an old email about an unrelated case and spread by some regional officers, which explains why most CLPs and branches have not received said advice. Also, once a case has been in the public domain, it cannot be considered a “confidential” issue anymore and is therefore clearly “competent business” for branches and CLPs to discuss. And even if this was new advice, it is always up to the members of any meeting to decide if they want to follow that advice – or stand up and be counted. It is normal democratic practice in the Labour Party that a meeting can discuss whatever issue it likes.
  2. Sign our petition demanding Chris’ reinstatement – and share it far and wide. There is another, simple one doing the rounds ‘Don’t Expel Chris Williamson’ and a good Open Letter to Jennie Formby from Labour Party members. Tony Greenstein has also produced a petition and there is another supportable petition online. Sign them all!
  3. If you’re on Twitter, use #IStandWithChrisWilliamson
  4. Put on a showing of ‘The Witchhunt’ documentary with Jackie Walker in your locality to better understand the background to this decision.
  5. Email Jennie Formby to protest against this decision.
  6. Join our March 26 protest party at the expulsion hearing of Jackie Walker (details to be confirmed, Facebook event here). Should Chris still be suspended, we will of course use the opportunity to demand his reinstatement.
  7. The first badge we’ve seen in solidarity with Chris is available here.

Sign the open letter: Reinstate Chris Williamson MP!

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SIGN THE PETITION HERE 

Open letter: Reinstate Chris Williamson MP!

We, the undersigned, believe that the suspension of Chris Williamson MP is an outrage.

The allegation that Chris is downplaying anti-Semitism is totally unfounded. His comments, made at a Momentum meeting in Sheffield, were taken out of context in a deliberate attempt to ruin the reputation of both Chris Williamson and Jeremy Corbyn.

He actually said: “The party that has done more to stand up to racism is now being demonised as a racist, bigoted party. I have got to say, I think our party’s response has been partly responsible for that because in my opinion… we’ve backed off far too much, we have given too much ground, we’ve been too apologetic… We’ve done more to address the scourge of anti-Semitism than any other party.”

His comments are clearly neither anti-Semitic, nor denying the existence of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party (or wider society). But he has quite rightly pointed to the fact that there has also been a political campaign to “weaponise” accusations of anti-Semitism.

Chris is a target because he is one of the very few Labour MPs who have openly stood up to the witch-hunt of Corbyn supporters and because he has campaigned tirelessly for the much-needed democratisation of the party.

Despite the departure of Iain McNicol as general secretary, the witch-hunt of left-leaning party members continues. The main target of this campaign is, of course, Jeremy Corbyn himself. But thousands of Labour Party members have been investigated, suspended and expelled, often on spurious grounds. Like Chris Willamson, they are the collateral damage in this campaign to ‘get’ Corbyn.

We call on the Labour Party to immediately reinstate Chris Williamson MP and to apologise to him!

SIGN THE PETITION HERE 

Model Motions: Reinstate Chris Williamson MP!

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THERE IS NO BAN! We hear that in a number of branches and CLPs, the chair has prevented the meeting from discussing motions in support of Chris, because of apparent recent advice by Labour HQ. We have produced detailed guidelines on this issue here.


Model motion 1

Don’t expel Chris Williamson MP from the Labour Party

This Meeting:
1. Notes the personal statement from Chris Williamson (February 27, published in full below).
2. Is opposed to all forms of anti-Semitism and racism.
3. Does not believe Chris Williamson MP should be expelled from the Labour Party.

APPENDIX/NOTE: Chris Williamson’s personal message.

The Labour Party is an anti-racist party. It is the only party that has stood shoulder-to-shoulder with religious and ethnic minorities in their decades-long fight against racism, discrimination and prejudice in the United Kingdom.

On a personal level, I have been an anti-racist all my life. As a former member of the Anti-Nazi League. I participated in direct action to confront foul anti-Semites in the streets. I reject racism ethically and morally. It has no place in the Labour Party or in our country.

It pains me greatly, therefore, that anyone should believe that it is my intention to minimise the cancerous and pernicious nature of anti-Semitism.

I deeply regret, and apologise for, my recent choice of words when speaking about how the Labour Party has responded to the ongoing fight against anti-Semitism inside of our party. I was trying to stress how much the party has done to tackle anti-Semitism.

Our movement can never be “too apologetic” about racism within our ranks. Whilst it is true that there have been very few cases of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party – something I believe is often forgotten when discussing this issue – it is also true that those few are too many.

It is precisely because of our party’s historic struggle against racism that we have taken it upon ourselves to strengthen our rules, to improve our disciplinary procedures and to redouble our efforts to take on anti-Semites. We have held ourselves to a higher standard than any other political party when it comes to anti-racism – and rightly so.

I am therefore sorry for how I chose to express myself on this issue within our party. This is a fight that I want to be an ally in.

In future, I will take it upon myself to be more considered in my remarks. and ensure they reflect the Labour Party’s unswerving and unfaltering commitment to anti-racism and the fight against anti-Semitism.


Model motion 2

This Constituency Labour Party notes with great concern the suspension of Chris Williamson MP for Derby North.

  • The allegation that Chris is downplaying anti-Semitism is totally unfounded. His comments, made at a Momentum meeting in Sheffield, were taken out of context in a deliberate attempt to ruin both the reputation of Chris Williamson MP and Jeremy Corbyn.
  • Chris Williamson MP actually said: “The party that has done more to stand up to racism is now being demonised as a racist, bigoted party. I have got to say, I think our party’s response has been partly responsible for that because in my opinion… we’ve backed off far too much, we have given too much ground, we’ve been too apologetic… We’ve done more to address the scourge of anti-Semitism than any other party.”
  • His comments are clearly neither anti-Semitic, nor denying the existence of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party (as in wider society). But he does quite rightly point to the fact that there has also been a political campaign to “weaponise” accusations of anti-Semitism.
  • Chris is a target because he is one of the very few Labour MPs who have openly stood up to the witch-hunt of Corbyn supporters and because he has campaigned tirelessly for the much-needed democratisation of the party.
  • Despite the departure of Iain McNicol as general secretary, the witch-hunt of left-leaning party members continues. The main target of this campaign is, of course, Jeremy Corbyn himself. But thousands of Labour Party members have been investigated, suspended and expelled, often on spurious grounds. Like Chris Williamson, they are the collateral damage in this campaign to ‘get’ Corbyn.

This Constituency Labour Party therefore moves to:

  • Write to Jennie Formby, the general secretary, and the National Executive Committee with a copy of this motion and demanding that Chris is reinstated immediately. (jennie_formby@labour.org.uk) 
  • Write a letter of support to Chris Williamson MP (chris.williamson.mp@parliament.uk)
  • Invite Chris Williamson to a local rally/meeting in support of his reinstatement
  • Support the key aims of Labour Against the Witchhunt: 1) An end to automatic suspensions and expulsions. 2) Rejection of the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism, which conflates anti-Semitism with anti-Zionism and support for the rights of the Palestinian people. 3) Abolition of Labour’s ‘compliance unit.’ (http://www.labouragainstthewitchhunt.org/contact/)
  • Affiliate to Labour Against the Witchhunt (LAW) at the soonest possible opportunity and include a statement of support for LAW on this CLP’s social media channels and website. (Cost £25 pa)
  • Campaign to reverse the NEC’s decision to adopt the disputed ‘definition of anti-Semitism’ published by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA)
  • Work to arrange a local screening of the “The Witchhunt” documentary https://witchhuntfilm.org)

Model motion 3

This branch/CLP notes with concern the use of the term (as attributed in the media to a Labour spokesman) “downplaying” anti-Semitism in the Labour Party.

We believe that of course the Labour Party should combat all forms of racism.

However, accusations of “downplaying” anti-Semitism (or worse placing it on a par with anti-Semitism itself) have the potential to inhibit the freedom of all Labour Party members to discuss the issues relating to racism in the Party. They should for example be able to:

  • Challenge the assertion that the Labour Party is institutionally anti-Semitic. This has been repeated so many times that it has become established fact, despite the conclusions of the Chakrabati report and an all-party Home Affairs Select Committee that anti-Semitism and other types of racism are not endemic within Labour
  • Question whether the characterisation of the Labour Party as a racist organisation is fair or even in some cases politically motivated
  • Judge based on the data the extent of antisemitism in the Labour Party and whether the Party’s procedures and actions are effective and proportionate
  • Discuss whether the Party’s adoption of the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism is appropriate
  • Speak out on cases of injustice within the Labour Party
  • Resist any curbs on legitimate freedom of speech and any move towards a culture of denunciation

This branch/CLP  therefore moves to:

  • Write to Jennie Formby (Labour Party General Secretary) and Shami Chakrabarti (Shadow Attorney General) with a copy of this motion
  • Submit this motion to local Constituency Labour Parties as necessary

Solidarity with Chris Williamson MP

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The suspension of Chris Williamson MP is an absolute disgrace. We stand in full solidarity with Chris, who must be cleared as soon as possible by Labour’s “investigation” – though judging by how Jackie Walker, Marc Wadsworth, Tony Greenstein, Ken Livingstone and many, many more Corbyn supporters have been thrown under the bus, we have very little confidence that he will receive a fair one.

He is the latest victim of the witch-hunt by the right in the party whose main target is, of course, Jeremy Corbyn himself.

Jeremy Corbyn recently said: “Chris Williamson is a very good, very effective Labour MP. He’s a very strong anti-racist campaigner. He is not anti-Semitic.” Corbyn was right. He should finally stand up and tell people like Jon Lansman and John McDonnell to stop joining in the witch-hunt – but support the thousands of left-wingers who have been investigated, suspended and expelled, many of them on false accusations of anti-Semitism.

This campaign to equate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism will only get worse, the closer we get to a general election. Trying to appease the right clearly does not work. If you fight, you might loose – but if you don’t fight, you have already lost.

The slow coup against Jeremy Corbyn

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Position agreed unanimously at LAW’s conference on February 2 2019

  1. Jeremy Corbyn’s election as Labour leader on September 12 2015 was a body blow to the rightwing. It opened up the possibility of thoroughgoing democratisation and transformation of the Labour Party into a genuine party of the working class that would commit itself to fighting for global socialism.
  2. Corbyn’s longstanding record of backing strikes, opposing austerity and anti-war campaigning makes him totally unacceptable to Britain’s establishment. Above all Corbyn is considered a threat to the strategic alliance with the United States, symbolised by his critical attitude towards Israel and his solidarity with the Palestinians.
  3. The US has a particular interest in controlling the Middle East because of its oil and geopolitical position. That means shoring up the thoroughly corrupt Saudi Arabian regime and the barely disguised military dictatorship in Egypt. However, the most reliable strategic asset the US possesses in the Middle East is Israel. Israel’s ongoing settler-colonialism is inevitably opposed and bitterly resented by the Palestinian natives and the wider Arab nation. Consequently, the most important political question is security. The majority of the Israeli-Jewish population enthusiastically supports the country’s alliance with the US.
  4. The war of attrition against Corbyn as Labour leader, carried out by an alliance of the majority of the Parliamentary Labour Party, the Party bureaucracy, the Israeli state, the pro-Israel lobby and the mainstream media, began even before he was elected. Corbyn was portrayed as a terrorist sympathiser, a security risk and an all-round danger to society.
  5. Thousands of socialists and leftwingers were investigated, suspended and expelled under former general secretary Iain McNicol. The charges leveled against these comrades were often trivial. Many were found guilty of supporting unaffiliated political groups. There was much talk of dangerous ‘reds under the beds’.
  6. However, the most potent weapon in the hands of Corbyn’s enemies proved to be false accusations of anti-Semitism. Anti-Zionism was equated with anti-Semitism. This approach worked not least because Corbyn and his allies allowed it to. Rather than standing up to the right and exposing the baselessness of allegations that the Labour Party is riddled with anti-Semitism, Corbyn chose to appease the Labour right and the Zionist lobby.
  7. The investigation run by Shami Chakrabarti was supposed to put an end to the allegations, but it was only a new stage. Every time Corbyn and his allies conceded a demand, every time they took a step back, the right wing and Zionist lobby were further emboldened. This culminated in the NEC’s adoption of the much-criticised International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism and all eleven of its illustrations (including the one which labels as anti-Semitic the description of Israel as a “racist endeavour”). But the IHRA definition conflates anti-Semitism with anti-Zionism.

Continue Reading “The slow coup against Jeremy Corbyn”

Why LAW opposes the IHRA ‘definition’ of anti-Semitism

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“It is designed to allow any criticism of the actions of the state of Israel to be dismissed as ‘anti-Semitism’”

As agreed unanimously at LAW’s conference on February 2 2019

This conference rejects the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) ‘definition’ of anti-Semitism in its entirety.

We note that:

  1. The IHRA ‘definition’ reads:
    “Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”
  2. This definition was originally published, together with its 11 examples, in 2005 on the website of the European Union’s European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC), although it was never adopted by that body. But after heavy criticism, it was removed by the EUMC’s successor body, the Fundamental Rights Agency, in November 2013.
  3. In May 2016, it was resurrected and adopted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, a group of 32 countries. But, far from being the “internationally recognised definition”,  according to IHRA the definition has been adopted by only 10 countries: the UK, Romania, Lithuania, Slovakia, Austria, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Germany, the Netherlands and, of course, Israel.
  4. On December 12 2016, the UK Tory government was the first of the IHRA countries to endorse the IHRA definition. Shamefully, on the very same day the Labour Party endorsed the definition, albeit without its 11 examples. The European Parliament’s May 29 2017 acceptance of the IHRA definition was spearheaded by the Austrian government, in particular the far-right Freedom Party, one of the two coalition partners.
  5. The definition is by the IHRA’s own admission not legally binding.
  6. Kenneth Stern of the American Jewish Committee, who first drafted the definition, has statedthat the original idea for it arose from Dina Porat of Tel Aviv’s Kantor Centre.

Continue Reading “Why LAW opposes the IHRA ‘definition’ of anti-Semitism”

Paul Jonson reinstated!

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Paul Jonson had been suspended last month by Dudley council after having attended a protest outside the surgery of Ian Austin MP, who in July sent out a tweet stating “Hamas and the Palestinians were responsible for the deaths of 18 Gazans” during the Great Return March in May 2018. Comrade Jonson also published a post on Facebook declaring that “Israel is a racist endeavour” (in response to Labour NEC’s adoption of the ‘working definition’ of Anti-Semitism published by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance).

Read Paul’s full statement explaining his case here.

On December 19, the council found that comrade Jonson had “no case to answer” and he was allowed to  return to work with immediate effect.

This is an important victory in the fight against the highly politicised campaign that wants to label all criticism of Israel as ‘anti-Semitic’.

Do not cooperate with the ‘Antisemitism Monitoring Centre’!

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We call on all Labour Party members to stay well clear of the Jewish Labour Movement’s latest stunt. The JLM, which is the sister party of the Zionist Labor Party in Israel, has written to CLP secretaries, asking them to distribute their “survey” on anti-Semitism in the Labour Party to all local members. Many CLP secretaries have quite rightly moved this email directly into their Spam folder. If you have been unfortunate enough to have received the email, we urge you to do the same.

