Jewish Labour activists in defence of Jackie Walker

jackie-walker-28sept

In Defence of Jackie Walker

We are Jewish Labour activists who were with Jackie Walker at the training session on antisemitism led by Mike Katz, vice chair of the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) during the Labour Party conference in Liverpool on Monday September 26. Like her, some of us were heckled when we raised questions unpalatable to others in the audience who share the JLM’s bias towards Israel, its coupling of Jewish identity with Zionism and its insistence on the uniqueness of Jewish suffering.

Jackie had every right to question the JLM’s definition of antisemitism and the tendency of mainstream Jewish organisations to focus entirely on the slaughter of Jews when they commemorate the Nazi Holocaust. We share her determination to build greater awareness of other genocides, which are too often forgotten or minimised. Jackie responded appreciatively when one audience member described Holocaust memorial events involving Armenians and others.  She has since issued a statement on this issue, reproduced below.

We were shocked at the way the level of barracking rose as soon as Jackie began to speak. JLM supporters demonstrated contempt for her as a Jewish woman of African heritage who is a lifelong anti-racist advocate for the rights of minorities and a leading Labour Party activist in her Thanet constituency.

We unreservedly condemn allegations of antisemitism made against Jackie Walker. Calls for her to be disowned by the Momentum movement of which she is vice-chair, and for her to be suspended for a second time from the Labour Party, are reprehensible instances of the witch hunt to which she and other Corbyn supporters have been subjected over recent months.

The way Jackie has been treated demonstrates the unfitness of the JLM to deliver training on antisemitism. It is an organisation committed to one, contested strand of Jewish labour tradition to the exclusion of any other; it relies on a definition of antisemitism that conflates Jewish identity with Zionism; and it exploits its interactions with party members to set the limits of political discourse about the Middle East in accordance with its own partisan ideology.

By promoting the witch hunt, the JLM has helped to relegate the vile prejudice of antisemitism to a tool in the armoury of pro-Israel advocates, backed by Corbyn’s enemies in the political and media establishment.

Signed:

Graham Bash, Hackney North CLP
Rica Bird, Wirral South CLP
Leah Levane, Hastings and Rye CLP
Jonathan Rosenhead, Hackney South and Shoreditch CLP
Glyn Secker, Dulwich and West Norwood CLP
Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, Chingford and Woodford Green CLP


A statement from Jackie Walker

“A number of people made comments in a private training session run by the Jewish Labour Movement. As we all know, training sessions are intended to be safe spaces where ideas and questions can be explored. A film of this session was leaked to the press unethically. I did not raise a question on security in Jewish schools. The trainer raised this issue and I asked for clarification, in particular as all London primary schools, to my knowledge, have security and I did not understand the particular point the trainer was making. Having been a victim of racism I would never play down the very real fears the Jewish community have, especially in light of recent attacks in France.

In the session, a number of Jewish people, including me, asked for definitions of antisemitism. This is a subject of much debate in the Jewish community. I support David Schneider’s definition and utterly condemn antisemitism.

I would never play down the significance of the Shoah. Working with many Jewish comrades, I continue to seek to bring greater awareness of other genocides, which are too often forgotten or minimised. If offence has been caused, it is the last thing I would want to do and I apologise.”


Read Jackie Walker’s interview in the New Statesman
Read Asa Winstanley on Labour’s antisemitism training

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63 thoughts on “Jewish Labour activists in defence of Jackie Walker”

    1. I worry that even if Jackie is forced out of Momentum and the Labour Party, the witch-hunt will not end there. The big scalp the hunters are after is Jeremy. Until they have managed to get rid of him, they will keep on finding “antisemites”. I also regret that Barbara Ntumy on the Daily Politics just now was calling for Jackie’s dismissal.

      1. Yes – I saw Barbara Ntumy on the Daily Politics and was appalled – not only by her remarks re Jackie but also on the other matters that were discussed. It seems that Momentum has allowed itself to be infiltrated by people who are not supporters of Jeremy’s leadership. Being a totally open group, this was only to be expected and I think something needs to be done about it, very urgently.

    2. It beats me how the confusion can arise, in this day and age, when ANYONE can access the Oxfod Dictionary online. There they will clearly find these two definitions:

      ZIONISM: A movement for (originally) the re-establishment and (now) the development and protection of a Jewish nation in what is now Israel. It was established as a political organization in 1897 under Theodor Herzl, and was later led by Chaim Weizmann.

      ANTISEMITISM: Hostility to or prejudice against Jews.

      ERGO… Jew does NOT equate with Zionist anymore than German equates to Nazi.

      GOT IT EVERYONE??? Sheesh!

