That Leaked Labour Party Report – Craig Murray takes a view

JVL Introduction

Craig Murray, historian, former ambassador, human rights activist, has produced a stunning account of the revelations in the leaked Labour Party report and of their significance.

It is a serious contribution to our understanding of how the Party machine has been working.

On the issue of antisemitism, he is absolutely clear that there are horrific examples of antisemitism within the report “but also instances where I would query the categorisation as antisemitism not only of Labour HQ at the time, but of this report”. You don’t have to agree with everything he says about this, but if you don’t you would have to present reasoned arguments against him.

Murray draws two immediate conclusions, viz:

  • Corbyn failed to be sufficiently ruthless in clearing out the quite extraordinarily right wing Blairites that he had inherited as Labour Party HQ staff; and
  • Corbyn’s tactic of constantly attempting to appease the media on antisemitism was never going to work…

He intends to follow up this analysis with reflections on the nature of power and of political parties in general.

We can’t wait!

This article was originally published by Craig Murray's Blog on Mon 20 Apr 2020. Read the original here.

That Leaked Labour Party Report

I have now read my way through all 851 pages of the suppressed and leaked Labour Party report on its handling of anti-semitism complaints. It is an important document, that is fundamental to understanding a major turning point in UK history, where Northern European social democracy failed to re-establish itself in the UK.

If whoever leaked the document still has access to the vast amount of original source material on which it is based, this is documentation of immense historical value. I would strongly urge them to send the original thousands of emails, texts and messages to Wikileaks to ensure that this is preserved for the public record.More mundanely, the report is of obvious value as evidence to the Equality and Human Rights Commission as part of its investigation into anti-semitism in the Labour Party. The fact that it has not been officially adopted by the Labour Party does not make any difference to its value as evidence; nor does its status as regards copyright or data protection law.

If, for example, I were to discover evidence of blatant racism, and send that to the EHRC, the EHRC would not refuse to look at that evidence on the grounds it breached the racists’ copyright or rights under the Data Protection Act. These excuses for suppression of the report are just that. I am accordingly myself sending a copy on to the EHRC making just that point. I find it rather troubling that Keir Starmer seems more interested in suppressing this report than acting on its alarming findings – and I say that as someone who is not initially hostile to Starmer.

What are the key points we learn from the report? Well, firstly that there did exist among Labour Party members examples of genuinely shocking and indisputable anti-semitism. It is also true that in many cases the processes of dealing with these individuals did drag on for months or even years. Much of the report is concerned with precisely whose fault that was within the Labour Party.

The report does conclusively refute the accusation that delays were occasioned by Jeremy Corbyn or his office, or that his office displayed any sympathy for anti-semitism. In fact, the opposite is the case. Corbyn’s office showed a proper hatred of anti-semitism, but also an alarming willingness to throw good people under the bus on very flimsy allegations of anti-semitism. pp306-7 The report shows a serious inability to distinguish between real, nasty anti-semitism and opposition to the policies of Israel. Furthermore, this is the attitude of the authors of the report themselves who in many scores of examples take for granted that the accusations of anti-semitism are sufficient to consider the case proven, and accept a number of specified opinions as proof of anti-semitism which are anything but.

The headlines of course have been grabbed by the report’s stunning exposure of the fact that Labour HQ was staffed by right wingers so vehemently anti-Corbyn that they actively wanted the Conservatives to win elections. I think it is important to understand just how right wing they really are. Senior members of staff were messaging each other opposing any increase in corporation tax and opposing re-nationalisation of the railways as “Trot” policies.

The case of the horrible and very right wing John McTernan is instructive. McTernan had taken to writing articles in the Daily Telegraph praising the Tories and attacking Labour, but the Governance and Legal Unit of Party HQ refused to take action against him. They finally took action when he wrote an article urging the Tories to “crush the rail unions” for hampering the operations of private railway companies; but the action taken was to suspend a member who called McTernan out on his Tory support. p.140

John McTernan, meanwhile, formerly involved in New Labour and a delegate to 2016 party conference, was repeatedly reported from 25 July onwards for abusive language on Twitter and elsewhere, including describing Labour MPs who nominated Corbyn as “morons”; tweeting twice that Corbyn was a “traitor”; describing “Corbynistas” as racist; telling an SNP MP that he should “Come down to Peckham and try saying that, mate”; calling Corbyn a “Putin-hugging, terrorist-loving, Trident-hater”; and writing in the Daily Telegraph that all of Corbyn’s supporters were “online trolls”.368

No action was taken, and McTernan received the staff decision “No action – removed at referral”. On 18 August, however, Dan Hogan did report a member of McTernan’s CLP, Omar Baggili, who – in response to an article by McTernan in “The Telegraph” urging the Conservative government to “crush the rail unions once and for all” – tweeted at him “seriously John why haven’t you got yourself a Tory membership card. They’re anti unions & pro privatisation like you.”369 Baggili was suspended for “abuse”.

This is by no means an isolated example. One of my favourites is the case of Andy Bigham (pp538-45), who initially came to the attention of the Governance and Legal Unit for suggesting Corbyn was a traitor and Diane Abbot should be “locked in a box”. This was considered insufficient for action to be taken against him, and incredibly this stance was still maintained even when he subsequently posted that he had voted Conservative, urged others to vote Conservative and became the administrator of a Conservative Party Facebook Group.

