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Friday, 11 November 2016

Clarion, the Alliance for Workers' Liberty Momentum blog attacks Jackie Walker

Ironically their paper is called Solidarity 

Mike Chessum, a member of the Steering Committee of Momentum recently wrote a dismally argued article for Clarion, the AWL's Momentum blog, explaining why he voted to remove Jackie Walker as Vice-Chair of Momentum.  In order that he could justify his vote, he consistently misquoted what she said.  
Jackie Walker has been subject a sustained racist witch-hunt by the Zionists and the Jewish Labour Movement - the AWL's Zionist politics have aided and abetted this witch-hunt
Jackie submitted a reply and never heard any more from the editorial collective, which styles itself as ‘'An unofficial magazine by Momentum activists'.  In fact it is full of people who are either in the Zionist Alliance 4 Workers Liberty (see Debate Between Tony Greenstein & Daniel Randall of the Alliance for Workers Liberty with the exception of Rhea Wolfson, a new member of Labour’s NEC and a left-Zionist.

I submitted a reply two days ago and followed it up with the message below.  Needless to say I have not received a response.

Clarion have printed a response from veteran political activist Pete Firmin Why Momentum was wrong to remove Jackie Walker as Vice Chair which takes the AWL to task but this is no excuse for not carrying anything from Jackie Walker, since she is in a position to rebut the false allegations and misquotes of Chessum, nor its failure to acknowledge my own submission.

My own response is longer than Pete Firmin's and it concentrates on some of the central aspects of Chessum’s nonsense, such as his inability to understand the connection between the Holocaust, anti-Semitism, Zionism and Israel.

There is no excuse with a web journal for excluding well researched articles, other than a desire to narrow political debate and frame it in terms of their own Zionist ideology.

Below is the the message that I sent to the Clarion yesterday alongside my submission. 

Dear Comrades,
now it might just be possible that none of the editorial board of The Clarion, which describes itself as 'An unofficial magazine by Momentum activists' haven't checked their inboxes since yesterday.  That would be one explanation for why my email submitting a reply to the article by Mike Chessum 'Why I voted to remove Jackie Walker as Momentum's Vice Chair' has not yet received a response.  However I think you will agree that that is most unlikely.
More likely, judging by the composition of the editorial board, which has at least 3 members of the Alliance for Workers' Liberty on it Maria Exall, Sacha Ismail and Jill Mountford, and probably more that I don't recognise, the reason is that any critique of the decision to remove Jackie from Vice Chair of Momentum is also a criticism of the decision of the AWL and its Steering Committee member, Jill Mountford, to support Jon Lansman's witch hunting of Jackie.  Thus it might be more honest and truthful if the subtitle above describing Clarion were to be amended to say that it is 'An attempt by the Alliance 4 Workers Liberty to recruit Momentum activists under false pretences.'

At least then you might be able to reconcile your consciences with what you write on the 'About' page of Clarion's website when you quote John Milton that “Truth is… a streaming fountain; if her waters flow not in a perpetual progression, they sicken into a muddy pool of conformity and tradition”.  But after all hypocrisy is the tribute vice pays to virtue.
I also understand that you have ignored a similar request by Jackie Walker.  It is difficult to know what you think you will gain by not agreeing instantly to a right of reply.  After all, on the Internet and social media it is easy to post such replies elsewhere and embarrass you into the bargain.  The days when one version of the truth was the only one that was allowed has, in case you didn't realise it, gone forever.
I attach my submission once again
In solidarity comrades
Tony Greenstein
A Response to Michael Chessum’s