      1. It is not quite that straightforward.

        In the racialist classifications of Carleton S. Coon, the Semitic peoples were considered to be members of the Caucasian race, not dissimilar in appearance to the neighbouring Indo-European, Northwest Caucasian, Berber and Kartvelian-speaking peoples of the region.[10] As language studies are interwoven with cultural studies, the term also came to describe the religions (ancient Semitic and Abrahamic) and Semitic-speaking ethnicities as well as the history of these varied cultures as associated by close geographic and linguistic distribution.[11]

        Some recent genetic studies have found (by analysis of the DNA of Semitic-speaking peoples) that they have some common ancestry. Although no significant common mitochondrial results have been found, Y-chromosomal links between modern Semitic-speaking peoples of the Middle East like Arabs, Hebrews, Mandaeans, Syriacs-Arameans, Samaritans and Assyrians have proved fruitful, despite differences contributed from other groups (see Y-chromosomal Aaron).

        A DNA study of Jews and Palestinian Arabs (including Bedouins) found that these were more closely related to each other than to people of the Arabian Peninsula, Ethiopian Semitic-speaking people (Amharas, Tigrayans , Harari and Tigre people), and the Arabic speakers of North Africa.[12][13]

        Genetic studies indicate that modern Jews (Ashkenazi, Sephardic and Mizrahi specifically), Levantine Arabs, Assyrians, Samaritans, Syriacs-Arameans, Maronites, Druze, Mandaeans, and Mhallami, all have an ancient indigenous common Near Eastern heritage which can be genetically mapped back to the ancient Fertile Crescent, but often also display genetic profiles distinct from one another, indicating the different histories of these peoples.[14]

        Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semitic_people.

        Therefore, while the term Semite was appropriated in 1879 by supporters of Wilhelm Marr, who established a League for Anti-Semitism, it was only a temporary phenomenon and one that Marr expressed regret for in later life.

        Semites – therefore – are people who speak a particular group of languages, which nowadays includes Hebrew but also includes Arabic and many other languages.

        Semites – therefore – by linguistic analysis – includes Palestinians as well as Israelis.

        The critics of Jackie Walker are trying to imply is that she has a hatred of Jews, not Semites.

        As usual, they are far too intellectually slovenly to get their terms of reference right.

        1. Antisemitism is not simply a case of putting the word anti- and -semite together. There is a historical pattern of persecution of Jews throughout the centuries. The term antisemitism applies to this. Other semitic peoples have been persecuted but the label antisemitism has not historically been applied to these. Words are defined by their usage, not the etymological origins of their components.

      2. Well said, Toni. The only reason it’s not obvious to some people is that they choose to wilfully ignore it.

    3. “It’s not antisemitic to oppose Zionism”? Of course it is. Israel is the national home of the Jewish people. Zionism is defined as supporting that ideal. Get over it.

      1. Zionism purports that all Jews from anywhere in the world have the automatic right to settle in the land known today as Israel, but also the occupied territories which form part of historic Palestine, and is designated Palestinian for today’s Arab inhabitants. Zionism ignores the rights and freedoms of those inhabitants who are gradually being ethnic cleansed for the sake of the Zionist dream. Those who espouse Zionism feel a sense of superiority and primacy of their race above others, and a right to land theft, persecution and killing of anyone standing in their way in their efforts to obtain a greater Israel. There are countless Jews who deplore this and distance themselves from it. They are not antisemitic. They seek the human rights of all citizens, and believe that Palestinians should have autonomy and the right to their own land, unfettered by any regime that seeks to curtail or undermine them. Therefore, Zionism can and should never be equated with antisemitism. To do so, is to taint the concept of antisemitism and to allow it to prevent the necessary desire to hold meaningful and critical discourse of occupation and its associated consequences.

      2. Surely this is the very definition of a logical fallacy: “All tables have four legs. Dogs have four legs. Therefore dogs are tables”.

      3. There must be a large number of anti-Semitic Jews of note, then.
        It’s also quite possible to accept Israel as the home of Jewish people, but still oppose many of its expansionist policies at the expense of the Palestinians. Get over it.

      4. But it is not only Jews who live in historic British Mandate Palestine.
        As well as Jews, there are Druze, Christian, Muslim and secular Arabs – among others – who are descended from the occupants of Palestine from exceedingly ancient history.
        It is a fact that more than half the world’s Jews choose not to live in Israel.
        It cannot – therefore – by any stretch of anyone’s imaginations be called a homeland of Jews.

      5. There are millions of Jewish people who do not choose to live in Israel. You are wrong. It is the natural home of a large mix of people who were there before the Zionists moved in a few years back: Jews, Christians, Mulisms and others…

      6. So where is the national home for the Christian, Muslim, Buddhist peoples? And are you ok with only allowing one religion to go there to live? Are you ok with banning people of other religions from returning. Israel is a reactionary, religious cult nation, not something we should be supporting in the 21sr century. So when you bulldoze Palestinian homes, prevent refugees from coming back to their homes of many generations, only allow Jews to go there to live, do you not see this is ethnic cleansing?

