02/10/2016 by socialistfight
Socialist Fight, 2-10-16
Jackie Walker, the vice-chair of Momentum, a leading member of the Labour Representation Committee and a mixed-background Afro-Caribbean and Jewish woman who has been politically active all of her adult life as an anti-racist and anti-fascist, has once again been suspended from the Labour Party at the behest of the racist Zionist Jewish Labour Movement (JLM), an arm of the Israeli state and its Havoda (Labour) Party.
The allegation against her is one of supposed anti-Semitism, in remarks she made about the Holocaust Memorial events that the JLM and other Zionists sponsor; questioning the JLM’s perverted definition of anti-Semitism, and questioning discriminatory ‘security’ measures that Jewish schools are provided with by the state.
Jackie Walker made the mistake, as someone who had previously been a target of smears from the Zionists, of attending one of the JLM’s supposed ‘training’ events on the fringe of the Labour Party conference in September and attempting to argue with the assembled Naqba supporters about racism. Many were outraged that the JLM were purporting to ‘train’ anyone; their event had no official status and their demand for official sanction to hold pro-Israel brainwashing sessions for Labour Party members was rejected by the Chakrabarti report. But they tried it out anyway.
The appropriate response for the left to this event would have been to boycott it, or even to picket it as an event organised by a racist group. Unfortunately much of the left at this time is too soft on the kind of Jewish racist/ethnic politics that Zionism represents to react in this way. Comrade Walker went along to argue; she was filmed arguing her views without her consent, and selected fragments of her points were used to attack her as anti-Semitic. Given her Jewish background this is a sign of the bizarre lack of logic that dominates today’s discourse.
Abuse of the Holocaust
Anyone would think that Jackie Walker had poured scorn on the truth of the Holocaust, judging by the ferocity of the outcry. But she did no such thing. She questioned the universality of a specific event, Holocaust Memorial Day, organised primarily by Zionists, and accused the organisers of ignoring other examples of mass killings of other peoples.
The organisers claim this is false, that their events include such recent events as Cambodia, Darfur, Bosnia and Rwanda. This actually confirms Jackie’s point in a way: these are all issues that pro-imperialist advocates of ‘humanitarian intervention’ use as a banner to argue for neo-colonial imperialist interventions in the Global South. Wars that themselves tend to involve massive, often genocidal slaughter, as Iraq and now Libya show.
It is notable that Holocaust Memorial Day does not commemorate other crucial genocidal events in recent history; the slaughter of Black Africans in the Congo under Belgian rule at the turn of the 20th Century overseen by King Leopold II, in which 10 million Africans were slaughtered; the smaller but proportionately no less significant slaughter of the Herero and Namagua people by Von Trotha’s German colonialists in 1904-07; then there is the genocide of a million or so Armenians by the Young Turk movement and its Kurdish allies in the twilight of the Ottoman Empire in WWI.
And of course, as Jackie Walker herself has pointed out before, if anything is comparable with the Holocaust, it is the mass crime of slavery of black people and their transportation to the Americas, with many millions of deaths at the hands of several European early capitalist slave powers.
The Congo genocide is ignored in particular because it exceeds Hitler’s genocide of Jews in its ferocity and number of victims, and completely undermines the idea that such a genocide was unique to Jews. ‘Poor little Belgium’, occupied by Germany as part of its war on France, was the casus belli of Britain’s involvement in WWI. Taken together, these events reveal that such slaughters are a product of capitalism and imperialism, rather than as Zionist ideology has it, some kind of inherent, essentialist hatred of Jews by non-Jews.
The much smaller Armenian slaughter (around 1 million) is ignored because, despite the recent dispute over the Mavi Marmara incident, Turkey is usually regarded by Israel as an important ally against Arab nationalism. Indeed, as far as Armenians are concerned, outright genocide denial is just fine with Israel, as for decades it has denied that any genocide took place to please Turkey.
If Bosnia is coupled with the Holocaust as an example of the supposedly universality of Holocaust Memorial Day as a commemoration of mass slaughter of peoples, then why is not the Palestinian Naqba also included? The two events were of similar type, forced population transfers accompanied by sporadic massacres.
But the reason that the Naqba is not included in Holocaust Memorial Day is that its primary purpose is to justify Israel and the Naqba! This is also the purpose of the concept that the Nazi genocide is something ‘unique’ in history, no event can be compared to it.
Therefore those Arab and their supporters complaining about racism and ethnic cleansing can see seen off; Jews are the ultimate victims and given the unique magnitude of their suffering, complaints about Arab land being taken by force, even if true, are put in the shade by the magnitude of Jewish suffering.