Michael Chessum - formerly a student activist but politically close to the AWL, on Momentum's Steering Committee and voted to remove Jackie Walker as Vice Chair
Michael Chessum says he had no alternative but to vote to remove Jackie Walker as Vice-Chair of Momentum’s Steering Committee.  On the contrary, as a socialist he had no alternative but to defend Jackie Walker from the attacks of the media and the Zionist Jewish Labour Movement [JLM].  Perhaps I should dispose of some red herrings that Chessum  uses to defend voting the way he did:
Jill Mountford - the AWL member on Momentum's Steering Committee voted alongside Jon Lansman to remove Jackie Walker as Vice-Chair
i.               I do not believe that his vote was motivated by an attempt to stitch up factional opponents in order to protect Lansman and Momentum’s unaccountable leadership. 
ii.             Nor do I believe that Chessum’s vote is explained by a ‘Zionist conspiracy’   This is the normal caricature of their opponents argument that AWL and Zionists indulge in.
iii.           Clearly Chessum’s politics are close to those of AWL as his reasoning demonstrates.  Agreement with AWL’s politics (a ‘sleeper’) has clearly played a part in his vote. Writing for Clarion, an AWL front magazine, confirms that.
iv.            Chessum’s vote was, as he all but admits a result of pressure from the right and the press.  As he concedes, there is more than a grain of truth in it.  Indeed it is more than just a grain.  When socialists are under attack by the bourgeois press, the Labour Right and the Zionist movement, we defend them.  Period.
Jim Murphy used 'anti-Semitism' as a weapon to prevent Rhea Wolfson 'below' gaining a nomination for the NEC because she was in the 'anti-Semitic' Momentum
Rhea Wolfson - new NEC member and Jon Lansman protege - a member of the Jewish Labour Movement and a left-Zionist - clearly AWL are hoping to bring her within their orbit
There was a wall to wall attack on Jackie Walker. The Sun’s view was ‘ANTI-SEMITISM ROW Fury as Jeremy Corbyn ally claims Holocaust Memorial Day is not inclusive enough’  The Telegraph’s take was Momentum chief Jackie Walker suspended from Labour over Holocaust Memorial Day comments citing ‘the outspoken campaigner (as) saying she had not found a definition of anti-Semitism she could work with’ although this was more accurate than Chessum’s rendering of what Jackie said!  The Independent reported Momentum set to sack vice-chair Jackie Walker after Holocaust Memorial Day comments which was clearly leaked: The Jewish Chronicle, edited by ex-Express editor Stephen Pollard, reported that Jon Lansman had ‘reached the end of his tether”.
The deliberate leaking to the press of the intention to remove Jackie as Vice-Chair was clearly approved of by Jon Lansman.  It replicates the methodology of the Compliance Unit against peoples who are suspended. 
Chessum freely admits Momentum leaked to the right-wing press and seems to have no problem with it.  Having stabbed Livingstone in the back, Lansman had no difficulty in repeating his party trick with Jackie Walker.  That Chessum and Jill Mountford of the AWL went along with this, when it was in their power to put a stop to it, is an act of betrayal. 
Ken Livingstone, former London Mayor, who said that Hitler supported Zionism.  It is a fact that the Zionists in Germany were, by their own admission, the Nazis favourite Jews.  AWL support his expulsion.
Chessum says, quite disingenuously, that ‘Walker is still on the Steering Committee [SC], and is being actively defended against expulsion from the Labour Party.’  He is so naive that he doesn’t understand that the very act of removing Jackie as Vice-Chair has increased her chances of being expelled.  The fact that the SC voted to refuse to oppose her suspension is proof enough.
After Owen Smith attacked the AWL as ‘anti-Semites’ during his debate against Jeremy Corbyn, the AWL’s Daniel Randall was forced to admit that the Labour Right were ‘instrumentalising’ i.e. weaponising anti-Semitism in its attacks on the Left. Debate Between Tony Greenstein & Daniel Randall of the Alliance for Workers Liberty.  An example of this was Jim Murphy’s attempt to block Rhea Wolfson from standing for the NEC because of her association with the ‘anti-Semitic’ Momentum.
The suggestion that ‘none of Walker’s reported comments have been about Palestine and Israel.’ is unreal and demonstrates how Chessum has imbibed the crude Zionist apologetics of the AWL.  Jackie Walker’s comments were about the Holocaust and anti-Semitism, which are intimately related to Palestine, Zionism and Israel.  Anti-Semitism is the first defence of Zionism when accused of atrocities against the Palestinians.
Jon Lansman, the √©minence grise behind leaks to the press which led to Jackie Walker's removal. Although AWL voted with him they opposed his attempts to do away with the National Committee and a founding conference 
