Smith Did the Israel Lobby’s Dirty Work Targeting a Black Opponent of Israeli Apartheid with a Series of Zionist Lies
It was only in August that I wrote a blog Focus on the Corrupt GMB with an emphasis on General Secretary, Gary Smith. Smith is unfortunately in a long line of right-wing misogynists, racists and general reactionaries to hold the post.
On 16 May 2022 Smith took time out of his busy schedule selling out his members, to write a letter to the Regional Secretary of South Wales TUC, calling for Lowkey, the well known Black anti-racist to be cancelled at the forthcoming Tolpuddle Festival in July.
This is of course understandable. Lowkey has been one of the foremost advocates for the Palestinians and opponents of Zionism, whose project in Israel is now led by open fascists.
You might think that the GMB had better things to do than support the Zionist lobby’s witchhunting of a Black anti-racist rapper. However you would be wrong. The GMB under Gary Smith takes a particular pride in being a symbol of racism, sexism and militarism in the trade union movement. Politically it is bankrupt.
In August 2020 the GMB was found, by a Report that it was forced to commission, to be institutionally sexist. It found, paragraph 3 that:
The immediate trigger for the investigation was the receipt of an undated letter addressed to Barbara Plant, the President of the GMB. The letter contained allegations of a “serious sexual assault (rape)”, drug use and sexually predatory behaviour, by a senior man within the GMB.
The letter also alleged that a number of named people were aware of the incident (the alleged rape) and those included senior members of staff.
Karen Monaghan QC, who wrote the report, hinted very strongly that the union was also institutionally racist. At paragraph 115, although strictly beyond her terms of reference, Monaghan observed that:
I was also contacted by a number of people from Black and minority ethnic groups. They recognised that this investigation is concerned with sexual harassment but wanted to draw to my attention the very real and serious problems that exist for members and employees from Black and minority ethnic groups. Having read written communications and spoken to some who contacted me, I am satisfied that the GMB is not a comfortable place to be for many employees and members from Black and minority ethnic groups.
The unnamed ‘senior man’ within the GMB is believed to be Tim Roache, the former General Secretary and as vicious a right-winger as Gary Smith. Roache resigned abruptly in April 2020, just 5 months after having been ‘reelected’ and at the same time as Monaghan began her investigation.
Despite these damning findings, Labour List asked, in April 1921, ‘Has anything changed in the GMB after the report on institutional sexism?’ It went on to inform readers that
A number of staffers have reached out to LabourList to tell us they believe things are “worse”, not better.
LabourList can reveal today that a group of women working at the GMB have lodged a formal dispute with the organisation, as they say the grievances of female staffers are not being heard fairly.
Who is responsible for the implementation of the Report if not the General Secretary, Gary Smith. However I understand that Smith too is currently under investigation for sexual harassment and he might therefore not be best suited to take this forward.
However this has not stopped Smith, an ardent Starmerite from launching a McCarthyist attack on Lowkey on behalf of the Apartheid State’s lobby in this country.
Gary Smith’s Lying Letter
Lowkey has been a dedicated fighter against racism and oppression, in particular Zionism and Israeli apartheid. It was this last which motivated Smith. The ‘anti-Semitism’ that Lowkey was accused of is of the kind that got Chris Williamson suspended, in other words a deliberate distortion of what Lowkey actually said. Indeed it is far worse than what happened to Chris Williamson
Smith’s letter was full of lies and innuendo. Smith had ‘severe doubts about the suitability of Mr Dennis (Lowkey) as a performer at the TUC’s Tolpuddle Festival. Smith gave 3 reasons:
Lie No. 1 Lowkey had ‘promoted conspiracy theories’ that Israel had plotted to promote conflict between Ukraine and Russia.
What Lowkey has done is to highlight Israeli arms shipments to Ukraine’s neo-Nazi Azov battalion. Highly embarrassing to the Zionists but anti-Semitic? If this is anti-Semitism then presumably the article in Ha’aretz Rights Groups Demand Israel Stop Arming neo-Nazis in Ukraine is also anti-Semitic. Ha’aretz noted that:
In the past, Israel has armed anti-Semitic regimes, such as the generals’ regime in Argentina, which murdered thousands of Jews in camps while its soldiers stood in watchtowers guarding the abducted prisoners with their Uzi submachine guns.
According to a freedom of information petition to Israel’s defense ministry from last January, Israel also armed Bolivia’s military regimes, knowing that Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie was part of the regime.… Barbie’s death squads used Israeli Uzis….
The Azov militia was established in Ukraine following the Russian invasion of the Crimean peninsula in 2014. The militia’s emblems are well-known national socialist ones. Its members use the Nazi salute and carry swastikas and SS insignias.
