Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Why does Hope not Hate endorse a racist ex-Prime Minister whose slogan was the BNP’s ‘British Jobs for British Workers’?


No socialist should have anything to do with an ‘anti-fascist’ organisation which endorses Zionism, racism and Apartheid
30 years ago I wrote an article Undermining Anti-Fascists, Defending Zionism concerning the anti-fascist magazine Searchlight. Searchlight never hesitated to accuse the Palestinians of links with neo-Nazis whilst failing to mention the far-Right connections of the Israeli state and its support e.g. for the Lebanese Phalange.
Last year I wrote about how Hope not Hate had joined the supporters of the Labour’s fake Anti-Semitism Campaign. HnH came out of a split in September 2011 with Searchlight which was run by MI5 and Special Branch informant Gerry Gable.
Tom Watson, Israeli Labour Party leader Haim Herzog and Ruth Smeeth - not an Arab around
Initially Nick Lowles, HnH’s Director, declared that he took no position on Palestine but this did not last long.  In 2010 Ruth Smeeth, who is today the Parliamentary Chair of the Zionist Jewish Labour Movement [JLM] and who made false allegations of anti-Semitism against Marc Wadsworth, was appointed Director of HnH.
This confidential memo tells its readers to Protect its source, Ruth Smeeth
Smeeth was appointed Director of Public Affairs with Britain’s main pro-Israel group BICOM in November 2005 and she joined the Zionist Community Security Trust in 2010, which has close links  to Israel’s Mossad in 2010.  Not only was Smeeth connected to the Israeli state but Wikileaks released a US Government cable showing she was a ‘Protected’ asset. Yet despite her close links to Zionist groups and her involvement with the Jewish Labour Movement she declared to The Standard I don’t talk about Israel or Palestine. This [abuse] is not about anything I’ve said on Middle-East politics. I don’t participate.”   [See UK Labour MP Ruth Smeeth was funded by Israel Lobby, Asa Winstanley]
An asset the US requires protecting
It was therefore with some surprise that I came across a video that HnH was promoting featuring former Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown. It is a slick 3 minutes staged in Liverpool Street Station.
Sir Nicholas Winton
It is also a shameless exploitation of the late Sir Nicholas Winton, a British humanitarian who, in 1938 after the Kristallnacht pogrom in Germany helped save 669 Jewish children in Prague. To use Winton’s memory in order to whitewash the JLM, an openly racist Zionist organisation, is despicable.
Nick Lowles - the racist who heads an anti-fascist organisation - quite a remarkable feat - his main interest is in attracting government grants
Gordon Brown made no mention of how the children’s parents were unable to accompany their children and how they died at the hands of the Nazis because no one would admit them. Perhaps this was because Brown might have reflected on his and New Labour’s opposition to admitting asylum seekers to this country demonising them as ‘economic migrants’ and ‘bogus’. Former Social Services Specialist Advisor David Plank described how the video featured:
a solemn, hushed voiced Gordon Brown talking directly to the camera, walking through Liverpool Street Station on an ever ascending line, after a starting clip of Nicholas Winton and numbers of the 669 Jewish children saved from the Nazi Reich voiced over reverentially by Gordon Brown, to the strains of saccharine sacerdotal music.”
Shame on you G Brown, shame on Hope not Hate, for dishonouring the memory of what Nicholas Winton did to falsely accuse the Labour Party of antisemitism through “demonization of the entire Jewish people”. It is an act of outrageous Pecksniffery which does deep injustice not only to the Labour Party and all its members, including me and my wife, but also to the many Jewish communities (plural not singular) in the United Kingdom
Brown declared ‘Young lives [are] being saved from Nazi brutality’. This is the man who was part of New Labour Governments between 1997 and 2010 which locked up asylum seekers indefinitely, took away their legal aid and prided itself upon how many it had managed to deport back to death and torture.
At one point the Blair government considered an opt-out from the European Convention of Human Rights (the Tories would later take this up) until Lord Goldsmith, the Attorney General told them that this would be incompatible with membership of the European Union. Lord Irvine, the Lord Chancellor told Blair and Blunkett ‘I don’t know why you guys don’t just adopt the Zimbabwean constitution and have done with it,” The Independent wrote:
Gordon Brown has strongly criticised Robert Mugabe's regime in Zimbabwe, but now ministers are seeking to expel 1,000 desperate people back to Harare on the grounds that there is 'no general risk' to them.’
At no time and at no point did Gordon Brown challenge New Labour’s immigration policy. On the contrary it was Brown who repeated the BNP slogan ‘British Jobs for British Workers’ and as Labour MEP Claud Moraes said, Brown had enabled the BNP’s success in the 2009 European elections. Rachel Shabi noted:
Gordon Brown, appallingly, used the term while Labour prime minister in 2007 but he did not invent it such slogans could be found in leaflets from the National Front and the British National party.’
Gordon Brown made it clear that he had ‘no regrets over using the phrase "British jobs for British workers".
In the shameful video that HnH distributed there is a picture of Nelson Mandela of South Africa. This is the same South Africa whose best friend was the State of Israel under Israeli Labour governments. [Brothers in arms - Israel's secret pact with Pretoria]
This racist opportunist asserted that:
“in the last two years the Labour Party let the Jewish community and itself down. They should never have allowed legitimate criticism, which I share, of the Israeli government, to act as a cover for the demonization of the entire Jewish people.”  
His conclusion? To join and recommend that others join the JLM which calls itself the sister party’ of the Israeli Labour Party which calls for the separation and segregation of Israeli Jews and Arabs. It supported Netanyahu’s attempt to deport all Israel’s 40,000 Black African refugees because they were not Jewish. Brown continues:
‘Tackling anti-Semitism and racism is not a distraction from the purpose of our party, it is the purpose of our party.’
The hypocrisy is breathtaking coming from a man who was part of a government that was hostile to Muslims and asylum seekers. Brown went along with Blair’s war for oil which led to the rise of domestic terrorism and in consequence Islamaphobia.
The Israeli Labour Party formed the government of Israel for its first 30 years. It was the ILP which perpetrated the ethnic cleansing of ¾ million Palestinians and massacred thousands of Palestinians as it sought to engineer a Jewish majority in a country that had a Palestinian majority. Nor is this a matter of history.
The ILP’s current leader Avi Gabbay opposed any withdrawal from settlements in the West Bank. Former leader, Isaac Herzog spoke of his nightmare at the possibility of Israel having a Palestinian Prime Minister and 61 Palestinian Members of Israel’s Knesset (Parliament). Herzog declared that he wanted to dispel the false impression that the ILP were ‘Arab Lovers’  
This is the context to the allegations that anti-Semitism is institutional in the Labour Party. There have been repeated assertions that Luciana Berger MP was subject to anti-Semitic abuse and even death threats by Labour members.  Bob Pitt has examined these in depth in an article Has the Labour left subjected Luciana Berger to hatespeak and death threats? The allegation that Labour is institutionally anti-Semitic is a recent invention. Pitt writes:
‘Berger wasn’t alone in undergoing a dramatic conversion to the view that Labour is afflicted by a plague of antisemitism. Back in 2016 Berger’s fellow Independent Group founder Chuka Umunna similarly dismissed suggestions that party was institutionally antisemitic (“I have not seen one incident of antisemitism in almost 20 years of activism within my local Labour Party”), as did Jewish Labour Movement vice-chairs Sarah Sackman and Mike Katz (“neither of us has ever experienced any incidence of anti-Semitism from within the party”), only for all of them to discover just a couple of years later that the Labour Party was riddled with antisemitism from top to bottom.
Why the change? Because Corbyn’s near success in the 20017 General Election frightened them into upping the ante. There have always been false allegations of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party.  I was suspended in March 2016 as part of the anti-Semitism witch-hunt.  I was expelled in February 2018 but it wasn’t for anti-Semitism but ‘abusing’ people like Louise Ellman MP.
Nick Lowles demonstrates that Hope not Hate is a reactionary establishment organisation with no real interest in opposing racism
None of this has prevented HnH jumping in with both feet. It has openly backed up the racist campaign against Jackie Walker. A campaign based on the omission of one word in a private Facebook post and a distortion of what she said in a ‘training event’ on anti-Semitism, secretly recorded by Adam Langleben of the JLM.
In Jackie Walker, The Left and Antisemitism Joe Mulhall, a Senior Researcher at HnH repeats all these lies and half truths.
Nick Lowles makes it clear that he sides with the Right in the Labour Party endorsing Lansman's attempt to withdraw support from Pete Willsman
Chris Williamson MP has recently been suspended by the Labour Party after the intervention of Tom Watson MP. HnH immediately supported Watson. Huff Post reported that HnH urged that:
Jeremy Corbyn must kick Chris WIlliamson out of the Labour Party... Hope Not Hate called on the party leader to act after it emerged the Labour MP had booked a room in parliament on behalf of Jewish Voice For Labour for a screening of a new film about activist Jackie Walker.’