It is laughable to claim, as the JLM does, that it has “engaged, in good faith, with the Labour Party to try and solve the severe and ongoing crisis of Labour anti-Semitism”. The JLM has neither acted in “good faith”, nor has it got any interest in solving “the crisis of Labour anti-Semitism”. After all, the JLM has done tremendous work in making rare, isolated cases into a “crisis” in the first place. Hundreds, if not thousands, of supporters of Jeremy Corbyn have been witch-hunted in this campaign, which has nothing to do with fighting anti-Semitism – but everything with getting rid of Corbyn, a committed friend of the Palestinians.

We have seen people being suspended for using the word “Zio” or for expressing their outrage of the horrendous crimes committed by the state of Israel in a confused manner. The vast majority of these people are clearly not anti-Semitic. And yet, they have been publicly labeled as such by the JLM, the Board of Deputies and the despicable Jonathan Sachs, who has gone as far as calling Jeremy Corbyn an anti-Semite. We know that the JLM has reported many cases to Labour’s compliance unit, often causing great distress to the members concerned.

Socialists in the Labour Party should show up this “survey” for what it is – a clearly biased attempt to exacerbate the poisonous atmosphere of fear and suspicion in the party.

“They can fuck off”. Report of LAW’s first ever fringe meeting at LP conference

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Labour Against the Witchhunt held a successful fringe meeting at the Labour conference. Stan Keable reports

“There can be no greater injustice than anti-racists being accused of racism by racists,” the Scouse comedian Alexie Sayle told LAW’s packed fringe meeting on Sunday night. The potential for a “massive transformation” of the Labour Party and society opened up by “the miracle of Jeremy Corbyn” has overcome Alexei’s longstanding objection to voting. Having grown up in a communist family, he used to say: “Don’t vote, struggle against capitalism”. But, although Jeremy has changed all that, Alexei has not joined the Labour Party. A comedian needs to maintain their independence, he said, to be able to criticise any politician. The witch-hunters can’t expel me because I am not a member, he added, “so they can fuck off!” (The democracy we fight for, of course, includes the right of any Labour member, comedians included, to criticise all Labour leaders.)

Jewish Voice for Labour’s Jo Bird, newly elected four weeks ago as a councillor in Birkenhead, pointed out that she and her comrades had been canvassing for weeks, talking to people about all manner of issues, but “no-one raised the issue of anti-Semitism on the door”. She was appalled by Birkenhead MP Frank Field. He rounded on the rank-and-file party membership within his constituency. He invented accusations of anti-Semitism and bullying. To all those party members falsely suspended and expelled, she said: “You are owed a huge apology. On behalf of the party, I am very, very sorry.”

That moving apology became particularly poignant when 73-year-old Bob Walker, the youngest of the ‘Garston 3’, described how three disabled pensioners were expelled for merely attending a meeting of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition – to discuss socialism. Gerry Tyrell, Tony Lock and Bob were rewarded for their tireless work of knocking on doors and delivering leaflets in all weathers during the 2017 general election campaign by being expelled. They were not told the names of their accusers or the evidence against them. Nor was there any hearing or right of appeal. LAW demands due process before any disciplinary sanction is taken.

Ex-Liverpool councillor Tony Mulhearn called on Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell to stand up to the witch-hunters: “No more apologies, no more retreats. When you apologise, you are accepting you did something wrong.” He called out Andrew Marr for the bias he showed that morning while interviewing Corbyn, insistently cross-examining him about anti-Semitism allegations for more than 20 minutes. “Jeremy should have asked Marr who prepares such questions for him”, he said. Moreover, Corbyn should have asked: “Why don’t you show pictures of me on anti-racist demonstrations?” and “Why are Jews who support Jeremy never interviewed?” The smear campaign is “producing fear among Jewish people”, Mulhearn added.

Recalling the “ridiculously long list of charges” he faced in his own expulsion in 1986, comrade Mulhearn reminded us of how that earlier witch-hunt had been politically driven by the “bloated toad” Neil Kinnock. He insisted on getting people expelled regardless of the facts. “A witch-hunt is irrational”, said Tony, “because the decision has already been made”. At that time, John McDonnell had stood firm in his defence, but is now singing a different tune: “We need to be conciliatory, we are a broad church.” As LAW vice-chair Tony Greenstein commented: “Even the broadest church expels atheists. The ‘atheists’ in our party are those who are not, and never have been, socialists.”

Chairperson Annyana Ndukwe of Liverpool LAW and Grassroots Black Left read out a solidarity message from Asa Winstanley of Electronic Intifada, who was unable to join the panel of speakers:

Despite the new leftwing general secretary Labour has, the party bureaucracy is still disciplining members on entirely fallacious pretexts. One comrade in Brighton showed me a letter she received this very month from Labour’s head of complaints, Sophie Goodyear, warning her that several “provocative” tweets she’d allegedly written in 2016 had “caused offence” and that such “abuse” would “not be tolerated” in Labour … One of the three tweets cited was simply the comrade posting the headline and link to my April 2016 article, ‘How Israel lobby manufactured UK Labour Party’s anti-Semitism crisis’ without comment … it seems that at least some in Labour HQ are treating critical journalism like Electronic Intifada as banned publications. (Full text here)

Tony Greenstein, expelled in February 2018, told us how he had also been suspended from the party in 1992 by then general secretary Larry Whitty, now a Lord – “well rewarded for services rendered to the capitalist state”, as comrade Mulhearn put it. Comrade Greenstein emphasised that the witch-hunt is “not about anti-Semitism, it is about removing Corbyn as leader”.

Chris Williamson MP, introduced by comrade Ndukwe as “one of the few MPs who is a true socialist”, confronted the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism adopted by the party, declaring that he often describes Israel as an apartheid state. He compared Israel’s treatment of Palestinians to the fate of the Cherokees in America. Denouncing the “terrible injustice” being done to Jackie Walker, he condemned the way Marc Wadsworth had been “demonised as a bigot” for merely “asking a question at a press conference”.

Comrade Williamson, advocating mandatory reselection, quoted Ed Miliband’s advice: “If we trusted the members more, we would not have made so many mistakes”. And he laid into Neil Kinnock’s view that the party belongs to the MPs, not the members. As for those MPs who object to reselection on the grounds of employment rights: “It ain’t a job, mate! You are elected as a representative of the party and the people who elected you.”

Calling on Corbyn and McDonnell to wake up and confront the rightwing witch-hunters, comrade Williamson said McCarthyism, like all bullying, only stopped when people stood up to it. “The monster is getting bigger. Stop feeding the beast!”


LAW has also been running a number of stalls in Liverpool, organised a successful emergency lobby of the NEC and the showing of Jackie Walker’s ‘The Lynching’ with actress Jo Martin taking over Jackie’s role.

Open letter: No Jennie Formby, we will not be informers!

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We, the undersigned, are greatly concerned about recent communication from Labour’s General Secretary Jennie Formby aimed at Facebook groups which have ‘Labour Party’ or ‘Jeremy Corbyn’ in their title (the full letter is below).

We are particularly outraged by the following passage which states “posts and conversations with antisemitic or otherwise discriminatory content” should be emailed to “complaints@labour.org.uk with screenshots and links […] if you believe the individual who has posted them may be a Labour member so that this can be investigated by the Party.

As Facebook users, we reject any attempt to make us informers to Labour’s dysfunctional disciplinary processes. Social media and Facebook are effective because they allow the exchange of ideas, even if at times clumsily expressed. Most Facebook groups police themselves adequately, without the assistance of a compliance unit, whose targets to date have almost exclusively been

  • on the left of the Party
  • supporters of Palestinian rights
  • critics of Israel and Zionism
  • and disproportionately black and Jewish

Given the Labour Party’s recent adoption of the ‘working definition’ of anti-Semitism published by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, which in the words of the Jewish former Court of Appeal judge, Sir Stephen Sedley, is “calculatedly misleading” and the IHRA’s purposeful conflation of criticism of Israel and Zionism with anti-Semitism, we have no confidence that free speech to criticise Israel will be guaranteed, if this approach is accepted across social media.

What constitutes anti-Semitism remains disputed. The traditional definition, as per the Oxford English Dictionary is, “hostility to or prejudice against Jews”. The IHRA definition on the other hand takes up over 500 words, many of which refer to Israel.

For example, John McDonnell stated in a recent interview with Jewish News: “What we’re saying is it’s anti-Semitic to oppose a Jewish state”. We disagree. Opposing a state that systematically, and constitutionally, marginalises and demonises Palestinians while subjecting them to discrimination is by definition a form of apartheid. It is not ant-Semitism to state this fact.

Your letter, as an attempt to make Facebook users responsible for the conduct of other group members, displays the same method used by the media to smear Jeremy Corbyn when he did not speak up against (the very few) people posting nonsense in a group he happened to be a member of.

We believe the ongoing witch-hunt against Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters is bringing the party into disrepute. Your email will yet again fan the flames of this toxic climate, leading to ever more malicious and vexatious allegations and complaints.

We believe that open and democratic debate, without fear of being reported, is the best way to educate people and fight prejudice and racism. This new intrusion on free speech can only undermine the extraordinary effectiveness of social media as a tool to support the leader and the left in the party.

We will oppose any attempt to outsource education on anti-Semitism to the Jewish Labour Movement, which is the British wing of the Israeli Labour Party and covertly filmed and leaked a video of Jackie Walker at a closed training event in order to damage the party.

  • We remain determined to eradicate all forms of discrimination from our Party.
  • When we see prejudice or hate, we always speak up.
  • When we see discrimination, we always oppose it.
  • When we are asked to behave unjustly, we always refuse.

SIGN THIS OPEN LETTER HERE.


Full communication from Jennie Formby:

I’m writing to you as I understand that you are an admin or moderator of a Facebook group which refers to the Labour Party or Jeremy Corbyn in its title. Continue Reading “Open letter: No Jennie Formby, we will not be informers!”

Statement on the September 4 decision to adopt the full IHRA

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The September 4 decision of Labour’s National Executive Committee to back the full IHRA definition of anti-Semitism is a gift to the right in party.

The intent of this document is not to define Anti-Semitism – after all, the Oxford English Dictionarymanages that in six words: “Hostility to or prejudice against Jews.” No, its sole purpose is to conflate criticism of Zionism and Israel with anti-Semitism. Most IHRA examples refer to Israel and the IHRA definition is labeling anti-Zionism and criticism of Israel as anti-Semitic.

In their identical front pages of July 25, the Jewish Chronicle, the Jewish Telegraphand Jewish Newsopenly stated that, “Had the full IHRA definition with examples relating to Israel been approved [by the NEC], hundreds, if not thousands, of Labour and Momentum members would need to be expelled.”

Including Jeremy Corbyn, of course. At long last, the witch-hunt in the Labour Party has reached its main target. For the last three years, vastly exaggerated claims that the Labour Party is awash with anti-Semites have been used to attack the left. But Ken Livingstone, Jackie Walker, Marc Wadsworth, Tony Greenstein and hundreds of other Labour Party members were little more than collateral damage.

This vicious campaign, orchestrated by the pro-Zionist lobby and the right in the party, never had anything to do with fighting anti-Semitism – but everything with getting rid of Jeremy Corbyn. His pro-Palestinian views and socialist policies make him unacceptable to both.

And now the NEC – on paper dominated by the pro-Corbyn left – has given in once again. Momentum owner Jon Lansman has been lobbying for the adoption of the full IHRA – and he presumably was behind moves to stop even Jeremy Corbyn’s ‘personal statement’, which would have qualified some of the ‘examples’. But Corbyn was told that there “wasn’t a majority for it”.

But even this latest capitulation will not stop the campaign of the right, as Margaret Hodge has already proven: A day before the meeting, she said accepting the full IHRA definition, without any caveats, would not be enough to stop her and others from attacking Corbyn: “I think the moment has passed. The problem is that Jeremy Corbyn is the problem.”

One thing is for certain. The IHRA will not stop the fake anti-Semitism campaign. On the contrary the NEC’s decision has given it renewed strength.

It is time to take a principled stance. The joint demonstration on September 4 by Jewish Voice for Labour, Labour Against the Witchhunt and the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network was magnificent. Over 200 people turned up to show their opposition to the IHRA and to demonstrate their anger at the false accusations of anti-Semitism. A number of Momentum groups were present, as Lansman slunk in without saying a word. Click here for our report.

There is still time to bring this witch-hunt to an end. But Jeremy Corbyn and his allies have to stand up to the enemies of the democratic Labour left:

  • They have to reject the whole IHRA working definition and clearly say that the Labour Party is not riddled with anti-Semites.
  • All those summarily expelled or suspended from membership without due process should be immediately reinstated.
  • We need mandatory reselection of all Labour MPs. The right wing saboteurs in the PLP have to go.
  • Momentum has be radically democratised – or abolished.Instead of defending Corbyn, Momentum owner Jon Lansman has sided with the witch-hunters. He has thrown Jackie Walker and Pete Willsman to the wolves and is now ready to abandon Corbyn, too. He wants the term ‘Zionism’ banned. He runs Momentum like a dictator, having abolished all democratic structures.
But democracy and free speech are essential in the struggle to transform our party and society.

 

NEC lobby: no to IHRA, yes to freedom of speech!

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Labour Against the Witchhunt has been lobbying Labour’s NEC meetings since February, for its three basic aims – rejection of the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism (because it conflates anti-Zionismm with anti-Semitism), abolition of Rule 2.1.4.B (which allows party apparatchiks to expel members without due process, and is arbitrarily used against the left), and abolition off the hated Compliance Unit (which implements arbitrary instant suspensions and expulsions). Today, September 4, the lobby of the NEC’s special meeting to deal with the so called anti-Semitism crisis in the party, was much enhanced as the lobby was also called by Jewish Voice for Labour, Free Speech on Israel, Camden Momentum, Labour Representation Committee and the recently formed ‘Back the NEC Code’ – launched in frustration at Momentum’s total failure to defend Corbyn from the rightwing anti-Semitism smear campaign. Continue Reading “NEC lobby: no to IHRA, yes to freedom of speech!”

Mass lobby on September 4: Say no to IHRA examples!

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On September 4, the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party will be discussing the adoption of ALL examples of the definition on Anti-Semitism published by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).

Most of these examples are designed to conflate criticism of Israel with Anti-Semitism. If adopted, they would, for example, ban the description of Israel as a racist state. We believe that adopting these examples would be major defeat for the left.

That is of course what this whole campaign is about: to get rid of Corbyn and his supporters and to stop the transformation of the Labour Party into a vehicle for socialist change. For this, we need a culture of open debate and criticism, not a culture of fear and censorship. As socialists, we must defend the right to openly criticise the crimes and injustice committed against the Palestinians.

