Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Jackie Walker’s Trial by Ordeal


National Kangaroo Committee Refuses to Hear a Personal Statement from the Accused

It was a sunny spring morning with a carnival atmosphere outside as the long-awaited and long delayed hearing on trumped up charges of ‘anti-Semitism’ against Jackie Walker were at long last going to be heard. Except they weren’t as Jackie walked out shortly after they began.
I arrived shortly after 9 a.m. with my son to find about 100 people, Black and White, with banners from Jewish Voice for Labour and Labour Against the Witchhunt amongst others flying, as people assembled to protest against the gross unfairness of the witch-hunt as it was now being played out in front of a bevy of well-paid Labour lawyers.
The hearing was being held at the Deptford Lounge, a community centre with a library and computers, in a multi-racial area where Jackie grew up.  No doubt it was situated as far away as possible from Labour HQ in order to avoid protests spilling over to Labour’s NEC which was also meeting at the same time.
I was asked to speak shortly after arriving and I made the point that this whole racist nonsense was deliberately contrived. Anti-Semitism has become the weapon of choice of racists like Tom Watson and Donald Trump.
‘Anti-Semitism’ is the new anti-Communism of our age. Trump spent 17 minutes in his State of the Union speech attacking refugees and migrants and then he began a condemnation of ‘anti-Semitism’. But not the anti-Semitism of Robert Bowers who murdered 11 Jews at Pittsburgh, a direct consequence of Trump’s anti-refugee rhetoric, which Bowers had blamed on the Jews. Trump’s anti-Semitism was, as Vice President Mike Pence explained, hostility to the United States’s alliance with the Israeli state.

The Labour Party’s equivalent of Mike Pence is Tom Watson. Watson demanded the suspension recently of Chris Williamson for ‘anti-Semitism’.  This is the same Tom Watson who, when Phil Woolas, the racist Labour MP and former Home Office Immigration Minister was removed as an MP for election offences by the High Court, confessed that ‘I’ve lost sleep thinking about poor old Phil Woolas and his leaflets.
Poor Phil had run a campaign which, according to an email from his election agent, aimed to ‘make the white folk angry’. [see Open Letter To Tom Watson - the Unlikely Anti-Racist].

The three members of the NCC who denied Jackie the right to make a short statement at the beginning of the hearing were Russell Cartwright, a member of the Campaign For Labour Democracy, the CWU’s Alan Tate and Ann Dyer, a Unite union activist. Despite the first two being nominally on the Left there are no illusions that they are capable of standing up to the racist witch-hunt that has been levelled at Jackie for the past 3 years.
A Racist Definition of Anti-Semitism
Despite having adopted the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism last September, a definition which conflates anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, the Labour Party in Jackie’s case has made up their own definition: Anti-Semitism is ‘whether an ‘ordinary person hearing or reading the comments might reasonably perceive them to be antisemitic’.  
So basically anti-Semitism is anything you want it to be. Of course there are objective definitions such as the Oxford English Dictionary definition of anti-Semitism – ‘’hostility to or prejudice against Jews.’ but if you are in the business of weaponising anti-Semitism on  behalf of Israel then it’s preferable not to be tied down to something such as racism against Jews.
Turning a Blind Eye to Racism in the Labour Party’s Own Evidence
Quite amazingly, in a case based on an accusation of anti-Semitism, the Labour Party’s own evidence included racist statements such as ‘[JW is] a white middle-aged woman with dreadlocks’ in other words Jackie has ‘blacked up’. How much more racist can you get? Only a dumb and stupid Labour Party hack could fail to perceive the racism inherent in this statement or the statement that ‘Walker - who claims to be part Jewish”.
It is true that some Zionists have difficulty with someone who is both Black and Jewish. In Israel that takes the form of Ethiopian Jews being considered non-Jewish by much of the rabbinical establishment and being forced to recircumcise. It is strange that the Labour Party hacks responsible for this ‘anti-Semitism’ witch-hunt are incapable of perceiving actual racism.  Similarly the written witness evidence of Mike Katz, who is Vice-Chair of the Jewish Labour Movement, a largely non-Jewish organisation which is also the ‘sister party’ of the racist Israeli Labour Party. stated that ‘JW uses her self-identification as a black woman and a Jew as cover to put her beyond criticism...” when that is precisely what Katz and the JLM do.
The attack on Jackie Walker began in May 2016 when she was suspended for a Facebook conversation in which she stated that ‘many Jews, my ancestors too, were [among] the chief financiers of the sugar and slave trade… so who are the victims and what does it mean .’ The word in bold was omitted and on this basis, a whole artificial and fake campaign was constructed that said Jackie was accusing Jews of having financed the slave trade. See The lynching of Jackie Walker.

