Labour Against the Witch Hunt “cannot retain any credibility if it includes a group whose positions are anti-Semitic”

December 15, 2017 at 10:00 am (anti-semitism, apologists and collaborators, Beyond parody, conspiracy theories, CPGB, labour party, posted by JD, wankers)


Above: August Bebel: “anti-Semitism is the socialism of fools”

By Tony Greenstein in the present issue of the Weekly Worker (and it should go without saying that whilst we welcome Mr Greenstein’s belated recognition that anti-Semitism exists on the left and – specifically – within his and the CPGB’s ‘Labour Against the Witch Hunt’ outfit, we regard much of the rest of this piece as incoherent nonsense):

On December 2 a Labour Against the Witchhunt meeting was effectively ambushed by a small Trotskyist grouping, Socialist Fight. A series of close votes was taken, the result of which meant that the previous decision of the steering committee, that Socialist Fight should no longer participate in meetings of LAW, was overturned.

Stan Keable, the secretary of LAW, had written to inform SF that it was no longer welcome at our meetings, but despite this their comrades turned up. For various reasons – not least that most people were unaware of the full extent of the anti-Semitic positions of Socialist Fight – those present voted against the steering committee position.

It is now incumbent upon LAW to demonstrate clearly and unambiguously that it wants to have nothing to do with Socialist Fight. Not only because its positions are anti-Semitic, but because a campaign whose purpose is to reject the false anti-Semitism campaign of Iain McNicol, the compliance unit and the Zionist Jewish Labour Movement cannot retain any credibility if it includes a group whose positions are anti-Semitic.

I was not aware, at the time of the last meeting, that Ian Donovan – a ‘left’ supporter of the overtly anti-Semitic Gilad Atzmon – had penned an obnoxious and anti-Semitic article the day before, entitled ‘Third-camp Stalinoids bring witchhunt into Labour Against the Witchhunt’.

There is no future for Labour Against the Witchhunt if Socialist Fight and its members remain an integral part of the organisation. For that reason I believe that it is essential that the next meeting, on January 6 should overturn the previous decision. If my views do not prevail, then I will resign from the organisation – as I believe will Jackie Walker and Marc Wadsworth of Grassroots Black Left.

It may seem incongruous to have an anti-witchhunt group itself excluding people, but we have no choice. It is a fact that the Labour Party’s witchhunt primarily takes the form of the weaponisation of anti-Semitism – the smearing of people as anti-Semitic for no other reason than their support for the Palestinians and opposition to Zionism.

It therefore flows, as night follows day, that LAW cannot include in its ranks people who advocate politics which are anti-Semitic. To include Socialist Fight or its members within LAW, given their stated policies, would be to concede that the Zionist attack on the left as anti-Semitic has some substance. It would be political suicide.

It is extremely unfortunate that a socialist group believes that in the age of modern capitalism the Jewish question survives. It was primarily a question of the social and economic role in the feudal era of Jews as what Abram Leon termed a “people-class”. It only survived politically in the capitalist era as a result of the memory of that role, combined with the delayed and arrested development of capitalism in eastern Europe.

It is noticeable that even today in countries like Poland and Hungary there is still considerable anti-Semitism because of their underdevelopment compared to western Europe. The Pew global attitudes survey shows the difference in anti-Semitic attitudes very clearly between western Europe and eastern Europe (leaving aside Greece and Italy). In France, the Netherlands, Sweden, Germany and Britain, anti-Semitic attitudes can be found in 10% or less of the population.

10 Comments

  1. Eric said,

    It seems to me that the AWL’s theory of political antisemitism has very little real life application. However in the case of Socialist Fight it seems to be tailor made. The question of Zionism for Ian Donovan and Gerry Downing (are there any other members of this outfit?) is not merely one of a Jewish homeland in Palestine and the consequences for the Arabs living there but one of an quasi international nationalist movement that has become the prime imperialism power in the world. Their theory mimics classical antisemitic themes of Jewish world power but without explicit racial theorising.

    The question I have is: Does the AWL regard Tony Greenstein as being too harsh on SF given that they are only political antisemites and not the real deal? Is that the content of Jim’s cryptic remark about incoherent nonsense?

    • Jim Denham, said,

      It is impossible to be too harsh on Downing & co: but Greenstein should learn some lessons from this (he won’t, of course, because he’s completely obsessive and irrational). His friends in the CPGB won’t either, because they’re hopeless sectarians.

      • Eric said,

        Tony Greenstein and Gerry Downing are in the same boat (ie. they’ve been suspended/expelled from the Labour Party on charges of antisemitism) and they have found themselves as part of the same campaign. But Greenstein would say that this is because the Labour Party officials do not recognise the difference between criticism of Zionism and antisemitism. What lessons could he learn? Maybe that there are some who are too indulgent of the likes of Downing and Donovan. Difficult to see what else is to be learnt.

      • socialistfight said,

        You’ll need to come along to the January LAW, Jim, and put poor old jack and Tony straight and lend a bit of assistance. Terrible shame if Socialist Fight managed to pack that meeting too. Bigger venue?

  2. Boleyn Ali said,

    You know its time to give up when Socialist Fight can pack your meeting and win votes

  3. Andrew Coates said,

    Is Downing and crew still in the LRC

    • Jim Denham, said,

      As far as I know, yes (!)

      • Glasgow Working Class said,

        No one ever seems to want a debate on Islamic States where religious freedom is almost non existent and suppressed. And yet when the issue is raised the usual rascist allegations are made.

    • John Rogan said,

      Stan Keable wrote a letter in WW commenting on an LRC meeting on 10 June 17 with Gerry Downing in attendance. Btw, Jackie Walker was also there and allegedly proposed that Mr Keable should be excluded from future LRC and Labour Briefing meetings for writing WW reports.

      http://weeklyworker.co.uk/worker/1159/letters/

  4. Glasgow Working Class said,

    I frequently pass the Islamic State of Pakistan Consular in Glasgow and no one is ever outside protesting. Not everyone in Pakistan is an Islamist.

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