Jim Murphy blocks Rhea’s NEC bid

June 1, 2016 at 9:17 pm (elections, labour party, posted by JD, red-baiting)

How a party faction is preventing party members voting for me for Labour’s NEC

By Rhea Wolfson, writing at Left Futures:

Over the paRheaWolfsonst few weeks, I have been delighted to receive support for my candidacy for Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) from a broad spectrum of opinion within the party, including nominations from dozens of Constituency Labour Parties (CLPs). It is clear that many members want to see me elected to the NEC.

However, I am now concerned that a faction of the party are trying to take that option away from the membership. To appear on the ballot I needed to secure, amongst other things, the nomination of my home CLP.

Last night Eastwood CLP, where my family home is, met to nominate candidates for the NEC. It was proposed that, given I am currently a member of the CLP, there would be a straight vote for or against my nomination. I made my case and answered questions from the room. I was then asked to leave the room while they discussed my nomination further. Once I had left, the ex-leader of Scottish Labour, Jim Murphy, appealed to the CLP to not nominate me. He argued that it would not be appropriate to nominate me due to my endorsement by Momentum, which he claimed has a problem with antisemitism. The constituency has a large Jewish population. The CLP then voted to not endorse me, before re-inviting me back into the room.

Needless to say, this is hugely disappointing. It is disappointing because I am the only Jewish candidate in this election, because the wide range of organisations endorsing me includes the Jewish Labour Movement, and because I have a long record of challenging antisemitism and have in fact faced it on a daily basis since my candidacy was announced. But above all, it is disappointing because I know there are many members who want to vote for me, who could now have lost that opportunity. I am considering my options going forward.

27 Comments

  1. Steven Johnston said,

    Well don’t look for any sympathy from me. The Labour party, when it is in power, can only administer British capitalism. You maybe pro-Jewish but the party you are a member of is anti-working class.

  2. Ben said,

    I have a feeling we haven’t been told the whole story…

    • Jim Denham said,

      You’ve been told everything we know here at Shiraz: we’ll keep readers briefed as more information comes in.

    • Makhno said,

      Yes, the words “Jim Murphy is a slimy shitehawk” aren’t used anywhere in that post, for starters.

  3. John Palmer said,

    Rhea is the victim of an utterly disgusting campaign against anti-zionists and supporters of the rights of the Palestinian people who have been wrongly accused being ” anti-semitic.” But fortunately the lie has been exposed by the intervention of so many brave anti-zionist Jewish socialist comrades who have denounced the witch hunt for what it is. Meanwhile leaders of parties with a terrible history of anti-semitism are invited to Israel as honoured guests by a government whose new defence minister has himself been described as “fascist” by other Israeli politicians.

    • Makhno said,

      The thing is, without the absurd monomania of an idiotic minority on the left which makes them throw the word “zionist” into each and every conversation, and the desperate need to make everything about their “anti-zionism”, there would be no fuel for the right to weaponise it. So well done there.

      The bitter irony of this situation is that Rhea IS a zionist (albeit one not afraid to criticise the actions of the Israeli government), and at the same time is an impressive and committed democratic socialist.

      Murphy and his ilk have a problem with the latter, and a complete lack of moral compass which allows them to railroad Rhea with snide, baseless accusations. By doing so they prove that they have no real problem with anti-semitism, in fact they cynically pretend to see it where it most definitely isn’t, in order to leverage it against progressive candidates, as seen here.

      People like you legitimise these actions with your nonsensical obsession with a tiny country in the middle-east over and above all other issues in international relations.

    • Steven Johnston said,

      Socialism and religious beliefs are not compatible. As for the utterly disgusting campaign, anyone that joins the Labour party is part of this as the politics of any party that supports capitalism is disgusting.

      If he is a zionist that is a good reason not to vote for him, as again, zionism is not compatible with socialism.
      As for the middle-east, we socialists should not take either side and say a plague on both their houses.

      • Makhno said,

        You’re entitled to your view, Steve, but good luck building your pure socialist society with the 5 other people who agree with your absurdly narrow definition of what it means to be a socialist.

    • Jim Denham said,

      John Palmer writes (#3, above) “Rhea is the victim of an utterly disgusting campaign against anti-zionists and supporters of the rights of the Palestinian people who have been wrongly accused being ” anti-semitic.” But fortunately the lie has been exposed by the intervention of so many brave anti-zionist Jewish socialist comrades who have denounced the witch hunt for what it is. Meanwhile leaders of parties with a terrible history of anti-semitism are invited to Israel as honoured guests by a government whose new defence minister has himself been described as “fascist” by other Israeli politicians”:

      Check your facts, John, before leaping to conclusions on the basis of your blinkered prejudices: Rhea *is* a self-proclaimed Zionist.

