Jackie Walker, Marc Wadsworth, Tony Greenstein and Chris Williamson discussed how the left should fight against the ongoing witch-hunt, the EHRC report into the Labour Party – and the terrible response by much of the Labour Left, which continues to call for ‘unity’ with the right.
Silence on the witch-hunt should never have been an option! Appeasement does not work!
Jeremy Corbyn was absolutely right in the comments that got him suspended: “One antisemite is one too many, but the scale of the problem was also dramatically overstated for political reasons by our opponents”.
It is a real shame that he did not say so when he could have made a real difference to the witch-hunt and the civil war in the Labour Party. Unfortunately, it was the Corbyn leadership’s silence and complicity in the witch-hunt that made his suspension possible in the first place. Hundreds of socialists and Corbyn supporters have been suspended and expelled for comments that often do not amount to much more than what Corbyn said.
We need to understand that the campaign by the right inside and outside the party was never about fighting antisemitism. It was always a campaign designed to get rid of Corbyn and make sure that the Labour Party becomes once again a safe “second eleven” that could run Britain on behalf of capitalism, and follow the US into any new military adventure.
Sadly, it appears as if Corbyn and his allies still do not understand this basic reality. The six candidates supported by the Centre-Left Grassroots Alliance in the current NEC elections have made sure not to mention the word ‘witch-hunt’, or propose any actions on how to stop it.
In a tweet following his suspension, Corbyn writes that, “I’ve made absolutely clear those who deny there has been an antisemitism problem in the Labour Party are wrong. I will continue to support a zero tolerance policy towards all forms of racism.”
Corbyn himself has now become a victim of this “zero tolerance” approach he champions. The fight for socialism is intrinsically linked to a culture of free speech and open debate on all issues – including, importantly, the question of Israel/Palestine.
We feature below an important open letter from the Labour Left Alliance. One of the candidates in the current NEC elections supported by the LLA, Carol Taylor-Spedding, has outrageously been accused of holding “openly antisemitic view” – simply for stating in a questionnaire that she feels “inspired” by Jackie Walker and that she opposes her expulsion from the Labour Party. The group “Socialists of Colour” even reported Carol to the Labour Party for antisemitism! Clearly, these are no socialists.
Worryingly, the group has recently been set up and is run by another NEC candidate, Jermain Jackman. He claims that he was not involved in either putting together the questions, issuing the outrageous “content warning” ahead of Carol’s replies, reporting her to the Labour Party or informing journalists about the group’s wich-hunt. But the website does not contain anything apart from their NEC campaign and the group’s questions are clearly designed to support Jermain’s campaign.
After we and the LLA started complaining, Jermain eventually sought to distance himself from the website – by removing all names from their online presence (see pictures).
But Jermain continues to refuse to state if he AGREES with the actions his own group has taken. This is of course a hugely important question – surely members have a right to know if Jermain, if elected onto the NEC, will defend members from false allegations of antisemitism – or if he will be the one reporting them. The fact that he can tweet about all sorts of things, but will say nothing on this witch-hunt, speaks volumes.
Please forward this information and the open letter to others on the Labour Left. Continue Reading “Open letter to Jermain Jackman’s “Socialists of Colour””
Emergency motion to Labour Left Alliance conference
submitted by Labour Against the Witchhunt
1) The circular emailed on August 12 2020 to Constituency Labour Parties by General Secretary David Evans, states that certain subjects are “not competent business for discussion by local parties” – including the so-called definition of antisemitism published by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, the forthcoming report of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and the outrageous settlement payment made to former employees of the Labour Party who participated in the dreadfully one-sided BBC Panorama programme by John Ware, who now co-owns the Jewish Chronicle.The full text of the email is available here.
Conference further notes:
2) Labour party members have NOT been banned from discussing the IHRA mis-definition of antisemitism, the EHRC report or Starmer‘s settlement. The phrase “not competent business” is meant to intimidate and self-censor us, but it is merely hot air.
3) Left wing barrister Duncan Shipley Dalton explains:
“The NEC and therefore the GS has no authority in the rules to dictate what is ‘competent business’ for a CLP to discuss. The only authority is in Chap 1, VIII, 3.E: ‘The NEC shall from time to time, issue guidance and instructions on the conduct of meetings…’ Conduct not content. Conduct is a noun meaning ‘the manner in which an activity is managed or directed.’ That is not the same as the content or subject the meeting deals with. The NEC can issue guidance on how a meeting can be run/organised but not dictate what motions are competent business.”
4) That NEC member Rachel Garnham has stated that the NEC knew nothing about this supposed instruction.
