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

Labour MP.

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.


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