An open letter in support of Jackie Walker
Dear James Schneider and Jon Lansman,
We are Jewish members of the Labour Party. We are writing to you concerning reports in the press, which you have not denied, that Momentum’s Executive Committee is preparing to throw Jackie Walker to the wolves at its meeting next Monday. The reason for this is because of the wholly false anti-Semitism accusations that have been leveled against her.
We urge you not to remove Jackie as Vice-Chair of Momentum. When a comrade is under attack then you defend them and extend the hand of solidarity. An injury to one is an injury to all. Betraying a comrade in order to ease the pressure on you is contrary to all Labour movement traditions of solidarity. The Jewish Labour Movement [JLM] will not stop at Jackie Walker. They will look for new targets for their ‘anti-Semitism’ witch hunt.
Momentum groups rally to support Jackie
The JLM is not an ordinary affiliated socialist society. It has a close relationship with Israeli state agencies, for example its newly appointed Director, Ella Rose, came directly from the Israeli Embassy. The ‘anti-Semitism witchhunt’ over the last year has been a carefully orchestrated and co-ordinated affair alongside papers like the Daily Mail. Jackie is but the latest target for those who are using ‘anti-Semitism’ as a means of attacking Jeremy Corbyn.
The JLM invited to Labour Party Conference representatives of Ha Avodah, the Israeli Labour Party. This is a party that presided over the forcible expulsion of ¾ million Palestinian refugees and placed Israel’s Arabs under military rule until 1966. The ILP initiated the settlements in the West Bank. Earlier this year, its leader Isaac Herzog stated that the ILP mustn’t be identified as an ‘Arab lovers’ party. If Jackie Walker had talked about ‘Jew lovers’ then the charges of anti-Semitism against her would be justified. Herzog later described his ‘nightmare’ of waking up to find that Israel had an Arab Prime Minister. If Jackie had spoken of her fears that Britain might one day have a Jewish Prime Minister then she would rightly be called an anti-Semite. If anyone should be called out for racism it is the JLM.
Jackie said nothing about Zionist misuse of the Holocaust that Israeli papers don't say
Jews who are not Zionists cannot join the JLM because of its affiliation to the World Zionist Organisation and its Jerusalem Programme, which speaks of ‘the centrality of the State of Israel … in the life of the (Jewish) nation’. The ‘Jewish nation’ means Jews in Israel or the Diaspora. This includes ourselves and Jon Lansman. The idea that we are Jewish not British nationals and Israel is the centre of our lives is a deeply anti-Semitic one.
The Jerusalem programme also speaks of ‘Settling the country as an expression of practical Zionism.’ Settlement means occupying the West Bank and Golan Heights as well as Judaising Israel. That is why Israel is a racist settler colonial state.
Last Monday the JLM held an ‘antiracism training’ session at Labour’s conference. The session was filmed without the agreement of participants and contrary to all ethical considerations. It was then leaked to the media in order to wage a vicious racist attack on Jackie Walker and other Jewish dissidents present.
Is Israel's Ha'aretz also anti-Semitic?
Even before the ‘training session’ the JLM had been conducting a political lynching of Jackie. It had refused to accept that the false accusations made against Jackie, that she had alleged that Jews were the main financiers of the slave trade, were untrue, despite her being acquitted of these allegations last May.
In the Jewish Chronicle of 24th September Jeremy Newmark, Chair of JLM was quoted as saying of John McDonnell’s appearance on a platform with Jackie that
"The Shadow Chancellor … must explain his defence of Walker which is inconsistent with his call for zero tolerance (of antisemitism). This raises serious questions. Our members expect him to explain himself.’
What happened at the session was all too predictable. Having the JLM hold an anti-racist training course was like the General Medical Council asking Harold Shipman to organise a course on medical ethics. This was why the Chakrabarti Report stated that:
‘having gauged the range of feelings within the Party, it is not my view that narrow anti-racism training programmes are what is required. There is a grave danger that such an approach would seem patronising or otherwise insulting rather than truly empowering and enriching for those taking part.’
Instead of stabbing Jackie in the back and running scared of the media’s faked concern for ‘antisemitism’ you would be better spending your time finding out why the JLM was allowed to undertake an ‘anti-racist training session’ in the first place.
The Jewish Labour Movement's Political Lynching of Jackie Walker
What Jackie Walker said may have enraged the Zionists, for whom the holocaust serves primarily as an ideological justification for Israel’s crimes, but it was not anti-Semitic.
It is a fact that Holocaust Memorial Day has focused almost exclusively on the Nazi holocaust and has ignored the extermination of the Disabled and the Gypsies. The doyen of Zionist holocaust historians, Professor Yehuda Bauer argued, in a debate with the late Dr Sybil Milton, Senior Historian at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum that ‘the Nazis only attempted to annihilate one people, the Jews: Roma were not Jews, therefore there was no need to murder all of them.’ According to Bauer, ‘the Holocaust is very much a unique case.’ [“Gypsies and the Holocaust” Yehuda Bauer; Sybil Milton The History Teacher, Vol. 25, (Aug., 1992)]. As the late Elie Wiesel put it, to compare the sufferings of others with Jews was a “betrayal of Jewish history”. [Elie Wiesel, Against Silence, v. iii, 146.] The truth may be uncomfortable but it is not anti-Semitic.
The JLM deleted the highlighted sentence which case doubt on the Jewishness of those who oppose Zionism
Jackie Walker was also right to question the JLM’s assertion that the EUMC’s Working Definition of Anti-Semitism was the standard definition of what constitutes anti-Semitism. This is simply dishonest. In 2013, this definition was scrapped by the EU's Fundamental Rights Agency, as the Times of Israel reported ‘’The European Union’s agency for combating racism dropped its definition for anti-Semitism… We are not aware of any official definition [of anti-Semitism],” Blanca Tapia of the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency told JTA on Tuesday.’
We are seriously disturbed by the report in the Guardian Momentum likely to oust Jackie Walker over Holocaust remarks and a similar report in the Independent that ‘Senior members of Momentum are "fuming" at her remarks’. It is your duty not to betray comrades.
The JLM voted 92-4% in favour of Owen Smith. Anti-Semitism is a weapon to attack the left. Any betrayal of Jackie Walker will be unacceptable to grassroots Momentum supporters who are sick to the back teeth of the cynical use of anti-Semitism to ward off criticism of Israel.
The JLM's Vice Chair & Director came straight from the Israeli Embassy
We also understand that Jackie Walker has not even been invited to the meeting which it is intended will dismiss her. What kind of democracy is this? Because of the racist abuse she has received from the JLM’s supporters Jackie has had to suspend her Twitter account. Not being an MP, this kind of abuse will not make the headlines. Jackie is suffering extreme abuse which the JLM has given a green light to. Abuse which openly states that Black people can’t be Jewish. If you attack Jackie you will be a party to this abuse.
We are writing to you to demand that you stand up to the JLM when it demands the head of a well respected Black and Jewish anti-racist. You will not be forgiven if you betray her.
Graham Bash Hackney North CLP
Haim Bresheeth Hornsey and Wood Green
Mark Elf Barking CLP
Kenny Fryde Cambridge CLP
Tony Greenstein Brighton & Hove District Labour Party
Abe Hayeem Harrow East CLP
Helen Marks Riverside CLP
Elizabeth Morley Ceredigion CLP
Diana Neslen Ilford South Constituency Labour Party
Dr Brian Robinson Milton Keynes South CLP
Leon Rosselson Brent Momentum
David Selzer City of Chester CLP
Sam Semoff Riverside CLP