Statement by Paul Jonson, suspended by Dudley council

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I have been an employee of DUDLEY COUNCIL for 30 years, working as an HOUSING Officer, Homeless Project Manager and currently in the Community Safety Team.

On 6 July 2018 the local DUDLEY Palestine Solidarity Group called a lobby of DUDLEY North MP Ian Austin’s Surgery because of a tweet he sent out – then deleted – stating “HAMAS and the Palestinians were responsible for the deaths of18 Gazans ” during the Great Return March in May 2018.

At this lobby Austin twice asked “are you Paul Jonson who works for DUDLEY Council?”. My response   –  ”  my day job is irrelevant so please dont try and intimidate me. I’m not here in any capacity regarding DMBC”.

On 5th October 2018 I posted on Facebook “STAND WITH PALESTINE – STATE OF ISRAEL IS RACIST ENDEVOUR” –  support the lobby at Buffery Park DUDLEY 6th October 2018 at11am.

On the 18th October 2018 I was called to an urgent meeting with DMBCs HR and a Senior Manager stating they had received a complaint via the Campaign Against Anti Semitism . I was asked 22 questions relating to the IHRA. I was instructed to refrain from attending work until the Council had received further legal advice on the matter .

On Wednesday 31st October 2018 I was called to a 2nd meeting – my UNISON rep was present – and advised I was suspended until further notice whilst further “legal advice”was sought. The matter is with UNISON Regional Office.

Apparently DMBC adopted the IHRA 12 months ago -Staff were not advised or any briefings/training undertaken.

To date some 130 local authorities have adopted the non legal IHRA .A document which out of 195 countries only 31 have adopted and only 7 with the controversial examples. Over 40 Jewish Groups have voiced their opposition to the examples ,   particularly  –   is criticism of Israel tantamount  to anti semantism. The author of the IHRA  Kenneth Stern has also withdrew his support stating ” it was not his intention for the IHRA to be used as a political tool to close down debate on Israel/Palestine’ but an Educative document regarding  the Holocaust  and to collect data on anti semitism.

To cite Palestinian Solidarity action for Human Rights Justice and Equality to be in conflict with Employment Rights and to be  anti Semitic in ìntent  –  is both unacceptable and an insult to the memory of all Holocaust victims.

FOR THE IHRA TO BE USED IN THIS WAY MUST BE RESISTED !

SOLIDARITY

Paul Jonson

What you can do:

  • Click here to sign the petition against his suspension
  • Model Motion: Reinstate Paul Johnson! Sacked for Palestine solidarity

  • There will be a Dudley PSC silent protest at another Ian Austin MP surgery at 5 pm Friday  December 7, Dudley Library St James’ Road, Dudley, saying “Free Speech on Palestine”. Please go along if you can!
  • The case of Paul Jonson is similar to that of LAW secretary Stan Keable, who was sacked from his job at Hammersmith & Fulham council. The witch hunt has clearly permeated all areas of society – most worryingly the workplace. This has serious financial consequences for our comrades, which is why we hope you will speak out and pass this motion against the sacking of Stan Keable in your Labour and union branches.

Petition: Reinstate Paul Jonson!

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 The case of Paul Jonson is similar to that of LAW secretary Stan Keable, who was sacked from his job at Hammersmith & Fulham council. The witch hunt has clearly permeated all areas of society – most worryingly the workplace. This has serious financial consequences for our comrades, which is why we hope you will speak out and pass these motions agains the sacking of Paul Jonson and Stan Keable in your Labour and union branches. 

 

There will be a Dudley PSC silent protest at another Ian Austin MP surgery at 5 pm Friday  December 7, Dudley Library St James’ Road, Dudley, saying “Free Speech on Palestine”. Please go along if you can! Click here to read Paul’s statement, explaining his case. 

Defend trade unionists’ right to free speech! Defend employment rights!

Paul, a community safety officer in Dudley and a member of Unison, has been suspended by his employer, Dudley Council.

According to a report in the local press, Paul was suspended by Dudley Council for a Facebook post stating “Stand up for Palestine – Israel is a racist endeavor”.

Paul is a long-standing anti-racist activist and campaigner against antisemitism and all forms of racism. He is also an active campaigner for Palestinian rights.

Whatever one’s views on Israel or the nature of the Israeli state and its founding, there is nothing antisemitic about this statement.

Paul’s suspension is an attack on every trade unionist’s right to engage in political and human rights’ campaigns outside work; it is an attack on employees’ right to freedom speech and specifically an attack on the right to campaign over Palestinian rights.

The complaint against Paul cited the controversial International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism.

According to the IHRA’s own website, the “working definition” has no legal standing. This has been further confirmed in a robust legal opinion by Hugh Tomlinson QC, (see http://bit.ly/TomlinsonOpinion ).[1] The Ihra definition and examples have also bee subject to a thorough examination of its status and premises by former Appeal Court judge, Stephen Sedley (see http://bit.ly/Sedley-DefiningAntisemitism ).[2]

The proponents of the IHRA definition repeatedly gave assurances that it could not be used to suppress free speech on Israel and Palestine. These assurances appear to be empty in Paul Jonson’s case.

