Sign the petition: No to a national government! Implement the trigger ballot now!

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We are deeply worried about the delay to implement the trigger ballots, which Labour Party conference 2018 voted to reform. Trigger ballots are currently the only way in which Labour Party members can exercise some democratic control over their parliamentary representative.

This is particularly worrying with talks of a snap election or, worse, the formation of a national government. No doubt, Jeremy Corbyn would not be invited to join – let alone lead – such a national government, as the vast majority of MPs in the Parliamentary Labour Party have proven over and over again how deeply hostile they are to him and his politics.

The PLP must change and Labour Party members must be allowed to exercise the right to hold their representatives to account!

This is an issue that is of course closely related to our campaign: The witch-hunt against left-wingers in the Labour Party is chiefly a campaign by the PLP and the right in and outside the party to get rid of Jeremy Corbyn by smearing him and his supporters as anti-Semitic.

In January, the Labour Party’s NEC commissioned general secretary Jennie Formby to urgently issue guidelines on how to launch trigger ballots (without such guidelines, CLPs cannot launch proceedings). But then we saw the ‘Independents’ around Chukka Umanna and Luciana Berger split and Tom Watson started to gather his troops. The Guardian reported at the end of February that in an “attempt to stop further defections, Labour could delay the start of re-election battles” and that “Labour is set to put back the start of the formal MP selection process, due to begin in a few weeks, which could have led to vast numbers of MPs facing deselection.”

It seems they knew what they were talking about: The March NEC has come and gone and there are still no guidelines… It would be a disaster if Labour Party HQ has yet again chosen a path of appeasement. Surely the last three and a half years have shown that this does not work! For every step back the left takes, the right makes two steps forward! That’s why we have launched this petition, which has been signed by almost 600 people in less than 24 hours – please sign and share it widely! This is a democratic issue that goes right to the heart of the fight for Labour’s future!


No to a national government! Implement the trigger ballot now!

Sign the petition here

We are members and supporters of the Labour Party who support Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership. We believe that with the ongoing chaos over Brexit, there is a real possibility of another snap general election.

While we welcome such an election, we believe there are some real dangers:

1.) Unless the makeup of the Parliamentary Labour Party dramatically changes to more accurately reflect the will and composition of the membership, Jeremy Corbyn could well be held prisoner by a majority of MPs who are deeply hostile to the Corbyn project. As soon as Jeremy Corbyn was elected Labour leader, a majority of Labour MPs plotted against him and attempted to sabotage every move. A witch-hunt was launched – backed by the Tory government and the media – which has seen thousands of members investigated, suspended and expelled.

2.) There is also a danger that anti-Corbyn Labour MPs will join some form of national government – to stop Jeremy Corbyn from becoming prime minister. The PLP must change to stop such an outcome.

We therefore call on the Labour Party NEC to urgently launch guidelines and a timetable to help branches and CLPs to get ready in case a snap election is called. Labour Party conference 2018 voted for trigger ballot reforms – although the overwhelming majority of members actually voted in favour of the much more democratic ‘open selection’ of all parliamentary candidates. It would be deeply undemocratic to deny members the chance to decide on who should represent them (as happened at the snap election in 2017, when CLPs were told the sitting MP would simply remain in place without any democratic input by the local members).

Background: How do the reformed trigger ballots work?

Labour Party conference 2018 voted to introduce two separate trigger ballots: one for all the branches of a CLP, another one for all local affiliates (trade unions, socialist societies, cooperative organisations).

Once the NEC has published its timetable (and only then) are members and affiliates asked to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to retaining the sitting MP as the only candidate. If 33 % of a CLP’s branches or 33 % of the CLP’s affiliates vote ‘no’, then a full selection process starts – ie, a democratic contest between different candidates, including the sitting MP. Only full Labour Party members have a vote in this next stage of the process.

We will be publishing model motions on this issue soon, see www.labouragainstthewitchhunt.org

Sign the petition here

Mail on Sunday finally apologises to Ken Livingstone!

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Thanks to everybody who complained to the Mail on Sunday about its malicious and misleading article about our meeting ‘Defend the Left’ on March 25. On April 4, the rag has finally apologised to Ken Livingstone (which was printed in the April 7 edition of the Mail on Sunday):

Ken Livingstone said: “A massive thank you to the 1000s of people who gave their support over the last few days & to those who complained to the Mail on Sunday regarding their complete distortion of my recent remarks.

The correction is welcome, but does not change the fact that 1000s of people saw – & other media outlets reprinted – these lies.

We must continue to challenge how parts of the media act, spreading lie after lie, with little regard for the truth, and not be deterred in our campaigning for a better society, for the many not the few.”

The Mail apology reads: “An earlier version of this article incorrectly reported that Mr Livingstone had said it was not anti-Semitic to hate the Jews of Israel. In fact he told the meeting the claim he had said such a thing was one of the lies being spread about him. We apologise for this error.”


This is how we broke the story on Sunday March 31:

Glen Owen, political editor of the Mail on Sunday (March 31) has watched the video of our excellent meeting ‘Defend the Left’ – and still manages to utterly and dishonestly misquote Ken Livingstone.

Even in the headline, he charges Ken with having said: “It is not anti-Semitic to hate the Jews of Israel.” But clearly, Ken only listed this as one of the ridiculous charges made against him!

This is how the Mail on Sunday quotes Ken in its full article:

“‘Jeremy Corbyn’s office did not want it to happen. It was about distracting … this is endemic if you have a genuine socialist leader who is going to transform things for ordinary people and make the bloody corporations pay their fair share of tax – they will do whatever is necessary to stop you. And that means lies and smears in most of the West. In other parts of the world it can mean assassination.’

The former Mayor of London continued: ‘It’s not anti-Semitic to hate the Jews of Israel and you can’t have a proper functioning democracy in a world in which the media, whether it’s the press or internet, can just spread lie after lie after lie.”

This is gutter journalism of the worst kind. Here is what Ken Livingstone actually said at our meeting – in the correct context (while discussing John Mann MP harassing him):

“He [John Mann] starts shouting in my face that I’m a Nazi apologist. He then goes on television and says that I said Hitler was a Zionist. How can a man who loathes Jews be a Zionist? But because it was all filmed on telly, it went global. And it wasn’t just that, soon you could see it all over on the internet that I said, ‘Jews are like Nazis’ and ‘It’s not anti-Semitic to hate Jews of Israel.’

You can’t have a proper functioning democracy in a world in which the media can spread lie after lie after lie.”

Clearly, Ken Livingstone was reporting what John Mann MP had accused him of – he ridiculed these charges, because they were so absurd! This article clearly underlines the point that Ken was making: The media “can spread lie after lie after lie.”

Proof of Ken Livingstone’s speech can be found in our video here, from 14.20mins.

Continue Reading “Mail on Sunday finally apologises to Ken Livingstone!”

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. Please note that there is NO BAN on discussing motions in support of Chris. We are dealing with the confusion on this matter in detail here. This is LAW’s statement on Chris’ suspension.
  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.

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”

Michael Rosen on Richard Burgon: Zionism, Zionists, Katzism

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(republished from Facebook)

Richard Burgon MP has apologised for saying that Zionism is an ‘enemy of peace’. Leaving that to one side for the moment, let’s look at the argument for why Burgon needed to apologise. Here it is:

——

“Mike Katz, chair of the Jewish Labour Movement,said the vast majority of Jewish people identified as Zionists.

