Trending Topics:

Why I referred myself to the Labour Party’s Compliance Unit for antisemitism

Activism
on 21 Comments

For the past four years I, like many others, have watched with incredulity as I have witnessed the unfolding of the antisemitism ‘crisis’ within Labour, trying to make sense of it. I have witnessed good people, proven, seasoned, antiracist campaigners and others suspended or expelled for grounds that I cannot comprehend, this has included left-wing non-Zionist or anti-Zionist Jews.

I have spent many hours trying to work out the best way of responding, that recognised the genuine hurt of some Jewish members of the party I am a member of, but also addressed what had morphed into a clear attempt to shut down Palestinian solidarity and to designate anyone who calls out Israel for the apartheid regime it is as an antisemite and at a time when very real and very dangerous antisemitism is on the ascendency.

The apartheid nature of Israel is not something that ought to need to be debated, it is proven by the facts on the ground, so clearly demonstrated in the well-researched scientific report by Richard Falk and Virginia Tilley; it is evidenced by the formal adoption of Israel’s ‘Nation-State’ law, that determines that ‘Jews only’ have the inherent right to self-determination within the region and most recently it is proven by the US’ so-called ‘peace plan’, a rather disingenuous label for what is clearly an apartheid plan formally creating bantustans for Palestinians to subsist in.

So many of us felt powerless and especially in the face of the promise by all of our new leadership contenders to adopt the ‘ten pledges’ demanded by the right-wing Board of Deputies. It was as if we were all just waiting for our turn to be suspended and then expelled. The final straw for me came when the Jewish Labour councillor, Jo Bird, a popular, inspiring and proven socialist and antiracist was suspended last week for ‘antisemitism’, just as it became evident that she was one of the leading and preferred candidates for the NEC election, along with Mohammad Azam and thus, of course, this translates into her not being able to officially stand.

Initially, my plan was to quit, but following reflecting on the situation and the injustice of it all, I decided to take a different approach, a principled approach in the hope that others might be inspired to do the same and feel empowered and recognise that they do not have to be passive in the face of what is happening within our, what now feels like an autocratic, party.

I made the decision to refer myself to the Labour Compliance Unit for ‘antisemitism’, I believe, although I know what the outcome will be, that this allows me to determine under what charge I will be excluded from the membership, it enables me to state publicly that I recognise what is happening within our party, it is nothing more than our generation’s McCarthyism and to state that I reject this witch hunt. It provides me with an opportunity to expose the charade and if sufficient numbers of us do this, it gives us a chance to reclaim the narrative and more than that, it allows us an opportunity to demonstrate solidarity in a real and meaningful way with those who have fallen victim to the purge.

This is my open letter to the general secretary of our party, which I have sent directly to the Labour party and invite others to use, if they so wish, as a template for their own letters. It is regrettable that it is Jenny Formby that I must address given I do not believe that she is supportive of what has occurred and especially since she has been through a difficult time, nonetheless, because of her position she is the appropriate person to write to. Let us never doubt the power and agency that even we as ordinary members have:


Dear Ms Formby

Submission to Compliance Unit

I should like to refer myself to your Compliance Unit, for ‘antisemitism’ for the reasons I detail below. Firstly, however, I should like to share with you a little bit of background about myself.

I gave up on politics a long time ago; because I believed all politicians to be corrupt and self-serving and those who were not, would never have a chance within the structures that exist to effect really any change. Then Jeremy Corbyn, a man with a 40yr record of standing up for the most vulnerable in our society, both nationally and internationally came along. When he was elected as leader, this gave me a reason to hope, a spark was lit that made me begin to imagine that there was an awakening and that perhaps the movement that was being built could start paving the road to a fairer and kinder society. This hope led me to join, for the first time in my life, a political party, Labour. I campaigned hard, spoke for the first time to people about the need for them to vote, told them that for the first time in our generation we had the chance to vote for real change, a real alternative to neoliberalism that is decimating our communities and planet.