We call on NEC members to resist this pressure from the right in and outside the party. We are therefore joining other organisations and groups in calling for a mass protest outside Labour Party HQ.

Tuesday September 4, 9am
Labour HQ, Southside,
105 Victoria Street
London SW1E 6QT
Bring banners, posters and witches costumes!
Facebook event here

LAW’s leaflet for the event is available here in PDF format.

More background information:

 

Momentum drops Pete Willsman – support the comrade!

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Pete Willsman, stalwart of the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy (CLPD), is the latest Corbyn supporter in the crosshairs of the right in the Labour Party. Incredibly, in this witch-hunt they are supported by the likes of former left-winger Owen Jones, who calls on people not to vote for Willsman in the forthcoming NEC elections. To make matters worse, Momentum’s leadership has today (August 2) decided to withdraw support from comrade Willsman. It is bad enough dealing with the right in the party – but when the left gets involved in firing shots at its own side, we are in serious trouble!

Clearly, nothing Willsman said at the July NEC meeting was even vaguely anti-Semitic. He has been a staunch supporter of the left within the party for decades and deserves the full support of all genuine socialists and democrats in the Labour movement.

We urge all Labour Party members to vote for him in the current NEC elections. We find it more difficult to call for support for the other eight candidates put up by Momentum. But although we strongly criticise how undemocratically this slate has been put together and believe that quite a few of the candidates on the list have been supportive – or at least silent – on the ongoing witch-hunt, we cannot run the risk of giving the right another seat on the important leadership body.But clearly, the methods employed in choosing the candidates – and some of the candidates – stink to heaven.

If you are a member of Momentum, please send letters of protest to ncg@peoplesmomentum.com and laura.parker@peoplesmomentum.com

Below, a statement issued by Walter Wolfgang:

“I came to Britain as a refugee from Nazi Germany, with a strong and continuing commitment to Judaism, and still attend my synagogue regularly.  I have been a member the Labour Party for 70 years. As a former member of Labour’s National Executive Committee myself, I have served with Pete Willsman and know him to be a committed anti-racist and a strong supporter of Jeremy Corbyn. I am dismayed that Pete is under attack at the very time when the ballot for the NEC is taking place, and despite his deep and public apology. Pete Willsman is a staunch champion of party democracy. I will be voting for him, and urge Labour Party members to do likewise.”

  • There have also been renewed attempts to expel from the Labour Party Moshé Machover, LAW’s honorary president and distinguished author on Palestinian rights. When they last expelled him, the party had to reinstate the comrade within the month.
  • Similarly outrageous is the charge against Sheffield Labour Party member Lee Rock, who is currently being investigated by Labour’s compliance unit for what might well be the most ridiculous disciplinary charge we have yet come across. The reason for the investigation is“your participation in an extended debate on a Facebook group, in which you argued in favour of masturbation in workplaces”. We have reproduced an article about this on our website. Clearly, this investigation needs to be shut down – accompanied by a public apology and action taken against those who have made this vexatious complaint. Tony Greenstein also commented on the affair in his pointedly titled article, Labour’s War Against Wankers.

Muddying the water: LAW statement on Labour’s new Anti-Semitism Code of Conduct

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LAW Statement, July 9 2018:

Labour’s Anti-Semitism Code of Conduct

The Labour Party’s new Anti-Semitism Code of Conduct, issued last week, was clearly intended to put an end to the campaign of false allegations of anti-Semitism. Instead it has achieved the precise opposite. The Code has been the subject of a fierce attack by Zionist organisations and the mass media. It has also caused confusion amongst our allies, some of whom have welcomed it.

The campaign of false allegations is not driven by a failure to define anti-Semitism but is a politically motivated attack by the Right and supporters of Zionism. The Code will not prevent the weaponisation of anti-Semitism by those whose primary concern is defence of Israel, right or wrong. The expulsion of Tony Greenstein, Marc Wadsworth, Cyril Chilson and others was the product of a deliberate smear campaign aimed at the Corbyn leadership. Those who believe that the Code marks the end of the false anti-Semitism campaign against the Labour Party are sadly mistaken. Continue Reading “Muddying the water: LAW statement on Labour’s new Anti-Semitism Code of Conduct”

Support Stan Keable’s campaign for reinstatement!

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Please support Stan Keable’s campaign for reinstatement. Stan, secretary of Labour Against the Witchhunt, has been sacked for stating an historically verifiable fact. And now his union (Unison) has let him down too. He has been advised of how much a barrister would cost to represent him at an employment tribunal. Please give generously and spread this message. Thank you!

https://www.gofundme.com/ReinstateStanKeable

On April 21 2018, I was dismissed from my job with Hammersmith and Fulham Council after 17 years unblemished service as a housing enforcer, for having “brought the Council into disrepute”, by saying that the Zionist movement collaborated with the Nazi regime – a well documented if shameful historical fact.

I said this on March 26, in a conversation in Parliament Square – nothing to do with work – while participating in the Jewish Voice for Labour demonstration in support of Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party, called in opposition to the rightwing ‘Enough is Enough’ demonstration.

The BBC’s David Grossman tweeted a 105-second video clip of the conversation, retweeted by Tory MP Greg Hands to H&F Council Labour leader Stephen Cowan and then used by the Council to sack me.

Unison has withdrawn support because I rejected the bad advice of their regional organiser to plead guilty, throwing away the right to demonstrate and to freedom of speech – so I need funds for a barrister and potential legal costs to challenge my political victimisation at an employment tribunal, as well as for campaigning for reinstatement.

My dismissal extends the McCarthyite witch-hunt against Corbyn supporters in the Labour Party to the area of employment. Don’t let me be the first of many political sackings.

Please give generously. Any surplus funds will be passed to Labour Against the Witchhunt (LAW) for campaigning.

Read more:

My open letter to H&F Councillors:
http://www.labouragainstthewitchhunt.org/campaigns/stan-keables-open-letter-to-hammersmith-fulham-labour-councillors-and-party-members/

Mike Cushman – ‘How talking about Zionism can lose you your job’:
http://freespeechonisrael.org.uk/keable-sacking/#sthash.ueizxvgU.xeBSvgDw.dpbs

Tony Greenstein – ‘No criticism permitted’:
https://weeklyworker.co.uk/worker/1203/no-criticism-permitted/

LAW statement: Corbyn was wrong to pressurise Ken Livingstone into leaving the Labour Party

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It is clear from reports such as John Rentoul in The Independent that Ken Livingstone’s resignation was not voluntary but the result of pressure exerted by Jeremy Corbyn and his close associates. We refer in particular to Shami Chakrabarti’s disgraceful attack on Livingstone on BBC’s Sunday Politics (May 13),when she threatened she would quit the Labour front bench if Livingstone was not expelled. Chakrabarti has not only ignored her own recommendations on natural justice and due process but she has also destroyed her own reputation, as a former Director of Liberty, for a belief in freedom of expression.

Nothing Livingstone was alleged to have done could in any way be described as anti-Semitic.  His remark that “Hitler supported Zionism” is confirmed by a host of Holocaust historians.  If he gave offence to supporters of Israel and Zionism it is because of the appalling record historically of Zionism when it comes to fighting real anti-Semites. Continue Reading “LAW statement: Corbyn was wrong to pressurise Ken Livingstone into leaving the Labour Party”

Mike Cushman: How talking about Zionism can lose you your job

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Mike Cushman reports how Stan Keable (LAW secretary) has been sacked by Hammersmith and Fulham Council for a private conversation when he attended the Jewish Voice for Labour Parliament Square rally on 26 March. This article first appeared on Free Speech on Israel. 

Stan engaged in a discussion with a Zionist during the Parliament Square rally, a conversation that happened to be recorded by the BBC and broadcast. During the one on one discussion Stan talked about the historically undisputed collaboration between the Nazis and the German Zionist leadership. At no time did Stan make any, even remotely, antisemitic.

Hammersmith and Fulham Tory MP Greg Hands circulated the video of the conversation, publicised on Twitter and then referred it to the New Labour Leader of the Council. That letter, which was the first public association of Greg with the Council was made public. This linking of Greg with the Council was the sole basis of the charge of ‘bringing the council into disrepute’. Hands publicised Stan’s link with the Council and then this publicising was, itself, used as the basis for dismissal. An offence that only existed because the complainant had caused it to exist. Continue Reading “Mike Cushman: How talking about Zionism can lose you your job”

LAW statement on the expulsion of Marc Wadsworth

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“Victim of a politically motivated campaign against Jeremy Corbyn”

Labour Against the Witchhunt strongly condemns the outrageous decision to expel Marc Wadsworth after a two-day hearing in front of three right-wing members of Labour’s National Constitutional Committee.

Marc is the latest victim of the politically motivated witch-hunt against Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters. Marc Wadsworth, a lifelong campaigner against racism, has been smeared and his reputation tarnished, first by the vile and false allegations against him and now, to top it off, by this deeply unjust verdict. Following 22 months of trial-by-media, our comrade had very little chance of receiving a fair hearing – and he did not get one. Continue Reading “LAW statement on the expulsion of Marc Wadsworth”

In solidarity with Marc Wadsworth!

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Great turnout today at the Labour Party expulsion hearing of anti-racism campaigner Marc Wadsworth outside Church House. Credit to Chris Williamson MP who spoke as a witness on behalf of Marc, while Ruth Smeeth MP was ‘accompanied’ into the hearing by a number of right-wing MPs.

Protestors appealed for due process to be applied – which would have to lead to Marc being totally exonerated and reinstated to full membership. He is one of the many victims of the witch-hunt against Jeremy Corbyn supporters. Solidarity, comrade Marc! His hearing is scheduled to last two days.

Click here for a report in The Guardian.

Sign this open letter to Jeremy Corbyn and the left on the NEC

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As socialist members and Labour Party supporters, we are firm opponents of all forms of racism, fascism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and all other kinds of oppression. Many of us have been actively campaigning against them for many years, often alongside you, John McDonnell and other comrades.

We know anti-Semitism exists in society and needs to be combatted. But we are seriously worried about the current climate in the Labour Party, where anycriticism of the actions of the state of Israel is now immediately conflated with anti-Semitism. But anti-Zionism does not equal anti-Semitism.

Continue Reading “Sign this open letter to Jeremy Corbyn and the left on the NEC”

LAW lobby: NEC members sneak in through the back door

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Intrepid opponents of the Labour purge of pro-Corbyn supporters braved freezing weather to be on a lobby of the party’s National Executive Committee today. They included members of Grassroots Black Left, the Labour Representation Committee, Jewish Voice for Labour, Labour Party Marxists and Brighton and Hove Momentum. Organised by Labour Against the Witchhunt (LAW), the high-spirited demo sighted party leader Corbyn, his political advisor Katy Clark and Campaign for Labour Party Democracy secretary Peter Willsman, an NEC member, going into the meeting at Labour’s Southside headquarters in central London. But, mysteriously, despite the people on the lobby being outside the office block an hour before the NEC meeting started, no more members of Labour’s 39-strong ruling body, where the Corbyn-backing Left recently took control, were seen – suggesting they may have slipped into the building from a back entrance to avoid being questioned. The campaigners chanted: “Stop the witch hunts”, “End the suspensions”, and “Implement Chakrabarti now”.

Former Momentum vice-chair Jackie Walker, who has been suspended by Labour for almost two years, said: “We welcome the resignation of general secretary Iain McNicol and his replacement today by Jennie Formby, a Jeremy Corbyn supporter whom LAW has critically supported. Things are definitely changing in the party, but they are not changing fast enough for a lot of members who remain suspended or expelled based on trumped-up or false charges or simply because they are active supporters of Corbyn.”

Grassroots Black Left’s Marc Wadsworth, the veteran anti-racist campaigner suspended by Labour in June 2016 whose expulsion hearing is on April 25, was on the lobby with Walker and Tony Greenstein, who, despite being Jewish, has been expelled on a false charge of anti-semitism. Wadsworth said: “We demand that the recommendations of the 2016 Chakrabarti report in respect of natural justice and due process are implemented without any further delay. The NEC’s failure to so far make the long-overdue changes has brought the party, that prides itself on upholding justice for all, into disrepute. The divisive purge of Jeremy Corbyn supporters has prevented and discouraged new members from getting involved in party life, while costly Labour resources have been wasted in persecuting some of the most energetic and effective campaigners for social change.”

 

LAW welcomes Jon Lansman’s decision to withdraw

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March 11 2018

Labour Against the Witchhunt (LAW) welcomes Jon Lansman’s decision to finally listen to his party comrades, including Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell, and withdraw as a candidate for the General Secretary post.

We are mystified as to why Lansman, who purports to back the greater representation of women at all levels of the Labour Party, ran against Unite’s Jennie Formby in the first place. LAW critically supports Formby for the job. We are concerned about her record on Labour’s NEC  where it appears she has, as recently as last week, failed to oppose the witch hunting of Jeremy Corbyn supporters by right-wingers who have weaponised false claims of anti-semitism despite Formby herself being the target of such smears. Nobody in the Labour Party can truly be a socialist if they support the purge and that includes the future general secretary.

Lansman, given his record in abolishing all democratic structures within Momentum and imposing a new constitution, is unfit to be Labour General Secretary.

He got rid of the right of Momentum’s “liberation strands”, such as Momentum Black Connexions/Caucus, to have direct representation on the leading national bodies of Momentum.  More recently, he closed down Momentum’s youth group. This demonstrates his serious lack of commitment to the self-organisation of oppressed and disadvantaged groups in the Labour Party.

Labour Against the Witchhunt believes that Lansman lacks the democratic credentials necessary to become general secretary of the Labour Party, especially in view of previous General Secretary Iain McNicol’s purge of thousands of pro-Jeremy Corbyn Labour Party members and the particularly those as a result of false accusations of anti-semitism and others based on members’ alleged “support for other organisations” using rule 2.1.4.B.

The Labour Party now needs a General Secretary who will put a decisive stop to the witch-hunt who will make sure that all disciplinary charges are dealt with fairly, swiftly, transparently and with the presumption of “innocent until proven guilty”.

Jackie Walker was suspended from Labour membership on trumped-up charges of anti-semitism, following Lansman’s pre-emptive action in removing her as Momentum’s vice-chair, and, at the time, making plain his sympathies with the Zionist Jewish Labour Movement who have championed the witchhunt in order to purge the party of Corbyn-supporting anti-Zionists.

Lansman’s constitution for Momentum bars from membership all those expelled by the Labour Party’s compliance unit. This rule that has been used exclusively against left-wingers. Lansman has since come out in support of keeping the rule (2.1.4.B) in Labour’s constitution.

He has also opposed our demands for the abolition of the Compliance Unit. We believe that all disciplinary matters should be dealt with by elected representatives.

Labour’s next general secretary should ensure the NEC immediately implements the recommendations on the party’s disciplinary procedure made by the Shami Chakrabarti Report of June 30 2016.

We believe that Unite’s Jennie Formby would be the best choice for general secretary. As a supporter of the rights of the Palestinians people we think her election would send a powerful political signal. We hope that her tenure would mark the beginning of the end of the witch-hunt.