5) Shamefully, Jennie Formby also used the formulation “not competent business” to stop branches coming out in support of Chris Williamson MP. She failed – and dozens of branches and CLP passed motions in support of Chris! No disciplinary action was taken against any of them.
6) That the ‘leaked report’ quite clearly shows that there was an organised and concerted campaign by right-wingers in the party to undermine and sabotage Jeremy Corbyn and the left. Some of those actively involved in the campaign have now been paid off by Keir Starmer. This is a clear misuse of party funds and an insult to all Labour members and the former employees have brought the party into disrepute. With his email, David Evans clearly wants to shut down debate on this and other important issues.
7) The Labour Party was wrong to adopt the ‘definition’ of anti-Semitism published by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), as part of the futile attempt to appease the right and the pro-Israel lobby in- and outside the party. It is designed to conflate antisemitism and anti-Zionism in its list of eleven examples and is an integral part of the witch-hunt against the left.
8) These are clearly important issues that must remain legitimate subjects for debate at Labour branch and CLP meetings. The witch-hunt against the left was one of the main reasons for the defeat of the Corbyn movement, and Keir Starmer is intent on further expanding it. Thousands of left-wingers have been hounded, smeared, vilified and wrongly accused of being antisemites during the last five years, while the number of suspensions and expulsions has massively increased in recent weeks. Standing by is not an option for us. Are
9) The Labour Left Alliance will urgently produce a model motion for Labour Party branches and CLPs on this issue. This shall also express no confidence in Keir Starmer and David Evans.
10) The LLA shall seek to build a united campaign with Labour branches, CLPs, trade union branches and other organisations around the slogan ‘Free Speech on Palestine’.
The campaign shall also seek cooperation with the initiative on ‘Free Speech’ initiated by Jackie Walker, Tony Greenstein, Chris Williamson and Marc Wadsworth, which has held a couple of excellent online debates.
Some of the initiatives the campaign could organise:
- days of action where we protest outside local Labour Party offices and/or Labour Party HQ
- a campaigning website
- model motions
Download the PDF version of this submission here.
The report ‘The work of the Labour Party’s Governance and Legal Unit in relation to antisemitism, 2014 – 2019’ (the Report), gives us irrefutable proof of the plotting and outright sabotage committed against Corbyn, and the hundreds of thousands who joined the party following his election in 2015, to fight for socialist and democratic change.
It is extremely unfortunate that the Report was only produced in the last days of Corbyn’s leadership. Drawing upon primary evidence it shows serious wrong-doing by senior party officials. A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the Left to radically transform the Labour Party and effect progressive change, was ruined by the Right in the party. At the same time, supporters of Corbyn were vilified and slandered, their voices silenced and their votes nullified.
Unfortunately, it appears that this was sometimes done with the knowledge, and occasionally even with the active participation of the Corbyn leadership, as in the case of the expulsion of Jackie Walker and the campaign against Chris Williamson.
Politically, the Report maps out an attack on Corbyn and his advisors, who had gained partial control of the NEC in April 2018 when Jennie Formby was appointed General Secretary, by a faction of their political predecessors appointed prior to Corbyn becoming leader. Our submission makes the case against the mistakes committed by both factions within the party machine. Continue Reading “Forde Enquiry: Submission by Labour Against the Witchhunt”
Hazuan Hashim is one of four officers of Liverpool Wavertree Constituency suspended from the Labour Party very recently. He was the BAME officer for the constituency. Other officers suspended include the Chair, Secretary and Women’s Officer. I don’t know them personally but I do know Haz.
Back in 2011 I was part of the committee that organised the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Cable Street , celebrating the day that communities of the East End came together in huge numbers to repulse an invasion by a menacing antisemitic, fascist movement that would have terrorised the mainly Jewish streets of the East End. In 2011 there was a march and an indoor festival and several events in the days that followed, one of which was the premiere of a brilliant film called “From Cable Street to Brick Lane” pulling together the struggles against antisemitism and fascism of the 1930s East End with the struggles in the 1970s and 1990s of the Bangladeshi community against the violent threat from the National Front and later the BNP.
The film-makers were Hazuan Hashim and Phil Maxwell, two individuals I have known over many years, whose documentation of the fight against racism and bigotry of all kinds has been central to their life’s work. Part of the film includes very moving reflections by multi-ethnic school students about their experience of racism in the present and how they relate to difference and nationalism. I pop up a few times on screen – they filmed my Anti-Fascist Footprints walk – to tell some of the narrative. I helped them much more behind the scenes. The film features Jewish witnesses and participants in the struggles of the 1930s. It is made with real love as well as rock solid anti racism politics.
