by Martin Odoni

Apparently, there will be a fresh round of anti-Semitism allegations against Labour left-wingers at some point over the Easter weekend, via the Sunday Times. The chances of these allegations holding any more water than previous ones seem pretty remote, especially given the Murdoch-ite nature of the source. All signs so far that I have seen are that it is yet another catalogue of examples of Israel being angrily criticised on social media, rather than of Jews being insulted for being Jews. In other words, anti-Zionism is being spun as ‘anti-Semitism’, and Israelis are being spun as ‘every Jew’ yet again. This is a relentless, aggravating, and Orwellian conflation to which the Labour left are largely, and correctly, refusing to give in.

But the right are showing no reluctance to keep pushing the conflation either. So alas it will be seconds out, round umpteen. Do you know what though? I am no longer terribly bothered about it.

The reason why is that the right wing media’s attempts to smear the Labour left are proving more and more ineffective, and that is because they are so painfully predictable. Particularly over the last year or so, the pattern has been so regular you could almost set your watch by it. It is quite mechanical. So mechanical in fact, that it appears to be a carefully-structured program.

So, here is roughly how the pattern would be asserted if written as a computer program in BASIC language; –

10 LET Tory polling => Labour polling

20 INPUT Tories have embarrassing Brexit/Austerity-related meltdown$.

30 LET Labour polling = Labour polling + 3.

40 IF Labour polling > Tory polling THEN GOTO 60

50 IF Labour polling < Tory polling THEN GOTO 10

60 INPUT right wing media foam-at-mouth-hysteria$.

70 LET barely-Jewish organisations = claim to be representative of all British Jews

80 PRINT Barely-Jewish organisation list of accusations against Labour leftists who are supposedly guilty of ‘anti-Semitism’

90 FOR Smear kept at top of headlines = 1 to 5 days

100 IF Smear kept at top of headlines = 5 days GOTO 130

110 NEXT Smear kept at top of headlines

120 IF Labour polling < Tory polling THEN GOTO 140

130 IF Labour polling > Tory polling THEN GOTO 60

140 LET Labour poll surge = faltering

150 LET Hysteria = dying down somewhat.

160 Goto 10

Now, a quick look at recent opinion polls; –

The fact that Labour are presently not just ahead, but now well ahead, in pretty much all the opinion polls for Westminster voting intentions, is evidence that this strategy – really about keeping an uncritically Zionist/pro-Israel policy platform alive in the British Government – is not really working very well anymore . (If it ever was.) It sometimes slows and scuppers Labour’s impetus, but it has never caused Labour to slump. But it also explains why the Sunday Times are timing their latest attack for now.

The predictability of this pattern of behaviour is not only making it all-too-obvious to many people what is really going on, but it is also, frankly, getting thoroughly boring to be made to sit through it over and over, and I truly have serious doubts that many people will pay any attention to more of it. Common sense alone should lead most of the electorate to reason that if anti-Semitic behaviour were really anywhere near so prevalent in Labour as is being made out, there would have been hundreds of arrests by now for hate crimes.

Anyone who does believe the latest chapter will be the sort of person who would never vote Labour in the first place and is just looking out for any excuse to get angry with the party. There is no point in the Labour Party trying to appease people like that, so they should be left to go their own prejudgemental way. Labour should instead just refuse to dignify the latest smears with a response, and focus on what everyone should really be doing – fighting Austerity, and preventing a Conservative version of Brexit.

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by Martin Odoni

A vote of no confidence in the leadership of someone you do not recognisably follow is a pretty futile gesture. Imagine Joseph Stalin, in 1943, had run a ballot of the Soviet population asking them, say, whether they had confidence in the Presidency of Franklin D Roosevelt in the United States – the USSR’s ally-of-convenience during World War II. Now I daresay the result of such a vote might have been interesting, but it would not have made any practical difference.

With this in mind, it seems bizarre that the media are reporting yesterday’s news that the ‘Jewish Labour Movement’ have voted that they have no confidence in the leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, as though it is some major development. Does anyone in full honesty imagine that the vote matters one jot?

I often encounter people on social media who claim that the JLM is the true voice of Jewish members of the Labour Party. But if you cast your eyes down the constitution of the JLM, you quickly notice two gigantic flaws in that assumption. Have a look at the below section copied from the document, section 4.3, which deals with the qualifications required to become a member of JLM; –

JLM absurd rules

Membership of the ‘Jewish Labour Movement’ requires neither a Jewish background nor membership of the Labour Party.

Quite simply, if you wish to join JLM, you do not have to be Jewish, or a member of the Labour Party. Furthermore, while it is affiliated to the Labour Party, it is not actually a Labour Party organisation. Therefore JLM does not really follow Corbyn, as such, while the only real requirement for joining boils down to a prospective member must not already be a member of another party. Therefore, JLM’s qualification as either representative of left wing British Jews, or even an organisation ‘following’ the leader of the Labour Party is shaky in the extreme.

