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:

 

Must read: Jonathan Cook on why the Labour Party should not adopt the full IHRA definition

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first published on Truepublica
The Labour party, relentlessly battered by an organised campaign of smears of its leader, Jeremy Corbyn – first for being anti-semitic, and now for honouring Palestinian terrorists – is reportedly about to adopt the four additional working “examples” of anti-semitism drafted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).

Labour initially rejected these examples – stoking yet more condemnation from Israel’s lobbyists and the British corporate media – because it justifiably feared, as have prominent legal experts, that accepting them would severely curb the freedom to criticise Israel.

The media’s ever-more outlandish slurs against Corbyn and the Labour party’s imminent capitulation on the IHRA’s full definition of anti-semitism are not unrelated events. The former was designed to bring about the latter.

According to a report in the Guardian this week, senior party figures are agitating for the rapid adoption of the full IHRA definition, ideally before the party conference next month, and say Corbyn has effectively surrendered to the pressure. An MP who supports Corbyn told the paper Corbyn would “just have to take one for the team”.

In a strong indication of the way the wind is now blowing, the Guardian added:

The party said it would consult the main [Jewish] communal bodies as well as experts and academics, but groups such as the pro-Corbyn Jewish Voice for Labour have not been asked to give their views.

No stomach for battle

The full adoption of the IHRA definition of anti-semitism will be a major victory both for Israel and its apologists in Britain, who have been seeking to silence all meaningful criticism of Israel, and for the British corporate media, which would dearly love to see the back of an old-school socialist Labour leader whose programme threatens to loosen the 40-year stranglehold of neoliberalism on British society.

Besieged for four years, Corbyn’s allies in the Labour leadership have largely lost the stomach for battle, one that was never about substance or policy but about character assassination.

As the stakes have been constantly upped by the media and the Blairite holdouts in the party bureacracy, the inevitable has happened. Corbyn has been abandoned. Few respected politicians with career ambitions or a public profile want to risk being cast out into the wilderness, like Ken Livingstone, as an anti-semite.

This is why the supposed anti-semitism “crisis” in a Corbyn-led Labour party has been so much more effective than berating him for his clothes or his patriotism. Natural selection – survival of the smear fittest for the job – meant that a weaponised anti-semitism would eventually select Corbyn as its prime target and not just his supporters – especially after his unexpected strong showing at the polls in last year’s election.

Worse, Corbyn himself has conceded too much ground on anti-semitism. As a lifelong anti-racism campaigner, the accusations of anti-semitism have clearly pained him. He has tried to placate rather than defy the smearers. He has tried to maintain unity with people who have no interest in finding common ground with him.

And as he has lost all sense of how to respond in good faith to allegations made in bad faith, he has begun committing the cardinal sin of sounding and looking evasive – just as those who deployed the anti-semitism charge hoped. It was his honesty, plain-speaking and compassion that won him the leadership and the love of ordinary members. Unless he can regain the political and spiritual confidence that underpinned those qualities, he risks haemorrhaging support.

Critical juncture

But beyond Corbyn’s personal fate, the Labour party has now reached a critical juncture in its response to the smear campaign. In adopting the full IHRA definition, the party will jettison the principle of free speech and curtail critical debate about an entire country, Israel – as well as a key foreign policy issue for those concerned about the direction the Middle East is taking.

Discussion of what kind of state Israel is, what its policy goals are, and whether they are compatible with a peace process are about to be taken off the table by Britain’s largest, supposedly progressive party.

That thought spurred me to cast an eye over my back-catalogue of journalism. I have now been based in Nazareth, in Israel’s Galilee, since 2001. In that time I have written – according to my website – more than 900 articles (plus another few hundred blog posts) on Israel, as well as three peer-reviewed books and a clutch of chapters in edited collections. That’s a lot of writing. Many more than a million words about Israel over nearly two decades.

What shocked me, however, as I started to pore over these articles was that almost all of them – except for a handful dealing with internal Palestinian politics – would fall foul of at least one of these four additional IHRA examples Labour is about to adopt.

