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Wednesday, 27 September 2017

A good 2 days for Palestine at Labour Party Conference - the Right cry 'antisemitism' at anti-racist Jews!

The allegations of Brighton Cllr Warren Morgan that Free Speech on Israel meeting supported holocaust denial is a total lie

Unite and Aslef leaders commit to seeking affiliation to Jewish Voices for Labour

video

Yesterday delegates made it clear that they supported the Palestinians and opposed Zionism.  The effect of Labour's swing to the Left and the diminishing number of right-wing delegates have had their effect on Labour Conference.  The Zionists did not like it.  The day started out brilliantly with a wonderful speech by Naomi Wimborne Idrissi of Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods/Free Speech on Israel and latterly Jewish Voice for Labour.   It was followed up by another barn storming speech by Leah Levane from Hastings & Rye Labour Party.

Speaking to Labour Party conference about the Zionist attempt to take out of Labour’s international policy any opposition to Israeli settlements, the occupation of the West Bank or the siege of Gaza Naomi reminded conference of the campaign of the Jewish Labour Movement to demonise opponents of the Zionist state as ‘anti-Semitic’.  

In their desperation today, the Jewish Labour Movement and the Daily Mail alleged that Miko Peled, an Israeli anti-Zionist had questioned whether the Holocaust had taken place at a fringe meeting yesterday.  Let's be clear, this is an absolute lie and Cllr Warren Morgan, Progress leader of Brighton Labour Council is a liar.  

Warren Morgan has a track record of lying.  On July 2nd, after Progress candidates had been trounced in the largest AGM ever seen in Brighton, Warren Morgan secured the suspension of the Brighton District Labour Party and the annulment of the elections by lying about a non-existent incident of spitting.

The allegations by the Jewish Chronicle, the Daily Mail and Warren Morgan today are the purest lies and a measure of how desperate the Zionists are.  They are running scared after it was clear that the mood of the conference was not to tolerate false allegations of anti-semitism anymore.

Miko Peled speaking at Free Speech for Israel meeting


Under the eye of Emily Thornberry, Shadow Foreign Secretary and a sponsor of Labour Friends of Israel, the National Policy Forum had removed all opposition to the occupation, the settlements or the siege of Gaza from Labour’s policy.  All of the above had appeared in Labour’s manifesto but the Zionist JLM had succeeded in deleting them.
Even the Telegraph - not normally known as an anti-racist paper is against 'antisemitism'
All that remained was support for a 2 states position.  Since a 2 State solution is no longer possible, if it ever was, it is not surprising that the pro-occupation Labour Friends of Israel and JLM, support it.  It sounds reasonable but it is a cover for the present apartheid situation in what is effectively a Greater Israel.  As long as states remain committed to this complete chimera and fiction then Israel has an excuse to continue its military occupation of the West Bank and its denial of the most basic rights to the Palestinians.  Britain’s Zionists feel comfortable in supporting something that will never happen whilst at the same time being careful never to oppose the military occupation and rule of the Palestinians of the West Bank.
Salma Kharmi-Ayoob speaking
The Jewish Labour Movement call themselves the ‘sister party’ of the Israeli Labour Party.  It is instructive that the ILP does not support a 2 state position.  It prefers 'segregation' in Bantustans.

The  Jewish Labour Movement tried to get Labour to support Israel’s Apartheid occupation and Jeremy Corbyn went along with it.  It was only because of the vigorous opposition of people to this blatant attempt to get the Labour Party to support a situation where, in the West Bank there are 2 sets of laws– one for Jews and the other for Palestinians – that these provisions were reinstated into policy.  However it is sad that Jeremy Corbyn has at no time spoken up against this attempt to get Labour to support the Israeli state’s racist rule over 5 million Palestinians who have no civil or political rights.
Speaking as a Jewish anti-Zionist, Naomi finished with a flourish:  ‘this party does not have a problem with Jews’  What was remarkable was not only speech itself, which condemned the Balfour Declaration which set up the Israeli state but the reaction of conference.  Naomi received a standing ovation.  It is clear that with the clear shift leftwards in Labour conference, the Right is believed to be outnumbered by about 3-1, that ordinary delegates are sick to the back teeth with the attempt of the Zionists to label opponents of Israel and Zionism as ‘anti-Semitic’.  The JLM’s attempt to portray anti-racists as anti-Semitic is rapidly backfiring on them.  Below I reprint Naomi’s excellent speech.

