Thursday, 3 January 2019

Shop Steward Expelled for ‘anti-Semitism’ by a Racist and Corrupt Trade Union

The GMB Expels Pete Gregson using the IHRA Definition of ‘Anti-Semitism’ which even its author, Kenneth Stern, has Disavowed

When Labour’s National Executive decided on September 4th 2018, to adopt the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism, which conflates anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism, Peter Gregson launched his own petition:
The IHRA has been savaged by a host of academic and legal scholars. It is incoherent, open ended, uncertain, illogical and barely literate.
The petition which attracted the ire of the GMB and Rhea Wolfson
According to Geoffrey Robertson QC, the renowned human rights barrister, the IHRA definition is, ‘not fit for purpose’.  Sir Stephen Sedley, the Jewish former Court of Appeal Judge wrote that the IHRA ‘fails the first test of any definition: it is indefinite.’ Hugh Tomlinson QC declared that the IHRA had
a potential chilling effect on public bodies which, in the absence of definitional clarity, may seek to sanction or prohibit any conduct which has been labelled by third parties as antisemitic without applying any clear criterion of assessment
The GMB under Gary Smith has acted as a scab union effectively inviting Peter's employer to dismiss him
The actual IHRA definition itself is 38 words, the salient part of which states that ‘Anti-Semitism is a certain perception of Jews which may be defined as hatred of Jews.’ What is a ‘certain perception’? Who knows. If anti-Semitism may be defined as hatred of Jews what else might it be defined as? And if anti-Semitism is to be defined in terms of hatred what about someone who simply dislikes Jews but doesn’t hate them. In short the definition is useless as an analytical tool. It is no wonder that David Feldman, who was Vice-Chair of the Chakrabarti Inquiry and Director of the Pears Institute for the Study of Anti-Semitism described the IHRA as ‘bewilderingly imprecise.’
The IHRA definition provides 11 illustrations of ‘anti-Semitism’ such as ‘Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.’
In order to make their case stick, the GMB has to lie about Peter's beliefs accusing him of being  a holocaust denier - this accords with Zionist attempts to invent holocaust denial where it doesn't exist
This is the section that Peter Gregson defied with his petition. This illustration is a good example of the incoherence of the definition. There is no connection between the first and second halves of the example. It is a non-sequitur. It is quite possible to support a Jewish right to self-determination and still believe that Israel is a racist state. The language is a good example of bad fourth form English. How can the existence of anything be an endeavour?
Criticism of a union official is impermissible for a cossetted bureaucracy
There is a simple definition of anti-Semitism in the Oxford English Dictionary which, unlike the 500+ words of the IHRA is only 6 words long: ‘Hostility to or prejudice against Jews’ which also catches attitudes that fall short of hatred. As Tony Lerman, a distinguished expert on anti-Semitism and former Director of the Institute of Jewish Policy Research wrote:
The more the definition is held up to the light and subject to public scrutiny, the more we see holes and cracks in its flimsy fabric. Not only is there now overwhelming evidence that it’s not fit for purpose, but it also has the effect of making Jews more vulnerable to antisemitism, not less...’

The drawback of the OED definition for the Zionists is that it doesn’t mention Israel. As the inauguration today of Yair Bolsonaro, Brazil’s new President shows, most fascists, racists and bigots are also ardent supporters of the Israeli state.
Even the person who drew up the IHRA, Kenneth Stern, has become disillusioned at the misuse of his definition, which was never intended to brand people as anti-Semites. In written testimony to the US House of Representatives Judiciary Committee he wrote that:
The definition was not drafted, and was never intended, as a tool to target or chill speech on a college campus. In fact, at a conference in 2010 about the impact of the definition, I highlighted this misuse, and the damage it could do.

Labour’s NEC adopted the IHRA as a way of buying off its Zionist critics. What it has done is to create a whole new set of problems around the rights of free speech. It is no accident that the GMB, which has traditionally been pro-Zionist has been the first to try and implement the IHRA. Traditionally the GMB has been corrupt, racist and politically backward.
Rhea Wolfson

