Labour leaders challenged over ‘anti-Semitism’ AGAIN – but will the accusers accept the facts?

It is being reported – this example was in The Independent – that Labour MPs are to give their leaders an ultimatum at their Monday meeting: Show that they have addressed accusations of anti-Semitism that dogged the party over the last few years.

It is possible that general secretary Jennie Formby could face calls for her resignation amid claims that she had staked her job on being able to resolve the issue by Christmas last year.

Personally, I’m not sure about that. I seem to recall Tom Watson saying that she should be given until Christmas to get to grips with it, which isn’t the same. But then, the “anti-Semitism” debate is riddled with instances in which false accusers have made inaccurate claims about what’s been said in the past.

Public opinion – apart from that of a few witch-hunters – seems firmly on the side of Jeremy Corbyn and Ms Formby. A rumour is already circulating that the ultimatum is being timed to coincide with a planned split from the party by hard right-wingers (don’t call them centrists) who have been threatening to clear off and start their own party for many months.

The aim, it seems, would be to undermine support for Labour in order to attract voters to the new party:

Would it succeed? Meh… History shows that a Labour Party which sticks to its core principles of supporting the poor and vulnerable against exploitation by the rich and powerful will endure against attacks from people of privilege – even if those people are squatting within the party.

More interesting, perhaps, is the question of whether there is any case to answer. “Cremant Communarde”, on Twitter, wrote a thread about this last week, going into the history of claims against Labour – starting before Mr Corbyn became leader, that is worth quoting here:

Now, there‘s a lady who knows a lot about storming out of the Labour Party! She’s done it many times, it seems.

Actually, let’s pause the thread there, because here’s Israeli historian Profession Avi Shlaim, Emeritus Professor of International Relations at the University of Oxford and fellow of the British Academy, to tell us neither Ms Shah nor Mr Livingstone said anything remotely anti-Semitic, despite the furore that surrounded them:

I stood up for Ken Livingstone – and made the point that the image tweeted by Ms Shah was not in itself anti-Semitic – and was accused of anti-Semitism as a result. I proved these accusations false by myself but it’s good to have such learned corroboration.

Back to “Cremant Communarde”:

That’s an awful lot of pre-Corbyn anti-Semitism accusations, reported in the newspapers with Mr Corbyn’s face all over them.

Ever get the feeling you’re being misled?

Anti-Semitism in the Labour Party has fallen since Jeremy Corbyn became leader. Don’t take my word for it – take it from pro-Tory polling organisation YouGov.

Labour has taken firm action in suspending and expelling many members who have been correctly accused of anti-Semitism…

But the party has made mistakes as well. Right-wingers keen on isolating Mr Corbyn (it seems to me) have used the controversy to accuse and expel people who are innocent of any wrong-doing – like myself.

I was accused, and my membership suspended, by the party in May 2017. An investigation followed that failed to follow Labour Party rules, and Labour’s NEC narrowly voted to reinstate me if I underwent some form of retraining by the Jewish Labour Movement – an organisation which had recently framed Jackie Walker as an anti-Semite at a training session. I declined.

Details of the (faked) case against me were then leaked to The Sunday Times, which published a smear piece about me in February last year. Copycat articles appeared in several other papers. I complained to press regulator IPSO about all of them and all have now published corrections. That’s right – I beat all the allegations.

My case came back before the Labour Party – this time the NCC, which handles disciplinary cases – in November last year, and it was a kangaroo court. After I conclusively proved in my evidence that the charges against me were false, the panel found against me because, apparently, the case wasn’t about whether I was an anti-Semite or not; it was about the fact that somebody had complained that I had written something that upset them. Labour has refused to say who this person was. As far as I am concerned, no such person ever existed.

It seems clear, therefore, that malcontents who have embedded themselves in the Labour hierarchy are using the anti-Semitism controversy for their own political ends – removing people they don’t like.

This cannot go on.

It is impossible to appeal against a decision by Labour’s NCC – no matter how corrupt it may be.

But I can take the party to court.

You see, Labour’s case against me – over articles I wrote in 2016 and 2017 – relies on rules that only appeared in the party’s rule book for 2018. Those rules are not retrospective and may not be applied to my case, but the party used them to expel me.

As an unincorporated association that is legally regulated by its rule book, Labour must abide by the rules in that book. This means that it is vulnerable to court action for breach of contract if it breaks those rules – as it has in my case.

I have tried to contact Ms Formby to arrange an amicable resolution of my dispute with the party over its treatment of me. She has not acknowledged my attempts to communicate with her.

So I’ll have to see her – or her represenative – in court.

This week seems an appropriate time to file the papers.

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5 thoughts on “Labour leaders challenged over ‘anti-Semitism’ AGAIN – but will the accusers accept the facts?

  1. Simonsky

    Mike, you are spot on when you say:

    ‘Would it succeed? Meh… History shows that a Labour Party which sticks to its core principles of supporting the poor and vulnerable against exploitation by the rich and powerful will endure against attacks from people of privilege – even if those people are squatting within the party.’

    Although there have been some ill-advised tweets some of the most egregious cases of alleged anti-semitism have been against Jewish members of the Party (Tony Greenstein, Moshe Machover). The Labour party needs to lay bare the reality that most of this is another media induced storm involving deliberate conflation of Zionism and Judaism, a conflation that most Orthodox Jews resist.

    The media Reform Group have articulated the nature bogus antisemitism scam well:

    ‘The Media Reform Coalition has conducted in-depth research on the controversy surrounding antisemitism in the Labour Party, focusing on media coverage of the crisis during the summer of 2018. Following extensive case study research, we identified myriad inaccuracies and distortions in online and television news including marked skews in sourcing, omission of essential context or right of reply, misquotation, and false assertions made either by journalists themselves or sources whose contentious claims were neither challenged nor countered. Overall, our findings were consistent with a disinformation paradigm. ‘

    It could not be put clear than that. As a person of Jewish background who grew up in a predominantly Jewish area, I am saddened that many in the Jewish community cannot distinguish real from bogus anti-semitism and have been drawn into the media frenzy. Whilst Jewish Community anxiety MUST be taken seriously it requires clear explanations of the difference between Zionism and Judaism and the nature of this historic divide that has existed within the community from the late 19th Century. At the same time, non-Jewish Labour activists must choose their words well and be aware of the sensibilities at work here.

    Labour needs to do more to address the issue, by understanding Jewish historic fears and understanding the ZIonism/Orthodox/secular divisions in the community as well as clarifying examples of media distortion. Education NEEDED all round.

    Perhaps another inquiry is needed along the lines of the Media Reform Groups work?

    Let’s get back to our real task: social and economic justice for all, free of racism and religious intolerance.

  2. the ramblings of a deluded mind

    you not only need to take them to court but also demand the evidence they used to discredit you in the first place. the name of the individual should then be given or they face contempt of court and a jail sentence could then follow.

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