Statement on the February 18 expulsion of Tony Greenstein from the Labour Party

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“Labour Against the Witchhunt deplores the politically motivated expulsion from the Labour Party of Tony Greenstein (LAW’s vice-chair). It is a blatant example of how the right-wing who oppose Jeremy Corbyn, the democratically elected Labour leader, have cynically weaponised anti-Semitism to attack his supporters.

Veteran Black, Jewish and other party members have been targeted as part of this witch-hunt. Greenstein is a Jewish anti-racist who has campaigned ceaselessly against the Zionist Israeli government’s appalling treatment of Palestinians and has played a leading role in exposing how children, like jailed Ahed Tamini, have been caught up in this cycle of oppression. He is not Anti-semitic. It is shameful that anti-Semitism has been cynically weaponised by the right-wing to purge Labour of Corbyn supporters, while much more prevalent anti-black racism and, until Jeremy Corbyn spoke out against it, Islamophobia, have been ignored by the party.

We call on the Labour leadership to use its left-wing majority on the party’s ruling National Executive Committee to reinstate Greenstein and stop the witch-hunt; it is an expression of the ongoing civil war in the party that serves no other purpose than to damage the party’s chances of winning the next general election.

The NEC must, without further delay, implement the recommendations of the party’s own Chakrabarti Report recommendations on disciplinary procedure based on natural justice and due process. It is astonishing that almost two years have gone by without these vital changes being brought in so that party members are treated fairly rather than made victims of the purge.”

LAW’s steering committee includes Jackie Walker and Marc Wadsworth, both of whom remain suspended on trumped-up charges of anti-Semitism. Please support Marc’s crowdfunding appeal – he is next in the firing-line. His hearing has been set for April 25 in London – LAW will be supporting him with a protest outside backed by members of Grassroots Black Left, the Indian Workers’ Association and Jewish Voice for Labour.

January 30: LAW meeting in Birmingham

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Over 50 Labour members gathered in Birmingham on January 30 for the city’s launch of LAW. Jackie Walker spoke first and got straight to the point – the witch-hunt is about weakening Corbyn’s position as leader and forcing the next Labour government to the right by removing left activists. She reminded us that the ‘problem’ of anti-Semitism in the party arose from nowhere when Corbyn became leader. She explained that LAW isn’t just about defending the victims and providing solidarity: it also demands fundamental change in the party’s disciplinary processes.

Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi gave examples of left activists in her part of London who’ve been suspended for over a year on the basis of trumped-up charges. She urged LAW to quantify the scale of the problem by getting the NEC to reveal how many members are suspended pending a hearing, how long have they been waiting and how many automatic exclusions have occurred.

Marc Wadsworth called for the immediate implementation of the Chakrabarti report in respect of the party’s disciplinary procedures. That would introduce the concepts natural justice and due process, and enforce time limits for each stage.

The discussion that followed revealed that unjust suspensions and expulsions are nothing new in Birmingham – they’ve been going on for decades. And those responsible in the party’s regional office are still in place today.

From the floor Stan Keable explained how clause 2.1.4.B of the party rules has been used to exclude him, and how any member can be deemed to be contravening it. He also questioned the emphasis other speakers placed on legal challenges, and relying on the courts to force the hand of the Labour bureaucracy. His suggestion that instead we should mobilise the membership to challenge unjust decisions was met with applause.

The meeting concluded with a commitment to organise further LAW activity in the city.

Rob Meyer
(this appeared first as a letter in the Weekly Worker)

Ken Loach: “This witch-hunt is a complete nonsense”

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Filmmaker Ken Loach addressed spirited meeting of Labour Against the Witchhunt in London on January 29

More than 70 people crammed into London’s Conway Hall last night (January 29) to discuss the ongoing witch-hunt against the left in the Labour Party and what can be done to stop it. Hundreds of left-wing and pro-Palestinian members remain expelled or suspended, for example on trumped up charges of anti-Semitism.
For videos from the event, click here.

Continue Reading “Ken Loach: “This witch-hunt is a complete nonsense””

Support Marc Wadsworth!

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LAW member Marc Wadsworth needs help covering his legal fees to fight his suspension from the Labour Party. His hearing is in less than two months’ time.

Marc is – like hundreds of others – a victim of the ongoing civil war in the Labour Party. Supporters of Jeremy Corbyn have been expelled and suspended for the most ridiculous of charges – and the charge against Marc of being ‘anti-Semitic’ is up there with the most nonsensical ones. His ‘crime’ was to call out Ruth Smeeth in the press conference that launched the Chakrabarti report. You can see the video for yourself here.

