Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Racism

Labour Against the Witchhunt splits amidst bitter row on ‘anti-Zionism’ and Anti-Semitism.

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Labour Against the Witchhunt (LAW) has split.

The declaration below rejects the participation of anybody who does not accept their own stand on ‘anti-Zionism’.

The meeting that decided this was followed by angry exchanges by various supporters. One group, Socialist Fight, wrote a letter reproduced below.

A bitter row has also developed over the last few days after a post, by a prominent LAW supporter, on the suspension of a Labour Party member following complaints by Adam Langleben about antisemitism (Labour member suspended months after councillor reports anti-Semitic posts. BBC.) The Evening Standard reports that, “One tweet reported by Mr Langleben read: “Hear it from a Jewish grandmother how Jews love money and are a bunch of crooks”.”

This is one of the Tweets by a, as yet unnamed woman, that he reported.

On the Facebook page here are some of the comments on a post   – since deleted – commenting on Adam Langleban and this suspension.

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This is the declaration of the split.

Labour Against the Witchhunt (LAW) is a Labour Party campaign. We urge all those who oppose Labour’s witchhunt against Corbyn supporters and critics of Israel/Zionism to stay in the Party and fight.

Labour Against the Witchhunt welcomes the participation of all people who support its three key aims:
1. an end to automatic suspensions and expulsions;
2. rejection of the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism, which conflates anti-Semitism with anti-Zionism and support for the rights of the Palestinian people;
3. abolition of Labour’s ‘compliance unit’.

Those, like the Alliance for Workers Liberty, who promote the false anti-Semitism smear, who conflate anti-Semitism with anti-Zionism and who promote the myth of left anti-Semitism, are not welcome in LAW.

Those who, like ‘Socialist Fight’, promote the “socialism of fools” – the view that imperialism’s support for Zionism and Israel is because of the influence of Jews – are also not welcome in LAW.

LAW Steering Committee
Tony Greenstein, Stan Keable, Jackie Walker

First fall out from the division.

Letter in latest Weekly Worker (30.11.17) protesting against their exclusion by Socialist Fight – Gerry Downing and Ian Donovan.

Oppressor Jews

It would seem absurd in the middle of a campaign against socialists in the Labour Party, for part of the left – itself under attack with suspensions and expulsions – to refuse to defend others and imply that some socialists really are worthy of expulsion. Such behaviour would surely be regarded as grotesque treachery by any class-conscious worker.

Apparently three members of the steering committee of Labour Against the Witchhunt have decided that Socialist Fight, one of only two organised Marxist trends at the initial meeting, are to be excluded. A statement to this effect was published in the Weekly Worker of November 23:

“Those, like the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty, who promote the false anti-Semitism smear, who conflate anti-Semitism with anti-Zionism and who promote the myth of left anti-Semitism, are not welcome in LAW.

“Those, like Socialist Fight, who promote the ‘socialism of fools’- the view that imperialism’s support for Zionism and Israel is because of the influence of Jews – are also not welcome in LAW” (signed by Tony Greenstein, Stan Keable and Jackie Walker).

Aside from the anti-democratic nature of this decree – apparently we are to be excluded without any kind of hearing or democratic process, purely for our political views on the Israeli/Jewish question, there is a glaring contradiction between the two paragraphs above.

Apparently, the AWL are excluded, not because of their actions– refusing to defend leftwingers, which would be correct and rational – but purely for the ideas, from which those actions flow. This is no accidental formulation: if people were to be excluded from Labour Against the Witchhunt for refusing to oppose the witch-hunt, then surely these comrades would, on the basis of this statement, have to exclude themselves.

After all, by excluding expelled Labour member Gerry Downing from LAW, they are behaving no differently from the AWL: seeking to exclude Labour socialists whose programmatic and political stance they oppose, contrary to the elementary working class maxim that “an injury to one is an injury to all”. Whatever anyone may say about the politics of Socialist Fight, we are the only tendency demanding a genuine united front defence campaign and the reinstatement of all socialists expelled from Labour.

So the AWL are unwelcome for their ideas – conflating anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism, and thus believing in “leftwing anti-Semitism”, which is apparently a “myth”. But if “leftwing anti-Semitism” is a myth, how come Socialist Fight is being excluded on the basis of the same myth? For two of the three signatories of the above statement are fellow-travellers of the Weekly Worker/CPGB, supporting its allied group in the Labour Party, known as Labour Party Marxists, as is comrade Keable, or a years-long sympathiser and contributor, as is comrade Greenstein.

Consistency is not the CPGB’s strong suit. Their anathema against our analysis of the role of Jewish bourgeois in the diaspora in bolstering Israel’s strength in the older imperialist countries goes back to 2014, when one of our now-leading members was driven out of the CPGB-initiated Communist Platform in Left Unity, before the Corbyn movement emerged. That anathema stated that our comrade had to be driven out because “Advocacy of anti-Semitic ideas is not the exclusive preserve of the far right … there is a left anti-Semitism too. Sadly that is still the case …. Anti-Semitism, especially its leftwing version, plays directly into the hands of the Israeli government” (‘No place for anti-Semitism’ Weekly WorkerSeptember 18 2014). So it seems that the ideological rationale by which CPGB fellow travellers seek to exclude AWL supporters from Labour Against the Witchhunt is one that the CPGB are also guilty of. It is key to their rationale for purging Socialist Fight.

