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