Model motions on Chris Williamson’s court case and new suspension

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Here are a number of motions currently going forward in various branches and CLPs. Feel free to chop and change.

PLEASE  NOTE THERE IS NO BAN ON MOVING MOTIONS IN SUPPORT OF CHRIS: We hear that, again, in a number of branches and CLPs, the chair has prevented the meeting from discussing motions in support of Chris because of apparent guidelines sent out by Labour HQ. Labour Against the Witchhunt 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.

1) Motion on Chris Williamson court case

This branch/CLP notes with concern
  1. the judgement of the High Court that the Labour Party had “acted unfairly” in retrospectively re-imposing suspension of Chris Williamson MP following the decision of a panel of the National Executive Committee to reinstate his membership; that “there was no proper reason for reopening the case against Mr Williamson”; and that this act was “unlawful”;
  2. the misuse of precious Labour Party funds to defend this unlawful procedure in the High Court;
  3. the further persecution by the Labour Party in arbitrarily imposing on Chris Williamson a second suspension.
We consider the entire report by Judge Pepperall a damning indictment of our party’s internal disciplinary procedures, and declare our loss of confidence in the integrity of the current disciplinary process, rendering it unfit for purpose.
We therefore call on the General Secretary to:
  1. lift the suspension of Chris Williamson MP forthwith;
  2. end the practice of instant expulsions and suspensions;
  3. reinstate the membership of all those summarily expelled or suspended without due process;
  4. conduct a comprehensive review of the party’s legal, disciplinary and disputes procedures; and
  5. ensure that all future disciplinary procedures are carried out in accordance with the principles of natural justice.
* * * *
For your information, here are some background notes…
Chris Williamson MP was suspended on February 27. On June 26, a three-person antisemitism panel of Labour’s National Executive Committee voted to reinstate Williamson. This was made up of Keith Vaz MP, Huda Elmi and Gerarld Howarth MP. On June 27, following a public campaign against the decision led by Tom Watson, Keith Vaz claimed that he was undergoing medical procedures and felt that he had “not been fit” to consider any of the cases dealt with that day. On June 28, general secretary Jennie Formby informed all NEC members that the decision of the panel would be revisited by the full NEC Disputes Panel. This decided on July 9 that Williamson was suspended again and on July 19 it referred Williamson’s case to the party’s National Constitutional Committee.
In his judgement of October 10 2019, judge Edward Pepperall ruled that “the party acted unfairly” in re-suspending Chris Williamson MP on July 9 and that “there was no proper reason for reopening the case against Mr Williamson and referring the original allegations to the NCC”. Judge Pepperall declared the re-suspension “unlawful” and that “the Labour Party is no longer able lawfully to pursue the original [February 27] disciplinary case against Mr Williamson”. Judge Pepperall explained that it was “not difficult to infer that the true reason for the decision [to re-suspend Chris] in this case was that [NEC] members were influenced by the ferocity of the outcry following the June decision.” He referenced Tom Watson organising a public letter of 90 MPs and peers and another letter by 70 Labour staffers, demanding that Jeremy Corbyn strip Williamson of the whip. He also mentioned Margaret Hodge’s claim that the decision meant the “party is turning a blind eye to Jew-hate”. The judge made scathing criticisms of Keith Vaz, who “by June 27 appears to have had seconds thoughts about the matter” by raising “issues about his health”. “It would be surprising if, as an experienced Parliamentarian, Mr Vaz, a) had taken part in an important meeting if he felt himself unfit to do so; and b) then failed to clearly make that point in his subsequent email.” Further, the judge thinks it “surprising” that neither George Howarth nor Huda Elmi “raised the issue of his fitness either at the time or subsequently”.
On September 3, a week before the hearing started, the Labour Party issued Chris Williamson with a second suspension on top of his first one. These new allegations, listed in the judgement, clearly do not warrant a suspension: “sending an email to a member of the public who had complained to you about your criticism of Margaret Hodge MP that referred her to a video critical of Margaret Hodge; publicly legitimising or endorsing the misconduct of members or former members who have been found grossly detrimental or prejudicial to the Labour Party; publicly characterising the disciplinary process of the party as politically motivated and/or not genuine. However, as the party had followed its own constitutional procedures correctly, the judge could find “nothing inherently unfair in investigating these fresh allegations”. This is why Chris Williamson remains suspended from the party.

Please note that the press have wrongly reported that Chris Williamson lost his appeal. That is a wilful misrepresentation. He remains suspended on the new charges, on which no ruling has been made.


2) LAW model motion (long)

A shorter version is available further below.