This exclusion decree from the CPGB’s fellow travellers has the name ‘Jack Conrad’ written all over it. It is his practice, in the past and now, to sabotage real political and programmatic debate on the left through bureaucratic tricks. His motion in the Communist Platform in 2014, quoted above, was designed to stop discussion of the document, ‘Draft theses on the Jews and modern imperialism’, submitted for debate within the Communist Platform.

This time around, the exclusion has a similar purpose: stopping the kind of principled political debate that a genuine united front campaign should engage in to arm the workers’ movement politically against the Zionist/Blairite witch-hunt.

The CPGB’s fellow travellers accuse Socialist Fight of believing that “imperialism’s support for Zionism and Israel is because of the influence of a Jewish component of the capitalist class”. It is factually demonstrable that there exists a Jewish component within the ruling classes of western countries that exceeds, by many times over, the proportion of Jews in the general population, and that this part of the ruling class is overwhelmingly loyal to Israel. This does not determine the bare existence of a western alliance with Israel. What it does, however, is play an important role in transforming what would otherwise be a ‘normal’ relationship, similar to that of the US, UK, Germany, etc with each other, into a servile relationship, where states like the USA give barely critical support to Israeli atrocities against Palestinians that certainly do not accord with obvious US, UK, etc imperial interests.

This is an empirically obvious fact that has been noted by a wide range of observers – from Israeli dissidents like the late Israel Shahak and more recently Gilad Atzmon to Jewish diaspora dissidents like Norman Finkelstein, and even conservative US bourgeois observers like Mearsheimer and Walt.

Yet the CPGB and its allies deny that this phenomenon exists, and seek to deny workers’ democracy to those who draw attention to it. This is not an anti-racist struggle on their behalf, but a pandering to the nationalism and communalism of an oppressor people – as Jews have become today insofar as under Zionist leadership they manage to act collectively.

Socialist Fight
email

In the same Weekly Worker he writes:

Zionism and holocaust abuse. It is completely legitimate to draw comparisons with the Nazis, insists Tony Greenstein.

Extracts:

There are clearly similarities between Israel today and Nazi Germany. This is not to say the two states are identical or that Israel is fascist or planning to exterminate the Palestinians (although genocidal ideas are indeed common in Zionism today). Israel is a settler-colonial state, the most racist state in the world. Israel calls itself a ‘Jewish democratic state’, but in practice it is democratic for Jews and Jewish for Arabs.

..

The Zionist movement understood how the holocaust could be exploited to serve Zionist purposes. As early as September 1942, when most of Europe’s Jews were still alive, the Zionists were thinking of creating a memorial to them. The creation of Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Centre, was proposed. This was seen as “the very last opportunity to score any financial success”.39 At this time the Jewish Agency had not even acknowledged that there was a holocaust.

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Written by Andrew Coates

December 1, 2017 at 12:50 pm

As Official Visit to Go Ahead Trump Tells British PM to “Focus” – but not on his Use of Britain First Propaganda.

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Donald Trump has retweeted three inflammatory videos from a British far-right group.

The first tweet from Jayda Fransen, the deputy leader of Britain First, claims to show a Muslim migrant attacking a man on crutches.

This was followed by two more videos of people Ms Fransen claims to be Muslim.

Responding to Mr Trump’s posts, UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s official spokesman said it was “wrong for the president to have done this”.

BBC.

This has deeply offended many people, starting with Brendan Cox, the husband of Jo Cox. Her killer shouted Britain First before stabbing her.

Brendan Cox, the husband of slain British lawmaker Jo Cox, said Wednesday that President Donald Trump has “become a purveyor of hate” after retweeting three anti-Muslim videos from a British far-right account.

“This is like the President retweeting the Ku Klux Klan. This is not a mainstream organization and for the President of the United States, our greatest ally as a country, to be retweeting, to be providing a microphone to those voices,” Cox told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on “AC360.”

“I think no matter what your perception of the UK, I think has been shocked by that.” CNN.

This aspect of the news was not just taken up in the UK and the US. The French left-wing daily, Libération noted, “Jo Cox, a été tuée en pleine rue par Thomas Mair. Ce dernier avait crié «Britain First !» avant de lui tirer dessus puis de la poignarder. ( Donald Trump hérisse les Britanniques en relayant des vidéos d’un groupuscule fasciste).

This is not just a detail. Our friends in France have just baptised a road after our fallen comrade.

Murdered British MP Jo Cox joins Churchill in having French street named in her honour.

Instead of trying to explain his offence away Trump has now gone on the attack.

In rare clash between allies, US president tells May to focus on terrorism rather than on him – but sends tweet to wrong person

Donald Trump has publicly rebuked Theresa May over her criticism of anti-Muslim propaganda, opening an extraordinary diplomatic spat between the transatlantic allies.

“Theresa@theresamay, don’t focus on me, focus on the destructive Radical Islamic Terrorism that is taking place within the United Kingdom,” the US president tweeted on Wednesday evening. “We are doing just fine!”.