That is the cynical, racist ideology that has had the paradoxical, and unintended effect, of creating a situation where many Arabs, and even a small minority of Jews, question the accuracy of historical accounts of the Holocaust. Jackie Walker, however, did not do anything of the sort. She merely questioned the universality of the specific Zionist-led event.
Racist pseudo-definitions of anti-Semitism
What she also did, which ought to be elementary for anyone on the left, was to question the definition of anti-Semitism used by the JLM and other Zionists, the so-called EU definition of anti-Semitism, drafted in 2005 by the European Union Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC), which among other things says that to say Israel is a racist endeavour is anti-Semitic. It defines criticism of a whole spectrum of behaviour indulged in by some Jewish trends, but not others, as racist in itself, and amounts to a licence for Zionists to commit atrocities against other people while defining their critics as racist.
Evidently the European Union itself was too squeamish to be seen to adopt such a racist piece of nonsense as their own. The EUMC definition was produced as a draft, but not adopted, by the EUMC, before being rejected by the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency, the successor to the EUMC, in 2013.
Jackie Walker is being witch-hunted for questioning this document, which the EU has already rejected. In fact, she says that she accepts the definition of anti-Semitism of David Schneider, which has its own faint echo of the EUMC when it says:
“7. Supporting the desire of Palestinians for self-determination, human rights and their own state, and condemning Israeli government policies does not make you anti-semitic. But see points 1-6.” (Points 1-6 being a set of inferences drawn from the conspiracy mongering of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which certainly are anti-Semitic.) (see https://twitter.com/davidschneider/status/780107628500381696)
The implication being that only a two-state position is acceptable, and that Israeli ‘policies’ can be questioned but not the right of Israel to exist as an exclusivist entity. This weak definition shares more with the discredited EUMC definition than some may credit.
The definition of racism against Jews, aka anti-Semitism, should be straightforward. Hatred and discrimination against people of Jewish origin, for that origin. The same as the definition of any kind of racist bigotry.
Jackie Walker was also attacked for questioning why special protective measures for Jewish schools were not also given to Muslim, or disabled, children, given that the latter categories are far more likely to be the victims of hate crime. This seems to us to be a reasonable point, and that it is utterly bizarre for someone to be accused of racism for making it.
Manuel Cortes, Andy Newman and John Lansman: Witchhunts and treachery; capitulators
Witchhunts and treachery
What is most disquieting about this whole affair is the capitulation of leading figures in Momentum to the renewed witchhunt. Leading figures such as Owen Jones and Jon Lansman have called for Jackie Walker to be removed as vice-chair of Momentum, as well as habitual capitulators to right-wing sentiment around Israel, such as the Alliance for Workers Liberty. A disgusting article on Left Futures blog from Stalinoid careerist hack Andy Newman, a renegade from the far left, echoing opportunists such as Manuel Cortes of the TSSA ‘left’ bureaucracy, called for her to resign from Momentum and the Labour Party.
But this will not wash. There is also a large groundswell of outrage at the lower level of Momentum that she has been set up by the JLM. Many activists are aware that the right wing, despite losing the leadership election massively, managed to use the old NEC to seize control of the new one by appointing unelected NEC members, and stitched up the conference delegations in part by suspending pro-Corbyn conference delegates.This piece of racist witchhunting is moving things towards political splits and polarisation within the broad ‘Corbynite’ left. This gives the opportunity for a more determined alternative leadership current to cohere.
It is no accident that just as Jon Lansman was capitulating to the witchhunt of Jackie Walker, he was also denouncing the very idea that the left should challenge Tom Watson for the Deputy Leadership. This is the same Tom Watson who along with General Secretary Iain McNicol, initiated ‘Operation Anaconda’ to strangle Corbyn’s leadership in its first year. As part of this these politically and personally corrupt bureaucratic gangsters excluded tens of thousands of members and supporters from voting, and ‘lost’ the ballot papers for more than 100,000 more.
Iain McNicol, Tom Watson and Jeremy Newmark : Witchhunts and treachery; the perpetrators.
Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell, Diane Abbot, Richard Burgon, Angela Rayner and other left leaders of the Labour Party need to stand up and fight for those purged, who after all, are their own supporters. But on the ground, the left has to fight to take control of what levers of power exist in the party. That includes Momentum. Those who cannot bring themselves to defend Jackie Walker are betrayers who are undermining the future of the movement and actively aiding the right, and need to be thrown out of every leading position in Momentum.
Defend Jackie Walker!
Reinstate all victims of this past year’s anti-left witchhhunts!
Drive out the bourgeois/neo-liberal cuckoos in Labour’s nest.