At lunchtime there was a packed meeting of Free Speech on Israel at Friends Meeting House in Brighton’s Lanes.  Miko Peled and Salma Yakoob-Kharmi, Chair of the Palestine Lawyers Association spoke.  Miko Peled is the son of a dissident Israeli General, Mattiyahu Peled.  Miko, who now lives in the USA is a committed anti-Zionist.  He refuses to call Palestine Israel insisting that it belongs to the indigenous population not those who have settled it.  Miko was openly contemptuous of the idea of 2 States and spoke eloquently about how Israel itself is as much occupied territory as the West Bank.
This is what is hurting Labour's Zionists - they have been caught out lying once too often about 'anti-Semitism'
He described how, just 5 minutes from Tel Aviv, people in the Gaza Strip don’t have access to drinkable water.  How Palestinians living in villages a stone throws away from settlements on the West Bank, have access to running water for only 10-12 hours a week whereas Jewish settlements have unlimited supplies of water.  This is because Mekorot, the Israeli water company allocates only 3% of its supplies to the Palestinians.  The third world living conditions of Palestinians living near the settlements contrasts with the advanced living standards of the settlements.  Again a situation identical to that in Apartheid South Africa.
Jenny Manson - Chair of the meeting
I spoke from the floor as a suspended member of the Labour Party to emphasise not only that the anti-Semitism witch hunt has nothing to do with anti-Semitism but that the friends of the Israeli state today consist above all of the far-Right, whether it is the BNP or EDL in this country or Le Pen in France or Gert Wilders in Holland or Herr Strache in Austria.  Indeed there are no greater supporters of Israel than the White Supremacists of the USA with Steve Bannon, Trump’s former advisor and CEO of Breitbart News, magazine of the far-Right, a guest speaker at this year’s annual gala dinner for the Zionist Organisation of America.  Richard Spencer, the founder of the Alt-Right movement in the USA, declares that he is a White Zionist because Israel is everything that racists in Europe and America dream about in terms of an ethnocracy.

In the evening there was a large, overflowing meeting of the new Jewish Voice for Labour.  I have been a critic of the organisation in terms of its reluctance to openly embrace an openly Palestinian stance and the Right of Return, as well as opposition to the witch hunt but there is no doubt that they had organised a very successful meeting. But as Graham Bash of Labour Briefing put it, it was a historic meeting in terms of the Labour Party. I would estimate over 300 people attended the meeting.
There were a number of speakers including Sir Stephen Sedley, the former Court of Appeal Judge, who is himself Jewish, Avi Shlaim, the Israeli Professor of International Relations at Oxford University and a renowned historian, David Rosenberg of the Jewish Socialist Group and Naomi again with Jenny Manson chairing the meeting.

I thought Sedley and Avi Shlaim were somewhat disappointing and Avi Shlaim’s suggestion that Zionism was both a settler colonial movement and a movement of Jewish national liberation was bizarre.  Sedley’s speech was disappointing given his excellent article on the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition on anti-Semitism in London Review of Books.  Rosenberg’s speech was solid and factual harking back to the days of the Bund in Poland when there was a socialist working class Jewish organisation which was anti-Zionist.  His point that the essence of being Jewish was to oppose oppression was well taken.
How Tory blogger Guido Fawkes     saw it
A number of us including Stephen Marks and myself spoke from the floor.  Ken Loach came to the meeting and was immediately co opted onto the platform where he made an impromptu speech.  Ken has been a long standing supporter of Palestine and produced the play Perdition, which dealt with the collaboration of the Zionists with the Nazis in Hungary a quarter of a century ago.  What was most remarkable about the meeting was not only the consensus among people that the anti-Semitism witch hunt and smearing of people by Zionists in the Labour Party had to stop but the attendance of two union leaders, Len McLuskey of UNITE and Tosh MacDonald of ASLEF.  Both union leaders spoke and both promised to recommend to their unions that they affiliate to the JVL.  This is quite remarkable as this means recognition by a significant section of the labour movement that they are no longer prepared to put up with the snide smearing attacks by the Zionists on ordinary members of the Labour Party as ‘anti-Semitic’ for having the temerity to support the Palestinians.
I stopped the notorious David Collier, who tries to secretly record meetings in order to ‘prove’ that they are anti-Semitic, from entering the JVL meeting.  No doubt this will be written up as him having been stopped because he was Jewish but in view of the name of the group and the fact that all the main speakers bar Ken Loach was Jewish this nonsense is not going to wash.

After the JLV meeting ended there was an excellent performance by Jackie Walker of her political play The Lynching to a packed audience of over 200 people.  Jackie depicted how she has been treated by the racists in the Jewish Labour Movement, the Zionists and the press over what, as she made clear, was her omission of one word in a private conversation with a friend on Facebook.  Jackie said 'Many Jews (my ancestors among them) were the chief financiers of the slave trade' omitting the word ‘among’.  She has been pilloried and subject to vicious Nazi like attacks by Zionists who have questioned her Jewishness.  As Stephen Marks remarked in his speech in the JVL meeting Jackie is Jewish enough to have perished in Hitler’s gas chambers and she is Jewish enough to qualify to emigrate to Israel and claim citizenship.  It was a heartfelt performance and people were very moved by the vicious treatment of Jackie who, notwithstanding this, has managed to come out of it with her head held high.  It is clearly time that the Labour Party ended this charade and persecution of a fine Black comrade and that the racists of the Jewish Labour Movement were sent packing.   It is very appropriate that the performance was named The Lynching.

