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Mr. Lansman comes to Tel Aviv: Jeremy Corbyn’s senior ally wants to restrict free speech on Israel

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On June 21, Jon Lansman, chair of Momentum (UK) and senior member of the UK Labour Party, will deliver a lecture in Tel Aviv on ‘Corbyn, Labour and Israel-Palestine’. The event will take place at the office of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, affiliated with the German Die Linke (‘The Left’) party. The invitation poster features the logos of the UK Labour Party, Momentum and Standing Together (Hebrew – Omdim BeYahchad)), an Israeli NGO supported by the New Israel Fund.

If this tripartite alliance seems encouraging to supporters of the Palestinian cause, the impression is probably mistaken. Lansman’s lecture in Tel Aviv should be viewed against the backdrop of the war which is raging within the UK Labour party. The Palestinian issue is arguably the main reason for this war. Since Jeremy Corbyn’s election as Labour leader in September 2015, the Israeli government and leaders of the Jewish establishment in the UK, who falsely claim to represent all UK Jews, have been running a vendetta against him. The prospects of a future UK prime minister who demands an immediate end to Israel’s 1967 occupation and does not subscribe to Zionist ideology must be terrifying (and US activists may also find interest in all of this as a harbinger of a future battle for the Democratic Party). Corbyn has even been vilified as “hold[ing] anti-Semitic views” by Jonathan Arkush, President of the Board of Deputies of British Jewry.

Unfortunately, strong elements within the UK Labour Party also stand on Israel’s side. While solidarity with the Palestinian people runs deep in the party, especially among grassroots activists and trade unions, a powerful sector of Labour supports Israel. The Labour Friends of Israel (LFI) caucus has recently defended Israel’s mass-killing and injuring of Palestinian civilians in Gaza. Israel’s supporters within the party have also participated in a witch hunt against dedicated Labour activists who stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people, with the strategic goal of toppling Corbyn. Many of these activists have been persecuted and even expelled in a McCarthyite manner. In addition to Labour Friends of Israel, the astroturf, faux-socialist Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) campaigns “to support labour values within the UK, Israel and Internationally”, but has very little beyond support for Israel on its mind. Both LFI and JLM have strong ties with the Israeli Labour Party, which supports racism and militarism against the Palestinian people, and has suspended its ties with Jeremy Corbyn, accusing him of “enabling anti-Semitism”. This brazen lie does not seem to embarrass Israel’s UK Labour supporters.

In order to promote a Labour victory under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, a left-wing organization named Momentum was established in 2015. Jon Lansman was its main founder. One would expect Momentum to consistently stand up to the Israel lobby, support free speech on Zionism and Israel’s occupation and apartheid, and stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people. Many members of Momentum have done just that. Lansman is not one of them. A primary example is the case of Jackie Walker, a veteran black Jewish Labour activist and a consistent critic of Zionism and all forms of racism. Walker has been exposed to extreme hatred, sexism and racism, mostly due to her criticism of Zionism. She was suspended from the party in April 2016 and also removed from her vice-chair post in Momentum after a witch-hunt in which Lansman himself took part.

The Momentum leader has played an active role in the silencing of numerous critical voices within the Labour Party, a policy opposed by many in the organization. Moreover, Lansman has argued that use of the word ‘Zionist’ among Labour supporters must come to an end. This begs the simple question posed by the Free Speech on Israel campaign:

“So who do we blame for the 1948 Nakba and the 1967 mass expulsions less well known as the Naksa, which shaped today’s map? Surely not Israeli fundamentalists who were yet to come, and certainly not Netanyahu who was yet to come and will one day be gone”.

Lansman’s implied defense of Zionism, his opposition to BDS and his acceptance of the lie that there is rampant anti-Semitism within the Labour Party, have been happily endorsed by the Jewish Labour Movement. And Corbyn’s “biggest Jewish backer” is likely to please his liberal Zionist audience in Tel Aviv as well. This audience is quite willing to accept criticism of Israeli policies in Gaza and the West Bank, but mostly unwilling to connect the dots. A condemnation of Zionist racism and Zionist violence against Palestinians, with the necessary conclusions, would be frowned on by most members of this audience, but this is exactly what liberal Israelis living on Planet ‘Peace Process/Two States’ must hear.

