Lansman told The Electronic Intifada that although he is not a member, “I agreed to speak at the JLM conference some time ago and it does not affect my support for the text of the agreed Labour code of conduct” against anti-Semitism.
The JLM has been adamantly opposed to the new code, demanding it be revised to include a definition of anti-Semitism which would prohibit important criticisms of Israel.
The lineup of speakers announced by JLM also includes several of party leader Jeremy Corbyn’s most hard-line opponents.
Hodge was briefly investigated by the party’s disciplinary structures before the action was dropped – reportedly under threat by a faction of Labour lawmakers that they would break away from the party.
The announcements come amid a report that Lansman is preparing to do a U-turn on Labour’s code of conduct against anti-Semitism.
The code adopts the controversial IHRA “working definition” of anti-Semitism, along with most of its “examples” of anti-Semitism.
But it has rejected the provision which claims that defining Israel as “a racist endeavor” is anti-Semitism.
The “gold standard”?
The “working definition” has been used to suppress Palestinian and solidarity groups’ criticisms of Israel all over the UK. The document, in various guises, has been actively promoted by Israel and its associated lobby groups around the world for years.
Last month, writing in The Guardian, Lansman defended the new code of conduct as “the new gold standard” in fighting anti-Semitism.
He wrote that on a recent trip to present-day Israel, “those I met, Jewish as well as Palestinian citizens of Israel, spoke about racist state policies, not just in relation to the occupation and settlements, but also within Israel itself.”
He said that the IHRA example should not be allowed to “deny other oppressed groups their right to speak about their own oppression.”
Organizations “which claim to speak for the diverse Jewish community” did not have “the credibility to criticize a political party’s robust, thorough and far-reaching code of conduct,” Lansman argued.
But now, amid an escalating campaign by right-wing and pro-Israel forces within Labour against the code of conduct, Lansman appears to be capitulating.
The Jewish News reported on Wednesday that “Lansman has for weeks been lobbying Labour’s leadership to adopt the international definition [sic] of anti-Semitism with all its examples.”
The pro-Israel paper claimed that, “sources close to the Momentum founder told Jewish News that he ‘regretted’ the fact Jeremy Corbyn’s [recent] Guardian article ‘lacked a firm commitment’ to include all 11 [IHRA] examples in the party’s code of conduct.”
Although Lansman’s email to The Electronic Intifada stated that his appearance at the JLM event “does not affect my support” for the code of conduct, he did not respond to a follow-up question asking about the Jewish News report.
Lansman’s appearance at the conference appears to be regarded by the JLM as something of a coup, with its Twitter account on Thursday saying it was a sign that Momentum – an ostensibly left-wing group – had something “in common” with corporate Blairite faction Progress and two other right-wing Labour groups.
The Jewish Labour Movement emerged in February 2016 as a leading force in the Israeli campaign of psychological warfare against the Labour Party and its then-new leader Jeremy Corbyn – a veteran Palestine solidarity activist.
As The Electronic Intifada revealed in April, the JLM has acted as a proxy for the Israeli embassy, running an official Israeli delegation to the Labour Party conference in 2016.
Masot was expelled from the UK in 2017, after an Al Jazeera investigation revealed he had plotted to “take down” lawmakers and ministers deemed critical of Israel.
The Electronic Intifada put all this to Lansman, but he did not directly address any of it, defending the JLM as “a legitimate part of the Labour Party.”
He wrote that “the vast majority” of JLM “are opposed to the occupation” and that “if we are going to succeed in creating a Palestinian state, we need to win over a significant section of the Jewish community both in Israel and in the Jewish diaspora.”
“Jon Lansman long made it clear to me that his long term goal was the bring the left into accord with the Jewish Labour Movement.”
She said that the “announcement that he will be representing Momentum on a JLM platform, like his visit to Israel, has gone ahead without any discussion with the membership, or the body which supposedly represents members views,” the National Coordinating Group.
She said that “Momentum members as well as others, must urgently consider how to bring some democratic pressure to resist changes to the recently accepted Labour Party IHRA code.”
As well as being the leader of Momentum, Lansman is an influential member of Labour’s ruling national executive and is running for re-election next month.
Lansman’s JLM appearance fits into a key goal of the lobby groups that work in close association with the Israeli government to embrace “soft critics” of Israel as a way to drive a wedge into the Palestine solidarity movement and the left.