However this was so patently thin that Jackie was quickly reinstated but the JLM didn’t give up. For four months they and their corrupt Chair, Jeremy Newmark, demonised Jackie as an anti-Semite. On 17th September, about 10 days before the fateful Labour Party conference, I wrote a blog about how the JLM campaign against Jackie was in full swing. When Jackie spoke at an LRC TUC fringe meeting in Brighton in early September alongside John McDonnell, Newmark demanded that McDonnell
must explain his defence of Walker which is inconsistent with his call for zero tolerance. This raises serious questions. Our members expect him to explain himself.
Unfortunately McDonnell instead of standing his ground caved into the false anti-Semitism witchhunt. McDonnell’s lack of a backbone has resulted in people like Tom Watson quoting him to ‘prove’ that Labour has an anti-Semitism problem.
There is no doubt that Russell Cartwright and his penel will be too weak to stand up to the Labour Party’s legal team. Since they have refused to even hear Jackie’s personal statement it is unlikely that they are going to stick their heads out now. It is to be expected that they will be incapable of asking searching questions about why it is that it is Jewish and Black people, both of whom are combined in Jackie, who are the main victims of the fake ‘anti-Semitism’ witchhunt.
Why it is that 77% of Labour Party members say that anti-Semitism is not a major issue in the Labour Party?  Why is it that the right-wing press, from the Mail to the Sun and Express are all so concerned about ‘anti-Semitism’ in the Labour Party yet do not hesitate to demonise Black people, Muslims and refugees to the extent of hiring as a columnist Katie ‘refugees are cockroaches’ Hopkins as a columnist.
Today was a marvelous celebration of the opposition to the Labour Party’s racist witch-hunt. It followed Labour Against the Witchhunt’s meeting last night with Ken Livingstone, Graham Bash and Jackie Walker which was attended by 150 people near Holborn. The majority of Labour Party members are not convinced by the fake anti-Semitism campaign. It is to the shame of much of the Labour Left, the so-called Campaign Group of Socialist MPs, that they haven’t defended both Jackie and Chris Williamson MP.
Chris Williamson sent a message of solidarity to the rally which Stan Keable of LAW read out. It is shameful that he is the only Labour MP to have done so.  Clive Lewis, Diane Abbot and David Lammy – all Black MPs have looked the other way, as have people like Laura Pidcott, Cat Smith and Dennis Skinner. The Left in the PLP has remained silent as a witchhunt of anti-racists has taken place of which Jackie is but the latest casualty. The only beneficiary will be Tom Watson and the TIG group.
It was good to see another victim of this racist witchhunt, Marc Wadsworth at the demonstration today. Marc is presently engaged in litigation with the Labour Party and he has been disgracefully attacked, as has Jackie, by the turncoat racist, Jon Lansma, who heads Momentum.
Below is Jackie’s statement:
Tony Greenstein

Jackie Walker denied right to speak in her own defence

Today Jackie Walker was forced to withdraw from a disciplinary hearing when the most powerful Labour Party disciplinary committee refused to allow Jackie Walker the right to make a short opening statement in her own defence.

Background

Jackie Walker (a black Jewish Woman) was suspended from the Labour Party 2 ½ years ago for asking a Labour Party antisemitism trainer, at an antisemitism training event, for a definition of antisemitism. Since then she has been the subject of the most appalling and unrelenting racist abuse and threats, including a bomb threat.

Jackie Walker said:

“After almost three years of racist abuse and serious threats; and of almost three years of being demonised, I was astounded that the Labour Party refused to allow me a few short moments to personally address the disciplinary panel to speak in my own defence. What is so dangerous about my voice that it is not allowed to be heard?”

All I have ever asked for is for equal treatment, due process and natural justice; it seems that this is too much to ask of the Labour Party.”

