Tendance Coatesy

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Posts Tagged ‘Anti-Semitism

As the Weekly Worker Group Prepares for Split Socialist Fight (SF/Continuity, Gerry Downing) and Socialist Fight (SF/Real Core, Ian Donovan) Battle it out.

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“This is a temporary phase of course, reminiscent in some ways of the days of Marx and Engels, but it is where we are at today.”

As the Weekly Worker (CPGB, Provisional Central Committee Group prepares for a major split its mighty organs are silent on the dispute.

The Labour Party Marxist is said to be in turmoil

The future of this faction, central in running Labour Against the Witch-hunt (LAW), a campaign backed by Tony Greenstein, Noam Chomsky, Alexei Sayle, Ken Loach and others, including Jackie Walker, may be in doubt.

Will LAW survive the turmoil?

Fight the Weekly Worker Purge!

By contrast this week’s, late, issue of the Weekly Worker publishes this letter by a Cde Ian Donovan.

Pathetic

In a measured he tone explains the background to the split between Socialist Fight (SF/Continuity Gerry Downing) and Socialist Fight (SF/Real Core, Ian Donovan)….

Gerry Downing’s pathetic letter claiming that the ‘Trotskyist Faction’ including myself were ‘expelled’ from Socialist Fight is pure fraud (February 27). He does not have a majority of full members of SF willing to vote for such a measure. No meeting of members has or will be called to do so. Nor has he been able to exclude our supporters from the international forums of the Liaison Committee for the Fourth International. When he tried to do so, in defiance of the most basic tenets of workers’ and party democracy, his actions were repudiated by other comrades internationally and our supporters were reinstated. This ‘expulsion’ is dead in the water.

It is just about Gerry Downing farting out his denunciations on a stolen website, using a stolen banner. The joke is that a “unanimous vote” in his fantasy version of ‘Socialist Fight’ is when Gerry Downing, Ella Downing and his race-baiting, Islamophobic, white South African crony, Gareth Martin, each put up both of their hands. Their six hands outvoted all the members of Socialist Fight who failed to vote for Gerry’s pro-Zionist statement the last time Socialist Fight had a genuine national vote, in January. And he calls that “unanimous”! That’s where Gerry’s ‘majority’ comes from.

…….

His fascist-baiting, mendacious half-quotes are designed to ‘prove’ that those in Socialist Fight who failed to salute his fascist-baiting attack on Gilad Atzmon are worshippers of the Ku Klux Klan. …

And so it goes….until it (mercifully) ends with this:

Well, we in the Trotskyist Faction don’t accept that move to the right and will fight it to the bitter end. Gerry may have stolen our website, which our subs paid for over the past several years just as much as his did. But we don’t accept his common theft – of our website, our publication or our name. The Trotskyist Faction has its own website up and running, on http://www.socialistfight.org, or alternatively trotskyistfaction.org, and in due course we will have our own publication to replace that which has been stolen. We will continue the politics of the old Socialist Fight. Renegades and capitulators to Zionism will not be allowed to steal our banner.

Ian Donovan
Trotskyist Faction, Socialist Fight

Key documents are only just emerging on the split between Socialist Fight (SF/Continuity Gerry Downing) and Socialist Fight (SF/Real Core, Ian Donovan)….

Published on the Trotskyist Faction site:

Trotskyist Faction takes on the mantle of Socialist Fight.

Extracts:

GD, was an oppositionist in the Healyite Workers Revolutionary Party at the time of its 1985 explosion and collapse, one of many active participants. He then went through various organisations: the Revolutionary Internationalist League, International Socialist Group, the Workers International League, Workers Fight with 2 other ex-WRP cadre with varied politics, then the Committee for a Marxist Party in alliance with the CPGB/Weekly Worker.

He then founded Socialist Fight in 2009 with two other ex-ISG cadre, whom he then split from over the issue of their defence of the film director Roman Polanksi, who admitted to statutory rape of a 13 year old girl and appears from the evidence to be guilty of actual rape. After breaking with his initial collaborators he then fused his rump group with some Brazilian and Argentinian Trotskyists groups in 2013 as part of an anti-imperialist response to imperialist intervention in Syria and Libya, to form the Liaison Committee for the Fourth International (LCFI). This gave an international dimension to his politics that meant it was no longer his operation.

Ploughing through the documents, which include reference to Hannah Arendt, and many, many, others, we reach this key point, “all this is just a means to an end for GD. The real target of all this rancid pro-Zionist hate propaganda was the Draft Theses on the Jews and Modern Imperialism.” “In conversation with Atzmon in 2018, GD rejected criticisms of its supposed ‘anti-Semitism’ as ‘Zionism’. But now as the concluding point of his renegade, pro-Zionist faction he writes:

“We now repudiate the use of the term ‘the world “Jewish-Zionist bourgeoisie”’ and the whole notion of a Jewish-Zionist imperialist vanguard as antisemitic tropes. We will in future use the term ‘Zionism’ alone in describing the political tendency within the Jewish ethnicity that commits such dreadful crimes under international law against the Palestinian citizens of Israel and those expelled Palestinians primarily in 1948, ‘67 and ‘73, all of whom have the right of return.”

Donovan does score one major point.

