Let them be damned
Labour’s witch-hunters in the governance and legal unit should be treated with the contempt they deserve
Comrade Moshé Machover - a Jew born in Palestine in 1936, who became a citizen of Israel after the formation of that state - was expelled from the party in October 2017 amidst absurd allegations of ‘anti-Semitism’, but was swiftly reinstated following a vibrant solidarity campaign.
However, a few weeks ago, comrade Machover wrote to the Labour leader, as well as the party’s disputes and legal queries sections, pointing out that he had “demanded several times an apology for the ‘anti-Semitism’ smear” insinuated in his original expulsion. His “demands were ignored”.1
He forwarded several links to articles he had written and asked whether “public expression of the views put forward in these articles is compatible with my membership of the Labour Party”. If, according to the bureaucracy, they are not, he added, “I would respectfully ask you to point out specifically which of these views are incompatible”.
He ended by stating emphatically: “I am writing this as an open letter, because the issues that it involves are not private, but of concern to members and supporters of the party, and indeed to the general public.”
Not unexpectedly, his demands were once again ignored. This first open letter seems to have acted as a trigger for the latest move against him. Comrade Machover last week received formal notice that he had been targeted once again for totally spurious reasons and has, this time, been suspended.
In response, he has circulated this second document widely.
I have received a letter headed “Notice of administrative suspension from membership of the Labour Party”,2 together with a covering letter from Labour’s governance and legal unit.3 The authors of both documents hide in the hood of anonymity.
The covering letter says:
The Labour Party’s investigation process operates confidentially. That is vital to ensure fairness to you and the complainant, and to protect the rights of all concerned under the Data Protection Act 2018. We must therefore ask you to ensure that you keep all information and correspondence relating to this investigation private, and that you do not share it with third parties or the media (including social media).
I am disobeying the anonymous inquisitors’ instruction, because I believe that these matters are best discussed in public - in the open, not in the secrecy that they desire. I publish, and let them be damned. I am not going to dignify their letter with a direct response, but will allow readers of this open letter to make their own judgment.
I will only make here some brief remarks relating to the said documents.
- The documents do not disclose any details of the complainant(s), and I waive my own right to anonymity. However, I have lightly redacted the notice of suspension in order to protect the privacy of a couple of individuals’ names and their identifying details. Most names that appear in this document are mentioned within texts that are in the public domain, and hence are already publicly known. However, there are two individuals named on p3 of this document that are not mentioned within such a text. They are individuals with whom the inquisitors apparently wish to insinuate that I am associated - and guilty by virtue of this association. One of them, whose name is redacted as xxxx, is known to me as a political adversary, against whose views I have publicly polemicised. The other, whose name is redacted as yyyy, is totally unknown to me; I had never heard of him before reading this document. I disclaim any association with either of them.
- The long list of 48 inquisitorial questions and insinuations that take up pp3-7 of the notice of suspension do not contain any specific, explicit, direct accusation. They are phrased so as to prompt me to incriminate myself, or try to defend myself against what I appear to be implicitly accused of. I refuse to play this game. I literally have no case to answer.
- This list is followed by 10 items of so-called ‘evidence’. The first two items are intended to suggest an association with xxxx and yyyy. This suggestion is false. The remaining eight items are texts that I have published or co-signed, or quotations from what I said in public. I stand by these utterances. In fact I urge you to read them carefully and make up your mind whether any of them are false or otherwise illegitimate. You may disagree with some of the views I have expressed, but I claim that in pronouncing them I have made legitimate use of my freedom of speech, which includes the right to express controversial views.
I joined the Labour Party in 2016, when it opened its doors to socialists - who are, by definition, anti-imperialists. I regret I am now among the numerous victims of a purge driven by rightwing heresy-hunters - bureaucratic enemies of free speech. But at least I can use this occasion to promote the views I have been advocating for many years: in particular, socialist opposition to the Zionist project of colonisation and the Jewish-supremacist regime of the Israeli settler state. For a start, I urge you to read my three articles referred to in item 7 of the notice of suspension, two of which are available online:
- ‘Messianic Zionism: the ass and the red heifer’ (Monthly Review February 2020).4
- ‘Weaponising “anti-Semitism”’ (Weekly Worker April 23 2020).5
- The third article - ‘An immoral dilemma: the trap of Zionist propaganda’ (Journal of Palestine Studies Vol XLVII, No4, summer 2018) - is not freely downloadable, but I have made it available for those who wish to read it.6
If you wish to pursue these ideas further, you can find many of my articles archived in the Israeli Occupation Archive7 and the archive of the Weekly Worker.8
I dare to hope that, as a growing number of people are exposed to views challenging the lies of the mainstream media and Israeli hasbarah, resistance to oppression and support for the oppressed will gain force.
See ‘Freedom of speech’ Weekly Worker November 5.↩︎
Available here: weeklyworker.co.uk/assets/ww/docs/MACHOVER,%20Moshe%20L1627330%2020201130%20SUSP%20Red.pdf.↩︎
Available at weeklyworker.co.uk/assets/ww/docs/Dilemma.pdf.↩︎