An Open Letter to the Leader of the Labour Party

Don’t expel Moshé Machover
Open letter to the Leader of the Labour Party

Free Speech on Israel, 13th October 2017

Over 500 Labour Party members have added their names to the online version of this letter. You can add yours

Update: By 13.30 on 23 October the number of people signing this letter had exceeded 1200.

We, the undersigned members of the Labour Party, condemn the expulsion of Moshé Machover from our Party. This decision is a political attack on a life-long socialist activist, and a scholar of international renown.

Moshe Machover
Moshe Machover

Professor Machover has been told that his expulsion results from his ‘support’ for Labour Party Marxists and the Communist Party of Great Britain. The evidence offered for this is that he has had articles printed in their publications, and has spoken at their meetings. This is no evidence at all. It is, for example, completely normal for senior figures in our Party (including MPs and indeed our current leader) as well as senior figures in the trade union movement who are Labour Party members, to write for Communist Party publications.

There has never been a suggestion that willingness to engage with these publications constituted support to a rival political organisation. This is Guilt by Association, once notoriously indulged in by the House Un-American Activities Committee.

The apparent implication is that membership of our Party is incompatible with publishing in outlets that may not always support the Labour Party. Such a rule would clearly make it ultra vires for Labour Party members to write anything in the pages of the Financial Times, The Times, the Daily Mail, The Express, and so on. It is surely inconceivable that a major political party would seek to prevent its members from expressing their views publicly in the major newspapers of the country, on the grounds that these papers offer support to a rival political party. This proffered reason for the expulsion of Professor Machover is evidently a pretext.

The real reason is surely revealed in the opening remarks of the letter to Professor Machover announcing his expulsion. These refer to allegations made against an “apparently antisemitic article” authored by him, which “appears to meet the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism”. No source of these allegations is identified in the letter. No argument is provided to justify this absurd allegation against Professor Machover, an Israeli Jew and a lifelong anti-racist activist. Criticisms of Israel, in respect both of its brutal policies against the Palestinians, and of its character as a systematically and constitutionally discriminatory state, are not antisemitic in any reasonable understanding of the term. Not even by reference to the flawed and discredited IHRA definition in the form accepted by the Labour Party can such criticisms be considered antisemitic.

The character and personal history of Professor Machover speak powerfully against this absurd charge of antisemitism. An author of books and many articles on Zionism and its varied iniquities, and for three decades a founder and leader of the Socialist Organisation in Israel (Matzpen), he is a life-long activist against racism of all kinds, both in Israel and elsewhere. The allegation against him is a serious abuse of the accusation of antisemitism.

That there is no rationally sustainable ground for this expulsion raises serious concerns about the operation of the party’s apparatus for dealing with disciplinary matters. The letter of expulsion was signed by the head of disputes, located within the governance and legal unit. The operation of our Party’s Compliance Unit has also given grave cause for concern. All of course are subject to the party’s general secretary Iain McNicol. He has ultimate responsibility for a process which has seen Machover excluded without an inquiry, and without the opportunity to answer the accusations against him. The Chakrabarti report called for all disciplinary procedures of the Party to follow principles of natural justice, and to do so transparently; this has patently not happened in this case.

From its complete failure to observe these principles it will be widely inferred that pressure has been exerted on the relevant Labour Party organisational units from supporters of Israel (not excluding the Israeli Embassy) to act against critics of Israel and of Zionism. That they have exposed themselves to such criticism is an indication of how far the organisation has deviated from due process, and from its responsibilities. The Compliance Unit in particular cannot allow itself, cannot be allowed, to harass members of the Party who support justice for Palestinians. It must not become party to the misuse of the accusation of antisemitism for partial and propagandistic purposes. It cannot allow itself, or be allowed, to become a mechanism for silencing criticism of Israel, and denying its own party members the right to speak out on grave injustices.

We, Jewish and non-Jewish members of the Labour Party, call upon the Leader of the Party, and on the National Executive, to reinstate Professor Machover pending investigation and to apologise to him for the totally unjustified assaults that have been made on his integrity.