The Holocaust has been repeatedly used as a justification for Israel’s apartheid rule over the Palestinians.  The Holocaust is the primary justification for the existence of the Israeli state itself.  Menachem Begin, Israel’s Prime Minister, compared Yassir Arafat during Israel’s siege of Beirut to Hitler in his bunker in 1982.  According to Begin the alternative to Israel’s genocidal war was ‘Auschwitz’.  Calling your political rival a Nazi is a time-hallowed tradition in Israel.
Israel’s Labour Foreign Minister, Abba Eban told the UN that “I do not exaggerate when I say that it [the June  1967 map] has for us something of a memory of Auschwitz.”  The Green Line border between Israel and the West Bank is referred to in Israel as the ‘Auschwitz border’.  Netanyahu told the 2015 World Zionist Congress that it was the Palestinian Grand Mufti who was responsible for Hitler’s Final Solution.  As Tom Segev, an Israeli historian explained, the only image of a Palestinian in Yad Vashem, the Zionists Holocaust museum in Jerusalem ‘(is) a photo featured prominently on a wall depicting the Mufti sieg heiling a group of Nazi storm troopers’.  Its purpose is to ensure that ‘the visitor is left to conclude that there is much in common between the Nazis’ plan to destroy the Jews and the Arabs’ enmity to Israel.’ [The 7th Million, p.425]  The effigy of assassinated Israeli Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin, was dressed in Nazi uniform by his political opponents. 
On 17th September, over a week before Labour Party conference, I wrote a blog post The Jewish Labour Movement and its Political Lynching of Jackie Walker.  It was clear then that Jackie Walker was being set up for a new witch-hunt by those who refused to accept her original reinstatement.
Jackie spoke on 12th September alongside John McDonnell at an LRC fringe meeting at TUC Conference in Brighton.  McDonnell came under severe criticism in the Jewish Chronicle from amongst others Jeremy Newmark, Chair of the JLM.  This resulted in McDonnell withdrawing from a JLM rally at which he had been due to speak on 25th September.
Jackie walked into a honey trap when she attended the JLM ‘training event’ at Labour Party conference.  However the remarks she made were not, in anyway, ‘insensitive’, ‘anti-Semitic tropes’ ‘ill-informed’ or ‘a distortion of history’ as Chessum maintains.
Chessum repeatedly misquotes Jackie Walker alleging she said ‘Holocaust Memorial Day should focus on other genocides as well, or non-Jewish victims of the Holocaust’   In fact she said ‘‘wouldn’t it be wonderful if Holocaust Day were shared by all people who had experienced genocide’.   But even if she had said what Chessum falsely claims, what is anti-Semitic or offensive about it?
Zionism has consistently reserved the Holocaust as something unique to the Jews.  To Elie Wiesel to compare the Holocaust with the sufferings of others was a “betrayal of Jewish history”. [Wiesel, Against Silence, 146]. According to Prof. Yehuda Bauer Zionism’s pre-eminent Holocaust historian [The History Teacher, Vol. 26, No. 3. pp. 385-386] the Nazis only attempted to annihilate one people, the Jews: “Roma were not Jews, therefore there was no need to murder all of them.” To this day the US Holocaust Museum refuses to include the Roma victims of the Holocaust.
If you go to the HMD web site, and click on Nazi Persecution you will be taken to a page that says ‘Between 1941 and 1945, the Nazis attempted to annihilate all of Europe’s Jews.’  There is no mention of the Holocaust beginning in 1939 with the extermination of the Disabled, the Euthanasia or T-4 program, the Roma/Gypsies or any other victims.
If you click the second link you will come to a page which begins ‘Singling out Jews for complete annihilation in the Holocaust was not the full extent of Nazi persecution.’  Although it goes on to mention other groups, they do this in the context of the ‘persecution of disabled people and gay people’.  They do not mention that they were exterminated. 
Although Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur are listed underneath Nazi Persecution, it is clear that these are lesser genocides.  There is no mention of the extermination of 10 million Africans in the Belgian Congo or the estimated 14 million Africans in the slave trade.
This is why Jackie was quite correct to say what she did.  Michael Chessum passes judgement over something which he knows nothing about.  What he did do was to vote to restrict freedom of speech in the Labour Party and Momentum to debate these issues, which is precisely what the Zionist movement wants.  In Israel free speech can cost you your liberty if you are Palestinian in Britain you get defamed and vilified.
