By Moshé Machover, Labour Briefing – November 2017
The background to my summary and arbitrary expulsion from the Labour Party is that the right-wingers and their Zionist allies, within the party and beyond, are losing it.
The Zionists are losing the battle for public opinion. Most worrying for them: they are losing it among British Jews, especially the younger under-30 cohorts. This trend is not fully reflected in the various polls and surveys that purport to show overwhelming Jewish support for Israel.1 The reason is that these polls suffer from an inbuilt statistical bias. Since there is no database listing all Jews in Britain, the samples used by the polls miss out on the very large number of persons of Jewish background who are not affiliated to any synagogue or other official or semi-official Jewish organisation. And it is those not included in the sample space who tend to be least inclined to Zionism and Israel worship.
Britain is by no means alone in this respect. The Israel brand is losing its appeal in many countries. The Israeli authorities are acutely aware of this ‘dangerous’ trend and have set up a special Ministry of Strategic Affairs to combat it. The minister, Gilad Erdan, who is also minister of Information and of Public Security, is one of the most repulsive members of the present Israeli cabinet – which is no mean achievement. A principal strategy of this ministry is to conduct a worldwide smear campaign, targeting all who speak out against Israel’s racist colonialist policies, and the brutal regime of military dictatorship it imposes on the territories it has illegally occupied since 1967. Those who protest are branded as ‘antisemites’ – a most despicable accusation, extremely hurtful to any decent person.
One of Erdan’s underlings, Shai Masot, was exposed earlier this year by Aljazeera, caught in the act of mounting a dirty tricks campaign in Britain, aiming to undermine ‘unfriendly’ political figures. The Labour Party, now led by Jeremy Corbyn, a veteran supporter of Palestinian rights, was Masot’s main hunting ground, where he operated in league with Labour Friends of Israel and the Jewish Labour Movement.2
The Israeli lobby in Britain has important allies in the all-party political establishment, including the Blair loyalists inside the Labour Party. This establishment is strongly committed to Britain’s ‘special relationship’ (in reality one of subservience) with the US. But a condition for maintaining this alliance is a favourable and forgiving attitude to Israel, whose relationship with the US is even more special, being the major US strategic asset in the Middle East and beyond.
As a veteran Israeli socialist – and therefore anti-Zionist – campaigner, I have been an obvious target of this dirty tricks campaign, not the first but one of the latest. I am delighted by the massive solidarity I have been getting from LP members and supporters up and down the country. I am not so vain as to believe that it is all about me personally. If the forces of regression win in my case, their chutzpah will be boosted and they will proceed to act against more important targets. But they can be defeated, for the sake of the soul of the Labour Party.
Moshé Machover is an Israeli socialist anti-Zionist activist and co-founder of the Socialist Organization in Israel (Matzpen). He is currently living in London, England. He is emeritus professor of philosophy, King’s College, London University. His most recent book is Israelis and Palestinians: Conflict and Resolution.
All IOA commentaries by Moshé Machover
- See for example http://yachad.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/British-Jewish-Attitudes-Towards-Israel-Yachad-Ipsos-Mori-Nov-2015.pdf. ↩
- See the must-watch Aljazeera exposé, http://www.aljazeera.com/investigations/thelobby/. Although Masot was based in the Israeli Embassy, he was not a diplomat and reported to Erdan rather than to ambassador Mark Regev. ↩