We further call for an immediate inquiry to be established, headed by an independent legal expert, to review all the circumstances of this particular expulsion; and also to investigate the operation of the Compliance Unit, including the moral, political and legal implications of the Unit’s procedures and its recent decisions.


Name Constituency Labour Party
Brian Eno Kensington
Ken Loach Bath
Sir Geoffrey Bindman Hornsey and Wood Green
Prof. Tim Shallice FRS Hampstead & Kilburn
Prof. Avi Shlaim Oxford and Abingdon
Gillian Slovo Hampstead and Kilburn
Hillary Wainwright Hackney South and Shoreditch
Prof. Haim Bresheeth Hornsey and Wood Green
Prof. Jonathan Rosenhead Hackney South & Shoreditch
Cristel Amiss Hampstead & Kilburn
Sonya Andermahr South Northants
Susan Atkins Sheffield Central
Ken Baker Altrincham and Sale West
Prof. Mona Baker Altrincham and Sale West
Caroline Barker Hampstead & Kilburn
Graham Bash South Thanet
Labina Basit Uxbridge and South Ruislip
Kevin Bean Wavertree
Dr. Karen Bett East Renfrewshire
Jo Bird Wirral South
Dr. Susan Blackwell South Suffolk
Caroline Bond Leads North East
Claude Boucher Brentford and Isleworth
Dr. Robert Boyce Holborn and St. Pancras
Ben Bruges Hastings and Rye
Emily Burnham Finchley & Golders Green
Prof. Raymond Bush Headingly
Steve Bush Tiverton & Honiton
Flis Callow Heeley
Sara Callaway Hampstead & Kilburn
Neil Cameron Sheffield Central
Laura Casimir Exeter
John Chalcraft Hackney North and Stoke Newington
Kay Chapman Hampstead & Kilburn
Sahail Chohan Heeley
Janel Chohan Heeley
Sylvia Cohen Finchley and Golders Green
Michael Coleman Hampstead & Kilburn
Alan Coles South Northants
Shanon Coles Leeds NW
Wendy Collins Leeds North East
Steve Cooke Stockton North
Sandra Crawford Cambridge
Anya-Nicola Darr East Devon
Prof. Miriam David Hornsey and Wood Green
Colm Doherty Finchley and Golders Green
Jack Dunn Heeley
Sian Evans Brent Central
Roisin Francis Hampstead & Kilburn
Pete Firmin Hampstead & Kilburn
Miriam Franklin Hackney North and Stoke Newington
Suzanne Gannon Colne Valley
Kevin Gill Sheffield Hallam
Claire Glasman Holborn & St Pancras
Helen Glazier Sheffield Hallam
Murray Glickman Ilford South
Tricia Griffin Leeds NE
Andrew Gunton Northampton North
Cathie Hammond Hampstead and Kilburn
Ann Hollows Sheffield Hallam
Mike Holmes Sheffield Hallam
Philipo Hutchinson Burton and Uttoxeter
Riva Joffe Holborn and St Pancras
Clifford Joines Sefton
Martin Jordin Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough
Michael Kalmanovitz Hampstead & Kilburn
Deborah Knight Finchley and Golders Green
Diana Kornbrot Finchley and Golders Green
Richard Kuper Holborn & St Pancras
Elizabeth Lawrence Sheffield Hallam
Leah Levane Hastings and Rye
Tom Loeffler North-West Bristol
Ian Lowery SW Bedfordshire
Judith Mabbott Sheffield Hallam
Sandra Mann Finchley & Golders Green
Nicola Mann Finchley & Golders Green
Nathan Mann Finchley & Golders Green
Jenny Manson Finchley and Golders Green
Stephen Marks Oxford District
Angela Martin Sheffield Central
Jo MacNeill Riverside
Christina McCabe South Cambs
Jane Mckie York
Ben Mckie Sheffield Hallam
Lara Mellor Bracknell
Tony Mercer Sheffield Hallam
Eleanor Midgley Sheffield Hallam
Simon Mohun Holborn and St Pancras
Michael J Morgan Scunthorpe
Ross Moore Colne Valley
Rebecca Moore Colne Valley
John Morton Holborn and St Pancras
P Mosteshar-Gharai Oxford West and Abingdon
Bob Mountain SW Herts
Dermot Murphy Sheffield Hallam
Pat Larkin Harlow
Keith Nathan Leeds NW
Matt Nathan Islington South & Finsbury
Prof. Mica Nava Islington North
Diana Neslen Ilford South
Jeanette Oates Epping Forest
Michael Parkinson Nether Edge and Sharrow
Wendy Patterson Newark
Sue Penny Tottenham
Sarah Perigo Leeds North East
Julie Pearn Sheffield Central
Rachel Peto NE Leeds
Peter Pierce Eltham
Kathryn Porteus Leeds North East
David J. W. Prichard-Jones Vauxhall
Caitlin Procter Sheffield Hallam
P A Railston Haringey
Roland Rance Walthamstow
Lee Rock Sheffield Hallam
Prof. Andrew Samuels Islington South
Adrian Scandrett South Northants
Prof. Richard Seaford Exeter
Glyn Secker Dulwich and West Norwood
Marian Sedley Calderdale
Prof. Tom Selwin Holborn and St Pancras
Andy Shallice Sheffield Heeley
John Simmons Hornsey & Wood Green
Carlos Soto Finchley & Golders Green
Ben Southern-Thomas Chingford and Woodford Green
Alexandra Camille Sutton South Thanet
Anna Thorburn Hampstead & Kilburn
Julian Townsend Camberwell and Peckham
Steve Voros Portsmouth North
Alan Wallace Leeds North East
Daniel Waterman International
Sam Weinstein Hampstead & Kilburn
Barbara White Ilford South
Naomi Wimborne Idrissi Chingford and Woodford Green
Neville Wright Sheffield Hallam
Gill Yudkin North Islington
Prof. John Yudkin Islington North
Matthias Zurowski Tottenham