We are calling on all trade unionists and campaigners, whatever their views on Israel and Palestine, to sign this statement to demand Paul’s immediate reinstatement and that any disciplinary action by Dudley Council against him be dropped.

References
[1] Tomlinson, Hugh, 2017. In the matter of the adoption and potential application of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance working definition of antisemitism. Legal Opinion, Hugh Tomlinson, QC, Matrix Chambers, 8 March.
[2] Sedley, Stephen, 2017. “Defining Antisemitism”, London Review of Books, Vol 39, No.9, 4 May.

Initial signatories (All signatories appear in a personal capacity)

Gail Mason, President of Dudley TUC & Joint Secretary, Dudley NEA (NUT Section)
Martin Lynch, President of Walsall TUC
Lisa Pearce, Joint Sec. Dudley NEA (NUT Section)
James Warner, Assistant Secretary, Dudley TUC and Officer, Dudley NEA (NUT Section)

For info – email: pauljcampaign@gmail.com

Petition online here

Reinstate Stan Keable!

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Around 30 people attended LAW’s lobby of  Hammersmith and City council’s meeting on July 16. Stan was sacked from his job at the council for 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. This had nothing to do with work. Stan was participating in the Jewish Voice for Labour counter-demonstration in support of Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party, called in opposition to the right-wing ‘Enough is Enough’ demonstration. The conversation was secretly filmed by the BBC’s David Grossman, who put a 105-second video clip online.

This dismissal extends the McCarthyite witch-hunt against Corbyn supporters in the Labour Party to the area of employment. We fear that Stan’s dismissal could be the first of many political sackings.

More details on Stan’s case are available here and a model motion is here. As his union is refusing to support him, Stan will have to pay for legal advice himself, which is why we ask you to support his crowdfunding campaign. 

 

 

Reinstate Stan Keable! Model motion for union/Labour/other organisations

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Please delete and amend as necessary

1. This branch/CLP/organisation notes with great concern: 

1.1. the dismissal of Stan Keable by Hammersmith and Fulham Labour council on April 21 2018. After 17 years service as a housing enforcer, he is supposed to have “brought the Council into disrepute”, by saying that the Zionist movement collaborated with the Nazi regime. He said this on March 26, in a conversation in Parliament Square. This had nothing to do with work. Stan was participating in the Jewish Voice for Labour counter-demonstration in support of Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party, called in opposition to the right-wing ‘Enough is Enough’ demonstration. The conversation was secretly filmed by the BBC’s David Grossman, who put a 105-second video clip online.

1.2. that the Council’s justification for dismissal is based on Stan attending the JVL counter-demonstration, by which he “knowingly increased the possibility of being challenged about his views and subsequently proceeded to express views that were in breach of the council’s equality, diversity and inclusion policy and the council’s code of conduct”.

1.3. that the right to express one’s views and to go on demonstrations are important democratic rights. Freedom of expression and freedom ofassemblyare guaranteed in Articles 10 and 11 of the European Convention of Human Rights.

2. We further note: 

2.1. that Unison has withdrawn its support (except at branch level) because Stan rejected the advice of its regional organiser to plead guilty, which would have meant abandoning the right to demonstrate and to freedom of speech.

3. We believe:

3.1. that Stan’s dismissal is wholly unjust and must be reversed.

3.2. this dismissal extends the McCarthyite witch-hunt against Corbyn supporters in the Labour Party to the area of employment. We fear that Stan’s dismissal could be the first of many political sackings.

4. We resolve to:

4.1. call on Hammersmith & Fulham council to reinstate Stan;

4.2. call on the Unison leadership to support Stan in his fight for reinstatement;

4.3. donate £50/£100/£250 [delete as necessary] to his campaign for reinstatement, and circulate/promote his GoFundMe campaign: www.gofundme.com/ReinstateStanKeable;

4.4. affiliate to Labour Against the Witchhunt [local or regional organisations £25, national organisations £100];

4.5.  sponsor the ‘Reinstate Stan Keable’ lobby of Hammersmith and Fulham Council meeting, Hammersmith Town Hall, King Street W6 9JU, Monday July 16th, from 5pm to 7:15pm (Council meeting starts 7pm).

To be sent to:

Support Stan Keable’s campaign for reinstatement!

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Please support Stan Keable’s campaign for reinstatement. Stan, secretary of Labour Against the Witchhunt, has been sacked for stating an historically verifiable fact. And now his union (Unison) has let him down too. He has been advised of how much a barrister would cost to represent him at an employment tribunal. Please give generously and spread this message. Thank you!

https://www.gofundme.com/ReinstateStanKeable

On April 21 2018, I was dismissed from my job with Hammersmith and Fulham Council after 17 years unblemished service as a housing enforcer, 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.