Chessum also misquotes Jackie as saying that ‘‘Jewish schools may well not need police protection.’  There has however been a deliberate campaign to stoke up Jewish fears of anti-Semitism in Britain in order to alienate them from British society.  The right-wing Zionist ‘charity’, the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, has deliberately gone about inflating the threat of anti-Semitism through the use of bogus, self-selecting polls.  The Institute for Jewish Policy Research described CAA’s poll, which claimed ‘more than half of all British Jews feel that antisemitism now echoes the 1930s” as verging into ‘irresponsible territory’.  There is no reason to believe that Jewish schools are under more of a threat than for example Muslim schools. 
Again Chessum misquotes Jackie as saying that there was no definition of anti-Semitism that she could agree with’ rather that she had heard no definition of anti-Semitism she could work with at the ‘training event’.  That was a statement of fact.  The JLM ‘trainer’ had been pushing the EUMC Working Definition of Anti-Semitism which conflates criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism.  It is a  discredited definition and in 2013 it was removed by the Fundamental Rights Agency from its website.  EU drops its ‘working definition’ of anti-Semitism The recent Home Affairs Select Committee Report, which called for anti-Zionism to be criminalised, has tried to resurrect the Working Definition in the guise of a new definition.  There are a number of definitions of anti-Semitism.  I prefer the simplehostility to Jews as Jews’ orhostility towards Jews as not Jews’ [Patterns of Prejudice, Vol. 37 No. 2 June 2003]. 
Jackie attended what was supposed to be a training session not ‘a semi-public event’.  Jackie Walker not only had the right, but the duty, to raise such questions since the definition of anti-Semitism  is contested.  In Chessum and the AWL’s simple universe there is only ‘left anti-Semitism’ and ironically they too have been caught up by it!  Jackie was not at the event as Momentum Vice-Chair but as an individual.  She was of course targeted as Momentum’s Vice Chair but it is to the shame of those who voted to remove her from Vice Chair that Chessum and the AWL chose to go along with the JLM’s witch-hunt of her.
Chessum repeats the Zionist libel, for which Jackie was acquitted, that ‘Jews (including her ancestors) were the “chief financiers” of the slave trade.’ This is a gross distortion, ripped out of a private conversation by the Israel Advocacy Movement.  If you read my article in Open Democracy The lynching of Jackie Walker you will read that Jackie also said ‘I will never back anti-Semitism but neither am I a Zionist’.  She then went on to say, in a subtle and nuanced discussion, which the AWL’s crude polemic is incapable of understanding, that ‘many Jews, my ancestors too, were the chief financiers of the sugar and slave trade… so who are the victims and what does it mean .  We are victims and perpetrators, to some extent by choice.  And having been a victim does not give you a right to be a perpetrator.’  Chessum has deliberately missed out ‘many’ suggesting that Jackie had therefore implied that Jews as a collective were the chief financiers of the slave trade.    
Chessum and the AWL removed Jackie Walker on the back of false allegations that she had said that ‘Jews were responsible for the slave trade and an “African holocaust”.  To the Zionists, a Black-Jewish anti-Zionist is unacceptable.  Jackie has been in receipt of a torrent of abusive tweets, most of which question how, as a Black person, she could be Jewish.
The JLM is not a Jewish section of the Labour Party.  Jewish anti-Zionists like myself cannot join it.  It is the British wing of the racist Israeli Labour Party, whose leader Isaac Herzog recently declared that his nightmare was waking up to a Palestinian Prime Minister in Israel.  Who needs the Right when we have Isaac Herzog?  Herzog also recently declared that he wanted to dispel the false impression that the ILP were ‘Arab Lovers’ Herzog slammed for remark about ‘Arab lovers’  Imagine if someone had said their nightmare was waking up to a Jewish Prime Minister in this country?  Or talked of ‘Jew lovers’?  I remember being accused by the NF of being a ‘nigger lover’.  This is the real racism that is the currency of debate in Israel that the AWL and Chessum ignore. 
Chessum has comprehensively misquoted Jackie Walker.  We all make mistakes and the SC made a mistake in giving in to such pressure.  It is incumbent upon them to reinstate Jackie as Vice-Chair of Momentum with an apology offered for the stress and distress it has caused her.
As Dr Brian Klug, a Fellow of Oxford University observed, in a lecture (which the Zionists tried to cancel) at the Jewish Museum in Berlin on the anniversary of Kristallnacht, ‘a label can turn into a libel when it is pinned on the wrong lapel. Antisemitism has rightly been called a ‘monster’But false accusations of antisemitism are monstrous too.  For all these reasons and more, the word matters a great deal.’ 

Tony Greenstein 

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