After 17 years of writing about Israel, after winning a respected journalism prize for being “one of the reliable truth-tellers in the Middle East”, the Labour party is about to declare that I, and many others like me, are irredeemable anti-semites.

Not that I am unused to such slurs. I am intimately familiar with a community of online stalkers who happily throw around the insults “Nazi” and “anti-semite” at anyone who doesn’t cheerlead the settlements of the Greater Israel project. But far more troubling is that this will be my designation not by bullying Israel partisans but by the official party of the British left.

Of course, I will not be alone. Much of my journalism has been about documenting and reporting the careful work of scholars, human rights groups, lawyers and civil society organisations – Palestinian, Israeli and international alike – that have charted the structural racism in Israel’s legal and administrative system, explaining often in exasperating detail its ethnocractic character and its apartheid policies. All of us are going to be effectively cast out, denied any chance to inform or contribute to the debates and policies of Britain’s only leftwing party with a credible shot at power.

That is a shocking realisation. The Labour party is about to slam the door shut in the faces of the Palestinian people, as well as progressive Jews and others who stand in solidarity with them.

Betrayal of Palestinians

The article in the Guardian, the newspaper that has done more to damage Corbyn than any other (by undermining him from within his own camp), described the incorporation of the full IHRA anti-semitism definition into Labour’s code of conduct as a “compromise”, as though the betrayal of an oppressed people was something over which middle ground could be found.

Remember that the man who drafted the IHRA definition and its associated examples, American Jewish lawyer Kenneth Stern, has publicly regretted their impact, saying that in practice they have severely curbed freedom of speech about Israel.

How these new examples will be misused by Corbyn’s opponents should already be clear. He made his most egregious mistake in the handling of the party’s supposed anti-semitism “crisis” precisely to avoid getting caught up in a violation of one of the IHRA examples Labour is about to adopt: comparing Israel to Nazi Germany.

He apologised for attending an anti-racism event and distanced himself from a friend, the late Hajo Meyer, a Holocaust survivor and defender of Palestinian rights, who used his speech to compare Israel’s current treatment of Palestinians to early Nazi laws that vilified and oppressed Jews.

It was a Judas-like act for which it is not necessary to berate Corbyn. He is doubtless already torturing himself over what he did. But that is the point: the adoption of the full IHRA definition will demand the constant vilification and rooting out of progressive and humane voices like Meyer’s. It will turn the Labour party into the modern equivalent of Senator Joe McCarthy’s House Un-American Activities Committee. Labour activists will find themselves, like Corbyn, either outed or required to out others as supposed anti-semites. They will have to denounce reasonable criticisms of Israel and dissociate themselves from supporters of the Palestinian cause, even Holocaust survivors.

The patent absurdity of Labour including this new anti-semitism “example” should be obvious the moment we consider that it will recast not only Meyer and other Holocaust survivors as anti-semites but leading Jewish intellectuals and scholars – even Israeli army generals.

Two years ago Yair Golan, the deputy chief of staff of the Israeli military, went public with such a comparison. Addressing an audience in Israel on Holocaust Day, he spoke of where Israel was heading:

“If there’s something that frightens me about Holocaust remembrance it’s the recognition of the revolting processes that occurred in Europe in general, and particularly in Germany, back then – 70, 80 and 90 years ago – and finding signs of them here among us today in 2016.”

Is it not a paradox that, were Golan a member of the Labour party, that statement – a rare moment of self-reflection by a senior Israeli figure – will soon justify his being vilified and hounded out of the Labour party?

Evidence of Israeli apartheid

Looking at my own work, it is clear that almost all of it falls foul of two further “examples” of anti-semitism cited in the full IHRA definition that Labour is preparing to adopt:

Applying double standards by requiring of [Israel] a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.

and:

Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.

One hardly needs to point out how preposterous it is that the Labour party is about to outlaw from internal discussion or review any research, scholarship or journalism that violates these two “examples” weeks after Israel passed its Nation-State Basic Law. That law, which has constitutional weight, makes explict what was always implict in Israel as a Jewish state:

1. that Israel privileges the rights and status of Jews around the world, including those who have never even visited Israel, above the rights of the fifth of the country’s citizens who are non-Jews (the remnants of the native Palestinian population who survived the ethnic cleansing campaign of 1948).