It was also made under great stress as Phil was battling a life-threatening illness, with Hazuan not only his collaborator, but also partner and carer – two complete mentshen (human beings).
I was very sad that some years back they moved out of the East End to settle in Liverpool. Our loss but Liverpool’s gain – and they picked up where they left off continuing to make films that aid the fight for a better world – and also continuing as Labour Party members to fight for social justice. Their new constituency was Liverpool Wavertree, served by Luciana Berger, a right wing Labour MP who was parachuted in and who struggled to hold wider support among local members. She has now left the the Labour Party having played a leading role in the factional war against Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.
Having left, she joined Change UK and then the LibDems and stood unsuccessfully in Barnet where she was parachuted in again to replace the Lib Dem candidate who had already been chosen to contest that seat. In the run up to the General Election her rhetoric against Labour as a Lib Dem was little different from what she had been saying for years as a Labour member and MP.
There is no doubt that she also suffered hostility from an entirely different source in Liverpool for different reasons. She was targeted by far right activists for being Jewish, something that was condemned by all anti-racists and local LP members, who offered and gave their solidarity, but she allowed, and very much encouraged a mythology to develop that blurred these disgusting attacks from the far right with criticism from the left of the Labour Party that was made on entirely legitimate, democratic, political grounds. She dishonestly portrayed herself as a victim of anti-Semitism and thuggishness from local LP members.
When she stood down she was replaced by Paula Barker – a socialist MP with a strong trade union background. Phil and Haz worked with Paula and made films to support her campaign at the General Election.
Recently though they were among many local members dismayed by some particular comments within an article that Paula Barker wrote for the local Jewish newspaper which was ostensibly trying, quite rightly, to mend fences between the Labour Party and the Jewish community that had been strained and got mixed in nationally with a war by the Tories and the establishment in general against Corbyn and the Labour left. In that article she wrote about Luciana Berger: “Luciana leaving the Labour Party was a shock to many and I find it deeply regrettable that she felt she could no longer stay” – a comment which seems to give credence to the very unfair factional spin that Luciana Berger put on events in Liverpool.
Four Liverpool Wavertree CLP officers (Chair, Secretary, Women’s Officer and BAME officer – Hazuan) wrote a carefully worded letter in an internal CLP members forum expressing their praise for many actions that Paula Barker had done since becoming MP, but also registering their surprise that Barker “given the opportunity this article afforded … failed to clearly and unequivocally defend Wavertree CLP from the slanders thrown at us over the last two years. Our disappointment is especially acute because we believed we now had an MP who could offer sincere support for Liverpool’s Jewish communities alongside a principled defence of the political integrity of the members of the CLP and the constituency which she represents.”
That letter was made public not by those who wrote it. The four officers who signed it have now been suspended by the Labour Party.
A report on the matter by the Jewish Chronicle claims that the four “had criticised their own MP as she tried to reach out to the local Jewish community,” and quotes a Labour party spokesperson on the matter saying that the Party treats “all complaints of anti-Semitism extremely seriously.”
Anti-Semitism! If my caring, socialist, anti-racist, anti-fascist film-maker friend Hazuan Hashim is an antisemite, I’m Dominic Cummings.
By David Rosenberg.
Defend free speech in the Labour movement!
The Labour left will not be silenced on party democracy and Israel/Palestine!
We believe that the May 29 suspensions of four Constituency Labour Party officers from Liverpool Wavertree CLP (including the chair and secretary) under antisemitism charges are deeply unjust.
The four comrades – Nina Houghton, Kevin Bean, Helen Dickson and Hazuan Hashim – dared to raise political criticisms of their local MP Paula Barker, who had written an article in the Jewish Telegraph, without any prior consultation with the executive officers. She wrote, among other things: “Luciana [Berger] leaving the Labour Party was a shock to many and I find it deeply regrettable that she felt she could no longer stay.” This article was posted on Wavertree CLP’s Facebook page.
Luciana Berger MP, parachuted into the safe Labour seat for the 2010 general election, was one of the most vocal opponents of Jeremy Corbyn, who used her position as MP to publicly undermine and sabotage him at every opportunity. She helped to spread the lie that the Labour Party is overrun by antisemites and thereby fostered the current atmosphere, in which pro-Palestinian campaigners are regularly tarnished and vilified as antisemites – and she particularly singled out the Labour members in her own constituency. In the end she jumped ship and joined the Liberal Democrats, which really could not come as a “shock” to anybody who had followed her political trajectory. Tom Watson declared that she had been “forced out by racist thugs” in her CLP.