STATEMENT OF JACKIE WALKER

Today (26 March 2019) I (Jackie Walker) attended the long overdue Labour Party disciplinary hearing, before the Labour Party’s highest disciplinary panel (National Constitutional Committee). I was accompanied by my defence witnesses and legal team; I had submitted over 400 pages of evidence in my defence.

At the beginning of the hearing, the Chair advised me that this was to be an informal hearing and that I could address him by his first name. The Chair then invited procedural questions. Through my lawyer I asked to be allowed to make a brief opening address to the Chair and Panel. The large team of Labour Party lawyers objected. The Chair adjourned the meeting to consider my simple request to speak. Despite repeated requests from my lawyer that I be allowed to speak at the outset of my hearing, the Chair ruled that I remain silent. I therefore had no alternative other than to withdraw from the hearing, as it was clear to me that I would not receive a fair hearing.

Background

It is vital to appreciate the astonishing background of the process that has been applied by the Labour Party apparatus to me.  

On 25 September 2016, at the Labour Party (LP) Conference in Liverpool, I attended a LP training event entitled ‘Confronting antisemitism and engaging with Jewish voters’. The training session was co-hosted by the LP with the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM), and was presented by the vice-chair of the JLM, Mike Katz. The session was open to all LP members attending the Annual Conference.  As is normal practice the presenter encouraged and engaged in discussion and debate with attendees throughout the hour-long training session.

Towards the end session I put my hand up to speak and was invited by Mr Katz to ask a question/make a comment.

  1. I asked for a “definition of antisemitism”  
  2. I commented “wouldn’t it be wonderful if Holocaust day was open to all people who experience holocaust”, and
  3. I asked about security matters relating to the Jewish community.

I was secretly filmed by an unknown person who released the film of my contribution at the meeting to the media and footage of the closed training event was published online by newspapers. On 29 September 2016 the LP suspended me and subsequently charged me that my words were:

  • antisemitic;
  • inappropriate; and
  • undermined Labour’s ability to campaign against racism.

I am black.  I am Jewish. I am a woman.  I have spent my life fighting racism and inequality. My ethnicity, Jewish heritage and gender have brought me into direct conflict with those who abuse and threaten others on the basis of colour of skin, race, religion and gender. I abhor antisemitism. I abhor discrimination against black people. I abhor all discrimination.  I abhor the differential treatment of women. I absolutely and vehemently reject the charges made against me by the LP.  For 2 ½ years I have faced a grossly unfair disciplinary process that has now reached new heights of staggering unfairness.
The increasing instances of serious unfair process have become intolerable in the weeks leading up to this hearing.  Unfair process had infected all aspects of the LP investigation and prosecution.  My fundamental right to a fair hearing has been wholly compromised by the conduct of the LP.

  1. LP submission on what constitutes anti-Semitism

The definition of what is antisemitism (as opposed to legitimate criticism of the state of Israel) deserves serious respectful political debate, including controversial debate. It defies all logic, and threatens the essence of free speech, to be accused of antisemitism for simply asking the fundamental question: what is antisemitism?

The recent NEC Code of Conduct on Antisemitism was not in existence at the time of the training session in September 2016.  The endorsement by the LP of the IHRA definition of antisemitism did not take place until after the Conference of 2016.  The endorsement by the LP was the subject of significant debate. The endorsement is “to assist in understanding what constitutes antisemitism”. In fact during the training session Mike Katz referred not to the IHRA definition but to the European Union Monitoring Centre’s definition. The LP now submits that the test to be applied to an allegation of antisemitism against me “does not require the NCC to engage in a debate as to the proper definition of anti-Semitism” but rather whether an ‘ordinary person hearing or reading the comments might reasonably perceive them to be antisemitic’.  That is an extraordinary dilution of the adopted test of “hatred towards Jews” which is a definition of antisemitism with which I wholeheartedly agree.

  1. LP relies on racist statements to prosecute me

It is beyond any sense of fair process that in prosecuting me for antisemitism for my asking a training session for a definition of antisemitism in September 2016, that the LP, astonishingly, has submitted racist and discriminatory statements made about my colour, gender, appearance, ethnicity and heritage, to support its misconceived case against me.