2. that Israel, as defined in the Basic Law, is not a state bounded by internationally recognised borders but rather the “Land of Israel” – a Biblical conception of Israel whose borders encompass the occupied Palestinian territories and parts of many neighbouring states.

How, one might reasonably wonder, is such a state – defined this way in the Basic Law – a normal “democratic” state? How is it not structurally racist and inherently acquisitive of territory?

Contrary to the demands of these two extra IHRA “examples”, the Basic Law alone shows that Israel is a “racist endeavour” and that we cannot judge it by the same standards we would a normal western-style democracy. Not least, it has a double “border” problem: it forces Jews everywhere to be included in its self-definition of the “nation”, whether they want to be or not; and it lays claim to the title deeds of other territories without any intention to confer on their non-Jewish inhabitants the rights it accords Jews.

Demanding that we treat Israel as a normal western-style liberal democracy – as the IHRA full definition requires – makes as much sense as having demanded the same for apartheid South Africa back in the 1980s.

Unaccountable politics

The Labour party has become the largest in Europe as Corbyn has attracted huge numbers of newcomers into the membership, inspired by a new kind of politics. That is a terrifying development for the old politics, which preferred tiny political cliques accountable chiefly to corporate donors, leaving a slightly wider circle of activists largely powerless.

That is why the Blairite holdouts in the party bureaucracy are quite content to use any pretext not only to root out genuine progressive activists drawn to a Corbyn-led party, including anti-Zionist Jewish activists, but to alienate tens of thousands more members that had begun to transform Labour into a grassroots movement.

A party endlessly obsessing about anti-semitism, a party that has abandoned the Palestinians, a party that has begun throwing out key progressive principles, a party that has renounced free speech, and a party that no longer puts the interests of the poor and vulnerable at the centre of its concerns is a party that will fail.

That is where the anti-semitism “crisis” is leading Labour – precisely as it was designed to do.

UPDATE:

Here is a very good illustration of where the IHRA’s classification as “anti-semitism” of any comparison of Israel and the Nazis will lead – and how it will silence not just criticism of Israel, but even any historical understanding of the nature of belligerent occupations.

The Sun newspaper calls this very short video of a talk by Corbyn “shocking”. Consider how happy you would be to be in party that outlaws this kind of speech.

Jonathan Cook is an award-winning British journalist based in Nazareth, Israel, since 2001. He is the author of three books on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

LAW at the ‘Biased Broadcasting Corporation’ lunchtime lobby, August 7

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Over 100 people attended a spirited lunchtime demonstration outside BBC Brodcasting House on August 7, which was called to protest against the ‘Biased Broadcasting Cooperation’ and particularly the way in which it has reported about the ‘anti-Semitism scandal’ in the Labour Party.

Glyn Secker, secretary of Jewish Voice for Labour, tried to hand in a letter to the BBC.An agreement had been made the day before for a delegation of four people to deliver this letter of protest and that someone from the BBC would meet the delegation in order to receive the letter. When it came to it however, a security guard took the letter outside the building, promising to hand it to another security guard who would then deliver it to the addressee.

The rally, which occasionally broke into chants of “BBC, shame on you!”, heard speeches by Glyn Secker, Mike Cushman (Free Speech on Israel), Tony Greenstein (Labour Against the Witchhunt), Sam Gisagara and Stan Keable, secretary of LAW and Labour Party Marxists. He said:

“Every appeasement, every apology by Corbyn is immediately followed by fresh right wing attacks. The witch-hunt is not about to end. It is not about anti-Semitism, it is about removing Corbyn, because he is an unreliable ally of the United States and Israel. The hypocrisy of Labour’s rightwing is breathtaking. Disciplinary action against Margaret Hodge has been dropped. So we want to see the charges against Jackie Walker dropped, we want Marc Wadsworth, Tony Greenstein and Cyril Chilson reinstated. We want Ken Livingstone invited to re-join the party.

