Decisive Victory as Labour Against the Witchhunt Meeting Excludes Socialist Fight
Decisive Victory as Labour Against the Witchhunt Meeting Excludes Socialist Fight
Anti-Semitic Group Told They Are Not Welcome
The Independent’s coverage of the LAW meeting, which was extremely inaccurate, led to its cancellation
After publicity in The Independent and the Tory Guido Fawkes blog, the landlord of the pub where we were supposed to meet, the Calthorpe Arms, cancelled the meeting. So we had to quickly book the Union Tavern 5 minutes away. As it happens this was a good thing as so many people turned up to vote out the anti-Semitic Socialist Fight.
Although a few Socialist Fight members left, the room was still packed
A packed meeting of Labour Against the Witchhunt voted by
over 2-1 to exclude Socialist Fight from participating in LAW. Led by Gerry Downing and Ian Donovan, SF has
a theory that the Jewish Question is still relevant today, i.e. that Jews fulfil
a distinctive social or economic or political role under capitalism.
The irony is that the International Jewish Anti-Zionist group here does not support Socialist Fight and it is one of those Jewish groups which are really a Zionist wedge!
What this means concretely is that the allegedly disproportionate number
of rich Jews and billionaires are responsible for the United State’s support
for Israel. In particular that the
relationship between Israel and the United States was such that the latter was ‘servile’ to the former. SF argue that:
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 as NATO allies, 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. It also gives Zionism a social power to persecute
critics of Israel in Western societies not possessed by any other allied state.
Including in the British Labour Party…
There were 2 motions on the floor – one from the Steering Committee and
another from Socialist Fight.
Tony Greenstein and Gerry Downing respectively moved the motions. Tony Greenstein stated that given that we
were fighting a false anti-Semitism witch hunt, the presence of an anti-Semitic
group in our midst was not helpful!
Downing responded that this was caving in to the Zionists and Labour’s
crooked General Secretary, Iain McNicol.
We were joining in with the witchhnters.
Tony Greenstein also drew attention to the interview that Downing had very
recently done with Gilad Atzmon, a notorious anti-Semite who Donovan has
defended as an ‘Israeli dissident’. Downing said that this was no different from
talking to a dotty aunty with reactionary views but it was pointed out that Atzmon
was not a batty relative but someone who had flown to Canada to give evidence in
support of the neo-Nazi Ernst Zundel at a hearing before the Canadian courts.
Jews don’t need to apologise for the role they play in the movement – the only people who take exception to Jewish anti-Zionists are either Zionists or anti-Semites
‘Today, he [Greenstein] and
his bed mate Jack Conrad are in a bloc with the same Iain McNichol who is
framing him up for anti-Semitism. This is class treachery at its most
Below I have included material on both Socialist Fight’s and Gilad Atzmon that demonstrates that both are, without doubt, anti-Semitic.
During the course of the debate Ian Donovan, who is the main
theoretician behind SF’s anti-Semitic orientation denied that SF spoke of Jews as
an ‘oppressor’ people. This was, as
Moshe Machover has pointed out, quite clearly a lie.
Over 60 people attended this all members meeting and some people came
down from as far as Sheffield and Liverpool.
A large number of people spoke in the debate and it went on for nearly
one and a half hours. I chaired the debate and then Jackie Walker took over afterwards.
After SF had been excluded a number of decisions were taken such as to
establish a membership (£5/£10), affiliations (£25 trade union branches) and to
prioritise a number of activities. In
particular we are organising pickets of the National Executive Committee on 23rd
January at Southside, London, a picket of Marc Wadsworth’s hearing before the
National Constitutional Committee on 24th January (venue unknown)
and a picket of Tony Greenstein’s hearing on 26th January. We also have a public meeting on January 29th
at Conway Hall with Ken Loach. We also
agreed a submission to Labour’s Democracy Review.
We also decided to make Professor Moshe Machover, who was auto excluded
then reinstated in the Labour Party in October 2017 our Honorary
President. We also co-opted Sally to the
Steering Committee as being responsible for social media.
Gerry Downing and Gilad Atzmon unite in defence of anti-semitism
Steering Committee motion:
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.
LAW reaffirms its three key demands:
1. That the Labour Party
ends the practice of automatic, instant, expulsion or suspension of Labour
Party members without a hearing, with no right of appeal.