The LP relies on anonymous witnesses who have written: 

            “[JW is] a white middle-aged woman with dreadlocks”

            “Walker - who claims to be part Jewish”

And also on the written witness evidence of Mike Katz who states:

“... JW uses her self-identification as a black woman and a Jew as cover to put her beyond criticism...”

There is no conceivable place in a fair disciplinary process for such statements to be allowed in evidence.

As a black person I have long campaigned for the proper recognition and memorialisation of those who died and suffered during the shameful period of the slave trade.  During the training session I was making the point that it would be fitting to include the victims of the slave trade as well as other pre-Nazi genocides in the Holocaust Memorial Day commemorations.  In prosecuting me for raising that comment, again astonishingly, the LP relies on an anonymous witness who writes:

“I am not at all happy regarding her obsession with African genocide and the holocaust

I have repeatedly asked those conducting my disciplinary process for anonymous and racist evidence to be removed from the evidence presented by the LP.  My applications have not been agreed.

That is unfair.

I applied to  the Panel to adjourn my case to allow the reliance on racist material by the LP to be referred to the Equality and Human Rights Commission for investigation. My application was rejected.

That is unfair.

  1. Other racist and threatening remarks

I have been subjected to threatening, racist and abusive remarks throughout the time I have had to wait for the LP to carry out its disciplinary process. Some examples of the material sent to me have included:

“Jackie Walker is as Jewish as a pork pie, stop harassing Jews you fucking Nazi scum”

            “Jackie Walker and her defenders can go hang”

“Jackie Walker’s Jewishness is a hastily constructed identity to protect her from the backlash of her antisemitic comments”

“Her father whom she barely knew apparently was Jewish so she isn’t Jewish...nothing to do with her colour”
“We should send people like you to the fucking gas chamber! Palestine does not exist, nor did it ever exist. Israel has been a Jewish homeland for 3,000 years! Moron”

“Was that thundercunt referring to you wanting to see Corbyn shove Jackie Walker into a burning bin? You didn’t mention ethnicity”

“God, what a fucking anti-Semite black Jewish working class female Momentum vice-chair Jackie Walker is! Can’t think why Labour want rid”

The above examples were submitted by me as part of my documents in the disciplinary process yet the Panel hearing my case still did not allow my application to remove racist and discriminatory evidence being relied on by the LP.  

That is unfair.

  1. Secret Panel to hear my case

Until this morning I had not been allowed to know the identities of those who are to sit in judgment on my case despite the LP presenter and the LP legal team being aware of the identities since last year.

Initially the LP claimed that it would not  release details of the Panel to me or my solicitors, because of security concerns. The clear discriminatory inference is that I as a black person am prone to trouble and/or violence; that whenever black people and their supporters gather to object or protest there is a tendency to disorder causing a security risk. This is plain racist discriminatory negative stereotyping. 

When pressed, the LP confirmed it has not received any threats relating to my case but still refused to let me know the identities of Panel members.  I could not carry out any background checks on previous statements or connections of the Panel members to assess the risk of bias and lack of independence.  

That is unfair.

  1. Secret venue

For personal reasons, of which the Panel is aware, I wanted to visit the hearing centre to familiarise myself with the venue.  The LP refused to let me know where the hearing was to take place until 4 working days before the hearing which was too late for me to make a familiarisation visit.

That was unfair.



  1. Failing to put intended charges to me

I am also charged with bringing the Party into disrepute for pursing my legal rights against the LP for a serious breach of my personal data held by them.  I am being charged for defending my rights. The charge was never put to me at the lengthy investigatory meeting I had with the LP investigator or at any other time during the almost 2 year long investigation stage of the process.  I was never given an opportunity to explain my position before a one-sided decision was made by the LP to charge me. When I protested that it was a clear breach of natural justice to go straight to a charge without seeking my comment at the investigatory stage I was told by the LP that:

“Natural justice does not require that she [JW] also has the opportunity to respond at an investigatory stage”

Trade Unions built the LP.  It is unthinkable that a trade union would accept a disciplinary process that completely by-passes the investigatory stage and goes straight to a disciplinary charge without any input or comment from the person to be charged.  It is unthinkable that a police investigation would go straight to charge without interviewing the accused to seek comment.

Yet that is what the LP has done to me.

That is unfair.

