Labour suspends Jewish activist over “African holocaust” post

As the UK goes to the polls in local elections Thursday, the witch hunt against critics of Israel in the Labour Party continues.

I was invited onto Turkish satellite channel TRT World to debate the issue. You can watch the program in the first half of the YouTube video above.

Unfortunately, the program was quite short and I was not given time to respond to some specific points. A section in which I explained more about the Vicki Kirby allegations did not make the edit.

For those details and more, read my piece on this.

Fallout

In the aftermath of former London mayor Ken Livingstone’s suspension from the party, leader Jeremy Corbyn announced an independent inquiry into allegations of anti-Semitism.

The inquiry will report in two months time and is being led by Shami Chakrabti, the former director of human rights group Liberty. Her vice chair is Professor David Feldman, who leads the Pears Institute for the Study of Anti-Semitism.

Although the announcement of the inquiry and suspension of Livingstone have led to a slight easing of the media hysteria, the witch hunt to purge the Labour Party of imaginary anti-Semites has continued this week.

Hours after being snitched on by Paul Staines, a hard-right gossip blogger known as Guido Fawkes, Labour’s Compliance Unit suspended several local councilors over years-old social media criticisms of Israel alleged to be anti-Semitic.

The sheer irrationality of the witch hunt is such that on Wednesday it purged a Jewish anti-racism activist of long standing.

Jackie Walker was suspended for Facebook postings condemning the slave trade and criticizing the current witch hunt.

African holocaust

Walker wrote on her Facebook in February that as a person of mixed heritage, her ancestors “were involved” in both the Nazi Holocaust and the slave trade. “Millions more Africans were killed in the African holocaust,” she wrote, apparently describing the slave trade as a “holocaust.”

The Facebook comments were sent to the party by the Jewish Chronicle. The newspaper had received them from a group called the Israel Advocacy Movement.

Walker is a member of left-wing Labour grouping Momentum and a signatory to Jews For Justice For Palestinians.

The Labour Representation Committee condemned the suspension “wholeheartedly and unreservedly” on Wednesday evening.

“A picture emerges of a leading pro-Israeli government organization trawling through the social media posts of Labour Party activists to brand ideas anti-Semitic when they are clearly not,” wrote the left-wing grouping. The LRC is chaired by John McDonnell, shadow finance minister and a key Corbyn ally.

“If they can do this to me they can do it to anyone,” Walker wrote Wednesday night.

Lies

On the TRT World segment, I was debating Padraig Reidy, editor of the Little Atoms blog. His contribution was a prime example of the shameless levels of lying in the media around all this.

Reidy claimed that “Diane Abbott, one of Mr. Corbyn’s closest allies in the party, said that any claim of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party is a smear” (my emphasis).

What Abbott actually said on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show on Sunday morning was: “Every single – there’s been I think 12 – allegation of anti-Semitism since Jeremy became leader has resulted in a suspension … Ken will have due process and the party will decide … it’s something of a smear against ordinary party members … to say that the Labour Party has a problem with anti-Semitism … 200,000 people have joined the Labour Party [since Corbyn became leader]. You’re saying that because there have been 12 reported incidents of hate speech online that the Labour Party is somehow intrinsically anti-Semitic?”

In his article on the Labour witch hunt Reidy claimed that even “the narrative of the ‘one percent’ ” is anti-Semitic.

“Do they meet up to make their plans?” he asked. “In a Prague graveyard at midnight perhaps?”

Reidy appears to have been referring to a novel by Umberto Eco, in which a plot to take over the world is supposedly discussed at a Jewish cemetery in the Czech city.

Reidy’s inference was that to refer in any way to the top one percent of earners in society (a slogan popularized by the Occupy Wall Street movement) is to invoke anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.

So, according to Reidy, the entire left, including US presidential contender Bernie Sanders, are anti-Semites. Such sweeping allegations are not only baseless, but entirely damaging to real efforts to combat anti-Semitism.

Update: Graham Bash, Walker’s partner, has written in Labour Briefing condemning her suspension and calling on Labour members to email the party’s general secretary in protest.

Bash writes that “what is happening in the party today is an attempt to cynically use rare examples, and usually false allegations, of anti-Semitism as part of a McCarthyite witch hunt against supporters of Jeremy.”