“Insulting a core part of their identity and then dissembling about it… [Burgon claimed he hadn’t said that Zionism was an enemy to peace]… is shameful behaviour from a senior frontbencher in our party, let alone someone who aspires to administer our justice system,” he said.”

—–

This ups the stakes.

MPs (anyone else?) must not ‘insult’ Zionism because it is a ‘core part’ of the ‘identity’ of the ‘vast majority of Jewish people’.

In other words it ups the stakes in what can or can’t be said about Zionism, Zionists and the ‘vast majority’ of Jews. Bear in mind that for many decades in the 19th and 20th centuries, there was active, open debate by Jews (and others) about Zionism. Of course there was! Zionism is a political idea. Can’t we argue about Zionism? Any Jews like my parents, who lived in London’s East End throughout the 1920s and 30s, regularly had debates about Zionism and of course there were times when either side might have said that there were ‘insults’ flying. But no one could have closed down the argument on the basis that it wasn’t really an argument, but it was, as Katz has implied, an argument against the core of people’s identity. Or if they did, you couldn’t get away with saying, ‘How dare you say that Zionism is an enemy of peace! Zionism is a core part of my identity, you have just insulted me, Zionists and (because the vast majority of Jews are Zionists) Jews.’ Yes, yes, yes, people would have said, now let’s get on with the political argument about whether it is or is not an ‘enemy of peace’.

But to claim that things can’t be said in this debate because it’s a matter of personal identity – as Katz has done – is a way to close down the debate altogether.

On this specific matter, what Mike Katz is saying is that a person shouldn’t say that ‘Zionism is an enemy of peace’. Just don’t say it! It cannot be said. It’s an unsayable thing. Note that he doesn’t offer an argument against it. He simply says a) that it is ‘shameful behaviour’ and b) that it is an ‘insult’ (ie not an argument or point of view) on the grounds that c) for the ‘vast majority of Jews’, Israel is a ‘core part of their identity’.

Potentially, if we are to follow the Katz rule, this could remove whole areas of debate about Israel from discussion. Yet, when the IHRA code was introduced we heard over and over again how this wasn’t a restriction on criticism of Israel. OK, so Katz isn’t talking about criticism of Israel, he’s talking about criticism of ‘Zionism’ – which he has subtly turned into ‘Zionists’ – who mustn’t hear comments like ‘Zionism is the enemy of peace’. Is that because it’s racist? Or antisemitic? Does Katz really think that?

Meanwhile let’s conjure up this Mike Katz Argument-Free Zone. What are we allowed to say about Zionism in this Zone? What instructions does Katz have for us so that we don’t receive his censure? What is this new doctrine?

(By the way, there are millions of Zionists who aren’t Jews. In the US alone there are millions of ‘Christian Zionists’ who are ‘dispensationalists’. These are people who believe that it’s not long now before the Messiah will come again (Second Coming). But this depends on more Jews, most Jews or all Jews going to Israel. At this point the Messiah will come again and all people will convert to this form of Christianity. Those who don’t will be put to the sword. All those who are now believers will ascend to heaven in what is known as ‘The Rapture’.

If you think I’ve made this up, please look up “Christian Zionism” and “Dispensationalism” on wikipedia. Actually, the entry on “Anti-zionism” is very interesting too because it tells the story of who in the 19th and 20th centuries were against Zionism and why. It will be surprising for some to read, for example, that some of the most vocal anti-Zionists were the more conservative and ‘assimilated’ Jews who thought that Zionism would evoke the accusation that they had dual loyalties, or they weren’t really attached to Britain or the USA. Interesting read…)

Chris Jury: Another attempt to smear a socialist

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We are republishing this article by Chris Jury, because it shows very vividly how the civil war in the Labour Party is being fought: with anonymous accusations, nonsense charges and allegations sent directly to the right-wing press. Respect to comrade Jury for publishing this online – we hope it gives others who have been falsely accused the courage to speak out publicly, too.

Anti-Semitism Accusations Get Very Close To Home!

I agreed to stand as a Labour Party paper candidate for Bidford West and Salford Ward in the Stratford Upon Avon District Council elections.

Today (9th April) I received the email below from The Daily Mail!

The journalist made it clear that he had not searched out the story of my candidacy and my support of the Palestinian cause but that it had been ‘brought to his attention’.  Someone purposefully either emailed him or called him.

Seems likely this will be someone locally (Hi Jeff… ) Seems also likely this might be in response to my posting on the LP forum regarding Jason Fojtik’s recent resignation from the party.

So can it be possible that a member or former member of Stratford Upon Avon CLP is willing to abuse the memory of the 6 million in a petty political squabble in Stratford Upon Avon CLP? I mean really!?

 


Dear Mr Jury,

We are considering running a story about your candidacy for the Labour party, in the light of some of the posts you have made on social media with respect to Israel and Zionism.

In your writing, you appear to:

-Suggest that the ‘Israeli embassy’ is orchestrating the anti-Semitism crisis in Labour, in conjunction with moderate Labour MPs

-Allege that the same are exploiting the memory of Holocaust victims for political ends

-Argue that the complaints about anti-Semitism in Labour are trumped up to undermine the Labour leadership

-Compare Israel to the Nazis

I’d be grateful if you are able to get back to me by the end of the day with a response please.

Very best wishes

Jake Wallis Simon
Associate Global Editor

 

 


This is my reply in full:

Hi Jake

Thanks for getting in touch. I am a paper candidate for a tiny ward in the Stratford-on-Avon District Council elections and find it extraordinary, if not a little unnerving, to receive this email from you. I would have thought that in these politically turbulent times a national newspaper would have far more important fish to fry? Hey ho, on we go…

In response to your questions:

I understand anti-semitism to be a form of racism in which people hate Jews simply for being Jews. In light of the tragic history of the Jewish people particularly in Christian Europe and particularly in light of the Nazi Holocaust, anti-semitism like all forms of racism, is a moral evil that can have genocidal consequences and has to be purposefully fought and challenged whenever and wherever it appears in our society.

I was a teenager in the 1970’s when I first learned of the Holocaust. The knowledge of the horrific consequences of anti-Semitism in Germany in the 30’s and 40’s had a profound effect on my political beliefs and is perhaps the single most important historical factor in motivating me to fight all my life against the abuse of power and for human rights and social justice.

Historically the Labour Party was a proud supporter of the formation of the state of Israel and the fight against racism of all kinds is at the core of Labour Party values. I myself have never seen any substantive evidence of anti-semitism within the Labour Party. I have not only never witnessed it in person but even after repeated requests to colleagues in the party I have never seen or been shown any substantive evidence of anti-semitism in the Labour Party. Indeed, throughout 40 years involvement in UK politics I have also never heard anyone in person or in the media express any significant concerns about anti-semitism within the Labour Party…  until Jeremy Corbyn was elected as leader of the Labour Party.

The Labour Party has 500,000 members and I know only a few hundred of them so I obviously cannot claim that there are literally no anti-semites in the Labour Party, only that I have never seen any evidence of it nor ever heard in 40 years of engagement with popular political discourse, that it is has historically been a particular problem in the Labour Party.

Yet since Jeremy Corbyn was elected as leader of the Labour Party this issue has exploded as a major concern?