        1. 1. There are many places in the world where Christianity is the official or de facto religion, enormous numbers of countries that are explicitly Muslim.
          2. Quite a large number of non-Jewish people have been accepted to live in Israel.
          3. In Saudi Arabia, for example, one cannot live and follow any way of life that doesn’t fit with the peculiar brand of Islam they insist on. I don’t like that any more than I like some of the policies of the state of Israel, but I don’t notice you fighting to dismantle Saudi Arabia.
          4. I’m guessing you don’t know how much what was happening in Palestine before it became a Jewish state – it’s perhaps not quite as simple as you think – nor what it was like in its early days.
          For clarity, I am appalled by the policies of the state of Israel over the last decades, but its right to exist (and the right of Saudi Arabia to exist) is a different matter from being opposed to the policies. And finally, who is the ‘you’ you are addressing?

    4. Her remarks re security in all schools was appallingly ignorant.
      My two grandsons attend a Jewish school where everyone goes past two security posts. The entrance of the school is protected by concrete barriers and the windows are shatterproof. Once each month the school goes into lockdown, classroom doors are locked and the students turn theur desks onto their sides and crouch behind them. The teacher then positions him/herself between the door and the students.
      Added to which, the school uniform carries no badge and every student is required to carry a mobile phone fully charged.

  1. I thank you for your honesty and straightforwardness in dealing with this matter. Abusing left-wing individuals is now becoming very common in the Labour Party and beyond, and needs a common sense response, but needs to be exposed for what it is – unfair and dishonest.

    1. Isn’t conflating Zionism and Jewish-ness a symptom of being very RIGHT-wing? Ie: Hiding behind/ unable to process critically the popularised view of special-treatment required for Israel, which is force-fed to the public and politicians via the corporate press and The Anti -Defamation League, amongst other tools of imperialism. Being pro imperialism, pro a weapons /war dependent economy and pro being a US army base in the Middle East are Right-wing positions. It has become increasingly clear that the Labour party has a intellectually and morally inadequate Right-wing part of its membership. Using ‘left-wing’ to describe the abusers of Jackie Walker is inaccurate.

  2. Zionists are prepared to risk the safety of all Jews by conflating anti Israel/Zion with anti Semitism. Almost as if they are trying to provoke trouble to justify themselves.

    1. Zionists welcome and encourage so-called antisemitism.
      Herzl was possibly the first to adopt the strategy of encouraging antisemitism.
      He and subsequent zionists perceived this strategy as necessary to populate Palestine.
      They even coined a new word for it: aliyah. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aliyah.
      We – us and Jackie Walker – are caught up inside a hasbara propaganda campaign of the zionists.

  3. It seems to me that the movement to discredit Corbyn, Momentum and the Left through scandalous and largely unfounded allegations realise that they have a weak point – namely that their false message can be undermined by the honest Jewish voices raised against their despicable campaign. It could be, therefore, that they are attempting to ‘pick off’ those voices as a priority – hence the appalling treatment of Jackie, the suspension of Tony Greenstein, Louise Ellman’s attempts to have prominent Jewish members of her Constituency Party suspended, and so on.

    Momentum, at both group and national level, should be vocally supporting her.

    Jackie – thank you for your efforts. I very much hope that you are able to see your struggle through successfully. For many of us, our thoughts and very best wishes are with you.

  4. I was at the event also and totally support this statement. I asked for a definition of antisemitism and nothing was offered. This has been another example of opportunistic smearing of a Corbyn supporter

  5. JLM have been rightly described as just a tool of the zionist regime in Tel Aviv.
    They both oppose Corbyn and Labour as they are petrified by the prospect of a Corbyn-led Labour Government supporting the cause of Palestinian freedom.
    They collectively will stoop at nothing to defeat a Corbyn-led Labour Party.
    This includes making false accusations and attempting the smearing of anyone in the Labour Party.
    This is why they target Jackie Walker and anyone loyally working for a Corbyn-led Government.
    They – including Mark Regev – should just be dismissed for the trouble-making rabble they are.
    The cause of Palestinian – and others’ – freedom will remain wedded to the Labour Party.

    1. It would be good if this perspective could be printed in the newspapers, e.g. Guardian or Independent as Jackie Walker seems about to be hounded from her role in Momentum – who seem to be going along with the view being promoted that she is an anti-Semite, as it seems she will have to resign as Vice-Chair.
      It feels dangerously McCarthy-ist in the Labour Party at the moment, with every comment now carefully scrutinised and taken out of all context to find any traces of ‘anti-Semitism’, however unintentional. It is highly concerning that proven anti-racism campaigners, such as Jackie, can be labelled anti-Semitic. This is creating an atmosphere of fear and demonisation, undermining free speech. The result is a difficulty for any controversial topic to be raised, let alone respectfully debated. She is a brave and courageous woman, who has shown dedication to justice and the Labour party.

  6. “As we all know, training sessions are intended to be safe spaces where ideas and questions can be explored.”

    No, that’s Alcoholics Anonymous. A training session is to listen and be trained, not to contradict what’s being taught and express your own prejudices. If people want you kicked out for a second time, it’s most likely because you shouldn’t have been let back in the first time when you said that Jews were part of a conspiracy controlling the slave trade…

    ” insistence on the uniqueness of Jewish suffering.”