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It should be self-evident that Israel has no RIGHT to exist.
Zionism has always been a colonialist effort to dispossess
one group ---Palestinians were mostly Muslim and a few
Christians with a smattering of Jewish "settlers" who incidentally
also opposed Zionism. There has been considerable scholastic
work on this history. (It differs little from the invasion of
the Americas based on the disappearance of Native Americans,
their social beliefs, and the means of appropriating Native
American lands.)

The invading colonialists had no RIGHT to Native American
land which were conquered by force, massacre, rape, murder, fraud.
What is "transfer" in Israel was "Indian Removal" a few hundred
years ago.

After the defeat of Native Americans at Wounded Knee (State of
South Dakota, December, 1890) Native Americans could "fight"
for their beliefs but never for land, nationhood (although
acknowledged in the white US Constitution).

Israel must be recognized because it DOES in fact exist. It has no
RIGHT to exist, but it does. It must be recognized because it exists
if immorally.

There will be no single state. This is a fantasy of intelligent men.
There will be no reconstruction of Native American nations.
(Many were in fact eliminated entirely.)

Those who oppose Israel as do I are not "anti-semitic". We oppose
the right of aliens to control and own Palestine based on the
pan-German conception of "state" and based on beliefs
which must be based on the privilege of the rulers, discrimination
and all the mistreatment to which Palestine has been subjected
for years.

This is a depressing picture but unfortunately true to the
facts.

----Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

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Graham Bash has correctly identified the taxonomy of this beast. It is indeed an imported species from North America, commonly known as McCarthyism. With that in mind, the last thing Corbyn and the Labour Party (yes, I'm aware of divisions) should do is lend credence to the smears by commissioning an investigative board and imposing suspensions on persons accused by a well-funded propaganda machine. It is a cardinal rule in fighting McCarthyism that you must not concede ground to such a campaign. That's the only way it can gain momentum, because this sort of phenomenon feeds on the fear it generates. There is today such ingrained terror of media assault in the British political classes that many are willing to adopt suicidal penitence in the hope of appeasing or deflecting their antagonists. But as with McCarthy, there is no safety valve, no cut-off point. The pressure only builds with each concession, for more resignations, and then prosecutions, and purges, and then submissive silence for a generation.

I don't think Britain offers fertile ground for this project, but if Corbyn refuses to stand up now and defend instead of discharge critics of Israel, and above all to defend the cause of Palestine when it comes under this kind of coordinated, hysterical and mendacious attack- his leadership will have been greatly diminished and the Left hung out to dry just when real change became possible.

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Reidy is referring to 'The Protocols of the Meetings of the Learned Elders of Zion', to which Eco's novel also refers. 'The Protocols', itself, was based on a chapter, "At the Jewish Cemetery in Prague", in a book by Hermann Goedsche (see, in Wikipedia), in which the Gentile protagonist, hiding overnight in Prague's ancient Jewish cemetery, spies the heads of the twelve Jewish tribes, who've gathered from the far corners of the Earth, to summon the Devil and plot the political-economic enslavement of Humanity. In 'The Protocols' version, these Elders meet following the first Zionist Congress. Reidy seems to believe, that because this infamous literary conspiracy is fictional, therefor there can never be an actual conspiracy of Israeli lobbyists meeting in secret, plotting to subvert Western democracies; or, of billionaires plotting to enslave Humanity through debt. However, as we frequently find, the truth may be discovered to have been very much stranger than fiction. If there actually are such conspiracies, they would likely be employing Reidy, to spread this very incredulity, as cover. Today, the Prague Jewish Museum has fenced off the old cemetery, and only those who buy a ticket may enter; but only in daylight.

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Any study of the slave trade would confirm it as a holocaust. Whole nations were broken apart and more died during transportation than reached inprisonment in North America. Attitudes to blacks were as vile as in the nazi holocaust.

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Europe & USA have designed and promoted laws which condone immoral transfers of wrongfully acquired assets from former colonies using estate agents, banks, lawyers, and democratically elected etc. crooks from the affected countries to sabotage these countries' economies.
The Occidental controlled media pretends not to notice.

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Thanks for giving such a good report on what has been going on with my suspension!

Asa Winstanley

Asa Winstanley's picture

Asa Winstanley is an investigative journalist who lives in London. He is an associate editor with The Electronic Intifada. He first visited Palestine in 2004.