1) This branch/CLP notes:

a) That Chris Williamson MP was suspended on February 27. On June 26, a three-person antisemitism panel of Labour’s National Executive Committee voted to reinstate Williamson. This was made up of Keith Vaz MP, Huda Elmi and Gerald Howarth MP.

b) That on June 27, following a public campaign against the decision led by Tom Watson, Keith Vaz claimed that he was undergoing medical procedures and felt that he had “not been fit” to consider any of the cases dealt with that day.

c) That on June 28, general secretary Jennie Formby informed all NEC members that the decision of the panel would be revisited by the full NEC Disputes Panel. This decided on July 9 that Williamson was suspended again and on July 19 it referred Williamson’s case to the party’s National Constitutional Committee (as this is dominated by the right, a referral usually results in expulsion).

2) We further note:

a) That in his judgement of October 10 2019, judge Edward Pepperall ruled that, “the party acted unfairly” in re-suspending Chris Williamson MP on July 9 and that “there was no proper reason for reopening the case against Mr Williamson and referring the original allegations to the NCC”. Judge Pepperall declared the re-suspension “unlawful” and that “the Labour Party is no longer able lawfully to pursue the original [February 27] disciplinary case against Mr Williamson”.

b) That judge Pepperall explains that it was “not difficult to infer that the true reason for the decision [to re-suspend Chris] in this case was that [NEC] members were influenced by the ferocity of the outcry following the June decision.” He references Tom Watson organising a public letter of 90 MPs and peers and another letter by 70 Labour staffers, demanding that Jeremy Corbyn strip Williamson of the whip. He also mentions Margaret Hodge’s claim that the decision meant the “party is turning a blind eye to Jew-hate”.

c) That the judge makes scathing criticisms of Keith Vaz, who “by June 27 appears to have had seconds thoughts about the matter” by raising “issues about his health”. “It would be surprising if, as an experienced Parliamentarian, Mr Vaz, a) had taken part in an important meeting if he felt himself unfit to do so; and b) then failed to clearly make that point in his subsequent email.” Further, the judge thinks it “surprising” that neither George Howarth nor Huda Elmi “raised the issue of his fitness either at the time or subsequently”.

d) That Labour Party HQ repeatedly briefed against Chris Williamson in the media – including the release of private details about his case – which resulted in him being abused and smeared in public by wild and unsubstantiated allegations. Meanwhile, he was not allowed to defend himself, as he was required to sign a confidentiality statement. As opposed to Labour Party HQ, he fully complied with this requirement. In fact, the judge was so concerned about those leaks that he even asked the Party lawyers for them to discontinue.

3) We note with great concern, however:

a) That on September 3, a week before the hearing started, the Labour Party issued Chris Williamson with a second suspension on top of his first one.

b) That these new allegations, listed in the judgement, clearly do not warrant a suspension:

  • “Sending an email to a member of the public who had complained to you about your criticism of Margaret Hodge MP that referred her to a video” which was critical of Margaret Hodge.
  • “Publicly legitimising or endorsing the misconduct of members or former members” who have been found “grossly detrimental or prejudicial to the Labour Party” – ie, standing up for Marc Wadsworth, Jackie Walker, Ken Livingstone etc.
  • “Publicly characterising the disciplinary process of the party” as “politically motivated and/or not genuine”.

c) However, as the party had followed its own constitutional procedures correctly, the judge could find “nothing inherently unfair in investigating these fresh allegations”.

d) That this is why Chris Williamson remains suspended from the party.

4) This CLP believes:

a) That the report by Judge Pepperall is a damning indictment of our party’s internal disciplinary procedures. If anything, it proves that Chris Williamson was correct to criticise the disciplinary process of the party as “politically motivated” (one of the allegations leading to his September 3 suspension).

b) That Chris Williamson has said and done nothing that could be characterised as anti-Semitic or that warrants his ongoing suspension from the party. His September 3 suspension was only launched to stop him from becoming Labour’s parliamentary candidate in Derby North once again: suspended members are not allowed to stand.

c) That this shows to what length Labour HQ will go in its futile campaign to try and appease the right in the party. But they will never accept Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party, let alone prime minister. They will continue their campaign of sabotage, because he remains unreliable from the ruling class’s point of view, especially given his strong support for the rights of Palestinians.

d) That there is a total loss of confidence in the competence, credibility and integrity of the current disciplinary process, rendering it unfit for purpose.

e) That this brings into serious question the veracity and the credibility of this latest suspension of Chris Williamson, as well as the disciplinary measures taken against many other members.

5) We therefore call on the General Secretary Jennie Formby to:

a) Order a comprehensive overhaul of the Labour Party legal, disciplinary and disputes body. The party must end the practice of automatic and instant expulsions and suspensions and all those summarily expelled or suspended without due process should be immediately reinstated. Disciplinary procedures should be carried out in accordance with the principles of natural justice.

b) Order an investigation into the conduct of members of the NEC Disputes Panel and any Party members, including MPs, who have interfered with and corrupted disciplinary processes. On completion of such an investigation that the appropriate disciplinary measures be taken against anyone found to be in breach of procedural regulations, leaking confidential material to the press or guilty of any other misconduct.

c) Order the immediate lifting of the suspension of Chris Williamson MP and issue an apology to him.



