An Open Letter to the Jewish Socialists Group
Why the JSG’s Silence over the Jewish Labour Movement’s Racist Attacks on Jackie Walker is Consent
To: David Rosenberg, National Secretary, Jewish Socialists Group
Over 3 months ago, I posted links to my post The Strange Silence of the Jewish Socialists Group on the JSG’s FaceBook group. The post concerned Jackie Walker, the Black-Jewish activist who was suspended by the Labour Party and the actions of Jon Lansman, who is a member of the JSG. As a result I was removed from the JSG’s FB group.
Jackie was a victim of the Jewish Labour Movement’s anti-Semitism smear campaign. Other anti-Zionists and anti-racists, including myself and Ken Livingstone, have also fallen victim to this Israeli-state driven campaign which labels support for the Palestinians and anti-Zionism as anti-Semitic. Al Jazeera is now showing a series of programmes documenting some of the leading actors in this campaign and their links to the Israeli Embassy.
Jackie was suspended from the Labour Party as a direct consequence of Lansman’s attack on her in the media. Lansman informed the Independent that “I spoke to Jeremy Newmark of the Jewish Labour Movement this morning, he’s very upset and I can understand that — I work closely with Jeremy…’ Jackie was removed as Vice-Chair of Momentum at the instigation of Lansman, Momentum’s Chair and latter-day Caudillo.
The admission by Lansman that he works closely with Newmark, something he has also told me, is shocking enough. The JLM are the British wing of the Israeli Labour Party and affiliated to the World Zionist Organisation. Their role is to prettify Israel’ racism and repression. The ILP were the original party of the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians.
Newmark is one of the principal authors of the false anti-Semitism campaign in the Labour Party and by his own admission he works very closely with the Israeli Embassy. He was criticised as a liar by the Employment Tribunal in Fraser v UCU when he attacked the University College Union for supporting the Academic Boycott of Israel.
The JSG has a long and honourable record of fighting fascism and racism. Although we often disagreed I counted the late Steve Cohen, a member of JSG and a tireless campaigner in support of refugees and asylum seekers, as a good friend.
Only today Debbie Fink, a long-time Jewish activist in the BDS movement and JfJP wrote to you asking ‘why the JSG has not challenged Lansman, let alone expelled him, and why of all groups, the JSG has remained silent on the fate of Jackie Walker.’ She referred to the series of programmes that Al Jazeera are currently showing and asked ‘what side-of history does JSG want to be on?’
In response you stated that Debbie’s comments were ‘based on ignorance and vituperation, they were not worth responding to. The JSG is solely accountable to its members, not to you, nor to FSOI, nor to any other groups we may or may not be connected with or work with.’ Of course it is true that you are only accountable to your members but any group that claims to be socialist and anti-racist surely owes an explanation to more than just its members for its behaviour? It is shameful that you are remaining silent about a member who has actively colluded in racist attacks on a fellow Jewish socialist.
On September 17th, over a week before the Labour Party Conference and the ‘training session’ that led to her suspension, I wrote a post The Jewish Labour Movement and its Political Lynching of Jackie Walker. It was clear to me, that the JLM, as part the campaign that was organised by the Israeli Embassy, was engaged in what I called a political lynching, a campaign of race baiting, against a Black-Jewish comrade. It was incumbent upon you as socialists to support her, not to remain silent.
If you are not aware of the details of the framing of Jackie Walker you can consult myThe lynching of Jackie Walker and Professor Jonathan Rosenhead’s Jackie Walker: a suspense mystery, both of which are on Open Democracy.
On 5th October last year, the Guardian printed a letter from Jewish members of Momentum defending Jackie Walker. When one of your members, Ruth Appleton, sought to add ‘member of JSG’ after her name she was instructed by Julia Bard to remove any reference to the JSG. Julia wrote that ‘The JSG is not commenting at the moment and, because the situation is so complex and volatile. Under the circumstances, I think it would be better if you just signed in your own name, without mentioning the JSG, for now.’
Today I understand that Debbie Fink has been removed from the Jews for Jeremy Facebook group, which is not a JSG group, although you, Julia and Ian Saville are the sole moderators, because she posted a link to my post criticising Lansman’s attempt to dissolve all Momentum’s elected bodies. I assume that either yourself or Julia Bard removed Debbie.
Last year I was also removed from the J4J FB group by you and Ms Bard for defending Malia Bouatthia, NUS’s Black President, in a letter to the Guardian. Malia has also been the subject of a racist witch hunt by the Zionist UJS, which Al Jazeera has documented.
At the end of April last year, the JSG issued a Statement on “Labour’s problem with antisemitism” in which you stated that
Accusations of antisemitism are currently being weaponised … with claims that Labour has a “problem” of antisemitism…. The Jewish Socialists’ Group sees the current fearmongering about antisemitism in the Labour Party for what it is — a conscious and concerted effort by right-wing political forces to undermine the growing support among Jews and non-Jews alike for the Labour Party leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, and a measure of the desperation of his opponents.
This was a fine statement of principles. In May of last year Ian Saville, a member of the JSG, spoke at a Momentum meeting in Brighton alongside Jackie after she had been suspended for the first time. Nothing has changed since that time other than the fact that the Zionists refused to accept her reinstatement into the Labour Party and conducted a race-baiting witch-hunt against her. It is a pity that you have resiled from the position you once held. I hope you reconsider.