Clarion, the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty Momentum blog attacks Jackie Walker
Clarion, the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty Momentum blog attacks Jackie Walker
paper is called Solidarity
Chessum, a member of the Steering Committee of Momentum recently wrote a dismally argued article for Clarion, the AWL’s Momentum blog, explaining why he voted to remove Jackie Walker as
Vice-Chair of Momentum. In order that he could justify his vote, he consistently misquoted what she said.
Jackie Walker has been subject a sustained racist witch-hunt by the Zionists and the Jewish Labour Movement – the AWL’s Zionist politics have aided and abetted this witch-hunt
I submitted a reply two days ago and followed
it up with the message below. Needless to
say I have not received a response.
Clarion have printed a response from veteran political activist Pete
Firmin Why Momentum was
wrong to remove Jackie Walker as Vice Chair which takes the AWL to task
but this is no excuse for not carrying anything from Jackie Walker, since she is
in a position to rebut the false allegations and misquotes of Chessum, nor its failure to acknowledge my own submission.
My own response is longer than Pete Firmin’s and it concentrates on some of the central aspects of Chessum’s nonsense, such as his
inability to understand the connection between the Holocaust, anti-Semitism, Zionism and Israel.
There is no excuse with a web journal for excluding
well researched articles, other than a desire to narrow political debate and frame it in terms of their own Zionist ideology.
Below is the the message that I sent to the Clarion yesterday alongside my submission.
now it might just be possible
that none of the editorial board of The Clarion, which describes itself as ‘An unofficial magazine by
Momentum activists’ haven’t checked their inboxes since yesterday. That
would be one explanation for why my email submitting a reply to the article by
Mike Chessum ‘Why I voted to remove Jackie Walker as Momentum’s Vice Chair‘
has not yet received a response. However I think you will agree that that
is most unlikely.
More likely, judging by the
composition of the editorial board, which has at least 3 members of the Alliance
for Workers’ Liberty on it Maria Exall, Sacha Ismail and Jill Mountford, and
probably more that I don’t recognise, the reason is that any critique of the
decision to remove Jackie from Vice Chair of Momentum is also a criticism of
the decision of the AWL and its Steering Committee member, Jill Mountford, to
support Jon Lansman’s witch hunting of Jackie. Thus it might be more
honest and truthful if the subtitle above describing Clarion
were to be amended to say that it is ‘An attempt by the Alliance 4 Workers
Liberty to recruit Momentum activists under false pretences.’
At least then you might be able to reconcile your consciences with what you write on the ‘About’ page of Clarion’s
website when you quote John Milton that “Truth is… a streaming
fountain; if her waters flow not in a perpetual progression, they sicken into a
muddy pool of conformity and tradition”. But after all hypocrisy is the
tribute vice pays to virtue.
I also understand that you have
ignored a similar request by Jackie Walker. It is difficult to know what
you think you will gain by not agreeing instantly to a right of reply.
After all, on the Internet and social media it is easy to post such replies
elsewhere and embarrass you into the bargain. The days when one version
of the truth was the only one that was allowed has, in case you didn’t realise
it, gone forever.
Michael Chessum – formerly a student activist but politically close to the AWL, on Momentum’s Steering Committee and voted to remove Jackie Walker as Vice Chair
Chessum says he had no alternative but to vote to remove Jackie Walker as Vice-Chair
of Momentum’s Steering Committee. On the
contrary, as a socialist he had no alternative but to defend Jackie Walker from
the attacks of the media and the Zionist Jewish Labour Movement [JLM]. Perhaps I should dispose of some red herrings
that Chessum uses to defend voting the
way he did:
Jill Mountford – the AWL member on Momentum’s Steering Committee voted alongside Jon Lansman to remove Jackie Walker as Vice-Chair
I do not believe that his vote was
motivated by an attempt to stitch up factional opponents in order
to protect Lansman and Momentum’s unaccountable leadership.