Exclusive: Anti-Racism Charity Urges Jeremy Corbyn To Kick Chris Williamson Out Of Labour Party

Jackie Walker’s film The Witchhunt is a description of the fake ‘anti-Semitism’ campaign which has been waged against people like Jackie Walker in the past 3 years. It features people like Mark Thomas and Alexei Sayle. It is about the racism that Jackie has experienced. It is shameful that HnH should call for the expulsion of a Labour MP for wanting to put on an anti-racist film in the House of Commons. Hope not Hate may call itself anti-fascist but it is, without doubt, a racist organisation led by racists.
There have been no expulsions or suspensions for LFI supporting the  murder of unarmed Palestinian demonstrators - if this were Jewish people killed there would have been uproar at their comments
If HnH was serious in opposing racism it is Tom Watson, not Chris Williamson, whose expulsion or suspension they would be calling for. Tom Watson makes a great play of opposing ‘anti-Semitism’.  What he means if anti-Zionism. Watson is a strong supporter of Labour Friends of Israel and was Vice President of Trade Union Friends of Israel. His office is heavily funded by rich Zionists like Sir Trevor Chinn and Sir David Garrard.
This is the Islamaphobic leaflet that 'poor old Phil' put out in 2010 - Tom Watson had also played the race card in by-elections but Hope not Hate work with Watson, who was Gordon Brown's political fixer
Tom Watson wasn’t always opposed to racism. 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, Watson 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].
Possibly the sickest and vilest part of the video that HnH and Nick Lowles distributed was Gordon Brown declaring that Labour
‘Should never have allowed legitimate criticism, which I share, of the Israeli government, to act as a cover for the demonization of the entire Jewish people.”
This is a lie twice over. Critics of Israel are very careful not to criticise Jewish people for the sins of Israel.  It is the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism, which Brown and HnH support which equates anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. It is Israel and its supporters who equate Jews and Israel.
Brown lies when he says he is critical of the Israeli government. When Israel attacked Gaza in 2008-9, in Operation Cast Lead, Gordon Brown was Prime Minister, 1,400 Palestinians died, 85% of them civilians and some 300 children.  Gordon Brown’s government issued not a word of criticism of Israel or the attack on civilians.
It isn’t anti-Semites who disguise their racism through criticism of Israel.  It is supporters of Zionism who disguise their anti-Semitism through support for Israel.  Whether it is Steve Bannon declaring that he is a Christian Zionist or Donald Trump telling American Jews that Netanyahu is their Prime Minister or the friendship between Netanyahu and anti-Semitic European leaders like Hungary’s Orban it is the anti-Semites who combine love of Israel and hatred of Jews.
When Robert Bowers murdered 11 Jews in Pittsburgh as a result of Trump’s anti-refugee campaign it was Naftali Bennett, Israel’s Education Minister who came to America to defend Trump in front of America’s Jews.  He was sent away with a flea in his ear by Pittsburgh Jews who in their hundreds demonstrated against Trump’s arrival in their city, accompanied by Israel’s Ambassador.
HnH believe that support for Zionism and Apartheid Israel is compatible with the fight against fascism. It is not. Fascism derives its support from racism and imperialism. That is why today’s fascists overwhelmingly support Israel. If Nick Lowles doesn’t get this maybe he should mug up on why Tommy Robinson is such a strong supporter of Israel. Even the strongly pro-Zionist Times of Israel cannot avoid asking Why are US ‘pro-Israel’ groups boosting a far-right, anti-Muslim UK extremist?.
HnH has rendered itself irrelevant in the fight against Tommy Robinson and British fascism. It may run a few moles in fringe fascist groups but in so far as it supports Israel it supports the Islamaphobia that is the basis for the growth in support for Robinson.
Below is correspondence between David Plank, who ended his support for Hope not Hate and one of their workers.
From: David Plank < >
Sent: 08 April 2019 11:25
To: signup
Subject: Re: Our mole inside a nazi gang