I 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 me.

Unison has withdrawn support because I rejected the bad advice of their regional organiser to plead guilty, throwing away the right to demonstrate and to freedom of speech – so I need funds for a barrister and potential legal costs to challenge my political victimisation at an employment tribunal, as well as for campaigning for reinstatement.

My dismissal extends the McCarthyite witch-hunt against Corbyn supporters in the Labour Party to the area of employment. Don’t let me be the first of many political sackings.

Please give generously. Any surplus funds will be passed to Labour Against the Witchhunt (LAW) for campaigning.

Read more:

My open letter to H&F Councillors:
http://www.labouragainstthewitchhunt.org/campaigns/stan-keables-open-letter-to-hammersmith-fulham-labour-councillors-and-party-members/

Mike Cushman – ‘How talking about Zionism can lose you your job’:
http://freespeechonisrael.org.uk/keable-sacking/#sthash.ueizxvgU.xeBSvgDw.dpbs

Tony Greenstein – ‘No criticism permitted’:
https://weeklyworker.co.uk/worker/1203/no-criticism-permitted/

Sacked for being an anti-Zionist: Stan Keable’s open letter

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Open letter to Hammersmith & Fulham Labour councillors and party members

Dear Comrades,

Shame on Hammersmith and Fulham Council. The decision to sack me on April 21, after 17 years of unblemished service as a housing enforcer (Public Protection and Safety Officer), for expressing my political views – namely, anti-Zionism – on the March 26 Jewish Voice for Labour demonstration in Parliament Square, has brought the Council, and the Labour Party, into disrepute, and rubbished its own much vaunted anti-racist reputation.

Does the H&F Labour council really want to forbid criticism of Zionism – the official ideology of the racist Israeli state? Does the council support the ethnic cleansing of the 1948 Nakba (“Disaster’ – the forced removal of some 750,000 Palestinians), the discriminatory treatment of Palestinian Israeli citizens, and the ongoing ethnic cleansing on the West Bank?

At the very moment when the Zionist Israeli apartheid state is massacring its own Palestinian citizens – imprisoned, impoverished and starved in the siege of Gaza – H&F Council forbids the criticism of Zionism, becoming the first Council to extend the “Anti-Zionism equals anti-Semitism” charade from the suspension and expulsion of pro-Corbyn Labour Party members to the dismissal of employees, opening the way for the introduction into the UK of the notorious West German practice of Berufsverbort– the wholesale sacking of socialist teachers and civil servants under the 1972 ‘anti-radical decree’. Presumably, logically, all job applicants should now be asked the question: ‘Are you an anti-Zionist?”

My dismissal letter is entitled “Strictly private and confidential”, but the attempt of a Labour council to ditch freedom of speech and assembly is a threat to the employment rights of millions and a matter of public concern. Freedoms have always been fought for and won in public.

I can remember, in slightly more rational times, when serious disciplinary cases, those involving “serious misconduct” and possible dismissal, were heard by Councillors, not paid officers. It is ridiculous today that an employee, the Director of Environment, who is no doubt competent in dealing with environmental issues, should be tasked with resolving a political issue that has nothing to do with work, while the elected Labour politicians can wash their hands of the matter, like Pontius Pilot.

I shall, of course, be submitting an appeal, and/or taking the matter to an employment tribunal, where I feel sure the rights to freedom of assembly and freedom of speech, including the right to express views which are irritating or offensive to the public or the state, are more likely to be upheld. Freedom of speech is nothing if it does not include the right to offend.

Stan Keable
keablestan@icloud.com
07817 379568

Further details of my disciplinary case are available online:

 I urge those who wish to offer support and solidarity to me and others affected by the anti-Corbyn campaign to join Labour Against the Witchhunt (LAW) and/or sign up to receive LAW’s email newsletter. 

Mike Cushman: How talking about Zionism can lose you your job

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Mike Cushman reports how Stan Keable (LAW secretary) has been sacked by Hammersmith and Fulham Council for a private conversation when he attended the Jewish Voice for Labour Parliament Square rally on 26 March. This article first appeared on Free Speech on Israel. 

Stan engaged in a discussion with a Zionist during the Parliament Square rally, a conversation that happened to be recorded by the BBC and broadcast. During the one on one discussion Stan talked about the historically undisputed collaboration between the Nazis and the German Zionist leadership. At no time did Stan make any, even remotely, antisemitic.

Hammersmith and Fulham Tory MP Greg Hands circulated the video of the conversation, publicised on Twitter and then referred it to the New Labour Leader of the Council. That letter, which was the first public association of Greg with the Council was made public. This linking of Greg with the Council was the sole basis of the charge of ‘bringing the council into disrepute’. Hands publicised Stan’s link with the Council and then this publicising was, itself, used as the basis for dismissal. An offence that only existed because the complainant had caused it to exist. Continue Reading “Mike Cushman: How talking about Zionism can lose you your job”