3) Law model motion (short)

1) This branch/CLP notes:

a) That in his judgement of October 10 2019, judge Edward Pepperall ruled that, “the party acted unfairly” in re-suspending Chris Williamson MP on July 9 and that “the Labour Party is no longer able lawfully to pursue the original [February 27] disciplinary case against Mr Williamson”.

b) That judge Pepperall explains that it was “not difficult to infer that the true reason for the decision [to re-suspend Chris] was that [NEC] members were influenced by the ferocity of the outcry following the June [26] decision.”

c) That on September 3, a week before the hearing started, the Labour Party issued Chris Williamson with a second suspension on top of his first one. These are the allegations listed in the judgment:

  • “Sending an email to a member of the public who had complained to you about your criticism of Margaret Hodge MP that referred her to a video” which was critical of Margaret Hodge.
  • “Publicly legitimising or endorsing the misconduct of members or former members” who have been found “grossly detrimental or prejudicial to the Labour Party” – ie, standing up for Marc Wadsworth, Jackie Walker, Ken Livingstone etc.
  • “Publicly characterising the disciplinary process of the party” as “politically motivated and/or not genuine”.

d) That, as the party had followed its own constitutional procedures correctly, the judge could find “nothing inherently unfair in investigating these fresh allegations”.

e) That this is why Chris Williamson remains suspended from the party.

2) This CLP believes:

a) That the report by Judge Pepperall is a damning indictment of our party’s internal disciplinary procedures. If anything, it proves that Chris Williamson was correct to criticise the disciplinary process of the party as “politically motivated” (one of the allegations leading to his second suspension).

b) That Chris Williamson has said and done nothing that could be characterised as anti-Semitic or that warrants his ongoing suspension from the party. The September 3 suspension was only launched to stop him from becoming Labour’s parliamentary candidate in Derby North once again: suspended members are not allowed to stand.

c) That this shows to what length Labour HQ will go in its futile campaign to try and appease the right in the party. But they will never accept Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party, let alone prime minister. They will continue their campaign of sabotage, because he remains unreliable from the ruling class’s point of view, especially given his strong support for the rights of Palestinians.

d) That there is a total loss of confidence in the competence, credibility and integrity of the current disciplinary process, rendering it unfit for purpose.

e) That this brings into serious question the veracity and the credibility of this latest suspension of Chris Williamson, as well as the disciplinary measures taken against many other members.

3) We therefore call on the General Secretary to:

a) Order a comprehensive overhaul of the Labour Party legal, disciplinary and disputes body. The party must end the practice of automatic and instant expulsions and suspensions and all those summarily expelled or suspended without due process should be immediately reinstated. Disciplinary procedures should be carried out in accordance with the principles of natural justice.

b) Order an investigation into the conduct of members of the NEC Disputes Panel and any Party members, including MPs, who have interfered with and corrupted disciplinary processes. On completion of such an investigation that the appropriate disciplinary measures be taken against anyone found to be in breach of procedural regulations, leaking confidential material to the press or guilty of any other misconduct.

c) Order the immediate lifting of the suspension of Chris Williamson MP and issue an apology to him.


LAW statement: Oppose fast track expulsions!

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We urge all delegates at Labour Party conference to vote AGAINST the proposal coming from the NEC meeting of September 17 (this will probably be debated on Sunday). As we go to press, we have not seen the full text, but we understand that it will allow sub-panels of the NEC to swiftly expel members for any ‘hate crime’-type offence. This will presumably include transphobia, sexism, racism etc.

But we all know what the real purpose is: It is meant to be the magic bullet that finally puts an end to the anti-Semitism smear campaign in the party. But we have bad news for Labour HQ: This is not going to work! For starters, the Jewish Labour Movement has already complained – that is after all why they relaunched in 2015: to sabotage Jeremy Corbyn at every opportunity they get.

But, more seriously, this rule change has the potential to make the witch-hunt in the Labour Party even worse. Currently, the national constitutional committee (NCC) is the only body with the power to expel members, “having been created following a high court injunction against expulsions by the NEC in the 1980s”, as The Guardian puts it. “The court ruled that the NEC could not both investigate complaints and make a final ruling on complaints. However, as investigations are now carried out by party staff, the power to expel can be restored to the NEC.”

Certainly, the NCC quite rightly deserves its nickname of ‘national kangaroo court’ – most of its 24 members have been appointed by rightwing unions and affiliates and only 11 are elected by Labour Party members. But handing the power to expel members to the NEC – under current conditions – is no good thing. Contrary to what often appears in the media, the NEC is not dominated by the ‘left’.

The NEC already has the power to immediately suspend a member (and it has made full use of it). Plus, if the allegation is so serious as to warrant instant dismissal for racism, then surely this might be a police matter?

Then there is the question of what constitutes anti-Semitic “hate speech” and what is justified criticism of the actions of the state of Israel? This is, as supporters of this rule change know all too well, a hotly disputed issue. Chris Williamson MP remains suspended under anti-Semitism charges, when clearly all he did was to question the party’s response to the campaign orchestrated by the right in and outside the party.