  1. Lack or loss of investigatory records

When I pointed out that some of the evidence to be relied on by the LP at the hearing had never been put to me during the investigation interview, the LP admitted in writing that:

“The NEC wishes firstly to record that the precise details of the matters put to Ms Walker during the investigatory interview are not known to those now presenting the case, as the interviewer is no longer in post.”

It is incomprehensible that in such a serious case, where charges of antisemitism are being made against me, that an accurate and complete record has not been kept by the LP of their own investigation.

In light of my previous grave concerns about the unlawful handling of my personal data I am extremely concerned that there have been further breaches of Data Protection laws concerning the management by the LP of my personal data.

That is unfair.

  1. Late submission of evidence by LP

On 20 March 2019 the LP served more evidence on me that it intends to rely on at the hearing due to start today. I was not given time to consider the fresh evidence, assess the context of that evidence and to counter that evidence.  An application for an adjournment of the hearing to allow me time to deal with the evidence in the nine new documents served so late was not allowed by the Panel.

That is unfair.

  1. Prejudicial public statements by Labour MPs

My case has attracted significant public interest and comment in the press, most of which has been ill-informed and biased. However I have also been subjected to significant negative prejudicial statements from Labour MPs making it impossible for me to have a fair hearing within the LP.  I have made complaint of this and was told this would be discussed with the General Secretary however, this behaviour persisted. If this were in another setting the MPs could be found to be in contempt of court.

For example, on 27 February 2019 on House of Commons letterhead thirty-eight MPs, members of Labour Tribune, put their names to a letter written to the General Secretary of the Labour Party wherein I was clearly referred to and where it was said that I was:

“...someone who has been thrown out of the party for making antisemitic comments”.

Those MPs would have been aware that their letter, which was published online and in the press, would seriously prejudice my hearing due to take place within a month of their letter. They were giving a clear steer and signal to the Panel of what the outcome of my hearing is to be. They wrongly identified me as someone expelled from the LP and wrongly identified me as someone who has been found to be antisemitic by the LP.

On 22 March 2019 the MailOnline published an article entitled “Shadow chancellor John McDonnell’s ‘anti-Semitic’ ally must be expelled, or Labour ‘has no future ’MPs warn”. The article states:

“Her [JW] case will finally come before Labour’s disciplinary panel on Tuesday after two-and-a –half years of delay. Backbenchers said the party must ensure she is expelled- if Labour is to have any chance of proving it is not institutionally anti-Semitic.

Dame Margaret Hodge said: ‘It’s extraordinary that it has taken so long to bring her to an expulsion hearing. Tough action must be taken but one expulsion will not solve a far deeper cultural problem that has infected the party”

Backbenchers, and in particular Dame Margaret Hodge, have directly interfered in my right to a fair hearing. They have prejudiced a fair hearing by making such prejudicial statements only one working day before my hearing. Their aim is obvious. Hodge has given the clearest possible signal to the Panel of the outcome she wants and expects.

The interference in the disciplinary process by these MPs has made it impossible for me to have a fair hearing.

That is unfair.

My decision to withdraw from this hearing

Faced with an inherently racist disciplinary process where the evidence of abusive racists is relied on by the LP to prosecute me; faced with multiple examples of a grossly unfair process in the investigation and prosecution of my case and the conduct of my case at the NEC and NCC Panel stages; faced with the discriminatory secrecy of the Panel appointed by the LP to hear my case; and faced with the prejudicial public statements by Labour MPs preventing my ability to have a fair hearing,  I am left with no confidence whatsoever  in the ability of the LP to conduct a fair disciplinary process.

I am expected to appear before an unfair Panel where the LP has ridden roughshod over my rights in its headlong blinkered hankering to expel me from the Party to satisfy the wishes of those who are not involved in the detail of my case but who have judged me unfairly and have already condemned me.

I have spoken of a lynching and a witch hunt.  If I were in a fair, independent and unbiased court I would say “I rest my case”.

In such an unfair and biased process I do not now recognise the ability of the LP disciplinary process to investigate and try my case with the equality and blind fairness everyone should expect of a democratic process that recognises the primary importance of the rule of law and fair due process.

“As a result of the truly astonishing decision this morning to prevent me from even addressing the disciplinary panel at the outset in my own defence, I was left with no option but to withdraw from the disciplinary process”

Jackie Walker
Tuesday 26 March 2019.

 


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