Similar treatment was handed out to Black anti-racist activist Marc Wadsworth at the press conference of Shami Chakrabarti.  Marc accused the detestable Labour MP Ruth Smeeth of working hand in glove with The Telegraph.  Smeeth is described in Wikileaks by the US Embassy here as an ‘asset’ and so she is.  She falsely alleged that at the press conference she had been subject to an ‘anti-Semitic’ attack by Marc however an examination of the recordings showed that Marc made no mention of Jewish.  Unsurprisingly since he didn’t know she was Jewish.  She was just another obnoxious right-winger to him.
Sir Stephen Sedley, former Court of Appeal Judge and Jewish
What is clear from the comments of Len McLuskey and Tosh MacDonald is that trade unionists don’t accept the nonsense that the JLM represents Jews.

At the end of Jackie’s performance Miko Peled gave another stirring speech outlining why Israel is a racist state and Zionism a settler colonial ideology.  There can be few people who left the meeting not fully cognisant of why it is a matter of some shame that the JLM is still affiliated to an openly racist party.  The privileged position of the JLM, despite their right-wing supporters, has to end.  There is no justification for an emanation of the Israeli state to have privileges inside the Labour Party that no other state has.  Because Israel is an apartheid state there is even less reason for the JLM to have any representation inside Labour.  The JLM doesn’t represent Jews in the Labour Party it represents Zionists – Jewish and non-Jewish.

Let us hope that Jeremy Corbyn reverts back to the politics he held in 1984 when he chaired the Labour Movement Campaign on Palestine conference which called for the breaking of links between the Labour Party and what was then Poale Zion.  His dalliance with those who detest him (the JLM voted 92-4% for Owen Smith last year) is nothing more than appeasement and the lesson of appeasement, be it of Zionists or Nazis is that it doesn’t pay.

All in all a good day for anti-Zionists in the Labour Party.  Not surprisingly the Tory blog Guide Fawkes immediately went onto the attack in support of their Zionist friends.  Let us hope that Corbyn and Lansman, who has played a disgraceful role in Momentum in support of the JLM, draw some conclusions from what happened.  They ran an article Labour Fringe:  Expel Jewish Group from Party, Israel like Nazis.  It contained all the usual slurs including an attack on the ‘notorious Tony Greenstein’!  It is an honour to be attacked by these Tory vipers.  It is no surprise that the JLM and Labour Friends of Israel receive support from right-wing Tories.  Birds of a feather and all that.
Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi’s Speech to Labour Party conference can be seen here  and there is a transcription below: 

Naomi: Thank you, thank you Chair. My name is Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi. Despite my grey hairs I am a virgin in terms of the Conference, first-time delegate, hooray. I'm from Chingford & Woodford Green, the newly marginal constituency, where we are going to unseat Iain Duncan Smith. [loud cheers and applause] Thank you, but don't take up too much of my three minutes. Come and help us bring about a sweet Portillo moment, when the time comes.

Now, I'm here today because although I care deeply about Brexit and the debate has been excellent in some respects, I want to welcome the insertion into the NPF Annual Report section on the Middle East of the key paragraph from our ground-breaking Manifesto which referred to Israel's occupation and settlement of Palestinian land [cheers and applause]. I am so pleased that this section has been put back in after being inexplicably omitted from the NPF Report. Let me tell you my perspective on this. I'm Jewish; I come from the tradition of anti-racist and anti-colonialist struggle, a Socialist Labour tradition of international solidarity with oppressed people. [applause] This is not some meaningless David Sparks slogan out of the pages of Private Eye. It's a fundamental feature of our traditions as a party committed to justice and equality.
JVL Meeting
Oppression and discrimination are rampant in today's world. So why Palestine? Well it's not only that this year marks 50 years of Israeli occupation and illegal settlement. It's not only that this year marks 10 years of the siege of Gaza with intermittent military onslaughts against its people. This year also marks 100 years since the Balfour Declaration, when a British foreign secretary promised the land of Palestine to the Jewish people, my people. The civil rights of the existing population, that's the Palestinians, were meant to be protected, but that turned out to be an empty promise. We Brits, all of us, have a responsibility for what occurred. Despite huge misgivings and even outright opposition from many Jews, our leaders, British leaders, facilitated founding a state which privileges Jews such as myself over non-Jews. [applause] Thank you. I've only got half a minute. Seventy years ago, 750,000 Palestinians were driven from their homes in what for them was a catastrophe, that they call the Nakba. More than 450 towns and villages were destroyed, the world's longest-running refugee population was created. We Brits need to take responsibility for the on-going Palestinian tragedy dating from Balfour's pledge.

So in this Policy Report we call for an end to Israel's blockade on Gaza, an end to occupation and settlements [loud cheering and applause -warned that her time is up she says: damn, I'm nearly there, nearly there, thanks - more applause - OK, I've got two more sentences and my time is up, so please indulge me] and endorsement of a Palestinian state. This is the very least that we should be doing. I say this as a Jew, as an anti-racist and as a dedicated member of this revived Socialist internationalist Labour Party. And Comrades, I'm not an anti-Semite, [cheering] and Conference, and Conference, this party does not have a problem with Jews. Thank you. [prolonged cheering, applause, standing ovation] [4:45' duration of speech]
Len McLuskey at JVL Meeting
Jacky Walker' The Lynching

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