For the attention of Nick Lowles

Dear Nick

Thank you for sending me this. It arrived at the same time as an acquaintance told me of Hope not Hate's 1st April video featuring Gordon Brown, which has led me to cancel my monthly payment to Hope not Hate. This is to explain why.

The note I made having watched the video is attached for you. You will see that I object strongly to this passage in what Gordon Brown said and to Hope not Hate's endorsement of it:

“But in the last two years the Labour Party let the Jewish community and itself down. They should never have allowed legitimate criticism, which I share, of the Israeli government, to act as a cover for the demonization of the entire Jewish people.”
This statement is grossly inaccurate and a vile slur on more than 99 percent of Labour Party members. I do know what I am talking about, which you will see if you care to follow these links to the report and articles I have written:

A scathing critique written by a former specialist adviser to the House of Commons Social Services Committee, David Plank, has found that the HASC Report on antisemitism ‘is a partisan party political polemic which should not have been agreed and made public by a House of Commons select committee.’ He adds that the Report purporting to … Continue reading "HASC Report on antisemitism is a ‘partisan party political polemic’"


Most recently, I have had cause to challenge the outrageous treatment of Chris Williamson MP by my Party, and my own MP for his signing of the unjust Clive Efford MP joint letter and remarks he made at a local Party meeting. A copy of my evidenced letter to Daniel Zeichner concerning the last of these, is also attached for your information.

Like all racist acts, any incident of actual or potential antisemitic conduct by a member must be pursued with determination and fairness to all parties by my Party, with proportionate measures, including sanctions, where proved on the basis of tested evidence. Judged on this firm basis and our current General Secretary's work to put our system in order, Gordon Brown's sweeping statements are false. They and Hope not Hate's endorsement of them in a video you have sponsored, is fundamentally unacceptable to me as a lifelong anti-racist. Not only are they untrue but they also have the potential to stir up the very thing you exist to confront, and do so on many occasions - hate.

I urge you to withdraw Hope not Hate's endorsement of this video and of the remarks made by Gordon Brown within it.

In solidarity

David Plank

On 8 Apr 2019, at 15:42, David Plank  wrote:

Dear Mathew

Thank you very much.  

You misunderstand my point, which is about the incidence of antisemitism amongst Labour Party members, which is small in comparison with the grossly exaggerated claims of Gordon Brown, Ruth Smeeth, Luciana Berger and others. I do not minimize its importance, nor do I appreciate being told that is what I am saying in your reply. Straw men arguments abound in the PLP, the Jewish Labour Movement, Labour Friends of Israel, the media, the Board of Deputies, the Jewish Leadership Council and amongst right wingers more generally. I had hoped for more from Hope not Hate. Please engage with the real issue I have raised. What Gordon Brown said in your video is plain wrong in terms of fact, and profoundly divisive.