Meanwhile left wingers were being thrown out of the party for having advocated a Green vote years before they joined, or for calling MPs who supported the Iraq war “warmonger”. The report makes an overwhelming case that the Governance and Legal Unit of the Labour Party failed to take action on accusations of anti-semitism because it was devoting all of its energies to a factional effort to remove Corbyn supporters from the party.

These right wing staff were hoping for Labour electoral defeats in order to get rid of Corbyn. Senior Labour staff were actually hoping Labour would lose its seat in the Manchester Gorton by-election.

27/02/2017, 16:53 – Patrick Heneghan: Just had discussion at strategy meeting We will meet Steve and Andy next Monday – we are looking at all 3 in May but select in Gorton within 4 weeks Katy will speak to you/Iain
27/02/2017, 16:53 – Patrick Heneghan: From karie
27/02/2017, 16:54 – Patrick Heneghan: They didn’t include us in the discussion.
27/02/2017, 16:54 – Patrick Heneghan: Well let’s hope the lib dems can do it….113

It has long been known that there was tension between Corbyn and Labour HQ staff over allocation of resources to key marginals in the 2017 general election. What I had not known prior to this report is that HQ staff set up another organisation (p.92), based in another building, to divert party funds and secretly channel them to the campaigns of their favoured right wing MPs. On p.103 is detailed the horror expressed by Labour Party HQ staff at the Labour Party’s good performance in the 2017 election. People were “sickened” by the exit poll showing the Tories losing their majority.

The emails and messages quoted throughout the report are a tiny percentage of those available and are, of course, the selection of the authors of the report. That is why I call on them to dump the whole cache, which they say is many tens of thousands, to Wikileaks. One theme which continually crops up in the selected passages for quotation, but a theme on which the authors of the report scarcely comment, is that support for British military attacks abroad appeared to be the touchstone issue for who was “in” and who was “out” with Labour Party HQ staff.

The Manchester terror attack occurred in the middle of the 2017 General Election campaign. Corbyn bravely, and correctly, stated something that had been unsayable in mainstream UK political discourse – that British invasions abroad provoke terrorism at home. Labour Party HQ staff hoped and believed this would sink Corbyn and were actively wishing Labour to fall in the polls. pp 96-7

Jo Greening 09:12: and I shall tell you why it is a peak and the polling was done after the Manchester attack so with a bit of luck this speech will show a clear polling decline and we shall all be able to point to how disgusting they truly are
(now obviously we know it was never real – but that isnt the point in politics!)
Francis Grove-White 09:13: Yeah I’m sure that’s right
Francis Grove-White 09:16: My fears are that: a) the speech won’t go down as badly as it deserves to thanks to the large groundswell of ill-informed opposition to all western interventions. And b) they will use that poll to claim they were on course to win and then Manchester happened. And whether or not JC goes, lots of the membership will buy that argument. Like after the referendum when they distorted the polling and claimed we had overtaken the Tories before the “coup” happpened
Jo Greening 09:17: if this speech gets cut through – as I think it may – it will harden normal people against us definitely in the face of a terror attack normal people do not blame foreign intervention they blame immigration whats more – all they will hear is we dont want to respond strongly we want peace with ISIS it all plays into a bigger picture of how they see corbyn so I have a feeling this will cut through you are right on the second point it has to be up to the MPs though to demonstrate how toxic he is on the doorstep throughout but that this speech particularly was toxic and Manchester had happened when that poll was in the field on the supporters I personally think we are going to do very badly in deed and I think it will shock a lot of them how badly we do including JC so everyone has to be ready when he is in shock it has to be clean and brutal and not involve the party at all in my opinion those crazy people who now make up our membership never want us to win in anycase they are communists and green supporters even if Manchester hadnt happened and we got smashed they would have never changed their minds
Francis Grove-White 09:23: Yeah that’s true

My emphasis added to show just how right wing thinking is at Labour Party HQ.

To return to the failure to deal with cases of anti-semitism, a great deal of the problem appears to have arisen from sheer incompetence of staff. The Labour HQ staff had been inherited from the Blair years, and factional loyalty and a history of right wing political activity related to the Progress agenda were much more important in employment decisions than qualifications or competence. The Governance and Legal Unit, which handled the complaints of anti-semitism, was staffed by vehemently anti-Corbyn right wingers and was a bad actor; but it was also just useless.

The most basic systems were not in place, like a log of complaints/allegations – there was no log at all, let alone by category – and there was therefore no system for tracking the progress of individual cases. Emails went unanswered or even unread for many months, sometimes in email boxes which nobody attended. The epicentre of this incompetence was Sam Matthews, who was to be the star of the BBC’s Panorama programme “Is Labour Anti-Semitic” and the primary source of the allegations that Corbyn’s office was preventing action and protecting anti-semites.

It is impossible to read this report – and I have ploughed through all 851 pages – without coming to the conclusion that Matthews himself was responsible for a great deal of inertia. The report hints throughout that the failure to deal with anti-semitic Labour Party members was a deliberate act by party HQ staff in order to make Corbyn look bad. This evidence does not make that case conclusively, though it certainly does nothing to undermine it. The report expresses the suspicion most clearly in a passage on a period where Sam Matthews started inundating Corbyn’s office with requests for input on anti-semitism cases only later to produce the replies to him as evidence of unhelpful interference. This is a key passage of the Report (LOTO = Corbyn’s office):

However, Matthews’ emails reveal that he was the person who initiated a process of asking LOTO for their views on cases, on the basis that he was asking for their “help”, explicitly saying “it’s really helpful to have your input”. Matthews has also asserted:

“I had been privy to emails where Jeremy Corbyn’s Chief of Staff, Karie Murphy, was responding on a case by case basis on antisemitism in order to not suspend someone who they all knew damn well should be suspended.

