Why are Labour members expressing ‘solidarity’ with an anti-human rights organisation?

Writing of the antisemitism controversy in the Jewish Chronicle on 5 May, Tony Klug warned that,

this whole saga might generate a resentment against Jews…. It is time to calm down, end the hysteria and restore a sense of proportion…. While antisemitism is monstrous – and, like all forms of racism, should be vigorously dealt with – false accusations of antisemitism are monstrous too.

The groups orchestrating the controversy, in our universities and the Labour Party, including the Union of Jewish Students and the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM), are unaffected by this reasoning. Indeed, in the case of JLM, the controversy has become an effective recruiting tool.

The saga – and accompanying hysteria – has seen people committed to universal human rights being charged with being antisemites, and suspended from the Labour party. It has also seen Labour members who consider themselves anti-racists joining the Jewish Labour Movement out of a mistaken wish to show ‘solidarity with Jewish people.’ A move that centre-left think tank, Progress has encouraged. JLM considers itself to represent the interests of ‘Jewish people,’ and has characterised non-Zionist Jews as imposters and ‘contrary’ for perversely disagreeing with what is expected or desired of them: loyalty to Israel.

JLM derives its legitimacy from being a formal affiliate of the Labour Party. But it also organises within the pro-settlement World Zionist Organisation, and alongside its sister party in Israel, Havodah – the pro-apartheid and anti-Arab Israeli Labor Party.

JLM is committed to undermining the Palestinian civil society, human rights movement that seeks an end to Israel’s serial violations of international laws, through the non-violent tactic of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS). Continue reading “Why are Labour members expressing ‘solidarity’ with an anti-human rights organisation?”

Walthamstow Labour Party fundraiser suspended – who had it in for David Watson?

EXCLUSIVE:

David Watson, Labour Party fundraising coordinator for the Walthamstow constituency in northeast London, was suspended last week for unspecified “breaches of party rules.” The Jewish Chronicle – a Zionist weekly newspaper which has been a main cheerleader for the campaign branding Labour a hotbed of Jew-hatred – gave an “Exclusive” tag to its May 6 report alleging that Watson had been suspended because of antisemitic Facebook posts.

Both the JC and the local Waltham Forest Guardian newspaper quoted Labour MP Stella Creasy saying that “bigotry” is inconsistent with membership of “a party campaigning for social justice,” implying that this was relevant to Watson’s case.

Word in local Labour circles says it was the MP’s father Philip Creasy, Constituency Party secretary, who notified Watson of his suspension on May 9, three days after he was asked about it by a journalist from the Jewish Chronicle. How did they know?

Who has an interest in pillorying a secondary school teacher of modern languages with a long history of working with Greenpeace and the Campaign Against Arms Trade? David Watson is a man who prides himself on combating antisemitism among kids he teaches, getting them involved in projects run by organisations such as the Anne Frank Trust and Amnesty International. Might his friendship with Jewish anti-Zionists have played a role? Or his past visits to Israel and Palestine and association with Israeli and Palestinian anti-Occupation activists? Or was it merely the fact that when he was elected Walthamstow party fundraiser, he replaced Stella Creasy’s mother in the role? Witnesses present at the relevant Annual General Meeting say that the honourable member made no attempt to hide her displeasure at Watson’s election. Continue reading “Walthamstow Labour Party fundraiser suspended – who had it in for David Watson?”

Press Release: Reaction of Jewish led group to Baroness Royall Report recommendations

ROYALL REPORT REACTION:  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jewish-led group asks – Where are the safe spaces for supporters of Palestine?

  • Royall condones thought crime as a Labour Party disciplinary offence
  • Report recommends partisan Zionist group should re-educate student Labour Clubs
  • “Safe spaces” will exclude supporters of Palestine.

May 18 – Baroness Royall’s inquiry into allegations of antisemitism against Oxford University Labour Club (OULC) has found no institutional antisemitism and “at least one case of serious false allegations of antisemitism which was reported to the police”.