The evidence presented in the Al Jazeera programme The Lobby, seems to suggest that the Israeli Embassy has played a proactive role in promoting the idea that the LP has a particular problem with anti-semitism. Personally I  think it is entirely legitimate for them to do so. Any government including our own, involves itself in covert or semi-covert propaganda operations in order to protect what it sees as its own interests. However, IF the Israeli Embassy has played such a role it is also perfectly legitimate to point that out, especially as it may partly explain how and why this issue has come to such prominence since Corbyn was elected.

Corbyn has fought racism, including anti-semitism, all his life. Historically he has close and cordial links to the Jewish community in his constituency and nationally. Yet members of his own party are openly and publicly calling him an anti-semite? Can they seriously believe he has all this time been a secret anti-semite or that overnight he has suddenly become an anti-semite? If not, if in fact they actually know he is not an anti-semite, then they are at the very least being disingenuous…

Except of course that Jeremy Corbyn has for many years been an active supporter of the Palestinian cause…  As indeed has almost everyone expelled from the LP or under investigation by the LP for anti-semitism. Can this be a coincidence?

Many Israeli’s and indeed many Jews in the diaspora, regard the Palestinian claim to the land of Israel (and by extension those who support that claim) as an existential threat to a Jewish state of Israel. Again this is not irrational because IF the Palestinians do indeed have a legitimate right to live on the land that is Israel then this would have consequences regarding the legitimacy of an entirely Jewish Israel. So I can entirely understand why some would regard support for the Palestinian cause as representing a threat to a Jewish Israel, and by extension as a threat to the Jewish people globally and thus by extension as being ‘anti-semetic’ because through these extensions supporting the Palestinian cause can be seen as a threat to Jews.

However, personally I do not oppose Israel or even a Jewish state of Israel, I simply support the Palestinian cause. I believe that just as the Jewish people are entitled to live at peace in their traditional homeland so are the Palestinians.

The memory of the 6 million is of profound importance for all of us fighting racism and fighting for social justice. To seriously accuse someone of being an anti-semite is to accuse them of THE most serious of moral crimes, perhaps only equalled by accusations of being a paedophile. To suggest that someone is an anti-semite is to suggest they implicitly condone the Holocaust or at the very least are ignorant of the genocidal implications of their anti-semitism. Thus if you accuse someone of being an antisemite when you know them not to be anti-semite, or have no credible evidence that they are, and especially if you do so for petty political ends, then that is an abuse of the tragic memory of the 6 million.

I have never compared the actions of the state of Israel to the Nazis and would never do so. But those fallacious comparisons only arise because of the plight of the Palestinians and are an attempt to draw attention to the tragic analogies between the actions of the state of Israel in the 21st Century and the state of Germany in the 1930’s and 40’s. Many mainstream Israeli politicians use openly racist language about the Palestinians in public discourse, the state of Israel uses immense military power to subdue an unarmed civilian population and across the world purposeful attempts are made to ruin the reputations of any who support the Palestinian cause by accusing them of being anti-semites… the most awful of moral slurs.

The scale of the Holocaust and the industrialisation of mass murder make it a uniquely horrific episode in human history and we must all fight to ensure that it doesn’t happen again, and not just that it doesn’t ever happen to Jews again, but that it doesn’t happen to any people anywhere on the globe whether it be Serbia, Rwanda or even Palestine.

Chris Jury


Mr Wallis Simon seemed to find this to be a too comprehensive answer and asked instead for ‘a paragraph’ in response to these serious and multiple accusations! So I sent him this:

“I was a teenager in the 1970’s when I first learned of the genocidal consequences of anti-Semitism in Nazi Germany and it had a profound effect on my political beliefs and has motivated me to fight against the abuse of power and for human rights all my life. Historically the Labour Party was and is a proud supporter of the formation of the Jewish state of Israel and the fight against racism of all kinds is at the core of Labour Party values. The Labour Party has 500,000 members and I know only a few hundred of them so I obviously cannot claim that there are literally no anti-semites in the Labour Party, only that I have never seen any substantive evidence that it is a particularly prevalent problem in the Labour Party and certainly not a problem on a scale that could warrant the sustained level of attack on the party over the three years since Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader. As to Israel I believe that just as Israeli Jews are entitled to live at peace in their traditional homeland so are the Palestinians.”

If you read anything else he’s made it up.

NUS disqualification: Worrying misapplication of IHRA definition of Anti-Semitism

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We are republishing this Facebook post, because it shows how the ‘definition’ of anti-Semitism published by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance is being misused to silences supporters of the Palestinians… Once an accusation has been made, it is easy to trash the reputation of somebody – even if, as in this case, the accusations have been proven to be false.

Zeid Haj Hassan Truscott

*** Statement responding to my election disqualification ***

On Friday 5th April at 4:53pm I received an email from the Chief Returning Officer (CRO) of NUS that stating that I had publicly made antisemitic comments (whilst a candidate in an NUS election) at a Palestine Solidarity Campaign event on Saturday 30 March 2019. I was informed that the complaint had been referred to the CRO for investigation and that the complaint against me had been upheld. This investigation took place without me even knowing that a complaint had been made against me, and without me being aware of the details of the complaint or being asked whether I had in fact made any such comments.

I was asked by the CRO to apologise publicly for the comments or to clarify my position if I did not make the comments. I was told that I must do so by 4pm on Monday and failure to do so would result in my disqualification from the election. I immediately replied asking for more information about the complaint and the specific details of the comments I was alleged to have made because I knew that I had not made any such comments. I was told again that the complaint related to comments made at the PSC event. I then wrote again asking for a copy of the complaint, the evidence on which it was based, a copy of the complaint determination and a copy of the rules governing the consideration of complaints and the right to review or appeal any decision. I asked why I had not been allowed a right of reply before the complaint was upheld against me.

I subsequently sent both a copy of a video of me speaking at the PSC event and a transcript of my speech to the CRO. I stated clearly that I oppose antisemitism and I strongly refute and deny any charge of antisemitism made against me. I also provided my statement from last week condemning and rejecting anti-Semitism. On receipt of this information the CRO accepted that I had not made any antisemitic comments at the event but I was informed that because of the high level of interest in the issue and my candidacy I was still required to publicly confirm that I was willing and able to uphold the values and policies of the NUS and most particularly the IHRA definition of antisemitism in public life. I made a clear and unequivocal statement to this effect. I also explained that I had concerns about the potential impact of the IHRA on the free speech of Arab and BME communities. I shared a link to a letter from The Independent newspaper which reflected the concern of primarily African, Arab, Asian and Caribbean organisations about the impact of the IHRA on their right to voice legitimate concerns about Israel’s violations of the rights of Palestinians.

The CRO’s decision to disqualify me from the election despite accepting that the complaint made against me was without substance and that I had not made any antisemitic comments at the PSC event is fundamentally flawed and unfair. I have publicly confirmed that I accept and will abide by the policies of the NUS including its democratic decision to adopt the IHRA definition of antisemitism. I understand I was disqualified for sharing the concern of African, Arab, Asian and Caribbean communities about the potential impact upon those wishing to express solidarity with the struggle of the Palestinians. Expressing legitimate concerns about the potential impact of the IHRA is not prohibited by the IHRA. I am entitled, as an individual member of NUS, to voice constructive, legitimate concerns about its’ policies as is all of its student membership.