    What’s your problem with that? The Jews have suffered uniquely, not just in the holcaust but throughout history. Do you know what unique means?

    1. Are you conflating “training” and “re-education camps”?
      Why do you accuse Jackie of saying that “Jews were part of a conspiracy controlling the slave trade” when she never did? She was commenting about some Jews being part of the slave trade at a particular time and place (her ancestors). When you throw in the words “conspiracy” and “controlling” you also imply that she is a nutter.

  7. It is a good job that every Irish person does not ‘kick up stink’ every time time they hear a ‘joke’ about Ireland and the Great Hunger’, in which, by the way, a Spanish Jew was the economist to ensure the winter deaths of 1 million people in 1847. Ireland had its holocaust a hundred years before Israel, followed closely by Armenia. Nobody has the monopoly on the word holocaust. There are holocausts taking place, as I type. There was one in Gaza 2 years ago. Israel has a mechanism in place (hasbara) to ensure that their victimisation is employed to hide their own terrorist proclivities. Methinks they do protest too much!

  8. It is Jeremy Newmark – NOT Jackie Walker – who should be told to go, along with JLM.
    It is he – not she – who has been engaged in activities injurious to the Labour Party.
    If Momentum caves-in to zionist pressures they will alienate all decent-minded members.
    The party leadership should draw a line underneath all this alleged antisemitism nonsense.
    It is high time to get on with campaigning and winning against the Tories.

  9. This is what I wrote to someone else about the issue;
    I was at the training session at conference at which Jackie is accused of making anti-Semitic statement.

    The first question to ask should be why was there a Party-organised training session held by the Jewish labour Movement, when the NEC apparently endorsed the Chakrabati report which rejected the idea of such sessions.

    Second question – why was an official party training session being recorded without those attending being informed?

    Apparently it is being said that the training session was disrupted. Far from it. We were told at the start that people could ask questions at any time during the talk, and people did put their hands up and wait to be called. The only occasion on which it came close to being disrupted was when someone loudly heckled Jackie Walker.

    Unless you consider it disruptive to attend a session at which you feel you may well disagree with the presentation and wish to encourage a discussion, there was no disruption nor any intention to disrupt.

    I could give you a lengthy critique of the whole meeting, not least that – to my mind – training should not primarily consist of a lecture rather than discussion, but that isn’t the main point of this email.

    Jackie made 3 points when she was called (and she was called by the presenter):

    1) She thought that holocaust memorial day should not be exclusively about the Jewish holocaust. She did not say there shouldn’t be a holocaust memorial day, far from it. Jackie’s point (though I don’t think she expressed it very well at the time) is that she thinks that the loss of life due to the slave trade should be part of the recognition of “man’s inhumanity to man”. You can agree or disagree, but that is not anti-Semitic.

    2) The presenter, Mike Katz, said that an indication of the level of anti-Semitism is that all Jewish primary schools in London now have increased protection. Jackie said she didn’t get his point, because ALL primary schools in London now have increased security. Not a discussion I personally would bother getting into, but hardly anti-Semitic.

    3) She said a definition of anti-Semitism had not been given “that she could work with”. At this point the presenter began to refer to a definition which has never been agreed or endorsed by the EU as if it has been. Various people (though not, I think, Jackie Walker) challenged him on this.

    I also think a coherent definition of anti-Semitism wasn’t given. The presenter moved from murders of Jews in Paris to mention anti-Semitism in the Labour Party without giving examples of the latter, as if they were the same thing. Among his later list of inappropriate things was criticism of the right of Israel to exist. But many Jewish socialists (and several present at that session) do question the right of Israel to exist as an exclusively Jewish state. That is not, in my view, in and of itself anti-Semitic, but a matter of political discussion. It is unfortunately an example of how the JLM wishes to close down criticism of Israel.

    I do not think anything Jackie said in that meeting constitutes anti-Semitism. And I do not understand why you have joined the outcry from the JLM against her. Surely you recognise that the JLM (along with many right wing labour MPs and much of the establishment) are trying to use this issue to attack Jeremy. If they get Jackie’s scalp they will not hold back from more, on the contrary it will embolden them. Their intention is to reach a position where the JLM determines what can (and cannot) be said on the issue.

    1. Pete, this is so clear and helpful, I’d really like to repost it in other contexts (particularly my local CLP Facebook page. Are you happy for that to happen or would you prefer not? I would, of course, acknowledge you.

  10. I sent this to Emma Rees at Momentum (emma.rees@peoplesmomentum.Dear Emma
    As both a Labour Party and Momentum member I am sick and tired of the so-called “anti-Semitism” witch hunt by people terrified by the prospect of Jeremy Corbyn becoming Prime Minister
    There is an old Labour Party adage “Hang together or hang separately”
    These people are bullies of the lowest order – the only way to deal with bullies is to stand up to them – do so and defend Jackie – she has said nothing that is factually incorrect, furthermore her question at the training session has been grossly misrepresented to score a political point. If you can’t stand by Jackie and refute these unfounded exaggerated allegations there would seem little point to Momentum
    I would remind you – heed the warning of Pastor Niemoller – if you don’t take a stand now you’d better select the next victim for crucifixion after Jackie.