Trump’s message came in response to criticism from the British prime minister’s spokesman over the president’s retweeting of incendiary videos posted by the deputy leader of a British far-right group.

However, the “@theresamay” Twitter handle that Trump targeted does not belong to the British prime minister, but to a woman called Theresa Scrivener. Minutes later Trump deleted and reposted the tweet, this time with the correct handle: @Theresa_May.

It is

In this context this is bad news.

No 10 responded to Trump’s tweet by defending Theresa May’s record on tackling Islamist extremism. The prime minister’s official spokesman offered no further criticism of Trump, stressing instead the “close and special relationship” between the UK and US.

Asked for May’s response to Trump’s tweet, he said:

Firstly I should say that the overwhelming majority of Muslims in this country are law abiding people who abhor extremism. The PM has been clear where islamist extremism takes place it should be tackled head on and we are working hard to do that both at home and internationally including with our US partners.

For an example of that i would point you to the work the PM is doing with the US preseident and President Macron and others to get terrorist content removed from the internet as quickly as possible.

He also insisted Trump’s state visit would go ahead, saying: “The offer of a state visit has been extended and accepted and we will set out more details in due course.”

 

Written by Andrew Coates

November 30, 2017 at 1:18 pm

David Icke’s Manchester Show Cancelled on ‘Say-so of Ultra-Zionist Hate Group” and “Labour MP” (Icke)

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David Icke  Supporters Fight Back Against ‘Them’.

Conspiracy theorists, conspis as they sometimes call ’em France, are everywhere.

Britain may no Alain Soral, Dieudonné, or Réseau Voltaire. but we do have David Icke.

Only a few days ago Harry’s Place (get my drift..) published part of this: Is David Icke Britain’s Leading Antisemite?  

If David Icke is not Britain’s leading antisemite I am yet to come across anybody else who is preaching the Protocols of the Elders of Zion to thousands of bewitched followers in sold-out arenas in Britain. Former footballer and sports presenter David Icke has been Britain’s leading conspiracy theorist for decades; hugely popular throughout the world and capable of selling out venues usually reserved for those of rock star status. Most famous for his belief in multi-dimensional reptiles but unfortunately less well known for the ancient anti-Jewish prejudice that lie at the heart of so many of his theories.

This is some of Soloman’s post that demonstrates this point.

agenda 21 icke

The short version of all this is just out by the Mirror:

It’s no accident, as they might say, that this has happened.

icke soros live

Manchester United cancel David Icke show at Old Trafford after backlash.

Manchester United have cancelled a planned show staged by David Icke at Old Trafford on Friday evening because of the former television presenter’s controversial views.

An Evening with David Icke, for which some tickets cost £170, caused a backlash against United on social media regarding the club’s agreement to allow it. The 65-year-old booked a suite at Old Trafford through an associate with his name being kept anonymous.

A United spokesperson said: “The booking was made by a junior member of staff who was unaware of Icke and his objectionable views. The event has been cancelled.”

Icke, who played professional football for Hereford United between 1971-73, has made a series of allegedly antisemitic comments and is an alleged Holocaust revisionist. He had previously attempted to stage the evening at Manchester’s Lowry Hotel, with that venue also cancelling once it found out his true identity.

Comrades have asked – in bewilderment –  who are the kenspeckle cretins willing to fork out £170 to hear this.

But, he has his supporters, not least this toss-pott.

And this one:

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And this one (which may ‘possibly’ be tongue in cheek).

Icke has no doubt who is responsible:

Labour ‘equalities’ shadow minister Kate Green seeks to destroy freedom of speech and has gutless Manchester United cancel tonight’s David Icke new book launch (which goes ahead elsewhere) – well done you. Anyone remember when the Labour Party stood for freedom?

And,

Written by Andrew Coates

November 17, 2017 at 5:36 pm

“No Place in our Society” Bradford Council Leader on Nasreen Khan’s 2012 Comments.

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Nasreen Khan with friend.

Bradford Council leader says comments made by shortlisted Labour candidate Nasreen Khan in 2012 have ‘no place in our society’.

Latest from the Bradford Telegraph and Argus.

CONTROVERSY over the decision by the regional Labour party to shortlist a woman who posted “odious” views about Jews for a councillor role is continuing with Bradford Council’s leader saying the comments have “no place in our society”.

On Friday, the Telegraph & Argus exclusively revealed that Nasreen Khan, a former activist for the Respect Party, has been put on a two-person shortlist for Labour’s nomination in the Little Horton ward for next year’s local elections.

In 2012, using the name Naz Kahn, she said: “It’s such a shame that the history teachers in our school never taught us this but they are the first to start brainwashing us and our children into thinking the bad guy was Hitler.

“What have the Jews done good in this world??”

She has since apologised for her comments, saying: “I accept fully that it was inappropriate and unacceptable.

“I have travelled a long way since then and learned so much. I profoundly regret the comments I made in 2012 and any offence they caused.”

Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, who leads the Labour-run Council, said: “No-one who has seen these comments from 2012 can fail to be appalled by them. Ms Kahn herself appears to accept this judgement. Such comments have no place in our society.”

Labour against Antisemitism said: “The shortlisting of Nasreen Khan, someone who has made highly offensive comments, as a Labour local council candidate is neither a shock or a surprise.