Nor do I believe that Chessum’s vote is
explained by a ‘Zionist conspiracy’
This is the normal caricature of their opponents argument that AWL and Zionists
Clearly Chessum’s politics are close to
those of AWL as his reasoning demonstrates.
Agreement with AWL’s politics (a ‘sleeper’) has clearly played a part in
his vote. Writing for Clarion, an AWL front magazine, confirms that.
Chessum’s vote was, as he all but admits
a result of pressure from the right and the press.
As he concedes, there is more than a grain of truth in it. Indeed it is more than just a grain. When socialists are under
attack by the bourgeois press, the Labour Right and the Zionist movement, we
defend them. Period.
Jim Murphy used ‘anti-Semitism’ as a weapon to prevent Rhea Wolfson ‘below’ gaining a nomination for the NEC because she was in the ‘anti-Semitic’ Momentum
Rhea Wolfson – new NEC member and Jon Lansman protege – a member of the Jewish Labour Movement and a left-Zionist – clearly AWL are hoping to bring her within their orbit
deliberate leaking to the press of the intention to remove Jackie as Vice-Chair
was clearly approved of by Jon Lansman. It
replicates the methodology of the Compliance Unit against peoples who are
freely admits Momentum leaked to the right-wing press and seems to have no
problem with it. Having stabbed
Livingstone in the back, Lansman had no difficulty in repeating his party trick
with Jackie Walker. That Chessum and
Jill Mountford of the AWL went along with this, when it was in their power to
put a stop to it, is an act of betrayal.
Ken Livingstone, former London Mayor, who said that Hitler supported Zionism. It is a fact that the Zionists in Germany were, by their own admission, the Nazis favourite Jews. AWL support his expulsion.
says, quite disingenuously, that ‘Walker is still on the Steering
Committee [SC], and is being actively defended against expulsion from the
Labour Party.’ He is so naive that he
doesn’t understand that the very act of removing Jackie as Vice-Chair has increased
her chances of being expelled. The fact that the SC
voted to refuse to oppose her suspension is proof enough.
Owen Smith attacked the AWL as ‘anti-Semites’ during his debate against Jeremy
Corbyn, the AWL’s Daniel Randall was forced to admit that the Labour Right were
‘instrumentalising’ i.e. weaponising anti-Semitism in its attacks on the Left. Debate
Between Tony Greenstein & Daniel Randall of the Alliance for Workers
Liberty. An example of this was Jim Murphy’s attempt
to block Rhea Wolfson from standing for the NEC because of her association with
the ‘anti-Semitic’ Momentum.
suggestion that ‘none of Walker’s reported comments have been about Palestine
and Israel.’ is unreal and demonstrates how Chessum has imbibed the crude
Zionist apologetics of the AWL. Jackie
Walker’s comments were about the Holocaust and anti-Semitism, which are
intimately related to Palestine, Zionism and Israel. Anti-Semitism is the first defence of Zionism
when accused of atrocities against the Palestinians.
Jon Lansman, the éminence grise behind leaks to the press which led to Jackie Walker’s removal. Although AWL voted with him they opposed his attempts to do away with the National Committee and a founding conference
Holocaust has been repeatedly used as a justification for Israel’s apartheid
rule over the Palestinians. The
Holocaust is the primary justification for the existence of the Israeli state itself. Menachem Begin, Israel’s Prime Minister,
compared Yassir Arafat during Israel’s siege of Beirut to Hitler in his bunker in
1982. According to Begin the alternative
to Israel’s genocidal war was ‘Auschwitz’. Calling
your political rival a Nazi is a time-hallowed tradition in Israel.
Labour Foreign Minister, Abba Eban told
the UN that “I do not exaggerate when I
say that it [the June 1967 map] has for
us something of a memory of Auschwitz.”
The Green Line border between Israel and the West Bank is referred to in
Israel as the ‘Auschwitz border’.
the 2015 World Zionist Congress that it was the Palestinian Grand Mufti who was
responsible for Hitler’s Final Solution.
