Support the JC8 for Labour’s NEC – Why I Cannot Support Jon Lansman
Support the JC8 for Labour’s NEC – Why I Cannot Support Jon Lansman
A Vote for Jon Lansman is a Vote for the Right
The time has come to remove this man to prevent him doing more damage to Corbyn and the Left
Although I do not have a vote in
Labour’s NEC elections, as a well known blogger I have been asked numerous times
who I would recommend that people should vote for in the elections for Labour’s
NEC. My response has always been that people should vote for the full JC9
slate, Lansman included.
My doubts over the wisdom of such
advice grew when Lansman, without any consultation or democratic vote, even on Momentum’s
National Co-ordinating Group, removed Pete Willsman from the agreed left slate
after false accusations of anti-Semitism. Willman’s ‘offence’ had been to ask for evidence
of Labour ‘anti-Semitism’.
The ‘Officers Group’ of Momentum’s
NCG voted 4-3 to dump Willsman. Only the ex-left Owen Jones has publicly backed
Lansman. The time has come when Momentum’s dictator needs to be confronted. As Matt
it Lansman has ‘bottled it’.
I don’t recall Lansman opposing disciplinary
proceedings against Jackie Walker, Marc Wadsworth or me. On the contrary he
played a large part in Jackie’s suspension, attacked Marc and followed up my
expulsion with expulsion from Momentum too courtesy of a panel consisting of Sam
Tarry and Caroline Turner.
Nonetheless I advised people that a
vote for Lansman was preferable to seeing a creature like Luke Akehurst, who
the massacre of unarmed demonstrators in Gaza, back on the NEC.
In recent days there has been an
upsurge in the false antisemitism attacks on Corbyn. People like Jackie Walker,
Marc and me were always collateral damage. The real target was always Corbyn even
if he and McDonnell didn’t always realise it. Journalists and no doubt their researchers
in the Israeli Embassy groups have been doing their best to unearth ‘evidence’ of
Corbyn and McDonnell’s previous support for the Palestinians. The Jewish
Chronicle and the Tory
press have focussed on McDonnell’s description of Israel’s attack on Gaza
as genocidal and on ‘exposing’
the link between him and the LRC in the wake of Pete Willsman’s attack on Zionist
support for Trump.
Lansman has no shame about appearing on the platform of a group that has supported every Israeli war on the Palestinians and which works closely with the Israeli Embassy
The pretext for the attack on Corbyn has
been Labour’s definition of anti-Semitism. It is very easy to define anti-Semitism,
it takes 6 words in the Oxford
English Dictionary: ‘hostility to or
prejudice against Jews.’ However if you want to conflate anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism
then this is obviously not sufficient. Hence why the International
Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism is so important to the Zionists. It is 500+
words and of its 11 ‘illustrations’ of anti-Semitism, no less than 7 concern Israel.
Jennie Formby, Labour’s General
Secretary drew up an Anti-Semitism Code of Conduct which contained 9 of the 11
illustrations of the IHRA. which incidentally are not part of the actual 38 word definition. The Zionists have objected
vigorously because this Code of Conduct doesn’t contain all the illustrations.
The Zionists are not even trying to
hide their intentions. In the words
of Stephen Pollard, Editor of the Jewish Chronicle, the problem is that ‘Labour has excised the parts which relate to
Israel and how criticism of Israel can be antisemitic.’
What was Lansman’s reaction?
Initially in the Guardian of 12th July, Lansman defended Labour’s Anti-Semitism
Code of Conduct. Labour’s
antisemitism code is the gold standard for political parties. Lansman argued that the illustration of ‘anti-Semitism’
which stated that ‘Denying the
Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the
existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.’ would prevent
Palestinians’ right to criticise Israel’s racism. Lansman even criticised the Zionist
organisations themselves recalling that when it came to fighting genuine anti-Semitism
in the 1930’s they were absent. He
It cannot possibly be antisemitic to point out that
some of the key policies of the Israeli state, observed since its founding
days, have an effect that discriminates on the basis of race and ethnicity.
