13 May 2016

It is Time for Unity in the Campaign Against the Witchhunt

Momentum has to support all those suspended not just its Vice Chair Jacqueline Walker
I was suspended on March 18th from the Labour Party.  Until the suspension of Ken Livingstone I was the most prominent victim of the Right’s feeding frenzy. [see Tony Greenstein suspended from Labour Party - Labour Party machine gets its revenge on Corbyn’s activists as expulsions mount How Israel lobby manufactured UK Labour Party’s anti-Semitism crisis Labour is one step away from book-burning]
Cllr. Aysegul-Gurbuz - suspended
Since then there have been numerous people, it is estimated about 50, who have been fingered for ‘anti-Semitism’.  The one common denominator in all the suspensions has been the lack of any evidence of anti-Semitism.  Ken Livingstone was suspended, not for anti-Semitism but for making political comments about the collaboration between the Zionist movement and Nazism which are a matter of recorded history.  Ken was a member of the National Executive Committee and his suspension has made it impossible for him to continue in that role.
David White, suspended for saying Zionism is racist, with Sadique Khan, Mayor of London 
It is therefore particularly disgraceful that his replacement, one Rhea Lewis, is a former member of the Jewish Leadership Council (an organisation of big Jewish capitalists led by Micky Davies, former owner of mining company Xtrata) and the Zionist Youth Council.  The nomination as part of the left slate of Ms Lewis, especially in the current climate of attacks on anti-Zionists and supporters of the Palestinians, is totally unacceptable.  Voting for Lewis is as good as voting for the Right.
Ken Livingstone - suspended for telling the truth
As I wrote less than week ago, the current witch hunt shows all the signs of state involvement designed to deliberately destabilise the new left wing leadership of the Labour Party.  Britain’s Cointelpro – How the Israeli Embassy and Guido Fawkes destabilised the LabourParty  - Ken Livingstone Must Be Reinstated & Corbyn Must Fight Back 
Jon Lansman - Chair of Momentum - gave left cover to the witch hunt
Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell, instead of fighting back and rebutting what is so obviously a co-ordinated and orchestrated campaign by their political enemies, have given these allegations of ‘anti-Semitism’ credence.  They have parroted that they are against anti-Semitism, as if there is anyone who isn’t against sin.  What they don't seem to have realised is that the anti-Semitism that supporters of Israel talk about isn’t anti-Semitism but anti-Zionism – opposition to the racist and Apartheid nature of the Israeli state.
David Watson -  suspended for saying that Zionism is racist
Corbyn could also have pointed to the links that the Tories have in the European Parliament with an assortment of fascist and anti-Semitic parties, including the Polish Law & Justice Party, which won the last Polish Elections and Robert Ziles LNNK in Latvia.  Some idea of the nature of the Polish Party can be gleaned by the following report from Forward, the liberal US Jewish paper of December 17 2015.  Entitled Poland Turns Hard to Right — and Jews Wind Up in Crosshairs it describes how the Wroclaw branch of the Party held an anti-immigration demonstration and they decided to burn an effigy of a Hasidic Jew for their entertainment.
Tory Boy Steve Reed MP of Progress - behind Watson's suspension
It is somewhat ironic that the Jewish Chronicle’s editor Stephen Pollard is a fan of all those anti-Semites that the Tories work with in the European Parliament.  Pollard, who has played a prominent part in the Labour witch hunt, has gone out on a limb to defend the anti-Semitic former MEP of the Law & Justice Party, Michal Kaminski who called on Polish Jews to apologise for hundreds of their number having been burnt alive in his constituency village of Jedwabne in 1941.  As long as you support the State of Israel then any amount of anti-Semitism is acceptable.  See Jedwabne – The Polish Village Where Up to 900 Jews Were Burnt Alive by Fellow Poles  Pollard – Upset by Corbyn’s ‘anti-Semitism’ but a devotee of theanti-Semitic Michael Kaminski
Stephen Pollard, ex-editor of Express and now editor of Jewish Chronicle - happy to defend anti-Semites as long as they are pro-Israekl
It was extremely unfortunate, to put it mildly, that the Chair of Momentum, Jon Lansman, was seen to put the knife into Livingstone’s back commenting that ‘A period of silence from Ken Livingstone is overdue, especially on antisemitism racism & Zionism. It’s time he left politics altogether’ (28.4.16.)  The comments that caused the Right such offence were:
 "Let’s remember when Hitler won his election in 1932, his policy then was that Jews should be moved to Israel. He was supporting Zionism – this before he went mad and ended up killing six million Jews.’
Pollard defending notorious Polish fascist and anti-Semite Michal Kaminski MEP
Livingstone was wrong to refer to Israel when it was Palestine and he was wrong to imply that the Holocaust was a product of Hitler’s madness.  It was the logical consequence of the anti-Jewish policies of the Nazis -  depriving Germany’s Jews of employment, political and civil rights, including citizenship, stripping them of their belongings and then deportation to Poland and Latvia.  But he was essentially correct.