Paula, elected with the help of the left, including the Wavertree 4, seemed to support that narrative in her article. The four comrades felt so concerned that they wrote a private letter to Paula, but we understand she simply brushed their concerns aside. Without any decision-making CLP meetings taking place where the comrades could have presented a motion, the four decided to publish their views in the weekly internal CLP bulletin of May 26, which has been functioning as a medium of debate and has been featuring all sorts of local and national events during the Covid-19 lockdown.
The four comrades wrote that, “Paula’s words will most certainly be taken to imply that we, as a CLP, were responsible [for Berger’s departure]. This accusation has been repeated by our political opponents, such as the anti-Corbyn Labour right and the Liberal Democrats on numerous occasions, culminating in Tom Watson’s calumny, under the protective cloak of parliamentary privilege. In the furore that followed, individual officers and members, such as our then chair, were subjected to further abuse and false allegations in the media, all of which were designed to obscure the political differences between Ms Berger and the CLP.”
Clearly, nothing in their letter is even vaguely antisemitic. The four committed the crime of questioning if the local CLP (and the party as a whole) is really overrun by antisemites – that is enough to get you charged with being an anti-Semite yourself!
Of course, members don’t just have the right to criticize their MP – in a truly democratic party it is their duty to do so! These latest suspensions are clearly a serious attack on the right to free speech in the party.
The witch-hunt in Labour started as a campaign to get rid of Jeremy Corbyn. The leaked report has proven beyond all doubt what the right in the Labour Party is capable of – they would rather destroy the party than allow it to be taken over by the left. But sadly, the Corbyn leadership, with the help of Momentum, sought to appease these forces rather than fight them, which allowed the witch-hunt to grow and become even more vicious. No wonder that under Keir Starmer it has been expanded once more – now in an attempt to eradicate the entire Labour left. We know of dozens of suspensions in the last couple of weeks alone, some of them based on a single tweet.
But we will not be silenced! We will continue to oppose attempts to undermine party democracy, censor debate and to equate anti-Zionism with antisemitism. And we will continue to demand a disciplinary process that is fair, transparent and just – these latest attacks show how overdue that is. This fight back has only just begun- and will continue until the witch-hunt is defeated!
Please email email@example.com if you want to add your organisation’s name to this petition
This was published in Wavertree CLP’s weekly bulletin on Tuesday May 26 and has since found its way into the press and public domain. It has led to the ‘Wavertree 4’ being suspended from the Labour Party. Click here for our petition
Responding to Paula Barker’s article in The Jewish Telegraph
As members of who were active in Wavertree CLP in the months leading up to the resignation of Luciana Berger from the Labour Party in February 2019, we wish to make our views known regarding a number of points made by our MP Paula Barker in her article in The Jewish Telegraph of 16 May 2020.
We are deeply dismayed to be placed in the position of needing to correct the misleading impressions fostered by Paula’s article and, yet again, set the record straight about Ms Berger’s departure from our party. It is important to state that we understand and commend Paula’s expressions of support and solidarity with the Jewish communities in Liverpool in general, and Wavertree in particular, and her undoubted commitment and track record of opposing racism in all its manifestations, of which hatred of Jews is an important element with a long and brutal history.
We also pay tribute to the fact that since her election, and in the most difficult of circumstances, our MP has actively supported socialist causes of direct importance to the people of Wavertree, such as the cancellation of local authority debt, support for trade union action against bosses who put their members’ health at risk, and suspension of rent for private sector tenants affected financially by the pandemic . Within the constituency she was one of the first to take the problems in our care homes seriously and insist that action is taken to protect care home staff and residents, and she has not only helped many individuals in need, but also been instrumental in setting up a much-needed food bank locally.
However, we have to express our disappointment and hurt that someone we campaigned for so wholeheartedly appears to have reiterated the inaccurate and factionally motivated position on anti-Semitism which was used in order to personally attack and seriously undermine Labour’s socialist programme during the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn.
There are a number of points made in the article that we would take issue with, but the most important is the statement that:
’Luciana leaving the Labour Party was a shock to many and I find it deeply regrettable that she felt she could no longer stay….’
Though we accept that it was not explicitly stated that Luciana Berger was forced out of the Labour Party by anti-Semitic abuse from members of Wavertree CLP, Paula’s words will most certainly be taken to imply that we, as a CLP, were responsible. This accusation has been repeated by our political opponents, such as the anti-Corbyn Labour right and the Liberal Democrats on numerous occasions, culminating in Tom Watson’s calumny, under the protective cloak of parliamentary privilege, that Luciana Berger had been ‘forced out by racist thugs’ in Wavertree CLP. In the furore that followed, individual officers and members, such as our then chair, were subject to further abuse and false allegations in the media, all of which were designed to obscure the political differences between Ms Berger and the CLP.
