FSOI Labour Conference meeting packed and enthusiastic

0001-2Free Speech on Israel’s Labour Conference fringe meeting on Sunday was packed to capacity and beyond. An audience of 300 heard the FSOI analysis of the fabricated antisemitism scare which has been rocking the Labour Party all summer in an attempt to undermine Corbyn’s position. The title of the meeting ‘Jewish Socialists against the Anti-Corbyn Witch-hunt: Anti-Zionism is not Antisemitism’ chimed with many hundreds of delegates.

Earlier in the evening, people wanting to hear the Free Speech on Israel message were turned away from a packed meeting at the Momentum hub  – the day after Jeremy Corbyn’s decisive re-election as party leader.

The meeting at the Momentum hub, chaired by Richard Kuper of Jews for Justice for Palestinians (JFJFP), heard a debate between the FSOI and Zionist positions. The latter was represented by Jeremy Newmark, national chair of the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM); also on the panel were Rhea Wolfson, newly elected to the Labour Party National Executive Committee; Jackie Walker, vice-chair of Momentum, only recently reinstated after suspension from the party; and Jonathan Rosenhead speaking for FSOI.

In the discussion Newmark revealed that the JLM had ended its long-standing affiliation to the World Zionist Organisation.  Clearly criticism of that link had hit home.

Update: Newmark has since said it has not ended its links with WZO: it has “never been affiliates,” but organises within it.

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From their membership page

Their home page states “we are members of the progressive coalition of Avodah/Meretz/Arzenu/Ameinu within the WZO”. If anyone can elucidate the relationship between Newmark’s latest statement and the entries on their website we would be pleased to hear

Jackie Walker spoke again at the FSOI meeting which focused explicitly on the witch hunt. She shared the platform with British Palestinian lawyer Salma Karmi-Ayyoub and Glyn Secker who captained the Jewish Boat to Gaza in 2010.

Salma Karmi-Ayyoub’s contribution in particular detailed the potential damaging affect of the attempt to silence the anti-Zionist critique on the Palestinian struggle against injustice. The audience response indicated an appetite for actively resisting the witch hunt.

A video of the meeting will appear on this site soon

Naomi Wimbourne-Idrissi

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3 thoughts on “FSOI Labour Conference meeting packed and enthusiastic”

    1. Thank you friends, I too am looking forward to seeing the video, especially in view of the totally decontextualised report on the meeting on the Today Programme this morning! Time for more letters of complaint.

  1. The question of the JLM’s affiliation or not to the WZO is extremely puzzling. In May, the JLM website said that “The Jewish Labour Movement (UK), founded in 2004, is the successor organisation to Poale Zion (founded in 1905). The Jewish Labour Movement affiliated with the Labour Party in the UK as a Socialist society in 1920. It is also affiliated with the World Labour Zionist Movement, a faction within the World Zionist Organization.” That description seems to have been taken down from the website recently. It would be interesting to know when and why. Was a decision taken to play down the WZO affiliation (or association) in order to gain more credibility within the Labour Party? As the screenshot at goo.gl/tmPplc shows, when I chatted with the JLM on their facebook page in April, they seemed to believe that they were affiliated to the WZO, and were against disaffiliating. They also told me that as a non-Zionist Jew I was not eligible to join. And the only way anyone joining could discover their current position on matters where they are in agreement or disagreement with the WZO would be to trawl through minutes and voting records of WZO congress and Va’ad Hapoel. This information is not available online, and I’m not sure if it available in English anywhere. I very much doubt whether the majority of members have undertaken such a search. Some more transparency from the JLM about their affiliations and policies would be useful. Perhaps they could begin by stating the exact nature of the relationship with other organisations outside the Labour Party, and publishing the motions and interventions which they have made in such organisations.

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