And yet it prescribes training for officers of all Labour Clubs by one of the Zionist organisations responsible for the false allegations – the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) – which has been orchestrating a campaign to brand Labour Party members and institutions as antisemitic. The JLM are campaigning to introduce thought crime into the Labour Party rules by explicitly making unexpressed opinions a disciplinary offence. The OULC has announced that it will affiliate to the JLM in the mistaken belief that it represents “the Jewish people.”

“Her reports recommend that Labour Clubs provide ‘a safe space in order to discuss and debate without discrimination,’ but this will only apply to supporters of Israel,” said Richard Kuper, a founder member of Jews for Justice for Palestinians. “Supporters of campaigns for justice for Palestine will be open to constant challenge and effectively, censorship.”

Baroness Royall does not pretend to be impartial in this matter. Immediately after release of her executive summary she wrote a fulsome defence of the JLM’s partisan position on its own website.

Her report summary – which holds back the factual information behind its main conclusions – recommends that the Labour Party should consider adopting a distorted version of a principle set out in the Macpherson Report so that, in line with JLM thinking that any “incident perceived as antisemitic by the victim or any other person” could lead to the suspension of the alleged perpetrator.

Since the JLM insists that antisemitic behaviour includes expressing hostility to Zionism, which they define controversially as the “basic expression of the national identity of the Jewish people”, no one criticising the ideological basis of the Israeli state will be safe from disciplinary action.

“The Royall report compounds a disturbing pattern that places antisemitism in the context of attitudes to Israel – not where it belongs in the context of racism and in particular fails to see antisemitism as linked to the far greater current danger of Islamophobia,” said Free Speech on Israel spokesman Mike Cushman. “It is shameful that the Oxford University Labour Club has been bullied into an alliance with the JLM, a highly partisan organisation, which is working to undermine freedom of political thought in the Labour Party.” Continue reading “Press Release: Reaction of Jewish led group to Baroness Royall Report recommendations”

Israel action against Breaking the Silence will have chilling effect on free speech

Breaking the Silence is an Israeli human rights organisation for combatants who have served in the Israeli military since the start of the Second Intifada. It publishes the anonymous testimonies of soldiers in the occupied Palestinian territories. On Sunday, a court case against it will be heard. Breaking the Silence staff and its legal team say the legal moves not only pose a threat to the group but also threaten to ‘chill’ both free speech and human rights activism in Israel.

Magistrate’s Court Judge Eliana Danieli is to hear a petition by the state attorney that will use testimony or raw materials as evidence. The Guardian reports that it is ‘demanding that Breaking the Silence identify anonymous serving military personnel who have given it testimony relating to alleged crimes in the 2014 Gaza war.’ Writing in Haaretz, Amos Harel and Gili Cohen conclude that ‘such revelation will severely deter other soldiers from providing anonymous testimony. It is hard to escape the impression that this is precisely the state prosecutor’s long-term goal.’

The human right organisation has long been subject to attempts to silence them, including by the fascist movement Im Tirtzu and Israeli right-wing Ad Kan group. The latter is partially funded by the Samaria Settlers’ Committee, an extremist group that released a video portraying Breaking the Silence funders, NIF and other progressive organizations as a ‘hook-nosed Jew betraying Israel in exchange for European money.’ It also armed its members with hidden cameras in order to smear high-profile leftists, producing a report that was aired on Israeli Channel 2 in March, that Ad Kan said ‘revealed how Breaking the Silence, which claims to be a “human rights organization,” tried to gather classified intelligence about sensitive IDF operations along the Gaza border with Hamas.’

Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan of Jewish Home called the organization ‘a fifth column.’ While Israeli Knesset Speaker MK Yuli Edelstein of right-wing Likud warned in March that:

It’s time to say ‘enough’ to Breaking the Silence. As Speaker of the Knesset, I believe that the law enforcement authorities must investigate the matter and determine what sensitive information is in their hands and if, God forbid, they are making inappropriate use of it.