These differences were fundamental; we were in no doubt that she was unhappy with the direction of the party following the election of Jeremy Corbyn, and she openly joined with others to undermine him in every way possible. The Executive invited her to meet and discuss her position on many occasions, but she did not respond. We knew very well that she faced, like all women politicians, horrible abuse on social media, and we publicly expressed our solidarity with her in standing up to this. We expressly offered her our solidarity when supporters of the far-right made threats and posted vile anti-Semitic comments about her. We passed a motion to this effect at the CLP in 2018.
Yet our political disagreement with her was cynically attributed to bullying, harassment and anti-Semitism on our part. Members of the Wavertree CLP Executive were consequently faced with extremely damaging and hurtful abuse, and still are. As a result of this article, we now need to remind all our members of what we said in a press statement in February 2019:
… as an Executive we have always and continue now to express total solidarity with Luciana as a victim of misogyny and of antisemitism – coming mostly from the far right. Our Chair is himself Jewish and the suggestion that the CLP Executive is in any way a party to bullying and antisemitism is a false and slanderous accusation.
Furthermore, we are surprised and puzzled to see reference to shock about Luciana Berger leaving the Party, when it was obvious to all that if Corbyn remained in power she was planning to go, along with a group of other MPs who shared her dislike of Corbyn and his Socialist agenda.
We also note that the list of Jewish Labour Party luminaries referred to in the article is impressive but a little one-sided. There are and have been many Jewish members who are or were critical of Israeli Government policy, for example Gerald Kaufman, Alf Dubs, Harry Cohen, Ed Miliband and not to forget Sydney Silverman – from Liverpool and an MP for 33 years – and his son Roger, who submitted to the NEC a warning against the adoption of the IHRA definition in 2018, saying:
‘I believe that the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism is deeply flawed. It is clearly designed to protect the Israeli state from legitimate criticism.’
We can only conclude that these other voices were not included because the article reflected the influence of a partial view that claims to speak for all Jewish people: it would perhaps have been more useful to consult a wider cross section of opinion in the Jewish communities before writing it.
We understand the pressure our MP is under from all sides on this very important question. Nevertheless, we are surprised that given the opportunity this article afforded, she failed to clearly and unequivocally defend Wavertree CLP from the slanders thrown at us over the last two years. Our disappointment is especially acute because we believed we now had an MP who could offer sincere support for Liverpool’s Jewish communities alongside a principled defence of the political integrity of the members of the CLP and the constituency which she represents.
Nina Houghton, Chair, Wavertree CLP
Kevin Bean, Secretary, Wavertree CLP
Helen Dickson, Women’s Officer, Wavertree CLP
Hazuan Hashim, BAME Officer, Wavertree CLP
The report now gives us irrefutable proof of the plotting and outright sabotage committed against Corbyn and the hundreds of thousands who joined the party to fight for socialist and democratic change. It is a crying shame that this report was produced only in the last days of Corbyn’s leadership. It is based upon primary evidence showing serious wrong-doing by senior party officials. A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the left to radically transform the Labour Party and achieve progressive change was ruined by the right in the party.
