Tony Greenstein | 26 January 2017 | Post Views:

B&H Momentum Votes to Oppose the Witch-hunt and for Labour to Break all links
with Labour Friends of Israel

After Jon Lansman’s coup against democracy a couple
of weeks ago [Lansman’s
Kitchen Coup Against Momentum’s Membership
] members of Brighton and Hove Momentum
had the chance to give their views on what had happened. 

Momentum’s self-appointed dictator

It wasn’t so long ago that Momentum’s Steering Committee cancelled the November meeting of the National Committee, the very body that
had elected tit.  At
the December NC Lansman’s faction, despite appointing a host of ‘delegates’
from non-existent organisations, narrowly lost the vote on OMOV – one member
one vote. 

A packed Friends Meeting House

If one is to believe him and in the light of subsequent
events it’s very difficult to do so, the involvement of all 21,000 Momentum
members in  decision making and voting on policy was a matter of principle for Jon
Lansman.  When Lansman lost the vote at the
NC then there was a veritable propaganda barrage in the Guardian and
on-line.  It was all the fault of those
Trots in the Alliance 4 Workers Liberty. 
All 100 of them were, according to Owen Jones, hijacking Momentum’s
democracy.  It was a war of the
generations with Jon Lansman, who is not exactly a spring chicken, defending
the rights of the teens and tweenies in Momentum’s ranks. 

Before Xmas Lansman and the anonymous ‘Team Momentum’ had
gone to the trouble of surveying the views of the membership.  Did people want everyone to vote or would they allow those nasty sectarian Trots to be allowed to destroy Momentum through
hijacking a delegate system in which only they could vote?  (it wasn’t quite worded like this but you get
the message).  Unsurprisingly most people
voted against sin and for god, mother and apple pie.  

Being an untrustworthy soul and smelling a rat I wrote a post Jon
Lansman’s Xmas Punch Could Sucker Corbyn
and then felt guilty afterwards
for not trusting Jon Lansman’s better nature. 
After all he (or the ubiquitous Team Momentum) had wished everyone Happy
Xmas and New Year and I was deliberately misinterpreting the most noble and
selfless of motives as if Lansman was a latter-day version of Dickens’ Mr Gradgrind with a touch of Mr Micawber.  

Labour Friends of Israel Chair Joan Ryan MP asking about funding for an MPs trip and to Israel

It must therefore have come as quite a surprise to people
when Father Xmas Lansman presented as his gift to Momentum members a hefty
Constitution, which not a soul had been allowed to see beforehand.  No doubt it was because he didn’t want to
spoil the surprise.  He wanted us to savour that look of delight when small children open their present
for the first time. 

However when he gave the Steering Committee the first look
at his Xmas present it was certainly a surprise, albeit not not an altogether welcome
one.  The Committee (which was not
allowed to meet  – it was all done online)
was presented with a take it or leave it Constitution which not a soul had seen
beforehand.  By 6-4 the Steering
Committee voted to abolish not only itself but the body which had elected it,
the NC and for good measure the Conference Arrangements Committee too.  

Surprisingly for someone who had indicated that he
considered the rights of the membership to vote a principle worthy of going to
the stake for, there was no OMOV vote. 
Instead there was a highly centralised Constitution in which there will be a 28
member National Co-ordinating Group. 
Only 12 of the places will be taken by the members with councillors,
MPs, Police commissioners even, taking up the rest, alongside 6 trade

The NCG will only meet 4 times a year and in practice will
have even less control over Lansman and ‘Team Momentum’ than the existing Steering
Committee does today.  Unsurprisingly,
tonight’s Brighton and Hove members meeting passed a resolution (see below)
rejecting these proposals. 

Brighton and Hove Momentum’s Steering Committee had
unanimously agreed upon a resolution to put to the meeting.  I proposed the resolution and after discussion it was
passed by 33-4 votes with 3 abstentions. 
I quoted the famous Bertolt Brecht poem “Die
(The Solution) concerning the East German workers’ uprising of 1953. 
It was most appropriate to the situation we are in:

Bertolt Brecht

After the uprising of the 17th of June
The Secretary of the Writers’ Union
Had leaflets distributed in the Stalinallee
Stating that the people
Had forfeited the confidence of the government
And could win it back only
By redoubled efforts. Would it not be easier
In that case for the government
To dissolve the people
And elect another? 