Not to be outdone, Israeli MK Eitan Cabel of the centre-left Zionist Union – which includes the Israeli Labour Party – said that:

the activities of Breaking the Silence, as revealed tonight, crossed a red line that should not be crossed. These are very serious findings which point to the systematic gathering of evidence against the army, against the state, against us. There is no choice but a police investigation.

Continue reading “Israel action against Breaking the Silence will have chilling effect on free speech”

Why is vice-chair of Chakrabarti inquiry blogging on pro-Israel JLM’s website?

JLMblog2Baroness Royall, who this week joined the Chakrabarti Inquiry as co-vice chair with Professor Feldman, and today released an executive summary and recommendations of her report into antisemitism at OULC, has taken the extraordinary step of writing a lengthy and exclusive post on the Jewish Labour Movement’s website. JLM is affiliated to the World Zionist Organization, and has proposed a rule change to the Labour Party Membership rules that could see anti-Zionists suspended for using ‘Zionist’ as a pejorative.

Chair of Jewish Labour Movement, Jeremy Newmark – whose evidence of ‘institutional antisemitism’ at UCU was found in 2013 by an employment tribunal judge to be “false, preposterous, disturbing and arrogant” – has proudly announced on Twitter this potentially partisan move on behalf of Royall.

JLMblog

Read Baroness Royall’s blog post here

OULC says it will affiliate to Jewish Labour Movement as gesture of solidarity ‘with Jewish people’

Our response to OULC’s statement: The Jewish Labour Movement is a highly partisan, avidly pro-Zionist organisation and not representative of all Jews in the Labour Party.

Oxford University Labour Club Statement Regarding Baroness Royall Anti-Semitism Report
17 May, 2016, OULC

We welcome the Baroness Royall report into the Oxford University Labour Club that has found that the Club is not institutionally anti-semitic. As the new Co-Chairs of the Oxford University Labour Club we have been committed to tackling the allegations recently put before OULC. The Oxford University Labour Club condemns any prejudice, intolerance and discrimination of any form and we take these allegations with the utmost seriousness. Anti-Semitism is abhorrent, repugnant and contrary to the values we as a Club hold dear. We fully accept all the recommendations from Baroness Royall’s report and look forward to collaborating with her and the national Labour Party in moving forward from these events.

Since taking office, we have already welcomed John Mann MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Anti-Semitism, to offer us recommendations and a fuller understanding of anti-Semitism. We hope to continue working with John and his team, and they have informed us that they intend to do so.

Furthermore we have taken additional steps this term to prevent any possible form of discrimination in OULC arising. These have both been supported by the University of Oxford administrators and Baroness Royall. These measures include: Continue reading “OULC says it will affiliate to Jewish Labour Movement as gesture of solidarity ‘with Jewish people’”

Baroness Royall: Jewish Labour Movement should train Labour students

Baroness Royall Inquiry (executive summary and recommendations)

Quick summary:
Baroness Royall found there was no ‘institutional antisemitism’ in the Oxford University Labour Club (OULC), but that it must ensure a ‘safe space’ for all students. She has not recommended that where a person is excluded for antisemitism it should automatically be a life time ban. Royall recommends that the Labour Party ‘should consider whether adopting the MacPherson Principle that an antisemitic incident that may require investigation is any incident that is perceived to be antisemitic by the victim or any other person is appropriate.’ She was also ‘made aware there was at least one case of serious false allegations of antisemitism which was reported to the police.’

Baroness Royall recommends the Labour party demonstrate ‘in a practical and sustained way’ that it

promotes a just society, which judges its strength by the condition of the weak as much as the strong, provides security against fear, and justice at work; which nurtures families, promotes equality of opportunity, and delivers people from the tyranny of poverty, prejudice and the abuse of power.

Yet, she goes on to recommend that ‘training should be organised by Labour Students together with the Jewish Labour Movement for officers of all Labour Clubs in dealing with antisemitism’

As we have clearly set out, the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) officially supports the pro-apartheid, openly racist Israel Labour Party (‘Havoda’), which is trying to negotiate a unity deal with the Netanyahu government. JLM is affiliated to the World Zionist Organization – according to the UN, WZO pumps millions into building in the occupied West Bank through its settlement division: a violation of international humanitarian law. Herzog, leader of the Israeli Labour Party, said that his party shouldn’t give off the constant impression that they are ‘Arab lovers.’