Not do I seek to diminish the great work that Hope not Hate does. That work, however, cannot be allowed to act as a cloak for the disinformation your video communicates.

Best wishes

David

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: Our mole inside a nazi gang
From: Matthew McGregor  
To:   

Hi David,

Thanks for your email, which was passed along to myself to Nick Lowles who will also read it.

I wanted to reply to thank you for taking the time to write, and for your past support for HOPE not hate. Your support, along with that from thousands of other people allowed us to do the work Nick’s email was about: stopping a nazi murder plot and smashing the National Action group.

I am sorry that we have to disagree about the problem at antisemitism amongst some members of the Labour Party. It’s been widely accepted that there is an issue. Jeremy Corbyn himself told the Evening Standard last year that it was clear to him that some “members and supporters hold antisemtic views and attitudes.” He added, “My party and I are sorry for the hurt and distress caused.” John McDonnell recently told a caller into LBC radio, “It isn’t a smear campaign, Oliver. It isn’t. I’ve seen the evidence. I’ve seen the threats that have been made against some of our Jewish members and MPs.” He added, "We’ve got to root it out.” These are the same sentiments expressed in Gordon Brown’s video.

Again, thank you for writing in, and thank you for your past support.

Best wishes,

—Matthew

On 8 Apr 2019, at 17:18, David Plank < > wrote:

Dear Matthew

Thank you. I appreciate your engagement with my views.

Please read Gordon Brown's remarks again.

"... the Labour Party (i.e. all of the Party) let the Jewish community (i.e. all British Jewish people) down. They (the Labour Party, all of it) should never have allowed legitimate criticism ... of the Israeli government, to act as a cover for the demonization of the entire (entire) Jewish people."

This is hyperbole of a destructive kind. What do Hope not Hate expect many parts of the British Jewish communities (plural not singular) such as the Orthodox community and Jewish Voice for Labour, to think of this?
Some, I know will be very hurt - others will see this stereotypical picture as - antisemitic - and certainly as harming the cause of combating antisemitism.  

What do Hope not Hate expect 99 per cent of Labour Party members to think of it? How dare you, will be the reaction of the many who do not subscribe to the grossly inacurate mythology promulgated by Gordon Brown, Joan Ryan, Luciana Berger, Ruth Smeeth, Margaret Hodge and others.

This is why I have cancelled my contribution.

The overly apologetic approach of the Party's leadership is rejected by most Party members who have studied the evidence, as I have. Hope not Hate, as an anti- racist organization, needs to face up to this, not slide past it.

I will be happy to continue this correspondence tomorrow after this evening's Chelsea game against West Ham, which I am on my way to now.

Best wishes

David

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: Our mole inside a nazi gang
From: Matthew McGregor  
To: David Plank  
CC:  

Hi David,

Thanks for this. I think I must have misunderstood what you were saying.

The line you quoted from the video says that "the Labour Party has let the Jewish community down.” I don’t think that says or implies every member of the party (of which I am one) has been antisemitic, I think it says that the party has not done enough to act against those members who have been. That’s also what Jeremy and John McDonnell have said.

I am not sure what I have missed but am of course very happy to engage if you think I have.

Matthew

From: Matthew McGregor <McGregor@hopenothate.org.uk>
Sent: 09 April 2019 18:46
To: David Plank
Subject: Re: Our mole inside a nazi gang

Hi David,

Sorry for the slow reply, I hope you enjoyed the football.

We have a different interpretation of Gordon’s words. When he says “The Labour Party let the Jewish community down” I very much took him to mean the institution, the leadership, not every single member. This is a sentiment that Jeremy, John McDonnell and others in the leadership have also expressed.

I note your point that you feel the leadership have been too apologetic about the situation. I don’t agree - HOPE not hate doesn’t agree -  with that, so while I understand the point you are making I think we will have to agree to disagree. I regret that you have decided to cancel your donation but it does sound like, given our clear disagreement, that you were right to do so.