Comments (7)

  • Steph says:

    Is this petition online? Can other members sign it, and how?

  • Miriam Yagud says:

    Ive given this a lot of thought an finally decided that I am unable to sign the open letter to Jeremy Corbyn.
    Here are my reasons:
    We all know Jeremy Corbyn didn’t expel Moshe Machover.
    We also know Jeremy has not influenced the party machinery so that it would take this action.
    So what will be the impact of this open letter on the leadership that I and most Labour Party members support? Who will benefit from an open letter? I’m afraid that it will only serve to provide the MSM with yet more material to feed their frenzy forJeremy’s and Labour’s blood and just as their focus is turned on the Tories who are going into meltdown. To think a hostile media will do anything positive for us with this is worse than naive.

    The success of Jeremy’s leadership has come through the concerted efforts of grassroots members discussing and building cobfidence and winning votes and officers at local level for the transformation of the Labour party that we are all contributing to. Change IS happening. Passing motions at our CLPs in support of Moshe Machover is the most powerful way to send a message to HQ and the compliance unit that we don’t like what they are doing.
    That’s how we have achieved our successes during the past 2 years. By using the party structure and rules to express real socialist and humane values and politics. That’s our most potent resource.
    Moshe Machover doesnt need this open letter. He needs us to trust ourselves to succeed through continuing to change the party.

  • George Wilmers says:

    It would be great if an up to date list list of the resolutions which have been passed by local CLP branches in support of Moshe could be kept on this website.

  • Hannah Minns says:

    How can I email this letter to friends who are not on FB where it available to sign?

  • Eric Windgassen says:

    Please add my name. I am a Labour Party member, and I seem to remember that both Karl Marx and Leon Trotsky, as well as many, many socialists were and are Jewish, including Moshe Machover. In solidarity with them, and against the apartheid of the Zionist state, and the shameful oppression of the people of Palestine I add my voice.

    Dr Eric Windgassen,
    Consultant Psychiatrist

Comments are now closed.