Neve Gordon wrote in February of a plan newly adopted by the Israeli Labour Party:

The Labor Party, which is the only viable alternative to the current Likud government, and which is considered by many both in Israel and among international leaders to be a progressive substitute, has…unanimously supported a plan that would have  been applauded by Apartheid South Africa.

Continue reading “Baroness Royall: Jewish Labour Movement should train Labour students”

Electronic Intifada: Israel lobby fails to block screening of Palestinian film at Cannes

Ali Abunimah, 17 May 2016
Read article in full here

A Palestinian work was screened at the Cannes Film Festival’s Marché du Film as planned on Monday, despite an intense campaign by Israel lobby groups to have it canceled. Nasri Hajjaj’s Munich: A Palestinian Story was one of four films excerpts of which were screened to industry professionals in collaboration with the Dubai International Film Festival.

Hajjaj told The Electronic Intifada from Cannes that the screening of a 14-minute segment passed without incident and he received a positive response from those present. As The Electronic Intifada reported last week, France’s main pro-Israel lobby group CRIF had been exerting intense pressure on authorities to ban the film, even enlisting the support of the mayor of Cannes. Continue reading “Electronic Intifada: Israel lobby fails to block screening of Palestinian film at Cannes”

Chakrabarti inquiry: Labour Friends of Israel intend to force the Party to adhere to their red line

Yesterday, Joan Ryan MP, chair of Labour Friends of Israel, said in a statement that:

It is now obvious that the virulently anti-Israel discourse which exists among a minority within the Labour party cannot be separated from the issue of anti-semitism. I have made this clear in my discussions thus far with Shami Chakrabarti and LFI will be working to ensure this is at the top of her agenda. We will judge the success of this inquiry on its willingness to make the case that while there is nothing illegitimate about criticising the actions of the Israeli government, this must not be allowed to cross the red line into denying the Jewish people’s right to self-determination and thus the existence of the state of Israel.

Since her appointment to lead LFI in Parliament, in August 2015, Ryan has issued clear statements of intent with little attempt at obfuscation. The new LFI chair urged supporters not to vote for Corbyn, and said Labour must be “steadfast” in its support for Israel. She warned that LFI would,

remain adamantly opposed to boycotts and sanctions, which delegitimise Israel…and have no place in the Labour party.

Continue reading “Chakrabarti inquiry: Labour Friends of Israel intend to force the Party to adhere to their red line”

Palestinian ambassador says leaders won’t stand up to Israel for fear of being labelled anti-semitic

Via Morning Star
17 May, posted by Lamiat Sabin

Labour ‘Too Scared To Speak Out Over Attacks On Palestine’

PALESTINE’S ambassador to Britain tore into politicians yesterday for failing to stand up to Israel for fear of being branded anti-semitic. Manuel Hassassian said that London Mayor Sadiq Khan and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn were being “very careful” over what they say amid a row over alleged anti-semitism within the party. Human rights campaigner Shami Chakrabarti opened an investigation into the alleged problem yesterday.

“Israeli and zionist lobbyists are monitoring people in public office” and anything they do not like about the way issues concerning Israel are addressed are “immediately labelled as anti-semitism,” he told Russia Today’s Going Underground.

Mr Hassassian rubbished claims that criticising Israel — which a United Nations panel last year accused of war crimes during its 2014 invasion of the Gaza Strip — equates to being “anti-semitic.” He said: “Politicians should make a distinction between Israel, the settler power, and the Abrahamic religion of Judaism, which is respected by Muslims and Christians.

We do not have a problem with Judaism. We have to deal with political zionism, an ideology based on racism and colonialism.

Continue reading “Palestinian ambassador says leaders won’t stand up to Israel for fear of being labelled anti-semitic”