However, GD had a problem even with this, as he had stood on a public platform at a joint Socialist Fight public meeting in July 2017, a rather large meeting attended by around 150 people, with Vanessa Beeley, a defender of the Syrian regime and an uncritical Assad supporter, speaking in defence of Syria against the US/UK/Israel backed jihadist destabilisation and proxy war. She has written regularly for Veterans Today for several years. So in denouncing ID for sharing material from Veterans Today calling into question the legitimacy of the result of the UK General Election, GD was also implicitly attacking some of his best known work. If it was impermissible to share articles from Veterans Today, then surely it was impermissible to share a platform with Vanessa Beeley?

For those who can be arsed to read it there is plenty more!

Here is Donovan’s nemesis, Gerry Downing giving his side of the story.

Socialist Fight, Ian Donovan and the Trotskyist Faction

We have been now forced to set up a new bank account because Ian and Turan have control of the Socialist Fight bank account and this, they believe, should give them control of the group. Ian has refused to accept the votes of the majority of the group. He has decided that John Carty is not a member and his membership subscriptions are ‘donations’ and not subscriptions. My daughter, Ella, Gareth Martin, and Charlie Walsh cannot join as candidate members for six months because he disagrees with them over what Gilad Atzmon’s politics are. He has refused to bank their subscriptions that I sent to him, said I was buying their membership and he was keeping the cheques as evidence of my ‘corruption’.

Let us not ignore the outright fascism of Gilad Atzmon: “Fascism, I believe, more than any other ideology, deserves our attention, as it was an attempt to integrate Left and Right: the dream and the concrete into a unified political system. … It was “overwhelmingly popular and productive for a while because it managed to bridge the abyss between the ‘fantasy’ and the ‘actual.’”

This row would not be complete without Tony Greenstein getting his oar in:

Socialist Fight Drops Its Support for Ian Donovan’s Anti-Semitic Theories about a pan-national Jewish-Zionist Bourgeoisie – or does it?

 

Gerry Downing, “I now repudiate the use of the term “the world ‘Jewish-Zionist bourgeoisie’” and the whole notion of a Jewish-Zionist imperialist vanguard as antisemitic tropes.”

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“I now repudiate the use of the term “the world ‘Jewish-Zionist bourgeoisie’” and the whole notion of a Jewish-Zionist imperialist vanguard as antisemitic tropes.”

Narked on Nietzsche, Angst on Amazon, the world Trotskyist Movement has been torn asunder in recent days.

Note: 

To be honest, from what this Blog hears and can see, Gerry Downing is what he says. 

Is he a lost sheep returning to the fold?

That is less clear, but this is a welcome step in the right direction.

The issue of anti-semitism can lead came on the BBC only last night.

In France the weekend saw this event:

Réunions le vendredi 14 et le samedi 15 février à Paris 13e : Le négationnisme et la gauche, un mensonge antisémite pour la cause ?

Meetings on Friday February 14 and Saturday February 15 in Paris 13th: Holocaust denial and the left, an anti-Semitic lie for the cause?

The meetings went into not just holocaust denial on the ‘left, but the wider issue of left-wing anti-semitism.

…il existe un négationnisme de gauche. Porté depuis 1945, par des militants dont l’histoire politique a commencé dans le camp des progressismes et des révolutions sociales, dans les avant-gardes politiques et culturelles, et dont l’antisémitisme a été nié, toléré, et même approuvé, parfois largement. De Rassinier à Dieudonné, en passant par certains courants d’ultra-gauche qui ont finalement abouti aux mêmes horreurs que les courants staliniens qu’ils prétendaient critiquer, le négationnisme a trouvé divers prétextes pour tenter de s’imposer comme allié de gauche : le pacifisme, la dénonciation de l’antifascisme comme suppôt du capitalisme, l’antisionisme.

Holocaust denial exists on the left. It’s been borne, since 1945, by activists whose political history began in the camp of progressivism and social revolution, in the political and cultural avant-garde, and whose anti-Semitism has been denied, tolerated, and even approved, sometimes widely. From Rassinier to Dieudonné, passing through certain ultra-left currents which ultimately led to the same horrors as the Stalinist currents they claimed to criticise, Holocaust denial found various pretexts to try to assert itself as an ally of the left: from pacifism, the denunciation of anti-fascism as a support for capitalism, to anti-Zionism.

Now we learn:

On the Crisis in Socialist Fight and my own responsibility for it

By Gerry Downing 17 February 2020

Gerry Downing took the only principled stance a revolutionary Trotskyist could take in that interview.

Extracts: I accept the central line of the document below by Alonso from France that sets out my responsibility for the crisis in SF.  I also accept his judgment on Ian Donovan’s lurch to the right since 2015:

When the fusion in 2015 only took place, I did not examine too closely the politics of Ian’s Draft Theses on the Jews and Modern Imperialism  in 2014, which I now repudiate. [1] The second mistake was to accept too easily, again without serious examination, the assurances Ian gave me that Gilad Atzmon was not antisemitic and was indeed only a left wing Jew who defended the Palestinians by denouncing his own ethnicity. I made no political concessions in the interview with Atzmon in January 2018 and I was entirely correct in the first paragraph but no longer agree fully with the ending of the introductory statement to the article.

After a far closer examination of his politics I now think he has no place in the struggle against Zionism and can only do damage to the cause of the Palestinians by painting opponents of Zionism as fascists. I now believe he is not only racist and antisemitic but also a left fascist ideologically.

……..

I made the ill-considered concession because I had lost two Trotskyist militants from SF who were politically educated in the history of Marxism but who capitulated to the right wing pressures. I desperate needed someone who understood the history of the Marxism-Leninism-Trotskyism, at least to a certain level and so made that alliance with Ian, which I now recognise as opportunist. It is in general impossible for Marxist theoreticians to encounter another that agrees with him or her on every detail; Marx and Engels had differences and so had Lenin and Trotsky, nonetheless the former had close enough agreement to found the science of Marxism and the latter enough to lead the Russian Revolution to victory.

