Labour Expels Jewish Anti-Zionist for ‘Anti-Semitism’

SHIR HEVER: Welcome to The Real News Network. I’m Shir Hever in Heidelberg, Germany. After Jeremy Corbyn became the leader of the
Labour Party in Britain in 2015, the party began a crusade to purge itself of members
suspected of anti-Semitism. It quickly became apparent, however, that
the real goal of this purge was not to clean the party of anti-Semitic elements, but rather
to expel all members who expressed critical views against the Israeli occupation of Palestine. In January this year, Al Jazeera published
an in-depth investigation of the involvement of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs
in the internal politics of British parties, and interviewed Jackie Walker, the vice-chair
of one of Labour’s organizations. JACKIE WALKER: Some of us would say it was
mostly a constructed crisis for political ends. I would say there is a crisis of the way that
anti-Semitism is being manipulated, and being used by certain parts of not just the Labour
Party but other parties and the media, to discredit Jeremy Corbyn and a number of his
supporters. I mean let’s disagree politically. I’m anti-Zionist. They are pro-Zionist. Let’s have that argument. Let’s have that argument, not this one that’s
going on at the moment now. SHIR HEVER: Even the Al Jazeera report was
under attack with pro-Israeli groups lobbing accusations of anti-Semitism, although it
was announced this week that the British Ofcom agency cleared Al Jazeera of the accusations. In this context, that it was published last
week, that Moshe Machover received a letter expelling him from the Labour Party. Moshe Machover is a mathematician, philosopher
and radical socialist activist, noted for his writing against Zionism. Born to a Jewish family in Tel Aviv, then
part of the British mandate of Palestine, he moved to Britain in 1968. Machover was the founder of Matzpen, the Israeli
socialist organization in 1962. He was among the first Israelis who spoke
openly against occupation of 1967. In British, he has become a prominent activist
against war and apartheid, not just in the Israeli-Palestinian context. He is an author of numerous articles and numerous
books. Thank you very much for joining us Moshe. MOSHE MACHOVER: It’s a pleasure to speak to
you. SHIR HEVER: You wrote an article with the
title, “Anti-Zionism does not equate anti-Semitism,” which was mentioned in your expulsion letter
from the Labour Party. Why did you write this letter and who raised
these allegations against you? MOSHE MACHOVER: Well, there is some confusion
about this article. This article is actually report about the
talk which I gave months ago, and it was originally published in weekly called “Weekly Worker.” The latest hoo-ha concerns actually a reprint
of the article that was disseminated by a group of people called Labour Party Marxists
that are allegedly or in fact, I don’t know, somehow connected with the little group that
publishes the Weekly Worker. I was contacted by someone from this Labour
Party Marxists with whom I have no, you know, direct connection. They asked me for permission to reprint my
article and I willingly gave it. I would do the same for anyone who wants to
reprint my articles. I am very keen for my views to be disseminated. SHIR HEVER: Do you know, the letter of your
expulsion talks about the Labour Party Marxists, and claims that they are a front for the Communist
Party of Great Britain. Actually, in an interesting twist in this
article, in the beginning, the letter expelling you is talking about anti-Semitic accusations,
but then said that the real reason for expelling you is because you are associated with Labour
Party Marxists. In fact, you’re not being accused directly
of anti-Semitism. You’re instead accused of being a traitor
to the party somehow, a double agent because you have double loyalty because of this group
that reprinted your article. Did you have a chance to defend yourself against
these accusations? MOSHE MACHOVER: Oh no. No it was, it was like summary execution. No, no chance to answer any accusation, but
there is an interesting twist to this tale. Yes, first of all, they are accusations against
me of anti-Semitism, or allegations, allegations really. I think they don’t say who those allegators
are who are lurking in some smoke. No. It’s just, it just insinuation. This is just mood music. Eventual, the cause for my expulsion is my
alleged connection with Labour Party Marxists. The irony is that I read in last week’s, the
actual current issue of Weekly Worker, a letter by a comrade called [Strom Kebron 00:05:41],
he apparently is one of the Labour Party Marxists. He got a letter expelling him and he’s seen
as publishing my article. You see the circularity. SHIR HEVER: People who are reprinting your
article are being expelled as well, not just you as the author. MOSHE MACHOVER: No, no. But the circularity is that I’m supposed to
