Recent events have demonstrated that the Blairite smear campaign over anti-Semitism shows no signs of dying down. Socialists must stand firm against these McCarthyite attacks.
Labour Party activists have rightly expressed anger over the summary expulsion of socialist Jackie Walker from the party, after a two-and-a-half year witch hunt against her.
Summoned to a supposedly ‘fair hearing’ by the disciplinary committee, Jackie was given no chance to address the body or present the 400-plus pages of evidence she had, challenging the case of anti-semitism that had been brought against her. An army of lawyers were on hand to stop the committee members from wavering and coming to any decision other than guilty.
As a result of this sham justice, Jackie walked out of the hearing rather than give it any further credence. She then made the following statement:
“I am black. I am Jewish. I am a woman. I have spent my life fighting racism and inequality. My ethnicity, Jewish heritage, and gender have brought me into direct conflict with those who abuse and threaten others on the basis of colour of skin, race, religion and gender. I abhor antisemitism. I abhor discrimination against black people. I abhor all discrimination. I abhor the differential treatment of women. I absolutely and vehemently reject the charges made against me by the LP. For 2½ years I have faced a grossly unfair disciplinary process that has now reached new heights of staggering unfairness.”
Smears and slanders
This saga started at the 2016 Labour conference when Jackie attended a party event on anti-Semitism. At this meeting she raised a number of questions about the definition of anti-Semitism, and also whether Holocaust Day should remember a broader range of historical events. Her remarks were secretly recorded and selectively used to suspend her from the party.
From then on she was targeted with a non-stop stream of abuse and criticism. This included a number of racial slurs and vile comments, such as the call by one moron for her to be sent to the gas chamber. Inverting all the norms of natural justice, Jackie was in effect deemed guilty until proven innocent by right-wing Labour MPs, the Tory press and others.
Of course Jackie’s biggest crime in their eyes was not to sit back and take it, but instead to fight back. She has replied to every smear and taken her case on the road. A film about her treatment has been made. It was a screening of this that was used by the Labour right wing to target Chris Williamson MP, who like Jackie has been calling for a fightback against this witch hunt. It should also be noted that several of these film screenings were hindered by bomb scares being phoned through to venues.
The attacks against honest socialists like Jackie and Chris are taking place within the context of the wider attacks being launched against the Labour left in general, and Corbyn in particular. Anti-semitism is being weaponised in order to undermine the Corbyn movement and stop Labour winning the next election.
Jewish Labour Movement
In the middle of all of this has been the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM), which has happily joined the attacks against Corbyn. A relatively small – and until recently, dormant – organisation, it has attracted the interest of the Labour right wing due to its affiliated status to the party. Now it has become a mouthpiece of the Blairite elements inside Labour, linking up with Tory-dominated Jewish organisations such as the British Board of Deputies.
At the start of this month, the JLM passed a vile-worded resolution attacking Corbyn repeatedly – and in personal terms – and asserting that he is not fit to be Labour leader. They made it clear that they will not work for a Corbyn-victory in the next election.
This is a disgrace, and has many Jewish Labour and trade union members now questioning why this group is allowed to speak on behalf of them. Many have now joined other groups such as the Jewish Voice for Labour, feeling that the JLM is nothing but a Blairite front.
Fight the lies
Linked to this has been a vicious ongoing campaign by the bosses’ press. At the same time as the JLM was passing its resolution, the Murdoch rag the Sunday Times was publishing yet another ‘exposé’ of the supposedly anti-Semitic “army” inside Corbyn’s Labour.
Replicating an almost identical line and tone to an earlier ‘exposé’ from the same journalists a year ago, this latest piece presents few actual facts. As the Labour Party itself puts it, the article drags up “selected leaks…to misrepresent their overall contents”.
For example, where the leader’s office asked for information on investigations, the article turns this into “interference”. Then again, why let the facts get in the way of a good slander?
We have seen this pattern throughout the ongoing witch hunt around anti-Semitism over the past few years. We were told at one point that there had been a thousand cases of anti-Semitism reported to the party. In fact, 200 of these – 20% of the total – were reported by just one person: Blairite relic Margaret Hodge MP. Yet only 19 of Hodge’s complaints actually applied to party members. Indeed, a third of all the cases considered were immediately rejected out-of-hand as being obviously baseless.
With the Tory government crumbling before our eyes, and the very real possibility of an imminent general election and Corbyn victory, it is time to stand up to these orchestrated McCarthyite lies and smears.
The real tragedy of all this is that the growth in real anti-Semitism in society over the last period – organised by extreme right-wing elements, and including physical attacks and the desecration of graves – has been largely ignored.
- Reinstate Jackie Walker!
- Defend Chris Williamson!
- Stop the Blairite attacks against Corbyn and Labour!
- Fight for socialist policies!