Jon Lansman found out to his cost a week ago that humouring the witch hunters only increased their appetite.  His own Vice Chair at Momentum, Jacqueline Walker, was also suspended for anti-Semitism.  The specific offence was discussing the Jews and slavery.  Being a Black and Jewish person, one might have thought she was eminently suitable to discuss this topic.  Clearly the witchfinder generals at LP HQ thought differently. 

I wrote about Jacqueline Walker's case, a Black-Jewish victim of the witch hunt, on 6thMay Labour’s Thought Police claims another victim - Black Jewish activist Jackie Walker  What is so reprehensible about the present witch hunt is that any debate around the topic of Zionism or Jews is now being policed by those who will report any comments not deemed 100% kosher to the thought police at Labour Party headquarters. Labour is a political party, it should encourage discussion and debate instead of pouncing on people who stray from the road.  
It is especially disgusting that this policing is being carried out by the devotees of a racist state which is the only apartheid state in the world.  

Israel is a state which has censorship and gagging orders, which detains prisoners without trial, which uses torture freely, which locks up Palestinian children as young as 12 (not Jewish children) and tortures on them [see Jerusalem Post 20.6.13. UN: Israel tortures detained Palestinian childrenwhere racism is rampant.  

A plurality of Israeli Jews support the forcible expulsion of Israeli Palestinians. [see Israel’s Religiously Divided Society Arguably the level of racism in Israel is higher than it ever was in Nazi Germany itself, because the anti-Semitism of the Nazi Party wasn’t particularly popular outside its own ranks.

Of course if the topic of Zionist Nazi collaboration is an expulsion offence, there is no logical reason why discussing Jewish involvement in the Slave Trade should be allowed.  Indeed it would be helpful if Labour General Secretary Ian McNicol could draw up a list of banned topics, much like the old Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (Inquisition) used to do.  Perhaps socialism and Marx could also be added to the list.

For the first time in the anti-Semitism frenzy, the Chairperson of Momentum, Jon Lansman, spoke out against the witch hunt, in an article on Left Futures A frenzied witch-hunt is not the way to combat antisemitism or any form of racism However they are to blame for not speaking out before now.   The suspension of Jacqueline Walker is a direct result of the encouragement that Lansman and the LRC gave to the witch hunt.  By keeping silent until now they encouraged the witch hunters.

It has taken nearly 3 months for Momentum and Lansman to come out clearly against the suspension of an activist, but even then they have focused on Jacqueline Walker as an individual.  There is no mention of other individuals who have been suspended.  Lansman, Momentum and the LRC are playing the witch hunter’s game by playing divide and rule.

Important though her case is, Jacqueline Walker is no more important than that of all the other people who have been suspended.  What is necessary is to oppose the witchhunt as a whole not to single out particular people as ‘undeserving’ of being suspended, thereby implying that everyone else is deserving.

The witch hunt seems to be concentrating on Muslim councillors in particular, which would fit in well with the Islamaphobia of the Blairite bureaucracy.  At least 5 Muslim Labour councillors have been suspended.   See Labour suspends three councillors over alleged antisemitic remarks  Khadim Hussain, former Lord Mayor of Bradford, has been suspended for sharing a Facebook post that said: “Your school education system only tells you about Anne Frank and the six million Zionists that were killed by Hitler.”, Nottingham councillor Ilyas Aziz, ex-Blackburn mayor Salim Mulla and Burnley councillor Shah Hussain.