2. That the Labour Party
rejects the International Holocaust Memorial Alliance (IHMA) definition of
anti-Semitism, which conflates anti-Semitism with anti-Zionism and support for
the rights of the Palestinian people.
3. That the Labour Party
immediately abolishes its ‘compliance unit’. Disciplinary decisions should be
taken by elected bodies, not paid officials.
As shown by the September 2017 Labour Party
conference, the formation of Free Speech on Israel and Jewish Voice for Labour,
and by the surge of support which quickly achieved the reinstatement of Moshé
Machover, we believe our campaign is capable of stopping the witchhunt.
Professor Moshe Machover, the veteran Israel anti-Zionist that McNicol was forced to reinstate in the Labour Party, is our new Honorary President
LAW campaigns for the immediate lifting of all
suspensions and expulsions from Labour Party membership which were
with the rightwing witchhunt of Corbyn supporters;
· carried out
“automatically”, without a hearing, without the right of appeal;
· connected to
the ‘anti-Semitism’ smear campaign.
LAW rejects the view, promoted by the Zionist
movement and the Jewish Labour Movement, that anti-Zionism equals
anti-Semitism. Those, such as the Alliance for Workers Liberty, who conflate
anti-Semitism with anti-Zionism and criticism of Israel, are not eligible for
membership. Those who regard Moshé Machover, Tony Greenstein, Jackie Walker or
Ken Livingstone as anti-Semitic or who regret the reinstatement of Moshé
Machover and/or support the expulsion of Ken Livingstone, are not welcome in
However, our support will be weakened if we allow
the campaign to be associated with those who promote views which are
anti-Semitic. LAW condemns anti-Semitism and all forms of racism. Those groups
or individuals, such as Socialist Fight, who promote a form of anti-Semitism,
for example the view that imperialist support for Israel has any connection to
the “overrepresentation” of Jews in the ruling class; or that Jews
are “an oppressor people”; or that Jewish campaigns in support of the
Palestinians such as Jews Against Zionism, Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods or
Jewish Voice for Labour are racist because they operate on the basis of a
supposedly “Jewish moral superiority”, are not welcome in LAW
Socialist Fight Motion
This meeting rejects the motion to expel Socialist
Fight from the LAW and rejects the accusations of anti-Semitism against them.
‘the transformation of the Jewish
Question into its opposite, from a question involving a people that suffered
considerable, and at times enormous and genocidal, oppression in the early
period of imperialist capitalism, to a question involving a people, who,
insofar as they act in a collective manner under a quasi-nationalist leadership
today, act as oppressors of another people, namely Arabs.’
‘a pandering to the nationalism and communalism of an oppressor people,
as Jews have become today insofar as under Zionist leadership they manage to
ID goes on to write that:
‘Jews are the one people in the
imperialist epoch that have comprehensively escaped from systematic oppression
and joined the ranks of oppressor peoples in the imperialist world order.’
is not only an anti-Semitic position, it is a Zionist notion as Sally said from
the floor because what it is saying is that Jews outside Israel constitute one
people i.e. a nation, precisely the position of the Zionists. This is another example of how anti-Semitism and
Zionism are congruent.
‘It is factually
demonstrable that there exists a Jewish component within the ruling classes of
Western countries… 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… into a servile
Jewish anti-Zionist groups are
accused of operating as a 5th column inside Palestine solidarity
groups, whose ‘opposition to Israeli
crimes is suspected to be anti-Semitic unless validated by a special Jewish
are indirectly a transmission belt for Zionist influence into the left, despite
their subjective intentions as anti-Zionists.’
Donovan accuses the CPGB of engaging inthe ‘indulgence of Jewish sensibilities and ‘left’ forms of Jewish
and Conrad circle the wagons Donovan explains the basis of all
this: ‘There is a huge disproportion between the number of Jewish bourgeois in
the US and other Western ruling classes, and the number of Jewish people in
Donovan – An Echo to the Anti-Semitic Gilad Atzmon
ID has long been
a supporter of Gilad Atzmon, the anti-Semitic Jazzman. He therefore picks up on all his themes such
as opposition to Jewish only groups to combat Zionism and his hatred of the Bund,
the mass anti-Zionist Jewish political party that led the Warsaw Ghetto resistance.
