Open Letter to Colin Piper, Chair of Brighton Kemptown CLP
Open Letter to Colin Piper, Chair of Brighton Kemptown CLP
Open Letter to Colin Piper, Chair of Brighton Kemptown CLP
What is stopping you speaking out against the attack on freedom of speech and democracy by Starmer & Evans?
In 2015 Brighton Kemptown CLP was fully supportive of the Corbyn insurgency. Colin Piper, who is now Chair of the CLP, was an active participant in Momentum. In 2019 he was backed by Momentum as a candidate in the local elections in Queens Park.
Since then he has become Chair of the CLP and adopted the ‘anti-Semitism’ narrative which holds that support for the Palestinians and criticism of Zionism is ‘anti-Semitic’. He berates Paddy O’Keeffe, who has now been suspended twice, for his criticism of Israel. He asks why criticise Israel when there are so many other examples of human rights abuse, singling out India and China, as examples.
Colin is old enough to remember the campaign against Apartheid in South Africa. This was the constant refrain of Apartheid’s supporters. They pointed to human rights abuses in neighbouring Black countries forgetting that there was an interrelationship between the two.
So it is that someone who was once a socialist, indeed on the far-left and a candidate for the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition in 2015, has ended up a parrot in the service of Starmer and Rayner.
Contrary to the institutionalised stupidity that Colin displays, Israel is unique. Not only in claiming the mantle of the holocaust as justification for its atrocities, but in the role it plays as a surrogate of the USA. In the Middle East it is the US’s watchdog and has formed alliances with the most repressive states in that region.
But it’s not just in the Middle East that Israel’s baleful influence is felt. It is the largest weapons supplier to India, the very example that Piper uses in Israel’s defence. India’s occupation of Kashmir under the murderously racist regime of Narendra Modi is indeed shocking. But Israel is integrally involved in supporting India’s occupation of Kashmir with weapons and training for the India forces.
One of the ironies of Israel’s close alliance with the India of the BJP and Narendra Modi is the pro-Nazi roots of the BJP. This is part of the reason for the popularity today of Mein Kampf which is a bestseller among India’s nationalists.
It’s not only India. Israel played a crucial role in Latin America from the 1970’s in supporting a whole range of murderous and fascist regimes from Chile’s Pinochet to Argentina’s Junta. A junta which tortured and murdered up to 3,000 Jews. Despite Jews being less than 1% of Argentina’s population they made up to 12% of those who ‘disappeared’. It was a neo-Nazi regime but that didn’t bother the Zionist regime which never once raised the question of the Junta’s anti-Semitism. Today Israel is supplying weapons to the neo-Nazi Azov battalion in Ukraine which should cause people like Colin to ask some questions. This is what the Jewish state has become.
But when you become like Colin a renegade from socialism and a loyal servant of the Labour Party’s apparatchiks you stop asking questions such as who was behind the ‘anti-Semitism’ wars. Instead you turn on principled socialists like Paddy instead.
Open Letter to Colin Piper
As you wrote in your email to Paddy O’Keeffe earlier this year, this is a letter that I didn’t want to write. But on the other hand, if I didn’t write it and just let your betrayal of comrades to pass in silence, I would feel even more guilty.
As you must be aware, there is a massive witchhunt taking place in the Labour Party alongside a wholescale attack on free speech. It is led by Keir Starmer and his unelected glove puppet David Evans. In previous years you would have been part of the fightback.
Over 100 CLPs up and down the country have passed resolutions demanding the restoration of the Whip to Jeremy Corbyn and/or expressing no confidence in Starmer and Evans. Indeed 230 CLPs, well over a third, have written to Starmer protesting at his Inquisition.
Just last week 7 members of the Labour Party, 4 of whom are Jewish, filed a legal action against the Labour Party. They included Diane Neslen, an 81 year old Jew. As JVL wrote:
In September 2018, five months after the sudden death of her husband and while undergoing cancer treatment, she received a reminder of conduct from the Labour Party detailing eleven ‘offences’ she had committed. All were social media postings related to Israel’s policies and conduct.