I believe that I was unfairly disqualified following a process which was flawed from the beginning; where a complaint was upheld against me without me even knowing that a complaint had been made let alone the content of the complaint. My disqualification has chilling implications for all those wishing to express legitimate concerns about the treatment of the Palestinians at a time when the need to do so could not be greater.

Reinstate Jackie Walker! Sign the letter the Guardian refused to print

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Sign the letter online here.

The Guardian has refused to print this letter signed by almost 400 people within 48 hours of Jackie’s expulsion (including Noam Chomsky, Guardian cartoonist Steve Bell, Alexei Sayle and Ken Livingstone). It deems the issue “sensitive” and “controversial”. We believe the real controversy is that hundreds of good socialists and anti-Zionists like Jackie Walker have been investigated, suspended and expelled. This witch-hunt against Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters must stop!

Dear Sir/Madam,

The decision of the Labour Party to expel Jackie Walker for ‘“prejudicial and grossly detrimental behaviour” is both unfair and dishonest. Jackie was suspended over two years ago because of accusations of anti-Semitism yet her expulsion was for ‘misconduct’. [Labour expels Jackie Walker for leaked antisemitism remarks, March 27th]

Jackie’s original remarks, such as “not having heard a definition of anti-Semitism I can work with”, were obviously not anti-Semitic. Jackie’s real offence was being an anti-Zionist. Because of the difficulty of making a charge of anti-Semitism stick, Jackie’s alleged offence was changed to the subjective catch-all one of ‘misconduct’.

If anyone is guilty of misconduct it is those in Labour Friends of Israel who defended Israel’s murder of over 200 unarmed demonstrators in Gaza over the past year. False accusations of ‘anti-Semitism’ are the Zionists’ only method of defending the Israeli state.

Jackie’s expulsion is an attack on free speech. Rather than defend the world’s only apartheid state Israel’s supporters in the Labour Party cry ‘anti-Semitism’.

Over the past two years Jackie has been the victim of numerous attacks on social media which have questioned her Jewishness and talked about lynching and burning her. Not only has the Labour Party failed to defend her but it included some of this vile material within the dossier used to expel her, such as alleging she is “a white woman in dreadlocks”.

The expulsion of Jackie Walker is a matter of shame and we demand her immediate reinstatement.

