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The Rule of the Mob: Labour Conference Banner Banned, Slashed

By Peter Gregson | OffGuardian | September 27, 2019

On Sunday 22nd Sept, I, a Labour Party member since 1986, had my banner taken down from outside Conference. Why? The police agreed it was not anti-Semitic. When Zionists first started complaining about it, the police photographed it and referred it to their superiors. Not a problem, they said. The banner could stay.

But the Zionists, from the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) and the Sussex Friends of Israel (FoI) were incandescent with rage. Repeatedly they complained and when the police refused to act, they took the law into their own hands.

Cllr Joshua Garfield from Newham Council rushed past me at the banner and slashed it in two. The police apprehended him and removed the large sharp scissors he had used and took his details. (Later Garfield boasted about it on twitter.)

The Secretary from Labour Against the Witch-hunt and I repaired it. Yet again it was attacked, ripped in half again by another Zionist. We repaired it again.

At this point local hoodlum Simon Cobbs (Founder of Sussex Friends of Israel and ex-resident of HMP Exeter) stood spread-eagled before it and refused to move. After an hour of this he moved away, whereupon another extremist rushed the banner and this time ripped it in several places.

On each occasion we repaired the banner, and on each occasion the police caught the assailant and took their details.

The police asked me if I would consider taking down the banner; I said I would not do this- I explained this was a matter of freedom of speech; I was in a public space, the banner was not anti-Semitic.

Eventually, a group of Zionists stood before the banner and created a scene, arguing and shouting with a group of us who defended the banner, supporters of free speech. At a certain point the police made the decision that a possible public order offence had been committed. They removed the banner and took it away.

The police explained that it was now evidence in a potential public order charge…. AGAINST me!

It would appear the police had been bullied into making a decision into taking my banner on the grounds that I had committed a public order offence, rather than those who had been harassing and attacking me, calling me an anti-Semite. Readers can see the slashed banner here.

Later that day, Jeremy Corbyn waded in. He tweeted:

I’m disgusted that this banner was displayed near our #Lab19 conference centre. We asked the police to remove it and I’m glad they did. This kind of antisemitic poison has no place whatsoever in our society.”

This brought forward 1,800 responses, many from people who couldn’t see anything anti-Semitic about the banner at all. Even the artist, Latuff, said so.

On the Monday, I attended a voluntary interview at the John Street police station where I was interviewed under caution with the duty solicitor present. I explained what the banner was about and why I had brought it to Brighton, to promote political discussion on the weaponization of anti-Semitism.

I explained about the Al-Jazeera documentary on which the banner was based, The Lobby , which portrayed how Israel funds the take-down of politicians sympathetic to Palestine, using groups such as the JLM and the FoI.

I noted the banner had particular relevance at this time. An election was coming and that once the date was announced, newspapers would be full of accusations of anti-Semitism aimed at Labour politicians who have dared to criticise Israel, in an effort to undermine their vote. I thought it important to point out the role a foreign country was having in British electoral affairs.

I concluded by telling the police that I was disappointed in them for undermining my freedom of speech.

The police must now decide if they will ask the CPS to prosecute me; it is likely to be months before a decision is made.

In the meantime, I will pursue claims of criminal damage against those who attacked my banner and against the police for taking it down, for the Human Rights Act of 1998 – Article 10 protects my right to hold my own opinions and to express them freely without government interference, including through works of art.

The next day, Rabbi Ahron Cohen of the Neturei Karta spoke to me and gave his view that he could not fathom any way that the banner was anti-Semitic.

Many are dumbfounded at Corbyn’s tweet describing it as such. When the Lobby film was shown in 2017, its fairness and accuracy was supported by OFCOM and Corbyn called for an investigation, so he knew that Israel pumps millions of pounds into Zionist defamation activities in the UK with the sole aim of shutting down any debate on Israel’s racist treatment of Arabs and Christians.

However, according to the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism adopted by most political parties, to say that Israel is a racist endeavour is now seen as prejudice against Jews.

The banner says: “IHRA: tell the NEC how you feel”, because I wanted Labour members to tell the Party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) to abandon the IHRA definition they adopted a year ago, an action Corbyn himself objected to.

Party members are now beholden to a definition whereby any activist criticising Israel as racist becomes an anti-Semite, a plainly ludicrous claim. This enables Zionists to make endless charges of anti-Semitism against anti-apartheid activists.

Most of these accusations come from the JLM, registered as a socialist society affiliated to Labour.

I am chair of Labour Against Zionist Islamophobic Racism (LAZIR), a group of Labour Party activists which sees Zionism as racism and who want to end its influence, seeking to get the JLM disaffiliated. At the Conference, we distributed 1,500 flyers to Party members calling for this, highlighting the JLM’s role in undermining any politician who supports Palestine and criticises Israel.