I thought I just can’t countenance this.”1290

Matthews’ assertions about Murphy are also untrue. Murphy responded to GLU-GSO on just one case, Craig Allaker, agreeing with Emilie Oldknow’s suggestion of a membership rejection. Murphy’s other emails indicate that she did not want GLU involving LOTO in disciplinary cases and she questioned why Matthews had suddenly started involving them.

The conclusion of the Labour Party is that Matthews and possibly others in GLU-GSO instigated this process of consultation with LOTO, and proposed suspensions in some cases for conduct which GLU had previously not considered to merit any form of disciplinary action. This was later used by the same staff to accuse LOTO of involvement in antisemitism cases or of letting off antisemites, blaming LOTO and Jeremy Corbyn for GLU’s inaction on antisemitism complaints.. It may have been GLU and GSO’s intention to make this accusation when they initiated this process of consulting LOTO.

The report proves conclusively that Matthews’ allegations of unwarranted interference from Corbyn’s office to block anti-semitism action are malicious lies. It does not however conclusively show that his motive for asking for input from Corbyn’s office was to generate material to appear to substantiate his lies, not does it show conclusively that his incompetence and that of the Governance and Legal Unit in general was a deliberate ploy to make Corbyn look bad. These are not, however, unreasonable inferences.

What this report proves beyond any doubt is that the entire thrust of John Ware’s infamous Panorama episode, Is Labour Anti-Semitic, was simply wrong. Corbyn’s office was not responsible for lack of action over anti-semitism. The people responsible were the very people whom Ware chummed up with to make the allegations.

All involved were bad actors, including John Ware. He made no attempt to fairly assess or present the facts, or to hear the counter-arguments of those close to Jeremy Corbyn, and appears at the very best to have accepted an extremely selective presentation of written material from Matthews without proper question. But it is of course worse than that.

John Ware, a feelance journalist, was hired by the BBC to make that documentary despite a long history of anti-Muslim, and specifically anti-Palestinian, propaganda that had previously brought the BBC into disrepute and cost the license fee payer money.

In 2006 a John Ware produced Panorama programme Faith, Hate and Charity made deeply damaging false accusations about involvement with terrorism by Palestinian relief charity Interpal and caused the BBC to have to pay substantial damages to the director of another charity, Islamic Relief. Both Interpal and Islamic Relief have continually been targeted by the Israeli government.

John Ware has frequently been labeled an Islamophobe, including repeatedly by the Muslim Council of Britain. There is a double standard at play here. I suggest to you that it is simply the case that the BBC would never commission somebody denounced as “anti-semitic” by the Board of Deputies, more than once, to film a Panorama.

John Ware is proud of his activism for zionism. In 2016 Ware had a paid propaganda tour of Israel as part of a “Commitment Award” from the World Women’s International Zionist Organisation. Ware is perfectly entitled to write articles for the Jewish Chronicle attacking the BDS movement, and he is entitled to his views. But in the BBC Panorama Is Labour anti-Semitic? programme, Ware posed not as a strong pro-Israel propagandist, but as an independent journalist conducting unbiased investigation. In so doing, he allowed Sam Matthews and numerous other Labour staff members to put forward lie after lie after lie, which Ware appeared to validate, as is conclusively proven by this 851 page report.

I am not in a position to know whether John Ware knowingly connived in the lies, or whether he was so blinded by his deeply felt zionist ideology that he allowed himself to be taken in. I do know that today John Ware is engaged in fronting an attempt to takeover the Jewish Chronicle and Jewish News, which has drawn criticism from within the Jewish community because the source of its finance is secret. It was plainly wrong for the BBC to hire somebody with the obvious axe to grind of John Ware to make a Panorama documentary on this subject.

Like the rest of the mainstream media, and like Keir Starmer, the BBC has taken the excuse of this Labour report “breaching the data protection act” to avoid reporting the contradiction of the lies the BBC spewed out for years. You wont find Nick Robinson, Laura Keunssberg or Andrew Neil tweeting enthusiastically about this story. Never have journalists been so united in refusing hard news information because of the dubious legal basis – though unquestioned first rate source and access – of the leak. The Guardian for four years ran up to twenty “Corbyn anti-semitism” stories and columns a week. Their only action on this report has been to denigrate it by reporting gleefully that the Labour Party may be sued for large sums under the Data Protection Act.

To turn to the report itself, it contains so many examples of Corbyn’s office pressing the Governance and Legal Unit to shove alleged anti-semites out of the party quickly, that I am not going to detail them here, but it includes all the high profile cases including Ken Livingstone, Tony Greenstein, Jackie Walker etc. It is plain from reading the report that the Governance and Legal Unit were both lackadaisical and incompetent – complaints against anti-semitism were a minority of complaints they received, and complaints of sexual harrassment were receiving even less action (p.264). But sporadically the party machinery appears more concerned to give a fair hearing than Corbyn’s office, who would just shoot anyone the Guardian requested.

There are horrific examples of anti-semitism within the report, but also instances where I would query the categorisation as anti-semitism not only of Labour HQ at the time, but of this report.