Moreover, some of them openly admit they have neo-Nazi sentiments and that they are Holocaust deniers. One militia member said in an interview that he was fighting Russia since Putin was a Jew. An Azov sergeant said that he was a national socialist, although he was not in favor of genocide, and as long as minorities in Ukraine did not demand special rights he would have no problem with them.
Lie No. 2 Lowkey ‘had appeared recently alongside the disgraced figures of Chris Williamson and David Miller on Iranian state television.’
What you might ask is anti-Semitic about that? Many people have appeared on Press TV e.g. Jeremy Corbyn. That should not be taken as support for the regime. Smith has appeared on the BBC which has a far bloodier record for condoning western war crimes.
Lie No. 3 Lowkey’s third ‘crime’ was having given voice to ‘9/11 conspiracy theories.’
Even if he had supported 9/11 conspiracy theories it would not be anti-Semitic. But Smith lied again.
What Lowkey did do was to adapt Adrian Mitchell’s poem ‘To Whom It May Concern (Tell Me Lies About Vietnam) and in it mention Building 7, which was not hit by the planes in 9/11 but nonetheless collapsed. It was even published in 2009 on Stop the War Committee’s website.
Why this should be construed as anti-Semitic. But when you’re desperate to defend an apartheid regime which tortures and sexually molests children, which executes journalists and which openly refuses to recognise that Palestinians have any rights, then of course ‘anti-Semitism’ is all you have got left.
It is no surprise that Gary Smith has become the Zionists’ errand boy. The GMB is to the fore in the trade union movement in demanding an expansion of the War Budget so that even more billions are taken away from the NHS and social security and ploughed into Trident.
Smith’s letter was pretty thin gruel compared to the expense-paid dinners that Gary Smith consumes. Any semi-literate and politically aware TUC bureaucrat would have chucked this in the bin.
Not however Kevin Rowan, who has spent most of his working life at the TUC, first as Northern Secretary for 10 years and since April 2013 as Head of Services. From University to TUC bureaucrat.
On 17 September 2022, in response to a query from a member of Brighton and Hove Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Kevin Rowan of the TUC wrote:
Following the invitation to Lowkey to perform at Tolpuddle, comments he made regarding the religious heritage of President Zelensky were brough to our attention [he doesn’t say who by!]. Those statements are not congruent with the TUC’s opposition to anti-Semitism.
Well of course, if Lowkey had attacked or criticised Zelensky because he was Jewish then that would be anti-Semitic. But it was just another lie. It’s almost as if today’s Zionists get special training in a school for liars, but then again why bother when there are so many gullible fools like Rowan and Smith around?
There is no foundation to this allegation. Rowan is the TUC’s Head of Learning and one might have hoped that before opening his big mouth he might have taken the trouble to find out the facts.
In fact, when Russia invaded Ukraine last February, using the excuse that it was ‘de-Nazifying’ Ukraine media pundit after media pundit rushed to assure us that there were no Nazis in Ukraine. Their refrain was ‘Zelensky himself is Jewish.’
Media pundits like the BBC’s Ros Atkins repeatedly emphasised Zelensky’s Jewishness. Above is a series of clips from different media pundits, each emphasising Zelensky’s Jewishness in order that they could kosher the rag tag neo-Nazi militias that had been integrated both into Ukraine’s army and its state structures.
What was Lowkey’s ‘anti-Semitic’ response? Did he blame the conflict between NATO/Ukraine and Russia on Zelensky being Jewish? Not at all. He merely stated that Zelensky’s Jewishness was irrelevant to whether neo-Nazis were operating, with western support, in Ukraine. How is this in any way anti-Semitic?
The Union of Jewish Students however was determined to run with these lies. Responding to a tweet by LBC’s far-right Political Editor, Theo Usherwood, they claimed that poor little fragile Jewish students would be put under intolerable stress if they had to listen to a Black man perform songs that might upset their racist souls.
‘How are Jewish students supposed to feel included in the wider student movement when NUS chooses this figure to perform?’
Unfortunately, as with UJS’s targeting of NUS’s Black President Shaima Dallai, who was sacked, NUS caved in again.
Instead of having the courage to tell UJS to fuck off back to their Apartheid Laager, NUS cancelled Lowkey. In other words White students claiming to be oppressed take precedence over Black students who are oppressed.
The Union of Jewish Students is one of the last bastions of ‘left’ Zionism in Britain. Except that there is nothing left about it. The only role that ‘left’ Zionists have today is in koshering their neo-Nazi counterparts in Israel because the Labour Zionists are almost completely eliminated from the Knesset.
UJS has embedded in its constitution support for Zionism and the Israeli state. It is affiliated to the settlement funding, land thieving World Zionist Organisation. Clause 2.1.1. of its Constitution states that one of its Objects is
inspiring Jewish students to make an enduring commitment to their Jewish identity, Israel, and the community.’
UJS is funded by the Israeli state. If anything NUS should register it as a foreign agent and treat it accordingly.