There is nothing anti-Semitic in this.  Of course he should not have said ‘6 million Zionists’ but given that the Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mervis has just had an article in the Daily Torygraph whose sole purpose is to conflate being Jewish with being a Zionist is it any wonder that even former Lord Mayors get confused? 

Mervis wrote in Ken Livingstone and the hard Left are spreading the insidious virus of anti-Semitism that One can no more separate it [Zionism] from Judaism than separate the City of London from Great Britain.’  And then they complain that people call Jews Zionists!  You couldn’t make it up.  The deception and dishonesty of the Zionist movement and its allies in the press and on the Labour Right.

We should also note the description of anti-Semitism as a virus.  This use of a biological metaphor is exactly what the Nazis did.  They described Jews and the untermenschen as viruses and vermin. Racism and anti-Semitism is not a virus, it is the product of the political and economic conditions we live in.  Racism changes its contours as society changes.  Viruses like Aids are sometimes impossible, to cure.  Racism can be cured or defeated.  Zionism however was founded in the belief that racism amongst non-Jews was inherent, biologically inherited and impossible to cure.  It is an anti-socialist position but Zionism itself was always anti-socialist.  It is only racists who describe racism thus.

Suffice to say the Torygraph refused a right of reply to a letter signed by more than 80 Jews (it has been reprinted in Wednesday's Guardian Anti-Zionism does not equate to antisemitism 

What Lansman and indeed both Momentum and the Labour Representative Committee have done by not opposing the witch hunt from the start is to embolden Blair’s LP bureaucracy to strike at the heart of the organisation that they and Labour’s Deputy Leader Tom Watson detest.

When Lansman went off on his own holding talks with Labour Friends of Israel and the Jewish Labour Movement, the British branch of the racist Israeli Labour Party, he then came back with the brilliant idea that we should not mention Zionism, the movement that created the State of Israel and which has led to the expulsion and dispossession of the Palestinians.  That is where he began to go wrong.  If you don’t understand Zionism you don’t understand why the Israeli state is an apartheid state. Why the Left must stop talking about ‘Zionism’

Last week David White, the Secretary of Croydon Central CLP was suspended.  Labour suspends Croydon Central secretary over Hitler tweet  David White’s crime (and no doubt mine) was to have tweeted in support of Ken Livingstone’s comments.  The article explains how:

‘White and Livingstone are long-time colleagues, having both served together on the Greater London Council in the 1980s.

 “Specifically I commented that Ken was largely factually accurate in referring to an agreement in the 1930s between the German Nazi Party and some Zionists to provide for some Jews to go to what is now Israel (the so-called Haavara agreement),” White explained in somewhat more than 140 characters.

 “Immediately I sent the tweet I realised that it was unwise, whatever the historical facts, to conflate Zionism with Hitler.”

White says that he quickly deleted his ill-considered comment. But a reporter on a local newspaper had screen-grabbed the tweet and used it as the basis for an article which included the dread words  “Ken Livingstone’s Hitler comments were ‘largely accurate’,” in its headline.

The far-right Jewish Chronicle boasted in an article Labour suspends Walthamstow activist for antisemitic Facebook posts that 

‘A Labour activist has been suspended from the party after the JC brought his antisemitic posts on social media to light.’

David Watson, the fundraising co-ordinator for the Walthamstow Labour Party, has been suspended pending an investigation, a spokesperson confirmed.

He shared articles on Facebook alleging that Daesh has used weapons made in Israel, comparing Mossad with the Nazis and accusing Israel of genocide against the Palestinians….

Mr Watson also wrote in a Facebook status: “If I were a Palestinian, like most people ... I'd probably want to be a guerilla fighter and liberate my people from a brutal and oppressive occupation.”
Another post saw Mr Watson call Zionism “a racist ideology.”

To most normal people this would be evidence of expressing a perfectly valid political opinion, but to the right-wing rabble around the Jewish Chronicle or Progress it is enough for today's equivalent of the Spanish Inquisition.

Thus the Labour Party’s  Inquisition marches on, with Labour’s Torquemada busy at work.  It must be a disappointment to Progress that the rack has been abolished in Labour Party disciplinary procedures.

Tony Greenstein 

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