Ken Livingstone must now have his suspension removed
|Moshe Machover and Tony Greenstein speaking at the fateful Communist University 2016 - now it appears kosher to appear on CPGB platforms|
It’s hard not to feel sorry for Jeremy Newmark, Chairperson of the Jewish Labour Movement’s though I’m going to have a good try!
The JLM and Labour Friends of Israel had a torrid time at Labour Party conference Jewish anti-Zionists who denied that there was anti-Semitism in the party got standing ovations for calling out the false anti-Semitism witch hunt, Jeremy Corbyn got rapturous applause for mentioning the Palestinians, the Jewish Voice for Labour and Free Speech on Israel meetings were packed out and to cap it all Corbyn decided that a Daily Mirror booze up was preferable to going to the LFI fringe meeting.
|The article that caused all the fuss!|
This is leaving aside the fact that condemnation of the settlements, the Gaza siege and the occupation were also reinstated as Labour policy. And this week Corbyn has made it clear that he’s not going to celebrate the Balfour Declaration which led to ethnic cleansing and mass murder of Palestinians.
What made it even worse was that a fringe group that no one had ever heard of before the conference, Labour Party Marxists, had distributed a free sheet entitled Anti-Zionism is not Anti-Semitism. In it was an article by Professor Moshe Machover the founder of the Israeli anti-Zionist group Matzpen. Moshe’s name may be unknown to Labour Party apparatchik Sam Matthews and Labour’s éminence grise Iain McNicol but he is certainly known to Newmark and the Zionists.
Matzpen was always the Zionists worst nightmare – it was a joint Jewish-Arab group that was founded in 1962. It was the first group to oppose the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. It was the only group to support Jewish-Arab equality as opposed to segregation and Jewish privilege that Zionist groups stand for. It stood for equality between Jew and Arab whereas Zionism stands for Jewish Supremacy, which is why Richard Spencer, the founder of America’s Alt Right calls himself a White Zionist.
|The Zionist press looks forward to the expulsions of 3 more people - Jackie Walker, Marc Wadsworth and Tony Greenstein - two of them are Black and two of them are Jewish - this is the Zionist idea of an anti-racist campaign|
Telling the truth about Nazi-Zionist collaboration is no longer a disciplinary offence
Machover was a co-founder of the group until he was driven from his academic post at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem in 1968 and forced to come to England where he lives with his family. He is exactly the type of anti-racist anti-Zionist Jewish activist that Labour should welcome but to the racists and misanthropes who inhabit Southside and groups like Progress, Machover was someone to be feared and removed.
Of course McNicol’s minions and Sam Matthews in particular would have known nothing of Moshe Machover’s distinguished academic record or his political activities. He was one more troublesome lefty whom they were anxious to be rid of. Hence their surprise at the reaction to Machover’s expulsion, an ‘auto exclusion’ meaning there was no right to a fair hearing and the transparency we were promised in the Chakrabarti Report.
Matthews first letter of 3 October made it clear that Machover’s expulsion related to an ‘apparently anti-Semitic article’ published by LPM which ‘appears to meet the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism’. Matthews informed Machover that ‘anti-Semitism of any form... which may cause offence to Jewish people.... will not be tolerated in the Labour Party.’
Now if you weren’t living in McNicol’s version of Alice in Wonderland you might indeed wonder whether it is anti-Semitic for someone who is not Jewish, like Matthews, to explain to someone who is Jewish what anti-Semitism means. Some people may call that anti-Semitic!
