When did Labour MPs suddenly become Zionists and want to be voted in as the new party leader and are the members really happy for this to happen?
Over the past 4/5 years Labour and its members have been assaulted over and over again with allegations of anti-Semitism by the right wing pro-Israel groups within the Labour party and affiliated to Labour. I am, of course, talking about the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM); the Labour Friends of Israel (LFI); the Board of Deputies (BoD) and various other smear campaigners like Gnasherjew, Sussex Friends of Israel and individuals like Z celebrity Rachel Riley. I wrote about this in previous articles titled ‘A Legacy Squandered‘ and ‘Anti-Semitism from one of Labour’s Loudest Anti-Semitism Accusers‘.
Events over the past few days have left me angry and so very disappointed in what the Labour party and the candidates in the leadership campaign have become. I am not alone in this and I think that the time has come for Socialists to stand together and express our disquiet over the direction the Labour party is headed on. There currently seems to be a purge of left wing members from the Labour party especially of those who actively support Palestine. On a single day 25 members were expelled, mainly by the NEC who are fast tracking the so called ‘disciplinary process’ against those accused of anti-Semitism.
A long term Labour party member, activist and Palestine supporter was expelled for allegations of anti-Semitism. Pauline Hammerton was not given the opportunity to defend herself or to face her accusers, she was expelled with no warning. Looking at her facebook posts and Twitter timeline you could see how against all racism she was, and that she was a kind and compassionate lady. She was a victim of the smear campaign and left wing purge and tragically her story ended suddenly when she died a week after her expulsion. There is a strong feeling amongst her friends and social media followers that her expulsion was responsible for her death and, although I am neither a medical doctor or psychiatrist, in my opinion it certainly attributed to her sudden death.
A source for the Labour National Constitution Committee (NCC) has said that 90% of the evidence of anti-Semitism passed on by the Labour National Executive Committee (NEC) has to be discarded due to it having no substance. Despite this fact the NEC continues to fast track expulsions of those accused of anti-Semitism. In the past only the NCC had the power to expel members, and then only after reviewing evidence and assessing material passed on to them by the NEC. To appease the right wing and centrist elements within the Labour party, and outside, who were complaining of the time taken to expel members, the NEC began the process of fast tracking expulsions.
As if this was not cause enough for concern, along with the quick capitulation and signing by all but 2 candidates of the ‘ten demands’ submitted by the BoD, there was a ‘hustings’ for the Jewish community held jointly by the JLM and LFI which was mediated by Robert Peston, the ITV political editor. ( A hustings is a meeting in which candidates answer questions put to them by potential voters). The hustings is not the cause for concern, let me make that perfectly clear before I am accused of anti-Semitism. The cause for concern was what the leadership candidates said when asked if they considered themselves to be zionist. All four of them said that they did consider themselves to be zionists. For those who do not know, Zionists believe Judaism is a nationality as well as a religion, and that Jews deserve their own state in their ancestral homeland, Israel. The only problem with this is that they consider Palestine to be their ancestral homeland despite the fact that it was never called Israel before 1948 or appeared on any maps before then. Anti-Zionism is too often conflated with anti-Semitism and too often this is why people end up being accused of anti-Semitism.
Asa Winstanley writes:”Zionism is the movement that founded the state of Israel in 1948, and remains enshrined in Israeli law and state ideology today.Between 1947 and 1949, Zionist militias and the new Israeli army drove the majority of Palestine’s indigenous population out of the country in order to create a majority Jewish state.The refugees have never been allowed to return solely because they are not Jewish”. Candidates to replace Corbyn denounce him as anti-Semitic (15th Feb 2020)
Both Rebecca Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy agreed that it was anti-Semitic to call Israel, its policies or the circumstances around its foundation, racist. This would include the 1948 Nakba which was NOT an unintended result of war. It was a deliberate and systematic act necessary for the creation of a Jewish majority state in Palestine, which was mainly Arab prior to 1948. Internally, Zionist Jewish leaders used the euphemism “transfer” when discussing strategies for what today would be called ethnic cleansing. This stance is particularly surprising coming from Lisa Nandy when you consider she is Chair of the Labour Friends of Palestine and the Middle East (LFPME). If she is truly a zionist and is now pro-Israel then it makes everything she wrote on the LFPME site about her sympathy for Palestinians untrue, and she should resign from her position as Chair. In fact her stance, and RLB’s, go against everything the Labour party once stood for with regards to its manifesto concerning the Middle East. The Labour manifesto stated that Labour would impose an arms ban on Israel over human rights abuses. The manifesto also said Labour would be committed to pursuing a two-state solution and would immediately recognise a Palestinian state.
In my opinion these candidates should be removed from the ballot because their remarks and views go against what the Labour party represents and stands for. Emily Thornberry has already lost her place on the ballot and all three remaining MPs should be removed. Of all the candidates standing for leader and deputy leader, only two have remained true to Labour’s stance on Palestine. Dawn Butler and Richard Burgon both declined to sign BoD’s ‘ten demands’ for which of course they have been attacked and accused of anti-Semitism. The legacy left by Ramsay MacDonald, the trade unions, Nye Bevan, Tony Benn, Dennis Skinner, George Galloway, Chris Williamson and Jeremy Corbyn has now been well and truly squandered and ruined. I despair for the future of Labour and I know it will no longer be truly Socialist and left wing. It has become almost ‘criminal’ to be either a socialist or left wing within the Labour party so if you are either/ both I advise you to watch your backs and maybe leave before you are expelled.
This article is all my own opinion, I have included links so you can check what I have written or do some further reading.