Labour activists to picket party’s Jew-hate hearings
LABOUR ACTIVISTS suspended from the party over allegations of antisemitism have revealed that they plan to protest outside the disciplinary hearings of fellow members fighting charges of Jew-hatred.
The decision was taken at a meeting last Saturday of the group known as Labour Against the Witchhunt (LAW), which says it defends supporters of Jeremy Corbyn who have been “expelled or suspended on bogus charges of antisemitism”.
LAW plans to picket three meetings in the coming weeks, including cases due to be heard by Labour’s national constitution committee.
Among the hearings is the investigation into Marc Wadsworth, who was suspended from the party in July 2016 after verbally abusing Ruth Smeeth, a Jewish MP, at the launch of the Chakrabarti report into antisemitism.
His case is expected to be heard on January 24, the day after a Labour national executive committee meeting, and the day before a hearing into the conduct of Tony Greenstein, a Jewish anti-Zionist suspended for writing offensive blogs about Louise Ellman, another Jewish
Tony Greenstein and Jackie Walker
At the meeting LAW members debated “the conflation of anti-Zionism with antisemitism” and whether suggesting the United States is “servile” to Israel counted as being antisemitic.
They also decided to bar supporters of the Socialist Fight group from their ranks.
Mr Greenstein, who chaired the meeting, wrote on his blog that the session had lasted around 90 minutes and featured activists who had travelled to London from Sheffield and Liverpool to take part.
Jackie Walker, who was suspended from Labour twice in 2016 for comments in which she referred to Jews as the “chief financiers of the slave trade” and for remarks she made about Holocaust Memorial Day, also chaired part of the session.
The meeting had been preceded by an argument last week over LAW’s intention to suspend some members accused of antisemitism but not others.
Gerry Downing, a Trotskyite who was suspended from Labour for a second time in March 2016 because his website carried anti-Zionist conspiracy theories, was said to be one figure due to be thrown out of LAW. In response, he reportedly attempted to organise a second meeting at the same venue, on the same day, using a splinter group with the name Reject Bogus Left Antisemitism (RBLA). But that was apparently thwarted after the landlord of the pub cancelled the booking for both groups.
LAW’s meeting took place in a different pub near King’s Cross station. One activist who attended Saturday’s meeting, and apparently sides with Mr Downing, wrote on Facebook that the LAW group was “morally bankrupt and will die a natural death. Any person within this group will not be safe, as the group are willing to compromise on the values that they claim to stand for and will ultimately use these undemocratic tactics again in the future”. When it was launched last year, LAW demanded Labour end its suspensions of members and reject the International Holocaust Memorial Alliance’s definition of antisemitism which has been adopted by the government and backed by Jeremy Corbyn and the party leadership. Moshe Machover, the veteran Israeli anti-Zionist whose expulsion from Labour was rescinded last October, will serve as LAW’s honorary president. He was reinstated by the party despite concerns over an article he wrote that was published in a Marxist newsletter.