Facing outcry, UK Labour reverses expulsion of anti-Zionist Moshé Machover

Israeli anti-Zionist Moshé Machover in 2008. (Hossam el-Hamalawy)

The UK Labour Party has reversed its summary expulsion of Israeli anti-Zionist Moshé Machover, it emerged on Tuesday.

Machover told The Electronic Intifada that party bureaucrats had written “grudgingly” permitting him back into the party. He said they had backed down because they realized that they were “bringing the Labour Party into disrepute.”

But so far they have refused to apologize for initially accusing him of writing an “apparently anti-Semitic” article.

Machover is well known in scholarly and Palestine solidarity circles as an activist and a co-founder of Matzpen, a group of dissident Israeli socialists active in the 1960s and 1970s. He has lived in London since 1968.

The false allegation was contained in the initial letter expelling him at the start of October.

On Monday, Labour’s head of disputes Sam Matthews wrote saying that “The Party has reviewed the matters of fact surrounding your case and the decision has been taken to rescind your automatic exclusion.”

The letter can be read in full along with other recent correspondence below.

The retired University of London professor said that giving him back his Labour membership was “the least they could do.”

Insult

But he complained that they have not apologized for the “completely unacceptable” false allegation of anti-Semitism – which he described as an “insult.”

Matthews had previously written saying the anti-Semitism allegation would be “kept on file,” threatening that the “allegations may be reopened in the event that you reapply for membership in future.”

Machover had been expelled on the pretext of alleged support for the Communist Party of Great Britain and Labour Party Marxists – an allegation Machover has described as McCarthyist.

Machover said that the climbdown came only because party bureaucrats had been “facing a tsunami of protest” by ordinary Labour members.

An open letter supporting him was signed by more than 1,200 people, according to left-wing group Jewish Voice for Labour.

Among Machover’s celebrity backers were musician Brian Eno, filmmaker Ken Loach and children’s poet and author Michael Rosen.

Some 41 local Labour groups passed motions in support of Machover’s reinstatement.

The Labour leader’s office also seems to have privately put pressure on party bureaucrats for the decision to be reversed.

Labour Party Marxists on Tuesday published an email from an official in Jeremy Corbyn’s office saying that they were “very much aware of the public support for Moshé Machover and the distress and anger caused by his auto-exclusion.”

Laura Murray, Corbyn’s stakeholder manager, wrote that “there will still be outstanding issues on people’s minds around the reasons for his auto-exclusion, but I am glad that he is now a Labour Party member again.”

Earlier in October Machover took legal advice and wrote a detailed rebuttal to party bureaucrats appealing the decision and hinting at possible legal action.

His son is Daniel Machover, a renowned human rights lawyer, who is also active in the Palestine solidarity movement.

Struggle continues

Moshé Machover told The Electronic Intifada that the movement to reinstate him was “beginning to be an international campaign.”

A US group called Science for the People has been collecting signatures for a new petition calling for Machover’s reinstatement. The group launched their petition soon after initial publication of this article, calling for an apology from Labour officials.

As for Machover, he concluded that “la lutte continue” – the struggle continues.

He said that many others have been unjustly excluded or suspended from the Labour Party over “anti-Semitism” – which in most cases turned out to be misrepresented legitimate criticism of Israel or Zionism, the state’s foundational ideology.

The party has been facing a series of exaggerated and in some cases fabricated allegations of anti-Semitism over the last two years.

The Israel lobby and right-wing Labour lawmakers have used the allegations to orchestrate a witch hunt against Palestine solidarity activists and left-wing supporters of Jeremy Corbyn since he became leader of the party in 2015.

Updated to add link to Science for the People’s petition.

Tags

Comments

picture

The shocking term "auto-exclusion" is deployed in order to contaminate any discussion of Moshe Machover's case. That the Labour Party would resort to such language reveals a mentality which is not only disingenuous but downright duplicitous. It's the kind of terminology employed by police states when they blame their victims for calling down on themselves the violence of the regime. It's the kind of verbiage we hear every day from the Israeli government whenever new demolitions are carried out, new waves of arrests occur of West Bank youths, new massacres are launched against Gaza. Let's be clear about this. None of the many targets of this witch hunt chose to be expelled from the party they joined and whose cause they believe in. They were singled out in a campaign of lies orchestrated by the Israeli embassy and implemented within the Labour Party by Israel's place-men and -women in executive positions- and it is they, the bureaucratic officials running this scam, who have been bringing the party into disrepute through false accusations against loyal members.

To Moshe Machover, your many years of service on behalf of Palestinian rights have earned you respect and affection which your detractors can never hope to acquire. Welcome back to Labour, and please keep us informed of any developments in this saga.

picture

As I write on my blog, this is a magnificent victory. Indeed it is the first major victory in the past 2 years of the Zionist witch hunt and it should be savoured. We should not rest on our laurels.

The Jewish Chronicle article on Moshe's reinstatement Expelled anti-Zionist Moshe Machover readmitted to Labour Party https://www.thejc.com/news/uk-... cited a Labour Party 'source' as saying:

“It is important to understand that the NEC has looked at the technical issue of Moshe Machover’s expulsion and ruled it was wrong.

“But this has no impact whatsoever on a series of other high-profile cases of alleged antisemitism with the party.

“These have gone way beyond the stage of the NEC disputes committee and are being heard by the national constitutional committee, the highest disciplinary body in the party.”

Three forthcoming NCC hearings will involve Jackie Walker, Marc Wadsworth and Tony Greenstein – all of whom face charges of antisemitism.'

This is an important victory but it is only the first battle we have won. We have to defend Ken Livingstone, whose 'crime' of noting the fondness of the Nazis for the Zionists was no different from Moshe's. If Jackie, Marc and me are expelled Moshe's victory will have been a pyrrhic one. We must use what has happened with Moshe and the outrageous behaviour of these petty little McCarthyites to argue for an end to the 'antisemitism' witch hunt of anti-Zionists.

As Alexei Sayle noted recently, it's a strange that most of those expelled for 'antisemitism' happen to be Jewish! Below is my take on what has happened.

see Magnificent Victory – Moshe Machover’s Expulsion Rescinded - Ken Livingstone must now have his suspension removed

http://azvsas.blogspot.com/201...

Add new comment

Asa Winstanley

Asa Winstanley's picture

Asa Winstanley is an investigative journalist and associate editor with The Electronic Intifada. He lives in London. Biography here.