    Ian Lowery
    LU6 2PJ

    Perhaps more of us should send her similar emails
    Sent from my iPhone

    1. I sent the following email to her after yours:-

      Dear Emma,

      As a Member of Momentum Watford, Three Rivers and Hertsmere (Jeremy Newmark is the Hertsmere CLP Chair, I believe!), I want to support the statement below by my friend Ian Lowery.

      I was in Liverpool and attended the Momentum Conference on Saturday and Sunday.

      I heard Jackie Walker speak on two occasions. Firstly at the Momentum Conference and later on the same day at the Novotel Hotel event organised by Free Speech on Israel.

      I heard her make the same speech twice because she was talking from a written script as a result of the unremitting zionist attacks against her, Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party

      Organisations like the so-called and self-styled Jewish Labour Movement are no friends of the British Labour Party. They are the ones who should be thrown out – not Jackie Walker.

      Jewish speaker after Jewish speaker at both events made that point absolutely crystal clear. They are the ones who understand fully just what is going on here.

      What they all understood perfectly well was that the attacks against Walker, Corbyn and the Labour Party are being orchestrated by Mark Regev in London and others in Tel Aviv.

      What the Israel regime is petrified about is a Corbyn-led Labour Government because they recognise this will mean a boost for the cause of Palestinian Freedom.

      That is why they are attacking Jackie Walker, Jeremy Corbyn and the British Labour Party.

      If you and others at Momentum kow tow to racist supremacists in Tel Aviv, you will disenchant and demotivate large numbers of Momentum members.

      You will hand an easy propaganda victory to the Israeli racists on a plate and lose a substantial number of your more dedicated supporters.

      It will also mean that any legitimate criticism of Israel or any other racist supremacist regime in the world will be effectively stifled and silenced.

      I urge you not to allow these illegitimate hasbara forces to dictate policy to Momentum, the Labour Party or the wider Labour Movement in this country.

      Keep Jackie Walker as your Vice-Chair. She is a highly valuable and hard-working member of Momentum. You would be crazy to lose her.

      Yours fraternally,

      John Dowdle FRSA
      Momentum Watford, Three Rivers & Hertsmere

  11. Wishing much strength to Jackie, who has done nothing more than mention, in an appropriate context, her Jewish ancestors’ involvement in the (black) slave trade and point out that in practice Holocaust Memorial Day focusses disproportionately on the Nazi atrocities against Jews.
    But 2 quick points on issues arising in this thread:
    First, a definition of anti-semitism should be essentialist, that is, grounded in the ethnicity of the hated or disrespected group. Only then is it racist, and that is the root evil we’re against. And racism always generalises so yes, comments even implicitly disparaging whole ethnic groups are racist. Jackie supports David Schneider’s ‘definition’ of anti-semitism, but its Point 4 seems to me to be getting too far away from what anti-semitism is. Indeed Schneider is not actually offering a definition but rather a guide to how to infer a presumably already-defined anti-semitism from certain statements. We have done a better job of defining (anti-)Zionism than of defining anti-semitism. This needs more work, then we can argue better.
    Second, as I wrote in a comment on Jonathan Rosenhead’s recent article on FSOI, let us not go overboard about Jeremy Corbyn’s pro-Palestinianism. Yes, he’s the best we have, but I quoted at length from his appearance on 4 July 2016 before the Commons’ Home Affairs Committee (ex-Keith Vaz) showing that he condemns and finds inappropriate and unacceptable many statements which most writers and commenters on FSOI would not find anti-semitic or would at least find defensible on grounds of free speech. And showing also that Corbyn supports the existence of the state of Israel in Palestine. Corbyn is by no means (not yet anyway – let’s hope!) an anti-Zionist.
    Thanks.

  12. I fully support all that comrades have said against this witch-hunt. However, I think that some clarification is needed on the issue of Zionism. I believe that the Zionists who moved to Palestine in the 1930s and 40s to escape Hitler bought their land. Although the idea of people moving to a land their ancestors left 2000 years or more seems ridiculous, Stalin’s policy of exiling Jews to somewhere north-east of Vladivostok is deplorable. The armed robbery perpetrated by the far right Likud regime is another matter. What happened in 1948 is between these two poles, and remains a matter for debate. I think a 2-state solution is likely to be the most acceptable, but the two states must be equal, and it must be a socialist solution, particularly as the existing regime is based on armed robbery.

  13. Anti-semitism is racism against people who are from a Jewish background.
    Racism is the hatred of one person by another, or the belief that another person is less than human, because of skin color, language, customs, place of birth or any factor that supposedly reveals the basic nature of that person. It has influenced wars, slavery, the formation of nations, and legal codes.

    I don’t see why Jackie Walker should have a problem working with the definition of anti-semitism. She seems to be confusing Jews with Zionists.
    In my opinion this is like conflating blacks with the Nation of Islam.
    One is a group of people defined by their skin colour.
    The other is a group pushing a particular political ideology with which anyone should be free to agree or disagree.