Then the antisemitism accusations started. Now as an antiracist, with one of the first books I remember choosing to read as a child being ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’, I was appalled and frustrated that there would be people holding such views within the party I belonged to, views that we know from history led to centuries of persecution and ultimately to an attempt to annihilate a people. After calming down I reflected upon it, as a pragmatist, I realised that any party would have members that unfortunately held the similar broad range of views that society does and this includes at times racist and bigoted views. I was relieved, however, when the investigation was undertaken and the figure was proven to be 0.08%, it needed to be dealt with, but made me feel confident that, as I would expect from a ‘socialist’ party, this was a minority view and a very small minority at that. I was disappointed; however, that there appeared to have been no investigations into other forms of racism.

The situation didn’t end there, however, the accusations continued, we were apparently now suffering a ‘crisis’ and then we started seeing more and more people being suspended, but now it was different, members were being suspended for ill-informed and clumsy posts, indeed I have had to go on my own journey of understanding of antisemitic tropes, given I knew very little about Jewish history outside of the basics of the Holocaust and what my first boyfriend, who is Jewish, told me. Others though, were being suspended for reasons that do not hold out under any reasonable scrutiny and the meaning of antisemitism began to change so it no longer appeared to be about protecting Jews, but rather protecting those and only those who adhere to a political ideology. A political ideology that in practice is used to dispossess, oppress and subject the Palestinian people to an apartheid system. These people included proven veteran antiracists, people of colour, lifetime socialists. Meanwhile, others, high profile individuals within the party who threatened members, who smeared our twice democratically elected leader got a free pass to undermine our party, to weaken the movement and helped the re-election of what is clearly a far-right government that threatens to take our country into neofascism.

So now, I will set out the reasons as to why I should be referred to the compliance unit for antisemitism, according to your policies, according to the IHRA definition of antisemitism, a definition that even its creator, Kenneth Stern, said was not to be used in this way and is being abused by right wing Jews. Also, because I am and promise to continue to, violate the ‘pledges’ that the far-right supporting, Conservative voting, Board of Deputies has demanded that all potential leadership candidates sign up to. Pledges, which of course they have promised to uphold, because when it comes down to it, politicians who are truly ambitious, as I had always expected, even if they were originally motivated by the desire to help and perhaps have convinced themselves they still do, lack integrity, they are self-serving and will water down their values for expediency, even if it means selling out their comrades, especially those with a limited platform.

So firstly, I would just like to highlight that I served as a Human Rights Monitor for 3 months in Hebron, the Occupied Palestinian Territories and that experience and everything I witnessed there taught me something. Although, I can acknowledge the centuries of persecution of the Jewish people and why this would lead some to feel that the only way they could ever feel safe was to have a Jewish state and thus the political ideology of Zionism was conceived; I also have to acknowledge that whatever its original aims, it in practice means perpetual ethnic cleansing, incremental genocide and the attempted erasure of the culture, history and identity of the Palestinian people. Zionism is an ideology adopted by the far-right, by the Trump supporting, Christian Evangelical movement, by individuals such as Richard Spencer, Tommy Robinson, Katie Hopkins and others. Zionism is a political ideology rooted in ethnic supremacy, despite what groups have tried to state, it is not inherent to Jewish identity and you would know that if you were actually listening and interested in keeping Jews safe and making them feel welcome. A significant number of Jews have categorically stated that it is not a necessary part of their identity, more than that, there are others who have explicitly declared that it is an affront to Judaism and yet you ignore them, more than that, you silence and enable the smears against them.

So let me state this, unequivocally, so that you are not confused about the viewpoint I hold: Israel is a racist, apartheid endeavour and was from its very inception, we know this because it was built on the destroyed villages and broken bodies of Palestinians. International law is on my side and so I do not fear, nor quake as I write these words.

I will continue to support and would share platforms, if ever I have the privilege to do so, with Jackie Walker, a black Jew, with Chris Williamson, who answered a question put to him by the audience that had many Jews who supported him in it, with Marc Wadsworth, with any and every Jew in the Jewish group, Jewish Voice for Labour and with Asa Winstanley and I am and would be proud to do so!