At p.214 a case is given of somebody deemed an anti-semite for quoting the Rothschild involvement in Genie Energy fracking in the Golan Heights. Now I claim to be the person who first broke this story to a wider audience, (after finding it in the trade press), and it is completely true. Here is Genie Energy’s own press release.

Mineral exploitation of the occupied Syrian Global Heights by the occupying power is illegal in international law. Shale gas drilling is highly problematic environmentally. It is Genie Energy’s own company press release which led with the involvement of Jacob Rothschild (and Rupert Murdoch).

Claude Pupkin, CEO of Genie Oil and Gas, commented, “Genie’s success will ultimately depend, in part, on access to the expertise of the oil and gas industry and to the financial markets. Jacob Rothschild and Rupert Murdoch are extremely well regarded by and connected to leaders in these sectors. Their guidance and participation will prove invaluable.”

“I am grateful to Howard Jonas and IDT for the opportunity to invest in this important initiative,” Lord Rothschild said. “Rupert Murdoch’s extraordinary achievements speak for themselves and we are very pleased he has agreed to be our partner. Genie Energy is making good technological progress to tap the world’s substantial oil shale deposits which could transform the future prospects of Israel, the Middle East and our allies around the world.”

I perfectly accept that there is a fundamental strain of anti-semitism that accuses the Rothschilds and other “Jewish bankers” of controlling world capitalism, and that this is dangerous and harmful nonsense beloved of the Nazis. The Labour report actually gives some examples of precisely that. But you cannot move from there to the position that any criticism of any specific action of the Rothschild family is therefore anti-semitism. To criticise their involvement in illegally fracking on the occupied Golan Heights is perfectly legitimate journalism. It is not an anti-semitic trope.

Similarly it is cited repeatedly (eg p.461) as “anti-semitism” to claim Israeli involvement with ISIS. Why is that? Nobody seriously disputes that the most important diplomatic change in the Middle East of the last decade has been the de facto alliance of Israel and Saudi Arabia (together with most of the GCC), aimed squarely at Iran. Nobody seriously disputes that ISIS, Daesh and Al Nusra have all been enabled at a fundamental level by Saudi and GCC funding and supplies. Some, but very few, analysts genuinely deny western assistance to those jihadi factions when operating against Syria. Nobody disputes the hostility between Isis/Daesh/Al Nusra and not only Hezbollah but also Hamas.

ISIS/Daesh/Al Nusra are the allies of Israel’s allies and the enemies of Israel’s enemies. It is not in the least irrational, nor anti-semitic, to posit possible cooperation. Personally I doubt there has been much – the Israelis are not as foolhardy as the Americans. The odd supportive air strike at Saudi urging, or targeted aid, or intelligence feed perhaps. There may be more. But the idea that it is anti-semitic to suggest Israeli aid to ISIS is wrong, and brings inyo play the question of the use of accusations of anti-semitism to chill legitimate analysis and criticism of Israel.

On Ken Livingstone, I do not think in the least that Ken is an anti-semite. I do however think he is wrong. I have always found the discourse around Nazi/Zionist links disturbing and generally anti-semitic in motivation. Of course there may have been contact at some early stage between Nazis who wished to eradicate Jews from Europe, and Zionists who wished Jews to move to Israel. But what purpose is there in pointing that out? The Jew-hatred of the Nazis is indisputable, and any misguided Zionist who tried to deal with them was not therefore a Nazi supporter. It is a pointless discussion with highly unpleasant undertones. How Ken was entrapped into it I struggle to understand.

The report is desperate to be seen as approving Labour’s now toughness on anti-semitism, and therefore endorses the characterisation of people as anti-semites whom I know not to be. Several instances are given of quoting or linking to Gilad Atzmon as evidence of anti-semitism, seemingly with no need felt to analyse the particular Atzmon article being quoted. Atzmon is of course an Israeli Jew of controversial views particularly on Jewish identity, but it ought not to be axiomatic that to refer to Atzmon is anti-semitic.

Some of this is troubling. We are all more aware nowadays of historic involvement in the slave trade. The BBC recently did some excellent programmes on Scotland and the slave trade. Yet the report contains an analysis by the Community Security Trust p.363 that states that to discuss Jewish involvement in the slave trade (in the instance in question, it was a Jewish person discussing) is an anti-semitic trope. The dangers of this approach are obvious. I have not studied it, and I doubt that Jewish involvement in the slave trade was as bad as Scottish. But I do not doubt it existed, and it ought to be equally as open as Scottish involvement to investigation and comment. You cannot dismiss just everything that may show any group of Jewish people in a bad light as “an anti-semitic trope”.

In short, in my view the report correctly identifies the existence of genuine antisemitism from a small minority of Labour Party members. It correctly identifies that the Labour Party machinery was highly incompetent in dealing with the vast majority of complaints of anti-semitism. It identifies that almost all input from Corbyn’s office was demanding tougher and firmer action. But it makes the error, in its desire to clear the Labour Party of any taint of anti-semitism, of enthusiastically endorsing definitions of anti-semitic behaviour which are so wide as to chill legitimate free speech.