After this we discussed three motions – on Anti-Semitism and
the Witch-hunt, the NHS and Gender Quotes. 
The latter motion, which proposed abolishing them, was heavily
defeated.  I abstained on this primarily
because although I agree with the sentiments I wasn’t enamoured of the
arguments made or how they were presented.  The motion on the NHS passed
overwhelmingly.  The only debate was on
the anti-Semitism witch-hunt.  As a
suspended member of the Labour Party and a Jewish anti-Zionist who had been
suspended for ‘anti-Semitism’ I moved the motion.  Many people had already seen the programmes
by Al Jazeera  about the destabilisation
of the Labour Party by Israeli agents with a million pounds being given to Labour
Friends of Israel in order that MPs could visit Israel for a propaganda tour and no doubt other nefarious purposes.
As Colonial Secretary, Churchill had a better grasp on the meaning of Zionism than the Alliance 4 Workers Liberty
Mark Sandell, the previously elected Chairperson of Brighton
and Hove Labour Party, a member of the Alliance for Workers
Liberty, a pro-Zionist and pro-imperialist group, got up to oppose the
motion.  He supported the expulsion of
Ken Livingstone for saying that Hitler supported Zionism.  Even if Livingstone was wrong, he wasn’t anti-Semitic.  Among Black people in London Livingstone is almost revered for his opposition throughout his period as Mayor and Leader of the GLC before that for his opposition to racism.
In fact he was basically correct – it is a fact that the Nazi government
did support the Zionist movement vs the non-Zionist majority of the German Jewish
community.  A cursory reading of say Francis Nicosia’s Zionism and Anti-Semitism in Nazi Germany or Lucy Dawidowcz’s War Against the Jews, both Zionist historians, would confirm that fact.
Joan Ryan MP is delighted that she has got a lot of dosh – attacks on this Israeli state subsidised body are ‘anti-semitic’ according to the AWL
At one point Mark asserted
that supporters of the motion were talking about a ‘Jewish conspiracy’ –
seemingly unable to understand that opposition to an Apartheid state has
nothing to do with anti-Semitism.  Becky Massey,
a member of the Steering Committee and a member of the previously disbanded Executive as well as the newly elected Chair of her ward
stood up to make a really excellent speech rebutting the Zionist nonsense of
the AWL.  She made it clear that we
oppose things like the demolition of an Arab village in order to make way for a
Jewish town for the same reason we opposed similar things in Apartheid South Africa.  The AWL, which  refused to call for the withdrawal of British
troops from Iraq and supported Partition in Ireland, has a history of support
for western imperialism.  
Joan Ryan is so happy at having got £1m for her slush fund that she cracks a joke
The meeting voted
28-6 with 10 abstentions to support the motion. 
We were then faced with the choice of which motion to send to the
forthcoming Momentum national policy making conference and a vote was taken
after two short speeches.  The meeting
voted by 28-18 with some abstentions to send the motion on Anti-Semitism and
the Witch-hunt to conference and thus support all those who are suspended because
of bogus allegations of anti-Semitism.  The motion also called for links to Labour
Friends of Israel to be broken.
The meeting then broke up into 3 constituency meetings so
that people could ensure that there were enough people willing to stand for
places on the Executives of the three constituency Labour Parties.  After Labour’s NEC under Ann Black suspended Brighton
and Hove Labour Party on July 4th last year, because the Right had
lost the elections, a decision was subsequently taken to break the district
party, comprising all 3 Brighton and Hove constituencies, into its component
I counted at one stage 57 people in what was a good natured
and lively meeting.  We also voted to
send 8 delegates to Momentum’s conference, 4 men and 4 women.
on Current Situation