Steering Committee
Labour Against the Witchhunt

 

Why we cannot support Jon Lansman’s Labour Party general secretary bid

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Some of us are members of Momentum, some have never joined – and some of us left the organisation after January 2017, when its leader Jon Lansman abolished all democratic structures and imposed a new constitution, riding roughshod over the organisation’s members.

It should be noted that, as part of this coup, Lansman abolished the right of Momentum’s “liberation strands” to have direct representation on the leading national bodies of the organisation. Among the consequences of this was the breaking up of Momentum Black Connexions/Caucus. More recently, he closed down Momentum’s youth group. This demonstrates his serious lack of commitment to the self-organisation, self-determination and autonomy of disadvantaged groups in society.

Wes Stressing MP: new friend of Jon Lansman’s

As a consequence of Lansman’s behaviour, Labour Against the Witchhunt believes he lacks the democratic credentials to become the kind of general secretary that the Labour Party now needs in order to heal the wounds inflicted by Iain McNicol’s divisiveness. As general secretary, McNicol was directly in charge of the discredited compliance unit and thereby responsible for the purge of thousands of pro-Jeremy Corbyn Labour Party members. The automatic and instant expulsions and suspensions overseen by McNicol – especially those based on alleged anti-semitism and those based on members’ alleged “support for other organisations” using rule 2.1.4.B – have brought the party into disrepute. They have prevented and discouraged new members from getting involved in party life, while valuable resources have been wasted in persecuting some of the most energetic and effective campaigners for social change. Continue Reading “Why we cannot support Jon Lansman’s Labour Party general secretary bid”

Ken Loach: “This witch-hunt is a complete nonsense”

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Filmmaker Ken Loach addressed spirited meeting of Labour Against the Witchhunt in London on January 29

More than 70 people crammed into London’s Conway Hall last night (January 29) to discuss the ongoing witch-hunt against the left in the Labour Party and what can be done to stop it. Hundreds of left-wing and pro-Palestinian members remain expelled or suspended, for example on trumped up charges of anti-Semitism.
For videos from the event, click here.

Continue Reading “Ken Loach: “This witch-hunt is a complete nonsense””

LAW’s lobby of the Labour Party NEC

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Around 40 supporters (and a few witches) showed up today, January 23, to help us lobby the Labour Party NEC to demand an end to the witch-hunt against left-wing and pro-Palestinian Labour members. Expelled and suspended members (amongst them Jackie Walker, Marc Wadsworth and Tony Greenstein) spoke to NEC members and lots of press. Continue Reading “LAW’s lobby of the Labour Party NEC”

Launched on October 21 2017, LAW is already celebrating a success

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Launched on October 21 2017, LAW is already celebrating a success – pressure from members, Branches and CLPs CLPs led to the reversal of the expulsion of emeritus professor Moshé Machover, one of a long line of socialists and Corbyn supporters expelled or suspended on bogus charges of anti-Semitism. He is now honorary president of Labour Against the Witchhunt.

The claim that anti-Semitism is rife in the Labour Party is untrue. It is a weapon the Right has consistently used against the Left. The ‘anti-Semitism’ smear campaign and witchhunt is used to block criticism of Israel’s settler-colonialism, its persecution of the Palestinians and its racist, apartheid practices. False anti-Semitism accusations are used to bolster support for Israel’s role in the Middle East. Israel receives more military aid from the USA than all the other countries in the world put together, over $4 billion a year. Continue Reading “Launched on October 21 2017, LAW is already celebrating a success”

Camden Momentum calls for the removal of Jon Lansman from Momentum

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Camden Momentum resolution – re Jon Lansman. Passed overwhelmingly, 10 March 2019

At this time when Labour MPs who don’t agree with the Labour manifesto are leaving the party, Jon Lansman has made contentious and inappropriate remarks about antisemitism, effectively siding with those who have made unfounded allegations against the party, its members and its leadership:

– In the Evening Standard (front page, headline, 25 Feb) he is quoted as saying that “Labour has a major problem” with antisemitism;

He recently said that it was a matter of time before the Derby North MP, Chris Williamson, “does something which results in a complaint being made which will then have to be investigated”, legitimising his subsequent suspension

– that “the most influential antisemitism-deniers, unfortunately, are Jewish anti-Zionists

– and that “[JVL] is an organisation which is not just tiny but has no real connection with the Jewish community at all.”

Momentum was created out of the movement for Jeremy Corbyn to be elected as leader, to elect a Labour government, and to act as a bridge between the Party and the movement.

Jon Lansman’s remarks have undermined both Momentum and the Labour Party.

Camden Momentum therefore calls on the NCG (National Co-ordinating Group) to remove Jon Lansman from the chair of Momentum.

There is NO BAN on moving motions in support of Chris Williamson MP!

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We have been contacted by dozens of people in the last few days, so we have put together this detailed article to assure you that there is NO BAN on moving motions in support of Chris Williamson in your branch/CLP – despite what you might have read in the media or been told by a regional official. But you should go into your meeting well prepared. Please find detailed guidelines below.

Remember, Chris did not say anything anti-Semitic: He was suspended merely for questioning if the party had responded correctly to the charge of being institutionally anti-Semitic! If we allow this suspension to stand – or even turn into an expulsion – this will not only be a great injustice to Chris, but to all of us!

Chris has been the only MP who has stood up for all those who have been witch-hunted on false or exaggerated allegations of anti-Semitism or ‘bringing the party into disrepute’. With his immensely popular ‘Democracy Roadshow’ he brought hope to many members that the party could be radically and democratically transformed to act in the interests of the many, not the few. That is why he has become a target.

He has stood up for us – now let’s stand up for him!


Why it’s not a ban

1.) There is some dispute if this is actually newly distributed communication or if it has been taken from an old email that was then re-distributed by an overly eager London regional officer. This would certainly explain why nobody seems to have seen the actual email from Jennie Forby (instead, it’s always the same brief snippet) and why many CLPs and branches have not received this communication.

2.) But in any case, it’s certainly not an instruction – and it’s not a ban! This becomes even clearer from a recent email that an employee at Labour HQ sent in reply to a CLP member asking for advice on motion regards Chris: “Unfortunately this motion is not deemed competent business as it relates to an ongoing disciplinary matter. As you will appreciate for reasons both of confidentiality and law, we are unable to discuss individual disciplinary cases.”  All this email says is that ‘Labour HQ will not deal with your resolution.’ It clearly does not state that branches/CLPs are not allowed to discuss the motion. Quite clearly though, there is room for interpretation in the HQ’s stance on this issue, which reflects of course the struggles that are currently going on in the party.

3.) Also, once a case has been in the public domain as much as Chris’ has, it cannot in any way be considered as a “confidential” issue and is therefore clearly “competent business” for branches and CLPs to discuss.

4.) It is always up to the members of any meeting to decide what they want to discuss. All Labour Party meetings are entitled to discuss any issues they choose. Your resolution might not be “discussed by the NEC” (how many of them do?), but it will certainly be published on our website and elsewhere.

5.) Remember, every single statement and resolution will add to the pressure to get Chris reinstated. His case is absolutely crucial in the ongoing fight for the soul of the Labour Party. If he were to be expelled, that would be a massive defeat not just for Chris, but also the whole Corbyn project. It would be a huge victory for the right-wingers now so neatly assembled in Tom Watson’s ‘Future Britain’.

But if we can get Chris reinstated, this would give the left in the party a major boost – and it might help us in our fight to finally get natural justice and due process implemented in the party’s disciplinary process. And, of course, to get one of our few allies in the Parliamentary Labour Party back on board!


How to move a motion in support of Chris

Make sure to send us any resolutions and statements so that others can take courage and inspiration from them. We have collated all successful resolutions and statements here. Some model motions are available here.

1.) Ideally, submit as a ‘normal’ motion. They have to be submitted to the secretary of your Labour Party branch in writing 14 days before a meeting (unless it says something different in your local standing orders). Normal motions have to go through a branch first before they can be presented to the CLP – though please note that this is not the case with emergency motions.

2.) Emergency motions can be submitted anytime before the meeting of your branch or CLP (but as soon as feasible) – again, in writing to your secretary. The rule states that emergency business “may be accepted by the majority of the meeting on the recommendation of the Chair, who shall interpret the term ’emergency’ in a bona fide manner”. That means your chair has a lot of power and can “recommend” not to accept your motion. Please note that your chair cannot refuseto even table the motion (this is against the rules, though of course many try to do it nevertheless).

3.) If your chair rules against accepting the emergency motion (or refuses to put it on the agenda), you can try to overturn the decision:

  • Firstly, you will need to raise a point of order, which must be heard. Then you need to explain why in your view the matter is indeed an emergency (for example, “because it only just happened”). Do not yet talk about the context of the motion, only why it is an emergency. Get somebody to call “seconded” straight away.
  • If 2/3 of eligible members at the meeting vote in favour of your challenge, the motion must be heard.
  • You can then move the motion to the meeting. If a simple majority votes in favour of the motion, it is passed and becomes the agreed resolution.

4.) Always bring enough copies of your emergency motion and hand them out before the meeting – that will make it very difficult for the chair to try and stop your motion from even being tabled. You should also try and get as many people as possible behind the motion beforethe meeting so that they are prepared to back you up. And print out the relevant bits from the rule book, just in case!

Reference for further info on these rules: model procedural rules (pages 67 and 68) in the Labour Party rule book 2018

Feel free to get in touch if you need some more detailed advice. Good luck! And please keep us updated!

In solidarity with Asa Winstanley, the latest victim of the witchhunt

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Labour Against the Witchhunt condems the suspension of Asa Winstanley, a journalist and associate editor of Electronic Intifada. Asa learnt this from a story in the Jewish Chronicle, which stated that he had been suspended for calling the Jewish Labour Movement a “proxy for the Israeli Embassy”.

The disciplinary measures against Asa Winstanley are a full frontal attack on freedom of speech. Asa has written a number of well-researched articles showing how the ‘anti-Semitism campaign’ in the Labour Party has been manufactured by pro-Zionist groups (for example, How Israel lobby manufactured UK Labour Party’s anti-Semitism crisisand Jewish Labour Movement was refounded to fight Corbyn).

The last two weeks have seen a worrying acceleration of the witch-hunt against pro-Corbyn members. It seems that general secretary Jennie Formby has reinstated automatic suspensions over the most minor accusations:

  • Councillor Stuart Porthouse, former mayor of Sunderland, was suspended for sharing an interview with George Galloway on Sky News.
  • Sean McCallum, mayoral candidate in Mansfield, has been suspended on the basis of two tweets questioning the origins of a meme that Naz Shah MP had posted.
  • Jo Bird, a Jewish councillor in the Wirral was suspended for telling jokes.
  • And Chris Williamson MP has been suspended for daring to question the party’s tactics over the campaign to conflate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism.

None of the above are under investigation for anything remotely anti-Semitic.It has become an offence merely to question the very assertion that there is widespread anti-Semitism in the Labour Party. What we are now seeing is Orwellian. As Asa Winstanley said at a recent meeting: “They’re trying to defeat the man by demoralising, splitting and defeating the left movement supporting him.”

This campaign is, at the heart of it, a campaign to delegitimise any criticism of Israel and its racist policies towards non-Jews. As an outspoken supporter of the rights of the Palestinians, Jeremy Corbyn is an unreliable ally when it comes to the strategically important alliance of Britain with the USA and Israel. They will do anything to get rid of him as leader of the Labour Party. This campaign to paint his supporters as anti-Semites is an integral part of it.

We are outraged that once again, the compliance unit has leaked details of Labour’s disciplinary processes to the Jewish Chronicle and the press before the person themselves has been notified. This is in clear violation of the General Data Protection Regulations and is illegal. The compliance unit should be shut down. It is not fit for purpose.

Resolutions, statements and quotes in support of Chris Williamson MP

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So far, at least ten CLPs, six Momentum branches and dozens of trade union bodies and left Labour organisations have come out in solidarity with Chris Williamson MP (we know of couple of other CLPs where it was decided not to publish the successful resolution).

PLEASE  NOTE THERE IS NO BAN ON MOVING MOTIONS IN SUPPORT OF CHRIS: We hear that in a number of branches and CLPs, the chair has prevented the meeting from discussing motions in support of Chris because of apparent recent guidelines sent out by Labour HQ. We have produced detailed advice to show that this is not the case – click here for more info and details on  how to move a motion.

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Lowkey, musician

The Labour party has been targeted by a sophisticated campaign which seeks to misrepresent anti-racists as racists. The vast majority of those pushing this narrative of a crisis are not acting in good faith, how could they be when this so-called crisis is based on accusations levelled against only 0.1% of the membership? This campaign is seeking in an attritional way to manufacture consent for a coup against the leadership of the party. This policy of appeasement when under attack is frankly suicidal and will definitely fail in damming the flood. Chris Williamson has been done a great injustice with this suspension and be sure the real target here is Jeremy Corbyn and the dreams of millions he has come to represent.


Mike Leigh, director

To accuse a committed fighter for justice such as Chris Williamson of being a racist or an antisemite is as outrageous as it is profoundly insulting.

It is time for the witchhunters and finger-pointers on the right of the Labour Party to stop, think and reflect. This self-destructive nonsense must stop. It will serve only to fuel the toxic zeal of the real fascist hard right, which is dangerously on the rise.


Francesca Martinez, comedian, writer & campaigner

It must be possible to stand against all forms of antisemitism AND also challenge the misleading narrative that Labour is ‘institutionally antisemitic’. The latest stats show that only 0.08% of members have been involved in substantiated allegations since April 18, and data from YouGov shows that antisemitic attitudes within Labour have significantly reduced under Corybyn’s leadership. Most of the media have failed to report these facts.
I truly hope that all forms of racism drop to 0% within Labour. I also think it’s vital to be as accurate as possible about the nature and scale of the problem.
MPs such as life-long anti-racist campaigner, Chris Williamson, should be able to question media distortions, and call for others to do the same, without being suspended. Ironically, it’s politicians like Chris – who fight tirelessly against the inhumane politics that so often breed division, fear and prejudice – who have shown, through years of campaigning, their deep commitment to creating a world free from bigotry, hate and oppression.

John Pilger, journalist

Chris Williamson is a rare, principled and brave MP who has devoted his political life to standing up for the voiceless and justice. A Labour Party claiming to represent the mass of ordinary Britons ought to be proud to say that ‘Chris Williamson is one of us’. His suspension on a bogus charge, based on an equally bogus
issue, is outrageous, as is the cowardice of those who have failed to defend him.


Alexei Sayle, comedian

Chris Williamson is a brave and decent man dedicated to fighting injustice in all its forms. Those attacking him are going to give, self-obsessed, lying, right-wing egotists a bad name.


Professor Moshé Machover, Israeli socialist author and expert on Middle Eastern politics


The way Chris Williamson has been treated by the Labour Party leadership is, paradoxically, a vindication of his criticism. The leadership should stop capitulating to unfounded attacks. Chris should be reinstated forthwith!