      • John Palmer said,

        But Rhea is “a supporter of the rights of the Palestinian people.” Check what I wrote Jim.

      • Jim Denham said,

        John: either through dishonesty or a genuine inability to understand the issues, your previous statement linked “anti-zionists and supporters of the rights of the Palestinian people” as though to be the latter you must, perforce, also be one of the former. Rhea is proof that’s not the case – but people like you can’t get your heads round that simple fact: it fundamentally undermines your simplistic and one-sided attitude to Israel/Palestine.

      • John Palmer said,

        Not all supporters of the Palestinian struggle are anti-zionists which is why I distinguished between the two. Got it now Jim? But like all crazed witch hunts this one ends up not only trying to blacklist Jewish anti-zionists but also comrades like Rhea. By the way do you agree with those Israelis who characterise the new Israeli defence minister, Lieberman, as “a fascist”?

      • Jim Denham said,

        John P:”Not all supporters of the Palestinian struggle are anti-zionists which is why I distinguished between the two”: leaving aside the fact that your first comment “didn’t” make that distinction and, indeed, would lead the casual reader to assume that Rhea is part of the “brave anti-zionist” movement you approve of (anyone following this can check at #3 above) , nevertheless, your admission that Zionists can support Palestinian rights, is a welcome one. If you’ve stated this before and took it for granted that I and others would therefore understand your meaning, I apologise. But I have to say it’s something I’ve never heard or read you or anyone else on the “anti-zionist” left acknowledge before.

        P.S: for the sake of clarity, I use the term “anti-Zionist” advisedly, in this context. I’m talking about those who crudely demonise Zionism and equate it with racism and the most extreme right wing policies of Israeli governments, failing to recognise that all it means is Jewish nationalism and support for the right of Israel to exist. Actually, in the strict sense, I’m an anti-Zionist myself, in the sense that I’m opposed to all nationalisms.

        P.P.S: I have no objection to describing Lieberman, as “a fascist”.

  4. Steven Johnston said,

    Thanks Makhno, but I don’t define what a socialist society would look like, it would be those that build it that do. Good luck voting for political parties that support capitalism, you’ll need it. But don’t come to me crying “We never voted for this” when it all goes wrong. Cause I’ll be the first to tell you “told you so!”

  5. Glasgow Working Class said,

    Jim Murphy is probably right about this issue and moreso about this fringe momentum mob who may not be friendly towards Jews and Israel. The young lady needs to switch on a bit however I do wish her well. She has youth on her side.

    • Steven Johnston said,

      Never mind Glasgow, in 2020 this blog will be telling workers to vote Labour regardless.

    • Makhno said,

      Putin fan and Jim Murphy fan? You really know how to pick them.

      • John Palmer said,

        You seem to have grasped at least part of what I said Jim not all supporters of Palestinian rights are anti-zionists. That is why I mentioned BOTH groups. Your self-description as an anti zionist “in the strict sense” is interesting. I promise not to tell Jim Murphy and the Labour witch hunters who trying to drive out long standing pro-Palestinian Jewish anti-zionists from the Labour Party.

      • Steven Johnston said,

        Who said socialists don’t do leaders! Which of those two would you address as “dear/supreme leader”?

      • Jim Denham said,

        You still make no sense, John; you only seem to relate to “anti-Zionists” in the sense that I reject – ie those who demonize Zionism and Israel as unique evils – and you seem to think the anti-Semitism issue within Labour is simply a “witch-hunt” got up by the right wing: so what would you say about Livingstone?

        PS there’s a pretty fundamental difference between Murphy’s sectarian manoeuvring against Rhea within the LP, and moves to discipline/expel members for real or alleged anti-Semitism: why no-ne has (yet) suggested disciplining either Rea or myself, is that neither of us has suggested that Hitler supported Zionism “before he went mad” or that Jews played a leading role in financing the slave trade: geddit, John?

      • Jim Denham said,

        …and while we’re on the subject of Livingstone and Zionism, I’ve just stumbled upon this, from Comrade Clive on Facebbok:

        I don’t think there is anything which can be called ‘truth’ to Livingstone’s ‘basic historical point’ for the reasons I gave. Whether or not he is personally an anti-semite, the entire framework here seems to me much worse than stupid or insensitive. It’s a framework which thinks some good is done for the Palestinian cause by the most egregious and historically illiterate calumnies against ‘Zionism’ – that is, making no effort whatsoever to consider historical context, etc. I’m also not sure that Netanyahu’s particularly relevant to evaluating what Zionists did in Germany in the 1930s. Right-wing nationalists do nasty things and make alliances with unpleasant people to further their cause. This is true of many right-wing nationalists.