And,

The T&A had originally been told the nomination decision would be made last Friday but sources have since said it will be on November 17.

The Jewish Chronicle reports.

Labour candidate’s antisemitic social media posts revealed

Nasreen Khan was placed on a two-person shortlist to be the Labour candidate for a Bradford council seat.

The Bradford Labour Party has been embroiled in an antisemitism row after it emerged that a shortlisted council candidate is responsible for a series of controversial social media posts about Jews and Hitler.

Nasreen Khan, a former member of George Galloway’s Respect Party, shared the antisemitic messages with her followers about five years ago, the Telegraph and Argus reports.

At the time she claimed that “Jews have reaped the rewards of playing victims” and that there were “worse people than Hitler in this world”.

 It had been reported that Ms Khan – who is also known as Naz Khan – had passed background checks to be selected for a two-person shortlist for the Labour nomination in Bradford’s Little Horton ward.

A decision by the local Labour Party is expected on Friday.

In 2012, commenting under a video titled The Palestine you need to know, she said: “It’s such a shame that the history teachers in our school never taught us this but they are the first to start brainwashing us and our children into thinking the bad guy was Hitler. What have the Jews done good in this world??”

She later added: “The Jews have reaped the rewards of playing victims.”

When accused of being a Nazi, Ms Khan responded by saying she was “an ordinary British Muslim”, adding that there were “worse people than Hitler” in the world.

The Telegraph and Argus reported that Ms Khan acknowledged that her remarks were “inappropriate and unacceptable”.

In a statement given to the local newspaper, Ms Khan added: “I have travelled a long way since then and learned so much.

“I profoundly regret the comments I made in 2012 and any offence they caused.”

Simon Cooke, Bradford Council’s Conservative group leader, said: “The Labour Party really has got to het itself sorted out. These are just not the sort of views that are acceptable.”

Another figure in the Bradford Labour Party, Naz Shah, was reprimanded in early 2016 for similar posts attacking Jews.

After an apology, in which she described her comments as “hurtful and inexcusable” Ms Shah was reinstated to the Labour Party.

The Labour Party has been approached for comment.

Tendance Coatesy posted in 2013,

This is a first, but this post from Harry’s Place (More Holocaust Denial From RESPECT’s Naz Kahn) is of the utmost seriousness.

Almost exactly one year ago, we reported that Naz Kahn, the Women’s Officer of George Galloway’s RESPECT Coalition in Bradford, was posting pro-Nazi material on her Facebook page. RESPECT issued a mealy mouthed response: but as far as we can tell, refused to dismiss Naz Kahn from her post.

Since then, RESPECT Bradford has collapsed, and its councillors have deserted it. Again, as far as we can tell, Naz Kahn is still the Women’s Officer of the local party. Certainly, there has been no announcement that she has been expelled from the party. She is one of the most prominent posters on the Respect Your Community Facebook page, which also features postings by Chris Chilvers, the  National Secretary of RESPECT

They go on to say,

Naz Kahn has now embarked on a new episode of Holocaust denial. A contact sends me the following link to an article from The Ugly Truth Facebook page, which Naz Kahn has liked.

She now calls herself Axa Kahn (Smiler). However, her Facebook address confirms that Naz and Axa are the same person (https://www.facebook.com/naz.kahn):

 

Now there is also this:

Written by Andrew Coates

November 13, 2017 at 12:45 pm

New anti-Semitism Row as Nasreen Khan Selected as Labour Council Candidate.

with 6 comments

 

Nasreen Khan with Friend (from Sued by Galloway). 

Local paper, the Telegraph and Argus reported yesterday.

Shortlisted Little Horton candidate and former Respect activist Nasreen Khan says remarks she made five years ago were ‘unacceptable’

BRADFORD’S Labour party has found itself embroiled in another anti-Semitism row, after shortlisting for political office a woman who faced criticism for a series of controversial posts about Jews.

Former Respect activist Nasreen Khan issued an apology after making a series of posts about Jews on Facebook five years ago.

Last night Ms Khan, who has since joined the Labour Party, said she had apologised for the comments she made about a video called ‘The Palestine you need to know’ and accepted they were “inappropriate and unacceptable”.

In 2012 using the name Naz Kahn she said: “It’s such a shame that the history teachers in our school never taught us this but they are the first to start brainwashing us and our children into thinking the bad guy was Hitler.

“What have the Jews done good in this world??”

When questioned about the comment, she had added: “No, I’m not a Nazi, I’m an ordinary British Muslim that had an opinion and put it across. We have worse people than Hitler in this world now.”

And, facing further criticism, she had said: “Stop beating a dead horse. The Jews have reaped the rewards of playing victims. Enough is enough!!”

The remarks made headlines at the time, prompting a spokesman for Respect to say Ms Khan had made the comments before joining their party and “now deeply regrets and repudiates that posting”.

“I have travelled a long way since then and learned so much. I profoundly regret the comments I made in 2012 and any offence they caused.”

