Free Speech on Israel motions for labour movement and other anti-racist organisations

Motion passed 14 November, 2016, by Chingford Labour Party branch (Chingford and Woodford Green CLP):

Implement Chakrabarti recommendations, reinstate Jackie Walker

[To be sent to Ian McNichol, general secretary of the Party; Keith Birch, chair of the NEC’s Equalities Committee; all members of the NEC]

This CLP notes with concern that a number of Labour Party activists have fallen victim to disciplinary measures which lack fairness, transparency or natural justice.

In particular we note the suspension for the second time of Jackie Walker, a lifelong anti-racist campaigner of Jewish and African Caribbean heritage, for alleged antisemitic remarks made at a Party training session at the Liverpool conference.

In the view of a number of Jewish party members present at the session, none of the remarks made there by Jackie Walker constituted antisemitism. Nonetheless she has been summarily suspended from membership and subjected to public abuse.

We note that the Chakrabarti Report contained recommendations which would, if implemented, ensure fair and transparent procedures in cases such as Jackie Walker’s. They would both protect freedom of speech within the party and ensure that allegations of antisemitism, or any other form of racism, would be investigated fairly, due process followed and appropriate action taken.

We are pleased to learn that the NEC’s Equalities Committee will be hearing from Shami Chakrabarti, as well as from party members representing a range of Jewish opinion within the party, when it considers how party procedures can be improved.

We therefore urge the Labour Party:

  • to implement with urgency those parts of the Chakrabarti report that protect freedom of speech within the party and introduce fair and transparent disciplinary procedures
  • to reinstate Jackie Walker to full membership of the Party.

 

Amended resolution passed by Kilburn (Brent) Labour Party, 2 June 2016:

  • Reiterates its strong commitment to combat all forms of racism and to defend those who are subjected to it.
  • Actively opposes Islamophobia, prejudice against migrants, asylum seekers and refugees, and racism against ethnic and religious minorities, including anti-Jewish racism.
  • Rejects the accusation that questioning Zionist ideology is anti-Semitic.
  • Believes that campaigning to end the injustices inflicted on the Palestinian people is in the very best traditions of the Labour movement.
  • Is shocked at the suspension from the Labour Party of Momentum National Vice Chair, Jacqueline Walker. Jacqueline is of African and Jewish heritage. She is a lifelong anti-racism campaigner and a founder member of the Kent Anti Racism Network. We are delighted she has now been re-instated by the Party.
  • Urges the Labour Party to:
  1. Listen to the many Jewish people, starting with those in the Labour Party, who are outraged by the lie that anti-Jewish racism is rampant in the Labour Party;
  2. Cease victimising those who work for justice for Palestine;
  3. Adhere to fair practice and transparency when investigating charges against members;
  4. Call to order Labour Party members who bring the Party into disrepute and undermine its credibility just before an election by spreading slander about widespread antisemitism in the Party;
  5. Defend those who have been suspended from the Labour Party for unfounded allegations of antisemitism, which includes anti-racist and Jewish campaigners.

Passed by Yorkshire and Humber Regional Meeting of Momentum, 14 May 2016

The Yorkshire and Humber Regional Momentum Meeting:

  • Reiterates its strong commitment to combating all forms of racism and to defending those who are subjected to it. We actively oppose Islamophobia, prejudice against migrants and racism against ethnic and religious minorities, including anti-Jewish racism.
  • Rejects the suggestion that questioning Zionist ideology entails anti-Semitic prejudice. We believe campaigning to end the injustices inflicted on the Palestinian people is in the very best traditions of the British Labour movement.
  • Urges the Labour Party to:
  1. Listen to the many Jews who are outraged by the lie that Jews are not safe in the Labour Party;
  2. Cease victimising those who work for justice for Palestine;
  3. Adhere to fair practice and transparency when investigating charges against members;
  4. Call to order Labour Party members who bring the Party into disrepute by spreading calumnies about widespread anti-Semitism in the Party;
  5. Defend Momentum members and other socialists who have been suspended from the Labour Party for unfounded allegations of anti-Semitism.

PASSED BY SOUTH CAMBRIDGESHIRE CLP

In response to the suspension of numerous Labour Party members following allegations of antisemitism, South Cambs CLP expresses its confidence in the Chakrabarti enquiry. We note that its terms of reference include making recommendations on appropriate disciplinary procedures. South Cambs CLP deplores the actions of senior figures in the party that appear to publicly pre-judge the outcome of the enquiry. South Cambs CLP will refrain from taking a position on or adopting any proposal for rule changes on disciplinary procedures relevant to this until the results of the enquiry are published.