Or take the evolution of the term ‘Zionism’. This is a label chosen by the Zionists themselves to describe their political ideology. Yet we have seen dozens of examples of Labour Party members being investigated simply for their use of the word – often merely in a descriptive fashion.

Rather than putting an end to the ‘anti-Zionism equals anti-Semitism’ smear campaign in the party, this rule change would be making matters much, much worse – and is a real danger to the right of freedom of speech.

Please VOTE FOR the rule changes by Ceredigion CLP and Enfield Southgate CLP which would make the disciplinary process more transparent, enshrine the right to appeal and ensure that cases are dealt with in a timely fashion.

Panorama programme exposes political bias of former staffers – now reopen all cases prepared and processed by them!

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In one respect, the BBC Panorama’s biased programme ‘Is Labour Anti-Semitic?’ actually did a very good job: It vividly exposed how politically biased those employed to implement the disciplinary process in the Labour Party have been when making their decisions.

Most of the ex-staffers interviewed by the programme were hired by former general secretary and virulent anti-Corbyn right-winger Iain McNicol, who himself was given the job by Tony Blair. Dan Hogan for example was employed by McNicol in 2016, at the height of the first coup against Corbyn. He acted as ‘investigating officer’ on many cases that led to good comrades being expelled from the party. He now says in an interview with the ‘i’ newspaper: “Yes, I have a political axe to grind in that I don’t want the Labour Party to be run by anti-Semites.”

The Labour Party press office is of course spot on when it describes Hogan and others as “disaffected former officials” and “who have always opposed Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, worked to actively undermine it and have both personal and political axes to grind. This throws into doubt their credibility as sources.”

But it does much more than that: it puts into doubt every single disciplinary case that was prepared by these Blairites. These include the high-profile cases of Jackie Walker, Tony Greenstein, Marc Wadsworth (and many hundreds more). These comrades are clearly victims of the anti-Corbyn witch-hunt and were expelled on the weakest of evidence, in a highly politicised and biased disciplinary process lacking any kind of natural justice.

We demand that all cases processed and prepared by staffers employed under Iain McNicol are reopened and that the comrades in question are immediately reinstated!

Please also check out the excellent statement by our comrades of Jewish Voice for Labour: https://www.jewishvoiceforlabour.org.uk/statement/bbc-panoramas-is-labour-antisemitic/

Protest against Iain McNicol at 2017 Labour Party conference

The re-suspension of Chris Williamson is a travesty of justice

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Sign our open letter to the NEC here

The renewed suspension of Chris Williamson MP, two days after he was readmitted to the Labour Party, is deeply troubling. We are particularly concerned that Keith Vaz’ U-turn seems to have been motivated purely by the pressure coming from the right inside and outside the party. Sadly but unsurprisingly, that now includes Jon Lansman.

We presume Vaz initially judged the case by its merit and found – correctly – that Chris had not said or done anything that could be described as anti-Semitic or bringing the party into disrepute. Vaz quite rightly judged that the evidence did not warrant Chris’s ongoing suspension or his referral to the National Constitutional Committee (which is still dominated by the right).

But Vaz’s U-turn and Chris’s renewed suspension, following the deeply undemocratic and hysterical letter organised by Tom Watson, symbolise how unfair and one-sided the whole disciplinary process really is. The right is calling all the shots – and Labour HQ seems to always do exactly what they demand.

But the right will never be appeased. They will never accept Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party, let alone prime minister. They will continue their campaign of sabotage, because he remains unreliable from the ruling class’s point of view, especially given his strong support for the rights of Palestinians.

It is high time that the Labour MPs better reflect the wishes of the local membership. We therefore urge Labour Party members to organise trigger ballots everywhere, particularly in order to deselect the 70 or so MPs who have signed Tom Watson’s letter (below).

Click here to see the long list of statements, resolutions and motions in support of Chris!

Sign our open letter to the NEC here

saboteurs

Model motion: Reinstate Pete Willsman!

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This branch/CLP notes:

  • On May 31, Labour Party NEC member Peter Willsman was put under “administrative suspension” after he was secretly recorded by the Israeli-American author Tuvia Tenenbom.
  • The audio was recorded in January 2019, but leaked to the press over five months later, no doubt to coincide with a new hotting up in the campaign o get rid of Jeremy Corbyn.