Labour Party motions and statements
- Bootle CLP – click here
- Cheltenham CLP – click here
- Cities of London and Westminster CLP – click here
- Ealing Southhall CLP – click here
- Islington North CLP – click here
- Kensington CLP – click here
- Liverpool Garston and Halewood CLP – click here
- Liverpool Riverside CLP – click here
- Southport CLP – click here
- North West Cambridgeshire CLP – click here
- Walton CLP – click here
- Warley CLP – click here
- West Ham CLP – click here
- Open Letter from BAME members – click here
Moshe MachoverComrade Machover was briefly expelled himself – here is his first expulsion letter, which was followed by a second expulsion letter, before he was reinstated after an international outcry. Click here to read the full exchange between Moshe and the disgraced Sam Matthew, then head of ‘Disputes’. “But the report does not reflect too well on its authors and on the political friends they champion. In fact, they broadly share with the scoundrels whom they denounce the same view of the validity of the accusations that the Labour Party has a serious anti-Semitism problem. They also wilfully ignore two of the three sources of hostility to the Corbyn leadership, which fuelled and motivated the campaign of alleged ‘anti-Semitism’ against this leadership and the party as a whole. I will deal with these two interconnected failures of the report in turn.” – Weekly Worker
Ken LivingstoneMoshe Machover’s brief expulsion was in fact based on this article defending Ken Livingstone (whose suspension and vilification were as absurd as his own): “What did he [Ken Livingstone] say that got him suspended? Hitler came to power in 1932 and “supported Zionism until he went mad”. Of course, he got the date wrong, Hitler came to power in 1933. It was also wrong to personalise the shift in policy. But the point he was making about the Nazi regime and Zionism is basically correct, as I shall demonstrate.” – Labour Party Marxists
Craig Murray“The report does conclusively refute the accusation that delays were occasioned by Jeremy Corbyn or his office, or that his office displayed any sympathy for anti-semitism. In fact, the opposite is the case. Corbyn’s office showed a proper hatred of anti-semitism, but also an alarming willingness to throw good people under the bus on very flimsy allegations of anti-semitism. pp306-7 The report shows a serious inability to distinguish between real, nasty anti-semitism and opposition to the policies of Israel. Furthermore, this is the attitude of the authors of the report themselves who in many scores of examples take for granted that the accusations of anti-semitism are sufficient to consider the case proven, and accept a number of specified opinions as proof of anti-semitism which are anything but.” – article
Anne MitchellAnne Mitchell is an activist in Brighton and Hove, a lifelong antiracist with strong feelings on the Israel-Palestine conflict in particular. She is a well-known local Palestine Solidarity activist. She was expelled from the Labour Party last October, without a hearing, solely on the “self-evident” basis of a small number of postings on social media. It was a bizarre process and an appalling judgment. As Richard Kuper from Jewish Voice for Labour shows below, nothing in what Anne Mitchell posted justified a charge of antisemitism, let alone expulsion. – article
Asa WinstanleyAsa, a journalist for the respected Electronic Intifada, was suspended and then resigned before a hearing took place. He writes about the report that “…it reveals the extent to which Corbyn and his supporter, party general secretary Jennie Formby, conceded ground to the Israel lobby and the false narrative of rampant Labour anti-Semitism. After Corbyn, a lifelong Palestine solidarity campaigner, became leader in 2015, pro-Israel groups relentlessly attacked him and his supporters as anti-Semitic. This defamation campaign ultimately succeeded. The “crisis” was a top focus during the 2019 general election, and polling showed that Corbyn’s mishandling of it was one of the top five reasons for voters not supporting Labour. The Israel lobby declared victory, with one group claiming to have “slaughtered” Corbyn.” – Electronic Intifada
Chris WilliamsonChris is of course one of most famous victims of the witch-hunt and was sadly thrown to the wolves by Jeremy Corbyn and Jennie Formby who accused him in an email featured in the report of “a pattern of behaviour”. He has shown his own evidence to a small number of media outlets: “What emerges from his evidence is a picture of someone who, far from being antisemitic, is a principled anti-racist campaigner. Williamson’s support for Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, left-wing Jewish Labour supporters, and Palestinian rights is unwavering.” – Canary
One of the first anti-racist campaigners to be expelled in the witch-hunt against Corbyn, Tony has written an excellent two-part analysis of the report – part 1 dealing with the racism and the sabotage of the right; part 2 dealing with the efforts of Corbyn’s office to throw anti-racist campaigners like Jackie Walker, Ken Livingstone and Marc Wadsworth to the wolves in a futile attempt to appease the right.
- Part 1:https://azvsas.blogspot.com/2020/04/part-1-labours-leaked-report-starmers.html
- Part 2: https://azvsas.blogspot.com/2020/04/pt-2-labours-leaked-report-sad-sorry.html
Greg HadfieldGreg is a well-known activist in Brighton and was elected secretary of Brighton, Hove and District Labour Party, but the votes annulled by NEC. He was suspended Oct 2016 and re-instated Feb 2019. He is publishing his evidence in installments – click here.
Jewish Voice For LabourJVL has produced a detailed analysis of over 150 claims made by the Jewish Labour Movement in their late submission to the Equalities and Human Rights Commission in support of their charge that the Labour Party discriminates against its Jewish members when dealing with allegations of antisemitism. The executive summary of the analysis has been made available to the public.