Diana wasn’t the only Jewish victim of the bastards at Labour Party HQ. Others suspended include 82 year old Professor Jonathan Rosenhead, 83 year old Michael Ellman and a sprightly 68 year old Mike Howard, a former councillor from Hastings and Rye. Today’s Jewish Chronicle has an article calling for the expulsion of JVL.
None of this prevented Evans and Labour’s regional mafia from doing their best to prevent discussion of motions on the pretext of ensuring the safety of Jews! Even the most obtuse Starmer supporter should be able to work it out that Jews have become instrumentalised in the war Starmer and Evans are waging against their opponents. Some with more finely attuned antennae might think that this is anti-Semitic.
I am puzzled therefore at the silence of Brighton Kemptown CLP, of which you are the Chair. I look forward to hearing your explanation, other than old-fashioned political cowardice?
In 2015 you were a council candidate for the far-left Trade Union and Socialist Coalition in Queens Park. I also stood for Council alongside TUSC. Unlike you I haven’t taken the road to the right since then.
I first met you in meetings of Brighton & Hove Momentum in 2016. At that time there was no indication of your present politics. In 2018 you were a Council candidate for Queens Park, losing to the Greens.
Paddy O’Keeffe, a member of Queens Park Labour Party, has been suspended for the second time in as many years. The allegations relate to false allegations of ‘anti-Semitism’. The same allegations that were leveled against Paddy previously have been regurgitated.
As Chair of the CLP I would expect you to be to the fore in defending Paddy. Yet it would seem that you are supporting Paddy’s racist attackers and defamers.
I don’t know whether or not you or your associates have had a direct input in these bogus complaints. What I do know is that you and Sim Elliot, who is also a member in Queens Park, made wholly unfounded allegations of ‘anti-Semitism’ against Paddy.
I have known Paddy for over a decade. Paddy has been a long-standing campaigner against war and racism. The suggestions that you made in your email of 21st January that Paddy was somehow ‘unconsciously’ anti-Semitic is poppycock as well as insulting.
You made a number of unfounded assertions which I previously wrote to you about. I am always interested in what makes non-Jews with no previous interest in racism such experts on anti-Semitism.
You asserted that ‘a cartoon on Facebook showing the Star of David dripping blood on to a pile of dead babies’ was anti-Semitic because the Star of David is a symbol of Judaism. The Star of David was a symbol of Judaism but the Zionist movement stole it in order to cloak its movement in a religious mantle. For Palestinians the Star of David is what the Swastika is to Jews.
Just this week a 15 year old boy Ali Abu Alia, who was was murdered by Israel’s army. A bullet was fired into his stomach. Live fire is never used against Jewish demonstrators. That is one reason why Israel is an apartheid state. Over 50 children were murdered by snipers when demonstrating at the Gaza fence. In 2014 551 children were murdered in the attack on Gaza. The cartoon is clearly accurate.
It would however seem that you are more concerned with cartoons depicting Israel’s bloodletting than the actual bloodletting. If I was you I would concentrate less on unconscious racism than your own, very conscious, racism.
You also said that you ‘have Jewish blood in me’when berating Paddy for being a ‘serial offender.’ Some might say that the concept of ‘Jewish blood’ was itself anti-Semitic. I would be interested in knowing how ‘Jewish blood’ differs from its non-Jewish counterpart since even the Nazis couldn’t find the missing ingredients!
You took except to Paddy’s claim that Israel is the world’s only apartheid state.
‘If only that were true’ you wrote before asking ‘Why does it seem that some on the left judge Israel by different standards than the rest of the world?’