This had also been posted on the Web,

Letter to Jeremy Corbyn urging deselection of shortlisted Holocaust Denier candidate Nasreen Khan

Date: 10 November 2017 at 15:05:57 GMT

To: “jeremy.corbyn.mp@parliament.uk” <jeremy.corbyn.mp@parliament.uk>

Subject: Nasreen Khan/ Naz Kahn
Dear Mr Corbyn,
I write to you with the gravest of concerns regarding one of the shortlisted candidates Nasreen Khan (previously known as Naz Khan/ Naz Kahn) for the Bradford constituency of Little Horton.
In the past, Ms Khan has expressed deeply anti Semitic views and as a Respect activist, and has worked tirelessly to harass and bully at least two local women (apart from me) over a period of 5 years.

In the 2017 General Election, Ms Khan supported Salma Yaqoob against Naz Shah at local hustings. In fact, Ms Khan claimed that Naz Shah’s claims of harassment & bullying were false and that she herself had never experienced any kind of harassment and bullying. That is not surprising in the least given that Ms Khan herself was responsible for the harassment and bullying of many people while she was a member of the Respect Party and the Respect Women’s Officer. This harassment includes online and physical.

In order to give you a small flavour of the kind of harassment that Ms Khan has engaged in against me, here are a few examples; in 2014, I was subjected to a violent attack by Ms Khan at a local swimming pool, which was reported to the local police.

In December of the same year, Ms Khan rang and cancelled an event for child victims of sexual violence that I had organised at the University of Bradford by impersonating me.

She has also harassed other organisations that have been associated with me, including the Birmingham based Amira Foundation both on social media and by contacting them directly.

In previous years, she has been the subject of legal proceedings and was given an injunction preventing her from contacting a vulnerable, elderly woman whose doors and windows were smashed in on the alleged orders of Ms Khan.

Ms Khan has never apologised for her openly anti Semitic views and has only now denounced those views in light of her potential deselection. Her backtracking of her racist and facist- supporting views seems suspiciously and conveniently timed. It would seem that the local party have not conducted the requisite background checks. Had they done so, all of this and more information would have emerged thus negating Ms Khan suitability to stand as a councillor for the Labour Party.

I now urge you to take a decisive step and distance yourself from a candidate who has consistently shown herself to be a racist, a supporter of fascism and a Holocaust denier.

Kind regards
Aisha Ali-Khan.

Comment.

It is up to those with more intimate knowledge of the facts in this case to make a decision, if, as it seems clear, one needs to be made in the light of the controversy.

It is up to that is those responsible for Little Horton Ward in Bradford as a whole, and the national Labour Party to decide, not “Jeremy Corbyn”. The Party leader should not be dragged into this.;

But two things stand out: the backing for George Galloway and, “In the 2017 General Election, Ms Khan supported Salma Yaqoob against Naz Shah at local hustings.”

These facts, with the other background, are preoccupying.

Written by Andrew Coates

November 11, 2017 at 1:40 pm

Moshé Machover, Labour Party Marxists, the ‘CPGB’: Dispelling some Myths.

with 6 comments

This Blog has not the slightest animosity towards Moshé Machover.

But some myths are now becoming established which need dispelling.

As an example we can cite this letter in today’s Weekly Worker. 

Thank you to all the signatories of the open letter in defence of Moshé Machover. You have been part of a successful attempt to rein in the Labour Party hit squad, but much remains to be done. Moshé Machover has been reinstated in the Labour Party following nationwide outrage by party members – over 1,300 individual members signed an open letter deploring his exclusion and many party branches and constituencies passed resolutions calling for his reinstatement.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that the letter he received (in the name of the party, but conceived and written by officials hostile to the Corbyn project) is grudging and petulant. It places all blame on Moshé for behaving in such a way that, in their words, “any reasonable person looking at the evidence available in public … would conclude that you have given support to at least one, if not both, of these organisations over a period of 10 years, including while you were a member of the Labour Party”. We remain of the view that “any reasonable person” would have asked him if that was the case instead of rushing to judgement. There is no hint of apology for accusing Moshé of being an anti-Semite – a hurtful and unwarranted suggestion.

They have the audacity to end their letter: “The party would like to urge you to take a cautionary approach towards any actions which appear to be clear prima facie breach of the party’s rules in order to avoid any future misunderstandings regarding your eligibility for membership of the Labour Party.” This continues a woeful practice of the party staffers insisting they were right, even when they fail to produce any evidence for suspension or exclusion. Many members who have not been found guilty of any misdemeanour have received letters which tell them that they remain under suspicion and are, in effect, ‘bound over to keep the peace’.

The campaign in support of Moshé will continue until there is full redress and the causes of this shambles have been eradicated.

Mike Cushman.

Weekly Worker Letters. 9th of November 2017.

Cushman refers to this, (Jewish Voice for Labour).

After Machover’s reinstatement – moving forward.

Push your CLP to pass motions demanding

  • All the damaging insinuations of antisemitism must be publicly retracted
  • A full apology as requested by Moshé must be published
  • The whole system that allowed this travesty of justice, which has brought the Party into disrepute, must be fully investigated and reformed and those who instigated this damaging course of action held to account
  • All the recent expulsions and suspensions to be reviewed and must be revoked where there is no clear evidence of breach of rule.

There must be no more Labour Party kangaroo courts. The Labour Party should adopt Trade Union best practice on discipline of members. Natural justice: not procedural unfairness based on prejudice. Moshé Machover must be the last to suffer this injustice.

