A statement from the Labour Party Socialist Network on Jackie Walker and Momentum

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The Labour Party Socialist Network is opposed to the suspension of Jackie Walker from the Labour Party and is opposed to the moves from sections of the Momentum leadership to remove her from her position as Vice-Chair of Momentum.

The calls for her removal clearly originated with those who have their own anti-Corbyn, anti-Momentum agenda. It is pushed by those who want to stop any critical discussion about the role of the Israeli government in its treatment of the Palestinians.

Supporters of Israeli policies towards the Palestinians want to curtail any such criticism by equating it with anti-Semitism, by equating anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism. Such criticism does not equate.

It should not be forgotten that the issue arose because someone has released a film of the discussion at what everyone present thought would be a private meeting of the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) in which there could be open and honest engagement on potentially controversial subjects. Those responsible have deliberately manipulated their recording to manufacture maximum embarrassment for Momentum and Corbyn and hostility towards Jackie Walker.

A careful viewing of the film clip shared on the Huffington Post reveals that there is no basis for the accusation that Jackie said anything at the meeting that was anti-Semitic. We do not believe that she is anti-Semitic.

We cannot agree with those on the left who have rushed to condemn her comments as being anti-Semitic and have called for her to be removed as Vice-Chair of Momentum on that basis, instead of confronting these unfounded allegations.

Initially, some in the leadership of Momentum, without first notifying Jackie of their intentions, went to the press to call for her removal as Vice Chair. There has still been no formal notification to the Steering Committee that it will meet this coming Monday to discuss the issue.

Now, apparently, those seeking to remove Jackie have said that there is to be no disciplinary action taken against her within Momentum.

Presumably this is because it is accepted that she did not say anything that could be considered anti-Semitic. If this is so, then why is there a continued determination to remove her as Vice-Chair? It can only be to appease her accusers. But they will not be appeased. They will want more.

Why has she been suspended (again) by the Labour Party? The Labour Party’s right-wing Compliance Unit has clearly been encouraged by the stance taken by sections of Momentum’s leadership.

Do those calling for Jackie’s removal not understand that this is a political attack on the left; an attempt to undermine Momentum? If Jackie is removed today those who have initiated this attack will be back for another target tomorrow, and another the day after.

Whatever one’s views on Jackie’s comments at the JLM event, she should be defended against these attacks. We must protect free speech and the right to be critical. There is no place for hatred or hostility towards Jews within the Labour Party or anywhere else. But honest criticism of political positions or clumsy questioning do not constitute such.

The controversial issues of Israeli policy, of Zionism, of Israeli-Palestinian relations and of the rights of the Palestinian people are extremely contested in society and especially in the Labour movement. If we are to make any headway on these or any other subjects we must ensure that we protect open, honest, rational and critical but comradely discussion.

15 thoughts on “A statement from the Labour Party Socialist Network on Jackie Walker and Momentum”

  1. Hi all! My name is Daniel Waterman. I am Jewish and had an Israeli passport which I burned in a solidarity protest following the Israeli bombardment of Gaza a number of years ago. I am also the child of a holocaust survivor and my aunt Annetje Fels Kupferschmidt was a founder of the Netherlands Auschwitz Committee. As such I think I have a right and a moral obligation to speak up in defense of those attempting to raise important questions and have a serious critical discussion about the causes of injustice and inequality and the role of international entities therein. Jackie Walker is such a person and I find her expulsion frightening and disgusting and will consider dropping Labour for this reason. This statement is important and it needs to be linked to a petition so that more of us have the opportunity to speak out on this issue.

    1. Thankyou
      It’s essential we are not bullied into turning a blind eye to the horrors bring inflicted upon Palestine
      We can’t abandon these people because we’re scared of the various Friends of Israel lobbies who are all affiliated to Zionist funders and organisers
      The anti Semitic slur is hard to resist as they are masters at using it to cover war crimes but it’s same as this myth that Israel is the victim and Palestine the terrorist, when anyone with eyes and ears and half a brain can see the opposite is true .

    2. Well said Daniel ! And well said to the many other Jews,and non-Jews,who refuse to be emotionally blackmailed by the Zionist propaganda machine.

    3. You dropping Labour would be a victory for the forces of evil.
      I hope you stay to help hold the 5th Columnists to account.
      Shalom

  2. One of the reasons JLM give for demanding Jackie be removed is that she was critical of the BS definition of antisemitism that they are trying to foist on the Labour Party. This is it….

    http://wp.me/p5W2a1-Cw

    The essence of the current problem is that Jon Lansman ” works closely” with Jeremy Newmark

    1. Absolutely baffled. Even if a remark was passed that offended, it’s normally considered acceptable within ethnic groups if it comes from one of its own members. I’ve wondered if we’re looking at racism here rather than anti-semitism/

  3. The suspension of Jackie Walker is a serious mistake. It demonstrates to me that many in Moemntum don’t really understand the significance of the way antisemitism is being used to undermine Jeremy Corbyn. Perhaps people think this debate is a diversion. It is not.

  4. I have friends who are part of the Jewish community. They are against what the Israel government are doing in Palestine. Does this make them anti semetic?.

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