Professor Moshé Machover has been expelled from the Labour Party without a hearing because he spoke on the wrong platform and wrote for the wrong newspaper. What was the Labour bating paper he wrote for and incurred the wrath of Party apparatchiks? Was it the Daily Mail, trailing its history of love-in with fascists, no. Was it one of Rupert Murdoch’s papers with their tradition of lies and distortions of the Party, no. It was, according to the letter Moshé received on 3 October, an on-line paper you have likely not heard of, the Weekly Worker, a paper so powerful and so toxic that, like poison ivy, any brush with it is fatal. Moshé also had the effrontery to speak at the 2016 Communist University . Since the mainstream press and think tank symposiums are generally closed to radical thinkers and writers we must all find whatever outlets we can to try to spread our ideas and educate our colleagues. It is the content of what we say and write that should be judged, not its venue. The complaint against Moshé states
Your involvement and support for both LPM [Labour Party Marxists, claimed to be a front for the Communist Party of Great Britain in the letter] and the Communist Party of Great Britain (through your participation in CPGB events and regular contributions to the CPGB’s newspaper, the Weekly Worker) is documented in Section 3 of the attached evidence. Membership or support for another political party, or a political organisation with incompatible aims to the Labour Party, is incompatible with Labour Party membership.
Chapter 2.I.4.B of the Labour Party’s rules states:
“A member of the party who joins and/or supports a political organisation other than an official Labour Group or unit of the Party or supports any candidate who stands against an official Labour candidate, or publicly declares their intent to stand against a Labour candidate, shall automatically be ineligible to be or remain a party member, subject to the provisions of part 6.I.2 of the disciplinary rules”.
You are therefore ineligible to remain a member of the Labour Party and have been removed from the national membership system. You are no longer entitled to attend local Labour Party meetings.
Please send details of any motions passed at other branches to email@example.com
Return to Cold War thinking
The Labour Party’s International Department used to be almost entirely populated by cold-war warriors in times gone by. It seems that such predilections remain alive in Southside with its talk of Communist Front organisations. While the rest of us read le Carré for relaxation, some in the Labour Party seem to read him for instruction.
Even worse that the talk of Fronts are the lessons taken from the US House Un-American Activities Committee of the forties and fifties, where Richard Nixon made his name, with its pattern of Guilt by Association. Can we expect Professor Machover to next be granted absolution by naming names in front of the NCC, the Labour Party body responsible for discipline, to give them a cast-list for the next act of their expulsion drama?
We are even more disturbed when we examine the incident that prompted this forensic acuity by the Party: an article written by Moshé, ‘Anti-Zionism does not equal anti-semitism’ in the newspaper of the Labour Party Marxists. The letter does not state what part of this closely argued examination of the historical record was alarming but they state:
These allegations relate to an apparently antisemitic article published in your name, by the organisation known as Labour Party Marxists (LPM). The content of these articles appears to meet the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism, which has been adopted by the Labour Party. Evidence relating to these allegations can be found in Section 1, overleaf.
Antisemitism of any form – whether direct attacks or pejorative language which may cause offence to Jewish people – is not acceptable and will not be tolerated in the Labour Party. Language that may be perceived as provocative, insensitive or offensive falls short of the standards expected of us as Party members and has no place in our party.
These paragraphs follow a familiar pattern of Party allegations: they refer to an article, or a tweet or a Facebook post, but they do not explain how the text is, in their view, antisemitic. It would appear from attacks on this article elsewhere by Zionist attack dogs that the section that attracted their ire was the relationship of parts of the Zionist establishment to the Nazis in the thirties. According to Mark Gardner of the Community Security Trust:
Simultaneously, another Jewish anti-Zionist, Moshe Machover, was also putting the boot in: this time a Nazi jackboot belonging to Reinhard Heydrich, one of the primary architects of the Final Solution. Machover wrote a special “Anti-Zionism does not equal anti-Semitism” article for Labour Party Marxists to distribute at the Conference, which quoted Heydrich making “a friendly mention of Zionism”. This, despite the notorious Nazi’s quote beginning with the words “National socialism has no intention of attacking the Jewish people in any way”. This is the depths that some Jewish anti-Zionists will reach, just to savage their Zionist co-religionists.
Words ripped out of context, as even a cursory reading of the ‘offending’ article will show. The passage in full reads:
Heydrich himself wrote the following in an article for the SS house journal Das Schwarze Korps in September 1935:
National socialism has no intention of attacking the Jewish people in any way. On the contrary, the recognition of Jewry as a racial community based on blood, and not as a religious one, leads the German government to guarantee the racial separateness of this community without any limitations. The government finds itself in complete agreement with the great spiritual movement within Jewry itself, so-called Zionism, with its recognition of the solidarity of Jewry throughout the world and the rejection of all assimilationist ideas. On this basis, Germany undertakes measures that will surely play a significant role in the future in the handling of the Jewish problem around the world.
In other words, a friendly mention of Zionism, indicating an area of basic agreement it shared with Nazism.
Of course, looking back at all this, it seems all the more sinister, since we know that the story ended with the gas chambers a few years later. This overlap is an indictment of Zionism, but the actual collaboration between the two was not such an exceptional thing, when you accept that the Zionists were faced with the reality of an anti-Semitic regime.
Moshé has written elsewhere that for any historian the facts must come first and the moral judgement after. The Zionists appear only to want convenient facts made available, and the facts are allowed or disallowed on the basis of the a priori moralism. We may observe this is an approach to history also shared by Michael Gove. Gove was excoriated by a brigade of reputable historians where he tried to see this as a basis for the school history curriculum. We would expect Labour Party employees to have a more reliable moral and intellectual compass than Gove. Sadly, reasonable expectations evaporate when you come within sight of Southside.
More Misuse of the IHRA Definition
Our catalogue of alarm has at least one further item. The Party thought-police have extended their interpretation of the IHRA (mis)definition of Antisemitism beyond our worst nightmares. According to the letter “pejorative language which may cause offence to Jewish people” is antisemitic. Well I find the pejorative language that the Party has used about Professor Machover to be deeply offensive to me as human being but also as a Jew and consequently I demand that all those involved in drawing up and agreeing this letter to expel themselves from the Labour Party forthwith. This demand may have little evidential basis but it has no more and no less than their letter of excommunication.
The implications of such an interpretation are horrendous. It is true that many British Jews find criticism of Israel’s record offensive. This is their right no matter how distorted we perceive the worldview that affords such a reaction. How far we should indulge a view that excuses the suppression of Palestinian rights is a political judgement that Labour Party officials have got very, very wrong. The Party’s responsibility, as a Party that places a high value on Human Rights in Britain and internationally, is to engage with those who jump to offence mode to help them find a more justice-based reaction to words and events.
Add your voice against Moshe Machover’s expulsion
Many local Labour Parties are adopting resolutions condemning Moshé’s expulsion, many more should do so. We have allowed too many messengers to be shot. We must not allow Moshé to be one more. Free Speech on Israel will be part of that fight