Ken Loach, director

Chris Williamson is a principled anti-racist and a strong supporter of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership. Read in context, it is clear that his remarks are not antisemitic but reflect a widespread view in the party.  I support Chris’ immediate reinstatement.

We cannot tolerate a culture of fear in which members cannot speak their minds.  Those MPs determined to make anti-Semitism the predominant Labour issue are given the freedom of the airwaves and the press to give their views, unchallenged by serious questions.  On Radio 4’s Today programme, right wing MPs denouncing the Labour Party for rampant antisemitism are given such regular slots these now rival Thought for the Day.

When those under attack attempt to defend themselves they are told to keep quiet. Even an explanatory film is ordered not to be screened.  If it looks like a witch hunt and behaves like a witch hunt – it may well be just that. This is intolerable and must end now.

The personality cult that is Tom Watson has finally been slapped down by the Party General Secretary, and not before time.   The fight against all racism has always been carried by the Left.

We must be absolutely committed to maintaining that tradition. All who are found guilty of antisemitism have no place in the Labour Party.

But we must be meticulous in ensuring due process.  All credible allegations of racism, including antisemitism, must be heard in open hearings, with evidence properly interrogated and with the judgements  open to scrutiny and appeal. Justice must be seen to be done.

There must be equality before the law, noticeably absent in cases where the party is brought into disrepute.  For example, Margaret Hodge’s foul mouthed abuse of Jeremy Corbyn was a disgusting display that should have led to immediate suspension.

Vexatious, trivial, or malicious allegations should also bring sanctions. And we should demand that all MPs, including the leadership, should defend the integrity of the members, say clearly that the party is not institutionally antisemitic nor full of racist bullies, and that those who make such wild allegations without evidence will be called to account. We have to change the narrative.

We cannot allow the great transformative project of Labour led by Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell to be derailed. We must keep our eyes on the prize – a government that understands and represents the interests of the people.


Professor Norman Finkelstein

Chris Williamson is the latest victim of Labour’s Great Purge. However, unlike Stalin’s purge trials, Williamson has not issued a public confession and begged forgiveness. He has stood fast, his dignity intact, in the face of a hysteria concocted by Israel’s Fifth Column, on the one hand, and the beneficiaries of a status quo that impoverishes the many, on the other.

It is painfully obvious that the target of these purges is not anti-Semitism, but the threat posed by Jeremy Corbyn’s ascension. The revolting spectacle of Labour suspending and expelling one member after another, of Labour thought-police trawling the Web in search of deviations from the Party Line —  all this was inevitable once Labour capitulated to a gang of hooligans (who overwhelmingly didn’t even vote Labour) and adopted a definition of anti-Semitism that was in equal parts gibberish and a club to quash legitimate criticism of Israel. Williamson’s suspension should be a wake-up call: if his suspension is not reversed, free speech is dead in the Labour Party.


George Galloway


Leon Rosselson, singer and songwriter

Nothing Chris Williamson said is remotely antisemitic. But, of course, this isn’t about real antisemitism. It’s about using wild accusations of antisemitism to undermine Corbyn (who, unlike his accusers, has a track record of supporting justice for Palestinians) and those who support the Corbyn project. It is ironical that, in the main, those who make these false accusations are ideologically aligned with the racist state of Israel. If they win this one, we can say goodbye to the hope of a principled, socialist government in this country.


Asa Winstanley, The Electronic Intifada

Chris Williamson is the only MP who has had the bravery to publicly tell the truth about the fabricated ‘Labour antisemitism crisis’ witch hunt — even though there are others who know it but are too cowardly to speak out.

His suspension by Labour is a complete and utter betrayal, and shame to the entire Labour movement.

While right-wing, racist, lying MPs like Margaret Hodge and Ruth Smeeth have carte blanche to slander the leadership and the entire movement with impunity, our comrade Chris is punished for telling the truth and for standing up for us, the members. He must be immediately reinstated and apologised to. If we can’t even have solidarity with each other, we have nothing.


Kevin Higgins, poet

Chris Williamson has the sort of backbone that will be needed if a Corbyn Labour government is to face down the forces that will try to prevent it from carrying out its manifesto. It is a matter of life or death for the Corbyn project that Chris be reinstated. Because if they’re allowed to get Chris, they will come for many more.


Ian Hodson, National President, Bakers’, Food & Allied Workers Union

I was sorry to hear about the suspension of Chris Williamson MP someone who has attempted to stand up for grassroots Labour Party members. A rarity it appears with so many MPs in today’s Labour Party who choose to condemn all members without first carrying out an investigation.

It’s shameful that those that wanted to get Chris suspended also seemed to throw the local activists, members and supporters to the media wolf pack without consideration of the impact that would have on the lives of those who donate and campaign for a Labour government. It’s further disappointing to see Labour MPs coming out publicly to condemn their colleague who hasn’t had a hearing yet if the same process happened before a court hearing there would be an outcry quite rightly about the ability to get a fair hearing. Many Labour MPs have a legal background and they should know better and behave in a manner more fitting with a position of trust and power that being elected as an MP brings.

Everyone who knows or is aware of Chris Williamson MP knows he is not racist and has been a campaigner against all forms of discrimination in whatever form it takes. On the 16th March thousands will take to the streets to oppose racism here in the UK and around the world. I look forward to seeing all those that oppose racism on the demonstrations standing up for equality justice and ending all forms of racism that is being encouraged by the Tory policy of creating a Hostile Environment and a media campaign that targets minority’s to create hate and fear to keep us all divided.


Tosh McDonald, Labour councillor and former president of Aslef

Chris is a committed long time anti racist. As a comrade of Chris I can confirm that there is not one racist bone in his body. Anyone who listens to Chris’s speech in Sheffield must see that Chris was not being anti-Semitic, quite the contrary: he was defending our work combating it. I have been proud to share a platform with Chris on a number of occasions and will continue to do so. Solidarity with Chris Williamson a true socialist and anti-racist.


Steve Ashley, singer-songwriter

I’m proud to stand in solidarity with Chris Williamson. He has sought  to protect the good name of the Labour Party and defend the integrity of  members demonised by the slander that Labour is institutionally anti-semitic. He’s a decent man, a life-long anti-racist and a  forthright campaigner for greater democracy in Labour. We can’t afford  to lose his voice – even for a day. He must be reinstated as soon as possible.


Harborough CLP

This Constituency Labour Party notes with great concern the suspension of Chris Williamson MP for Derby North.

  • Chris has been falsely accused of anti-Semitism.
  • We note with concern that the establishment media and the right wing of the PLP continue to assert that the Labour Party is institutionally anti-Semitic.
  • The accusation of “institutional anti-Semitism” in the Labour Party is asserted as a fact, despite data released by the Party which show a 0.08% incidence of anti-Semitic behaviour by Party members over the last ten months.
  • The allegation that Chris is downplaying anti-Semitism is totally unfounded. His comments, made at a Momentum meeting in Sheffield, were taken out of context in a deliberate attempt to ruin both the reputation of Chris Williamson MP and Jeremy Corbyn.
  • Chris Williamson MP actually said: “The party that has done more to stand up to racism is now being demonised as a racist, bigoted party. I have got to say, I think our party’s response has been partly responsible for that because in my opinion… we’ve backed off far too much, we have given too much ground, we’ve been too apologetic… We’ve done more to address the scourge of anti-Semitism than any other party.”
  • His comments are clearly neither anti-Semitic, nor denying the existence of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party (as in wider society). But he does quite rightly point to the fact that there has also been a political campaign to “weaponise” accusations of anti-Semitism.
  • Chris is a target because he is one of the very few Labour MPs who have openly stood up to the witch-hunt of Corbyn supporters and because he has campaigned tirelessly for the much-needed democratisation of the party.

This Constituency Labour Party therefore agrees to: 


South Northants CLP

South Northants Constituency Labour Party notes:

1          The suspension of the whip of Chris Williamson, MP for Derby North, with great concern over allegations of ‘anti-Semitism’ after a recording of Chris Williamson MP speaking at a Momentum meeting was released recently.

2          The allegations in question are unfounded, out of context and a deliberate attempt to ruin both the reputation of Chris Williamson MP and the Labour Party as a political party.

3          Chris Williamson MP actually said: “The party that has done more to stand up to racism is now being demonised as a racist, bigoted party. I have got to say, I think our party’s response has been partly responsible for that because in my opinion… we’ve backed off far too much, we have given too much ground, we’ve been too apologetic… We’ve done more to address the scourge of anti-Semitism than any other party.”

4          These comments are neither anti-Semitic, nor denying the existence of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party. He is simply expressing a sentiment that many of us have that we should not be overly apologetic for something we have not done, and in this case we have actively, as a party, worked tirelessly to ensure that anti-Semitism and all other forms of racism and bigotry are purged from our party, our movement, and our society as a whole.

This Constituency Labour Party therefore moves to:

1               Write to Jenny Formby, the General Secretary, and the National Executive Committee with a copy of this motion and outlining our disappointment at this decision and expressing our wish that the disciplinary process is carried out in a transparent and fair manner. (jennie_formby@labour.org.uk)

2               Write a letter of support to Chris Williamson MP (chris.williamson.mp@parliament.uk)

3               Invite Chris Williamson to a local rally/meeting in support of his reinstatement


South Dorset CLP

The allegations in question concerning Chris Williamson are unfounded, out of context, and a deliberate attempt to ruin both the reputation of Chris Williamson MP and the Labour Party.


Lewisham West and Penge CLP

This motion demands the immediate reinstatement of Chris Williamson MP to the party.

The allegation that Chris is downplaying anti-Semitism is totally unfounded. His comments, made at a Momentum meeting in Sheffield, were taken out of context in a deliberate attempt to ruin both the reputation of Chris Williamson MP and Jeremy Corbyn.


Uxbridge and South Ruislip CLP

“Uxbridge and South Ruislip CLP call for the immediate lifting of the suspension of Chris Williamson MP.”


Sheffield Hallam CLP

Carried on February 28 2019, by approximately 40 votes to 1 with 0 abstentions:

This Constituency Labour Party notes with great concern the suspension of Chris Williamson MP for Derby North.
• Chris has been falsely accused of anti-Semitism. This is an excuse for Tom Watson and the anti-Corbyn wing of the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) to demand his removal from the Party.
• We note with concern that the establishment media and the right wing of the PLP continue to assert that the Labour Party is institutionally anti-Semitic.
• The accusation of “institutional anti-Semitism” in the Labour Party is asserted as a fact, despite data released by the Party which show a 0.08% incidence of anti-Semitic behaviour by Party members over the last ten months.
• The allegation that Chris is downplaying anti-Semitism is totally unfounded. His comments, made at a Momentum meeting in Sheffield, were taken out of context in a deliberate attempt to ruin both the reputation of Chris Williamson MP and Jeremy Corbyn.
• Chris Williamson MP actually said: “The party that has done more to stand up to racism is now being demonised as a racist, bigoted party. I have got to say, I think our party’s response has been partly responsible for that because in my opinion… we’ve backed off far too much, we have given too much ground, we’ve been too apologetic… We’ve done more to address the scourge of anti-Semitism than any other party.”
• His comments are clearly neither anti-Semitic, nor denying the existence of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party (as in wider society). But he does quite rightly point to the fact that there has also been a political campaign to “weaponise” accusations of anti-Semitism.
• Chris is a target because he is one of the very few Labour MPs who have openly stood up to the witch-hunt of Corbyn supporters and because he has campaigned tirelessly for the much-needed democratisation of the party.

This Constituency Labour Party therefore agrees to:

• Write to Jennie Formby, the general secretary, and the National Executive Committee with a copy of this motion and demanding that Chris is reinstated immediately. (jennie_formby@labour.org.uk)
• Write a letter of support to Chris Williamson MP (chris.williamson.mp@parliament.uk)


Hackney North and Stoke Newington CLP

Motion passed by 45 votes against 35

This CLP notes with increasing alarm the acceptance of the ‘fact’ that the Labour Party is ‘institutionally anti-Semitic’, by not only the media, but the right wing in the CLP. The accusation of ‘institutional antisemitism’ in the Labour Party is asserted as a fact, despite data released by the party which shows a 0.08 per cent incidence of antisemitic behaviour by party members over the last 10 months.

This has become a daily feature of the political debate over the last couple of weeks. It is distracting people’s attention away from the calamitous consequences of the Tory government’s continuing austerity and its disastrous handling of the Brexit issue as it nears the March 29 deadline.

It is a scandal that we are allowing ourselves to be branded as a racist party. Meanwhile, figures like Tony Blair – who bear responsibility for the death and destruction of the Iraq war and who repeatedly, openly attack the democratically elected leadership of the party – are allowed to remain as Labour members. We completely reject such double standards.

Furthermore, we call upon the NEC to release a statement firmly rejecting the accusation that Labour is in any way ‘institutionally racist’, making it clear Labour and its current leader have a proud record of fighting racism and will continue to do so.

We must also be clear that to defeat racism, we have to fight the conditions that cause it. It is the capitalist system, and its relentless crises, unemployment, insecurity and unaffordable housing that foster racism. It is the apologists for it in the media and the Conservative party who promote racism.

We also call on the NEC to immediately trigger ballot procedures in all constituencies, in order to allow the party membership to decide who should represent them in parliament.

It is unacceptable to allow our representatives to slander the party and its members whilst we put them into office.


Hastings and Rye CLP

Click here for the PDF version of the motion, which was passed with 37 votes in favour and 1 against.

This CLP offers our full support for Chris Williamson MP and calls for his immediate, unconditional reinstatement to the party.

We note that:

  • Labour instigated the Royall and Chakrabarti enquiries, and
  • Appointed a new legal officer and extra staff dealing with complaints
  • On February 10 Jennie Formby released detailed findings as of then. Offenders against the tough new regime were a tiny fraction of Labour’s membership. After removing hundreds of non-members and dropping 220 complaints found to be “vexatious” and “exaggerated” that left 96 (0.01% of 1% of members) who were suspended; and just 12 were expelled (one 500ths of 1% of the membership).

Instead of welcoming these figures, some who “love the party” but protested against its alleged “institutional anti-Semitism” walked out, and their co-thinkers who stayed have launched outrageous slanders but have faced no charges for bringing the party into disrepute.

Chris Williamson rightly said that Labour had “done more to address the scourge of anti-Semitism than any political party” and had nothing to apologise about. For that, he is suspended and will forthwith be marked out for slander.

This “crying wolf” could cause valid warnings of anti-Semitism to go unheard and does no service to Jews. Such cheap exploitation as a political football is also deeply shameful.

We believe that this orchestrated campaign now rising to a crescendo with staged resignations alongside Brexit and a general election, suggests that accusations of anti-Semitism are being criminally misused in an unscrupulous bid to destroy the Corbyn-led Labour Party.


Bristol East CLP

Click here for the PDF version

This Constituency notes with extreme concern the decision to suspend Chris Williamson from the party, and remove the whip.