Subsequent arguments saw Ian defend Atzmon’s admiration for Ku Klux Klan man David Duke. He wrote to me on Facebook:

“If you understood why Political Zionism is worse than Apartheid and Jim Crow you might gain some insight. Clue: read Moshe Machover on different types of settler colonialism. If you understand that, you might understand why (Alan) Dershowitz (arch Zionist) is worse than David Duke. Some forms of colonialism are genocidal. Some are not.”

In September 2019 I encountered a post forwarded by one Devon Nola which contained the following sentence:

 “One of the first new laws created by the Jewish Bolsheviks when they took over Russia was to make “antisemitism” punishable by jail or death. Despite its freedoms, the United States is now following in Russia’s footsteps, with Jews like Chuck Schumer leading the charge.” [3]

The subsequent defence of this outrageous fascistic post, the notion that the Russian Revolution was a Jewish-Bolshevik conspiracy and other far rightist positions, many that repeat the propaganda of the White Armies and the Nazis against the Russian Revolution, by Devon Nola and Gilad Atzmon demonstrated to me that they were enemies of Trotskyism and socialism in general. [4] This shock and subsequent acrimonious debates with Ian and his Trotskyist Faction convinced me that this political current was, in fact, left Strasserite-Mussolini fascists. Ian Donovan and his Trotskyist Faction made it an absolute principle to defend this fascistic current.

Here he declared himself a fascist. As these arguments developed it became clear Ian had developed a full blown ideological outlook in lockstep with Atzmon

Gerry Downing states,

Draft Theses on the Jews rejected now repudiate the use of the term “the world ‘Jewish-Zionist bourgeoisie’” and the whole notion of a Jewish-Zionist imperialist vanguard as antisemitic tropes.

More: Alonso’s comment from France

It was not that anybody followed the Socialist Fight “line” in the first place, but the way it reflected the existence of a Red-Brown trend that concerned people.

The further evolution of Donovan will be of interest.

This is his immediate response:

This has to be the most pathetic, humiliating document I have read in many years in politics.”

..

There is nothing new about this behaviour. All revisionists and betrayers of Marxist politics always behave like this. You will be exposed just the same way as previous betrayers.

Written by Andrew Coates

February 18, 2020 at 12:20 pm

As Crisis in International Trotskyism Reaches Breaking Point, Hold the Front Page: Gerry Downing, Ian Donovan and the Split in the Trotskyist faction.

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a complete decay of communist consciousness and the embrace of opportunism.”

 

Take your eyes off the bleeding ball for a minute, and all hell breaks loose.

““When I interrupted Ian to call out his insane rant about the Rothschilds’ he became outraged, shouted and threw his pen on the table..”

This was a complete pack of lies from start to finish. Another comrade who was there wrote:

“Sorry, E, I do not recall Ian raising his voice and shouting at all”

Looks like a duel at dawn between Gerry Downing and Ian Donovan.

In an effort to calm things down I have volunteered to mediate

Extracts: 

Trotskyist Faction statement on Communist financial norms, democratic accountability, security and membership standards.

This statement was already written when we discovered that on 30 Jan 2020 Gerry Downing fraudulently put out his statement denouncing Gilad Atzmon and some of his associated and co-thinkers, in the name of Socialist Fight, 13 days after a 17th January vote was taken in which he failed to get a majority. He now claims that one member who had clearly lapsed, JC, whose case is addressed below, was a full member all along, and that gave him a majority after all. This question was raised at the 17th January meeting and various arguments were made to the effect that JC should be treated as a member. This was never agreed and ratified in an endorsed set of minutes in any case.

Objections had been raised by comrade Donovan in the meeting on the grounds that JC had made not paid subs, only made sporadic donations and had not been to any meetings for well over a year. The draft minutes mistakenly recorded that it was agreed that he was a member, after a hue and cry from Gerry and his ‘candidate members’ whose presence was itself contentious, and unwanted as the meeting in which it took place had originally been booked and planned by the decision of full members as a private meeting for those full members only.

Harsh words indeed,

Followed by,

Thus comrade Downing has not only betrayed the consistent anti-Zionist positions he used to uphold, he has flagrantly betrayed the democracy of his own organisation by fraudulently and retrospectively rewriting the history of a vote he didn’t win; he has fraudulently declared an ex-member to be a full member in order to claim to have ‘won’ a vote he failed to win, and he has in the process totally betrayed the Bolshevik tradition on the party question.

All this indicates, as the statement below shows, a complete decay of communist consciousness and the embrace of opportunism.

It gets hotter,

There is the smear, also against comrade Donovan, by ED. After the branch meeting at the Lucas Arms on 17 January, which was booked on the understanding it was supposed to be a private meeting to resolve this issue among full members only, but which Gerry declared Open with a public email on the day, and then GW and ED turned up and Gerry inveigled them in, after that ED made the following accusation against comrade Donovan a week later. She wrote:

“When I interrupted Ian to call out his insane rant about the Rothschilds’ he became outraged, shouted and threw his pen on the table..”

