31 October 2017

Jewish Voice for Labour – Timidity is not a Strategy

Corbyn is seen as 'skipping' the Balfour dinner much as if he was a naughty schoolboy skipping compulsory classes 

Now is not the time to retreat into a Jewish ghetto

The recent Labour Party conference marked a break from the past two years of the false anti-Semitism smear campaign.  For the first time since Corbyn was elected it is the Zionists who are on the defensive:

i.            The Left of the Labour Party, despite a few Zionists such as Jon Lansman and Rhea Wolfson (and the remaining members of the AWL), are pro-Palestinian.  Not only have people not bought into the ‘anti-Semitism’ smears of but these allegations have had the effect that people have become educated as to the real nature of Zionism and the Israeli State's Apartheid policies.  We have to transform support for the Palestinians into opposition to Zionism, the racist political ideology that has spawned Israeli Apartheid.  

        What this means concretely is explaining that the 2 States Solution is a Zionist solution.  The reason Labour Friends of Israel and the Jewish Labour Movement support it is because it will never happen.  What it does is serve as a convenient smokescreen for the present, overtly Apartheid situation on the West Bank where there are 2 legal systems and segregation in every aspect of life between Jewish settlers and Palestinians.  As long as the fig leaf of 2 States, which neither Likud nor the Zionist Union opposition supports, remains as a diplomatic pretence, then Israel has an excuse not to grant equal rights in the Occupied Territories.  The call for recognition of a Palestinian state is even more absurd.  Labour's leaders love it but how can you recognise a state that doesn't exist?  

ii.     The tide has begun to change as a result of the alliance between the Zionists and the Labour Right.  LFI MPs such as Chair Joan Ryan, Peter Kyle and John Woodcock were in the forefront of distancing themselves from Corbyn in the last election.  Ryan went as far as to say she understood that her constituents liked May more than Corbyn! Labour candidate defending London seat admits people have more confidence in Theresa May than Jeremy Corbyn  The Jewish Labour Movement, when Owen Smith challenged for the leadership, voted by 92%-4% for Owen Smith.

People have also begun to see through the ritual accusations of 'anti-Semitism'.  For example when I was first suspended in Brighton 18 months ago even some people in Momentum supported my suspension on the basis that there was no smoke without fire.  Now it is clear to everyone that the accusations of anti-Semitism are weaponised and have no merit.
Rebecca Simon, Vice-Chair of Labour Friends of Israel, described Corbyn as 'rubbish' yet they were outraged when Jeremy decided he had better things to do than attend their fringe meeting
iii.             Jeremy Corbyn’s decision not to attend the Labour Friends of Israel fringe meeting at Conference went down well.  It is less than two years ago that the Vice Chair of Labour Friends of Israel, Rebecca Simon was quoted in the Jewish Chronicle as saying of Corbyn ‘And he is rubbish — never mind about the Israel stuff, he is just not a credible opposition.”  It was another supporter of LFI Michael Foster who went to court to stop Jeremy standing against Owen Smith.  LFI is a front for the Israeli Embassy.  It is Blairite through and through and is led by Joan Ryan MP, whose only achievement since being in Parliament is to claim record parliamentary expenses in 2006-7, having been the runner up the previous year.  During the parliamentary expenses scandal she had to pay back over £5,000 having 'flipped' her main and second homes. What is amazing is why Corbyn’s advisers ever thought that he would gain anything by appeasing Labour’s Apartheid lobby and attending Labour Friends of Israel’s events.