It is worth fighting back: The reinstatement of Moshé Machover and Tony Greenstein’s successful injunction at the High Court prove that. All these cases are not just about the individuals concerned, they are important stepping stones in our campaign to end the ongoing witch-hunt against the left in the party.

Now please dig deep and support Marc’s campaign (more background below)

Click here to make a donation on CrowdJustice

LAW in the media

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The Electronic Intifada February 17 2018
Labour apparatchiks smear Black activist in “anti-Semitism” witch hunt
On Marc Wadsworth’s case

Daily Mail February 4 2018
Boyfriend of Labour MP is accused of sending ‘abusive and racist’ tweet to Jackie Walker
“Labour Against The Witchhunt, a group chaired by Ms Walker, tweeted: ‘Hi Stella. What do you think about this troll and his racist outburst. We believe he is your partner?’”

The Times
 February 2 2018

Labour’s antisemitism is worse than it looks
“At a meeting of Labour Against The Witch-Hunt this week, the filmmaker Ken Loach said that Emily Thornberry, shadow foreign secretary, “didn’t distinguish herself” when she praised Israel as a beacon of freedom.”

The Times January 31 2018
George Galloway to sue Momentum founder Jon Lansman in Israel spat 
“The row erupted after the film director Ken Loach criticised Emily Thornberry, the shadow foreign secretary, for praising Israel. He was appearing on a panel alongside Labour Party members suspended over alleged antisemitism. At the meeting of Labour Against the Witch-hunt, which defends the left wing of the party, on Monday in London, Loach, 81, said that “sadly, Emily Thornberry didn’t distinguish herself” when she praised Israel last autumn as a beacon of freedom.”

Daily Politics show, BBC2, January 23 2018
Interview with Jackie Walker, chair of LAW (Youtube clip)
Despite being frequently interrupted by the presenter, Jackie managed to demand a swift end of the witch-hunt against left-wing and pro-Palestinian members. She also clarified that the witch-hunt is not orchestrated by Jeremy Corbyn, but is a campaign by the right in the Labour Party AGAINST him and his supporters.

Jewish Chronicle, January 23 2018
MP accuses Jackie Walker of ‘fantasy’ over claim she is being targeted by Israel
‘Report’ of our NEC lobby on January 23 2018

 

Spectator blog, January 22 2018
Labour Against the Witchhunt welcome Corbynista’s appointment as chair of Disputes Panel

Jewish Chronicle January 19 2018
“Hard left power grab spark new Labour fear”
Click here for the PDF

Jewish Chronicle January 19 2018
“Labour hearing into activist who abused Jewish MP postponed indefinitely” (on the case of LAW supporter Marc Wandsworth)

Jewish Chronicle, January 19 2018
Claims of a witch-hunt or smear campaign are a ‘new threat’ to combating Jew-hate in the party

Weekly Worker January 18 2018
“Democratise the party”
The election of Christine Shawcroft as chair of Labour’s disputes panel gives some hope that Jeremy Corbyn and his allies might finally put an end to the witch-hunt, says Carla Roberts of Labour Party Marxists

Daily Mail January 17 2018
“Labour anti-semitism probes could be axed as far-left takes control”

January 18 2018 House of Commons Hansard (in the speech of Tory MP Andrew Percy:
“… We have to be honest that we have a new threat: the new smear that anti-Semitism is being used as a cover for other things or as part of a witch hunt. I do not wish to step into party politics too much, but it is important that in debates like this we call out campaigns such as Labour Against the Witchhunt, which has called for

“the immediate lifting of all suspensions and expulsions from Labour Party membership which were…connected to the ‘anti-Semitism’ smear campaign.”

This is a minority—the vast majority of Labour party members and people in politics throughout the country have no truck with any of this—but let us remember what some of those suspensions have been for. They have been for people who have claimed that Judaism is not a religion but a crime syndicate; people who have called holocaust education in schools a holocaust indoctrination programme; people who have questioned what good Jews have done; and people who have claimed that the Jews financed the slaved trade and who attacked Holocaust Memorial Day—the very day we are debating and respecting today. We have to guard against those who seek to spread this new smear against anti-Semitism, in the strongest way we can.”

We call on Labour’s National Executive Committee

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Labour Against the Witchhunt calls on Labour’s National Executive Committee to:

  • Stop the expulsions of Tony Greenstein, Jackie Walker and Marc Wadsworth!
  • Reinstate all those who have been ‘auto-excluded’!
  • No more automatic expulsions and suspensions!
  • Apologise for the ‘anti-Semitism’ smear against Moshé Machover!
  • Reject the fake IHRA definition of anti-Semitism!
  • Abolish Labour’s Compliance Unit!