- Welsh Labour Grassroots – click here
- Socialist Campaign Group of Labour MPs – click here
- The Struggle – click here
- World Socialist Website – click here
- Socialist Appeal – click here
- Weekly Worker – click here
- Jacobin Magazine – click here
- In Defence of Marxism – click here
Open letter to Dave Prentissigned by almost 2,000 Unison members – click here
Open letter to Jennie Formbyby Kathy Coutanche, who is mentioned in the report – click here
for Robert Peston
You might liken me
to a urinary tract infection,
in that my job is to prevent
truth trickling out too purely,
but you’re worried such a comparison
might lead to threatening letters
from solicitors acting for the bacilli
who’ve taken up residence
in Mrs Irondrawer’s highly thought of bladder.
Reality is I’m worse,
will not be cured by mere penicillin.
For I am a journalist,
help people forget
things those who operate me
To keep my thoughts pristine
each night I pay to have my head
dipped in preservatives, claim
it back as miscellaneous.
I’m the carbon monoxide that lulls
those who inhale me to a stupor.
I respect Prince Andrew’s privacy,
ensure certain names never cross
the average arsehole’s mind.
I’m why you know nothing
of the Zinoviev letter
or Emilie Oldknow
and after this must Google them.
I make sure you think
Julian Assange is where he belongs.
Anyone I call a statesman
should immediately be arrested.
Dear Diane and Bell,
First we send solidarity to you. We are black and Jewish. Like you we are anti-racist and anti-fascist activists of long standing and have first-hand experience of the effect and purpose of attempts to publicly shame. We know this campaign of monitoring your words and deeds will not cease.
We were among the audience of over 600 at the ‘Don’t Leave, Organise’ meeting held last Wednesday at which both of you spoke from the panel. As people who had been mentioned, and smeared, by the leaked Labour report, we both made short contributions, as was our right and our responsibility as Left anti-racist activists who have been unfairly expelled.
As a result the Board of Deputies of British Jews, a small pressure group representing the most right-wing 30% of British Jewry, which has support for the Israeli state enshrined in its constitution, called on Keir Starmer to suspend you both.
The recently leaked Labour Party report makes clear, the Corbyn Project was in part destroyed by false and malicious accusations of anti-Semitism made against socialists in the Labour Party. If it were not for the Orwellian atmosphere surrounding the question of ‘anti-Semitism’ in the Labour Party and the wholesale attack on freedom of speech, then the fact that the Board had objected to two Jews speaking at a meeting on grounds of anti-Semitism would have been held up to justifiable ridicule.
The Board’s current demands are a continuation of their campaign to politically castrate the Left. Their aim as ever is not to promote anti-racism but to prevent criticism of Israel and Zionism. It has nothing whatsoever to do with opposing anti-Semitism.
The response by the Labour leadership does have a precedent. In 1939 Aneurin Bevan and Stafford Cripps were expelled from the Labour Party. Their crime? To support the Popular Front against fascism alongside the Communist Party and to have spoken on the same platform as communists. The Labour Party at that time opposed all anti-fascist activity for example, the Battle of Cable Street in 1936.
Let us be blunt. Today’s ‘anti-Semitism’ is the new Communism, and protecting Zionism is the premise for the new McCarthyism. That is the context in which the Board’s actions should be judged.
There are many lessons from history for activists too. When Black communist Paul Robeson was summoned, in June 1956, by the House Committee on Un-American Activities he refused, despite enormous pressure and intimidation, to testify. His passport was confiscated, he was sentenced to one year’s imprisonment and his career all but destroyed. Nonetheless he stood firm on his principles. His struggles against injustice fed the movement which he saw himself as part of.
We understand the pressures that you are under but we also know that with the privileges of power and leadership comes responsibility to those you seek to represent. That is why we are disappointed that you did not feel able to withstand those who called upon you to dissociate yourself from those who were erroneously expelled for being anti-racists and Internationalists, opposing discrimination and injustice, in particular for us as Jews, the racism of the Israeli state. The way to oppose racists is, as we all know, never appeasement, whatever the short term benefits.
The lessons of history go on. The new Israeli government of Netanyahu, of which the Israeli Labor Party is a member, is committed to the annexation of large parts of the West Bank. The Palestinians who live in the West Bank, despite being ruled by the Israeli state, have no democratic rights. After all, to give the Palestinians a vote would imperil Israel’s Jewish demographic majority. This was the same argument used in South Africa to deny Black people a vote. The reason that veterans of the fight against Apartheid in South Africa, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Ronnie Kassrils and Mandla Mandela condemn Israel as an apartheid state is because of its similarities with the regime that used operate in Pretoria.
We hope that in future you will feel able to speak truth to power. We hope the time will come when the swell of support from the grassroots, from oppressed minorities and from those who stand in solidarity with them will empower you to speak with the clarity, truth and passion we know is yours. We need your voice so we can raise ours to a pitch that cannot be ignored. This is the time to speak out because, as Rabbi Hillel said ‘if not now when?’