The Israeli partner to this trilateral initiative is not innocent either. Standing Together was launched in 2015 with the support of the liberal Zionist New Israel Fund to “mobilize and activate progressive people in Israel”. The organization’s underlying agenda does not challenge the root causes of racism, occupation and apartheid in Israel-Palestine. Worse than that, the New Israel Fund has campaigned against BDS, and has suppressed free speech on Israel by refusing to funnel donations from international supporters to the few Israeli NGOs which support BDS (or refusal to serve in the Israeli military).

The hosting of the event by the German Rosa Luxemburg Foundation of the Die Linke party is the icing on this dry cake. Die Linke campaigns strongly for socialist and left-wing causes within Germany, but has shed any leftist pretensions on Israel. Not even Israeli citizens are spared its efforts to restrict freedom of speech on Israel: when a group of Israeli BDS activists booked the foundation offices in May 2016 for a pro-BDS panel discussion, the foundation intervened to cancel the event.

Jon Lansman works hard to police the debate on Palestine, for the privileged few rather than the many. He does not stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people, nor do his German and Israeli partners. The policy which Lansman wants to impose on the UK Labour Party is the epitome of ‘Progressive Except Palestine’. Supporters of the Palestinian cause – a struggle for justice and full equality – would do well to challenge Lansman and his partners instead of viewing them as allies.

Ofer Neiman

Neiman is an Israeli activist

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17 Responses

  1. Bumblebye on June 20, 2018, 4:01 pm

    Lansman and Momentum were conspicuously silent during the repeated antisemitism claims in the run-up to the local elections in May. As soon as those elections were over and done with, said campaign also ended.

    Lansman, aka OLOV (One Lansman One Vote) for the control he exercises over Momentum, which he owns. He recently got elected onto one of the major Labour Party bodies but that wasn’t good enough. He now wants to be on the NEC. He’d do his utmost to drive it back to the McNicol days, scattershot expulsions of anyone maligned by a zionist of any political persuasion, with little ability to defend oneself.

    • JWalters on June 21, 2018, 10:33 pm

      “Jon Lansman works hard to police the debate on Palestine”

      Lansman is like an ancient Levitical priest enforcing The Law, which strictly forbade ALL questioning.

  2. Ossinev on June 20, 2018, 5:19 pm

    MW is definitely a significant source of learning.Have to confess that I had not heard of Mr Lansman before but will now be following his output on the Z/P conflict closely starting with the Tel Aviv speech.
    His Wikipedia profile interestingly describes him as “an atheist,although he still observes some Jewish festivals”.
    I wonder is that perchance like a lapsed Catholic who still buys and dresses up a Christmas tree each December ?

    • echinococcus on June 20, 2018, 5:42 pm

      “an atheist,although he still observes some Jewish festivals”.
      I wonder is that perchance like a lapsed Catholic who still buys and dresses up a Christmas tree each December ?

      I’d say it’s more like a notorious atheist whose motto was “Gott mit uns!” Some gods are racial –not theological.

      • Stephen Shenfield on June 20, 2018, 8:17 pm

        Wherever possible secular Zionists adapted traditional Jewish festivals to their own requirements, replacing religious by nationalist content. So atheists who consider themselves Jews in the ‘national’ sense happily celebrate Chanukah, Purim, Pesach etc. to commemorate episodes in the history of the Jewish nation.

  3. Keith on June 20, 2018, 6:54 pm

    OFER NEIMAN- “One would expect Momentum to consistently stand up to the Israel lobby, support free speech on Zionism and Israel’s occupation and apartheid, and stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people.”

    One would have to be very naive to expect an organization formed and funded by a Jewish Zionist to do any of those things. Realistically, this puts Corbyn between a rock and a hard place. He can stand on principal and get crushed (don’t hold your breath), or he can accommodate the Zionist juggernaut and maybe survive. The UK is more-or-less a vassal of the Zionist permeated empire. Look at their actions in regard to Julian Assange.

