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At the heart of Labour’s antisemitism problem

The Weekly Worker has published a breakdown of an event held by the new campaigning group within the Labour Party called Labour Against the Witch hunt or LAW.

Jacquie “no definition of antisemitism I can work with” Walker is the chair of the group and Tony Greenstein is her deputy. This is a group composed of people who take for granted that the expulsions and suspensions of individuals from the Labour Party on the grounds of antisemitism are nothing more than a witch hunt and they’ve decided to organise in order to prevent Labour Party members from being suspended for something so petty as antisemitism.

According to the article the group has the following three demands;

  • End ‘auto-exclusion’ from Labour and reinstate all those thus excluded.
  • Abolish the compliance unit. Disciplinary action must be taken only by elected bodies.
  • Define ‘anti-Semitism’ – the pretext used for a good proportion of the exclusions and suspensions – straightforwardly and clearly (and certainly not in accordance with pro-Zionist definition put out by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance).

I know what you’re thinking and yes this is seriously happening.

There were 30 people in attendance representing at least three different groups. The meeting included a discussion on the participation within LAW of Socialist Fight (SF). The steering committee had taken the decision to exclude SF from the campaign because of the group’s position on Jews, which can only be described as anti-Semitic even by them. Their leader is an antisemite called Gerry Downing who can’t stop talking about the Jewish question which means he differs from other members of Socialist Fight in no way whatsoever;

SF declares that Jewish “overrepresentation” amongst the bourgeoisie is a major factor explaining imperialist backing for Israel. At the meeting itself SF’s Ian Donovan stated that, while this “overrepresentation” “doesn’t determine everything”, it “determines quite a lot”. He also talked about the undue influence of “Jewish communalist politics”, while the SF leaflet handed out at the meeting stated that “Jews” today have become “an oppressor people”. Please note the below, the emphasis on phrases is my own;

The SC [steering committee] sought approval from the meeting for its decision to exclude SF from LAW – on the basis that a campaign which places a large emphasis on its opposition to the disgraceful, knowingly false accusations of ‘anti-Semitism’ wielded by the right against principled anti-racists should not itself tolerate individuals whose public pronouncements are clearly anti-Semitic. To do otherwise opens us up to claims that we cannot be taken seriously when we say the right’s accusations are nothing but smears – after all, it would then appear that we ourselves cannot tell the difference between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism.

In short the only reason the steering committee wished to exclude Socialist Fight was for the sake of appearance. When the steering committee put the exclusion to a vote of the people in the room they lost;

One of the arguments that carried a good deal of weight amongst those who voted against was the claim that an organisation set up to oppose exclusions should not itself exclude people. SF’s own motion quoted the official (but largely ignored) Labour Party position that “the mere holding or expression of beliefs and opinions” should not be grounds for exclusion.

Walker and Greenstein are two people who have dedicated themselves to attacking that which they love the most.

Both are avowedly Labour and have devoted themselves to attacking the various structures of the party that they don’t like. One would think they’d be more content to help the party and campaign against the Tories but that’s not how they roll.

Walker is a former Vice Chair of Momentum, she now attacks it and founder Jon Lansman in her one woman show. Walker calls herself an anti racism campaigner yet devotes her time to attacking efforts the Labour Party makes to counter antisemitism.

Greenstein is even worse. The son of a rabbi he has dedicated himself to the Palestinian cause or rather to attacking Israel (anyone say Daddy issues?). He is so divisive he can’t even get himself readmitted to the Palestine Solidarity Campaign national executive. Year after year he stands for a position on their National Executive Council and fails. He proposes motions so extreme that even members of the NEC feel the need to speak against them. He is an ardent socialist yet, along with Walker, spends his time fighting against the hard left of the Labour Party that has now taken power.

Walker and Greenstein aren’t builders, they can’t put one brick on top of the other and end up with a house. They are dividers, they demolish. Ultimately the people who they hate the most are the ones with the most to gain from their continued involvement in the Labour Party.

LAW seem to be looking to hold a public launch at the end of January and of course Ken Loach is going to be attending, because how could he stay away from a meeting which might have antisemitism in it?

If anyone wants to go and email us a report of what happened let us know at [email protected]

In any case we shall be watching how this unfolds with a little interest.