Heather Mendick responds to latest allegations

JVL Introduction

On 7th October we carried  a report: The weaponisation of antisemitism – the case of Heather Mendick. In our introduction we called the charges “ludicrous accusations”.

Heather submitted a response to the Labour Party and a week later got back a further letter – not an acknowledgement but notice of a second investigation, adding new charges!

Heather has now posted an extended rejoinder to this meshugas* in video form, detailing the charges and responding to each, explaining the background and the context to her posts which form the basis of the accusations against her.

It ranges widely over many issues – identity, solidarity, political activism, Jewish values, going to synagogue and cheder, collecting money to plant trees in Israel – and much more besides.

Altogether, a super example of reasoned discussion, reflection, dialogue – both argument and education in the best sense!

Recommended viewing. Do watch it through to the end!
___________

* Yiddish for insanity, craziness

 


Heather Mendick tweeted:

Here’s my video response to the Labour Party’s investigation of me. I’m Jewish and facing allegations of antisemitism.

You can help more people see the video by:
1. Sharing it
2. Giving it a thumbs up (or down) on YouTube
3. Adding a comment on YouTube

 

Comments (17)

  • Kuhnberg says:

    Superb.

  • Adrian Stern says:

    Meshugas is the only word to use. Poor girl
    What is wrong wioth the Labour party to do this?

  • Si says:

    You are right Heather, and alright too. Solidarity. x

  • Naomi Wayne says:

    Very impressive. There’s only one thing I would add, and that’s to do with freedom of speech. I would really like to know where Labour draws the boundaries today. So, if it is ‘antisemitic’ to say that ‘antisemitism is being weaponised against the left’, what is it possible to say WITHOUT being accused of antisemitism, but that is critical of Labour’s anti-antisemitism activities? Is it possible legitimately, in the Labour hierarchy’s view to be critical at all? Can we have an example of legitimate criticism?! I would ask the same question in relation to every piece of ‘evidence’ – if THIS is not permitted, give us an example of what would be legitimate in the GS’s or Starmer’s or the NEC’s view???

  • Mary Davies says:

    Thank you so much for this brilliant video. Love & Solidarity Heather x

  • Miriam E. David says:

    This is incredibly impressive as what you call elsewhere a ‘learning’ moment. I love the way you link your presentation to the way we Jews are brought up to argue and debate around the dinner table for me! Well done Heather! You are a brave and strong woman and know that you have continuing feminist support as well as from JVL.

  • Barrie Lambert says:

    [JVL web: the comment below has been edited for length.]

    I found Heather’s account deeply moving, and it is very similar to other reports I have read and heard from other Jewish (ex) Labour Party members, all supporters of Jeremy Corbyn, the most consciously pro-Jewish Leader the Party had ever had, as aware of all the nuances of the Jewish experience as he is of the English, Welsh, Scottish, Irish and immigrant experiences.

    I am not Jewish but one of my political mentors 60 years ago was Jewish, a former Bundist and a firm trades unionist, and deeply antagonistic towards Zionism. which he regarded as little more than the mirror image of Nazism. He read the runes well after 1967 and saw the Jewish state as primarily expansionist and, like Hitler, he saw its leaders drawing their ideological inspiration from the United States Westward movement since Andrew Jackson’s Presidency based on establishing settler colonies supported by the US military and a commitment to the genocide of the American Native Nations and their concentration into reservations which diminished in size as the settler colonies expanded. Native reservations still have the highest mortality and suicide rates in the US.
    Subsequently, he told me that he had been called an anti-semite and a self-hating Jew on many occasions because of his attitudes towards and criticisms of Israel and Likud. Antisemitism was and is an accusation which was and still is more likely to be levelled at the “wrong kind of Jew”, who were less than fervent in their support of Israel and its expansionary policies.

    Forty years on, the Labour Party has clearly become the UK’s main anti-semitic party and its Leadership appears to be thoroughly indoctrinated with Pro-Israeli anti-semitism, which in many ways is psychologically harsher than the Nazis’ pre 1942 version, is being hardbaked into the Labour Party’s administrative structures, the Party’s policies and ultimately, I guess, into its culture. The Leadership seems more attached to Israel than it does to the English working class…

    [JVL web: the comment above has been edited for length.]

  • Norma Cohen says:

    Terrific, Heather. And brave. To write, speak and live out deep conviction without faltering. Again and again.

