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UK democracy under worse attack than it is in US   The U.K and Europe

Started Nov-23 by BerrySteph; 136 views.
BerrySteph

From: BerrySteph

Nov-23

Revealed: the Israel lobby’s Labour hit list

20 November 2020 - In a secret document in May, the Board of Deputies of British Jews said a Palestine solidarity activist and 10 other Labour members would “require permanent expulsion.”

A redacted section of the hit list was revealed last week after a data access request made by Becky Massey, one of the targeted activists.

... “This is a political hit list,” Massey told The Electronic Intifada. She was suspended a few days later and expelled the following month.

The revelation comes amidst an escalating civil war in Labour, triggered by the ongoing manufactured anti-Semitism campaign against former leader Jeremy Corbyn.

... Corbyn was first suspended as a party member last month. The pretext was a statement by the former leader that the scale of anti-Semitism in the party had been “dramatically overstated for political reasons by our opponents inside and outside the party, as well as by much of the media.”

This overly cautious, blandly factual statement caused outrage among the party right and the Israel lobby.

CONTINUED:

In reply toRe: msg 1
BerrySteph

From: BerrySteph

Nov-23

CONTINUED:

Labour’s remaining left-wing MPs rhetorically condemned the suspension, but did very little.

However a backlash among the Labour membership and the threat of a party split – along with potential legal action – may have played a role in ending the suspension.

... On Tuesday, a Labour disciplinary panel ruled that Corbyn should be readmitted to the party. According to The Times, they also “ordered” Corbyn to delete his statement that anti-Semitism has been dramatically overstated from social media.

However, the BBC reported that this was only “a suggestion” not a requirement.

Either way, as of this writing, Corbyn has not deleted the posts. But the former leader did – once again – capitulate to demands made on him.

In another apologetic statement issued on social media the morning the disciplinary panel met, he seemed to reverse his earlier statement that anti-Semitism had been “dramatically overstated” for political reasons.

“To be clear, concerns about anti-Semitism are neither ‘exaggerated’ nor ‘overstated,’” he wrote.

Corbyn’s backpedaling did him no good.

After Corbyn was readmitted, Labour Friends of Israel supporter Margaret Hodge, a right-wing Labour MP, threatened to quit the party. Israel lobby group the Jewish Labour Movement accused Corbyn of having “offered no apology for his total failure of leadership to tackle anti-Semitism.”

... Starmer – who says he supports “Zionism without qualification” and has been richly backed by prominent Israel lobby funders – made his very first acts as leader meetings with the Israel lobby to confirm his intention to meet their demands.

The secret Board of Deputies document was sent the following month, on 11 May. Seven days later Massey was suspended.

Earlier the same day Labour Party staffers had discussed how to have the activist expelled, redacted emails released to the activist by Labour under her subject access request show.

Under British law, individual members of the public have the right to access most information an organization holds on them.

... “Good spot,” wrote one of the staffers, after a colleague found a tweet by Massey to use as a pretext.

... Williamson had been the only Labour MP to call out the smear campaign. He was pushed out of the party as a result.

The letter suspending Massey was sent the evening of the day of the email chain. Earlier that day, Starmer had met with the Jewish Labour Movement.

A Labour Party spokesperson at the time told me that it was “categorically untrue to claim or imply that this or any other suspension was in any way connected” to the JLM meeting – even though the group has for years been demanding suspensions and expulsions of leftists from Labour.

But a statement the very next day by the Board of Deputies suggested there was indeed such a connection.

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  • Edited November 23, 2020 6:27 am  by  BerrySteph
In reply toRe: msg 2
BerrySteph

From: BerrySteph

Nov-23

CONTINUED:

Obliquely referring to the hit list later revealed by Massey’s access request, the Board wrote they had “sent Labour a briefing on 11 cases of anti-Semitism that we believe to be outstanding.”

The hit list is titled “Briefing: Eleven Outstanding Labour Antisemitism Cases.”

The statement went on to say the Board was “heartened by Sir Keir’s meeting with the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) yesterday.”

The hit list is marked “confidential” on each page and is dated 11 May – exactly a week before Massey was suspended.

The email chain released to Massey also suggests that Labour’s “investigation” process is a sham, with staffers discussing the fact they had suspended her “with a view to her autoexclusion.”