In Third-Camp Stalinoids bring Witchhunt into ‘Labour
Against the Witchhunt’ he writes of ‘The CPGB’s bloc with Bundist-influenced Jewish socialists such as Tony
Greenstein and Moshe Machover, who have played initiating or supporting roles
in various Jews-only political campaigns, such as Jews Against Zionism, Jews
for Boycotting Israeli Goods (JBiG) etc, only underlines this philo-semitic,
Indeed throughout his articles
ID has an obsession with attacking the Bund, who the Socialist Zionists
bitterly hated. They were the main
enemies of the Zionists in Czarist Russia and Poland. It is no accident that Donovan and his
mentor, Gilad Atzmon are so hostile to them.
Jewish Moral Superiority
the heading Moral Superiority and Zionist Racism
Donovan writes that ‘This concept of Jewish moral
superiority does not however originate with Greenstein or the CPGB. It is a
general social phenomenon…’ He goes on to explain that ‘it is precisely the concept of Jewish moral
superiority, not crude concepts of racial superiority, that drives that
hegemony.’ It is as if there is some
homogenous Jewish people that all have one particular characteristic. Now it might be possible to make such a
characterisation in reference to the settler Jewish people in Israel, who quite
clearly are an oppressor people, but ID doesn’t confine his remarks to Israel.
In a particularly vile attack on Jewish
groups specifically set up to counter the lie that Zionism speaks for all Jewish
people, Donovan writes:
In the way these groups operate
within the Palestine solidarity movement, they often appear to play a
paternalistic role and actively reinforce, instead of fighting against, the
widespread racist prejudice, based on the notion of Jewish moral superiority to
non-Jews as a result of past suffering, that
opposition to Israeli crimes is suspected to be anti-Semitic unless validated
by a special Jewish endorsement. Greenstein has been involved in creating a
number of Jews-only organisations connected with the Palestine Solidarity
Movement, such as Jews Against Zionism (JAZ) and Jews for Boycotting Israeli
Goods (JBiG). These groups are indirectly a transmission belt for Zionist
influence into the left, despite their subjective intentions as anti-Zionists,
because a widely accepted notion of Jewish moral superiority is a sine-qua-non
of Zionism’s influence and legitimacy in this society.’
This is a lie. No anti-Zionist Jewish group has ever said that
opposition to Israeli crimes is suspected to be anti-Semitic unless ‘validated by a special Jewish endorsement.’ What is noticeable is that he
feels the need to lie in order to align him with the openly anti-Semitic Atzmon.
What we opposed was not so much Atzmon doing gigs but being invited as a
speaker to SWP events or, since these were antiracist events, an open anti-Semite
playing and vocalising at such events.
Yes we criticised the SWP heavily for having anything to do with Atzmon but
this was not a witch hunt, it was an exercise in anti-racism.
That is why in June 2005 Jews Against Zionism
and other Jewish and non-Jewish socialists picketed a Bookmarx talk given by Atzmon
on Otto Weininger, a Jewish fascist in Germany of whom Hitler was reported to
have said that he was the only decent Jew and he went and killed himself.
‘if the Nazis
ran a death factory in Auschwitz-Birkenau, why would the Jewish prisoners join
them at the end of the war? Why didn’t the Jews wait for their Red liberators?
‘I think that
65 years after the liberation of Auschwitz, we must be entitled to start to ask
the necessary questions. We should ask for some conclusive historical evidence
and arguments rather than follow a religious narrative that is sustained by
political pressure and laws. We should strip the holocaust of its Judeo-centric
exceptional status and treat it as an historical chapter that belongs to a
certain time and place’
A good example of Atzmon’s anti-Semitism was when
he cited John Reynolds, Chair of the
Ethical Investment Advisory Group during the financial crash of 2008-9:
Reynolds said that “Above all we need more individuals to make a stand.
The Archbishops of Canterbury and York should go further and call for more
Christians to work in the city.” The Observer 28.9.08.
Atzmon took this to mean that this
was a call to rid the City of Jews:
wonder what Reynolds refers to when calling for more ‘Christians to work in the
City’… By pleading the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to send more Christians
to the City he may try to suggest to us that our financial world must be
spiritually de-Judified. I must admit that it took me by complete surprise to
read such a suggestion in the politically correct Guardian.’