This was a complete pack of lies from start to finish. Another comrade who was there wrote:

“Sorry, E, I do not recall Ian raising his voice and shouting at all”

To which comrade Donovan responded and pointed out that he had challenged Gerry a week earlier about Gerry’s shouting in the meeting:

“Indeed. I note that when I challenged Gerry about shouting, he justified it on political grounds. But he did not say ‘well Ian shouted too’ when criticised for it by [another comrade]. If I had shouted at E he would have condemned me and been angry.

“This alone corroborates that this is untrue”.

And it did. And do E was compelled to admit:

 “Hiya folks, maybe I misspoke…“

They conclude,

To reassert principled politics, we need to draw those boundaries properly, and to re-establish Socialist Fight on proper Communist organisational norms. These are difficult and reactionary times, and some basic discipline and good security is essential to ensure that we are effective going forward.

Here is the infamous ‘statement’.

Socialist Fight statement on Gilad Atzmon, Devon Nola, Ian Greenhalgh of Veterans Today, anti-communism, racism and antisemitism 25-1-2020

The minutes of the meeting of 17 January, taken by Ian’s supporter in the Trotskyist Faction, Turan, confirming the meeting’s agreement that John Carty is a full member of Socialist Fight. Ian now says it was only Gerry Downing’s suggestion, that it was never agreed and anyway the minutes were never agreed as a true record – pathetic!

Signed by Gerry Downing, Mick Artur, Paul Humphreys, John Carty (full members), Charlie Walsh, Ella Downing, Gareth Martin (candidate members), Wilhelm Specklin (Holland), Dov Winter (USA), (International sympathisers).

 

The Socialist Fight Statement

 

Socialist Fight unreservedly condemns as racist and antisemitic Gilad Atzmon, Devon Nola and Ian Greenhalgh of Veterans Today and most of the milieu they attract and those who support them. And Gilad Atzmon notoriously said: “I despise the Jew in me and detest the Jew in you”, clearly indicating he was antisemitic. Socialist Fight rejects the Judeo-Bolshevik conspiracy theories they promulgate and identify them as irreconcilable enemies of Socialist Fight, Trotskyism in general and all who wish to fight for a socialist future. [1]

The public debate is still hotting up!

This is a disjointed drivel on nonsense. So the meeting agreed that John Carty was a member. Turan, Ian’s supporter, recorded the decision on which all, including Ian, agreed but IT NEVER HAPPENED. And the only reason it never hapoened was because Ian did not like it. Democracy how are you? That and the vile abuse heaped on me, Ella and Gareth and outrageous bureaucratic attempts to prevent new members joining, to prevent even a candadate membership and alleging I had “fraudulently” paid their dues so he would not bank the cheques.

Of course support for Gilad Atzmon and his defence of David Duke is the central crime here, calculated to do the maximum possible damage to Socialist Fight. Ian had moved sharply rightwards since the defeat of Labour on 12th December. Now he is openly proclaiming that the Jewish Zionist bourgeoisie is the main enemy and is totally incapable of answering the Socialist Fight statement. Unfortunately Turan and Dipak are riding with him from the margins to the extreme margins, always alibying open racist comments by the claim that Zionism is tge main enemy. Obviously Socialist Fight will not tolerate this defence of Holocaust deniers and far right kkk racists on the excuse that “the Zionists made them do it”.

The whole notion of “left-wing anti-Semitism” is a diabolical fraud created by fascist Zionist lobbying, the CIA and Western propaganda to topsy-turvy depict anyone for the Palestinian cause, the Arab world, anti-Zionism and socialism in general as racist or even fascist.

Peace and Love Cdes!

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Labour Contenders Back Recommendations from Board of Deputies of British Jews.

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Contenders voice support for recommendations from Board of Deputies of British Jews.

Labour’s leader and deputy leadership contenders have demonstrated their commitment to tackling antisemitism in the party by backing a series of pledges set out by the Board of Deputies of British Jews.

Within hours of the organisation launching its “10 pledges”, which include adopting the international definition of antisemitism with all its examples and clauses, the majority of hopefuls had given their support.

This included Rebecca Long-Bailey, Emily Thornberry and Keir Starmer, who served in the shadow cabinet under Jeremy Corbyn.

It is a welcome move that the Labour candidates have accepted that the issue of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party has to be sorted out.

Many of the ideas are good, above all the demand to resolve cases, and to make it clear that no quarter should be given to bigotry.

But there serious problems with this pledge.

The first is that training on antisemitism will be carried out the Jewish Labour Movement – the JLM is a pro-Israel group, with its own supportive  views on the issue of Zionism, which neither all people from a Jewish background agree with, nor all Labour Party members. 

There is equally the fact that the JLM expressed this factional view during the General Election (Jewish Labour),

We will not be campaigning unless in exceptional circumstances and for exceptional candidates, like our Parliamentary Chair Ruth Smeeth, and members of the Parliamentary Labour Party who’ve been unwavering in their support of us. We will not be giving endorsements to candidates in non-Labour held seats.

This statement was elaborated,

Where and how will the Jewish Labour Movement be campaigning in the general election?

The Jewish Labour Movement only will be campaigning for exceptional candidates and in exceptional circumstances. This includes for our Parliamentary Chair Ruth Smeeth. We will not be replicating the scale of our campaigning activity that we undertook in 2017, where JLM organised more than 50 campaign activities across six electoral regions and nations and in marginal seats. No JLM Officers will be standing for election.

Are individual Jewish Labour Movement members allowed to campaign for any Labour candidate?

Our General Election Statement is the Movement’s position and reflects the collective will of our members. What individual members decide to do during the general election is a private matter for each to decide; no doubt this will be a very difficult decision for many.