We further note:

  • Tenenbom claims that he ‘happened’ to come across Pete Willsman in a hotel bar and that his sound engineer ‘happened’ to have left a hidden microphone switched on.
  • However, Tenenbom has published a number of books in which he uses exactly this kind of method: He secretly films and records people, often guiding them into making the kind of unguarded comments he was looking for, in order to prove how anti-Semitism is rife in Germany, Palestine, the USA etc.
  • Tenenbom has given lectures in which he explains why “the suffering of Palestinian people is bullshit” (https://bit.ly/2MAH1xo) and told LBC Radio: “He [Pete Willsman] is a nice guy, he has a great sense of humour, he’s knowledgeable. But Like Jeremy Corbyn – I met Jeremy and he’s also a nice guy, very fatherly – but they suffer from a disease of really hating the Jews.” (https://www.lbc.co.uk/news/labour-israeli-embassy-behind-antisemitism-smears/)

We believe:

  • That anti-Semitism, like all forms of racism, must be vigorously combatted – ideally, through education and debate, not disciplinary measures and ‘zero tolerance’.
  • That the Labour Party is not institutionally anti-Semitic, as the figures published by Jennie Formby prove. On the contrary, many claims of anti-Semitism have been taken out of context, exaggerated and weaponised in order to undermine Jeremy Corbyn, an outspoken supporter of the rights of Palestinians. Anti-Zionism has been willfully and wrongly equated with anti-Semitism.
  • That nothing Pete Willsman said was anti-Semitic. Pete did, however, point to some uncomfortable truths exposed by the Al Jazeera documentary The Lobby, which has been ignored by the mainstream media. The documentary revealed a systematic effort by the Israeli embassy to involve itself in the internal battles in the Labour Party. Also revealed were the efforts by the Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs to label opponents of Israel as anti-Semites.
  • That this proven interference should be the subject of an overdue investigation, as demanded by Jeremy Corbyn in a letter of January 2017.

We further believe:

  • A stalwart of the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy (CLDP), Pete Willsman has been serving on Labour’s NEC for many decades and is one of the few real allies of Jeremy Corbyn on that body. This is why he has been on the radar of those who will do anything to get rid of Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party.
  • That anti-Corbyn MPs such as Margaret Hodge, Louise Ellman and Tom Watson insult, disrupt, make bogus accusations and work hand in glove with the media – with no repercussions coming their way. Those making false charges ought to face disciplinary action and should be held accountable for their actions.

We therefore express our full solidarity with Pete Willsman, Chris Williamson MP and all the other Labour Party members who have been suspended, expelled or disciplined on bogus charges of anti-Semitism or because of their support for left-wing groups. We want to see them immediately reinstated.

Important information:

There is no ban in the Labour Party on moving motions in support of comrades in ongoing disciplinary cases. Like in the case Chris Williamson MP, the ‘advice’ sent out by Labour Party HQ merely declares such motions to be “not competent business” for the NEC to discuss. That merely means the NEC will not look at them – but the rest of the workers’ movement  certainly will. Any motion, any statement, any act of public solidarity will add pressure to get our comrades reinstated, gives courage to other Labour Party members and branches and assures the victims of the witch-hunt that they do not stand alone.

More info on this issue and detailed guidelines on how to move a motion are here: http://www.labouragainstthewitchhunt.org/campaigns/there-is-no-ban-on-moving-motions-in-support-of-chris-williamson-mp/

 

 

Statement and model motion: Reinstate Pete Willsman!

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Labour Against the Witchhunt deplores the disciplinary action against NEC member Pete Willsman, who has been put under administrative suspension by general secretary Jennie Formby after “a number of complaints, including from NEC members, about Pete’s latest comments”.

Comrade Willsman insists that he made his comments to the American-Israeli author Tuvia Tenenbom “off the record”, which explains some of the clumsy formulations he used in the discussion. It is surely no coincidence that Pete’s comments, recorded in January, have been published at a time where the slow coup against Jeremy Corbyn is hotting up once again.

Nothing Pete Willsman said in these comments is anti-Semitic. He does, however, point to some uncomfortable truths exposed by the excellent Al Jazeera documentary The Lobby, which has been so willfully ignored by the mainstream media. The documentary reveals a systematic effort by the Israeli embassy to infiltrate the Labour Party and highlights the efforts by the Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs to label critics of Israeli human rights abuses as anti-Semitic.

Letter sent by Corbyn to May asking for a public enquiry into Israeli interference in British politics… but nothing has happened.

This should be the subject of an overdue investigation rather than Pete Willsman’s role in drawing our attention to it. It is an outrage that Labour Party members are being disciplined for correctly stating that much of the anti-Semitism crisis has been manufactured, while anti-Corbyn MPs like Margaret Hodge, Louise Ellman and Tom Watson insult, disrupt, make bogus accusations and work hand in glove with the capitalist media – with no repercussions coming their way. Those making false charges ought to face disciplinary action and should be held accountable for their actions.

A stalwart of the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy (CLDP), Pete Willsman has been serving on Labour’s NEC for many decades and is one of the few real allies of Jeremy Corbyn on that body. This is why he has been on the radar of those who will do anything to get rid of Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party. We recall how he was secretly recorded at a meeting of the NEC in July 2018, where he can be heard angrily criticising all those who were responsible for so many false allegations of anti-Semitism in the party. His subsequent re-election to the NEC, despite being removed from Momentum’s slate at the behest of its owner, Jon Lansman, shows both his individual popularity and the widespread disillusionment with Momentum for its part in promoting the false ‘anti-Zionism equals anti-Semitism’ narrative.