As Tom Segev, an Israeli historian explained, the only image of a
Palestinian in Yad Vashem, the Zionists Holocaust museum in Jerusalem ‘(is) a photo featured prominently on a wall
depicting the Mufti sieg heiling a group of Nazi storm troopers’. Its purpose is to ensure that ‘the visitor is left to conclude that there
is much in common between the Nazis’ plan to destroy the Jews and the Arabs’
enmity to Israel.’ [The 7th Million, p.425] The effigy of assassinated Israeli Prime
Minister, Yitzhak Rabin, was dressed in Nazi uniform by his political
Jackie spoke on 12th
September alongside John McDonnell at an LRC fringe meeting at TUC Conference
in Brighton. McDonnell came under severe
criticism in the Jewish
amongst others Jeremy Newmark, Chair of the JLM. This resulted in McDonnell withdrawing from a
JLM rally at which he had been due to speak on 25th September.
Jackie walked into a honey trap
when she attended the JLM ‘training event’ at Labour Party conference. However the remarks she made were not, in anyway,
‘anti-Semitic tropes’ ‘ill-informed’ or ‘a distortion of history’ as Chessum
Chessum repeatedly misquotes
Jackie Walker alleging she said ‘Holocaust Memorial Day should focus on other
genocides as well, or non-Jewish victims of the Holocaust’ In fact she said ‘‘wouldn’t it be wonderful if Holocaust Day were shared by all people who
had experienced genocide’. But even
if she had said what Chessum falsely claims, what is anti-Semitic or offensive
Zionism has consistently reserved
the Holocaust as something unique to the Jews.
To Elie Wiesel to compare the Holocaust with the sufferings of others
was a “betrayal of Jewish history”.
[Wiesel, Against Silence, 146]. According to Prof. Yehuda Bauer Zionism’s
pre-eminent Holocaust historian [The History Teacher, Vol. 26, No. 3. pp.
385-386] the Nazis only attempted to annihilate one people, the Jews: “Roma
were not Jews, therefore there was no need to murder all of them.” To this day
the US Holocaust Museum refuses to include the Roma victims of the Holocaust.
If you go to the HMD web site, and click on Nazi Persecution you will be taken to a
page that says ‘Between 1941 and 1945,
the Nazis attempted to annihilate all of Europe’s Jews.’ There is no mention of the Holocaust
beginning in 1939 with the extermination of the Disabled, the Euthanasia or T-4
program, the Roma/Gypsies or any other victims.
If you click the second
link you will come to a page which begins ‘Singling
out Jews for complete annihilation in the Holocaust was not the full extent of Nazi persecution.’ Although it goes on to mention other groups,
they do this in the context of the ‘persecution
of disabled people and gay people’.
They do not mention that they were exterminated.
Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur are listed underneath Nazi Persecution, it is clear
that these are lesser genocides. There
is no mention of the extermination of 10 million Africans in the Belgian Congo
or the estimated 14 million Africans in the slave trade.
This is why Jackie was
quite correct to say what she did. Michael
Chessum passes judgement over something which he knows nothing about. What he did do was to vote to restrict
freedom of speech in the Labour Party and Momentum to debate these issues,
which is precisely what the Zionist movement wants. In Israel free speech can cost you your
liberty if you are Palestinian in Britain you get defamed and vilified.
Chessum also misquotes
Jackie as saying that ‘‘Jewish schools
may well not need police protection.’
There has however been a deliberate campaign to stoke up Jewish fears of
anti-Semitism in Britain in order to alienate them from British society. The right-wing Zionist ‘charity’, the
Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, has deliberately gone about inflating the
threat of anti-Semitism through the use of bogus, self-selecting polls. The Institute for Jewish Policy Research described
CAA’s poll, which claimed ‘more than
half of all British Jews feel that antisemitism now echoes the 1930s” as
verging into ‘irresponsible territory’. There is no reason to believe that Jewish
schools are under more of a threat than for example Muslim schools.