“The purpose of the witch-hunt is to silence us. We don’t want Margaret Hodge silenced by disciplining her for saying “fucking” or for calling Jeremy Corbyn an anti-Semitic racist. We want her called to account by the Labour Party members in her Constituency Labour Party.”

Tony Greenstein, vice-chair of Labour Against the Witchhunt, said: “The BBC was born in the womb of the British state.  It’s attitude to the Palestinians is no different to its attitude to the Irish or workers strikes in this country.  It is a faithful spokesperson for the British Establishment and, as John Pilger said, it is the most effective propaganda organisation in the world.”

Report by Stan Keable

Open letter from deputy chair of Greenwich Momentum to Momentum nationally

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I am writing to you, as deputy chair of Greenwich Momentum steering committee, in great anger at the way a disgusting media fed campaign by the anti-Corbyn right in the Labour Party has used grotesque charges of “antisemitism” against Jeremy and some of his long standing supporters in the Labour Party. Some in Momentum have lent their support to this in an outrageous betrayal of our own Jewish comrades – in organisations such as Jews for Justice for Palestinians, Jewish Voice for Labour and the Jewish Socialist Group among  others – who have campaigned so bravely against the racist, colonising and apartheid style policies of successive Israeli governments. And all of this in a month during which the Netanyahu government (under pressure from even extreme right wing pro settler factions) have succeeded in imposing a new Israeli state law which is openly racist and discriminatory against Palestinians, Druze and other minorities.

The object of this libelous campaign is to weaken and if possible force Jeremy Corbyn from the leadership of the Labour Party. It is a foretaste of what a left led Labour government can expect when it takes office. But what is more dispiriting is the appalling decision of some of the leading personalities for Momentum and the left (including John Lansman and Owen Jones) to do the job of the witch hunting right for them. Nothing that Pete Willsman said at the last NEC about the pro-Trump sympathies of some in the ‘leadership’ of the Jewish community was in any way ‘antisemitic.’ He should be elected to the NEC now more than ever. Those who say Labour should adopt unchanged the existing international code on antisemitism ignore the view of the man who write it – among others – that without amendment it can be a threat to legitimate free speech.
There IS a problem of anti-semitism in Britain and elsewhere in Europe – on the right. But notice that the Israeli government is happy to invite leaders of far right parties with an historic record of bitter antisemitism as honoured guests to Israel. They may be hostile to Jews but they are happy to ally with the likes of Yetanyahu and the Israeli government.
Meanwhile Steve Bannon has chosen a leading hard right Belgian Zionist to head up a new EU wide alliance to encourage the growth of racist and far right parties with a long historic record of antisemitism to help undermine the European Union .
Understandably there are reports of great anger among Momentum members at the actions of Lansman, Jones and others and some comrades are threatening to resign. This would be a serious mistake: the Momentum network is a valuable asset for the left and the cause of a Corbyn led Labour government and should not be the property of any proprietor. But the time has come to hold our own supine leadership to account for the disgraceful role they are playing.
John Palmer

Open letter to Jeremy Corbyn

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By Rose Le Warne, Labour Party member in the Channel Islands

Dear the Rt Hon Jeremy Corbyn

I am horrified by what I am witnessing once again in the Labour party, which is nothing more than a ideologically driven witch hunt, which includes the despicable targeting of Jews who do not identify with Israel nor the political ideology that enables it, including actual holocaust survivors of death camps, not even alive to defend themselves.

You cannot, Sir, win this by attempting to keep compromising and pandering, this minority, and it is a minority, will not be satisfied with anything less than you removed as our democratically elected leader, along with everyone who supports you and a party that will not even consider the right of Palestinians to be treated in accordance with international law and to live with freedom, dignity and self determination, a fundamental right of every human on this planet.

The only way forward is to say enough, everything that needs to be put in place to protect Jews from genuine antisemitism has been and will be reviewed as necessary, that is all you have to say on the matter. Someone needs to put a case together for defamation of character that sets a precedent, the lives of average people in our nation depend on a line being drawn in the sand.