We note also the statement in support of Chris from JVL, an organisation to which this constituency is affiliated, in which they, as Jewish members, make clear their belief that Chris has a long history of combatting anti-racism and anti-semitism and should not be regarded as an anti-Semite. We share their support for him.

This Constituency accepts that there is a level of genuine anti-semitism within the Labour Party, which must be rooted out, and the offenders dealt with appropriately. However, the figures recently released by Jennie Formby on the number of anti-semitism complaints received and the number proved to be well founded appear to support Chris Williamson’s position. They indicate that there are indeed people with anti-semitic views in the Labour Party, but they are statistically few and do not represent an all-encompassing problem.

Accordingly, this Constituency wishes to express its pride in the way that Jeremy Corbyn, Jennie Formby and other members of the NEC have acted in setup a process able to deal fairly with anti-Semitism complaints, and to resolve them within a reasonable time scale. We offer our whole hearted support for their efforts.

This constituency now calls on all members of the PLP to give recognition and praise to Jennie and members of the NEC for their work, acknowledge the level of Labour Party anti-Semitism discovered in objective reports and refrain from anecdotal hyperbole in their public pronouncements.


Whitstable branch, Canterbury CL

This branch notes that:

–  Chris Williamson, Labour MP for Derby North, has been suspended from the Labour Party pending an investigation following a speech to a meeting in Sheffield. Chris Williamson said: “The party that has done more to stand up to racism is now being demonised as a racist, bigoted party. I have got to say, I think our party’s response has been partly responsible for that because in my opinion… we’ve backed off far too much, we have given too much ground, we’ve been too apologetic… We’ve done more to address the scourge of anti-Semitism than any other party.”

–  These comments have been interpreted by the hostile media and members of the Parliamentary Labour Party hostile to the party leader, as being antisemitic.

This branch believes that:

–  Chris Williamson is a consistent and longstanding anti-racist, who abhors antisemitism along with all forms of racism.

–  Williamson’s comments were in no way antisemitic.

–  Williamson’s comments reflect a legitimate point of view: that accusations of antisemitism are being weaponised by the media and certain elements within the Labour Party in order to weaken the leadership.

–  Chris Williamson is a valued MP and party member.

This branch notes the procedures and resources that the Labour Party has put in place to deal with complaints of anti-Semitism that it has received, and the progress made by the general secretary and her team in dealing with these complaints.

In line with all the above, this branch/CLP instructs the CLP Executive Committee to write to the Labour Party General Secretary to request that the appropriate party committee/s lift Chris Williamson’s suspension at the earliest possible opportunity.


Ham branch, Richmond CLP

Don’t expel Chris Williamson MP from the Labour Party

This Meeting:
1. Notes the personal statement from Chris Williamson (February 27).
2. Is opposed to all forms of anti-Semitism and racism.
3. Does not believe Chris Williamson MP should be expelled from the Labour Party.


Park & Arbourthorne branch, Sheffield Heeley CLP

Passed February 28 2019 nem com

This Constituency (branch) Labour Party notes with great concern the suspension of Chris Williamson MP for Derby North.

The allegation that Chris is downplaying anti-Semitism is totally unfounded. His comments, made at a Momentum meeting in Sheffield, were taken out of context in a deliberate attempt to ruin both the reputation of Chris Williamson MP and Jeremy Corbyn.

Chris Williamson MP actually said: “The party that has done more to stand up to racism is now being demonised as a racist, bigoted party. I have got to say, I think our party’s response has been partly responsible for that because in my opinion… we’ve backed off far too much, we have given too much ground, we’ve been too apologetic… We’ve done more to address the scourge of anti-Semitism than any other party.”

His comments are clearly neither anti-Semitic, nor denying the existence of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party (as in wider society). But he does quite rightly point to the fact that there has also been a political campaign to “weaponise” accusations of anti-Semitism.

Chris is a target because he is one of the very few Labour MPs who have openly stood up to the witch-hunt of Corbyn supporters and because he has campaigned tirelessly for the much-needed democratisation of the party.

This Constituency Labour Party therefore moves to:

  • Write to Jennie Formby, the general secretary, and the National Executive Committee with a copy of this motion and demanding that Chris is reinstated immediately. (jennie_formby@labour.org.uk)
  • Write a letter of support to Chris Williamson MP (chris.williamson.mp@parliament.uk)

Sutton Momentum

Sutton Momentum wish to express full solidarity with Chris Williamson, a great Labour MP who works tirelessly for socialism.


Bromley Momentum

We at Bromley Momentum are all in agreement that Chris Williamson should not have been suspended from the Labour Party for the comments he made at the Sheffield Hallam Momentum meeting and should be reinstated forthwith.   We believe Chris was right to say that “the Party that has done more to stand up to racism is now been demonised as a racist bigoted party”

We believe Chris was right to say “ I think our parties response has been partly responsible for that”   We also believe Chris was right when he said “We’ve backed off far too much! we’ve given too much ground! We’ve been too apologetic!”   We believe as Chris said “ We’ve done more to actually address the surge of antisemitism than any other political party” we would just add not only antisemitism but all forms of discrimination.

Can the Tories say the same when Theresa May was accused of ‘burying her head in the sand’ over ‘institutional Islamophobia’ in the party by former Tory chairman Baroness Warsi?  We think Chris is totally right to say that “we are apologising too much for antisemitism in the Labour Party”

We believe the attacks on the Labour party about anti-semtisim are not about rooting out racism in the party which we all agree with, but a way for the right of the Labour Party, the Tories and the establishment to attack Jeremy Corbyn – not because they think he or the Labour Party is racist – but because they don’t agree with the socialist manifesto the leadership put forward in 2017 and want to get rid of Corbyn as leader along with anybody else who supports him, including new members who joined enthused by Corbyn and his ideas.   While one case of racism in the Labour Party is one case too many, it is a tiny amount of the membership who have been expelled or have left for anti-semitism 0.01% ( Barry Gardiner on Sky News’ Ridge programme 25.2.19).

We at Bromley Momentum are very angry that some members of the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) and mainstream media (MSM) are misrepresenting our party as an Institutional racist party and crying wolf when the real wolf the far right is just around the corner!   At best it’s a distraction, at worst it’s a dereliction of duty, as right wing members of the PLP are attacking their own party, racism and the far right are on the rise in this country.  We might add we are disappointed that some leaders of Momentum do not speak for the members when they say antisemitism is a big problem in the Labour Party – our group utterly refute this. We think Barry Gardener got it right on the Sky News, Rudge program . https://skwawkbox.org/2019/02/25/video-gardiner-perfectly-quantifies-antisemitism-in-labour-and-partys-actions-to-deal-with-it/

Why can’t the Leadership of our party quote these figures and facts when they are asked by the MSM about antisemitism in the Labour Party  Bromley Momentum demand that the Labour Party lift the suspension on Chris who has been a fighter against racism all his life and was a former member of the Anti-Nazi League, he is an asset to the Party, the membership and the country, as he will fight to stamp out racism wherever he sees it! He will fight for a Socialist Labour government! And He will fight to implement the 2017 Labour party Manifesto! Which we all desperately need to see implemented after 10 years of austerity and cruel Tory rule.

Reinstate Chris Williamson to the Labour Party!


Ilford Momentum

The Ilford Branch of Momentum notes the Labour Party’s response to the allegations of antisemitism and its willingness to stamp out manifestations of this scourge. This is in contradiction to the responses of other parties, particularly the Tory Party, which has made common cause with anti-Semitic politicians in Eastern Europe and which makes no effort to investigate antisemitism or Islamophobia in their own party.

We note that however far the party goes in trying to placate those who stoke the furore over alleged antisemitism in the Party, more is still demanded. It is hard to see what will satisfy the accusers who choose to disregard the antisemitism in other parties, while attacking Labour at every opportunity. We stand implacably against all forms of racism including antisemitism and stand with Chris Williamson MP, a veteran anti racist. We deplore his suspension and believe that nothing he has said should be construed as racist or antisemitic. We therefore urge the party not to cave in to bullies and to rescind his suspension.

I hope senior members of central Momentum take our motion into consideration.

PLEASE share and promote amongst momentum activists.


Momentum Camden

In Arthur Miller’s play, The Crucible, the innocent Giles Corey is pressed to death by a large stone. As the stone is placed upon his chest, it is reported that Corey heroically calls for ‘more weight’ in order to make abundantly clear that he won’t admit any guilt in the face of spurious accusations that he had aided and abetted witchcraft.

Miller’s play is an allegory about McCarthyism. David Hearst, the Guardian’s former chief foreign leader writer, is surely right to say that the new McCarthyism is being mobilised to undermine Jeremy Corbyn. And now the witchhunt has claimed its latest victim in Chris Williamson, MP for Derby North.

This represents a clear and unprecedented escalation in the campaign of vilification and smears against Labour’s leadership and left-wing members. In truly Orwellian fashion, this latest ratcheting up of the smear campaign was set on foot because someone in Williamson’s office had booked a room for a parliamentary screening of Jon Pullman’s documentary film WitchHunt (endorsed by Mike Leigh, Ken Loach, Peter Kosminsky and Prof. Avi Shlaim). None of those MPs and others who complained against the screening can yet have seen the film, and yet they are willing to censor it.

The confected complaint made against Williamson concerns a speech he made at a meeting of Sheffield Momentum. Nothing about that speech deserves the suspension of the Labour whip, let alone suspension from the party. Jewish Voice for Labour have rightly pointed out that Williamson’s suspension is unjust and have called for it to be rescinded. Camden Momentum adds its voice to that call.

We also call upon Momentum’s NCG to release a statement arguing for Williamson’s immediate reinstatement, and we invite other Momentum groups to do likewise by contacting us here: camdenmomentum@gmail.com.

If it is not yet clear to Momentum’s leadership (and associated ‘left’ commentators) that the attacks on Chris Williamson are part of a long-running and coordinated attempt to undermine Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party, then we fear it never will be. We simply say: more weight.


Brighton and Hove Momentum

We would like to convey our solidarity to Chris Wiliamson MP.


Swansea Momentum

awaiting text


Swansea Labour Left

Swansea Labour Left disagrees with the decision to suspend Chris Williamson from The Labour Party. We believe that the complainant has misrepresented Chris Williamson’s intended message which supports Jewish members working for Socialist leadership. We challenge the false premise that The Labour Party is in any way an Anti-Semitic organisation and that it has not been strong enough in refuting this.

We call for the accusation to be dealt with speedily and transparently and for the reasons for any decision to be published in detail.

We further call for any accusations against elected members to be dealt with as a priority, as whilst under investigation they cannot stand in any election that may occur. This double jeopardy is an important concern.


Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign

The Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign welcomes the Labour Party manifesto commitment to a full inquiry into the events at the Orgreave Coking Plant on 18th June 1984, which was part of the Thatcher governments attack upon the National Union of Mineworkers and the Trade Unions.

We recognise that only a socialist Labour Government can bring justice to, not only our comrades wrongly arrested and charged, but to all other campaigns fighting for justice.

We therefore call on all Labour MPs and Labour Party members to stand firm against the latest hysterical media campaign against the party, and in particular its leader Jeremy Corbyn. The purpose of these attacks is solely to prevent a Labour Government led by Jeremy Corbyn coming to power. If successful, the opportunity to bring about a fair and just society and to right the wrongs of the past will be lost and the Tories will be free to continue their attacks upon our people and communities.

Now is not the time to be attacking and scapegoating the best and most committed campaigners for justice, such as Chris Williamson MP, a comrade who has shown consistent and full support for our campaign and has a long proven record of fighting injustice in any form. The Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign, therefore calls for the immediate reinstatement of Chris Williamson.


To: Jennie Formby, General Secretary, the Labour Party
CC: Chris Williamson, MP Derby North
We are deeply concerned about the suspension of Chris Williamson MP for Derby North over allegations of ‘anti-Semitism’ after a recording of him speaking at a Momentum meeting was released recently. We stand in solidarity with Chris, who we fully expect to be cleared as soon as possible by Labour’s investigation – in line with our Labour core values of fairness and natural justice.Many of the undersigned are members of Oxfordshire CLPs (Wantage, Henley, East Oxford and West Oxford & Abingdon).
We have been delighted to welcome Chris to two local meetings this year. He has fitted these events into a busy schedule, being generous with his time and knowledge, speaking on subjects ranging from the impact of austerity cuts, the role of local government in delivering for the many, the current rise of fascism and how we can combat it, developments in South America, animal rights and Brexit. Chris is very clearly a committed anti-racist, working to support all oppressed groups – locally and internationally – demonstrating our Labour Party core values and principles. He is engaging, knowledgeable and extremely hard working, making time to speak at local political education meetings as well as national events about Labour policy and wider international issues with insight and clarity. As such, he is a credit and an asset to the Labour party. (See also the support for Chris in a recent statement by the Secretary of Derby Trades Council – https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/b/a-statement-by-the-secretary-of-derby-trades-council-on-the-suspension-of-chris-williamson-mp-from-labour) Jeremy Corbyn recently said: “Chris Williamson is a very good, very effective Labour MP. He’s a very strong anti-racist campaigner. He is not anti-Semitic.” We agree with this description of Chris and believe that the allegations in question are unfounded and out of context.
Chris Williamson actually said: “The party that has done more to stand up to racism is now being demonised as a racist, bigoted party. I have got to say, I think our party’s response has been partly responsible for that because in my opinion… we’ve backed off far too much, we have given too much ground, we’ve been too apologetic… We’ve done more to address the scourge of anti-Semitism than any other party.”
These comments are neither anti-Semitic, nor denying the existence of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party. He is simply expressing a sentiment that many of us have that we should not be overly apologetic for something we have not done, and in this case we have actively, as a party, worked tirelessly to ensure that anti-Semitism and all other forms of racism and bigotry are purged from our party, our movement, and our society as a whole.Context – the facts shared recently by General Secretary Jennie Formby (and correct at the time of writing 01.03.19)
• Approximately 1,100 complaints were lodged between April 2018 and January 2019, but 433 (nearly 40 per cent) were found to relate to non-Labour Party members, which brought it down to 673. (That still leaves a problem in wider society though.)
• Of those complaints there was no evidence of a case to answer in 220 cases. That still leaves more than 400 members (out of approximately 550,000 — so around 0.07 per cent) who had expressed views concerning Jews that were judged as requiring further investigation and disciplinary action. Some received suspensions, others formal/written warnings about their behaviour, while just 12 were expelled.
• There are 24 cases that have reached the highest panel that remain outstanding, so that expulsion figure may well rise but not dramatically.
• There were two other statistics that seem important from Formby’s exemplary response: one is that 44 members quit Labour while their hearing was pending. That suggests that Labour is not at all a hospitable or comfortable place for anti-semites. It is likely that some of them knew they would be found out and they jumped before being pushed out. The other statistic relates to Margaret Hodge — who has personally submitted 200 of the complaints, but these were not about 200 separate individuals.
In this context, Chris Williamson’s comments in Sheffield make sense – but the context and statistics have not been widely reported or have been mis-reported.We look forward to the Labour Party investigation moving speedily and expect that the outcome will lift his suspension and clear Chris’s name in good time for Chris to put his considerable energies and positivity into campaigning for Labour wins in the local elections in May.
In Solidarity!