Pete Willsman’s suspension from the Labour Party should be lifted immediately.

Please use this model motion in your Labour Party branch, CLP, trade union or organisation.

Update: Meet Tuvia Tenenbom, the man who secretly recorded Peter Willsman and leaked the audio to the press just as the latest coup against Jeremy Corbyn is hotting up… Watch the short clip below and then judge for yourself if this really is a “journalist” whose sound recording guy happened to have left the microphone on… or if this does not look like somebody who might organise a sting operation against the most outspoken Corbyn supporter on Labour’s NEC … kind of proving Pete’s point about “interference”.

The Equality Commission’s Inquiry is part of the witch-hunt against Jeremy Corbyn

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It is unfortunately no surprise that the Equalities and Human Rights Commission has opened an official investigation into the Labour Party.

Any kind of neutral body would have had to immediately dismiss the complaints lodged by the Jewish Labour Movement and the so-called Campaign Against Anti-Semitism. These organisations have no interest in fighting racism: their only purpose is to get rid of a certain Jeremy Corbyn. They have been blatant in their political opposition to the twice elected leader of the Labour Party – and have actively plotted against him from day one. (Click here for Tony Greenstein’s blog who looks at the reactionary politics of the CAA).

According to The Guardian, the EHRC will investigate “whether the party has unlawfully discriminated against, harassed or victimised people because they are Jewish” and if “the party and its employees have committed unlawful acts of discrimination or failed to respond to complaints of unlawful acts in an efficient and effective manner”.

If there has been unlawful discrimination by Labour against Jewish people, it is against Jewish anti-Zionists. Many of those, as well as black members, are involved in the struggle for Palestinian rights, which explains the disproportionate number of expulsions and suspensions of black and Jewish comrades.

However, the recent victory of Stan Keable in his employment tribunal shows what happens when these types of cases are put before a real judge: they are laughed out of court. Stan was fired for stating that in the 1930s the Zionist movement collaborated with the Nazi regime – a well documented, if shameful, historical fact. The judge defended the right to express anti-Zionist views – even if they offend people.

Labour HQ should call this campaign what it is: part of the rightwing witch-hunt against Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters. The Labour leader remains an unreliable ally from the ruling class’s point of view, especially given his strong support for the rights of Palestinians.

The expulsion of Alistair Campbell, though welcome, does not change the overall picture. MPs like Margaret Hodge, Louise Ellman and Tom Watson insult, disrupt, make bogus accusations and work hand in glove with the capitalist media – with no repercussions coming their way. Those making false charges ought to face justice at last.

Their outrageous behaviour goes unpunished because of the short-sighted and futile attempts to appease the right. This can only undermine the Corbyn leadership and play into the false ‘Anti-Zionism equals anti-Semitism’ narrative.

Stan Keable has won his employment tribunal

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We are very pleased to report that LAW secretary Stan Keable has today WON his employment tribunal against Hammersmith and Fulham council. The employment tribunal judge ruled that it was “an unfair dismissal, both procedurally and substantively.”

On April 21 2018, Stan was dismissed from his job with Hammersmith and Fulham Council after 17 years unblemished service as a housing officer, 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.

He 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 Stan.

Unison withdrew support because Stan rejected the bad advice of their regional organiser to plead guilty, throwing away the right to demonstrate and to freedom of speech.

This dismissal was clearly an extension of the McCarthyite witch-hunt against Corbyn supporters in the Labour Party into the area of employment. Hopefully, this judgment will go some way to stop any more of such politically motivated sackings.

The remedy hearing is set for October 2, to determine possible reinstatement and the level of compensation.

Thank you to everybody who has supported Stan in this period!

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! Continue Reading “Sign the petition: No to a national government! Implement the trigger ballot now!”

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.

Just say no to Jewish Labour Movement’s motion!

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We understand that the Jewish Labour Movement is pushing for the motion below to be discussed and voted through by all CLPs. It might appear harmless, but the devil is very much in the detail. The motion urges support for a deeply dishonest letter of solidarity with the JLM, which “recognises JLM, who have been affiliated with the Labour Party for 99 years, as the legitimate and long-standing representative of Jews in the Labour Party.”

This is clearly an attempt to undermine the excellent work that our comrades in Jewish Voice for Labour are doing. Just like Israel claims to be the homeland of all Jews, so the JLM claims to the homeland of all Jews in the Labour Party. Both claims are palpably untrue. JLM very much organises pro-Zionists, but none of the many thousands of secular and anti-Zionist Jews.

The ‘letter of solidarity’ also states: “We know Labour has let our Jewish supporters and members down by failing to eradicate the anti-Semitism in our ranks”.

No, we do not know that, actually. We know, however, that the JLM has been doing everything in its power to weaponise false and exaggerated charges of anti-Semitism in order to undermine Jeremy Corbyn.