So there you have it and know this, I will not take part in a witch trial, which would even offend the accusers in The Crucible, you should cease with the charade of a ‘trial’ and rather just invite the accused to a body of water.

These are my final thoughts:

When you allow left-wing, non-Zionist or anti-Zionist Jews to be targeted, threatened and smeared and then suspended and expelled for stating proven truths, then it is YOU that is antisemitic.

When you expel veteran antiracists of colour for exposing racism and capitulate to far-right supporting, apologists for racist settler colonialism, then it is YOU that is racist.

When you allow the disgraceful undermining of our party, its members and its hope of winning an election, by neoliberals and/or apartheid apologists who label our leader, a man of honour, as a “f*cking anti-Semite” & target our BAME representatives to continue and these individuals to remain in OUR party, it is YOU who bring our party into disrepute.

When you allow the destruction of a desperately needed progressive, true democratic socialist movement, as we face neo-fascism; when you make an oath to adopt pledges that are rooted in racist, anti-Palestinian ideology, including pledges that are arguably illegal then YOU are neither progressive, nor socialist, more then that, when you suspend at this time, during elections for the NEC, popular, upstanding, inspiring and proven socialists, such as Jo Bird, not coincidentally I am sure, a non-Zionist Jew, then you are not only undemocratic, but rather exhibiting fascist like tendencies yourselves.

So by all means label me, label us, just as other shameful instigators and enablers of other historical purges have done similar before you. Your labels have no meaning because they do not come from a place of honour, nor truth. Our stances are rooted in international humanitarian law and if we, as the human race get through this dark period and the commencing catastrophe of climate destruction, then it will be US that is vindicated and history will record YOUR shame, each and every one of you that sold not just the Palestinians out, but left-wing Jews, antiracists, true socialists and people of conscience.

I will continue to stand proud as I call out racist Israeli apartheid and the political ideology that enables it, Zionism and recognise that I chose to keep my integrity, the question is will you?

I will conclude my letter to be submitted as evidence of my ‘antisemitism’ to the Compliance Unit with the words of Martin Luther King Jr. that I have etched in my memory:

‘in the end we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends’.

This post originally was published February 10 on Medium, in Nine by Five media, a forum for views from the Island of Jersey.

Natalie Strecker

Natalie Strecker is a British writer who supports the international movement to create a kinder, fairer society for all & look after this planet we share. She describes herself as #antiracist #socialist and proud snowflake!

Other posts by .


Posted In:

21 Responses

  1. erizo on February 12, 2020, 2:52 pm

    We must salute Natalie for her valiant and forceful words! Indeed this is what is needed and it must continue! I have written a preamble to Natalie’s formidable letter on a facebook post via the link below. It includes a template for those British Labour Party members seeking guidance to continue the momentum of a important and necessary movement that Natalie has hopefully started to show up the witch hunting and purges for what they are. The only way to combat this poison is to unite and to go on the attack against it using the very weapons that they have created to silence us. We saw what happened to Corbyn when he tried to appease the Israel Lobby and those fighting on its behalf.

    https://www.facebook.com/howard.cohen.505/posts/2595459713886174

    • pabelmont on February 12, 2020, 9:00 pm

      This witch-hunt/purge reminds me of the systematic requirement of obeisance of Republicans to Trump, where none (save one) has dared to oppose him, or speak truth to his power.

      And the Democrats who scurrilously defeated Bernie Sanders 4 years ago and are at it again today are not so different: protecting entrenched power at the cost of democracy, honesty, to say nothing of kindness, decency, etc. And, while they are about it, attacking free speech rights with their mean-spirited attacks on the peaceable BDS movement.

  2. RoHa on February 12, 2020, 9:48 pm

    So “Compliance Unit” is what it’s called now.

    And does this unit send you to the re-education camps for “sensitivity training”, or simply blacklist you for the purpose of berufsverbot?

    • Talkback on February 14, 2020, 6:35 am

      The purpose is Gleichschaltung.