So what conclusions can we form? Well, the first is that Corbyn failed to be sufficiently ruthless in clearing out the quite extraordinarily right wing Blairites that he had inherited as Labour Party HQ staff. The Labour Party is a horribly complex institution, with elected committees, and powerful unions to appease who control the purse strings. But Blair and Brown had managed to create a machine in their own right wing image, and it is hard to read this report without concluding that Corbyn lacked the ruthlessness required in a leader to spot enemies and be rid of them.

But then, his not being a ruthless bastard is why so many people flocked to support Corbyn in the first place.

The second point is that Corbyn’s tactic of constantly attempting to appease the media on anti-semitism was never going to work. The right wing press and TV had no genuine interest in anti-racism, other than as a tool to prevent the possible election of a European style social democratic government. Neither the media nor the Blairites were ever going to reconcile to Corbyn. We will never know what would have happened if he had come out and denounced the witch-hunt as an attempt to stifle supporters of the Palestinians, and spoken openly of Israel’s move to apartheid. He had the nerve to take on the establishment narrative when he stated that British military invasions cause terrorist blowback at home, and won public support. Whether a firm line on Palestine and calling out the witch-hunt would have had a better result than giving way before ten thousand unfair attacks, we can never know.

There are more general points therefore to consider about the nature of power and of political parties. I intend to address these in a further article – including some very worrying similarities with the staff and orientation of SNP HQ.


Craig Murray writes:

With grateful thanks to those who donated or subscribed to make this reporting possible.

This article is entirely free to reproduce and publish, including in translation, and I very much hope people will do so actively. Truth shall set us free.

Subscriptions and donations to keep this blog going are gratefully received.


 

 

Comments (20)

  • Naomi Wayne says:

    It’s a brilliant, brilliant, brilliant analysis – perhaps more detailed and rounded than anything we have seen so far – I commended it to everyone. It is marred by one failure of understanding. As your introduction says, “On the issue of antisemitism, he is absolutely clear that there are horrific examples of antisemitism within the report “but also instances where I would query the categorisation as antisemitism not only of Labour HQ at the time, but of this report”.

    Later he specifically queries automatically treating as antisemitism providing links to quotes from Gilad Atzmon: “Several instances are given of quoting or linking to Gilad Atzmon as evidence of anti-semitism, seemingly with no need felt to analyse the particular Atzmon article being quoted. Atzmon is of course an Israeli Jew of controversial views particularly on Jewish identity, but it ought not to be axiomatic that to refer to Atzmon is anti-semitic”.

    David Rosenberg has commented on this: . . . (Murray) is too understanding of people who fell foul of the disciplinary system for mentions of Gilad Atzmon. While there are still activists fooled by the basic facts that Atzmon grew up and did army service in Israel and is/was Jewish (he considers himself an ex-Jew), you really don’t have to look too deeply into Atzmon’s writings since 2003/4 to the present to see them replete with Jewish conspiracy theories and Holocaust revisionism, or to see how he has been denounced as an antisemite by many leading Palstinain commentators and organisations.”

    I agree with David on this. If a person accused of antisemitism for quoting Atzmon says, “I didn’t know he was antisemitic”, my view is that person should be allowed to defend themself and not be kicked out or otherwise disciplined without the opportunity to provide any evidence in support of that defence. But s/he will have a bloody great hill to climb to rebut the antisemitism allegation. The evidence of Atzmon’s antisemitism is huge, and many people have taken his views apart. It’s worth going to http://jfjfp.com/gilad-atzmon-and-jewishness/

    IN spite of this, Murray’s piece still stands head and shoulders above most others – it is to be hoped that he will take on board this criticism (which he has been told about) – and substitutes another example to make his very valid point. After all, it’s not if there aren’t many others, sadly.

  • RC says:

    Naomi Wayne is right; it is not pernicious to refer to ANY piece of writing. The GLU seems to operate on the exact principal – a McCarthyite one. Indeed, referring to, let alone denouncing the perpetrators of, the Nazi holocaust was from the late 1940s until ca 1967, regarded as evidence of communist allegiance or sympathy. After all the former (?) Nazis like Gehlen, Globke, Oberlaender, Kiesinger, Rauff, Skorzeny, Speer etc usw were allies of the ‘free world’ against godless communism, were they not?
    So the McCarthyite activities and indeed rhetoric of the Blairite agents of capitalism within the LP and its apparatus have a clear lineage. The class struggle within the LP has reached a new inflection. How it develops depends on the understanding as well as the determination of us as socialists.
    But our understanding will be clouded if we accept Craig’s prohibition of any investigation of the Ha’azara Agreement and its relevance for interpretations of national and ethnic chauvinism, colonialism and imperialism. Consistent socialists must regard all social and political life as needing clarification, and can accept no taboos. Indeed, those taboos cry out for thorough investigation – not only Craig’s timid warning against following Ken Livingstone’s somewhat blundering summary (Edwyn Black’s The Transfer Agreement {Dialog 1983, 1999, 2001, 2009} provides – no doubt unwillingly, for Black is an explicit Zionist and a Jewish chauvinist -a great expansion, clarification and development of KL’s remarks, as, even more unwillingly, do Francis Nicosia’s two books: Zionism and Antisemitism in Nazi Germany {CUP 2008 and The Third Reich and the Palestine Question {Transaction 1985, 2000}}but also the crass and reactionary taboo embodied in the so-called IHRA’s ‘definition’ of antisemitism. Decisive critiques of the IHRA’s propagandistic and pilpulesque misrepresentations by its originator – Kenneth Stern – and other learned lawyers such as Stephen Sedley are easily referenced.
    Do not laugh, do not weep; try to understand; then the point is not (only) to interpret the world, but to try to change it.