Only the Sun came to the rescue of Warren Morgan
iv.           The attempts by the Jewish Labour Movement’s supporters on the National Policy Forum and this includes Emily Thornberry, to remove the Manifesto commitments to opposing Israel’s occupation, the settlements and the siege of Gaza, were reversed at Conference.
The fall out from Brighton Council Leader Warren Morgan's accusations of antisemitism at Labour Conference has led to calls for him to go

iv.           The attack by the Leader of Brighton and Hove Labour Group Warren Morgan on the Labour Party Conference as ‘anti-Semitic’ and his threat that Labour wouldn’t be welcome in Brighton has completely backfired with his only support coming from those well known anti-racist papers, The Sun and The Daily Mail..  At least 4 Brighton and Hove branches (including Preston Park, East Brighton, Queens Park, Brunswick & Adelaide) have called for his resignation or an apology. Veteran Labour Councillor Kevin Allen has broken ranks and called for Morgan to go.  Morgan has taken to turning up uninvited to Ward meetings to try and persuade them that he should not be censored. 

v.             Free Speech on Israel and the newly established Jewish Voices for Labour held large meetings at Conference and the JVL meeting was attended by union leaders, Len McLuskey of Unite and Tosh MacDonald of ASLEF, who promised support to an alternative to the racist Jewish Labour Movement.

vi.        Corbyn has turned down an invitation to a Balfour Declaration cententary dinner provoking apoplexy amongst the Zionists. It's not 'antisemitic' for Jeremy Corbyn not to celebrate the centenary of the Balfour Declaration – it's sensible.  Indeed throughout Britain the Zionist celebrations of the Declaration have fallen flat.  The Zionists had hoped to make propaganda out Britain’s agreement to steal the land of the Palestinians and hand it to the Zionists 100 years ago but most people have been unmoved.  Indeed a poll commissioned by the Israeli propaganda group BICOM found that the number of people supporting the Declaration had dropped from 43% in the past year.  

        News has just come in that the Balfour celebration event at the University of Manchester, which has recently come under heavy attack has now been moved elsewhere.  Officially the sponsors decided to move the event but it is clear that  they were made to feel unwelcome.

vii.      The Zionists were particularly outraged at the Labour Party Marxists newsletter at Labour’s conference entitled ‘anti-Semitism is not anti-Zionism’ and an article by Moshe Machover describing the support that the Nazis gave to the Zionists even whilst most Jews were trying to overthrow the regime.  This provoked the Right into ‘auto excluding’ i.e. expelling without a hearing Moshe Machover, the veteran Israeli anti-Zionist and founder of Matzpen.

This in turn has provoked a furious backlash by Labour Party members resulting in dozens of party units sending in motions condemning this outrageous breach of Labour Party democracy.  All the indications are that the witch hunters, led by Sam Matthews of the Disputes Committee are looking for a way to backtrack.  Expelling Jews and Israelis for ‘anti-Semitism’ may be the Zionist way of tackling ‘anti-Semitism’ but it is not how most people see it!

People are increasingly seeing through the ‘anti-Semitism’ smears and realise that the reason for the Right’s fondness for the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism has less to do with hatred of Jews and more to do with their inability to defend Israel.  Everyone knows that anti-Semitism is negligible in the Labour Party.  That is why the behaviour of Jon Lansman in supporting the idea that anti-Semitism in the Labour Party is a problem is disgraceful and only gives comfort to Corbyn's enemies who aren’t in the least concerned about racism.

The fact remains that the Zionists are still strong and entrenched in the structures of the Labour Party.  The JLM is an affiliated socialist society with the power to move resolutions at Labour Party conference and have delegates to the CLPs.  The fact that the ‘sister party’ as it calls itself (in fact the British wing of the Israeli Labour Party) is represented inside the Labour Party at all and is taken to be the Jewish wing of Labour is an outrage.  It is the living proof that racism and the legacy of the British Empire have not been eradicated inside Labour.  The affiliation of what was Poale Zion was a direct consequence of the British Empire’s alliance with the Zionist movement.  Balfour, known as ‘bloody Balfour’ in Ireland was the foremost representative of the Empire.

There is a need for a genuine pro-Palestinian group in the Labour Party - Labour Friends of Palestine is a dead duck

Labour Friends of Palestine meeting chaired by arch Zionist Wes Streeting

The traditional pro-Palestinian group, Labour Friends of Palestine is worse than useless.  Its latest escapade was to hold a meeting at the House of Commons with one of the authors of the false anti-Semitism campaign, Progress MP Wes Streeting.  It has kept quiet during the past two years of the false anti-Semitism campaign.  It was blindingly obvious to most people that allegations of ‘anti-Semitism were weaponised against supporters of the Palestinians yet LFP said nothing saw nothing and heard nothing.  Indeed many of their supporters were up to their ears in this campaign because most of their parliamentary supporters were anti-Corbyn.