  6. Makhno said,

    “Who said socialists don’t do leaders! Which of those two would you address as “dear/supreme leader”?”

    What are you on about now?

    • Steven Johnston said,

      I could ask you the same. So, come 2020 are you going to urge us to vote Labour or not?

  7. John Palmer said,

    Jim – OK. Do you agree with this resolution moved by Jewish socialist comrades in the Labour Party? If not why not?

    Kilburn (Brent) Labour Party-

    · Reiterates its strong commitment to combat all forms of racism and to defend those who are subjected to it.

    · Actively opposes Islamophobia, prejudice against migrants, asylum seekers and refugees, and racism against ethnic and religious minorities, including anti-Jewish racism.

    · Rejects the accusation that questioning Zionist ideology is anti-Semitic.

    · Believes that campaigning to end the injustices inflicted on the Palestinian people is in the very best traditions of the Labour movement.

    · Is shocked at the suspension from the Labour Party of Momentum National Vice Chair, Jacqueline Walker. Jacqueline is of African and Jewish heritage. She is a lifelong anti-racism campaigner and a founder member of the Kent Anti Racism Network. We are delighted she has now been re-instated by the Party.

    · Urges the Labour Party to:

    1. Listen to the many Jewish people, starting with those in the Labour Party, who are outraged by the lie that anti-Jewish racism is rampant in the Labour Party;

    2. Cease victimising those who work for justice for Palestine;

    3. Adhere to fair practice and transparency when investigating charges against members;

    4. Call to order Labour Party members who bring the Party into disrepute and undermine its credibility just before an election by spreading slander about widespread antisemitism in the Party;

    • Jim Denham said,

      No.

      I was going to leave it at that, but then noticed you, John, ask “If not, why not?”

      OK: the whole resolution is utterly craven, as we’ve come to expect from these wretched grovellers:

      “Rejects the accusation that questioning Zionist ideology is anti-Semitic”: REPLY: Yes, but it can be!

      “· Believes that campaigning to end the injustices inflicted on the Palestinian people is in the very best traditions of the Labour movement.” REPLY: Who disagrees? And what’s that got to do with the question of anti-Semitism?

      “· Is shocked at the suspension from the Labour Party of Momentum National Vice Chair, Jacqueline Walker. Jacqueline is of African and Jewish heritage. She is a lifelong anti-racism campaigner and a founder member of the Kent Anti Racism Network. We are delighted she has now been re-instated by the Party.”: REPLY: this appears to endorse Walker’s antisemitic comments about Jews financing the slave trade. It’s possible to oppose disciplinary action against her (as I do) without doing that.

      · Urges the Labour Party to:

      “1. Listen to the many Jewish people, starting with those in the Labour Party, who are outraged by the lie that anti-Jewish racism is rampant in the Labour Party”: REPLY: what about listening to the vastly greater number of Jewish people who are outraged at the anti-Semitism they see and hear from people like Livingstone and Walker? Or are you lot (a tiny minority amongst Jews) the only Jewish voices worthy of being listened to?

      “2. Cease victimising those who work for justice for Palestine”: REPLY: people are *not* being victimised for ‘work(ing) for justice for Palestine’: they’re being called out for anti-Semitic comments and/or comments that are, at the very least, dodgy.

      “3. Adhere to fair practice and transparency when investigating charges against members”: REPLY: agreed.

      “4. Call to order Labour Party members who bring the Party into disrepute and undermine its credibility just before an election by spreading slander about widespread antisemitism in the Party”: REPLY: bollocks! The single individual who’s done most to ‘bring the party into disrepute and undermine its credibility’ over this matter has been Livingstone. And what’s this about “Call to order”: by whom? I thought you lot opposed disciplinary action?

  8. Steven Johnston said,

    …people are *not* being victimised for ‘work(ing) for justice for Palestine’: they’re being called out for anti-Semitic comments and/or comments that are, at the very least, dodgy.

    Why aren’t they called out for being anti-socialist too?

    Though regarding point 4, I’d be angry with those that tried to bring the party into repute.

  9. Political Tourist said,

    One the richest parts of Scotland/UK/Europe.
    Labour Party, get real.

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