  • Tony Burford says:

    Thanks Heather.
    I am not a member of the LP but I am and have always been a Labour voter except for the Blair years after the Iraq War.
    I feel so angry that you are being hounded in this way. My MP is Labour. I met him some years ago when he was canvassing and I thought that he was a good and honest man but he has ignored the letters that I have written to him on the question of Jewish LP members like you being investigated and accused of being antisemitic etc.
    At the moment I feel unable to vote for Labour while these things are happening.
    I wish you well and remain hopeful that the truth will out.

  • Simon Lynn says:

    really brilliant response Heather, all my empathy and solidarity to you in going through this (though that this should be necessary is why I have left the LP). If you can use any support locally……Simon (former GC delegate Hackney North)

  • Alan Maddison says:

    Heather, I watched all the way through. That may surprise you given your repeat comments ‘ if you’re still watching’! You underestimate your impact.

    Your video was really rewarding for me as a non-Jewish person. I found it very informative and extremely moving, both rational and emotional, and your genuineness and presence came across very strongly.

    Your analyses and comments helped me better appreciate what it has meant to be a left-wing, intelligent and articulate Jewish Labour member during this toxic 6 years, and that saddens and angers me.

    Thank goodness there are people like you around. The tragedy that instead of being thanked and encouraged by Labour’s hierarchy, you are being persecuted. You deserve better, and hopefully one day our energy and solidarity will create the bottom up change we so desperately need. Well done and keep on being who you are.

  • Terry Messenger says:

    Persecuting Jewish people for articulating perfectly reasonable views is anti-semitic. Jews and Gentiles should stand together to oppose anti-semitic persecution.

  • Kuhnberg says:

    One of the important points Heather makes in this video is that she has been forced to disobey the Party’s demand that she keep this disciplinary case confidential. Making the machinations of the investigators known to the public is an offense in itself, and one the second ‘investigation’ charges her with. (The sly rider the Party adds to its demand for confidentiality is to say that the accused person is entitled to ring up the Samaritans! Imagine the effect that would have on someone of fragile mental health. Fortunately Heather is made of sterner stuff.)

    In her video Heather addresses this issue: she believes it offends against natural justice to conduct an investigation in complete secret if the person under investigation wishes to make it public. The reason why the Party should make this unreasonable demand is not spelled out, but the natural conclusion to be drawn is that the leadership knows the grounds for its investigations are unreasonable, and that they will be widely recognized as such if the matter is given the oxygen of publicity. All the more reason for us to publicize it as widely as possible.

    In challenging the Party’s insistence on secrecy, Heather is forcing it publicly to defend the indefensible. Under normal circumstances the Party would retreat and drop the whole thing. Unfortunately we can no longer trust any of those traditional media outlets who in the past might have supported the individual against an organization determined to exceed the limits of its authority. Yes, Guardian, I am looking at you. Forces of the right have bought your soul and have required you to weaponize the antisemitism narrative against the left for the rest of time. This assault has nothing to do with antisemitism. It is about making it impossible for any party to introduce even a moderate degree of socialism into an illiberal system increasingly controlled by corporate forces. It demonstrates just how frightened these forces were by Corbyn’s election to the Labour leadership, and how ruthlessly they acted to crush the “beautiful movement” (Heather’s words) he inspired.

  • Laurie Horam says:

    Heather, as a secular Jew and currently a member of the Labour Party and a lifelong Labour voter…I was firstly moved by your response to what should be regarded as outrageous! Secondly I shall write to the Leader of the Party to express my unwillingness to continue as a member of a Party which is behaving in this inappropriate and outrageous manner.
    I am so sorry that that the Labour Party confuses compassion for fellow human beings as anti-semitism…

  • Stephen Solley says:

    Brava,
    Goodness me. I only wish Margaret Hodge would sit down and absorb your analysis, and then apologise publicly for, amongst other things, allowing her personal dislike of JC to consume her, so as to be a major cause of her own Labour party’s debacle at the last general election. It would be good, too, if Baddiel watched this from beginning to end and then wrote a second edition of his book.

  • Mark Francis says:

    I would take expulsion as a point of honour. I got fed up with the Party finding me too insignificant to expel, so I when I got my membership renewal letter I tore it up & sent it back with a covering note telling them where it could go.

  • Hugh Roper says:

    What a sad story. The Labour Party is fortunate to have members like Heather who work hard as volunteers to keep the party going at the all-important local level. Now we have the leadership metaphorically kicking her in the teeth, because she sticks up for underdogs. Shame on them!

Comments are now closed.