Ah, the IHRA’s double-standards! Perhaps it is because Israel is the only full fledged Apartheid state in the world. That is not my opinion but that of Ha’aretz, when commenting on a court decision that the Jewish Nation State Law meant that the ‘Jewish’ city of Carmiel should not have to fund the travel expenses of Arab children going to school because that might encourage more Arabs to move to Carmiel. As Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu explained
“Israel is not a state of all its citizens. According to the basic nationality law we passed, Israel is the nation state of the Jewish people – and only it.
Why do you have such difficulty with what is such a simple concept? On the West Bank there isn’t even formal equality under the law. There two systems of law – one for Jews and another for Palestinians.
In your email you say that ‘As I write this millions of Indian Muslims are protesting the racist Citizenship (amendment) Act 2019.’ Whataboutery but it is true. India is becoming an Apartheid state. And who are their partners? Hindu nationalists model themselves on Israel.
The BJP which now rules India was formed by the RSS which idolises Israel. The founders of the RSS also idolised another ethno-nationalist state, Nazi Germany. As Wikpedia observes:
During World War II, the RSS leaders admired Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini. Golwalkar [their leader] allegedly took inspiration from Adolf Hitler’s ideology of racial purity. This did not imply any antipathy towards Jews. The RSS leaders were supportive of the formation of Jewish State of Israel.”
Not that there is anything unique in the admiration of anti-Semites for Israel. From Donald Trump to Steve Bannon and Richard Spencer, the neo-Nazi founder of the alt-Right, the far-Right admires Israel as an ethno nationalist state. Viktor Orban, the Hungarian Prime Minister combines admiration for Hungary’s war-time pro-Nazi leader Admiral Horthy (an exceptional statesman) with visceral anti-Semitism and a warm relationship with Netanyahu. Tommy Robinson too declares he is a Zionist.
‘Israel’s right-wing government sees the illiberal nationalist leaders of Poland and Hungary as natural allies. They share a hostility toward human rights, Enlightenment values, and the European Union.’
So your point about why we don’t criticise India for its treatment of Kashmir is fatuous. Or have you forgotten that it was Keir Starmer who unilaterally tore up Labour policy on support for Kashmiri self-determination? Kashmir is India’s Palestine.
There is an alliance between Zionism and Hindu nationalists in this and other countries. Gideon Falter of the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism was reported in the Milli Gazette, as attending a meeting in 2018 at the House of Commons at the invitation of Tory MP Bob Blackman, ‘the rabidly pro-Hindutva Tory MP from Harrow East’, and a patron of the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism.
Just as the IHRA has been used by Zionists to attack supporters of the Palestinians so ‘Hinduphobia’ is being weaponised against opponents of the military occupation of Kashmir and the pogroms against Muslims, Dalits and other minorities in India. The ‘logic’ behind the false accusations of ‘anti-Semitism’ and ‘hinduphobia’ is that if you oppose racist ethno nationalism it is because you oppose them as Jews or Hindus not because of what they do.
Israel and India have an extremely close political relationship. If you want to learn more then I suggest you read my article on the alliance between Israel, Zionism and Hindu nationalism.
Your examples, rather than proving Paddy O’Keeffe is anti-Semitic prove the opposite. I just hope that instead of imbibing the racism of Starmer and his supporters you will support motions calling on the terrible 2 to quit and for the whip to be restored to Jeremy Corbyn.
Email sent to Paddy O’Keeffe by Colin Piper
From: COLIN PIPER
Date: 21/01/2020 17:29 (GMT+00:00) To: Paddy O’Keeffe Subject: Anti-Semitism and other stuff
Your post on WhatsApp regarding the Board of Deputies 10 Pledges has prompted me to write this letter that I have been putting off for weeks. Putting off because I don’t want to write it and because I have things I would rather be doing.
The last 10 years of my life have been dealing with the issue of unconscious bias. In my case I was concerned to address why so few girls study physics in England, but I illustrated and explained the problem by exploring attitudes to race.
The first task was to prove to my audience that they did indeed have biases they denied or were unaware of, that was easy. The next thing was to explain that such biases didn’t make you a bad person, and finally my task was to suggest changes in behaviour that could ameliorate or remove the effects of such biases.