  • monsur hoque says:

    An amazing analysis! I am baffled to learn that Craig has publicly acknolwledged that he has read the report and is asking anyone with similar info to send to Wikileaks. In fact, he has sent a copy of this report to the EHRC!!! But according to Mark Lewis of law firm Patron Law, even just circulating the leaked document contravenes the Data Protection Act. Can anybody explain this contradiction?

  • geoff rouse says:

    If any other country such as Russia interfered with the UKs ‘free and democratic election’ the right wing media would have screamed the house down but when billionaires and media moguls lie and cheat to undemocratically influence an election their opponents are the ones who are crucified. Surely there must be a legal restriction on their actions or if there is then why is it now enforced? If you cheat on your tax you get arrested. If you cheat on the sports field you are shamed but if you cheat the British public out of a fair election by openly lying about another party nothing is done. If the left tried those tactics the prisons would be overflowing so how come these traitors to democracy and their fantastically wealthy mates can rob us at will of true and honest democracy. Simple answer is democracy cannot exist in a capitalist country. Money buys elections not truth.
    If there were a ‘Factual Information Act’ that made it illegal to make statement without irrefutable evidence then the lies and propaganda would be stopped and most of the present government and their friends would be in the nick!

  • Naomi Wayne says:

    I have clearly been badly misunderstood. If it’s the way I have expressed myself, my apologies. Let me try again.

    It MIGHT WELL BE PERNICIOUS to make reference to or link to a piece of writing, depending on the piece of writing, its content both in the general and the particular, the context etc. Having read most of the leaked report, I do accept that Labour was (mostly) dealing with extreme right wing and classic antisemitism, where it is very hard to envisage that the members under investigation might possibly have any defence at all. (These ‘classic right wing’ cases appear to form the bulk of the antisemitism allegations – the supposed ‘left antisemitism’ cases, which got such massive press profile, are actually very few in number).

    However, the previous Labour leadership was, in my – and Craig Murray’s view – far too willing to deny any rights to those accused of ‘left’ antisemitism. I part company with Murray over his view of Atzmon and those ‘left’ members who have got into trouble for citing him. For Murray to describe Atzmon as “an Israeli Jew of controversial views particularly on Jewish identity” is extraordinary – Atzmon’s writings have been comprehensively demolished by many (mostly Jewish) writers as being unquestionably antisemitic – see the Jews for Justice for Palestinians link that I cite.

    So, to repeat, if someone whose alleged wrongdoing is referencing Atzmon says – I am sorry, when I referenced Atzmon, I had no idea about his wider story – I would give that person a chance to make a defence. But, also to repeat, that person would have a bloody great hill to climb to rebut the allegation of antisemitism.

  • Mary Davies says:

    I agree that the entire unredacted report should be sent to Wikileaks.
    The right wing of the party went to war against the socialists; these people have no place in our Labour Party.
    I have no faith in Keir Starmer dealing with this leaked report forcefully.

  • Dennis DeGroot says:

    Are other actors outside the Labour Party involved? I agree it’s imperative that every thing is put in the public domain. We need to know if these bad actors colluded with others. Tory’s MI5 Mossad. News International? We need to know the extent of the forces against a socialist Labour party

  • Doug says:

    Vexatious claims are hate crimes and should be prosecuted
    We still dont know the identity of the person responsible for 50% of claims in 2019
    Unless there is evidence claims were destroyed or lost, we can safely assume they have now been dealt with and the level of AS in the party
    Would like that clarified because if they did lose claims deliberately then there are no words
    My opinion is it blows out of the water the EHRC investigation and Panorama Drama legal cases

  • Adrian Chaffey says:

    I agree an excellent piece, and you are right to identify Murray’s two main conclusions.

    I know nothing of Atzmon beyond that he is a musician, and having read before the kind of comments Naomi makes here. I’m quite happy to accept those.

    However as a general point it does not seem to me that if A approves, or agrees with, something that B says, and B is an anti-semite, it does not follow that A is also an anti-Semite. I’m not sure if this what is being claimed in relation to Atzmon, but it seems wrong to me.

  • Naomi Wayne says:

    Adrian – I absolutely agree with Murray that there’s been far too much guilt by association, which has been permitted, even encouraged, by the former Labour leadership – which is very disturbing.

    But regarding Atzmon, here’s the thing. If somebody cites an acceptable paragraph from a known fascist – someone like Hitler or Oswald Mosley (and there are usually the odd sentences or paragraphs which right wingers, including known fascists, write which are unexceptionable), it’s not unreasonable to deduce that the citer is trying to make a bigger point, and allying him/herself with the known fascist. I accept that there are people who dont know about Atzmon’s politics – but most people who choose to quote him ARE choosing him precisely because they do know who and what he is and they approve of/like/accept his antisemitism (while covering up by saying – oh, he’s a great musician).

    But for those who don’t know Atzmon, I am prepared to say that people quoting Atzmon should be allowed to run the following defence: ‘I didn’t know Atzmon, I had no reason to check him out when I saw the quote I have referenced, and, because providing a negative is difficult, I will demonstrate from my history to date that I am likely to be telling the truth’.

    Why does this matter? Because Murray has written a truly superb article, and made a very good point about guilt by association cases, then spoilt it by choosing a very poor example.