We also know that the JLM was revived in 2015 – explicitly in order to battle Jeremy Corbyn. You don’t have to be Jewish to join the JLM – you don’t even have to be a member of the Labour Party. This is why anti-Corbyn campaigners like Adam Langleben – who left the party last year and has vowed to campaign against Labour– can hold a leading position as campaign officer. The JLM’s leaders (among them Ella Rose, Louise Ellman, Mike Katz and, until recently, the disgraced Jeremy Newmark) are virulently anti-Corbyn and helped to organise the March 26 2018 ‘Enough is enough’ demonstration outside parliament.

We also know that the JLM is an openly Zionist grouping with close links to the Israeli embassy (watch The Lobby for proof). The JLM is affiliated to the World Zionist Organisation and the sister party of the racist Labor Party of Israel (whose leader Isaac Herzog quite openly stated that “we are not Arab lovers”).

We call on all Labour Party members to not only vote down this motion, but try and get their CLP affiliated to Jewish Voice for Labour and Labour Against the Witchhunt.

This is the text of the motion:

“Motion to welcome the Jewish Labour Movement’s decision to remain affiliated to the Labour Party

This CLP:

– Welcomes the decision of the Jewish Labour Movement earlier in March to remain affiliated to the Labour Party. For almost 100 years, JLM has been an integral part of the Labour movement. We recognise that this was a difficult decision for JLM, given recent cases of anti-Semitism within the party. However, we strongly welcome their decision to affiliate, hope that they continue to feel able to do so, and commit to fighting alongside JLM to drive anti-Semites out the Labour Party.

– Calls on Edinburgh Labour councillors to sign the letter of solidarity with JLM. Already over 150 councillors have signed the letter of solidarity, coming from all wings and traditions within the Labour movement. We also call on MSPs, the MP, and parliamentary candidates covering our constituency to sign the letter of solidarity.

– Commits to standing alongside JLM in the fight to ensure anti-Semitism is driven from the Labour Party, and to rebuilding trust among British Jews that the Labour Party welcomes them, respects them, and will stand up for them when they suffer racist attacks. We call on all parts of the party – local, Scottish and UK, elected and official – to step up the fight against anti-Semitism within Labour.”

 

 

Solidarity with Chris Williamson MP

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

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

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

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

The slow coup against Jeremy Corbyn

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

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

Continue Reading “The slow coup against Jeremy Corbyn”

Asa Winstanley: Fake Labour accounts fueling “anti-Semitism crisis”

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Please check out this excellent article by Asa Winstanley that appeared in the Electronic Intifada.

From the start, reporting of the “anti-Semitism crisis” in the UK’s Labour Party has been characterized by dishonesty, exaggeration and outright fabrication.

The real target of this manufactured crisis is not genuine anti-Semites, but Jeremy Corbyn and the wider Palestine solidarity movement.

But now additional evidence has come to light of a disturbing trend which has been fueling the fire lit since Corbyn’s first leadership victory in September 2015.

An investigation by The Electronic Intifada has documented 10 fake Twitter profiles posing as Corbyn supporters who have been posting virulent anti-Semitism.

The accounts share sufficient similarities to indicate that the same person – or group – is running them.

Without police involvement or a court case, it’s impossible to know for sure who is behind this troll network.

But whoever it is, they are clearly attempting to smear Labour as an anti-Semitic party.

Culprits?

It is well established that Israel has been running both covert and overt efforts against Jeremy Corbyn since he became leader.

Anti-Palestinian groups working in coordination with Israel are running covert social media campaigns.

A recent example was revealed in the suppressed undercover Al Jazeera investigation, The Lobby – USA.

As that film showed, The Israel Project is running a campaign to infiltrate pro-Israel narratives into popular, and otherwise innocuous, Facebook pages.

“There are also things that we do that are completely off the radar,” the lobby group’s managing director told Al Jazeera’s undercover reporter.

Last month, another covert operation was revealed after its documents leaked – this one run by the British state.

The so-called Integrity Initiative was launched in 2015 and is directed by British military intelligence officials.

Its documents suggest it is involved in what it calls “infowar techniques.”

The UK government conceded after the leak that the initiative is being funded by both its foreign and defenseministries – over $3 million to date.

Among the shadowy group’s targets has been Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Deception

The network of Twitter accounts investigated by The Electronic Intifada uses a series of fake names and profile photos.

Their followers lists also include many dubious looking accounts, strongly suggestive of bought fake followers.

All 10 accounts have engaged in a pattern of deception, presenting as Labour activists while engaging in anti-Semitism.

Most have also posted violent incitement and death threats, often against Jews.

All 10 posted their most violent and anti-Semitic content as replies to other tweets.

This means that many times, a cursory look at the accounts’ profile pages is unlikely to reveal anything immediately objectionable.

Most of the accounts’ more public-facing tweets are legitimate Labour Party or other political material. Two of the accounts have also posted legitimate Palestine material.