    OFER NEIMAN- “Die Linke campaigns strongly for socialist and left-wing causes within Germany, but has shed any leftist pretensions on Israel.”

    Die Linke supports NATO, military (humanitarian) interventions, and neoliberalism. It long ago abandoned any pretense of progressivism, although old labels die hard as with the militarist, neoliberal Democrats.

    • Sibiriak on June 20, 2018, 11:03 pm

      Keith: Die Linke supports NATO, military (humanitarian) interventions, and neoliberalism…

      Interesting article on the neoliberal “globalizing Left” , and new split within Die Linke:

      Immigration Divides Europe and the German Left

      • Keith on June 21, 2018, 10:52 am

        SIBIRIAK- “Interesting article on the neoliberal “globalizing Left” , and new split within Die Linke:”

        Interesting indeed, thanks. I just realized that I have confused Die Linke (the left?) with Die Grunen (the greens?), now merged into Alliance 90. So, I take back what I said about Die Linke (kind of). Ultimately, all progressive groups eventually become co-opted in capitalism, a consequence of money as power.

        As for immigration policy, the only sane way to control immigration is to end militarism and neoliberal globalization. After all, these people didn’t want to flee their homes. Also, it seems obvious to me that this refugee problem is at least in part an intentional effort by the US to weaken the EU by swamping it with refugees which will strain resources and promote social conflict. Divide and control. Hardly a surprise that currency speculator George Soros is involved in promoting unfettered financial flows and social control.

        A sustainable society absolutely must maximize local autonomy. A globalized economy is an energy intensive economy which is unsustainable. Period. An interdepedent economy controlled by finance waiting to collapse. Unfortunately, we have already gone way too far in that direction. Between now and 2025 will come a period of reckoning. The signs are all around us for those who choose to look.

  4. on June 20, 2018, 8:49 pm

    I worry about Corbyn and his resolve. UK Labour Party disciplinary actions against Jackie Walker, Ken Livingstone and now Marc Wadsworth over bullshit allegations of antisemitism may be a sign of things to come. The ZioNazis and their MSM stooges are working Corbyn hard with weekly attacks/allegations. Not sure he can bear it.

    Some good articles from the electronic intifada group on UK Labour –

    Lansman, like all liberal Zionist, is a wolf in sheep’s clothing (despite resembling porky the pig).

  5. Eva Smagacz on June 21, 2018, 8:23 am

    Jon Lansman wanted to be to Jeremy Corbyn what Adam Werrity was to Liam Fox ( before UK Secretary of State for Defence, now Secretary of State for International Trade).

    Adam Werrity’s role would likely never come to light if not for strong voice of Craig Murray, leading British dissident.

  6. Arby on June 21, 2018, 1:36 pm

    Thanks Ofir. That’s info we need to know. I’m not a fan of Corbyn and the reasons (See Barbara McKenzie’s and John Pilger’s articles outlining the issues) probably have something to do with an otherwise inexplicable reluctance by Corbyn to go to military on the fakers attacking him, within and without his Party.

    That’s how things stand, everywhere. Even the people’s champions are not the people’s champions. Clearly, It will take a higher, perfect, power to fix this evil system of things.

  7. Misterioso on June 21, 2018, 2:47 pm

    ​The Independent, June 18, 2018​

    “UK government is complicit in Israel war crimes against Palestine protesters, says British campaign group”

    “‘The UK government is deeply complicit in some of the most devastating state violence in our time'”

    “The British government is ‘complicit in the violence’ suffered by the Palestinians because it continues to support arms sales to Israel, a UK-based anti-poverty charity has said.
    Over 120 Palestinians have been killed and more than 3,800 injured by Israeli army fire since near-weekly protests along the Israel-Gaza border began on 30 March.

    “Britain abstained from a United Nations vote which condemned Israel’s ‘use of any excessive, disproportionate and indiscriminate force’ against the demonstrators.

    “’But make no mistake, the UK is not sitting aside and remaining neutral. While the world calls for violent attacks on Palestinians to end, the UK government continues to approve arms exports to Israel, making it complicit in the violence.’”
    ​ ​
    “Ryvka Barnard, senior campaigns officer for War on Want, told The Independent: ‘In abstaining from this vote, the UK government has yet again refused to commit to the protection of Palestinians’ human rights as they are targeted with the brutal and unlawful use of force by the Israeli military.’