PASSED BY CAMDEN TOWN WITH PRIMROSE HILL BRANCH

With respect to the suspensions of Labour Party members following allegations of antisemitism, this branch expresses full confidence in the Chakrabarti and Feldman enquiry, and notes that its terms of reference include making recommendations on appropriate disciplinary procedures.

Accordingly this branch shall refrain from taking a position on or adopting any proposal for rule changes on disciplinary procedures relevant to this until the results of the enquiry are published.


PASSED BY BOLTON WEST CLP, HEATON AND LOSTOCK LABOUR PARTY BRANCH, BOLTON TRADES COUNCIL AND CHINGFORD AND WOODFORD GREEN CLP

Preamble:

The run-up to the May 5 elections has seen a wave of hysteria over claims that the Labour Party is rife with antisemitism and has a “problem with Jews.” This is not true but there is indeed a problem.  It is a problem with people – Jewish and otherwise, inside and outside the party – who wield antisemitism allegations as a stick to beat the Corbyn leadership, regardless of the damage caused.

They have targeted Malia Bouattia, the first Muslim woman to be elected president of the National Union of Students, on the thinnest of pretexts and despite her consistently principled anti-racist stance. Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) founder member and lifelong anti-racist Tony Greenstein has been suspended from the Labour Party without even being informed of the charges against him. Naz Shah MP has been suspended on the basis of a few inappropriate social media posts which she evidently regrets – swiftly followed by Ken Livingstone because of some ill-chosen remarks made when commenting on Shah’s case.

Jeremy Corbyn and other Labour leaders have done their best to respond, rightly asserting their impeccable anti-racist credentials, treating specific allegations of antisemitism seriously and taking appropriate action. This is no more and no less than should happen with allegations of racism or discrimination of any kind. In fact Corbyn has gone further and set up an independent inquiry headed by Shami Chakrabarti.

 But this has not satisfied those sections of the pro-Israel lobby orchestrating the attacks. The campaign of vilification is intended to undermine Labour’s new leaders, because of their commendable record of supporting justice for Palestine. The wider aim is to crush support for the solidarity movement which is working to achieve for Palestinians basic rights that are endorsed by international legal bodies.

This organisation therefore:

– Reiterates its strong commitment to combating all forms of racism and to defending those who are subjected to it. We actively oppose Islamophobia, prejudice against migrants and racism against ethnic and religious minorities, including anti-Jewish racism.

– Rejects the suggestion that questioning the Zionist ideology of the Israeli state and its supporters – both Jews and non-Jews – entails antisemitic prejudice. On the contrary, campaigning to end the injustices inflicted by Israel on the Palestinian people is in the very best traditions of the British Labour movement.

– Urges the Labour Party NEC:

  • to listen to the many Jews who are outraged by the lie that Jews are not safe in the Labour Party;
  • cease victimising those who work for justice for Palestine;
  • adhere to fair practice and transparency when investigating charges against members;
  • call to order Labour Party members who bring the party into disrepute by spreading calumnies about widespread antisemitism in the party.

This is a policy motion for organisations to define their stance and mandate their delegates; local branches of organisations might forward this resolution to their regional and national bodies. It’s a template only and organisations can adapt it to reflect their concerns. Another issue that organisations can cite as “not antisemitic” is the critique of Zionist ideology.

This (organisation) deplores antisemitism. But we believe the press outcry on alleged antisemitism in the Labour Party was designed, in league with Israel’s apologists and censors, to damage the party and its leadership. This does no service to a genuine fight against this hate crime.

We deplore the proposal to task Jewish Labour Movement with training Labour Party branches and organisations in recognising and defining antisemitism. JLM is an affiliate both of the Israel Labour Party which in office has promoted the building of settlements in the occupied Palestinian Territories and the World Zionist Organization, which has channelled funds to the illegal settlements.

We oppose censorship of legitimate and valid political action such as Palestine solidarity. We assert our right to speak and organise against the State of Israel’s systemic, historic and ongoing ethnic cleansing, apartheid, and violations of human rights and international law, and to support Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions against those complicit in these injustices.

This (organisation) therefore, urges the Labour Party to:

* Listen to the many Jews who are outraged by the lie that Jews are not safe in the Labour Party; establish an ongoing role in the Party for alternative Jewish Labour voices;
* Adhere to fair practice and transparency when investigating charges against members;
* Call to order Labour Party members who bring the Party into disrepute by spreading false allegations about widespread antisemitism in the Party;
* Urgently lift all suspensions that were based on flimsy or unfounded claims of antisemitism.
* Strongly oppose
the press incitement against Muslims, refugees and immigrant workers.

Please stay in touch and tell us how this motion was used:  http://freespeechonisrael.org.uk/contact

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