Tony Greenstein | 03 August 2019 | Post Views:

Open Letter to Lloyd Russell-Moyle, MP for Brighton Kemptown and Chair of the Campaign Group of MPs – Why the Silence Over Chris Williamson?

By Refusing to Support Chris Williamson and Oppose his Expulsion You are Complicit in the Campaign to Remove Corbyn

Dear Lloyd,

I am writing to you as co-Chair of the Campaign Group of Labour MPs as well as my own MP.

One of your constituents, David Rodgers was informed by Labour’s Disputes Committee in February that he ‘may have been involved in a breach of Labour Party rules.’

The ‘evidence’ consisted of a Facebook post stating that the BBC was conforming to a Zionist agenda whilst hundreds of unarmed demonstrators were being massacred in Gaza. David also mentioned that the lies of the British press concerning ‘anti-Semitism’ were orchestrated by Tel Aviv’s Ministry of Information

Apparently this is anti-Semitic

As can be seen, the fake anti-Semitism witchhunt is concerned with criticism of Israel not Jews

To most people this would be classed as fair comment, even a statement of the obvious, but in the present atmosphere of intimidation, informing and denunciation he was effectively being accused of anti-Semitism.

David made no mention of Jews. His comments related solely to Israel and Zionism. Yet when any mention is made of Zionism, the ideology that justifies demolishing Palestinian homes to make way for Jewish settlers, Labour’s disciplinary blood hounds smell anti-Semitism, a reaction which is itself anti-Semitic. . What is happening in Labour today is a parody of Arthur Miller’s Crucible yet people like you are afraid to speak out.

I know that you have been a vociferous supporter of the Palestinians and that is appreciated but what you don’t seem to comprehend is that Israel’s behaviour is not some aberration. Israel was founded by the Zionist movement as a Jewish supremacist state in just the same way that Northern Ireland was created as a Protestant supremacist state.

On 25th March David received a letter from the Compliance Unit giving him a formal warning, without any hearing, because he had posted content which was ‘prejudicial and grossly detrimental’ and incompatible with the Code of Conduct on Anti-Semitism. In the day of Joe McCarthy he might have been accused of being UnAmerican.

This ‘finding’ is Kafkaesque. The BBC is clearly following a Zionist agenda. The recent Panorama programme Is Labour Anti-Semitic fronted by the Islamaphobe John Ware is proof of that. The BBC’s pro-Israel bias can no more be doubted than its anti-working class bias. The reference to Israel’s Ministry of Information is factual

Jon Lansman has betrayed a whole series of socialists in his determination to support Apartheid Israel

Because of the adoption of the IHRA misdefinition of anti-Semitism, criticism of the Israeli state is now equated to criticism of Jews. The fact that this contradicts one of the IHRA’s illustrations of anti-Semitism, ‘Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel’

seems to have eluded the heirs of Uncle Joe.

The reason that I am writing to you is that your assistant, Nathan Philips wrote to David stating that ‘this is a party matter, and as an MP’s office we do not get involved in individual cases relating to party disciplinary issues.’

Nathan is wrong. This is not a disciplinary but a political issue. It is about the weaponisation of anti-Semitism to deflect criticism of the Israeli state and also undermine and destabilise Corbyn’s leadership.

The Right have chosen their attack carefully. ‘Anti-Semitism’ is a more palatable and plausible than opposition to nationalisation or austerity. Even Donald Trump has gotten in the act. When telling Black Congresswomen to ‘go back home’ he also attacked them for ‘anti-Semitism’. ‘Anti-Semitism’ is the Right’s signature tune. Those who’ve never taken the slightest interest in opposing racism, from the Daily Mail to Tom Watson, have suddenly become concerned about ‘anti-Semitism’?

Given that you are also co-Chair of the Campaign Group your response is disappointing. What’s happening to David is happening to hundreds of people in the Labour Party.

In 1992 I was one of about 30 people suspended or expelled from the Labour Party. Indeed the whole Brighton and Hove party was suspended not because of ‘anti-Semitism’ but because we opposed the Council’s attempt to implement the poll tax

Under Tony Benn the Campaign Group did more than hold 1 meeting a year

At that time the Campaign Group, led by Tony Benn and Jeremy Corbyn, gave us their support. Corbyn was Secretary of Labour Against the Witchhunt. The NEC Report into Brighton Labour Party was leaked to us by Dennis Skinner. In short the Campaign Group used to do some campaigning.

Today it is difficult to know what if anything the Campaign Group does.

Solidarity with one’s comrades is the bread and butter of socialism. It was the basis on which the labour movement was founded. An injury to one is an injury to all.

We have seen a steady stream of people who have been demonised as a result of the fake ‘anti-Semitism’ campaign: Ken Livingstone, Pete Willsman, Christine Shawcroft, Marc Wadsworth. Even Jewish opponents of Zionism such as Jackie Walker, Glynn Secker and myself have not been immunse.

Chris Williamson is merely the latest victim. Despite the best efforts of Peter Kyle he will be speaking in Brighton next week. Chris has been suspended at the instigation of Tom Watson and Margaret Hodge. His real crime is support for democracy in the Labour Party and opposition to the Witch-hunt. What Chris actually said, when was that the Labour Party had ‘backed off far too much’ in the face of the false allegations of anti-Semitism. He also stated that Labour had done more to combat ‘the scourge of anti-semitismthan any other political party.’ Yet this has been twisted to fit a right-wing Zionist agenda

Laura Pidcock is co-Chair of the Campaign Group – she has given no support to Chris Williamson

The Campaign Group is complicit in this. During this whole period the Campaign Group of MPs, which you and Laura Pidcock chair has remained completely silent.

According to Labour List’s survey 61% of Labour members want Chris Williamson reinstated. So why the hell have you and the rest of the Campaign Group of MPs said nothing? Do you really think that Tom Watson, the man who lost sleep when the High Court removed racist Labour MP Phil Woolas from Parliament for running a campaign designed to ‘make the white folk angry’ is really concerned about anti-Semitism?

Has it never occurred to you that the real target of this fake anti-Semitism campaign is not Chris Williamson but Jeremy Corbyn? If the Campaign Group of MPs continues its silence then what purpose does the group serve

How the 18th century Tom Watsons fought racism

Like the Salem witchhunt of the 18th century, denial of being a witch or anti-Semite is taken as proof of one’s guilt. Of course there may be a tiny handful of anti-Semites in the Labour Party, just as there may be a few paedophiles. However does anyone seriously suggest Labour has a paedophile problem?

I can only imagine what Tony Benn would have said about this timidity. The time has come when you and others in the Campaign Group should throw off your fear and speak out.

In solidarity

Tony Greenstein

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Tony Greenstein

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