We condemn the attempt by Jon Lansman and the
majority of the Steering Committee to abolish the National Committee and the
Conference Arrangements Committee, which was elected at the December NC
It is not possible for the Steering Committee,
which was elected by the NC, to abolish the very body which elected it.  
We do not recognise the newly-announced ‘Constitution’ imposed by way of an email.  It has no validity. We note that the Steering
Committee, let alone the National Committee, was not even given an opportunity to discuss this proposed
4.       We particularly condemn the fact that those who
refuse to accept an imposed, undemocratic Constitution, will be deemed to have
resigned from Momentum.
5.       6.      
We wish to give full support to the elected
National and Conference Arrangement Committees.  We urge that a national delegate conference
open to all Momentum groups and oppressed groups be convened as a matter of
urgency and ask that in the meantime a bank account etc. be opened by the NC in
order that the necessary financial arrangements can be made.
We call on other Momentum groups and oppressed
groups to boycott the proposed conference that Jon Lansman and the Steering
Committee majority are organising.  It
will be undemocratic and will not discuss policy, the new ‘constitution’ or motions.  Likewise we urge members to boycott elections
to the new National Co-ordinating Group. 
The NCG has no political, moral or legal validity.
We urge that Jon Lansman and the Steering
Committee majority to place all Momentum data in the hands of the Steering
Committee and warn them that any ‘change in use’ of that data will be illegal
under the Data Protection Act 1998.
We hope that the Steering Committee rethinks its
decisions as to the agreed Conference as it has clearly led to widespread anger and confusion amongst Momentum activists, including calls for a split.
Anti-Semitism and the Witch-hunt – Motion for Momentum Conference
Conference believes:
That there has
been a systematic and concerted attempt to destabilise the Labour Party with
false allegations of anti-Semitism. 
That the sudden
upsurge in anti-Semitism in the Labour Party when Corbyn became leader was a
fiction created and sustained by a well organised campaign by both the
Israel lobby and pro-Israel supporters within the Labour Party. 
The Labour Party
has been the target of black propaganda or psyops by the Israeli embassy.  Corbyn was himself initially targeted as an
anti-Semite by the Daily Mail and Guardian. 
We note the recent
Al Jazeera programmes ‘The Lobby’ which revealed the involvement of the Israeli
Embassy and its Senior Political Officer, Shai Masot, in destabilising the
Labour Party.  We note Masot’s close links
with Labour Friends of Israel, including his attempts to create a new Young LFI.  We also note the links between the Jewish
Labour Movement and the Israeli Embassy. 
We propose:
That those
suspended as a result of the bogus allegations of anti-Semitism, in particular
Jackie Walker, Ken Livingstone and Tony Greenstein, are reinstated
immediately.  That no one should remain
suspended unless there is clear and convincing prima facie evidence of racism and they should be notified of such
evidence immediately in line with the recommendations of the Chakrabarti
Report, which to date has been ignored. 
Further that the new Momentum Committee takes up the witch hunt as an
immediate priority.
That an inquiry
is set up into the background of both the wave of suspensions last summer and the
false anti-Semitism campaign in the Labour Party with particular regard to the allegations
against Oxford University Labour Club, the incidents at the Chakrabarti press
conference and the participation of two Labour members in the flawed Home
Affairs Select Committee report which attacked Corbyn, Chakrabarti and others.
That it is
unacceptable that an affiliated socialist society should be the British wing of
an overseas party, the Israeli Labour Party.  We note that the JLM is an affiliate of the
World Zionist Organisation, an openly racist organisation.  We demand that the JLM be disaffiliated and
that a genuine Jewish section of the Labour Party, which is not Zionist, to
which all Jewish members can belong, is established.

That the Labour
Party cuts its ties with Labour Friends of Israel, which operates as an
extension of the Israeli Embassy inside the Labour Party.  It is unacceptable that an Israeli state
lobby should operate inside the Labour Party. 
The Al Jazeera revelations clearly show that Friends of Israel groups
are an extension of the Israeli Embassy.

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Tony Greenstein

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