Lansman argued that Labour’s code was
‘essential to ensuring that people are
able to make legitimate criticisms of Israel, while prohibiting comments that
discriminate against Jewish people…’
Lansman went on to say that
‘If legitimate criticism of Israel were to be
curbed, that would infringe on the rights of other oppressed groups, who have
suffered at the hands of discriminatory Israeli state policies. The
Palestinians have experienced decades of occupation, gross human rights
violations, and war crimes. The Bedouins have had their homes destroyed, the
latest example being the demolition of Khan
al-Ahmar. And ethnic minorities within Israel have been treated
appallingly, such as the Sudanese and Eritrean refugees who have been detained
and deported, and questions over the treatment of Ethiopian women, including
allegations they were given birth control without their consent.
just been in Israel… Those I met, Jewish as well as Palestinian citizens of
Israel, spoke about racist state policies, not just in relation to the
occupation and settlements, but also within Israel itself – the segregation of
housing, education, employment, and systematic economic disadvantage. The
Palestinian minority within Israel is as entitled as Jews in Britain to define
the discrimination they have experienced as racism. Such criticisms cannot, and
must not, be silenced.
Lansman concluded that:
cannot be right that one vaguely worded subset of one IHRA example can deny
other oppressed groups their right to speak about their own oppression…..
In essence Lansman rejected the idea that it is anti-Semitic to say that Israel
is a racist state. He went on to make a thinly veiled attack on the Board of
Deputies of British Jews, which always opposed any confrontation with fascist
groups and genuine anti-Semites.
regret that for some Jewish communal organisations, the IHRA wording is so
sacrosanct… It does beg the question whether these organisations, which claim
to speak for the diverse Jewish community, do speak for the 75% of British Jews who say “the expansion of settlements on the West
Bank is a major obstacle to peace”, or for the 61% who, in the same survey,
backed pursuing peace with the Palestinians as one of their top three
priorities for Israeli government policy, the top priority of British Jews.
went on to rub salt in the wounds by drawing attention to the fact that ‘these organisations,… failed to come out
against the Blackshirts marching through Cable Street’ and doubted that ‘those that welcomed the presidency of
Donald Trump have the credibility to criticise a political party’s robust,
thorough and far-reaching code of conduct.’
A point that was made by Pete Willsman. Yet what is the situation
now? According to the latest issue of
‘Jon Lansman has for weeks
been lobbying Labour’s leadership to adopt the international definition of
anti-Semitism with all its examples. Sources close to the Momentum founder told Jewish News that he
“regretted” the fact Jeremy Corbyn’s Guardian article “lacked a firm
commitment” to include all 11 examples in the party’s code of conduct.’
Lansman has pointedly refused to disown this article.The justification for Lansman betrayal of Labour’s commitment to the
Palestinians, despite the overwhelming support of Momentum members is that
‘Like many other leading party members close
to the leadership, he recognises the necessity of agreeing that definition in
order to be able to begin to rebuild trust with the Jewish community, whatever
concerns we may have about the application of some examples.”
Lansman is now maneuvering to isolate Corbyn on this. It is yet another betrayal in the life of
this multi-millionaire property developer who also owns Momentum. It is should
also be his last betrayal. Lansman is effectively seeking to sell out the Corbyn
leadership in the interests of the Israeli state. It places Lansman irrevocably
on the Right and that is why he cannot be supported.
Couple this with Lansman’s appearance at a Jewish Labour Movement Rally on
2nd September and it is clear that Lansman has sold the pass on Palestine,
the most important international issue since the days of apartheid in South
Africa. The JLM is the representative of the Israeli state inside the Labour
Lansman is taking the side of supporters of Israeli apartheid on the
grounds that they are Jewish. Even if British Jews do support Israel and do
identify with Israel so what? Supposing
that there had been a large body of White people in this country who had
supported Apartheid in South Africa, would we have cowtowed to them? British Jews who support the Israeli state
are reactionaries who should not be
supported. That is not anti-Semitism it is anti-racism.
Lansman’s support for Israel is a disgusting mixture of racism, anti-Semitism
and ethnocentrism. Lansman has forfeited the support of the Left and attention must
now be turned to building an alternative left organisation in the Labour Party. Momentum nationally is no longer a force on
which supporters of Jeremy Corbyn can rely.
The time is coming when Lansman will play the part of Brutus and wield
the knife against Corbyn just as he helped in the assassination of Ken
Livingstone. The ambitious Lansman, who
tried to become Labour General Secretary, is now an avatar for the Right.