Because they are posted as replies, the anti-Semitic tweets would usually only be seen by those mentioned in them – or by enemies actively looking at those replies for evidence of “Labour anti-Semitism.”

The targets of the troll network have often been high-profile Israeli, pro-Israel or Labour accounts. They have included Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right-wing Labour MP Yvette Cooper and Jeremy Corbyn himself.

Fake Labour

All 10 accounts present themselves as belonging to Labour Party supporters, activists or even staffers.

Reverse Google Image searches confirm that seven of the 10 profile images are stolen photos – the other three are likely screen grabs from videos.

Six of the 10 profiles present as ostensibly Muslim – it is these profiles that have posted some of the most disturbing anti-Semitism, including direct calls for violence against Jews.

These accounts have Arabic names including “Abu Hussein” and “Abu Omar” while using stolen photos, some of actual or alleged Islamists or Islamic extremists.

One such photo is of Muhammad Qutb, the late brother of influential Muslim Brotherhood ideologue Sayyid Qutb.

Surviving Twitter evidence shows the troll network dates back to at least November 2015.

The network

The 10 fake Labour accounts posting anti-Semitism analyzed by The Electronic Intifada are:

Three of the 10 were first exposed by Labour news site The Skwawkbox in 2017 and 2018.

The troll network’s tweets appear intended to provoke an outraged response at “Labour anti-Semitism,” thus fueling the crisis.

There have been several reported instances of just such outraged responses, from right-wing Labour lawmakers, and even in one case an Israeli government spokesperson.

An example of how the troll network helped drive the crisis took place on the final day of Labour’s 2016 annual conference. At the time, there was a media uproar about supposed Labour anti-Semitism.

This resulted in Black Jewish anti-Zionist activist Jackie Walkerbeing suspended by Labour after she disagreed with Israel’s preferred definition of anti-Semitism at a supposedly private training session.

In this febrile atmosphere, the @dgrintz1 account tweeted that “A good Zionist is a dead one” at Tal Ofer – a British-Israeli member of the pro-Israel Jewish Labour Movement, a group that has driven the “Labour anti-Semitism” narrative from early on.

This reply-tweet was subsequently retweeted by Jeremy Newmark – then the JLM’s chairperson, though he was later forced to resign in disgrace.

The JLM has intimate ties with the Israeli embassy.

Violent anti-Semitism

Another typical example occurred in March 2018, during a renewed media frenzy over the supposed crisis.

A new account, “Abu Hussein,” began retweeting Corbyn, his senior Labour ally John McDonnell and other popular Labour accounts.

But a closer look at @AbuHusseinLab’s profile revealed a disturbing picture.

In a reply targeting Corbyn’s and McDonnell’s official Twitter accounts, “Abu Hussein” threatened “Jihad” against “Jews,” alongside a bloody graphic of a knife.

But the account had stolen its profile photo from a dating site.

“Abu Hussein” was reported to Twitter for violent racism by this writer and other Twitter users.

But the troll network simply opened more accounts – at least four of its supposedly Muslim accounts began tweeting in April 2018.

That same month the crisis over alleged anti-Semitism continued to rage in the party.

And Israel’s ostensibly opposition Labor Party openly drove it, generating headlines by suspending relations with Corbyn’s office over his “hatred of the policies of the government of the state of Israel” and alleged anti-Semitism.

In October 2018, a new fake Labour account began tweeting: @DeanBrownLab.

“Dean Brown” claimed to be a “former Labour party staffer” and a member of Momentum – a group which emerged from the campaign to elect Corbyn as Labour leader.

On 27 October, the day of the Pittsburgh massacre in the US, the account tweeted to Israel’s prime minister: “YOU BROUGHT THIS ON YOURSELVES.”

Neo-Nazi Robert Bowers has since been charged with the murder of 11 Jewish worshippers at the Tree of Life synagogue that day. He reportedly told police he wanted “all Jews to die.”

The account promptly disappeared. The goal of smearing Labour activists as anti-Semites had been achieved.

But as The Skwawkbox soon revealed, Labour sources emphasized that no Dean Brown has ever worked for Jeremy Corbyn. Momentum also confirmed it had no membership record of any Dean Brown.

The profile photo the account used was of someone totally innocent and was stolen from a local press report.

Fabricated

This troll network shows how easy it is for an individual or small group of people to convey a false impression on social media.

Despite there being no evidence that “Wesley Brown,” “Abu Hussein” or any of the rest even existed – let alone that they were Labour members – the troll network fooled several high-profile politicians.

This was easy to do, since the fake profiles fit into a preconceived narrative that anti-Semitism is rife within Labour, especially in the pro-Corbyn left.

Those who created the fake accounts also exploited Islamophobic prejudice that anti-Semitism is endemic among Muslims, including activists within Labour.

When the dominant media narrative is so often based on fabricated evidence, a serious reappraisal and extreme caution about future claims are overdue.

Asa Winstanley is an investigative journalist and an associate editor with The Electronic Intifada.