The party cannot keep being held to ransom by a minority that, along with ignoring international law, disregard the rights of another people to not be subject to racially motivated ethnic cleansing and, with what has now been confirmed by its ‘Nation State’ bill, an Apartheid. Every time we allow someone to be silenced we are enabling that suffering and in addition are creating a situation, as identified by Robert Cohen a British Jew in his article (which I have attached a link for), which will inevitably cause a rise in actual antisemitism:

https://mondoweiss.net/2018/07/establishments-bringing-semitism/amp/?__twitter_impression=true

I am an international member of Labour based in the Channel Islands and I will tell you a little about our history and why I choose to fight for the rights of Palestinians.

In the Channel Islands we are brought up learning about how our grandparents suffered under Occupation in WW2 and every year we celebrate our Liberation, it is very much part of our identity and thus when I learned about the suffering of the Palestinians under occupation it struck a chord with me.

Our occupation was only for 5-years and is not comparable to the Palestinians occupation and blockade. We would have died, however, from starvation had it not been for the HMS Vega being allowed to deliver humanitarian aid from the Red Cross. To learn how Israel is violently stopping similar aid being delivered to a people far more desperate than we were, in contravention of international law, outrages me. People attempting to silence me on speaking about this and demanding the end to impunity does much more than that.

We must never forget the words of Sophie Scholl the young German student who passively resisted fascism and paid the ultimate price and use her words to motivate us:

“how can we expect righteousness to prevail when there is hardly anyone willing to give himself up individually to a righteous cause? Such a fine sunny day, and I have to go but what does my death matter if through us, thousands of people are awakened and stirred to action?”

I appreciate you are very busy, but I respectfully request a response to this email so I know that it has been considered.

Kind regards

Rose Le Warne

Moshe Machover: Full and frank disclosure

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Full and frank disclosure

I met the late Dr Hans Joachim ‘Hajo’ Meyer, a  Jewish Dutch Physicist, on 19 November 2005 in Brussels, where we shared a platform at a meeting in defence of Palestinian human and national rights. At that meeting I heard him draw a comparison between Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians and the way he was treated by the Nazi regime.
I did not protest at the time or subsequently against him making this comparison, as I felt that he – as a surviver of Kristallnacht and Auschwitz – had a full right to express his view about his own experience.
 
I remained in touch with Hajo until his death, and counted him as a friend, a feeling that he reciprocated. I am honoured and privileged to have had that great man as a personal friend.
 
Moshé Machover

More Fake Anti-Semitism – The Latest Victim is Labour’s Pete Willsman

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UPDATE

Momentum’s Caudillo and Owner, Jon Lansman, has removed Pete Willsman from Momentum’s JC9 slate. It is claimed that this was done by Momentum’s undemocratic ruling body, the National Coordination Group, but it is unlikely that this group has met.

This is an act of treachery of the first order as it is therefore allowing Luke Akehurst or a member of the anti-Corbyn Right to gain a place on the NEC.  One can only hope that enough people have already voted and enough people will ignore Momentum’s dictator that Pete will retain his seat.  Either way it is an act of scabbing by Lansman.

Barnett’s far-Right Tory Councillor Brian Gordon Proposes Banning Organisations Supporting a Boycott of Israel – Naturally!

Hardly a day goes by without another sacrificial lamb being offered up to the Zionist lobby in the Labour Party. Today it was Pete Willsman, a veteran socialist. Peter had made an angry speech at Labour’s National Executive Committee asking members where was this anti-Semitism that everyone speaks about, a reasonable question, and this was enough for that Israel’s main operative in the Labour Party, Luciana Berger, Chair of the racist Jewish Labour Movement to demand his expulsion.

And sure enough, Jon Lansman and his friends in Momentum, always speaking anonymously of course, immediately dissociated themselves from Pete and threatened to take him off the left slate (though that may be too late unless they want to let a right-winger get elected). The Guardian reported that ‘Momentum activists also suggested Willsman should be removed from their leftwing slate’, which would effectively destroy his chances of being voted back on to the NEC.

Naturally Owen Jones, who has every quality of a dog except loyalty, was first off the starting block:

‘“I’ll proudly vote for the other eight excellent Labour left candidates. I won’t vote for someone who undermines the struggle against the disgusting disease of anti-Semitism.”