Yours faithfully,

1.                       Noam Chomsky
2.                       Ken Livingstone
3.                       Miriam Margolyes
4.                       Alexei Sayle
5.                       Asa Winstanley
6.                       Steve Bell
7.                       Tony Greenstein
8.                       Jonathan Cook
9.                       Prof. Haim Bresheeth
10.                   Professor Dr Marco Chiesa
11.                   Prof. James Dickins
12.                   Prof. Yosefa Loshitzky
13.                   Prof. Wade Mansell
14.                   Prof. Dr. Willie van Peer
15.                   Prof Megan Povey
16.                   Prof. Chris Knight
17.                   Prof. Stephen Wagg
18.                   Kate Adams
19.                   Philip Adams
20.                   Alison Aiken
21.                   Salma Ali
22.                   Zulfqar Ali
23.                   Nadia Amara
24.                   Bonny Ambrose
25.                   Ian Ampleford
26.                   Sonya Andermahr
27.                   Alan Armstrong
28.                   Ben Armstrong
29.                   Zac Arnold
30.                   Shifa Askari
31.                   Susan Atkins
32.                   Cathy Augustine
33.                   David Avery
34.                   Clare Ayton-Edwards
35.                   Greg Axsel
36.                   David Bangs
37.                   Frances Bartram
38.                   Sid Bartram
39.                   Graham Bash
40.                   John Baxter
41.                   Janet Beale
42.                   Kevin Bean
43.                   John Beeching
44.                   Mark Bebbington
45.                   Jonathan Bellos
46.                   Karen Bett
47.                   Sonali Bhattacharyya
48.                   Peter Bloomer
49.                   Nigel Bowden
50.                   Lynda J Bowyer
51.                   Gary Boyle
52.                   Dr David Bramble
53.                   Peter Breingan
54.                   David Brown
55.                   Judith Brown
56.                   Theodore Brown
57.                   Tarin Brokenshire
58.                   Pam Bromley
59.                   John Burgess
60.                   Raymond Bush
61.                   Cllr Steve Bush
62.                   Robert Bunday
63.                   Neil Cameron
64.                   Sophie Cannivady
65.                   Andrew Carter
66.                   Avis Carter
67.                   Jonathan Chadwick
68.                   Phil Chetwynd
69.                   Cyril Chilson
70.                   Dr Tali Chilson
71.                   Dominic Chiverton
72.                   Rob Clarke
73.                   Ted Clement-Evans
74.                   Mike Clayton
75.                   Roger Coates
76.                   Matthew Collings
77.                   Christine Connolly
78.                   Marian Connollu
79.                   Steve Connor
80.                   Mariatu Conteh
81.                   Ruth Cooke
82.                   Andy Coombes
83.                   Jonathan Coulter
84.                   Maximilian Cowell
85.                   Fiona Crawford
86.                   Richard Crawford
87.                   Sandra Crawford
88.                   Lesley Crompton
89.                   Phil Crowe
90.                   Matthew Dale
91.                   Gerald Daly
92.                   Deborah Darnes
93.                   Deborah Darnes
94.                   Adrienne Davis
95.                   John Davies
96.                   Martyn Dawson
97.                   Ian Day
98.                   Richard Dixon-Payne
99.                   Tony Dodds
100.               Catherine Doris
101.               Cameron Dougherty
102.               Clare Dove
103.               Ian Dudley
104.               Ty Ebright
105.               Nancy Elan
106.               Cathy Farnworth
107.               Kamilia El-Farra
108.               Jackie Fearnley
109.               Jacqueline Finch
110.               Deborah Fink
111.               Dianne Fitzgibbons
112.               Jeanette Fletcher
113.               James Ian Fletcher
114.               Flick Foreman
115.               Nick Foster
116.               Philip Foxe
117.               Tom Foxe
118.               Tommy Fowler
119.               Ed Fredenburgh
120.               Glynis Freeman
121.               Helen Froggatt
122.               Suzanne Gannon
123.               Donna Gardner
124.               Suzanne Gannon
125.               Dr John Garrett
126.               Dr Peter Gates
127.               Chris Gaynor
128.               Gloria George
129.               John Gibson
130.               Daphne Gilbert
131.               John Gillespie
132.               Helen Glazier
133.               Deborah Good
134.               Angie Graham
135.               David Graham
136.               Elleanne Green
137.               Frankie Green
138.               Pete Green
139.               Sadie Green
140.               Sharen Green
141.               Peter Gregson
142.               Roger Grenville
143.               Helen Griffiths
144.               Nell Griffiths
145.               David Groom
146.               John McGrory
147.               Allan Grote
148.               Andrew Gunton
149.               Alex Gutteridge
150.               Natalie Guy
151.               Steve Hadden
152.               Barbara Hainsworth
153.               Paul Halas
154.               Grace Halfpenny
155.               Charlie Hall
156.               Dr James Hall
157.               Brigid Harbour
158.               Jenny Hardacre
159.               Emmet Haverty-Stacke
160.               David Hawkes
161.               David Hawkins
162.               Trefor Harris
163.               Alan Harrison
164.               Maggie Hartley
165.               Mervyn Hartwig
166.               Joseph Held
167.               Dorothy Hewitt Rimmer
168.               Greg Hewitt
169.               Ian Hickinbottom
170.               Debbie Hicks
171.               Mike Higgins
172.               David Hillman
173.               Simon Hindmarsh
174.               Simon Hinds
175.               Rebekah Hirsch
176.               Dr. Abby Hoffmann
177.               Diane Holland
178.               Rachael Holliday
179.               Doug Holton
180.               Dee Howard
181.               Mike Howard
182.               Anna Hubbard
183.               Alan Hubbard
184.               Richard Hughes
185.               David Humphrey
186.               Neil Hunt
187.               Jocelyn Hurndall
188.               Linda Irvine
189.               Diana Isserlis
190.               Lisa Jacks
191.               Andrew Jackson
192.               Glyn Jackson
193.               Maxine Jackson
194.               Rob Jefferson
195.               Glenn Jenkins
196.               Alexander Jones
197.               Barry Jones
198.               Cath Jones
199.               Cliff Jones
200.               Carolyn Jordin
201.               George Kambouroglou
202.               Stan Keable
203.               Afryl Kelly
204.               Helen Kemp
205.               Thea Khamis
206.               Faraz Khan
207.               Luqman Khan
208.               Shaista Khan
209.               Davy King
210.               Jennifer King
211.               Peter Kirker
212.               Ruth Knight
213.               Beverley Krell
214.               Janet Lambrou
215.               David Lancaster
216.               Erica Lang
217.               Diane Langford
218.               Bernice Laschinger
219.               Michelle Laufer
220.               Paul Lawlor
221.               Kay Lawrence
222.               Helen Lee
223.               Anna Lekay
224.               David Letwin
225.               Michael Letwin
226.               Les Levidow
227.               Bruce Levy
228.               Mark Lewis
229.               Nicholas Long
230.               Jake Love Soper
231.               Ian MacDonald
232.               Duncan MacPherson
233.               Dr Alan Maddisson
234.               Neil Man
235.               Sophia Mangera
236.               Hal Mansfield
237.               Helen Marks
238.               Zoe Mars
239.               Becky Matthews-Massey
240.               Bruce Mattock
241.               David Mattocks
242.               Darren Maurice
243.               Sandy McBurney
244.               Terry McCarthy
245.               Kathy McCubbing
246.               Terence McGinity
247.               Mike McGrath
248.               Steve McKenzie
249.               Fred McLean-Brown
250.               Isobel McMillan
251.               Ros Meadow
252.               Laurraine de Melchor
253.               Stephe Meloy
254.               Paul Meaney
255.               Michael Merritt
256.               Steve Merriman
257.               John Metson
258.               Jay Millington
259.               Simon Milner-Edwards
260.               Angie Mindel
261.               Anne Mitchell
262.               Matthew Montagu-Pollock
263.               Brendan Morgan
264.               Dittany Morgan
265.               Pauline Moriarty
266.               Shosh Morris
267.               Patricia Morrison
268.               Elizabeth Morley
269.               Sabah Al-Mukthar
270.               Catherine Muller
271.               Gareth Murphy
272.               David Myles
273.               Catherine Newall
274.               Katie Nikiforou
275.               Graham Noble
276.               Dr Stephen Norrie
277.               Eric Norris
278.               Caroline Nunn
279.               Steve Nunn
280.               Sean O’Donoghue
281.               Chris O’Donovan
282.               Dennis O’Malley
283.               Caroline O’Reilly
284.               Edmond O’Reilly
285.               Sheryl Odlum
286.               Jackie Oversby
287.               Tim Oxton
288.               Gill Page
289.               Pam Page
290.               Jeremy Parker
291.               Mieczysława Pascoe
292.               Frances Patterson
293.               Wendy Patterson
294.               Robert Payn
295.               Allan Pearson
296.               Richard Peirce
297.               Sarah Perrigo
298.               Susan Phasey
299.               Sasha Phillips
300.               Andy Phipps
301.               Lesley Phipps
302.               Miranda Pinch
303.               David Pinto
304.               Brian Precious
305.               David Prichard-Jones
306.               Bern Price
307.               Dipak Rajgor
308.               Dr Anandi Ramamurthy
309.               Scott Ramone
310.               Roland Rance
311.               Anthony Rawlinson
312.               Gwynne Reddick
313.               Nicola Redwood
314.               Nigel Reigate
315.               Peter Reilly
316.               Iain Rendell
317.               Dave Rendle
318.               Jon de Rennes
319.               Andy Richards
320.               Steve Richards
321.               Dorothy Rimmer
322.               Geoff Roberts
323.               Maria Roberts
324.               Bryan Roe
325.               Elke Rohn
326.               Lee Rock
327.               Ian Roddinson
328.               David Roger
329.               Vicky Russell
330.               Michael Sackin
331.               Kevin Safford
332.               John Sanderson
333.               Rob Sanderson
334.               Pauline Sault
335.               Nikki Scambler
336.               Sarah Scott
337.               Paul Scott
338.               Reg Scott
339.               David Selzer
340.               Paul Simm
341.               Andy Simons
342.               Wendy Sindall
343.               Mike Sivier
344.               Michael Skiggs
345.               Jane Smith
346.               Peter Smith
347.               John Smith
348.               Tracey Smith
349.               Wendy Smith
350.               Darbiana Souza
351.               Julie Speed
352.               Linda Speight
353.               David St Marthe
354.               Dave Statham
355.               Jan Steele
356.               Mark Strawbridge
357.               Paul Stygal
358.               Tom Suárez
359.               Sue Shaw
360.               Catherine Tanner
361.               Debbie Thompson
362.               Steve Tiller
363.               Paul Timperley
364.               Cathy Toulet
365.               Christine Tongue
366.               Julian Townsend
367.               David Travis
368.               John Tymon
369.               Mark Unsworth
370.               Paula Varley
371.               Barrie Vince
372.               Terence Viney
373.               Lorna Walker
374.               Robert Walker
375.               Adam Waterhouse
376.               Daniel Waterman
377.               David Watson
378.               Martin Watson
379.               Ian Wellens
380.               Tina Werkman
381.               Lee Whittaker
382.               Bruce Whitehead
383.               Stewart Whitehead
384.               Michael Wilde
385.               Stella Wilkinson-Maynard
386.               Clare Louise Wilmott
387.               Rita Williams
388.               Stephen Williams
389.               Norman Wood
390.               Avril Wooster
391.               Leonard Wright
392.               Zoe Zero
393.               Maciej Zurowski

Resolutions, statements and quotes in support of Chris Williamson MP

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So far, at least 27 CLPs, 8 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). Each CLP has an average of 800 members, so you can calculate for yourself how that compares with the very few MPs who have demanded Chris’ scalp.

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.

Feel free to download, share and use our memes.

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Continue Reading “Resolutions, statements and quotes in support of Chris Williamson MP”

The expulsion of Jackie Walker is a great injustice

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Today’s expulsion of Jackie Walker from the Labour Party for “misconduct” – of which the Jewish Chronicle was informed before her solicitors – is a great injustice, though it does not come as a surprise. Although the panel took two days to come to their conclusion, the die had been cast long ago. The decision to charge her for a “pattern of behaviour” does not bode well for Chris Williamson MP, who has been accused of similar ‘offences’.