Will the Jewish Labour Movement campaign against candidates that they do not see to have been sufficient allies in the fight against antisemitism in the Labour Party?

We will seek to highlight candidates’ shortcomings or failings in the fight against antisemitism. Where this is the case, they will not benefit from any Jewish Labour Movement resources.

A body which engages in this factionalism is not a good vehicle to offer sensitive or coherent courses on the complex issue of anti-Semitism.

If we can dismiss the response below then this, and other issues remain such as the idea that Labour Party affairs be settled by an outside “independent provider”. And who exactly will decide which Jewish community body is acceptable and which is not?  Is the Board of Deputies going to decide on this? ‘Community Groups’ covers a wide range, and, without a suffrage and elections,  nobody is clear how “representative”one is. The Board of Deputies is not the only voice around who can say.

It is therefore not only the Corbyn ultras – below – who will express concern.

A rally in support of left-wing Labour leadership candidate Rebecca Long-Bailey was marred by an attack on the “Tory” Chief Rabbi and the Jewish Labour Movement.

Shadow Justice Secretary Richard Burgon and Leicester East MP Claudia Webbe both spoke at the post-general election gathering in central London on Thursday evening but Graham Durham, a Brent Central Labour Party member, was cheered by many in the audience as he ranted that Ms Long-Bailey did not deserve support because she was “cuddling up to the Jewish Labour Movement and the Chief Rabbi, a well-known Tory”.

Jewish Chronicle.

No, Rebecca Long-Baily, you SHOULD NOT sign up to the 10 pledges by the ‘Board of Deputies’!

Labour Against the Witch-hunt.

Written by Andrew Coates

January 13, 2020 at 12:40 pm

As Labour Leadership Contest Hots up Labour Representation Committee goes into Political Wilderness of Posting anti-Semites.

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Left wing breaks up after anti-Semitic Scandal 

It is comrade Steve Cook who first signaled  this:

 

No photo description available.

It was bad enough with the previous rubbish with Jackie  Walker and their support for Chris Williamson,

Now nobody is going to take anything they say seriously.

Written by Andrew Coates

January 6, 2020 at 12:01 pm

French parliament decides anti-Zionism is antisemitism.

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New Law Faced Critics Alleging it  “Stigmatises and Silences ” Critics of Israel, and even those in Favour of 2 State Solution.

The Jerusalem Post headlines today,

French parliament decides anti-Zionism is antisemitism

Anti-Zionism is a form of antisemitism, France’s National Assembly determined on Tuesday, voting on a resolution calling on the government to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism.

The motion proposed by lawmaker Sylvain Maillard of LREM, President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist party passed 154-72 in the parliament’s lower house.

New French bill equating anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism ‘is going very far afield’

France 24 reports on why the move met strong opposition.

A group of 127 Jewish intellectuals has signed a petition against a new French bill which would equate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism. FRANCE 24 spoke with one of the signatories who calls the bill “problematic”, saying it “delegitimises the legitimate act of criticising the state of Israel”.

In an interview with FRANCE 24,  James Cohen, a professor at the Université Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris 3 and one of the 127 signatories of the petition, said that “by equating antizionism with anti-Semitism, you’re broadening the definition of antisemitism too much […] you’re going very far afield.”

“Some of the people out there who oppose the policies of the state of Israel, who may even oppose the existence of the state of Israel, might also be anti-Semitic […] but that should not delegitimise the legitimate act of criticising the policies of the state of Israel. And when it comes to the existence of the state of Israel, there are questions that need to be asked whether a one-state solution or a two-state solution could be viable. Why should this discussion not be open?”

On Tuesday evening, French lawmakers adopted the bill, with 154 votes against 72.

The above declaration by Jewish intellectuals was printed in Le Monde yesterday.

Antisémitisme : « Nous demandons le retrait de la résolution Maillard »

More in the Nouvel Obs:

127 intellectuels juifs contre la définition de l’antisémitisme élargie à l’antisionisme

The resolution is “highly problematic,” says the group in its platform. First because it “equates […] anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism” . But “for many Jews considering themselves anti-Zionists, this conflation between the two is deeply offensive,” says the collective.

“Some Jews oppose Zionism for religious reasons, others for political or cultural reasons. Many Holocaust victims were anti-Zionists, “ says the collective.

“For Palestinians, Zionism represents dispossession, displacement, occupation and structural inequalities. […] They oppose Zionism not out of hatred of the Jews, but because they live Zionism as an oppressive political movement. “

The second reason is that IHRA’s definition of anti-Semitism itself would be “highly problematic” , “unclear and imprecise” .

It is, moreover, “already used to stigmatise and silence critics of the State of Israel, including human rights organizations,” said the group.

“We can not consider this as independent of the Israeli government’s main political agenda of rooting out its occupation and annexation of Palestine and silencing all criticism,” say the signatories, who are worried about “political support”. , to France “ .

According to the group, “anti-Semitism must be fought on a universal basis, along with other forms of racism and xenophobia, in the battle against hatred” .

Today Radio France Internationale  (RFI) report, using the more precise language of “linking” antiSemitism and anti-Zionism,

French parliament adopts controversial law linking anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism

The text was passed by a very narrow margin, in a virtually empty parliament. Opponent of the legislation have notably complained that the law associates anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism.

Opening the debate, ruling party MP Sylvain Maillard warned the National Assembly that “Jews are once again being killed in France, because they are Jews”.