On 18 September I sent an email, as Secretary of my Unite Branch, to Nigel Costley who is Regional Secretary for South-West TUC, which includes Tolpuddle. I concluded my letter by saying:
Lowkey is a well-known Black anti-racist performer. To no platform a Black person at the behest of the supporters of apartheid, could be construed by some as an act of racism in itself.
I should add that I have met Lowkey on a number of occasions and I have never experienced anything in the way of anti-Semitism. I am myself Jewish and probably a better judge of what is anti-Semitic than Gary Smith or indeed you, so I would welcome clarification of what Lowkey is alleged to have said and not just hearsay or rumours.
Referring to Rowan’s letter I asked, given the allegations of anti-Semitism, ‘I would like to know exactly what these comments were.’ Of course Costley is another TUC bureaucrat. The idea of answering to ordinary union members or justifying their actions is something alien. Given his inability to provide any answers he responded:
If you were at this year’s festival you will have heard music supporting Palestine, stalls, a discussion session for solidarity with Palestine and supporting comments from the main stage.
The festival has a proud record of such support.
We are not, however, going to debate which musicians did or did not appear on the programme.
It was of course no answer. It is irrelevant which other musicians appeared. The whole point of solidarity with the oppressed is to defy the demands of racists not to accede to them. When it comes to standing up to Zionist racism the TUC is a wet blanket.
The background to this is that Gary Smith and the GMB are as thick as thieves with the Jewish Labour Movement, which works closely with UJS. The JLM proudly declares that it is the ‘sister party’ of the ethnic cleansing Israeli Labor Party. 2022 has been the most deadly for Palestinians since 2005 yet it is the one year in the last 20 that the Israeli Labor Party has been in a governing coalition.
It is the year when Shireen Abu-Akleh, the Al Jazeera Journalist was executed by the Israeli military, as all independent investigations (CNN, Forensic Architecture, B’Tselem, NYT) have shown. It has been a year when all Palestinian human rights organisations were banned. It has been the year of unbridled violence by Israeli settlers in the West Bank, the burning of crops, the demolition of homes and the murder of over 60 Palestinian children. Yet throughout all this the JLM has been silent and complicit. Yet these are the racists that Gary Smith embraces.
Gary Smith and the GMB purport to support the Palestinians yet when the Zionists cry ‘anti-Semitism’ Smith has jumps to his fee and does their bidding. If Smith had any shame then an apology would be due to Lowkey for defaming him.
Unfortunately most trade union leaders are a parasitic caste living a good life at the expense of their members. Not for them the average wage of a worker.
Last year UJS and the Board of Deputies tried to cancel Ken Loach, the world famous film producer who 25 years ago produced a play Perdition telling the truth about the Kasztner Affair in Israel. For 4 long years (1954-8) the Israeli state was convulsed by the Kasztner trial which led to the downfall of Israel’s second government.
Kasztner was the leader of Hungarian Zionism and he made a deal with Adolf Eichmann – ‘allow me to save 600 leading Zionists on a train out of Hungary and we will help you round up the remainder of Hungary’s half a million Jews.’ That was it in a nutshell and it therefore meant suppressing the Auschwitz Protocols which 2 escapees from Auschwitz had brought to Slovakia and had written down their experiences of Auschwitz.
Not surprisingly UJS termed referring to historical facts about Zionist Collaboration with the Nazis as ‘anti-Semitic’. The JLM made similar accusations about Ken Livingstone who referred to the Nazis supporting Zionism.
Zionism today doesn’t like to be reminded of its crimes during the holocaust such as when they actively opposed the rescue of Jews to destinations other than Palestine, as my recent book Zionism During the Holocaust explains.
Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Lowkey is a Patron of Palestine Solidarity Campaign but you would hardly know it. Apart from having signed a petition in his support PSC seems to have done absolutely nothing to fightback against the continued witch-hunting of people like Lowkey and Shahd Abusalama. It is about time that Ben Jamal, PSC’s Director who is reputedly on £50,000 a year, started defending activists in this country rather than trying to appease the trade union right.
The GMB is affiliated to PSC. It has policy in support of Boycott Divestment and Sanctions. It has also done absolutely nothing to implement this policy. It is dead in the water. But for the price of an affiliation PSC has refused to criticise Gary Smith or the GMB.
One wonders when the docile sheep who make up PSC’s membership might find their bark and demand action from an organisation that seems to be concerned more with building its own organisation than building solidarity with the Palestinians.
Meanwhile back in Brighton and Hove Unite SE/6246 branch has passed a motion condemning the TUC’s cowardice in the face of the Zionist accusations of ‘anti-Semitism’ and Brighton and Hove District Trades Union Council has passed policy on condemning their banning of Lowkey and instructed the Secretary to write to the TUC demanding no further recurrence.
It would obviously be good if other trade union branches and trades councils could do likewise.