Labour Party Marxists have published this interview:

“Discipline the rascals who are bringing the Labour Party into disrepute”

There is an urgent need to discipline the rascals who are bringing the Labour Party into disrepute with these scurrilous and unfounded accusations. It is a question of disciplining these individuals. This is important, but there are three additional political points.

First, the campaign to counter the ‘weaponisation’ of the charge of ant-Semitism must continue and be stepped up. This cannot be allowed to continue. The ‘achievement’ of the right has been to make it appear to the outside world that Labour is riddled with anti-Semitism. This is calumny on the Labour Party! An outrageous lie!

This must be fought and stopped dead in its tracks. As I wrote in the article back in May last year, “don’t apologise – attack!” (Weekly Worker, May 18, 2016). This vile campaign must be defeated and expunged from the party.

Since this since to be the accepted story on parts of the left it the following in Solidarity is welcome.

Had it not been distributed as a leaflet at this year’s Labour Party conference, Moshe Machover’s article “Anti-Zionism Does Not Equal Anti-Semitism” would have been just another turgid and distasteful article which had found a natural home for itself in the pages of the Weekly Worker.

A longer version of the same article – entitled “Don’t Apologise – Attack” – had been published in Weekly Worker four months earlier. According to that article:

• Anyone who thought that a retweet by Naz Shah MP – which had suggested that Israel (and, presumably, its population) should be relocated to the USA – “was anything but a piece of satire should have their head examined.”
• Jackie Walker “has been suspended for saying that there was not only a Jewish holocaust but also a black African one too.” (Wrong: that was not the reason for her suspension.)
• There was nothing antisemitic about NUS President Malia Bouattia describing Birmingham University as “something of a Zionist outpost”.
• Ken Livingstone was “certainly inaccurate” in having said that Hitler supported Zionism until he went mad. At the same time, “the point he was making was basically correct”.

The inclusion of a shorter version of the article in a “Labour Party Marxists” bulletin distributed at Labour Party conference rescued it from obscurity.

Overnight, Machover’s article became a cause célèbre for left antisemites (and antisemites in general).

Another post, by Bob from Brockley, took apart the case with some care recently.

On Moshe Machover’s Labour Party membership

 This is a significant section,

In my Storify (below), I set out what was wrong with Machover’s article: (a) the dishonest way it deals with historical sources in order to portray “Zionism” (conceived as a monolithic entity) and Nazism as bedfellows, and (b) the conspiracist claim that “The whole campaign of equating opposition to Zionism with antiSemitism has, in fact, been carefully orchestrated with the help of the Israeli government and the far right in the United States.” Marlon Solomon adds more in this thread, but these are the key ones.

The Nazi/Zionist thing. The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism, mentioned in the expulsion letter, states that: “Contemporary examples of antisemitism in public life, the media, schools, the workplace, and in the religious sphere could… include, but are not limited to:… Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.” But that isn’t what Machover did.

David Hirsh points out that

Even the rather hollow Chakrabarti Inquiry report makes clear that Nazi analogies and talk about Hitler in relation to the Israel/Palestine conflict are ‘incendiary’, ‘intended to be incendiary’, ‘bring the Party into disrepute’ and ‘undermine the cause of peace’.

I agree Machover is veering into that territory, but I don’t think Machover is a straightforward case of equating Zionism with Nazism. As the IHRA working definition makes clear, “taking into account the overall context” is vital in determining if a statement like this is antisemitic. I don’t think the IHRA definition is sufficient for ruling this antisemitic.

The conspiracy thing is also in a grey area. It violates the basic principles of anti-racism to say that charges of racism are orchestrated and in bad faith. But Machover avoids explicitly saying that all charges are false, and limits his claim to the supposed campaign of equating anti-Zionism with anti-Jewish racism. He also avoids putting Israel at the centre of the conspiracy: he says “orchestrated with the help of”.

My conclusion, then, is that really there are no clearcut grounds for expelling Machover for antisemitism. But watching out antisemites on social media clamouring for his reinstatement and using the case to push more blatantly antisemitic forms of historical revisionism and conspiracy theory, I cannot, unlike the leader’s office,  feel glad that he is back in the party. In short, the party has probably made the right decision, but Machover is a poor choice for our solidarity.

 This is exactly what he is calling for and more.

“Discipline the rascals who are bringing the Labour Party into disrepute”

The Labour Party Marxists article linked to above Machover  is full of disingenuous arguments

But this stands out:

He complains of the following rule.

A member of the party who joins and/or supports a political organisation other than an official Labour group or other unit of the Labour Party, or supports any candidate that stands against an official Labour candidate … shall automatically be ineligible to be or remain a party member …” (Rule 2.1.4b, Labour Party rulebook).

Machover opines,

First, it does not specify what “political organisation” means. For instance, it is certainly arguable that CND is a political organisation. By the same token, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign is a political organisation. Does membership of these organisations make you ineligible for membership of the party? A “political organisation” is a catch-all phrase, that is crying out for abuse.

Secondly, what does its means to “support”? For instance, when they accused me of supporting the Communist Party of Great Britain and Labour Party Marxists, I was genuinely not able to say yes or no to the charges. They have not defined what ‘support’ means, let alone shown that ‘support’ for these organisations is runs counter to the existing rules.