During the parliamentary discussion, the deputies were informed that more than one hundred Jewish graves had been desecrated with black swastikas on Tuesday in the north-western French town of Westhoffen.

Finally, 154 MPs voted in favour of the legislation, with 72 against. Many parliamentarians chose to leave before the vote on the controversial law. There were 550 deputies present for the earlier vote on the social security budget.

Fewer than one third of ruling party members supported the new law, with 26 voting against, and 22 abstaining.

Critics of the law point to the association made by the new legislation between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism.

French President Emmanuel Macron has already stated his belief that anti-Zionism represents “one of the current forms of anti-Semitism”.

The French law accepts the controversial definition of anti-Semitism proposed by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA): “Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”

That definition makes no reference to anti-Zionism, but, the examples which accompany the definition explain that “any unfair treatment of the state of Israel, demanding behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation” is regarded as unacceptable.

Supporters of the French law claim that many anti-Semites hide behind the banner of anti-Zionism. The Interior Minister, Christophe Castaner, explained that the law had only one objective and that was to remove all ambiguity about anti-Semitic statements, acts or gestures. Castaner further pointed out that the neither the word anti-Semitism nor the term anti-Zionism appear anywhere in the final text of the law.

Several dozen prominent Jewish intellectuals have actively campaigned against the law, saying it runs the risk of “criminalising ideas” without doing anything to fight racism.

The text was voted on by  a very low number of deputies.  At the heart of the criticism of opponents: the fact that it associates anti-Zionism with a form of anti-Semitism.

..

54 deputies voted for – out of the 577 who sit in the National Assembly  – 72 against. Many parliamentarians did not take part in the vote, even though they were nearly 550 present two hours earlier for the final adoption of the Social Security (Health and Family allowances) bill, a sign of the discomfort aroused by this text.

Macron’s own parliamentary group La République en Marche, (LRM)  was divided,

The LRM group, revealed by the analysis of the poll… of its 303 members, 84 voted in favor of the text, ie less than a third of the Macronist collective. 26 voted against when 22 abstained.

The Socialists (PS), Communists (PCF) and La France insoumise (LFI) voted against the new law.

 

Written by Andrew Coates

December 4, 2019 at 1:53 pm

Verso Publishes ‘Antisemitism and the Labour Party, Jamie Stern-Weiner’. Norman Finkelstein: “British-Jewish elites are terrorising Corbyn”.

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Image result for anti-semitism and labour verso

Verso have just put this out.

Antisemitism and the Labour Party

We are approaching the 2019 general election in bizarre circumstances. From the climate crisis to homelessness, Brexit to the NHS, the stakes could scarcely be higher. Yet a story about the Labour Party that has no basis in fact and whose partisan motivations are transparent is playing a significant role in our national conversation and might even influence the result.

The ‘Labour antisemitism’ controversy is, in its profile and its protractedness, unprecedented in modern British politics. Its prominence may increase still further as polling day draws near, while other progressive campaigns abroad—notably supporters of Bernie Sanders in the United States—are beginning to be targeted with the same allegations.

The Introduction sets the tone.

Like a creature from a horror film, the ‘Labour antisemitism’ controversy just won’t die.

The ‘antisemitism’ campaign is, in its profile and its protractedness, unprecedented in modern British political history. To find an analogy requires reaching back to those outbursts of collective madness which periodically stain the annals of human history and astonish all succeeding generations. If its consequences do not compare with those of the Salem Witch Trials or the McCarthyite purges, still, in, bottomless irrationality, and self-perpetuating moral hysteria, the propaganda offensive against Labour lies squarely in the trajectory of these infamous episodes.

Some might remark that Stern-Weiner, apparently a DPhil candidate in Area Studies at the University of Oxford,  sounds pretty over the top as well.

He predicts that any Labour election difficulty will mean that the

” ‘antisemitism’ charge will briefly take on renewed salience as factional opponents seek to engineer his ouster (translation from American, his removal) . If and when he is ejected, the whole issue will vanish overnight, consigned forever to Orwell’s memory hole. What happens if Corbyn wins is less certain. But his opponents will continue to have resort to the ‘antisemitism’ weapon, while there are already indications that the relentless smears have curtailed his radicalism.

Stern-Weiner draws wider conclusions,

In any case, the ‘Labour antisemitism’ campaign set a template that is sure to be deployed against other popular movements of the left – as supporters of Bernie Sanders are beginning to discover. It is therefore critical that the strange events that have warped British politics since 2015 are soberly examined and the truth about them established – not just for posterity, but to help kindred  governments avoid repetition of Labour’s mistakes. This volume brings together a selection of analytical writings on the ‘Labour antisemitism’ affair” as a contribution to this effort.

Jamie Stern-Weiner .

21 November 2019

Norman Finkelstein is keen to underline his contribution.

 

Not long ago Finkelstein caused a lot of controversy for his view on Jews in Britain,

Jews have too much power in Britain. The three richest Brits in 2016 were Jewish.[12] Jews comprise only .5 percent of the population but fully 20 percent of the 100 richest Brits.[13] Relative both to the general population and to other ethno-religious groups, British Jews are in the aggregate disproportionately wealthy, educated, and professionally successful …These data track closely with the picture elsewhere. Jews comprise only 2 percent of the US population but fully 30 percent of the 100 richest Americans, while Jews enjoy the highest household income among religious groups.