The idea that anti-Semitism is a ‘disease’ is itself a racist concept. It implies that anti-Jewish racism isn’t caused by the society we live in but is a racial pathology.  It is on a par with the rest of this vacuum head’s outpourings.

Having listened to what Pete said there is nothing in it that is remotely anti-Semitic. He said ‘some of these people in the Jewish community support Trump.’  What is anti-Semitic about that?  What he should have said is that the arch-witchhunters in the right-wing Board of Deputies, including its former President Jonathan Arkush welcomed the election of Trump.  Marie van der Zyle, the current President, who is to the right of Arkush, was amongst those defending Arkush.

The Jewish Chronicle reported that on the Board of Deputies website Arkush said that “I would like to congratulate Donald Trump on his victory.” I can’t remember the detestable Luciana, or the Blessed Margaret Hodge or Liar Smeeth protesting. After all they were chasing ‘anti-Semitism’ in the Labour Party. Arkush continued:

“After a divisive campaign, I hope that Mr Trump will move to build bridges and ensure that America’s standing as a beacon of progress, tolerance and free-thinking remains strong.”  

Trump came to power after the most anti-Semitic Presidential election campaign in history where anti-semitic messages and dog whistles became the norm.  But none of this upset our Zionists for whom the only anti-Semitism that counts is opposition to Zionism.

And of course not only the President of the Board of Deputies but the Leader of the Israeli Labour Party, which is the sister party of the Jewish Labour Movement also welcomed the election of Trump.  Isaac Herzog issued a statement “Warm congratulations to the president of the most powerful nation in the world: Donald J Trump!” Israeli Labour Party leader Isaac Herzog, wrote on his Facebook.’Herzog to Trump: Your win shows elites are thing of past.

So Pete Willsman was absolutely correct. Berger and the rest of Labour’s racist Zionist MPs have nothing to say about Apartheid Israel because their whole purpose is a defence of the US’s racist Rottweiler in the Middle East.

Lest anyone forget the real target of the false antisemitism campaign is Corbyn himself – those who promote it like Owen Jones are helping the campaign to get rid of Corbyn

Willsman also said that ‘we should ask the 70 rabbis where is your evidence of severe and widespread anti-Semitism’ in the Labour Party.  Of course they have none but and here’s the trick.  In asking for evidence, indeed even referring to the fact that there is none, Pete Willsman is guilty of, wait for it, ‘anti-Semitism’.  Because anti-Semitism is anything that displeases Berger, Smeeth and Hodge who are all ‘victims’ by their own reckoning. These privileged daughters of Zionism, who spend their waking time defending Israel, don’t hesitate to accuse anyone who doubts the existence of anti-Semitism of being anti-Semitic. Willsman compounded his offence by asking ‘How many people in this room have seen anti-Semitism?’  Apparently two did!  But surely Pete must know that saying that the Emperor has no clothes is in itself an act of Lèse majesté?

Meanwhile a genuine 24 carat racist, Councillor Brian Gordon of Barnet Council has also got into the act.  He is proposing a motion to the Council which would ban premises to any organisation that supporters a Boycott of Israel.  As we have been saying all along, the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism is a threat to free speech and the right to dissent.

At least Brian Gordon is consistent.  A member of Herut he was a member of the far-Right Tory Monday Club which proposed the repatriation of British Blacks. When he lost a seat to Labour many years ago he bemoaned the fact that the racist vote was split between the Conservatives and the National Front and suggested that in the future the nationalist parties should combine.

However no can deny that this far-Right loon has a sense of humour.  When Purim came around he dressed up as Nelson Mandela, to the extent of blacking himself up in the tradition of the Black and White Minstrel show that many of us grew up with.  A good article Gordon Bennet, he’s your councillor? by the late Charley Pottins describes this racist clown.

I also seem to remember that after this election defeat, which must have been in the 1970’s, Gordon was caught at election night in a huddle with the NF candidate.

So it is really no surprise that Brian Gordon is proposing a motion effectively outlawing organisations that support Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel. The motion cites the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism as a justification. The IHRA as people will know is a definition of ‘anti-Semitism’ that conflates anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism.