be expelled, not for the article itself, not for writing the article, which I didn’t write
for them. I wrote for some time ago for Weekly Worker. Anyway, but for having alleged a connection
with Labour Party Marxists but this guy from Labour Party Marxists is expelled for publishing
my article. SHIR HEVER: Right. Okay, so it’s guilt by association for both
of you. MOSHE MACHOVER: No, it’s worse than this. It is a vicious logical circle. If you think about it, I am expelled for being
associated with them and they are expelled for actually publishing or republishing in
fact an article by me. SHIR HEVER: Right. Well, yeah and it’s very similar to this attack
on Al Jazeera that they are exposing people, expelling people from the party by using false
accusations of anti-Semitism and the response of the Labour Party is to accuse al Jazeera
of anti-Semitism. But what is happening to the Labour Party? Is the Labour Party trying to commit suicide
in this policy of kicking out so many of its members? Can pro-Israeli groups really have so much
influence in the internal decision-making process? Or is this a strategic decision of the Labour
Party? They want to be a war party like it was in
the time of Tony Blair? MOSHE MACHOVER: Oh I think you’ve got it all
wrong. It is not something, an action by the Labour
Party. It is all part of a struggle within the Labour. The Labour Party is in fact not trying to
commit suicide. It is trying to resuscitate itself and it
is resuscitating itself by moving to the left. It has become a mass party by a flow of masses
of activists being, many of them young but also some old ones who previously were disappointed
or despaired of politics. They are mostly on the left. This is how, Corbyn became leader. You have a party whose grassroots are massively
on the left. But and also its top leadership, you know
Jeremy Corbyn and his close associates are on the left, but the party bureaucracy and
the party in Parliament is still left over from the Blair-ite right-wingers and careerists. They’re trying to defend their positions and
to fight back. One of their dirty bombs is the accusation
of anti-Semitism. SHIR HEVER: Actually this kind of old-guard
more conservative branch of the Labour Party, they are exploiting the Israeli lobby to try
to remove the progressives? MOSHE MACHOVER: Yes. Yes. I don’t know if you watched … If you have
a video of Corbyn’s address to the recent national conference of the Labour Party, it
was last week or a few days ago. The bit of it that got the most enthusiastic
standing ovation was his support for the rights of the Palestinian people. SHIR HEVER: Yes, and we are covering actually
Corbyn’s speech, here on The Real News, in a separate interview. I want to ask you one last question. This is all a very recent development. You received this letter just last week, but
I can see that you’re still, you have an optimism about the future of the Labour Party when
you talk about a wide base of progressive supporters, more to the left. Can you tell us a little bit about the kind
of support that you’ve been receiving from organizations that heard about your expulsion
and how they’re responding? Is this giving you some kind of support? MOSHE MACHOVER: Oh this has been most encouraging
and gratifying. It keeps my hopes up for the Labour Party. Of course, the fight is still on, but and
the right wingers will not give up so easily. They are … But I think you know it’s sort
of a last trench or last ditch fight on their behalf. I’ve received massive support, both from my
local Labour Party, or what used to be my local Labour Party before I was arbitrarily
and summarily expelled, but also from other branches of the Labour Party far and wide. The resolutions supporting me and demanding
my reinstatement, immediate reinstatement, are receiving almost or totally unanimous
support or almost unanimous support. I mean in my local branch for example, my
local area branch of the Labour Party, a resolution supporting me and demanding reinstatement
was adopted nemcon with two abstentions. This is not very exceptional. [inaudible 00:11:46] which tells you that
this is not the Labour Party against me. It’s the right within, fighting last ditch
battle against the massive grass root left, which is now … I mean the Labour Party now
is the largest party in the whole of Western Europe. It is, it is, it has a new inflow of members
of hundreds of thousands of people. It is a massive huge party and mostly on the
left. SHIR HEVER: Well, I’m certainly hoping that
you will quickly be reinstated. I also hope that you will agree to join us
again on The Real News for additional interviews. Thank you very much for joining us. MOSHE MACHOVER: I’ll be delighted to talk
to you again. SHIR HEVER: And thank you for joining us on
The Real News network.


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