Jews comprise less than .2 percent of the world’s population but, of the world’s 200 richest people, fully 20 percent are Jewish. Jews are incomparably organized as they have created a plethora of interlocking, overlapping, and mutually reinforcing communal and defense organizations that operate in both the domestic and international arenas. In many countries, not least the US and the UK, Jews occupy strategic positions in the entertainment industry, the arts, publishing, journals of opinion, the academy, the legal profession, and government. “Jews are represented in Britain in numbers that are many times their proportion of the population,” British-Israeli journalist Anshel Pfeffer notes, “in both Houses of Parliament, on the Sunday Times Rich List, in media, academia, professions, and just about every walk of public life.” The wonder would be if these raw data didn’t translate into outsized Jewish political power.

The chimera of British anti-Semitism (and how not to fight it if it were real)

In the present E-Book Finkelstein argues the following,

The Labour Party’s code of conduct hitherto faithfully honoured its libertarian legacy as it allowed every idea, however bizarre or noxious, to be mooted. Prodded by the anti-Corbyn Jewish Labour Movement, the party’s leadership poured into the code a mass of verbal sludge  128 anti-semitism and the labour party that polluted the venerable principle of free speech. Now British-Jewish elites are terrorising Corbyn to accept a purported definition of antisemitism that, one, is and couldn’t but be gibberish, two, exemplifies ethnic special pleading, three, is not just pointless but also stifles vital debate, and, four, has nearly nothing to do with antisemitism and nearly everything to do with shielding Israel from deserved condemnation. The long and short of it is, to detoxify its code of conduct, Labour should junk the revised text, reject as a whole and in all its parts the IHRA text, and return to its radical roots.

If the Labour Party adopts them, it will become a willing dupe of Israeli hasbara; it will disgrace the party’s noble traditions; and it will betray Jeremy Corbyn’s promise to set the party on a new-old path of upholding Truth and Justice, wherever it may lead and whatever the price.

Why the Labour Party Should Not Adopt the IHRA Definition or Any Other Definition of Antisemitism.

Without going into the fraught debate on the code of conduct Finkelstein simply wishes Labour to adopt the US First Amendment and refuse to allow any abridgement of free speech.

Here is contributor Daniel Finn, in an article taken from the populist US journal Jacobin, arguing against what is now Labour policy on the Middle East,

A ‘two-state solution’ as envisaged by Israel and its Western allies would really be a ‘one state, several Bantustans solution’, with some pitiful fragments of the West Bank handed over to a supine Palestinian leadership to administer on Israel’s behalf. The longer Israel is shielded from any kind of effective pressure by euphemistic phrase-mongering, the more likely this outcome will be.

In the following contribution Finn writes on Chris Williamson,

This is where the Chris Williamson row comes in. The case against the MP mainly rests on the people he has defended rather than the things he has said. On that count, the charge-sheet is very uneven: it is one thing to criticize Williamson for circulating a petition in support of Gilad Atzmon, a true example of a Jewish antisemite (Williamson said he was unaware of Atzmon’s antisemitic comments, deleted his post, and apologised) it is quite another to attack him for supporting Marc Wadsworth, a black Labour activist who was the victim of an unpleasant stitch-up.

Overall, I find the arguments for his expulsion unconvincing and tendentious, even if you accept – as many of Williamson’s defenders do12 – that his interventions on the ‘Labour antisemitism’ controversy have often been clumsy, insensitive, and ill-judged. And to state a point that should be obvious: while some on the Labour left dislike Williamson and think he’s a liability who does more harm than good, disciplinary action has to be based on clear-cut principles, not political expediency. Unless he’s done something that clearly merits the harshest penalty, it should be up to Labour members in Williamson’s constituency party to decide whether he continues to be their representative.

But what really matters is how this case fits into the overall picture. If Chris Williamson had never been a Labour MP, the basic structure of the controversy would be exactly the same as it is today. And if Williamson is expelled from the party, retires from political life, and never says a word in public again, the controversy will still grind on remorselessly, for all of the reasons stated above. Williamson himself would just become one more link in the chain of guilt-by-association (‘X defended Y, who defended Z’) that has become wearingly familiar.

Williamson gets another defence here:

The Fake News Nazi Corbyn, Williamson, and the Antisemitism Scandal. 

David Edwards. Media Lens, 13 March 2019.

Both completely ignore the substance of the many weighty accusations against the – present – independent candidate in the General Election.

WHAT’S WRONG WITH CHRIS WILLIAMSON?

Amongst other issues this struck many people,

3. The time Williamson promoted a Syrian war crimes denier

For me, one of the most unforgivable things Williamson has done, last summer, was promote Vanessa Beeley, a war crimes denier and fake news merchant. Here is an extract from Oz Katerji in the New Statesman on this incident:

 

A thoughtful contribution by David Rosenberg tries to restore some sanity to this volume,

There is Another Way to Resolve Labour’s Toxic Wrangles Around Complaints David Rosenberg Rebel Notes, 24 July 2019

On Shami Chakrabarti’s  report comrade Rosenberg  notes

She sought to replace the paranoid and toxic atmosphere that was felt at times in the party, with an atmosphere ‘for learning, positive consensus and progressive change’ where members ‘discussed and debated difficult issues and differences, in an atmosphere of civility and a discourse of mutual respect’. For her that also meant ‘a moratorium on the retrospective trawling of members’ social media accounts and past comments’.

He argues (on the basis of how people who’d been on the far-right in the 1930s could be changed) in favour of this approach.

Chakrabarti added, ‘I do not recommend lifetime bans from the Labour Party. Present or future members of the NEC should not be robbed of their discretion to consider how someone may have changed their attitude’.