Many of the same people who swear by the word of JLM frequently mock its rival, ‘Jewish Voice For Labour‘, as being the proverbial ‘two-men-and-a-dog’. But really, how do these people imagine JLM has any more credibility, when its very name is so hopelessly misleading?

As for the reasons for this vote, they are a joke for reasons well-recorded. Anti-Semitism in the Labour Party is entirely fleeting, while holding Corbyn individually responsible for dealing with what instances of it there are shows a laughable ignorance on JLM’s part of the party’s disciplinary process. The party leader does not have the power or authority to intervene in that process, as it would risk politicising any judgements made. (Although it is all-too-clear that politicised judgements are being made anyway, only by the National Constitutional Committee.)

JLM’s expression of no confidence in Corbyn is both ignorant and insignificant.

by Martin Odoni

Jacqueline Walker, a black Jewish activist and long-time Labour Party anti-racism campaigner, was expelled from the party today. The story of her, somewhat-carelessly-worded-but-accurate, remarks about Jews being leading financiers of the slave trade in past centuries, is well-enough recorded that I doubt I need to go over it. If you need to refresh your memory, see here.

Jackie Walker stitched up

Jackie Walker has been expelled from the Labour Party for stating historical facts.

However, the reason why this is as much a stitch-up as the expulsion of Marc Wadsworth last year bears mentioning. As with the Wadsworth hearing, the disciplinary process was clearly corrupted.

The pretext for Walker being suspended was supposed ‘anti-Semitic’ behaviour. There is a reluctance on the part of many in the media to mention that the accused is herself Jewish. (As indeed there has been with the accusations against the likes of Tony Greenstein, Cyril Chilson, Jo Bird, myself, and others. As Alexei Sayle has pointed out, those suspended or expelled from Labour for anti-Semitism are frequently Jewish.)

Walker was not allowed to speak in her own defence at her hearing, although as she had chosen to have a legal counsel present, that is not an irregularity in itself; the party rules are quite explicit that any defendant who accepts legal counsel must leave all the talking to him/her.

The critical matter, which media reports of the expulsion are not making much effort to mention is that Walker, just like Wadsworth last year, was not charged with anti-Semitism. The charge that the Labour National Constitutional Committee levelled against her was Prejudicial and grossly detrimental behaviour against the party. This is taken from part of the text of Clause 2.I.8 of the Party rulebook.

This charge is problematic in itself –  see below – but more concerning yet is that Walker was not made aware until a few days ago exactly to which of her actions/words the charge applied. She and her legal counsel had insufficient time to prepare a full defence against some of the accusations therefore, and Walker’s wish to make an opening statement was in response to this serious irregularity.

The main reason the charge is problematic is similar to the one with the charge levelled against Wadsworth last year. At his tribunal, Wadsworth was charged with Bringing the party into disrepute, a lazy, catch-all term that effectively amounts to, “The NCC can throw you out just because its members don’t like something you said or did”. While being slightly more specific, the charge Prejudicial and grossly detrimental behaviour against the party, in the cold light of day, does not appear to mean anything greatly different. It is useful as it matches words in the clause of the rulebook, so it sounds legitimate, but does so without having to give the ‘transgression’ any precise definition or clarity.

Both Wadsworth’s and Walker’s charges amount to extremely blunt legal instruments. They hand an excessive amount of power to the party right-wingers who dominate the NCC, and make it much too easy for them to get rid of any member for whom they just have a political, or even personal, antipathy, on the shakiest of pretexts.

Zionist organisations like The Jewish Labour Movement, The Campaign Against Anti-Semitism and The Jewish Chronicle are trying to insinuate that Walker has been thrown out precisely for being an anti-Semite, and no other reason. What they fail to explain is why the NCC needed to press such a vague and subjective charge as prejudicial and grossly detrimental behaviour in order to ‘convict’ her? Surely if they really had sufficient grounds to convict her of ‘anti-Semitic behaviour’, they could have made it more explicitly clear?

The ruling given by the judgement panel on the NCC was worded,

“The National Constitutional Committee has found that the charges of breaches of party rules by Jackie Walker have been proven. The National Constitutional Committee consequently determined that the sanction for this breach of the rules is expulsion from Labour Party membership.”

They did not mention anti-Semitism, or racism, as being the reason for the expulsion. Given Walker’s long history of fighting racism – just like Wadsworth’s – that should go without saying really. And yet – just like Wadsworth – it did not

This imprecise announcement fits a pattern that occurs a lot when Labour members are expelled for alleged anti-Semitism. See the ruling when Tony Greenstein was given his marching orders last year; –

“The NCC of the Labour Party has today found that all three charges of a breach of the Labour Party’s rule 2.1.8 by Tony Greenstein have been found proved. The NCC consequently determined that the sanction for the breach of Labour Party rules will be expelled from membership.”