Certainly, I support some positions that the CPGB stands on. For example, I support the call for all unions to be affiliated to Labour: so does the CPGB. The CPGB has argued this quite forcibly against other groups on the left – and I think they are right!

On other issues, I don’t agree with them. So how can someone be expelled – let alone automatically expelled! – based on something so indefinable and nebulous?

So, we have the twin, totally undefined categories of “political organisation” and “support” as a basis for peoples’ membership of the party.

A third issue is this word “automatically”! A member is expelled without any chance to defend themselves, to answer their accusers or even know who has said what about them. This runs counter to natural justice. The word “automatically” should be deleted, in addition to the phrase “joins and/or supports a political organisation other than an official Labour group or other unit of the Labour Party”.

In his above comments on the “CPGB” Machover again demonstrates an ability to treat facts in a very partial way.

We have to untangle three things.

  • The right of Machover to express his views, which, however  much one may disagree with them, should be met by argument, not administrative measures to suppress them.
  • The broader issue of anti-semitism. As the Weekly Worker publishes another individual, Tony Greenstein, whose anti-Zionism, when he is not denigrating the appearance of his female political opponents,  is extremely virulent, this is a sensitive issue.
  • The CPGB, is it just a body that could be compared to CND and what kind of “support” is is calling for?

The publishers of the Weekly Worker and the ‘inspirers’ of the grandly named Labour Party Marxists are well-known on the left, though apparently not to a new generation of activists.

The full title of the group is the  Communist Party of Great Britain (Provisional Central Committee).

Now the Weekly Worker itself is widely read, and has published many people on the left, including Chris Knight (cited in the Guardian on Corbyn last Saturday The wilderness years: how Labour’s left survived to conquer), Paul Flewers, Toby Abse, and…myself.

It also publishes, as noted above, virulent ‘anti-Zionist’ pieces from this quarter, known as the Monster Raving Greenstein party. Greenstein’s views can be sampled in a pure form on his blog, most recently, “Emily Thornberry – Labour’s Racist Foreign Secretary in Waiting. Thornberry’s support for 2 States equals support for continuing Apartheid. Imperialism in the Guise of Peaceful Progress was always the basis of Labour Support for Empire.” And there are frequent letters from individuals such as Gerry Downing, expelled from Labour for, amongst other things,  his 9/11 conspiracy theories. Downing is well known for his opinions on the international Jewish-Zionist bourgeoisie, and their “vanguard role for the capitalist offensive against the workers.”

The WW organised the Hands off the People of Iran (HOPI) opposed both to Western Intervention in Iran and (unlike the ‘anti-war’ Stop the War Coalition) was against the Islamist regime in power in Tehran. HOPI drew on a wide layer of support in the labour movement, and included personalities such as Peter Thatchell.

There is another side to their activity.

The group was well-known, as a tiny faction with obscure origins,  called The Leninist, during the last years of the real Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB).

It was distinguished for its stunts. The most famous was standing outside the last Congress of the CPGB, which re-branded the majority of the party as  the Democratic Left,  shouting, “No matter how you change the name, you still play the bosses game”.

At the time the group claimed 500 members, a figure which in order to be believed would exhaust the salt mines of  Winsford (1)

It is said on the left that the leaders of the Democratic Left allowed the Leninist to take the CPGB’s title to spite the tendency which was and is the  Communist Party of Britain (CPB), the ‘inspirers’ of the Morning Star.

No doubt the leading cadres of the CPGB (PCC) have their own, different, version of this tale to tell.

Anybody acquainted with members of either current can discover that they are not fond of the CPGB (Provisional Central Committee). This  may explain that whilst the Morning Star was happy to print supportive articles on the Manchover case, they have remained silent on the expulsion of Stan Keable of Labour Party Marxists.

In its activities inside the various alliances, proto-parties, and parties (including Respect and Left Unity) the group, which people estimate at about 20  members, it has been marked by ‘controversy’.

The support generated by the stunt, there is no other word to describe standing outside the Labour Party Conference with such a violently provocative leaflet with Manchover’s article highlighted, is part of a factional manoevre.

It is intended to propel the Labour Party Marxists (previously more widely known as the Labour Party Marxist) into the limelight.

That has been a success.

It is all the more reason for those who oppose Manchover’s specious writings to respond.

******

(1) For this and more information see: The Enemy Within.  The Rise and Fall of the British CP.  Francis BeckettPostscript. Merlin 1992.

Written by Andrew Coates

November 10, 2017 at 12:46 pm

Storm Grows over Rape allegations against Tariq Ramadan as Henda Ayari Speaks out in Le Monde.

with 16 comments

Image result for Henda Ayari

Henda Ayari: for him you are either Veiled or Violated.

Henda Ayari  is one of the women who’ve accused Muslim pundit Tariq Ramadan of rape.

She has just had a ‘Tribune” published in le Monde.

Every woman should find the courage to speak out as I have done.

In anger and in depth, it is an essay of great eloquence.

It calls out for women to speak for justice, against male aggression, and in particular the violence that Islamist males like Ramadan, using their ‘religious authority‘  inflict on women.