Corbyn’s pro-Palestine stance has drawn JLM’s ire and they have declared Corbyn “unfit to be prime minister”. They score Labour candidates seeking election according to their level of support for Israel, working with the media to undermine whose whom they don’t like or who support Corbyn.

A tweet from a man at LP Conference showing plans to attack Corbyn and Labour with “big stories” come election time

One doesn’t have to be either Jewish or in the Labour Party to be in the JLM.

Labour’s founding planks are fairness, equality and social justice. LAZIR point out that JLM’s sole focus is on protecting Israel, sharing none of Labour’s values in their disregard for Palestinian rights.

I emailed Corbyn in response to the tweet, pointing out the Rabbi’s views and that he himself had called for an investigation into Israel’s work undermining UK politicians; he had also not supported Labour adopting the full IHRA definition.

I copied in all NEC members and drew this response from Jon Lansman:

I do not wish to receive any more of your messages. Your obsessive hatred of those you call “Zionists” marks you out as an anti-Semite. To be clear, you do not have my permission to retain my contact details so please delete them and never contact me again.”

Lansman is Momentum leader and the man responsible for getting the IHRA definition adopted by Labour in 2018. He is a strong supporter of Israel and spent years on a kibbutz. He is also one of the nine CLP reps on the NEC and as such was elected to represent the views of CLP members, including me. I consider that as my rep, Lansman must accept that part of his role is to receive communications on Labour Party matters from members.

Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson couldn’t resist wading in as well, saying in the Jewish Chronicle he was furious about this “deliberate intimidation of Jewish Labour members at the conference”.

He said “Regardless of where and why it is outrageous to come to a conference of a democratic party and to intimidate people who are just trying to make the world a better place.” I do not consider Watson’s unbridled support for Israel is in any way making the world a better place.

I am now in discussion with my solicitors; I will seek redress through the courts.

NOTES:

Latuff’s cartoon was first published in September 2018, when it was used to illustrate Gregson’s article Why let Netanyahu write the Labour rulebook?

See the footage of the police removing the banner at LBC here. More on this, including the links to the many publications who carried the story, can be found at lazir.org

September 27, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , | 2 Comments

‘Can’t apologize for telling truth’: Suspended ex-London Mayor Livingstone avoids Labour expulsion

RT | April 5, 2017

A Labour Party committee upheld the charges leveled at Ken Livingstone for his comments about the links between Hitler and Zionism last year, but did not expel the former mayor of London from its ranks. The time-limited sanction has provoked outrage from Jewish groups.

Following two days of legal and historical deliberations behind closed doors, the National Constitutional Committee found the 71-year-old, who had been suspended from the party since April 2016, guilty of three counts of conduct that is “prejudicial or… grossly detrimental to the party.” Livingstone, who says that he has no plans to return to frontline politics, is barred from holding any position in the party, or running as a Labour candidate until April 2018.

In the wake of the hearing, an unrepentant Livingstone told the media that proceedings resembled “sitting through a court in North Korea,” and complained that “natural justice” had not been done, and said that those who called him “anti-Semitic” and a “Nazi apologist” should have gone in front of the panel instead.

“If I’d said Hitler was a Zionist, I would say sorry. You can’t apologize for telling the truth. I apologize for the offence caused by those Labour MPs who lied,” insisted Livingstone, who said that he was smeared due to his connections with Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn, by the latter’s political opponents.

‘Hitler-Zionist collaboration’ controversy

In his original remarks last year, made in defense of Naz Shah, a Labour MP also accused of anti-Semitism, Livingstone claimed that Hitler “was supporting Zionism before he went mad and ended up killing 6 million Jews.”

Instead of retracting his comments, Livingstone, who led the Greater London Council in the 1980s and served as the city’s mayor between 2000 and 2008, has tried to clarify his views, focusing on the 1933 Haavara agreement between Zionist German Jews and the Nazi authorities, which enabled some to emigrate to present-day Israel, and transfer some of their assets out of the country.

“[Hitler] didn’t just sign the deal. The SS set up training camps so that German Jews who were going to go [to Palestine] could be trained to cope with a very different sort of country when they got there,” Livingstone said last month.

“He passed a law saying the Zionist flag and the swastika were the only flags that could be flown in Germany… Of course, they started selling Mauser pistols to the underground Jewish army. So you had right up until the start of the Second World War real collaboration.”

Suspension a ‘slap on the wrist’

The Jewish Labour Movement, which had submitted a 178-page report to the panel challenging Livingstone’s version of history and criticizing his “disparaging, inaccurate and out-of-context comments,” said that Tuesday’s decision was a “betrayal” of the party.

“This punishment is totally insufficient. They don’t match the leadership’s commitment to zero tolerance on anti-Semitism. They imply a revolving door policy in which you can revise the history of the Holocaust, sit quietly for a year then come back and do it all again,” said Jeremy Newmark, the chair of the Jewish Labour Movement.