By way of contrast, the letter sent to Massey said only that she had been suspended “subject to the approval of the next meeting” of Labour’s ruling national executive.

A failed redaction in the email chain also suggests that Keir Starmer’s office is guilty of political interference in the disciplinary process.

The subject line of most of the emails reads: “Subject: [REDACTED] Rebecca Massey.”

But one email in the chain reveals that the unredacted subject had read: “Subject: RE: For LOTO: Rebecca Massey.”

“LOTO” is a reference to the office of the “Leader of the Opposition” – Keir Starmer.

... Starmer’s contemporaneous meetings with Israel lobby groups in which they demanded the expulsions of those on the hit list – combined with the contents of the document itself – shows that, once again, the so-called crisis of anti-Semitism in the party is actually being driven by the Israel lobby.

Ironically, “political interference” is exactly the charge that the Labour right and the Israel lobby leveled at Corbyn during his time as leader, accusing him of protecting “anti-Semites.”

... Becky Massey is a leading activist in one of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign’s most visible branches, in Brighton on the south coast.

Massey’s suspension in May came as part of a wider purge of Palestine solidarity activists from the party, including others in Brighton PSC.

Responding to the new revelations on Thursday, a spokesperson for the Palestine Solidarity Campaign said they had “warned on many occasions of the wrongs of any conflation of anti-Semitism with legitimate criticism” of Israel.

... said Labour should not restrict members’ rights to discuss the “historical and ongoing oppression of the Palestinian people and to call for action, including via support for boycott, divestment and sanctions.”

The Board of Deputies and the Labour Party did not reply to requests for comment.

Although it represents itself as almost the sole spokesperson for “the Jewish community,” much of the Board’s activities are devoted to protecting Israel’s crimes.

In 2013 its president wrote that “we lobby unashamedly for Israel.”

... Corbyn’s massive local support base, national profile and enduring popular loyalty would mean he’d have a serious chance of winning the seat, even standing against the Labour machine.

In reply toRe: msg 3
BerrySteph

From: BerrySteph

Nov-23

https://labourlist.org/2020/11/labour-looking-into-complaint-against-new-nec-member-gemma-bolton/

Labour looking into complaint against new NEC member Gemma Bolton

16th November, 2020 - The Labour Party is looking into a complaint made against Gemma Bolton, a newly elected member of its ruling national executive committee (NEC), LabourList understands.

It has been reported by The Jewish Chronicle that Labour has launched an investigation into social media posts by left-wing NEC member Gemma Bolton as it emerged she described Israel as “an apartheid state”.

LabourList understands, however, that the party is looking into the complaint yet this is not equivalent to a formal Labour investigation. Bolton is not currently suspended from the party.

Bolton placed fourth out of nine successful NEC candidates in a ballot of Labour members that concluded last week. The closely-fought internal contests also saw ex-MP Laura Pidcock picked for the top body.

After running on the Centre-Left Grassroots Alliance platform backed by Momentum and her organisation the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy, Bolton now represents local parties on the NEC.

But the CLPD co-chair is the subject of a complaint after it was highlighted that she tweeted in 2018: “If I run the risk of getting suspended for calling Israel an apartheid state then so be it. Suspend me.”

A Labour spokesperson said: “The Labour Party takes all complaints of antisemitism extremely seriously and they are fully investigated in line with our rules and procedures, and any appropriate disciplinary action is taken.”

Supporters of Bolton have drawn attention to a United Nations 2017 report stating that Israel is “an apartheid regime that oppresses and dominates the Palestinian people as a whole”. Critics of the label say it is used to delegitimise Israel.

Adam Wagner, who acted for the Campaign Against Antisemitism in Labour’s referral to the Equality and Human Rights Commission, was asked whether Bolton’s post could be considered antisemitic under the EHRC report.

The human rights barrister tweeted in response: “There is nothing – it’s not antisemitic. Certainly doesn’t fall within the IHRA definition. On what is quoted in the JC article, there is nothing there – nothing.”

During the NEC campaign, Bolton wrote a piece for LabourList expressing support for “robust, transparent disciplinary processes” to challenge “the antisemitism and the Islamophobia that sadly continue to persist in our own ranks”. 

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