It also came as a complete
surprise to John Reynolds who, once he’d recovered, threatened to sue for
libel. Atzmon therefore issued a ‘Clarification’ and fulsome apology.
‘Clarification: In the course of an article
entitled “Credit Crunch or rather Zio Punch?” I recently made a
comment about Mr John Reynolds, the Chief Executive of Reynolds Partners and
chairman of the Ethical Investment Advisory Group. I suggested that some people
may think that his call in The Observer to send more Christians to the City was
a plea for the financial world to be “spiritually de-Judified”. I
want to make it clear that I did not intend to suggest that Mr Reynolds was
anti-Semitic or in any way hostile to Jewish people or those of the Jewish
faith and I am sorry if my comment was understood by anybody in that way. Mr
Reynolds has asked me to clarify the position and I am happy to do so. I would
like to apologise for any distress caused.’
previously referred to Atzmon’s hatred of the Bund, the General Jewish Workers
Union in Russia, Poland and Lithuania. In the
delightfully named Swindler’s
List Atzmon explained that
believe that instead of robbing Palestinians we should all get together and rob
who is considered to be the rich, the wealthy and the strong in the name of
working class revolution.’
Atzmon, who Donovan describes as an ‘Israeli dissident’ and an anti-Zionist
has come up with the unique formulation of ‘Jewish Marxism’. In Tribal
Marxism for Dummies’ Atzmon explains that
‘While Marxism is a universal paradigm, … Jewish Marxism is basically a
crude utilisation of ‘Marxist-like’ terminology for the sole purpose of the
Jewish tribal cause. It is a Judeo-centric pseudo intellectual setting which
aims at political power.’
In one of a number
of attacks on Moshe Machover, Atzmon explains that
“We are therefore entitled to
assume that Machover’s ‘settler state’ is just another Judeo Marxist spin that
is there to divert the attention from the clear fact that Israel is the Jewish
The lastpeople who referred to Judeo-Marxists
were the Nazis who held that the Jews had given birth to Bolshevism. It is therefore somewhat of a surprise that a
so-called socialist group is now taking to its bosom this vile anti-Semite.
saying that they oppose Zionism and support the Palestinians Donovan
and Socialist Fight directly contradict the statement of Ali Abunimah,
Professor Joseph Masad and Omar Barghouti and other Palestinian activists and
politics rest on one main overriding assertion that serves as springboard for
vicious attacks on anyone who disagrees with his obsession with “Jewishness”.
He claims that all Jewish politics is “tribal,” and essentially, Zionist.
Zionism, to Atzmon, is not a settler-colonial project, but a trans-historical
“Jewish” one, part and parcel of defining one’s self as a Jew. Therefore, he
claims, one cannot self-describe as a Jew and also do work in solidarity with
Palestine, because to identify as a Jew is to be a Zionist. We could not
disagree more. Indeed, we believe Atzmon’s argument is itself Zionist because
it agrees with the ideology of Zionism and Israel that the only way to be a Jew
is to be a Zionist.
that there is no room in this historic and foundational analysis of our
struggle for any attacks on our Jewish allies, Jews, or Judaism; nor denying
the Holocaust; nor allying in any way shape or form with any conspiracy
theories, far-right, orientalist, and racist arguments, associations and
entities. Challenging Zionism, including the illegitimate power of institutions
that support the oppression of Palestinians, and the illegitimate use of Jewish
identities to protect and legitimize oppression, must never become an attack on
Jewish identities, nor the demeaning and denial of Jewish histories in all
regard any attempt to link and adopt antisemitic or racist language, even if it
is within a self-described anti-imperialist and anti-Zionist politics, as
reaffirming and legitimizing Zionism. In addition to its immorality, this
language obscures the fundamental role of imperialism and colonialism in
destroying our homeland, expelling its people, and sustaining the systems and
ideologies of oppression, apartheid and occupation. It leaves one squarely
outside true solidarity with Palestine and its people.
The reality is that SF are a racist throwback to
the early days of the 20th Century when the Social Democratic
Federation and British Socialist Party under Henry Hyndman tried to combine
socialism and racism and ended up forming a British National Socialist Party.