“Mr Livingstone’s inaccurate and antagonistic comments including over the past 40 years have had a huge impact on the Jewish community,” said Simon Johnson, the chief executive of the Jewish Leadership Council.

In excess of 20 Labour MPs, who had called for Livingstone to be expelled, expressed their unhappiness with the suspension, with Anna Turley calling it “weak and shameful” and Lisa Nandy calling the decision a “sad day” for the Labour Party.

April 5, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | 1 Comment

Labour’s Witch-hunt Against Ken Livingstone

By Jonathan Cook | Dissident Voice | March 31, 2017

The ongoing Ken Livingstone (“Get Corbyn!”) saga grows yet more preposterous. After outrage that the former London mayor had said Hitler was a Zionist (when he clearly hadn’t, as I pointed out at the time here and here), Labour suspended Livingstone amid accusations that he had made anti-semitic, offensive and false historical claims.

Now as Livingstone fights to avoid expulsion before a closed hearing of the party’s national constitutional committee, it emerges that Labour’s general secretary, Iain McNicol, has written to Livingstone saying that the hearing is not interested in the historical accuracy of his statements or whether what he said was anti-semitic. Rather, it is about whether his conduct has been “grossly detrimental” to the party.

In other words, this is a kangaroo court. Because, of course, Livingstone’s comments have been detrimental to the party. Not least, they have angered the UK’s powerful Israel lobby. That is the same lobby – directed by the Israeli embassy and working through groups like the Jewish Labour Movement – that was recently exposed by an undercover Al Jazeera investigation as plotting to bring down a British government minister. Crossing people like that is undoubtedly detrimental to the party, because they are prepared to destroy Labour before they allow it, or its leader, to campaign on behalf of Palestinian rights.

That is why, as long as Livingstone or Corbyn are around, the JLM and its allies in the liberal media, like the Guardian’s Owen Jones and Jonathan Freedland, will keep helping to confect an “anti-semitism crisis” in Labour, acerbating the very problems they blame Corbyn for creating.

In this context, one can understand why McNicol is denying Livingstone the chance to air the historical facts in an open hearing. Because the better the case Livingstone makes for collaboration between the Nazis and Zionists, the more detriment the JLM and others will do to the Labour party. Certainly, JLM leader Jeremy Newmark, who testified against Livingstone on Thursday, will benefit from the lack of public scrutiny of his statements.

McNicol’s logic here is entirely circular, of course. As long as Labour indulges the JLM leadership, and continues to draw a veil over Israeli oppression of Palestinians, the party will have a quiet life. If Labour tries to do the right thing – promoting justice for the Palestinians, upholding international law and soothing a long-festering wound of British malfeasance in the Middle East – it will face a perfect storm from the JLM.

Remember as you watch this farce play out that Owen Jones is due to give a memorial lecture this Sunday (April 2) to the JLM, whose leaders barely bother to conceal the fact that they are more loyal to the Israeli government than the democratically elected leader of their own party. If Jones cared about Labour as much as he claims, he shouldn’t touch the JLM with a barge-pole. Instead it has him in a bear hug.

April 1, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Leave a comment

Jewish Labour Movement backs Owen Smith as next Labour leader

Press TV – August 15, 2016

The Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) votes almost unanimously for Owen Smith over Jeremy Corbyn to become the next leader of the party.

In an overwhelming victory for Smith, 92 percent of the JLM voted in favor of Smith, compared to just 4 percent backing Corbyn.

According to its website, the JLM is a “formal affiliate of the Labour Party in the UK since 1920,” which “campaigns within the party and the wider community to support Labour values within the UK, Israel and internationally.” It also works closely with “the Zionist Federation of the UK.”

Corbyn has been rocked by several accusations of anti-Semitism in the party since taking over as leader in September of 2015. The row gained mass media coverage and led to the party suspending a number of its key figures for condemning Israeli crimes.

Reacting to the uproar, Corbyn launched an inquiry into anti-Semitism within the Labour Party. Even former mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, was suspended by Corbyn in April for denouncing Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people and arguing that Adolf Hitler, the former leader of Nazi Germany, was a supporter of Zionism.

Writing an article for the Mail over the weekend, a Jewish Labour donor compared Corbyn’s inner circle to “Nazi stormtroopers”. Michael Foster, who gave Labour £400,000 at the last election, wrote of his hatred for Corbyn and penned his support for Smith.

Smith, a former shadow work and pensions secretary, announced his decision to run in the Labour leadership election last month. Smith had resigned earlier this year from Corbyn’s shadow cabinet before challenging for the leadership.

Corbyn’s opponents challenged his leadership for what they call inadequate efforts to keep the UK in the European Union.

Corbyn has until September 21 to appeal to voters and defeat Smith. The results will be announced in a Liverpool conference three days later.

August 16, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | 1 Comment