This is of course  entirely understandable. Gordon, who was a supporter of Apartheid in South Africa and an opponent of a Boycott of that country when White Supremacy ruled is hardly likely to support a Boycott of Israel given that it is a state of Jewish supremacy.   See What’s the matter with Barnet?

What I Told the Psychiatrist – for Pete Willsman, by Kevin Higgins

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What I Told the Psychiatrist

for Pete Willsman

 

The cat pads downstairs and its claws

take their hate out on me because

he’s been up there re-reading his copy

of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,

which, one of these days, I’ll find

if it kills me, which I expect it will.

 

Then the wife joins in with an unprovoked

“Are you really wearing that?”

against one of my more

avant-garde jumpers, and I realise

it’s a symptom of her

longstanding admiration for

the architecture of Albert Speer.

 

And there’s the shop assistant who

by her very body language accuses

me of being a veteran

of Yom Kippur and member

of Israel Military Intelligence,

each time she rings up my

Vichy bottled water.

 

And those who’ve previously

marched and written against

anti-Semitism but now give

tacit endorsement to the policies

of the General Government of Poland

(nineteen thirty nine to forty five)

by disagreeing with me

about the price of parsnips,

or deciding to support

Leicester City. Worst of all is when

 

bank holiday weekend traffic

gets suddenly constipated, and some

random driver takes his pain out on me

by mouthing horrible words

through his windscreen

because he knows I’m Jewish

 

even though no one in my family

ever previously was.

 

KEVIN HIGGINS

 

 

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.

Press Release – 23rd July 2018 The IHRA Definition of Anti-Semitism is about defending Israel not defending Jews

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The debate over the IHRA in the media, especially the BBC, has been deliberately skewed towards supporters of Israel and Zionism. It has totally obliterated the views of Jews who are not Zionists or those in the Palestine solidarity movement.  The British press has behaved no differently to how the Chinese press would treat a controversial topic.

Nowhere is it mentioned that the IHRA is the old Working Definition of Anti-Semitism that the Fundamental Rights Agency junked in 2013.

Nowhere is the threat the IHRA poses to freedom of speech mentioned.  Even the IHRA’s author, Kenneth Stern, accepted that the IHRA was “never meant to provide a framework for eviscerating free speech or academic freedom, let alone labeling anyone an antisemite.” Yet that is what is happening.

Hugh Tomlinson QC described it as having “a potential chilling effect on public bodies”.  Professor David Feldman of the Pears Institute for the Study of Anti-Semitism described it as ‘bewilderingly perplexing’. Sir Stephen Sedley, the Jewish former Court of Appeal Judge wrote that the IHRA ‘fails the first test of any definition: it is indefinite.’

The IHRA is over 500 words. The OED defines it as ‘hostility to or prejudice against Jews.’ Why the difference? Because that is how long it takes to conflate anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism.

The IHRA defines anti-Semitism as calling Israel as racist yet how else do you describe a state where segregation is the norm in education, employment and housing? Where just one month ago hundreds of Israeli Jews demonstrated against the sale of a house in the Jewish city of Afula to Arabs?

Only last week the Knesset passed the Jewish Nation State Bill which has been widely criticised in Israel’s sole liberal daily Ha’aretz as an apartheid law which will make Israel a state of Jews not its own citizens, Jewish and non-Jewish.

Critics of the Labour Party don’t even hide what their real agenda is.  Stephen Pollard, Editor of the Jewish Chronicle, was quite frank:

‘instead of adopting the definition as agreed by all these bodies, Labour has excised the parts which relate to Israel and how criticism of Israel can be antisemitic.’

Even Pollard accepts that the IHRA has nothing to do with hate of Jews and everything to do with criticising a State which discriminates against non-Jews.

Yes the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism has been adopted by 31 governments.  They include the anti-Semitic governments of Poland and Viktor Orban’s Hungary, both of which are ardent supporters of Netanyahu.  Need one say more?

  1. For further information contact:

Tony Greenstein           01273 660313/07843350343