Written from the heart and the head, in the clearest of styles, it would take a professional translator to do Ayrai’s text justice.

The link is to only part of the full article, which I read in the print edition of Le Monde yesterday.

Henda Ayari : « Chaque femme doit trouver le courage de prendre la parole comme j’ai osé le faire »

Ramadan is well known in France. So well known I shall not add to this but a Wikipedia link.

He is also an Oxford Don, Guardian columnist and a frequent guest on British television programmes notably Channel Four.

Ramadan was a speaker at the European social forum in 2003 and, no doubt because his books are full of half-baked references to left thinkers and people like Foucault, is considered by some a “progressive” supported by some people who claim to be on the left.

BBC

French prosecutors are investigating allegations by two women who say they were raped by Tariq Ramadan, a renowned Islamic scholar and Oxford professor.

One of them, Henda Ayari, told a French TV interviewer that Mr Ramadan had assaulted her in a Paris hotel in 2012.

“He literally pounced on me like a wild animal,” she said.

In a Facebook post Prof Ramadan denied the accusations, calling them “a campaign of lies”, and said his lawyer was suing the women for “slander”.

Ms Ayari used to wear the Islamic full-face veil but is now a secular feminist activist.

She said the sexual harassment scandal surrounding Hollywood film mogul Harvey Weinstein had emboldened her to accuse Mr Ramadan explicitly.

Many women worldwide have shared accounts of sexual harassment using the Twitter hashtag #MeToo. In France the equivalent is #balancetonporc, meaning “expose your pig”.

Ms Ayari had previously published an account of an alleged assault in a book, without naming the man.

Speaking on BFMTV, she said she had gone to Mr Ramadan’s hotel room to ask him questions about Islam and at the time “I admired him very much”.

Referring to the alleged rape, she said “he kissed me really hard… then for a few seconds he choked me, I really thought I was going to die”.

The second woman – a convert to Islam – has alleged that she was raped by Tariq Ramadan in a hotel in Lyon in 2009.

Mr Ramadan denounced the allegations as “a campaign of slander clearly orchestrated by my long-time adversaries”.

He is a controversial and influential figure among Muslim scholars. He challenges fundamentalist Islam, but some critics accuse him of promoting political Islam.

A Swiss national, he is the grandson of Hassan al-Banna, who founded the Muslim Brotherhood.

Since 2009 he has been professor of contemporary Islamic studies at St Antony’s College, Oxford. He has also sat on a UK Foreign Office advisory group on freedom of religion.

 It became  3 women claiming he raped them.

And now 4

Tariq Ramadan Has His Place in the European Social Forum

Catherine Samary

This open letter was written just before the beginning of the European Social Forum in Paris in November 2003. It was addressed to the Coordination des Associations pour le Droit à l’Avortement et à la Contraception and the Collectif National pour les Droits des Femmes, after they had circulated a petition calling for Tariq Ramadan to be excluded from the ESF. The letter also answers the leaflet produced by the Collectif Féministe pour un Altermondialisme Laïc, which was translated and published by the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty and formed the basis for a resolution by the NUS executive (subsequently overturned) calling for Tariq Ramadan to be removed as a speaker at the 2004 ESF. The author is a leading French feminist and intellectual, and a supporter of the Ligue Communiste Révolutionnaire.

On inequality. The feminist collective tells us: “Tariq Ramadan recognises the equality of men and women before God, but believes in a complementarity – and thus a difference – of the sexes on the social and family level.”

The difference between the sexes is a commonplace idea which includes many variants – within the feminist mileu too! One essential point for us is the independence that women (even believers) can gain through education and work. Yet if Tariq Ramadan recognises that Islam attributes to the man the responsibility for earning the family’s money (the woman having a central role in the management of the family, in Islam as in all traditional cultures), he is at the same time in open debate with the currents who wish to ban women from leaving the home. Islam, he recognises, puts the emphasis on the “right” of women “not to work”. But that does not imply opposing the right (if they so choose) to work! Cf. the Gresh/Ramadan debate, op. cit., where Ramadan says:

“I have had some very vehement debates in Europe with certain representatives of the FIS over the place of women and their interpretation of economic reality: banning women from working, asserting that unemployment was due to the presence of women on the labour market and … presenting the act of sending them back to the home as ‘the’ Islamic remedy provoked a reaction on my part. I criticised without compromise these reductionist and simplistic readings. They … characterised me as a ‘soft or light, westernised Muslim’.”

It is true that he makes explicit his search for religious texts in order to remain within the framework of the Muslim world – but he says he wants to carry out “a coherent and more just adaptation” of these texts starting from an “internal” reflection linked to a study of the evolution of contexts – thus of societies and practices:

“I am thinking about the recognition of the independence of women, their social status, marriage, divorce, etc …”

While he was employed by Ken Livingstone later in that decade  Pitt published a whole series of pieces defending Ramadan on his site, Islamophobia Watch.

In 2004 Ken Livingstone hosted a conference to ‘defend the veil’ which was  addressed by Tariq Ramadan.

It would be interesting to hear the reaction to these charges from those who defended Ramadan so vociferously in the past.

Written by Andrew Coates

November 1, 2017 at 2:37 pm