    This quote is useful:

    The Anti-Semite hates the Jews because they are Jews, irrespective of their actions. Jews may be hated because they are rich and ostentatious or because they are poor and live in squalor. Because they played a major role in the Bolshevik revolution or because some of them became incredibly rich after the collapse of the Communist regime. Because they crucified Jesus or because they infected Western culture with the “Christian morality of compassion”. Because they have no fatherland or because they created the State of Israel.

    That is in the nature of all kinds of racism and chauvinism: One hates someone for being a Jew, Arab, woman, black, Indian, Muslim, Hindu. His or her personal attributes, actions, achievements are unimportant. If he or she belongs to the abhorred race, religion or gender, they will be hated.
    From here: http://www.rense.com/general48/zntiz.htm

    1. Hi Bea, Jackie – like many of us – are concerned which definition organisations like JLM are promoting, because there exists a discredited definition: the so-called EUMC working definition that was neither produced nor adopted by the EUMC (now FRA). Please see this post for background: http://freespeechonisrael.org.uk/eumc-not-produce-adopt-working-definition-antisemitism/

      Excerpt:

      Professor Feldman, who is the Chakrabarti inquiry’s vice-chairman, has written that,

      Definitions of antisemitism based on double standards, the EUMC working definition, perceptions and outcomes have not been adopted in this sub-report [submitted to last year’s All Party Parliamentary Inquiry Into Antisemitism].
      The European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC), now the European
 Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), did not produce or adopt the much cited ‘Working definition of antisemitism.’ It was put on the EUMC website for discussion and amendment, but it was never adopted by the EUMC. European Jews for a Just Peace (EJJP), among many other individuals and groups, immediately protested about this draft definition and it was confirmed that the so-called ‘working definition’ was not adopted by the EUMC.

      As Beate Winkler, EUMC Director, told EJJP at the time, it ‘should be viewed as “work in progress” … with a view to redrafting.’ But it was never redrafted, despite serious criticisms levelled against it. And for as long as the document remained on the EUMC, then the FRA, website it always included the word ‘draft’ in the title.

      When the FRA was contacted about its status in 2010, they explained that feedback on initial testing of the document ‘drew attention to a number of issues which impacted on its effectiveness as a data collection support tool.’ In other words, it wasn’t useful. ‘Since its development we are not aware of any public authority in the EU that applies it, the FRA official added. Moreover, ‘The FRA has no plans for any further development of the “working definition”.’ (24 August 2010)

      Subsequent to this the document was withdrawn from the FRA website altogether.

    2. The zionists have wrapped themselves inside a shroud called Semite to exploit it.
      If you criticise their vile conduct against the Palestinians, they accuse you of being antisemitic.
      It is utter nonsense, of course, because Palestinians are Semites too.
      Not all zionists are Jews. There are White and Black American and British Christian Zionists.
      Criticising them does not bring the accusation of antisemitism – does it?
      The truth is that zionists inside Israel exploit the concept of semitism to deflect justified criticism.
      The further truth is that the term antisemite is historically inaccurate and grammatically ignorant.
      The proper term should be anti-Jew if that is what is actually meant – which it was not by Walker.

  14. there are benefits to this fight, because you guys and Jackie are prepared to fight, people like me get to know the difference between JLA and JLM, I am not Jewish but I know Jacqueline and worked with her on south london street stalls in the first campaign to get Jezza elected leader, when I doubt if many on the Momentum steering committee were even members of the party and know her to be a kind , intelligent and active campaigner for the causes espoused by Corbyn ,anti racism being at the top.
    We are fortunate they chose to attack her for being a Racist, the notion being so absurd they expose themselves nothing more.

  15. Tokenism much? As apologists for the historical slave-owning South are keen to point out, even the Confederacy had black soldiers in its ranks. But that will never make it any less of a white supremacist slaveocracy will it?

  16. May I make ca helpful contribution to the discussion of the definition of anti-semitism? It seems to me that Jewish Zionists hate Jewish anti-Zionists more than they hate non-Jewish anti-Zionists. To that extent, they hate Jewish anti-Zionists because they are Jews. So are they anti-semites?

  17. I am not Jewish but am married to an Israeli woman who has lived in the UK since 2003 and is now a British citizen. At a recent CLP a resolution critical of some aspects of the Israeli government policy was debated and myself and others were criticised for using the terms “zionist” and “zionism”. I wrote to a friend in Israel who is a (very active member of Meretz to ask her opinion on the use of these terms.

    This is the correspondence:

    On Sun, Aug 14, 2016 at 3:00 PM, XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX@hotmail.com > wrote:
    Hi Addi
    As you may know there has been an enquiry in the Labour Party after claims of antisemitism in the party. The enquiry was widely seen as being orchestrated by the right wing of the party as part of its attack on the leader – Jeremy Corbyn – who has consistently supported the Palestinian cause. During a debate on a resolution at our constituency which argued that criticism of some elements of the Israeli governments policies was legitimate and absolutely not antisemitic, there was criticism from some people about the use of the words “zionist” and “zionism”. I later thought I would like to clarify what the word really meant and determine whether its use could be offensive. Whilst doing this I visited quite a few websites including Meretz which was described as a “left zionist” party. I was wondering what your views were on this subject?