    “The UN General Assembly adopted the resolution with 120 votes in favour, eight against and 45 abstentions.

    “The resolution decried the ‘use of live ammunition against civilian protesters, including children, as well as medical personnel and journalists’ and underscored its ‘grave concern at the loss of innocent lives.’ It also condemned the firing of rockets from Gaza into Israeli civilian areas, but did not mention Hamas, the Islamist group which governs in Gaza.

    “The United States failed in a bid to amend the resolution with a paragraph which would have condemned Hamas violence.

    “’By supporting this resolution you are colluding with a terrorist organisation, by supporting this resolution you are empowering Hamas,’ Israel’s UN ambassador, Danny Danon, told the General Assembly before the vote.

    It came after a similar resolution at the Security Council was vetoed by the United States. The country’s ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, said it was ‘fundamentally imbalanced’ and ‘grossly one-sided.’

    “The overwhelming majority of those killed and wounded in the protests were unarmed, according to Human Rights Watch, which said the use of lethal force may constitute war crimes.

    “The rights group said eyewitnesses reported seeing Palestinians shot from a great distance from border fences, and others who ‘had not thrown stones or otherwise tried to harm Israeli soldiers’ being shot from a closer range. It said they posed no immediate threat to Israeli troops or civilians, and as such the use of live fire could be in violation of international law.”

  8. MHughes976 on June 21, 2018, 5:44 pm

    I suppose that it is possible to be a socialist, one who believes in public control of the means of production, and a nationalist who has a restrictive view of who qualifies as a member of the public for that purpose.

    • echinococcus on June 21, 2018, 6:43 pm


      I suppose that it is possible to be a socialist, one who believes in public control of the means of production, and a nationalist …

      Your definitions, Hughes. That one denotes statism. Socialism is defined as control of the means of production by the working class, not ” public”. Given that their country is the working class, socialists cannot be nationalists.

      That for the definition only. As for what fancy names people call themselves, ie the sad reality of “socialist” nationalist criminals from Mollet to Blair to Sanders to Zionist Labour and the NSDAP, you are of course right.

  9. inbound39 on June 25, 2018, 7:24 pm

    Jeremy Corbyn needs to do what he does best and encourage free speech on Israel and its crimes against Palestinians. Lansman is clearly a Friends of Israel Israeli government supporter and should be weeded out of the Labour Party. Corbyn needs to purge the party of Israeli Government subterfuge.

  10. Eric Blair on June 26, 2018, 3:36 pm

    Corbyn’s “radicalism” is grossly oversold. In his March 2018 interview with the Jewish News he was on the defensive the entire time and tried desperately to placate the pro-Israel interviewer without once pushing back and standing his ground. He comes across as a man who does not enjoy confrontation – which is fair enough for a “civilian” but in politics one sometimes has to go for the proverbial juggler.

  11. Ossinev on June 26, 2018, 5:29 pm

    My take on the interview is different. The interviewer comes across as a pathetic moronic dickhead Hasbarist who simply keeps flogging the tedious boring totally predictable “alleged Anti – Semitism” nag. Jeremy instead of avoiding the interview which was obviously going to be grotesquely biased given the relentless Zioscripted witch hunt being waged against him at least turned up and showed his willingness to answer questions put to him. Whatever he said even if it was yes you have got me bang to rights I am an Anti- Semite and I am going to stand down as Labour Party leader wouldn`t have made a jot of difference to the Israeli Firsters embedded at the heart of UK politics.They are on a Zio roll and would simply keep up the witch hunt as in see we told you so = the Labour Party is infested with A/S as opposed to our beloved Tory Party which is 80% “Friends of Israel” and who love Jews,Israel and Zionism to bits vote for them at the next elections.

    The Zios are unnerved by Jeremy simply because he is not what they are used to in terms of leaders of major UK political parties as well as the obvious fact that he is Pro-Palestinian and he choses not to lick their posteriors.

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