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Secretary of Derby Trades Council

Throughout Derby Chris Williamson is known as someone who stands up for working-class people, whatever their origins and ethnicity. We are proud to have him as our MP.

Chris has proven himself to be a fierce opponent of all forms of racism, including anti-semitism. He is outspoken and brave in this. As a young man in the 1970s he was an active member of the Anti-Nazi League, confronting the racists and anti-semites of the National Front wherever they raised their vile heads, and he has maintained the same position and active opposition to racism, anti-semitism and fascism ever since.

We should remember that Chris worked hard to spearhead the efforts to ensure Derby was one of the first local authorities to mark Holocaust Memorial Day.

What Chris said in Sheffield was that the evils of racism, anti-semitism and Islamophobia need to be fought and beaten wherever and whenever they appear, and that the Labour Party has done more than any other parliamentary party — and therefore should be not so apologetic about its performance in this regard — though of course there is always more to be done.

It is this that has been misinterpreted — deliberately so — by some who seek a stick to beat him with.

It is an absolute absurdity and vile travesty to level the charge of anti-semitism at Chris and everyone in Derby knows it. As secretary of the Derby Area Trades Union Council I urge fair-minded Derby people to speak up for him, just as he speaks up bravely for all of us.

Chris stands for unity, solidarity and community cohesion. Those members of the Labour Party, particularly those MPs, who oppose the restoration of socialism in the leadership of the party have failed in their many attempts to reverse this.

So they have increasingly turned to distortions and smears against the leadership — including Chris Williamson, who is their target of the day. It is they who should apologise for their defamation of a decent man and an MP who really cares for his people, whatever their heritage and background.

Moz Greenshields
Secretary, Derby Area Trade Union Council


Plymouth Trades Council

This Trades Council condemns the decision of the Labour Party to suspend Chris Williamson MP for his remarks at a Sheffield Momentum meeting.

The allegation that Chris is downplaying anti-Semitism is totally unfounded. His comments, made at the meeting in Sheffield, were taken out of context in a deliberate attempt to ruin both the reputation of Chris Williamson MP and Jeremy Corbyn.
• Chris Williamson MP actually said: “The party that has done more to stand up to racism is now being demonised as a racist, bigoted party. I have got to say, I think our party’s response has been partly responsible for that because in my opinion… we’ve backed off far too much, we have given too much ground, we’ve been too apologetic… We’ve done more to address the scourge of anti-Semitism than any other party.”
• His comments are clearly neither anti-Semitic, nor denying the existence of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party (as in wider society). But he does quite rightly point to the fact that there has also been a political campaign to “weaponise” accusations of anti-Semitism.

We note with concern that the establishment media and the right wing of the PLP continue to assert that the Labour Party is institutionally anti-Semitic.
• The accusation of “institutional anti-Semitism” in the Labour Party is asserted as a fact, despite data released by the Party which show a 0.08% incidence of anti-Semitic behaviour by Party members over the last ten months.
• The flood of exaggerated claims of antisemitism make it harder to deal with any real instances of antisemitism. The credibility of well-founded allegations is undermined by the less credible ones and real perpetrators are more likely not to be held to account. Crying wolf is dangerous when there are real wolves around the corner.

This country needs the policies of a truly socialist Labour government more than ever, whilst we have low wage growth, more and more people relying on food banks, growing child poverty, and inequality we need investment for creation of decent jobs, proper funding for the NHS and our schools, and all the infrastructure for a country that has endured years of austerity.  All of the above actions will make this less and less of a reality.


Burnley Unite branch

Burnley Unite branch agreed on this resolution, which will go forward to the next meetings of Burnley CLP and Pendle CLP:

This CLP notes that:

– Chris Williamson, Labour MP for Derby North, has been suspended from the Labour Party pending an investigation into a “pattern of behaviour”.

– This suspension occurred in the light of comments made by Williamson to the effect that Labour’s response to accusations of entrenched antisemitism has been unnecessarily defensive.

– These comments have been interpreted by certain media and political figures as being anti-Semitic

This CLP believes that:

– Chris Williamson is a consistent and longstanding anti-racist, who abhors antisemitism along with all forms of racism. Williamson’s comments were in no way antisemitic. Williamson’s comments reflect a legitimate point of view: that accusations of antisemitism are being weaponised by the media and certain elements within the Labour Party in order to weaken the leadership.

– Chris Williamson is a valued MP and party member. The Labour Party has put in place procedures and allocated significant resources to deal with allegations of antisemitism that it has received

This CLP calls on the Labour National Executive Committee to:
– Immediately lift Chris Williamson’s suspension

This CLP resolves to:
– write a letter of support to Chris Williamson.


Tees Valley Unite Community

Tees Valley Unite Community Branch notes with concern the use of the term (as attributed in the media to a Labour spokesman) “downplaying” anti-Semitism in the Labour Party.

We believe that of course the Labour Party should have zero tolerance for all forms of racism.

However, accusations of “downplaying” anti-Semitism (or worse placing it on a par with anti-Semitism itself) have the potential to inhibit the freedom of all Labour Party members to discuss the issues relating to racism in the Party. They should for example be able to:

  • Challenge the assertion that the Labour Party is institutionally anti-Semitic. This has been repeated so many times that it has become established fact, despite the conclusions of the Chakrabati report and an all-party Home Affairs Select Committee that anti-Semitism and other types of racism are not endemic within Labour
  • Question whether the characterisation of the Labour Party as a racist organisation is fair or even in some cases politically motivated
  • Judge based on the data the extent of antisemitism in the Labour Party and whether the Party’s procedures and actions are effective and proportionate
  • Discuss whether the Party’s adoption of the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism is appropriate
  • Speak out on cases of injustice within the Labour Party
  • Resist any curbs on legitimate freedom of speech and any move towards a culture of denunciation

Tees Valley Unite Community Branch therefore moves to:

  • Write to Jennie Formby (Labour Party General Secretary) and Shami Chakrabarti (Shadow Attorney General) with a copy of this motion to express our solidarity with their efforts to counter all forms of racism in the Labour Party but to also to convey our concerns regarding the freedom to debate the issues.
  • Submit this motion to local Constituency Labour Parties as necessary

East London Unite Community

passed with one abstention and nobody opposing:

This branch notes that:
Chris Williamson, Labour MP for Derby North, has been suspended from the Labour Party pending an investigation into a “pattern of behaviour”.

This suspension occurred in the light of comments made by Williamson to the effect that Labour’s response to accusations of entrenched antisemitism has been unnecessarily defensive.

These comments have been interpreted by certain media and political figures as being antisemitic.

This branch believes that:
Chris Williamson is a consistent and longstanding anti-racist, who abhors antisemitism along with all forms of racism. Williamson’s comments were in no way antisemitic. Williamson’s comments reflect a legitimate point of view: that accusations of antisemitism are being weaponised by the media and certain elements within the Labour Party in order to weaken the leadership.

Chris Williamson is a valued MP and party member. The Labour Party has put in place procedures and allocated significant resources to deal with allegations of antisemitism that it has received.

This branch calls on the Labour National Executive Committee to:
Immediately lift Chris Williamson’s suspension.

This branch resolves to:

  • write a letter of support to Chris Williamson
  • submit this motion to Labour Party GCs to which we are affiliated

Birmingham Unite Community

The branch voted for two motions:

1. This branch notes with disappointment the suspension of Chris Williamson MP from the Labour Party.

Chris Williamson has been falsely accused of anti-Semitism. This is an excuse for a section of the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP), a section that has never accepted the Corbyn Leadership or the popular socialist policies put forward by that leadership, supported by the majority of the membership and for which Chris has campaigned tirelessly around the country, to demand his removal from the Party.

We therefore call upon the NEC to immediately reinstate Chris Williamson’s membership of the Labour Party.

2. Model Motion in support of equitable anti-discriminatory practice and real political accountability

This branch notes:

  • the grave effect that discrimination and false allegations have on victims of each
  • the welcome collation of statistics on complaints of anti-Semitism within the Labour Party set in place by Jennie Formby
  • the absence of similar statistics on complaints of other forms of racism and discrimination within the Labour Party, including Islamophobia
  • the evidence from independent opinion polls and surveys which shows antisemitism declining in the Labour Party since the election of Jeremy Corbyn as Leader
  • the continued overstatement of antisemitism in the Labour Party by those including a section of the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP), a section that has never accepted the Corbyn Leadership or the popular socialist policies put forward by that leadership
  • the growing concern that complaints of anti-Semitism are being used as weapons against political opponents, particularly MPs and members who support the leadership and the policies championed by that leadership
  • the recent attempt by the Deputy Leader to institute his own parallel process which threatened to undermine and prejudice the formal process and which was in grave risk of breaching the law in the form of the GDPR
  • the concern expressed by a grass roots Jewish member accusing the Deputy Leader of undermining the party by his actions (http://bit.ly/LRBTW1)
  • the welcome rebuke from the General Secretary to the Deputy Leader spelling out in no uncertain terms the position of the party

We believe that

  • all forms of discrimination are to be actively opposed wherever they occur
  • all forms of discrimination should be treated equally
  • alleged victims and alleged perpetrators should be supported and treated equally until a case is concluded
  • false claims of discrimination devalue real claims and the equalities agenda as a whole
  • false claims and complaints of discrimination must attract disciplinary action
  • all cases should be treated equitably and expeditiously
  • victims of discrimination and of unfounded claims of discrimination should be apologised to and supported by the party
  • all witch hunts should be opposed from wherever they emanate
  • wilfully overstating the existence of any prejudice or discrimination should be a disciplinary offence and should be countered by a public statement by the party clarifying the evidence
  • MPs should be subject to the same disciplinary rules as all other members
  • MPs should not grandstand and attempt to bypass the constituted Labour Party processes
  • potential candidates in internal selections and elections must not be unduly if at all prevented from participation by contrived claims
  • political debate should be encouraged over administrative gagging as a way of dealing with political disagreements
  • universal trigger ballots would definitively settle the question of whether it is the socialist policies of the leadership or the failed policies of those in the current PLP who are opposed to the leadership that best represent the view and values of Labour members.

We call upon the NEC to bring forward rule changes to reflect all of the above including:

  • to ensure as soon as possible the implementation of equitable treatment of all forms of discrimination, equal support for complainant and respondent throughout the disciplinary process and support and apologise to victims when a case is concluded
  • to urgently bring forward processes to protect candidates in selections and elections
  • to immediately implement trigger ballot procedures in all constituencies, in order to allow the Party membership to decide who should represent them in Parliament

Welsh Labour Grassroots

Statement agreed by Steering Committee of Welsh Labour Grassroots at a meeting on Sunday 3rd March, 2019.

The Welsh Labour Grassroots (WLG) Steering Committee is concerned by the suspension of Chris Williamson and by much of the public discussion of his case. We accept that the party needed to investigate the issues that gave rise to the complaint against him but we believe that the suspension and withdrawal of the whip was unfair and unnecessary and that much of the commentary by Labour politicians and media commentators misinterprets Chris Williamson’s comments and misrepresents his attitude towards anti-Semitism.

Chris Williamson has been accused of suggesting that Labour has apologised too readily to people in the Jewish community who may have experienced anti-Semitism. It seems clear to us, however, that this was not his intent; rather, he was seeking to argue that Labour politicians have often been too quick to accept questionable claims about the scale of the problem and ill-informed criticism of its handling of it, rather than accurately quantifying the incidence of reported cases* and acknowledging the party’s positive record in challenging racism, while admitting that more could still be done.

One may agree or disagree with this view, or feel that Chris Williamson should have taken greater care in the way he expressed it (as he himself appears to accept in his public apology) but it is surely well within the scope of legitimate debate. No significant Labour officer or elected representative has disputed that anti-Semitism is abhorrent or sought to deny that it exists within the Labour party. But to seek to close down any discussion about the prevalence of anti-Semitism or the best way of fighting it is to undermine Labour’s best traditions of healthy debate and to hamper efforts to root out prejudice and address the conditions that allow it to develop. The conduct of some commentators also risks creating a “hostile environment” in which anyone defending Palestinian rights and criticising the Israeli state fears being tarnished as “anti-Semitic”.

Chris Williamson has a long record of actively opposing racism and fascism in all their forms – indeed, a more impressive record in this respect than many of his detractors can claim. Like Jeremy Corbyn, he has distinguished himself by speaking his mind fearlessly on a range of issues, from Labour’s housing policy to the campaign to undermine the elected government of Venezuela. Unlike many other MPs, he has been a strong advocate of democratisation within the party and a loyal supporter of our elected Leader.

We find the ‘trial by media’ to which Chris has been subjected deeply unedifying; those who object to his comments and actions are, of course, within their rights to submit formal complaints but to air their grievances so loudly and publicly can only undermine Labour at a time when we should be united in holding the Tory government to account and risks denying Chris Williamson a fair hearing.

We note that the Labour NEC decided some time ago to abandon the automatic use of administrative suspension pending the outcome of a disciplinary complaint, in all but the most serious cases (such as when the member in question poses some sort of ongoing threat to others). We see no justification for suspending Chris Williamson and call for his suspension to be ended and the whip restored.

WLG remains implacably opposed to anti-Semitism, along with all other forms of racism, such as Islamophobia, and bigotry and prejudice of any kind. We offer our unconditional solidarity to all those who encounter such hatred, regardless of whether we otherwise agree with them politically. We believe that all cases of anti-Semitic abuse should continue to be dealt with through the party’s disciplinary procedures and we applaud the steps taken under Jeremy Corbyn and Jennie Formby to implement the Chakrabarti recommendations, including the expansion of the NCC to deal with cases more quickly, as well as the efforts made to educate our members about the issue.

We believe, however, that the tone of public discussion on this issue often militates against the kind of frank and serious discussion needed to develop effective solutions. The strident calls for punitive action against Chris Williamson are an unhealthy symptom of this problem and we believe he deserves our support in seeking a fair hearing.

ENDS.

*Statistics published by the General Secretary reveal that, over the last ten months, complaints received have led to 453 members being investigated for anti-Semitism; it has been pointed out that this amounts to 1/12th of 1% of the total party membership.


Brent Trades Council

This Trades Council condemns the decision of the Labour Party to suspend Chris Williamson MP for his remarks at a Sheffield Momentum meeting.
We do not believe that what Chris Williamson said was antisemitic and while insisting on opposition to actual antisemitism we believe that allegations are often used to smear critics of Israel and supporters of the Palestinians.

