By Moshé Machover, Israeli Occupation Archive — 2 November 2017
I am profoundly grateful to the many friends, comrades and countless supporters who sprang to my defence.
On October 30, the Labour Party’s Governance and Legal Unit – which calls to mind the Circumlocution Office1 – succumbed to mounting protest within the party and beyond, and hurriedly wriggled out of the hole into which it had dug itself. It rescinded my expulsion, but it did so petulantly and with bad grace.2
This leaves two major issues that need to be addressed, and no doubt will be. The first is the weaponization of accusation of “antisemitism” falsely and maliciously hurled at those who dare to speak against the Zionist project of colonization and its Israeli settler state. These insinuations are often based on the sly and fallacious “examples” accompanying the IHRA “definition of antisemitism”.3 Such a scurrilous allegation was cited against me, and I am still awaiting its retraction and full public apology. But the vicious weapon itself must be thrown onto the scrap-heap.
The second issue is the procedural method used to expel me. It was based on the catch-all rule 2.I.4B in the party’s rule book,4 which allows the party’s bureaucrats to expel automatically anyone who supports a political organization (other than an official Labour group or other unit of the Party). The term “political organization” is not defined. Arguably, it could apply to the Palestine Solidarity Campaign or the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament or the Electoral Reform Society: all these are organizations concerned with political issues. And if you believe, as many do, that the personal is political, then Refuge, the group fighting against domestic violence, modern slavery and human trafficking,5 may also count as a political organization. The term “support” is also undefined. As normally understood, support is not a simple yes-or-no matter, but one of degree. What degree of support is supposed to be illicit? “Automatic” expulsion has meant in my case, and in many others, summary action without giving the accused any chance to test and challenge the alleged evidence. This procedure is all too easily abused – indeed it appears to have been designed for this very purpose. It is unacceptable and must be discarded.
So the fight goes on.
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
- www.panarchy.org/dickens/circumlocution.html ↩
- See www.jewishvoiceforlabour.org.uk/labour-party-policy/victory-moshe-machover/ ↩
- See http://freespeechonisrael.org.uk/ihra-opinion/#sthash.w7XyGUVs.dpbs; http://freespeechonisrael.org.uk/sedley-ihra/#respond ↩
- http://tinyurl.com/yceyzydc ↩
- www.refuge.org.uk ↩