PRESS STATEMENT

5th October 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


Jewish Voice for Labour is appalled at the summary expulsion of Moshe Machover from the Labour Party, and calls for his immediate reinstatement.

Moshe Machover is a highly respected Jewish historian and a life-long socialist, and was founder of the socialist party Matzpen in Israel in the early 1960s. The much-lauded new disciplinary Rule agreed at conference was, we are assured, designed to tackle racism and discrimination in the Party but is now being (mis)used as a McCarthyite tool. Our comrade has been accused, charged, prosecuted, judged and sentenced in one letter and without the necessity of a trial.

The letter informing Professor Machover of his expulsion refers to a complaint of antisemitism about an article he had written. The letter asserts that the content of the article fits the IHRA definition of antisemitism. As adopted by the Labour Party, this reads simply:

“Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”

The Labour Party has not adopted the contentious set of ‘illustrations’ attached to the Definition, that attempt to spread the mantle of antisemitism over criticism of Israel.

We have studied the article published by Labour Party Marxists. It contains no attack on Jews; it is, rather, a scholarly analysis of Zionism, one that is well worth reading and debating. Zionism is an ideology (one also espoused by non-Jews) and as such must be open for study and debate.

This ill-founded accusation of antisemitism is not, however, the reason given for his summary expulsion. One must therefore seriously question why it was, quite improperly in our view, included in a formal letter of this type.

The grounds provided for his expulsion is of association with other organisations – Labour Party Marxists and the Communist Party of Great Britain. We are not aware that Labour Party Marxists is a proscribed organisation. Further we cannot see how writing for a journal, or speaking at meetings, all that is alleged, can justify expulsion, let alone summary expulsion. If this were the case, we would lose the current leader of our Party. We have been able to confirm that Mr. Machover is not, and has never been, a member of either of the cited organisations.

Jewish Voice for Labour also wishes to protest in the strongest terms the lack of due process in this case. The recommendations of the Chakrabarti Report place strong emphasis on a requirement that all measures and processes shall be carried out “in accordance with the principles of natural justice and proportionality.”  We will stand by any Labour member who is treated in this way, even if we disagree with their politics. And we certainly stand with our Jewish comrade and longstanding campaigner for justice for all.

In the unlikely event that the Party persists in considering that Professor Machover has a case to answer, then the absolute minimum requirement is the application of due process, plus a full apology to Moshe Machover for its absence in the initiation of this case.

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You can see the letter from the Labour Party, signed by Sam Matthews, Head of Disputes, expelling Moshé Machover  in our earleir posting here: Prof Moshé Machover’s summary expulsion

 

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