    From: xxxxxmh@gmail.com
    Date: Sun, 14 Aug 2016 15:47:40 +0300
    Subject: Re: פיט
    To: arthurramsbottom@hotmail.com

    Hi Pete,
    The term Zionism was coined at first in the last decades of the 19th century by Jews who believed that the only chance for jews to lead normal lives was through coming into a sovereign state of their own which is historically the land of Israel or as it was known then – Zion, or “the country of zion” – “Eretz Tsion” in hebrew. In the world it was known as Palestine but only because of the Philistines that lived here more than 2000 years ago and have disappeared long ago without leaving a trace..

    The name zion dates back to the bible.

    My parents, as well as many thousands of jews in Europe and also in Iraq and in Yemen saw the return to zion as the only viable option for jews to be freed from persecution and lead normal civic life. This turned out to be true as world war II demonstarted.
    This is the old, the original meaning of zionism and in this sense I see nothing wrong in the concept.
    My parents and grandparents were all zionists in this sense.
    It is true, however, that those zionists did not realize that in coming here they pose a huge problem to the arabs who had already lived here for a few centuries, about 300 years or so. Some of those jews were simply naive and believed they could all live here side by side. Others just did not give a damn. This is the story in a nutshell.
    By the way, the Balfour declaration from 1919 takes into account the claims of both nations to this land and regards them both as future residents here.

    All of this changed after june 1967.

    Not immediately but soon after the war, the first right-wing setllers declared themselves to be true extension of the old zionist movement. By doing this, they tainted the word, perhaps irreparably. I wish to say that I am a zionist in the sense that I feel this is my rightful home, but I cannot declare it openly because people nowadays think this means that I support the west bank occupation and settlements, which obviously I do not. To be more precise, the supporters of the occupation have appropriated the term “zionism” thereby making it impossible to be used by decent people.

    I cannot advise you about what to do and how to talk. But at least you can be clear about what the word says.

    I hope this helped.

    Addie

    I would appreciate anyone’s views on this

    1. So long as we are opposed by the Zionist Federation UK here and the JLM is affiliated to the Israel Labor Party which has rebranded itself as the Zionist Union use of the terms is inevitable.

      BUT they must be used correctly. I have heard people talk about things like ‘The world Zionist conspiracy’ when it is clear form the context they are using it as a pseudonym for an anti antisemitic notion of a ‘World Jewish conspiracy’ and I have called them out on it.

      Only you can know how you used it and with what intent. Use it with precision to refer to an ideology and those endorsing the ideology not as a substitute for Jew and you’ll be fine.

    2. Given that the Arabic word for Palestine roughly sounds like “Philistina” methinks they did not “fade away” 2000 years ago but are still alive and kicking

    3. All political ideologies evolve over time. In the case of Zionism – like many others – parts of the ideology operated on a number of levels, with some aspects seemingly benign, i.e. that the presence of European Jews would advance the backward civilization of the Arabs towards a more enlightened type of modern European society. Others – such as Jabotinsky – recognised the need for ethnic cleansing of all Arabs (as they called them) in order to create “a land without people for a people without a land” (as they described it). Seemingly, the Arabs or Palestinians were not considered to be people or proper human beings by the zionists. To use a well-known German word, they considered the Palestinians to be “untermensch”.
      Incidentally, you do know that Netanyahu’s father acted as secretary to Jabotinsky – yes?
      We are all seeing the effects of revisionist zionism in action today in today’s Palestine.
      Every day, Palestinian men, women and children are being attacked and incarcerated by unruly so-called “settlers” and their equally out-of-control occupation army.
      The French had it easier under Nazi occupation in the 1940s.
      The zionists have consistently lied not only to Europeans but also to liberal Jews around the world.
      When ben Gurion set up Plan Dalit, he knew it would result in mass slaughter and mass expulsions.
      The current murderous regime in Tel Aviv is a blight and a stain on the world.
      They have to be contained and forced to concede to reasonable Palestinian demands.
      Corbyn knows this, which is why he and the Labour Party are under attack by the racist zionists.
      The attack on Walker is a barely disguised attack on the Labour Party and on Corbyn as Leader.