Labour Against the Witchhunt

The suspension of Chris Williamson MP is an absolute disgrace. We stand in full solidarity with Chris, who must be cleared as soon as possible by Labour’s “investigation” – though judging by how Jackie Walker, Marc Wadsworth, Tony Greenstein, Ken Livingstone and many, many more Corbyn supporters have been thrown under the bus, we have very little confidence that he will receive a fair one.

He is the latest victim of the witch-hunt by the right in the party whose main target is, of course, Jeremy Corbyn himself.

Jeremy Corbyn recently said: “Chris Williamson is a very good, very effective Labour MP. He’s a very strong anti-racist campaigner. He is not anti-Semitic.” Corbyn was right. He should finally stand up and tell people like Jon Lansman and John McDonnell to stop joining in the witch-hunt – but support the thousands of left-wingers who have been investigated, suspended and expelled, many of them on false accusations of anti-Semitism.

This campaign to equate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism will only get worse, the closer we get to a general election. Trying to appease the right clearly does not work. If you fight, you might loose – but if you don’t fight, you have already lost.


Jewish Voice for Labour

We are shocked at the suspension from the Labour Party of Derby North MP Chris Williamson, despite his apology.

As a Jewish organisation we condemn antisemitism unreservedly. And, of course, we support robust measures to deal with any instances.

Like Chris Williamson we stand in a long tradition of opposition to all forms of racism, including antisemitism. We support the statement in which he apologised to anyone hurt by his words.   But we agree with him that the number of instances of antisemitism in the Labour Party, though small relative to its size, is still too high. Any antisemite in the Party is one too many.

Williamson based his statement on the official statistics published by the General Secretary of the Party, Jennie Formby. They confirm that over the last 10 months complaints received led to 453 cases being investigated for antisemitism. This represents 1/12th of 1% of the membership. There is no wave of antisemitism in the Party.

The existence of antisemitism in the Party, as everywhere in society, is not in doubt. It needs to be contested, and the Party’s beefed up disciplinary processes are doing just that. But these figures, and the experience of the hundreds of our Jewish members in the Labour Party, give the lie to the false narrative that the Party is rife with antisemitism. Such a description bears no resemblance to reality.

The flood of exaggerated claims of antisemitism make it harder to deal with any real instances of antisemitism. The credibility of well-founded allegations is undermined by the less credible ones and real perpetrators are more likely not to be held to account. Crying wolf is dangerous when there are real wolves around the corner.

This was the reality that Chris Williamson was drawing attention to. His suspension from the party is unjust and should be rescinded.


Labour Party Marxists

Suspending Chris Williamson MP is an outrage, writes Carla Roberts. You might have thought that the retreats and concessions to the right from the Labour leadership could not get any worse, but what happened on February 27 surely takes the biscuit.

Chris Williamson MP was suspended by general secretary Jennie Formby over “remarks about the party’s handling of anti-Semitism”, as the BBC put it. So what exactly did he say? Speaking at a meeting of Sheffield Momentum, he had ventured the opinion that “we have backed off far too much, we have given too much ground, we have been too apologetic”. Labour has been “demonised as a racist, bigoted party”, when, in reality, “we’ve done more to address the scourge of anti-Semitism than any political party”.

If anything, Williamson himself was “too apologetic”. Labour has not been hit by any “scourge of anti-Semitism”: what we have seen is a concerted witch-hunt against Corbyn supporters and the left, in which ‘anti-Semitism’ has been weaponised and equated with anti-Zionism. Several high-profile figures have been accused of anti-Semitism, but in none of their cases has the accusation been upheld. It is true that some clearly anti-Jewish comments from people claiming to be Labour members have featured on social media, but only 12 have been expelled (including a Jewish comrade who simply refused to cooperate with the kangaroo court). Even if we assume that all 12 were actually guilty, why should we describe this as a “scourge”? (full article here)


Labour Representation Committee

By Jay Blackwood (“The LRC agrees with Jay 100%”)

Following a fiery speech at a Momentum event in Sheffield, MP Chris Williamson is once again in the sights of the Blairites and their appeasers on the soft left of the party. The BBC sums up the latest attacks against him as follows:

Veteran Labour MP Dame Margaret Hodge said “nothing less” than suspending the MP would do, while ex-leader Ed Miliband suggested it was a “test” for the party about how serious it was about dealing with the issue of anti-Semitism within its ranks.

Tom Watson has predictably joined the feeding frenzy, following Hodge’s demand that Chris is immediately suspended from the party.

One would think, reading these and similar attacks, that Chris is a proven antisemite. You know, in much the same way that Boris Johnson’s comments about “picaninnies” and letter-boxes prove that he is an unrepentant racist – something for which he continues to get a free pass in the media and the Tory Party.

So what is the latest evidence that Chris is an antisemite (or a “fucking antisemite” as Hodge called her own party leader last year, for which she escaped without any disciplinary sanction whatsoever)? According to the Yorkshire Post, which reported on the event, Chris’s offending comments were as follows:

The party that has done more to stand up to racism is now being demonised as a racist, bigoted party. I have got to say I think our party’s response has been partly responsible for that, because in my opinion…we have backed off too much, we have given too much ground, we have been too apologetic.

The reality is that most Labour Party members – include this blogger – would wholeheartedly agree with Chris’s words. I have not seen a single shred of evidence from his speech to justify the vile slurs now being thrown in his direction. Condemning the party’s supine response to the campaign of vilification conducted by the Blairites, the Israel lobby and the mainstream media is not in any way antisemitic.

In fact, Chris made his feelings on antisemitism crystal clear in August last year, describing it as “utterly repugnant and a scourge on society, which is why I stand in absolute solidarity with anyone who is subjected to antisemitic abuse”. That is about as forthright and unambiguous as you can get. But of course it’s not enough to satisfy Tom Watson, Margaret Hodge and the like.

I have seen nothing to support the accusation that Chris Williamson is an antisemite, and much to support the proposition that he is a consistent, principled opponent of racism in all its forms.

But of course the attacks on Williamson have nothing to do with genuine concern about genuine antisemitism, which is on the rise across the world and spreading across social media like a disease. It is rather all about ensuring that the focus remains on Labour’s supposed ‘internal problems’, rather than on the murderous Tory regime of austerity.

So it was no surprise to see a large segment of today’s politics show on the BBC given over to a friendly discussion between Laura Kuenssberg and a Labour Shadow Cabinet minister about how severely Williamson should be punished for openly questioning the Labour/antisemitism narrative. In this context Chris’s apology, doubtless extorted from him by the usual suspects, was just more grist to the mill.

I have consistently argued on this blog that no amount of appeasement will satisfy the MPs who are using the antisemitism issue to undermine the party. Making concessions simply plays into their hands, providing them with more publicity and more material from which to spin their bizarre narrative. Sadly, Corbyn and McDonnell have set the tone on this, with cringe-worthy displays of hand-wringing contrition around an issue which has largely been invented by the mainstream media.

The anti-Corbyn wing of the Parliamentary Labour Party will not be satisfied till Jeremy and his supporters have been hounded from office. They would rather see Labour out of power for ten years than countenance the election of a Corbyn government – even if that means ten more years of grinding poverty for working class people. Failing that, they want at the very least to see Corbyn and his inner circle firmly brought to heal.

For the anti-Corbyn MPs, the antisemitism ‘issue’ is just a useful weapon in their campaign to undermine Corbyn’s newly radicalised party.

If I was facing real antisemites on the street I know who I’d rather have fighting alongside me. It wouldn’t be useful idiots like Hodge, Watson or Miliband. It would be real anti-racists like Chris Williamson and Marc Wadsworth.

We cannot continue to play along with the fiction that antisemitism is a major problem inside the Labour Party. We have to call that out, as Chris Williamson has done, while continuing to oppose real antisemitism wherever we find it – just as we consistently oppose all forms of racism. We need to end the witch hunts, and reinstate Marc Wadsworth, who is currently having to pursue his case through the courts.

We need to stand up and support – loudly and proudly – good anti-racist MPs and activists like Chris Williamson, Jackie Walker and Marc Wadsworth when they’re slandered by the mainstream media. And we need to break, once and for all, from the foolish strategy of appeasement that has led us down this suicidal path.


Campaign for Labour Party Democracy

1. CLPD exposes all forms of antisemitism and racism

2. CLPS notes the personal statement from Chris Williamson MP.

3. CLPD does not believe Chris Williamson MP should be expelled from the Labour Party.

4. CLPD will circulate that statement at bit.ly/dontexpelchriswilliamson

 


Socialist Appeal

Left-wing Labour MP Chris Williamson has become the latest victim of the Blairite witch hunt. The Derby North MP was suspended from the party yesterday, following an hysterical outcry from the right wing of the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP).

Rank-and-file members of the labour movement must rally to defend Williamson against these slanderous attacks. We cannot allow this smear campaign against the left to continue any longer. Enough is enough. (full statement here)


Sheffield Labour Left

Sheffield Labour Left stands in full solidarity with Chris Williamson MP.

Any allegations that Chris is enabling or minimising anti-Semitism are not only unfounded, but part of a hostile and anti-democratic campaign. As Jeremy Corbyn recently said: “Chris Williamson is a very good, very effective Labour MP. He’s a very strong anti-racist campaigner. He is not anti-Semitic.”

Of course, allegations of anti-Semitism should be dealt with, but this should follow due process. Any false and trumped up allegations to score political points against Corbyn and his supporters, however, must also come to an end.

Solidarity with Chris! For Socialism!

We condemn the suspension of Jo Bird and the appointment of Lord Falconer

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UPDATE: Jo Bird’s suspension was lifted on March 15, though apparently she was given a ‘warning’ – for telling jokes!

Labour Against the Witchhunt unreservedly condemns the suspension from the Labour Party of Jewish councillor for Bromborough Jo Bird. At a Justice4Marc meeting last year in Manchester (in solidarity with Marc Wadsworth) she made a light-hearted comment, stating: “Jewish Voice For Labour is calling for disciplinary hearings to be paused until a due process has been established, based on principles of natural justice. What I call Jew process”.

Clearly, the context of that quote shows that her joke was not anti-Semitic at all – but the exact opposite.

Coming so soon after the suspension of Chris Williamson MP on equally baseless grounds, we are concerned that the small positive reforms of the disciplinary process introduced by general secretary Jennie Formby have been rolled back. We are seeing the return of automatic suspensions, even before an investigation has started. And again, they are used almost exclusively against left-wing supporters of Corbyn. Tom Watson, Margaret Hodge, Joan Ryan and Louise Ellman on the other hand get away with insulting and undermining Jeremy Corbyn and the party without any consequence. This is clearly not a fair process.

We are also greatly concerned with the plan to appoint Lord Falconer to “re-investigate” cases of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party. As an ally of Tony Blair, a member of his war cabinet and the lawyer whose legal advice helped to break up the National Union of Mineworkers, we believe he is most certainly not the right man for the job. His interview in the Sunday Times shows that he is also far from impartial on this issue: “The most frightening thing is the profound and almost universal sense within the Jewish community that the Labour Party and Jeremy Corbyn are anti-Semitic. They feel they are not safe … because the potential prime minister and the main opposition party are anti-Semitic.”

This is nonsense. Firstly, there is no hegemonic “Jewish community”. There are pro-Zionist Jews and there anti- or non-Zionist Jews – those like Jo Bird, Jackie Walker, Tony Greenstein and the thousands organised in groups like Jewish Voice for Labour, Jewish Socialist Group etc. They certainly do not feel “unsafe” in the Labour Party. It is a story spun by the right-wing in the Labour Party, in cahoots with non-Labour organisations like the Board of Deputies and the Israeli embassy – who are united in their desire to get rid of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party.

We believe these recent, bad decisions of the Labour leadership are the direct consequence of the formation of the so-called The Independent Group. Eager to stop any more right-wingers from splitting from the party, the leadership is bending over backwards once more. We are even hearing that the reformed trigger ballots are being put on hold to avoid any challenges to sitting MPs –despite the fact that this policy was agreed at Labour Party conference 2018.  But the last three and a half years show: Appeasement does not work. Every time the leadership takes a step back, the right makes two steps forward.

As Ken Loach, one of LAW’s sponsors said: “If it looks like a witch hunt and behaves like a witch hunt – it may well be just that. This is intolerable and must end now.”

Kevin Higgins’ poem, censored by the Morning Star

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Listening Exercise
after John McDonnell

When you paint hatred on my garden wall
and front door, I will read your words
with great interest.

When you try to burn my house down
I will listen to what the flames are saying.

Every lie you tell against me
I’ll help you spread
by earnestly, and in detail, answering your questions
about it over and over again.

When you burst through my living room door
with a chainsaw intended for me,
I’ll pour you a nice cup of tea
and say: let’s talk about this.

When the tumours come for me
I’ll know their opinion must be taken
absolutely on board.

And when the beetles and bacilli
begin to consume me,
I’ll realise I’ve long seen
their point of view.

Kevin Higgins

On Thursday, Kevin Higgins’ poem ‘Listening Exercise’ (above) – concerning the ‘massive listening exercise’ called for by UK Shadow chancellor John McDonnell amid accusations of antisemitism against the British Labour Party and its leader Jeremy Corbyn – was published on Broadsheet, on the UK based site Culture Matters, and online in The Morning Star newspaper.

It was also to appear in the Morning Star‘s print edition last Saturday.

Before some high level politics intervened.

1) E-mail received from Cliff Cocker (Arts Editor of the Morning Star) Thursday, February 28.

Hi Kevin

Timely and spot-on. Will try and get online asap and in paper on Sat.

Cheers

Cliff

2) E-mail received from Cliff Cocker (Arts Editor of the Morning Star) Friday, March 1st, 9.17am

Hi Kevin

Here it is, in print tomorrow. Cheers C

3) Email received from Ben Chacko (editor of the Morning Star) March 1, 1:04pm

Dear Kevin,

I’m afraid I’ve pulled this poem because things are on a knife-edge in the shadow cabinet and at the moment our friends there advise exacerbating divisions would make things worse.

I do appreciate the poem and the many biting poems that you have written for us, but the sensitivities right now mean publishing it in the Morning Star would in our view feed the divisions that the right are trying to exploit.

That doesn’t mean we will stop fighting back against bogus accusations and we will be continuing a robust defence of Chris Williamson and attacks on the so-called Independent Group, but we just feel targeting John in this way now is not the right approach for us.

I hope you aren’t too angry that this time I want to hold back and that you are OK with continuing to publish poetry in the paper.

Solidarity and all the best,

Ben Chacko

Kevin says:

“It is great to know that my poems are being read by member’s of Jeremy Corbyn’s Shadow Cabinet. This poem was intended as friendly advice for Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, albeit that it is satirically delivered, as is my way.

I understand the pressures people are under at the moment, and am in no way angry at the editors of The Morning Star for the action they felt they had to take here. I plan to continue published poems in The Morning Star, as I have since they asked me for my satire on Tony Blair in 2015.

I do stand over the poem which I wrote while eating lunch last Friday week in the Arabica Coffee Shop on Dominick Street, immediately before one of my poetry workshops at Galway Arts Centre…”

Kevin Higgins