And the ruling at the end of the aforementioned Wadsworth expulsion; –

“The National Constitutional Committee of the Labour Party has found that two charges of a breach of the Labour Party’s rule 2.1.8 by Marc Wadsworth have been proven. The NCC consequently determined that the sanction for this breach of Labour Party rules will be expulsion from membership.”

All sounds very similar does it not? And all very obscure.

What do all the accused mentioned on this page have in common?

Well of course; they are all pro-Palestine supporters of Jeremy Corbyn.

Thus it is quite impossible not to suspect that Walker’s guilt and expulsion – just like all the others’ – were premeditated conclusions. My own, much lower-profile suspension will doubtless lead to the same place in whichever century the NCC finally get around to assessing my case of implied ‘self-hating-Jewry’. But in Walker’s case, all that was in doubt was not her expulsion, but how the NCC chose to word the verdict. In the event, they took the tried-and-tested route, making it as obscure and legal-ese-precise as possible.

What happened to Jackie Walker today was just history ‘rhyming’. As Wadsworth was stitched up a year ago, so Walker has been stitched up now, demonstrating just how much right-wing corruption remains in the innermost mechanisms of the Labour Party.

by Martin Odoni

This evening, a little-known former leader of Camden Council implied over Twitter that Hampstead & Kilburn’s constituency Labour Party is guilty of anti-Semitic behaviour.

Sarah Hayward, wording her tweet carefully so she could deny making any libellous accusations, kicked up a stink about Hampstead CLP barring delegates from the Jewish Labour Movement from attending the local Annual General Meeting the previous evening.

I shall come to the real reason why the JLM delegates were barred presently. Firstly though, I would like to suggest that Hayward should pause and consider warnings from the party’s General Secretary to the party’s Deputy Leader, which she published this evening. Jennie Formby’s warnings were against Tom Watson’s recent, very blatant habit of making public complaints about goings-on within the party via media, including social media, and trying – illegally let me stress – to interfere directly in the party’s disciplinary process.

The reason I mention this is that, instead of reporting her concerns about Hampstead & Kilburn to Formby in the first place, Hayward simply went public with a Twitter thread that was quite insinuating, but essentially provoked anyone reading to leap to conclusions of anti-Semitism.

Now, to put it euphemistically, it is quite mysterious (READ: pretty bloody obvious) as to why Haward did this as a first step, and failed to contact either Formby or the Hampstead & Kilburn CLP about her concerns. Moreover, her public show of outrage was in a Twitter thread that, again ‘mysteriously’, did not tag either Formby or Hampstead & Kilburn CLP.

To add to the ‘bewilderment’, Hayward retweeted other people who replied expressing well-meaning but uninformed outrage. However, I can see no evidence that she has retweeted anyone who responded with the explanation for why JLM delegates were barred from a CLP meeting. That explanation is actually very simple, by the way, and not remotely underhanded; –

It is because JLM had not paid a high enough subscription for more than one delegate.

Here is Hampstead & Kilburn CLP responding to Hayward’s insinuating remarks; –

Hawyward stirring faeces

It is as simple as that. Only one JLM delegate was allowed in to the AGM, and all others were barred, because one delegate at the AGM was all to which JLM were entitled.

It is curious to note that, as best I can tell, Hayward has not, at the time of writing, retweeted this response from the CLP. (There are two retweets that do not appear in the list generated on my screen due to the security settings of the users. It is just about possible that one of them is Hayward, although that seems unlikely given how publicly loud she is being about this. Why suddenly go all coy about it?)

retweet list

This failure is doubly curious when you see some of the replies Hayward has retweeted. As a very striking example, take this one, which Hayward seems to be using as a corroboration of JLM’s ‘martyrdom’, from Sara Gibbs (former writer on Dead Ringers, if that interests anybody) who was not even present at the meeting!

explaining the rules to Sara Gibbs

Sara Gibbs being presented as a reliable witness to an event she openly admits she never even attended.

How come Gibbs’ hearsay is considered worthier of spreading far-and-wide than the CLP’s right-of-reply?

This is yet more blatant trouble-making by the right wing of the Labour Party, and Hayward, while not exactly lying, has deliberately misled people, which is really just as bad as lying.

And here is the big matter for me, and one that makes it so infuriating that so few people are prepared to ‘brain up’ about this endless hysteria. If anti-Semitism really is as rife in the Labour Party as people like Hayward want us to believe – and we know conclusively that it is absolutely not – why, on the few occasions when attention can be brought to specific instances of it, are so many of them clearly made up? Remember Kevin Clegg? Why do the accusers need to keep contriving examples of a problem that is supposedly ‘endemic’?

I think we all know the answer to that, do we not?