It’s little wonder that Alexi Sayle in an interview on Sky last week [Alexei Sayle’s shocking denial of Labour antisemitism, Jewish Chronicle 27 October 2017 notes that one of the remarkable things about Labour’s anti-Semitism witch-hunt is that most of those being expelled or suspended are Jewish!
|Germany's Zionist paper welcomed the Nuremburg Laws of 1935 whilst world and Germany Jewry were horrified|
However the reason given by Matthews for Moshe’s expulsion was writing for and speaking on the platforms of the Communist Party of Great Britain and LPM. Classic Uncle Joe stuff. Moshe was told in the latest letter from Matthews of 30 October that he had written no less than 44 articles for Weekly Worker! Well I haven’t counted how many I’ve written but I suspect it’s not many fewer. Indeed I suspect it may be even more. And although Moshe’s appearance at the Communist University formed part of the ‘evidence’ of Moshe’s belonging to the CPGB then I should also have been expelled on that basis since I spoke alongside Moshe at both the 2016 and 2017 Communist Universities, although Sam Matthews seems unaware of the latest one!
The reaction to Machover’s expulsion took Labour’s bureaucrats by surprise. It wasn’t one or two but dozens of Labour branches and CLPs which flooded Labour HQ with motions. After conference the membership wasn’t having any more of the witch hunt.
It is noticeable during Machover’s expulsion that no one from Momentum, not Jon Lansman not the National Coordinating Group and not one of the left-wing members of the National Executive Committee spoke out against the expulsion of Machover. Pete Willsman, Darren Williams, Rhea Wolfson, Christine Shawcroft – all of them remained silent. It was ordinary members up and down the country who made their voice heard.
In his second subsequent letters Sam Matthews was at pains to stress that it wasn’t what Machover wrote that was the reason for his expulsion. In his second letter of 6 October, just 3 days after the first, Matthews wrote that ‘for the avoidance of any doubt’ the expulsion wasn’t on account of what he had written. Which of course begs the question why it was mentioned in his first letter at all.
Equally novel, in the letter of 6 October Matthews invited Moshe to submit an appeal, just in case he’d got it wrong! This too isn’t normal practice.
In his third letter poor Matthews was even more contrite! ‘I would like to make absolutely clear that the Party has come to no decision about the contents of the article.’ He even apologises if the letter of 3 October ‘was unclear to you.’ But it wasn’t in the slightest unclear. Under the bogus IHRA definition which deliberately seeks to conflate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism any reference to the dealings of the Zionist movement with the Nazis is de facto anti-Semitic. The Zionists don’t like to be reminded of the time when they were the darlings of the Nazi state and if you insist on speaking the truth you are anti-Semitic! It is extremely embarrassing that a monster like Reinhardt Heydrich, a man who the historian Gerald Reitlinger described as the ‘engineer’ of the Final Solution wrote in such glowing terms about the Zionists, stating that the Nazi movement
'is in agreement with the great spiritul movement within Jewry itself, Zionism, whose position is based on the recognistion of the unity of Jewry throughout the world, and the rejection of all ideas of mixing in.
|Not a happy man Iain McNicol as everything seems to come apart in his hand these days|
What is clear is that IHRA definition of anti-Semitism is actually unusable because it is so clearly intended as a weapon against Zionism’s critics. It does nothing to help in the fight against anti-Semitism, which is an extremely simple thing to understand. The IHRA definition is some 450 words. The definition by Professor Brian Klug, who isn’t a Zionist is 21 words, viz:
antisemitism is a form of hostility to Jews as Jews, where Jews are perceived as
something other than what they are.
If you want to conflate hostility to Israel with hostility to Jews then of course you need lots of words and examples! What Matthews letter also clouds is that Jeremy Corbyn accepted only the short introduction to the IHRA definition not the 11 examples, 7 of which relate to Israel. Matthews has clearly decided that the whole 450 word definition plus examples are what should be used.
However now that it is accepted that what Moshe wrote about Nazi support and admiration even for Zionism is not anti-Semitic, then there is no case to answer for Ken Livingstone whose comment that Hitler supported Zionism is exactly along the same lines.
We should savour this victory, but we shouldn’t rest on our laurels. As the Jewish Chronicle today states:
‘Three forthcoming NCC meetings will involve Jackie Walker, Marc Wadsworth and Tony Greenstein – all of whom face charges of anti-Semitism.’
We have won a battle but not the war!
|Matthews is so taken aback by the reaction to Moshe's expulsion that he sends another letter 3 days later|
|Matthews letter of 26 October|