Kind regards and solidarity
Sign the petition here!
The defeat of Jeremy Corbyn has given the right inside and outside the Labour Party a mandate to press ahead with their campaign against the left. They will not rest until the Labour Party has been purged of all traces of socialism.
The latest manufactured ‘outrage’ of the Board of Deputies and the Jewish Leadership Council concerns Labour MPs Bell Ribeiro-Addy and Diane Abbott. These comrades spoke in a Zoom meeting organised by Don’t Leave, Organise. This online event was also attended by Jackie Walker, Tony Greenstein – and 550 other people.
Both the BoD and JLC are now demanding that the two black MPs be suspended by the Labour Party “for sharing platforms with those that have been expelled from the Party for antisemitism”.
1) We believe that these expulsions – like the vast majority of others – were hugely unjust and the investigations deeply flawed. Despite forming the cornerstones of the report produced by Shami Chakrabarti back in 2016, due process and natural justice remain absent from Labour’s disciplinary process. While antisemitism and other forms of chauvinism exist in the Labour Party (as in wider society), the number of real antisemitic incidents in the Labour Party has been grossly exaggerated for political purposes.
2) Neither the Board of Deputies nor the Jewish Leadership Council has a democratic mandate to speak for all Jews in Britain, many of whom are very critical of the actions of the state of Israel. The organisations are clearly pro-Israel and work to a political agenda to attack, discredit and destroy any opposition to the systematic and brutal oppression of the Palestinians by the Israeli state. To this end, they energetically encourage the conflation of anti-Zionism with antisemitism.
3) Furthermore, we note with great concern that Jonathan Goldstein, chair of the Jewish Leadership Council, reports that he had a meeting with Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner where, “it was agreed that no Labour MP should be sharing a platform with anyone expelled from the party for anti-Jewish racism“. The validity of many of these cases is being energetically challenged by many of the accused and their supporters. Furthermore, the leader of the Labour Party is not entitled to make such a promise: The policies and rules of the Labour Party are determined by its members at annual conference. If Keir Starmer has made such an undertaking, he must be reprimanded and ordered to withdraw it.
4) Guilt by association, as demanded by the BoD’s so-called 10 pledges, is a deeply troubling attack on the right to free speech. Already in our party, the witch-hunting right wing have concocted Kafkaesque charges against many members that would be laughed out of court even by the deeply flawed standards of the UK’s legal system. Transparently, this is an ongoing campaign against the left in the Labour Party; it is not a campaign against the scourge of antisemitism!
Therefore, we are putting out this urgent call for solidarity from CLPs and Labour Party branches, from trade unions, Labour councillors and particularly from those Labour MPs organised in the Socialist Campaign Group:
- Publicly stand up for Diane Abbott and Bell Ribeiro-Addy and to reject any reprimands or sanctions against them
- Campaign vigorously against the implementation of the BoD’s ‘10 Pledges’ and to defend the right to freedom of speech and freedom of association in the Labour Party and trade unions, in the Palestine solidarity movement and in society at large
- Proudly appear on platforms and in meetings with those who have been unjustly smeared, vilified, suspended and expelled from the Labour Party in the campaign against Corbyn and the left
- Join us in the fight for a just and transparent disciplinary process in the Labour Party
- Reject the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism, which conflates anti-Semitism with anti-Zionism
- Support the individual and national rights of the Palestinian people
Sign the petition here!
VIDEO: The Labour leadership elections and our tasks (filmed April 14 2020)
After Keir Starmer’s election to leader of the Labour Party, we discussed how we can continue the fight:
* to defend freedom of speech in our party,
* to stop the misuse of trumped up charges to remove left candidates, and
* to reject the IHRA mis-definition of anti-Semitism
We also want to continue to campaign to stop Starmer from implementing the Board of Deputies’ so-called ‘10 Pledges’ – one of his first announcements. Our open letter to Rebecca Long-Bailey on this issue has been signed by almost 5,000 people and a number of organisations: https://bit.ly/2VaLWX3
We also discussed our response to the leaked Labour Party report that was produced in response to the investigation by the Equality and Human Rights Commission and which gives us proof of the warfare and sabotage committed against Corbyn and the hundreds of thousands who joined the party in order to support him in the fight for socialist change.
1) Welcome and opening remarks (co-chair Tina Werkmann)
2) The Labour leadership elections and our tasks
Introduced by Jackie Walker and Graham Bash (both members of the steering committee LAW) and Moshe Machover, honorary president of LAW