There are also Testimonies: Labour Jews Speak Out.

Many are important reading.

But does this volume bring ” together the most rigorous and penetrating analytical writings on the ‘Labour antisemitism’ affair?

For a start the (already over-used)  list, “Sixty Times Jeremy Corbyn Stood with Jewish People @ToryFibs November 2019″

Just stop at the start.

1. April 1977: Jeremy Corbyn helps organise the defence of Jewish populated Wood Green from a neo-Nazi march.

Jewish Voice for Labour (which is prominent in the present book) published the original, which says,

Corbyn organised the Apr. 1977 defence of Jewish populated Wood Green from a Neo-Nazi march.

I was there, in the thick of the violent counter-demo in the road outside Wood Green Tube station.

We had come down in coaches from Warwick University Students’ Union.

Yet it was known territory: I grew up just on the border (literally, my parents’ street at the time is the dividing line between Wood Green and New Southgate) and had lived there not that long before,  in Bounds Green.

Jeremy Corbyn, a young councillor, and a  minor trade union official,  was a liaison officer for Haringey councillors who worked with the organisers of the demonstration, labour movement, left, and campaigning bodies.

On 23 April 1977, a twelve hundred-strong National Front march through Wood Green was opposed by some 3,000 anti-racists, including delegations from Haringey Labour Party, trade unionists, the Indian Workers’ Association, local West Indians, members of Rock Against Racism and the Socialist Workers Party. While Communists and churchmen addressed a rally at one end of Duckett’s Com-mon, a contingent composed of more radical elements in the crowd broke away and subjected the NF column to a barrage of smoke bombs, eggs and rotten fruit. Eighty-one people were arrested, including seventy-four anti-fascists. Such are the bare bones of our history, but they explain little about what the National Front was, where it came from, and why so many people felt that it should be opposed.

The Battle of Wood Green 23rd April 1977 Keith Fleet (an invaluable post)

Fleet says, “One of the Labour Councillors at the time, and an organiser of the counter-demonstration, was Jeremy Corbyn, then a trade union official, now a Labour MP.”

Corbyn did a good job, but, as Fleet says, he was not alone, far from it, and I doubt if he’s every claimed otherwise.

The National Front were marching against immigration above all, from the sub-continent and the Commonwealth and were felt to target the black community, important in the area and next door Tottenham.

Wood Green has never been “Jewish populated” – although not far away Muswell Hill has a  Jewish community (see the transfer of the small Hornsey and Wood Green Synagogue to Muswell Hill here), and there is a Synagogue in Brownlow Road on the border with Southgate,  in Bounds Green, about a mile from the march…

The rest of list does not get better.

  • EDM3933 7 Nov. 1990: Corbyn signs motion condemning the rise of antisemitism
  • EDM634, 11 Apr. 2000: Jeremy Corbyn signs motion condemning David Irving for being a Holocaust Denier
  • EDM1124, 6 Nov. 2000: Jeremy Corbyn praised the ‘British Schindler’, Bill Barazetti, for his WW2 kindertransport
  • EDM742, 28 Jan. 2002: Jeremy Corbyn signs motion praising football clubs for commemorating Holocaust Day
  • EDM1233 30 Apr. 2002: Corbyn was a primary sponsor on a motion condemning antisemitism

And so it goes….mostly Early Day Motions  to Parliament….

This Blog agrees with some of Stern-Weiner’s Blog recent statement (if one replaces the word fascism with national populism and the extreme right),

This election is not like any other. The far-right is winning around the world. It might very well be that we are just one economic crisis, one climate shock away from the return of fascism across Europe.

This is the real threat to Jewish people.

It is the saddest of ironies that whereas Jews were a principal target of fascism in the 1930s, Britain’s Jewish leadership has now aligned itself against the chief bulwark of anti-fascism.

In the past and today, our best defence, our only defence, against the far-right, is a strong left, which promises a positive and inclusive plan for a fairer society.

If we want to defeat the far-right and to defeat the causes of the far-right, our only hope is Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party.

A BRIEF RESPONSE TO CHIEF RABBI MIRVIS

The present E-Book, with its message against ‘Jewish elites’, and denial that there are serious problems with a conspiratorial minority in the Labour party which includes an anti-Semitic fringe, is not likely to help that call.

Nor is its constant use of the words “elites” and this claim -itself;f with no research offered, or clarity about what “power elites” and theories about elites arem how the floating signifier of “elites” has developed within  present day national and other varieties of populism.

Is the Labour Party Against Empirical Sociology? Notes on Power, Elites, and Anti-Racism Tom Mills and David Miller

The Labour mini-site warns against ‘theories [that] ascribe to Israel influence on world events far beyond any objective analysis’. This sounds reasonable enough, but who then should be the judge of what is ‘objectively’ acceptable? More research on this topic would likely help the movement to navigate such questions for itself, but this has only been made less likely and more difficult in the febrile political atmosphere that has taken hold around this issue.

This forway from the political shallows  doesn’t even mention the hard right Brexit project that’s unleashed a Carnival of Reaction in which ‘elites’ are the main target.

But then the side of pro-Reform and Remain internationalist left gets no mention, only sneers at the ‘Blairite’ claims to be “liberal cosmopolitan progressiveness” (Jeremy Gilbert).

Nothing there about anti-rootless cosmopolitan campaigner and hardline ‘left’  Brexiter Paul Embery:

Image result for rootless cosmopolitan paul embery

Written by Andrew Coates

December 1, 2019 at 1:08 pm