LFP have 133 MP supporters whereas LFI have just 76 MP.  Yet this is deceptive.  Not only has the LFP site not been updated for a long time, the late Gerald Kaufmann is still listed, as is Simon Danzuk but another curious factor stares out.  Nearly half the Labour Friends of Israel supporters, 36 in total are also supporters of the LFP.  

In other words half the LFP’s supporters are on both sides of the conflict between the oppressor and oppressed.  In practice most of these people are died-in-the wool Zionists like Streeting, Ian Lucas and Stephen Twigg.

The full role call of the opportunists is below but what this shows is that there is a need within the Labour Party for a new, pro-Palestinian organisation.  A campaigning group which is anti-Zionist and which calls for a democratic, secular not a Jewish state.  We can leave that to the LFI.  35 years ago, in the wake of the 1982 Lebanon invasion the Labour Committee on Palestine, later the Labour Movement Campaign on Palestine was formed.  At the 1982 Labour Party conference it was able to able to get a motion supporting a democratic, secular state on Palestine passed.  Any campaign on Palestine must tackle the racist and apartheid nature of the Israeli state.  Two states plays into the hands of the Zionists which is why LFI and JLM support it. 

The call for 2 states, apart from being impossible to achieve, which is why the Zionist organisations support it, is wrong in principle.  It accepts the partition of Palestine.  It accepts that an apartheid Jewish state will continue.  But worst of all, as long as there are illusions in such a state then Israel has a pretext not to grant the Palestinians of the West Bank full equality or indeed any democratic or civil rights.

One of the key demands must be for Labour to break with Zionism and that means the JLM must be disaffiliated.  We don’t call for them to be expelled as individuals although most of them would leave.  The idea that a supporter of Israeli Apartheid, affiliated to the World Zionist Organisation which funds the settlements in the West Bank, should be an affiliate should be a matter of shame.  

In 1984 Jeremy Corbyn sponsored and chaired an LMCP Conference which specifically called for the breaking of links with Poale Zion.  Corbyn may now prefer not to remember his previous role but it is our job to remind him.  The Israeli state should not have a presence within a socialist party.

What then of Free Speech on Israel and the new Jewish Voice for Labour?  All the indications are that with the formation of JVL, FSI has been cut adrift.  When Tom Watson attacked FSOI over the remarks that Miko Peled made when he said that everything should be discussed including the Holocaust, this was distorted as meaning he wanted a debate on whether the Holocaust occurred or not.  Elements in JVL, in particular David Rosenberg of the Jewish Socialists Group, refused to defend Peled or FSOI.

That leaves the newly formed Jewish Voice for Labour.  Its meeting at conference, over 300 people attended to listen to Avi Shlaim and Sir Stephen Sedley.  The meeting was a great success and it made a great impact.  But one meeting does not an organisation make.  The question is what it does with that impact.  As I’ve already said, JVL faces a choice – Jewish anti-Zionism or Jewish Identity Politics.  JVL can become an organisation that actively campaigns against Labour Zionism in the Labour Party or it can engage in Jewish identity politics.  What it can’t do is fudge the issue.
Rob Abrams is JVL's resident bigot but he is allowed to be by the Moderators

When I was first approached to sign their founding statement I said that their formation as a Jewish only group was a mistake.  Their role is a political not an ethnic one.  There is a role for Jewish only groups in e.g. BDS, but in the Labour Party there is no point.  Apart from anything else it restricts your membership.  There was the absurd position whereby the JVL was criticising the JLM for having non-Jewish members.  

JVL is in the worst possible world of having non-Jews as  associate members and Jewish members as full members with voting rights.  An apartheid model of organisation is not a healthy one.  Rather than face my criticism openly and honestly, the moderators of the Facebook group, led by the Jewish Socialist Group’s Ian Saville and Julia Bard chose to exclude me from the group.