‘What has all this got to do with the Board of Deputies?’ I here you ask.
You posted a cartoon on Facebook showing the Star of David dripping blood on to a pile of dead babies. The Star of David is the symbol of Judaism, it is the thing Jewish people wear around their necks to identify themselves as Jewish. Your cartoon is therefore saying that Jews are responsible for the murder of children. How you cannot see that this is anti-Semitic is frankly a mystery to me, but it is.
The reason for my rather long preamble is to try and explain that you don’t have to be a holocaust denier or global Jewish conspiracy theorist to act in an anti-Semitic way. You don’t even have to wish ill on a single Jewish person. Behaving in a way that offends Jews merely involves failing to take account of their feelings when you act. I believe that you did that, and I think that you are a serial offender.
You are also not the only one. A meme was posted on the Brighton Kemptown Labour Party Facebook group recently that said, “Critics of Israel and Jews are justified” (my emphasis). Maybe it’s because I come from North London and, like most cockney’s, have Jewish blood in me, but I simply cannot understand how anyone can post such a thing. Just reading it makes my blood run cold.
There are more subtle examples too. I repeatedly see the claim that “Israel is the world’s only apartheid state”. If only that were true! As I write this millions of Indian Muslims are protesting the racist Citizenship (amendment) Act 2019. China is holding up to a million Uighur Muslims in internment camps where they are being ‘re-educated’. The annexing of part of Kashmir by India prompted just one post on the Brighton Kemptown Facebook page, less than the average daily number of posts about Israel and Palestine. Why is there this difference in emphasis? Why does it seem that some on the left judge Israel by different standards than the rest of the world? I am not certain of the answers to these questions, but I do believe that unconscious bias plays a part and can understand why some Jewish observers find it offensive.
And yet you and the person responsible for the meme above and the person who tweeted that we should ‘march on a synagogue’ and the rest, all vehemently and loudly deny any wrongdoing, “there’s no anti-Semitism in the Labour Party” we are repeatedly told.
Of course, the issue of anti-Semitism has been politicised by the establishment and the right wing, of course the media has massively exaggerated the problems in the Labour Party whilst ignoring the much larger problems in the Tories, of course the intervention by the Chief Rabbi was disgraceful. But the question remains, why has the accusation of anti-Semitism stuck while the accusations of terrorist sympathiser, foreign spy and IRA supporter failed?
The answer is that for a lie to be believable it must have some truth in it. Why does it seem that some on the left judge Israel by different standards than the rest of the world? I am not certain of the answers to these questions, but I do believe that unconscious bias plays a part and can understand why some Jewish observers find it offensive.
This letter makes me very sad Paddy. I have always liked and respected you in the past but I’m afraid your disgraceful threat of a law suit against Sim at the height of an election campaign that saw some of us out every night for weeks in the rain and freezing cold, together with your posting of a cartoon that I found deeply disturbing and offensive, have led me to lose that affection and trust.
I very much hope that we can find a way to regain the mutual respect and affection we once had.
Diana Neslen(age 81) is a General Committee delegate to Ilford South CLP.
She is an Orthodox Jew. She rejoined the Labour party in 2015 following the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader and is a member of Jewish Voice for Labour. She has been a long time Palestinian and antiracist activist. In September 2018, five months after the sudden death of her husband and while undergoing cancer treatment, she received a reminder of conduct from the Labour Party detailing eleven ‘offences’ she had committed. All were social media postings related to Israel’s policies and conduct.
There was no indication anywhere as to the identity of the complainants or the definition of antisemitism the Party was applying, and some of the postings predated her Labour party membership. Although she contacted the Party to discover the nature of the ‘offences’, she received no response.
In May 2020, while shielding alone, she received a notice of investigation from an anonymous employee of the Labour party detailing seven items that required investigation for antisemitism. The complainants were again anonymous and the definition not based on the published code.