    4. Dear Addie and Pete,
      I agree with Elizabeth Morley’s comment/question below, and furthermore, Addie, when you say the Philistines “disappeared long ago without leaving a trace” are you saying that no descendants of these Philistines are alive today? This is a remarkable and dubious assertion. And how about the Canaanites? How about the Semites, Jewish and non-Jewish? In any case Zionism around the year 1900 found 600,000+ indigenous people living in Palestine who had not left and who left many traces. Are you trying to somehow make the name ‘Palestinian’ for the indigenous (pre-Zionist colonisation) population carrying less weight or history? I am baffled as you why you found this worth saying.
      I am also very uncomfortable with this statement by Addie: “It is true, however, that those zionists did not realize that in coming here they pose a huge problem to the arabs who had already lived here for a few centuries, about 300 years or so.” Aside from the understatement “huge problem”, where do you get the number “300 years”? Are you putting the arrival of the “arabs” around the years 1600-1650? That there were indigenous people living without interruption in Palestine before “300 years” ago, some Jews, some Moslems, some Christians, some Semites, some not, is to my knowledge not contested by anyone. So I am baffled as to the significance of these “300 years”.
      Thank you for contributing to this discussion – otherwise we’re all usually preaching to the converted!

  18. Hello Pete, Thanks for that very helpful correspondence. I was a little uncomfortable reading Addie’s assertion that “In the world it [Eretz Tsion] was known as Palestine but only because of the Philistines that lived here more than 2000 years ago and have disappeared long ago without leaving a trace.” It’s this “without leaving a trace” that I find problematic. What evidence is he basing that on?

    1. In the racialist classifications of Carleton S. Coon, the Semitic peoples were considered to be members of the Caucasian race, not dissimilar in appearance to the neighbouring Indo-European, Northwest Caucasian, Berber and Kartvelian-speaking peoples of the region.[10] As language studies are interwoven with cultural studies, the term also came to describe the religions (ancient Semitic and Abrahamic) and Semitic-speaking ethnicities as well as the history of these varied cultures as associated by close geographic and linguistic distribution.[11]

      Some recent genetic studies have found (by analysis of the DNA of Semitic-speaking peoples) that they have some common ancestry. Although no significant common mitochondrial results have been found, Y-chromosomal links between modern Semitic-speaking peoples of the Middle East like Arabs, Hebrews, Mandaeans, Syriacs-Arameans, Samaritans and Assyrians have proved fruitful, despite differences contributed from other groups (see Y-chromosomal Aaron).

      A DNA study of Jews and Palestinian Arabs (including Bedouins) found that these were more closely related to each other than to people of the Arabian Peninsula, Ethiopian Semitic-speaking people (Amharas, Tigrayans , Harari and Tigre people), and the Arabic speakers of North Africa.[12][13]

      Genetic studies indicate that modern Jews (Ashkenazi, Sephardic and Mizrahi specifically), Levantine Arabs, Assyrians, Samaritans, Syriacs-Arameans, Maronites, Druze, Mandaeans, and Mhallami, all have an ancient indigenous common Near Eastern heritage which can be genetically mapped back to the ancient Fertile Crescent, but often also display genetic profiles distinct from one another, indicating the different histories of these peoples.[14]

      Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semitic_people.

      As can be seen, Palestinians are genetically linked to the zionist incomers. They are the ones who stayed behind after the wealthier decided to leave with the Roman after they abandoned Palestine as a Roman province after the Arab forces effectively overthrew Roman administration in Palestine.

      There is clear genetic evidence that many male Jews took European wives after arriving in Rome.

      This does, therefore, undermine the Ashkenazim claim to be descended from the Ancient Hebrews.

      The truth is that Ashkenazim and other Jewish groups voluntarily left Palestine, leaving behind poorer family members who could not afford to travel along with the retreating Roman legions.

      This may not fit too well with the myth that the Hebrews were expelled from the so-called “Holy Land” but the genetic evidence proves the Palestinians and the Israelis are all connected to one another genetically.

      The Jews in Israel and elsewhere are neither unique nor distinct as a people.

  19. Phew! After all that, it looks like what we’re up against is murderous right-wing nationalism, Zionist or otherwise. Isn’t it time to stop bickering across the various axes of identity politics and unite against it?

  20. A Momentum steering committee has voted seven to three to remove Jackie Walker as its vice-chairwoman. [ Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-37547873 ].
    Teresa May once described the Conservative Party as the “nasty” party.
    This current action makes Momentum look like the “stupid” party. Stupid because all they have achieved is the encouragement of further witch hunts against anyone questioning Israel’s legitimacy as a state and/or their vile behaviour against the poor innocent Palestinian people.
    People like Akehurst, Regev and others are pure and simple playground bullies.
    Caving in to their demands and manipulations only encourages them.
    Who will be their next target – you or one of the ‘steering committee’?

  21. Thank you very much for this statement. As a Jew and an Israeli passport holder it means a great deal to me to see critical thinking and free speech upheld against such disgusting and completely false accusations. What worries me very much is the idea that by preventing serious and critical debate on the Israeli occupation and its racist measures and on European political complicity we are losing the opportunity to expand debate about the real nature of injustice and armed conflict. The mere fact that Jews were not the first or only victims of the Nazis suggests something about the nature of fascism and its relationship to capital that we urgently need to talk about. It serms that this, and not concerns about national security or anti-Semitism is the real motive behind the accusations.

  22. In my view, the organisers of the insidious propaganda campaign against the more socialist members of the party should be identified and their membership questioned.

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