Jackie walked out on the first day of her hearing, because the panel did not allow her to read out a brief statement. This ruling once again emphasised the lack of fairness at the heart of the party’s disciplinary procedures: for example, the investigating officers added five new charges to their allegations a mere three working days before the hearing began, giving her no time to effectively challenge them and defend herself.

Click on the picture to watch a great little film of the protest produced by Jon Pullman.

Clearly, walking out made no difference to the eventual outcome – but she was able to expose the lack of natural justice at the heart of her case with a spirited party with the well over 100 people who came to the Deptford Lounge in South London to support her.

Please read Jackie’s statement, in which she takes apart the charges against her and outlines the lack of natural justice and due process in the party’s disciplinary procedures against her.

This decision is a massive set back in the fight for the soul of the Labour Party – the right has been able to claim yet another scalp.

LAW stand in unequivocal solidarity with Jackie Walker and all those who have unfairly brandished as anti-Semites on trumped up and nonsense charges and those who have been expelled because they are supporting left-wing groups in the Labour Party. It is those kind of politicised decisions, designed to appease the right, that are bringing “the party into disrepute” – not our comrades Jackie Walker, Tony Greenstein, Marc Wadsworth, Stan Keable and Chris Williamson.

Support for Jackie Walker outside her hearing

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Well over 100 people came to Deptford on Tuesday March 26 to support Jackie Walker in her disciplinary hearing. There was singing, there was dancing and there was disbelief over the fact that Jackie was not allowed to read out a statement to the three person panel of the National Constitutional Committee. Jackie therefore decided to withdraw from the hearing – her reasons are outlined in this press release.

Press release by Jackie Walker: denied right to speak in her own defence

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Today Jackie Walker was forced to withdraw from a Labour Party disciplinary hearing when the panel due to pronounce on her case refused to allow her to make a short opening statement in her defence. This was essential given the party’s refusal last week to deal with urgent questions from her lawyers about alarming last minute additions to the charges against her.

Background

Jackie Walker (a black Jewish Woman) was suspended from the Labour Party 2 ½ years ago for asking a Labour Party antisemitism trainer, at an antisemitism training event, for a definition of antisemitism. Since then she has been the subject of the most appalling and unrelenting racist abuse and threats, including a bomb threat.

Today Jackie Walker attended her long delayed Labour Party disciplinary hearing. She was accompanied by her defence witnesses and legal team; she had submitted over 400 pages of evidence in her defence but had been given no opportunity to respond to extra charges sent to her last week, along with a major revision to the basis on which allegations of antisemitism would be assessed. At the beginning of the hearing, the Chair advised Jackie Walker that this was to be an informal hearing and that she could address him by his first name. The Chair then invited procedural questions. Jackie asked to be allowed to make a brief opening address to the Chair and Panel. The team of Labour Party lawyers objected. The Chair adjourned the meeting to consider Jackie’s request to speak, and then ruled that she must remain silent. Jackie Walker had no alternative other than to withdraw from the hearing, as the panel’s decision demonstrated that she had no chance of a fair hearing in a process that has lacked equity and natural justice from the start.

Jackie Walker said:

“After almost three years of racist abuse and serious threats; of almost three years of being demonised, and now being ambushed by a batch of last minute changes, I was astounded that the Labour Party refused to allow me a few short moments to personally address the disciplinary panel to speak in my own defence. What is so dangerous about my voice that it is not allowed to be heard?” 

All I have ever asked for is for equal treatment, due process and natural justice; it seems that this is too much to ask of the Labour Party.”

STATEMENT OF JACKIE WALKER

Today (26 March 2019) I (Jackie Walker) attended the long overdue Labour Party disciplinary hearing, before the Labour Party’s highest disciplinary panel (National Constitutional Committee). I was accompanied by my defence witnesses and legal team; I had submitted over 400 pages of evidence in my defence.

At the beginning of the hearing, the Chair advised me that this was to be an informal hearing and that I could address him by his first name. The Chair then invited procedural questions. Through my lawyer I asked to be allowed to make a brief opening address to the Chair and Panel. The large team of Labour Party lawyers objected. The Chair adjourned the meeting to consider my simple request to speak. Despite repeated requests from my lawyer that I be allowed to speak at the outset of my hearing, the Chair ruled that I remain silent. I therefore had no alternative other than to withdraw from the hearing, as it was clear to me that I would not receive a fair hearing.

Background

It is vital to appreciate the astonishing background of the process that has been applied by the Labour Party apparatus to me.

On 25 September 2016, at the Labour Party (LP) Conference in Liverpool, I attended a LP training event entitled ‘Confronting antisemitism and engaging with Jewish voters’. The training session was co-hosted by the LP with the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM), and was presented by the vice-chair of the JLM, Mike Katz. The session was open to all LP members attending the Annual Conference.  As is normal practice the presenter encouraged and engaged in discussion and debate with attendees throughout the hour-long training session.

Towards the end session I put my hand up to speak and was invited by Mr Katz to ask a question/make a comment.

  1. I asked for a “definition of antisemitism”
  2. I commented “wouldn’t it be wonderful if Holocaust day was open to all people who experience holocaust”, and
  3. I asked about security matters relating to the Jewish community.

I was secretly filmed by an unknown person who released the film of my contribution at the meeting to the media and footage of the closed training event was published online by newspapers. On 29 September 2016 the LP suspended me and subsequently charged me that my words were:

  • antisemitic;
  • inappropriate; and
  • undermined Labour’s ability to campaign against racism.

I am black.  I am Jewish. I am a woman.  I have spent my life fighting racism and inequality. My ethnicity, Jewish heritage and gender have brought me into direct conflict with those who abuse and threaten others on the basis of colour of skin, race, religion and gender. I abhor antisemitism. I abhor discrimination against black people. I abhor all discrimination.  I abhor the differential treatment of women. I absolutely and vehemently reject the charges made against me by the LP.  For 2 ½ years I have faced a grossly unfair disciplinary process that has now reached new heights of staggering unfairness.

The increasing instances of serious unfair process have become intolerable in the weeks leading up to this hearing.  Unfair process had infected all aspects of the LP investigation and prosecution.  My fundamental right to a fair hearing has been wholly compromised by the conduct of the LP.

  1. LP submission on what constitutes anti-Semitism

The definition of what is antisemitism (as opposed to legitimate criticism of the state of Israel) deserves serious respectful political debate, including controversial debate. It defies all logic, and threatens the essence of free speech, to be accused of antisemitism for simply asking the fundamental question: what is antisemitism?

The recent NEC Code of Conduct on Antisemitism was not in existence at the time of the training session in September 2016.  The endorsement by the LP of the IHRA definition of antisemitism did not take place until after the Conference of 2016.  The endorsement by the LP was the subject of significant debate. The endorsement is “to assist in understanding what constitutes antisemitism”. In fact during the training session Mike Katz referred not to the IHRA definition but to the European Union Monitoring Centre’s definition. The LP now submits that the test to be applied to an allegation of antisemitism against me “does not require the NCC to engage in a debate as to the proper definition of anti-Semitism” but rather whether an ‘ordinary person hearing or reading the comments might reasonably perceive them to be antisemitic’.  That is an extraordinary dilution of the adopted test of “hatred towards Jews” which is a definition of antisemitism with which I wholeheartedly agree.