With best wishes

Matthew

From: David Plank < >
Sent: 09 April 2019 20:36
To: Matthew McGregor
Subject: Re: Our mole inside a nazi gang

Dear Matthew

Thank you, again. We did indeed enjoy the football.

A key message of Hope not Hate is to take care with the words we use - to think about them from the point of view of those to whom they are addressed - including those who see themselves as being addressed. In my experience few Party members make the distinction you make, not least because it is the members who stand accused of antisemitic conduct - and in this instance of "... letting the Jewish community down ... (and of) ... demonization of the entire Jewish people." Much greater care needs to be taken with such hurtful and unjustified words - words which in this instance should never have been communicated in a Hope not Hate video.

Hope not hate also needs to be more open to the very different view of this vexing matter that hundreds of thousands of labour members like me have. It is no accident that the grossly exaggerated, mostly unevidenced claims of antisemitism arose when there was a real prospect of a Labour Party with a truly radical programme replacing the right wing version embodied in, for example, Gordon Brown, with his government's development of hostile environment migration type policies. And were focused by the "dispossessed" in the Party and right wing interests outside the Party on a lifelong, outstanding anti-racist, Jeremy Corbyn. Many Party members, including me, were deeply frustrated not only by the attempted coup, but also by the unscrupulously unjust use made by the hard right Party apparatus, led by the previous General Secretary, to get rid of left wing members on various grounds including antisemitism. At the very time when we see this being put right through the, regrettably, incomplete as yet implementation of the Chakrabarti reforms, we also see the Party being accused of being institutionally antisemitic - on unevidenced grounds. No wonder thousands upon thousands of members deeply resent this and take great exception to careless and ill-considered words being promulgated by Hope not Hate and some in the PLP.

At the very same time there has been and is ongoing a concerted attempt to muddy the essential distinction between antisemitism and criticism of Israel's creation of an apartheid state (I quote the United Nations Human Rights Special Rapporteur), which daily punishes the Palestinian people. This is very well evidenced, yet receives little credence. Whereas the unevidenced sweeping claims against the Labour Party do. Hope not Hate should be active in helping to put right this grievous wrong, in a way which I do not see it as doing.

By the way, you may wish to note the distinction I make between the "apparatus" of the Party, or the "institution" of the Party in your words, and the Party itself. In my experience, members tend now to see the Party as all the members, including affiliated members, and not in the old way as the "top" of the Party in the PLP, NEC, union bosses and the "apparatus". This is a key reason why I and many other members do not see Gordon Brown's words in the way Hope not Hate does.

It is in this context that Hope not Hate acts - and acts without due care in this instance. As a Labour Party member yourself, you will know that one of the greatest allies in the struggle against antisemitism here, in the USA and elsewhere, comes from the left, from people like me. Yet these allies are cast as the villains in this video. Hope not Hate may not have meant it, but absence of intention does not equal lack of effect. This is why I am banging on about this - because Hope not Hate will lose a deal of its natural support for the strong anti-racism contribution it makes, if you do not seriously consider what is being said to you. As a lifelong ant-racist myself, I do not wish to see this happen, as division between anti-racist allies serves the interests of the Stephen Yaxley-Lennon's, Donald Trump's and Benjamin Netanyahu's of this world. Hope not Hate needs to stand outside the stereotyped terms of the current debate and face up to what is actually going on with regard to antisemitism - to better know who its allies and enemies are.  And not to cast aside, the strongly held views of hundreds of thousands of Party members, including old fossils like me. Which is how I see your conclusion to date.

I agree with you that my decision to cancel my subscription was right. Nevertheless, I do it with deep regret at seeing division between natural allies - and the apparent willingness on Hope not Hate's part to draw the line under this debate with me, with the cliche of let's agree to disagree.

Best wishes for the future

David

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