Again Chessum misquotes
Jackie as saying that ‘there was no definition of
anti-Semitism that she could agree with’ rather that she had
heard no definition of anti-Semitism she could work with at the ‘training
event’. That was a statement of
fact. The JLM ‘trainer’ had been pushing
the EUMC Working Definition of Anti-Semitism which conflates criticism of
Israel with anti-Semitism. It is a discredited definition and in 2013 it was
removed by the Fundamental Rights Agency from its website. EU
drops its ‘working definition’ of anti-Semitism
The recent Home Affairs Select Committee Report, which called for anti-Zionism
to be criminalised, has tried to resurrect the Working Definition in the guise
of a new definition. There are a number
of definitions of anti-Semitism. I
prefer the simple
to Jews as Jews’ or ‘hostility
towards Jews as not Jews’ [Patterns of Prejudice, Vol. 37 No. 2 June 2003].
attended what was supposed to be a training session not ‘a semi-public event’. Jackie Walker not only had the right, but the
duty, to raise such questions since the definition of anti-Semitism is contested.
In Chessum and the AWL’s simple universe there is only ‘left
anti-Semitism’ and ironically they too have been caught up by it! Jackie was not at the event as Momentum
Vice-Chair but as an individual. She was
of course targeted as Momentum’s Vice Chair but it is to the shame of those who
voted to remove her from Vice Chair that Chessum and the AWL chose to go along
with the JLM’s witch-hunt of her.
repeats the Zionist libel, for which Jackie was acquitted, that ‘Jews (including
her ancestors) were the “chief financiers” of the slave trade.’ This is a gross
distortion, ripped out of a private
conversation by the Israel Advocacy Movement. If you read my article in Open Democracy The
lynching of Jackie Walker you will read that Jackie also
said ‘I will never back anti-Semitism but neither am I a Zionist’. She then went on to say, in a subtle and
nuanced discussion, which the AWL’s crude polemic is incapable of understanding,
that ‘many Jews, my ancestors too,
were the chief financiers of the sugar and slave trade… so who are the victims
and what does it mean . We are victims and perpetrators, to some extent
by choice. And having been a victim does not give you a right to be a
perpetrator.’ Chessum has deliberately
missed out ‘many’ suggesting that
Jackie had therefore implied that Jews as a collective were the chief
financiers of the slave trade.
Chessum and the AWL removed
Jackie Walker on the back of false allegations that she had said that ‘Jews were responsible
for the slave trade and an “African holocaust”.
To the Zionists, a Black-Jewish anti-Zionist is unacceptable. Jackie has been in receipt of a torrent of
abusive tweets, most of which question how, as a Black person, she could be
The JLM is not a Jewish
section of the Labour Party. Jewish anti-Zionists
like myself cannot join it. It is the
British wing of the racist Israeli Labour Party, whose leader Isaac Herzog
recently declared that his nightmare was waking up to a Palestinian Prime
Minister in Israel. Who needs the Right when
we have Isaac Herzog? Herzog also recently
declared that he wanted to dispel the false impression that the ILP were ‘Arab
Lovers’ Herzog slammed for remark
about ‘Arab lovers’ Imagine if someone
had said their nightmare was waking up to a Jewish Prime Minister in this
country? Or talked of ‘Jew lovers’? I remember being accused by the NF of being a
‘nigger lover’. This is the real racism
that is the currency of debate in Israel that the AWL and Chessum ignore.
comprehensively misquoted Jackie Walker.
We all make mistakes and the SC made a mistake in giving in to such
pressure. It is incumbent upon them to
reinstate Jackie as Vice-Chair of Momentum with an apology offered for the
stress and distress it has caused her.
Dr Brian Klug, a Fellow of Oxford University observed,
in a lecture (which the Zionists tried to cancel) at the Jewish Museum in
Berlin on the anniversary of Kristallnacht, ‘a label can turn into a libel when it is pinned on the wrong lapel.
Antisemitism has rightly been called a ‘monster’. But
false accusations of antisemitism are monstrous too. For all these reasons and more, the word
matters a great deal.’