Peter Gregson was suspended because of his petition when former Labour NEC member and the Glasgow GMB Organiser, Rhea Wolfson put in a complaint about ‘anti-Semitism’. He was accused of ‘anti-Semitic’ harassment of Ms Wolfson.  It is very clear from his statement that all he ever did was engage in political polemic. Nothing that he said was remotely anti-Semitic or indeed abusive.
Gary Smith - represents all that is wrong in  British Trade Unionism - the idea of a fair hearing is alien to someone who acted as judge and jury in his own cause, having organised the kangaroo court too
I wrote on the 28th November to the GMB’s Scottish Regional Secretary, Gary Smith, who was handling the case offering to be a witness in the case.  I happened to know Gary some years ago in Brighton when, as Secretary of the Unemployed Centre, we had organised support for the workers at the Hollingdean Refuse Depot who had occupied the site as part of the campaign to get rid of SITA, a French company which the Labour council had brought in to run the refuse collection. The dispute was successful. At that time Gary was a radical young organiser.  Clearly as he has climbed the GMB’s greasy ladder he has abandoned his radicalism which included support for breaking the law.  Now he is just another apparatchik.
I pointed out to Smith that he could not be both the Prosecutor, the person organising the hearing and deciding who could be called and what would be allowed by way of a defence. I received no reply to this or another email.  Smith had clearly decided that Peter was guilty and he was not going to allow ‘grandstanding’ i.e. any attempt to mount a defence. On the day of the hearing a Rabbi who had travelled up from Manchester at his own expense was barred from the hearing.
The whole procedure that Peter faced has been wholly unfair as the letter from his solicitor Daniel Donaldson explains. Donaldson explicitly calls the GMB disciplinary  tribunal a ‘kangaroo court.’ In his letter of 17th December to Smith he states, reiterating my own correspondence that:
You are a member of the GMB regional committee, you have conducted the investigation, you have determined the procedure and you are also prosecuting my client before the same committee. This approach to a disciplinary is inherently unfair and therefore unlawful.
This is the kind of justice that they are used to in Rhea Wolfson’s racial paradise in Israel , but it is contrary to British notions of natural justice and due process.
As I said to Smith, this hearing would make a kangaroo hang its head in shame. Gary Smith has become just another right-wing official in the GMB, a union which is a byword for corruption. Peter Gregson is the only shop steward for 24,000 members in the whole of the Lothian NHS. If Gary Smith was actually doing his job instead of harassing the only shop steward that does exist he would ensure that the GMB had some measure of shop floor organisation in peoples’ workplaces. Smith seems completely unconcerned about the effect of expelling Peter on the GMB’s own (lack of) organisation.
In reality GMB officials have never been particularly concerned about the effectiveness of representation for their members. Their main concern has been such mundane matters as how best to claim and inflate their expenses. Living on a far higher salary than their members they are cut off from life on the shop floor.
What is particularly reprehensible is that a member of the union has been expelled for calling out a state which is clearly racist.  I gave as examples to Smith the fact that in Israel Palestinian (but not Jewish) children as young as 12 are routinely detained, usually in night time raids on their homes.
We have recently had the obscene case of the lynch-mob murderer of an asylum seeker sentenced to 4 months imprisonment whereas a 16 year old girl, Ahed Tamimi, was sentenced to 8 months for daring to slap a heavily armed soldier.
As the National’s Martin Hannan reported Pete Gregson was suspended for describing Israel’s actions in ethnically cleansing Palestine of some 700,000 refugees as racist. To the corrupt and racist barons of the GMB ethnic cleansing by a settler colonial state is perfectly acceptable whereas criticism of it is racist. 
This is the upside down world of Gary Smith and the GMB’s General Secretary Tim Roache who on the basis of a fraudulent ‘election’ in 2016 backed Owen Smith in his challenge to Jeremy Corbyn.
Peter Gregson’s petition has now secured over 1,200 signatures from members of the Labour Party. Given that Israel’s Knesset earlier in the year passed the Jewish Nation State Law which explicitly grants national rights to one section of the population, Jews and denies them to non-Jews, it is difficult to know how else to describe the GMB’s decision to expel Peter Gregson other than racist. In the words of Ha’aretz’s Mordechai Kremnitzer, the ‘Jewish Nation-state Law Makes Discrimination in Israel Constitutional’.  What is it that Gary Smith or Tim Roache don’t understand about that? How else do you describe opening fire on unarmed demonstrators in Gaza, killing over 200 and wounding 20,000 with the use of high velocity ammunition?
Although Labour Against the Witchhunt didn’t support Peter’s petition because of problems with its wording we recognise that it represents a significant opposition in the Labour Party to the attempt to curtail if not abolish freedom of speech.
Of course the corrupt and racist GMB has never had freedom of speech. The regional barons ruled without opposition. The union exists primarily for the benefit of its highly paid officials not its membership. However even Roache and co. will have difficulty defending this particularly iniquitous decision. If Peter’s expulsion is not revoked then GMB members should join another, genuine trade union.
To see Pete’s website and his page on the IHRA and his Petition please click here
The letter of expulsion is here.  It is fundamentally dishonest. It alleges that Peter is guilty of ‘accusing Israel of inventing or exaggerating the holocaust’ and goes on to say that ‘For our Union holocaust denial or claiming the holocaust was exaggerated is simply unacceptable.’ The only problem is that this is a lie. Nowhere has Pete denied that the Holocaust occurred or that it was exaggerated. Peter specifically refers to the 6 million who died (though the actual figure will never be known). What he has said, which is true, is that Israel uses the Holocaust for political purposes and that it is used to counter Palestinian claims to justice. Which is what Jewish academic Norman Finkelstein, amongst others, wrote in The Holocaust Industry.
Tony Greenstein
Peter's press release on his expulsion
My third email to Gary Smith

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