  1. LP relies on racist statements to prosecute me

It is beyond any sense of fair process that in prosecuting me for antisemitism for my asking a training session for a definition of antisemitism in September 2016, that the LP, astonishingly, has submitted racist and discriminatory statements made about my colour, gender, appearance, ethnicity and heritage, to support its misconceived case against me.

The LP relies on anonymous witnesses who have written:

​           “[JW is] a white middle-aged woman with dreadlocks”

​           “Walker- who claims to be part Jewish”

And also on the written witness evidence of Mike Katz who states:

“… JW uses her self-identification as a black woman and a Jew as cover to put her beyond criticism…”

There is no conceivable place in a fair disciplinary process for such statements to be allowed in evidence.

As a black person I have long campaigned for the proper recognition and memorialisation of those who died and suffered during the shameful period of the slave trade.  During the training session I was making the point that it would be fitting to include the victims of the slave trade as well as other pre-Nazi genocides in the Holocaust Memorial Day commemorations.  In prosecuting me for raising that comment, again astonishingly, the LP relies on an anonymous witness who writes:

“I am not at all happy regarding her obsession with African genocide and the holocaust

I have repeatedly asked those conducting my disciplinary process for anonymous and racist evidence to be removed from the evidence presented by the LP.  My applications have not been agreed.

That is unfair.

I applied to the Panel to adjourn my case to allow the reliance on racist material by the LP to be referred to the Equality and Human Rights Commission for investigation. My application was rejected.

That is unfair.

  1. Other racist and threatening remarks 

I have been subjected to threatening, racist and abusive remarks throughout the time I have had to wait for the LP to carry out its disciplinary process. Some examples of the material sent to me have included:

“Jackie Walker is as Jewish as a pork pie, stop harassing Jews you fucking Nazi scum”

​           “Jackie Walker and her defenders can go hang”

“Jackie Walker’s Jewishness is a hastily constructed identity to protect her from the backlash of her antisemitic comments”

“Her father whom she barely knew apparently was Jewish so she isn’t Jewish…nothing to do with her colour”

“We should send people like you to the fucking gas chamber! Palestine does not exist, nor did it ever exist. Israel has been a Jewish homeland for 3,000 years! Moron”

“Was that thundercunt referring to you wanting to see Corbyn shove Jackie Walker into a burning bin? You didn’t mention ethnicity”

“God, what a fucking anti-Semite black Jewish working class female Momentum vice-chair Jackie Walker is! Can’t think why Labour want rid”

The above examples were submitted by me as part of my documents in the disciplinary process yet the Panel hearing my case still did not allow my application to remove racist and discriminatory evidence being relied on by the LP.

That is unfair.

  1. Secret Panel to hear my case

Until this morning I had not been allowed to know the identities of those who are to sit in judgment on my case despite the LP presenter and the LP legal team being aware of the identities since last year.

Initially the LP claimed that it would not  release details of the Panel to me or my solicitors, because of security concerns. The clear discriminatory inference is that I as a black person am prone to trouble and/or violence; that whenever black people and their supporters gather to object or protest there is a tendency to disorder causing a security risk. This is plain racist discriminatory negative stereotyping.

When pressed, the LP confirmed it has not received any threats relating to my case but still refused to let me know the identities of Panel members.  I could not carry out any background checks on previous statements or connections of the Panel members to assess the risk of bias and lack of independence.

That is unfair.

  1. Secret venue

For personal reasons, of which the Panel is aware, I wanted to visit the hearing centre to familiarise myself with the venue.  The LP refused to let me know where the hearing was to take place until 4 working days before the hearing which was too late for me to make a familiarisation visit.

That was unfair.

  1. Failing to put intended charges to me

I am also charged with bringing the Party into disrepute for pursing my legal rights against the LP for a serious breach of my personal data held by them.  I am being charged for defending my rights. The charge was never put to me at the lengthy investigatory meeting I had with the LP investigator or at any other time during the almost 2 year long investigation stage of the process.  I was never given an opportunity to explain my position before a one-sided decision was made by the LP to charge me. When I protested that it was a clear breach of natural justice to go straight to a charge without seeking my comment at the investigatory stage I was told by the LP that:

“Natural justice does not require that she [JW] also has the opportunity to respond at an investigatory stage”

Trade Unions built the LP.  It is unthinkable that a trade union would accept a disciplinary process that completely by-passes the investigatory stage and goes straight to a disciplinary charge without any input or comment from the person to be charged.  It is unthinkable that a police investigation would go straight to charge without interviewing the accused to seek comment.

Yet that is what the LP has done to me.

That is unfair.

  1. Lack or loss of investigatory records

When I pointed out that some of the evidence to be relied on by the LP at the hearing had never been put to me during the investigation interview, the LP admitted in writing that:

 “The NEC wishes firstly to record that the precise details of the matters put to Ms Walker during the investigatory interview are not known to those now presenting the case, as the interviewer is no longer in post.”

It is incomprehensible that in such a serious case, where charges of antisemitism are being made against me, that an accurate and complete record has not been kept by the LP of their own investigation.

In light of my previous grave concerns about the unlawful handling of my personal data I am extremely concerned that there have been further breaches of Data Protection laws concerning the management by the LP of my personal data.

That is unfair.

  1. Late submission of evidence by LP

On 20 March 2019 the LP served more evidence on me that it intends to rely on at the hearing due to start today. I was not given time to consider the fresh evidence, assess the context of that evidence and to counter that evidence.  An application for an adjournment of the hearing to allow me time to deal with the evidence in the nine new documents served so late was not allowed by the Panel.

That is unfair.

  1. Prejudicial public statements by Labour MPs

My case has attracted significant public interest and comment in the press, most of which has been ill-informed and biased. However I have also been subjected to significant negative prejudicial statements from Labour MPs making it impossible for me to have a fair hearing within the LP.  I have made complaint of this and was told this would be discussed with the General Secretary however, this behaviour persisted. If this were in another setting the MPs could be found to be in contempt of court.

For example, on 27 February 2019 on House of Commons letterhead thirty-eight MPs, members of Labour Tribune, put their names to a letter written to the General Secretary of the Labour Party wherein I was clearly referred to and where it was said that I was:

“…someone who has been thrown out of the party for making antisemitic comments”.

Those MPs would have been aware that their letter, which was published online and in the press, would seriously prejudice my hearing due to take place within a month of their letter. They were giving a clear steer and signal to the Panel of what the outcome of my hearing is to be. They wrongly identified me as someone expelled from the LP and wrongly identified me as someone who has been found to be antisemitic by the LP.

On 22 March 2019 the MailOnline published an article entitled “Shadow chancellor John McDonnell’s ‘anti-Semitic’ ally must be expelled, or Labour ‘has no future ’MPs warn”. The article states:

“Her [JW] case will finally come before Labour’s disciplinary panel on Tuesday after two-and-a –half years of delay. Backbenchers said the party must ensure she is expelled- if Labour is to have any chance of proving it is not institutionally anti-Semitic.