    • Richard Kuper says:

      The trouble with Naomi’s argument is that Chris Williamson wasn’t linking to any quote of Atzmon’s at all. He was protesting at what appeared prima facie as a musician being banned from playing his music. There was no reason for Williamson to have known about Atzmon’s record – and when it was pointed out to him he immediately wihdrew his suppport.

      You could argue he should have known – but why should he have known? Should he have known that when Atzmon plays his music he intersperses it with ongoing conversation of an often unacceptable kind? Once I didnt – now I do. And I’m not one who is soft on Atzmon, as my review on the JfJfP page you linked to, shows.

  • Allan Howard says:

    Whilst I have every respect for Craig, he is completely wrong regarding what Ken said on the one hand – ie that Ken was wrong to say something about Hitler supporting Zionism – and Jeremy appeasing the media attacks on the other hand. In his piece he says the following in relation to Ken:

    ‘Of course there may have been contact at some early stage between Nazis who wished to eradicate Jews from Europe, and Zionists who wished Jews to move to Israel. But what purpose is there in pointing that out?’

    Ken wasn’t pointing anything out, as such. Vanessa Feltz brought up Hitler, not Ken. The following is from Ken’s resignation statement:

    ‘At 8.50am on 28th April 2016 I was asked by Vanessa Feltz on BBC Radio London to respond to a social media post by the Labour MP, Naz Shah, quoting Martin Luther King, that ‘what Hitler did was legal’. King’s point, obviously, having been that just because something is legal (talking in the context of racist segregation laws in the US in the 1960s) does not mean it is right. I saw no relevance between Hitler and Labour so I responded in under 40 words pointing out that in the 1930s Hitler had supported Jews leaving Germany – including moving to Israel and he had arrived at a practical agreement with Zionist organisations on this.’

    And the following is what Ken said in the interview:

    ‘Let’s remember when Hitler won his election in 1932 [it was 1933, in fact], his policy then was that Jews should be moved to Israel. He was supporting Zionism – this before he went mad and ended up killing six million Jews.’

    And THAT was it, and he was alluding to The Haavara Agreement, an historical fact, and the fact that Craig says ‘…. there may have been contact at some early stage….’ etc, implies that Craig is not aware of the agreement AND that Ken, in passing, was alluding to it. Craig then goes on to say the following: ‘The Jew-hatred of the Nazis is indisputable, and any misguided Zionist who tried to deal with them was not therefore a Nazi supporter’, which further implies that Craig is not aware of The Haavara Agreement. The Haavara Agreement came about because there was a Zionist boycott of Nazi Germany, and the German Zionists ended their boycott as a consequence of the agreement. The following is from the wikipedia entry regarding the agreement:

    ‘The Haavara Agreement was an agreement between Nazi Germany and Zionist German Jews signed on 25 August 1933. The agreement was finalized after three months of talks by the Zionist Federation of Germany, the Anglo-Palestine Bank and the economic authorities of Nazi Germany. It was a major factor in making possible the migration of approximately 60,000 German Jews to Palestine in 1933–1939.’

    And what is ‘misguided’ about THAT. And that is all that Ken meant when he said that Hitler was supporting Zionism – ie that the Nazis had worked on and reached an agreement with the Zionist Federation of Germany, and needless to say, it wouldn’t have come about if Adolf Hitler was opposed to such an agreement. In other words, he supported the agreement (so as to end the boycott).

    As for Jeremy appeasing the smearers, Craig says the following:

    ‘We will never know what would have happened if he had come out and denounced the witch-hunt…..’, and shortly afterwards says: ‘Whether a firm line on Palestine and calling out the witch-hunt would have had a better result than giving way before ten thousand unfair attacks, we can never know.’

    Well I think it’s all to obvious what would have happened……. the smearers would have denounced Jeremy and castigated and vilified him in no uncertain terms, along with mountains of faux outrage. Of COURSE they would. I mean it’s absurd to think that all of the individuals and groups and organisations and the MSM and the Jewish newspapers who had conspired in the smear campaign were going to go along with Jeremy exposing THEM and concede that Jeremy is correct in what he says. Jeremy would have been denounced as a conspiracy theorist and, as such, an anti-semite, or conclusive proof that he is an anti-semite, and I have little doubt that dozens of ‘moderates’ would have penned and signed a letter to the Guardian etc, etc, etc.

  • Naomi Wayne says:

    Richard – I wondered afterwards whether Murray was referring to Chris Williamson. But his point in the piece you have posted appears to be as I characterised it. I quote in full: “Several instances are given of quoting or linking to Gilad Atzmon as evidence of anti-semitism, seemingly with no need felt to analyse the particular Atzmon article being quoted. Atzmon is of course an Israeli Jew of controversial views particularly on Jewish identity, but it ought not to be axiomatic that to refer to Atzmon is anti-semitic.” I am right in thinking that Murray is referring to a person or people quoting or linking to Atzmon article(s), am I not? Maybe he is referring to Williamson (or rather, Williamson solely) and perhaps he thought that’s what Williamson had done, but he doesnt say so, and he doesnt name Williamson.

    I agree with your point about the degree of Atzmon’s notoriety: he is nowhere near as well known as Hitler, except, perhaps among some jazz aficionados. Which is why I argue that posting a link or reference to Atzmon without either the context or the content referred or linked to being the really nasty antisemitism that Atzmon engages in (as distinct from silly, childish or unwitting stuff) should not bar someone from the right to provide a defence.