Although she has made contact with the party to request further information and later on to explain the proper context in which what she said must be understood, they have at no time had the courtesy to reply. It is chilling that the Labour party feels emboldened to accuse a Jewish woman of antisemitism on the basis of a hidden definition, and by its unfair processes expose the truth of the EHRC findings about its unjust complaints process.
Jonathan Rosenhead (age 82) is Chair of Hoxton West branch and serves on the Executive of Hackney South and Shoreditch CLP.
He first joined the Labour Party in 1962, and was a Labour Parliamentary candidate in 1966; he rejoined the party in 2015. His Notice of Investigation served in May 2020 cited as evidence i) a speech at the February CLP meeting nominating Jo Bird for the NEC, in which his mention of her well known ‘Jew-process’ joke was allegedly a disciplinary offence; ii) words which were incorrectly asserted to be part of his verbal evidence as a witness at Ken Livingstone’s disciplinary hearing in 2017; and iii) an article he had written in Open Democracy in October 2017 describing the launch meeting of Jewish Voice for Labour (but which of the 3000 words were problematic was not specified). His conduct is being judged on the basis of an unpublished version of the code.
Michael Ellman (age 83) is Auditor of Junction Ward branch of Islington North CLP.
He is a practising Jew. He joined the Labour Party in 1980, re-joined in 2015, and is a solicitor and former Vice-President of FIDH (International Federation for Human Rights), who has fought for human rights and against racism all his life. He proposed a motion in August 2020 to an internal branch meeting to reconsider the IHRA definition of antisemitism because it might stifle legitimate political debate, and substitute the Oxford English Dictionary definition, which was leaked to the Press by an unknown person and he was immediately suspended from the Party for conduct grossly prejudicial to the Party following a complaint by an unknown person.
Mike Howard (age 68) Member of Hastings & Rye CLP.
Active Labour Party member for over thirty-five years, holding office in six CLP’s during this time. Twice elected Hastings Borough Councillor. Retired (former office-holding) Unison life member. Unite Community, JVL and PSC. He is a Jewish, lifelong anti-racist whose family escaped the murderous pogroms in pre-war Russia/Poland and fought the fascists in their East London neighbourhood. Mike has suffered real anti-semitism, and finds it completely unacceptable that Labour Party HQ, knowing that he is Jewish, has not responded to his solicitors’ request to drop an anonymous complainant’s accusations of anti-semitism against him which is based on the process the EHRC found was unfair and based on a code the Party will not publish.
John Davies (age 66) Former Chair, St Michael’s Branch, Liverpool Riverside CLP.
Member since 2015. He is accused of 7 instances of hostility or prejudice based on race or religion. The instances are mostly re-posts of material posted by others, including a former Israeli minister and a Palestinian doctor, and the charges are based on definitions of antisemitism in a version of an antisemitism code of conduct that the Labour Party will not publish. Mr Davies has been an active anti-racist all his life, and denies all the charges.
Colin O Driscoll (age 60) Vice Chair Labour International CLP (Labour Party’s International Section).
First joined the Labour Party in 1978, rejoined in 2015 (pre-Corbyn). He is accused on the basis of social media posts of ]various instances of misconduct. The complaint was made some time before May 2020, by a person or persons unknown. The charges were laid in 2020 as part of an express expulsion procedure. He strongly denies the charges, which again are based on an antisemitism code of conduct that the Labour Party will not publish.
Chris Wallis (age 71) Vice Chair Hazel Grove CLP (near Stockport) .
Member since 2015 (pre-Corbyn). He is accused of 5 instances of conduct prejudicial or grossly detrimental to the party relating to racism, and in particular antisemitism. The complaint was made in December 2019 by persons unknown, but the charges were not laid till June 2020, and only then after he had requested an update from the Party as he was about to be Acting Chair of his CLP. He rejects the charges absolutely, which again are based on a version of an antisemitism code of conduct that the Labour Party will not publish.