Dame Margaret Hodge said: ‘It’s extraordinary that it has taken so long to bring her to an expulsion hearing. Tough action must be taken but one expulsion will not solve a far deeper cultural problem that has infected the party”

Backbenchers, and in particular Dame Margaret Hodge, have directly interfered in my right to a fair hearing. They have prejudiced a fair hearing by making such prejudicial statements only one working day before my hearing. Their aim is obvious. Hodge has given the clearest possible signal to the Panel of the outcome she wants and expects.

The interference in the disciplinary process by these MPs has made it impossible for me to have a fair hearing.

That is unfair.

My decision to withdraw from this hearing

Faced with an inherently racist disciplinary process where the evidence of abusive racists is relied on by the LP to prosecute me; faced with multiple examples of a grossly unfair process in the investigation and prosecution of my case and the conduct of my case at the NEC and NCC Panel stages; faced with the discriminatory secrecy of the Panel appointed by the LP to hear my case; and faced with the prejudicial public statements by Labour MPs preventing my ability to have a fair hearing, I am left with no confidence whatsoever  in the ability of the LP to conduct a fair disciplinary process.

I am expected to appear before an unfair Panel where the LP has ridden roughshod over my rights in its headlong blinkered hankering to expel me from the Party to satisfy the wishes of those who are not involved in the detail of my case but who have judged me unfairly and have already condemned me.

I have spoken of a lynching and a witch hunt.  If I were in a fair, independent and unbiased court I would say “I rest my case”.

In such an unfair and biased process I do not now recognise the ability of the LP disciplinary process to investigate and try my case with the equality and blind fairness everyone should expect of a democratic process that recognises the primary importance of the rule of law and fair due process.

“As a result of the truly astonishing decision this morning to prevent me from even addressing the disciplinary panel at the outset in my own defence, I was left with no option but to withdraw from the disciplinary process”

Jackie Walker

Tuesday 26 March 2019

 

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Solidarity message from Ken Loach to ‘Defend the Left’ rally

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March 25 2019

The Left has always stood in solidarity against racism and alongside its victims.  That will never change.

But allegations have to be proved, and the accused are entitled to due process at disciplinary hearings.  This means open tribunals, where the evidence is interrogated and judgements are available to all – justice must be seen to be done: equality before the rule book – no special treatment for anyone, however venerable; and accusations that are considered to be vexatious should attract appropriate sanctions.

A respected member of the Jewish Socialist Group said, way back in 2017: “accusations of antisemitism are being weaponised to attack the Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour Party”. That is the observation of a Jewish member of the Labour party.

The statistics that Jennie Formby has released are revealing.  For example, of 1100 complaints received between April 2018 and January 2019, 433 related to people who were not Labour party members – nearly 40%.

200 complaints were submitted by one MP.  They concerned 111 people.  Of those, 91 were not Party members.‎ 200 complaints – but only 20 party members.

And that is before evidence has been tested or defences made.  The MP? None other than Margaret Hodge.

As a matter of urgency these figures should be re-examined and double checked.  If it can be proved that 91 of those accused out of the 111 are not even Labour party members, why did Margaret Hodge submit the complaints?  Was she careless, and did not carry out due diligence,  or did she know they were not Labour party members?  So what are her reasons?  She too is entitled to a fair hearing, but we must demand answers given that mass allegations clearly bring the party into serious disrepute.

Calling the leader of the party a ‘f……g racist and antisemite’ also brings the party into disrepute. Why was Margaret Hodge not charged on that occasion? Equality before the law!

Chris Williamson has fought as hard as anyone to advance the party under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell. There is no way he is antisemitic.  Read the speech in question, and it is obvious that he is talking about how we should respond to the present situation. Clearly there is no implication of antisemitism in what he has said.

Jackie Walker speaks with great honesty about how her own background demonstrates the history of racism.  Again, there is no way Jackie is antisemitic.

And there are others who have been unfairly targeted.

Recent terrible events show the Far Right is on the march. They are the real racists.  As ever, it is people like Chris and Jackie, and others in their situation, who will lead our fight back.

Ken Loach

 

 

Solidarity message from Chris Williamson to ‘Hands Off the Left’ rally

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March 25 2019

I want to thank grassroots members from the bottom of my heart for the extraordinary solidarity they’ve shown since my suspension.

It’s been incredibly heart-warming and humbling to be the recipient of such an outpouring of support, and to witness the vicarious indignation felt by thousands as result of this decision.

But this isn’t just about me, it’s about all of us.

I’m proud of Labour’s record in standing up to racism and bigotry in all its forms throughout our history.

Whether it was standing shoulder to shoulder with the Jewish community in Cable Street against Oswald Mosely’s fascists, or confronting the fascist National Front via the Anti-Nazi League in the 1970s, Labour Party members have always been at the forefront.

Let’s remember it was people like Ken Livingstone, when he was the leader of the GLC, who were dismissed and disparaged as “Looney Lefties” for challenging casual racism in the 1980s.

That’s one of the reasons why we owe Ken a debt of gratitude.

He was in the vanguard of those challenging all forms of bigotry at that time, he played a huge role in shifting public opinion.

And let’s also remember that Jackie Walker has spent her life fighting racism, as well as being a target of it.

She helped to spearhead the efforts to stop Nigel Farage obtaining a parliamentary platform for his bigoted credo, when he stood as a parliamentary candidate in South Thanet in 2015.

Thank you, Jackie, for your tenacity and your bravery.

But there is of course more to do, which is why we need to unite to stand up to bigotry that manifests itself in racism, Islamophobia, misogyny and anti-Semitism.

So, let’s stand together and keep our eyes on the prize of a Corbyn-led Labour Government.

A government that will transform our country.

A government that will implement an irreversible shift in the balance of power in the interests of working people.

And a government that will implement a genuine ethical foreign policy.

That’s why we’re being subjected to unjustified, and unjustifiable, smears and attacks.

And that’s why my motto is that solidarity is crucial when it’s difficult, not just when it’s easy.

We’re not just trying to win an election, we’re in the process of changing the course of history.

So, let’s make history together.

 

Model motion: Tom Watson should stand down

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This model motion is currently doing the rounds in branches and CLPs.

This branch/CLP notes:

  1. Under Party Rules, Clause VII, section ix. “the Deputy Leader shall provide the Leader with advice and support in achieving the goals of the Party and deputise as requested.”
  2. That in her email of 1st March to Tom Watson, Jenny Formby, the General Secretary of the Party states “You have decided without consultation or regard to due process, to ask colleagues who raise complaints with me to forward them to your private email address as you will be ‘logging and monitoring’ all complaints. It is completely inappropriate for you to set up a vague parallel complaints monitoring system … The suggestion that you as an individual data controller should receive and store data related to complaints unrelated to your personal role as an MP … is completely unacceptable and exposes you, and the Party, to significant compliance risks. Furthermore you will undermine the work that my staff and I are doing and will confuse and pollute the existing formal process, compromising it and slowing it down.”
  3. In a series of media interviews Tom Watson has declared his intention to set up an organisation of MPs to challenge the policies of the Leader and the Shadow Cabinet.

This branch/CLP CLP believes that Tom Watson’s actions seek to undermine the Party Leader, twice overwhelmingly elected by party members, and are not compatible with his remit as Deputy Leader of the Labour Party.

This branch/CLP calls for Tom Watson to either stand down as Deputy Leader or submit himself for re-election as Deputy Leader.