    I have since received a very nice email from Murray saying he didn’t know till I told him how Atzmon was viewed by Jews generally (I had, by the way, said it wasn’t just Jews). But even in his email, he writes: “I suspect many of those linking to him had read as little Atzmon as I”

    I suppose this all goes to show what a tangled web we weave when we get into discussions about antisemitism, and how so much is a matter of culture, context, nuance, intent etc etc. Which is what the former Labour leadership seems to have lost sight of in their desperation to prove their non-antisemitic credentials.

  • Naomi Winter says:

    Refer to “The transfer agreement” a work by Black on the matter referred to by Livingston

  • RC says:

    Allan Howard has invented a ‘Zionist boycott of Germany’ out of whole cloth. Edwin Black makes it clear that the worldwide – not Zionist, nor indeed only Jewish – boycott of Nazi Germany resulted from spontaneous mass indignation at the disgusting persecution of Jews – boycotters demanded that Nazis stop that persecution. German Zionists – a tiny minority of German Jews – in no way boycotted the Nazi party; rather they more or less forced their way into meetings at which Goering proposed to tell German Jews through their representatives that there would be no place in Germany for them – a place which the vast majority of German Jews thought they had a full right to, and to which they were committed. Zionists disagreed:far from boycotting the Nazis, German Zionists sympathised with German nationalist racism, which they regarded as parallel with their own. They agreed with the Nazis that there was no place in Germany for Jews.

    Black is very clear that the boycott gravely threatened the German economy, already weakened by the depression and export-dependent.

    The Zionists’ Ha’avara Agreement provided a lifeline for German exports and therefore for the Third Reich. Black is equally clear on this point; but an earlier end to Nazi rule would surely have been no disaster- except for Nazis . That aspect does not appear in wikipedia, and Allan Howard’s reliance on that source is light-minded indeed. 60,000 German Jews were pressured to leave Germany – was that preferable to a continuation of their settled life in Germany? Howard’s talk of mis/guided leads to a wilderness of ‘alternative history’.
    But it is clear that far from boycotting Nazi Germany, Zionists broke the boycott – that is why Livingstone’s tactless but broadly accurate remarks triggered such an avalanche of ill-informed though perhaps genuine outrage – very useful for Corbynophobes and opponents of socialism.

  • Allan Howard says:

    RC, you are being more than a little disingenuous. Ken’s remarks were NOT tactless, and the avalanche of outrage was totally fake and phony and contrived. Are all the dozens of articles on the web about the Haavara Agreement tactless and worthy of outrage? Hmm……

    I mean if anyone needs proof that the whole episode with Ken was completely and totally manufactured, look no further than the Big Black Lie that the smearers were disseminating almost immediately – ie that Ken had said that Hitler was a Zionist. Ian Austin even repeated the falsehood in a parliamentary debate!

    As for the boycott, which led to the Haavara Agreement:

    ‘One of the German authorities’ principal goals in negotiating with the Zionist movement was to fragment the Jewish boycott of German goods. Although in retrospect we know the boycott had only a marginal effect on German economic development in the 1930s, at the time it was perceived as a genuine threat. Correspondence between Heinrich Wolff, the German consul in Palestine, and the German Foreign Ministry shows that shattering the boycott was a key motive for the German authorities in concluding the Transfer Agreement.’

    https://yadvashem.org/odot_pdf/Microsoft%20Word%20-%203231.pdf

  • Susan Greaves says:

    My problem is this. While over the past three or four yeas, I have witnessed (and immediately challenged) mild anti-semitism among acquaintances and even sadly a friend, I have never encountered it in the Labour party. I say this simply for the record. From the very start of all this, I have wanted someone to quote in direct speech a comment that they judge to be anti-semitic, then I can see for myself. I think this is true for many grass roots members. It would be enormously helpful Craig, if you would quote me an example. As I say, I am not trying to be clever or sly here. Genuinely I am bewildered.

  • Much of the above discussion is interesting but, in my opinion, besides the point. Opinions on such historical issues cannot possibly be the positive/negative markers for membership of a mass popular Party.
    In any case, as I remember it, the attacks on Livingstone predated his pronouncements on Zionism. He had attacked a Daily Mail journalist likening him to a concentration camp guard, I think. Since the journalist was Jewish the idea was insinuated that Livingstone’s attack was anti-Semitic.
    Those attacking Livingstone have no interest either in historical debate or truthful reporting.

  • RC is accurate. My late father took part in the boycott of German goods. The boycott was supported by non-Jews, as well as Jews, including moderate Zionists such as my father. The breaking of the boycott by the Yishuv (the Zionist organisation in British mandate Palestine) and their henchmen in Germany was an horrific act of scabbing during a struggle of huge historic portent. We can only guess how the course of history may have been altered if the boycott had been sustained to a point where German capital would be pressured into withdrawing its support for Hitler. Ken Livingstone’s articulation of this was tame compared to how my father explained it to me. Nevertheless, my father never grasped the ideological consistency between the treachery of the Haavarah Agreement and Zionism itself, undermining the struggle of worldwide Jewry in the interests of immigration to Palestine, and he remained a Zionist. On the other hand, like many other Jews of his generation, he maintained a rigorous personal, boycott of German goods by our family right through to the 1960s.

  • Alan Miller says:

    Excellent analysis from Craig.

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