The result was predictable.  A few weeks ago their Facebook group exploded.  What had once had over 200 members was purged.  People were forced to reapply with the result that current membership is around half the original number.  Because of their paranoia and despite me arguing to the contrary, they turned the FB group from a closed group into a secret group, meaning no one can find them anymore!  Hardly the way to build a mass organisation.

Below I have included some screenshots of the ‘debate’ that occurred between Jewish chauvinists, mainly soft Zionists like Rob Abrams, Miri Franklin, Joseph Finlay and others and non-Jewish members which led to the exit of most non-Jews and a few Jewish members too.  Some of the comments border on racism.  At one point some of the Zionist members decided to speak in Hebrew in order that non-Jews couldn't understand them.

The founders of the JVL excluded both the International Anti-Zionist Network and myself from their founding meeting because of these disagreements.  What they have to do if they want to retain democratic credibility is hold an open conference where these things can be discussed.  It is right that it shouldn’t be a hardline anti-Zionist group, however it is wrong that it should say absolutely nothing about for example the Palestinian Right of Return or the Apartheid nature of the Israeli state.  Given that Israel is a Jewish state, it is incumbent upon Jews to take a clear stance on Israel and Zionism.

Instead JVL chose, in its founding principles, to hide behind the anodyne phrase:
‘We stand for rights and justice for Jewish people everywhere and against wrongs and injustice to Palestinians and other oppressed people anywhere.’
Some of JVL's bigots just love the term 'goysplaining' (from 'Goy' or non-Jews) which basically translated means that Jews don't want to hear the opinion of non-Jews when it comes to being Jewish
Joe Grabiner is another Zionist bigot whose found a home in JVL
I suspect that the Jewish Labour Movement could also sign up to this statement.  It is meaningless.  Is it opposed to segregation in Israel?  Does it support the Jewish nature of the Israeli state, that is Jewish supremacy?  Does it support the Right of 'Return' of Jews?  Nothing is to be gained by appeasing its soft Zionist fringe. 

If it is seriously trying to supplant the JLM then it should be honest and open and say that it stands for their disaffiliation because the latter group represents only Zionist Jews (& their non-Jewish supporters).

The JVL has to decide what its role is.  Is it there to confront the Zionist presence in the Labour Party, which is involves opposition to the alliance with the United States or is it simply a place where liberal leftish Jews can get together to exchange their experiences in some kind of consciousness raising group, in the mistaken belief that Jews in Britain are oppressed as Jews?

Tony Greenstein
What is laughable is that Jewish chauvinist Rob Abrams sees himself as some kind of Bundist

MPs who support Labour Friends of Israel  & Labour Friends of Palestine  
1.       Sharon Hodgson MP, 
           Rt. Hon Liam Byrne MP
          Vernon Coaker MP
         Angela Eagle MP
          Jim Fitzpatrick MP
          Mike Gapes MP
         Mary Glindon MP
          Lilian Greenwood MP
           Nia Griffith MP
         Carolyn Harris MP
         Rt. Hon George Howarth MP
         Rupa Huq MP
         Diana Johnson MP
         Ian Lucas MP
         Chris Matheson MP
         Conor McGinn MP
         Melanie Onn MP
         Toby Perkins MP
         Jess Phillips MP
         Bridget Phillipson MP
         Tulip Siddiq MP
         Virendra Sharma MP
          Barry Sheerman MP
          Owen Smith MP
           Wes Streeting MP
          Graham Stringer MP
          Karl Turner MP
          Emily Thornberry MP
          Derek Twigg MP
          Stephen Twigg MP
          Chuka Umunna MP
          Rt. Hon Keith Vaz MP
          Tom Watson MP
          Catherine West MP
          Phil Wilson MP
          Rt. Hon Rosie Winterton MP
Rob Abrams and a few other Jewish chauvinists have come up with the derogatory term 'goysplaining'
One of the things that Jewish members of JVL don't understand is that Jews in Britain are White i.e. not oppressed therefore there is no comparison between their situation and that of Black or Muslim people

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