      Great letter by the way. The only way to respond to these accusers is two hit them back twice as hard and call them ouf for what they are: Racist supporters of Apartheid.

  3. annie on February 12, 2020, 9:59 pm

    great letter Natalie! it was despicable the way Labour cravenly succumbed to the demands of the BoD and JLM. witch hunt indeed. i think i’d join that new workers party, or whatever it is.

    • oldgeezer on February 12, 2020, 10:48 pm

      I’m not sure it was as much cravenly as they assumed they were dealing with honest people with honest concerns. Naivety.

      In my experience there is nothing sincere or honest about hardcore zionists. Liberal zionists will generally be honest when called out but excuse the myth/lies as a necessary thing. The hardcore are completely dishonest and they know it.

  4. Ossinev on February 13, 2020, 6:44 am

    A thoughtful and incisive challenge to the enablers in the Labour Party who aided and abetted the UK Zionist Lobby in the disgusting campaign against a brave and principled man. Yes IMO he did handle the situation badly but he did so precisely because he was principled and simply did not realize just how evil this lobby and the handlers back in Zioland were and are.
    Worth reading:
    http://normanfinkelstein.com/2020/02/10/labours-anti-semitism-crisis-what-caused-it-and-how-well-was-it-handled/
    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/dec/14/jeremy-corbyns-sons-condemn-despicable-attack-on-him-after-defeat

    On the plus side Jeremy appears to have emerged from the evil which Zionists and their Labour Party collaborators have inflicted on him with the same honesty and dignity which his enemies attempted to destroy. And he will continue I believe to speak out against the war crimes being perpetrated against the native Palestinian people by these loathsome foreign colonists on a daily basis. Because of this the Zio crocodiles will still be stalking him even after he effectively relinquishes the Labour Party leadership.

    Similarly on the plus side , and perversely , this affair IMO has “outed” the nature,power and sheer evil of Israel and hopefully will have educated and alerted the younger generation(s) of UK citizens to the threat and the danger to UK democracy the country and its operatives in the UK represent.

    • MHughes976 on February 13, 2020, 5:47 pm

      Thanks for that reference, O! As far as I could see from the clip the audience was egging the pseudo-anti-antisemitism on and Thornberry made a point of catching up with the bandwagon a few minutes later. The next leader’s visit to Israel will be a sight to behold.

      • MHughes976 on February 13, 2020, 5:54 pm

        Meant to be a response to your comment on the Victoria D programme.

  5. Bumblebye on February 13, 2020, 6:46 am

    This was such a brilliant idea.

    I hope Natalie will publicise the Compliance Unit response.

    • MHughes976 on February 13, 2020, 6:00 pm

      I think that she has used the word ‘racist’ of the foundation of Israel, so the Red kings and queens are bound by the oldest rule in the book to decapitate her.

  6. Ossinev on February 13, 2020, 10:06 am

    On topic in today`s Victoria Derbyshire news show on the BBC before an assembled audience she asked each of the four Labour Party leadership contestants in turn what their “Number One priority would be if elected leader”. Guess what ? Three out of the four immediately said “tackling the problem/issue of Anti- Semitism in the party !! Only Emily Thornberry responded with a real priority.

    Yes screw the issues of crumbling underfunded NHS , the crumbling under funded Education System , the crumbling underfunded National roads and rail infrastructure. These are of no consequence to the British public as compared to the hasbaratic fears of a tiny percentage of the .004% of the British population who are members of a religious cult. The poison of Zionist scheming has seriously taken root in the Labour Party but with younger generation voices such as Natalie`s there is reason to hope for the future.

    And again on the positive side the Israel Firsters here not getting it all their own way. Westminster Council has unanimously rejected plans for a ” Holocaust Memorial” outside the UK Parliament.
    https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/westminster-council-opposes-national-holocaust-memorial-ahead-of-inquiry/

    I am not aware if there has ever been a proposal for a “Nakba Memorial” site in London given the UK`s direct responsibility for it as opposed to no direct responsibility whatsoever for the Holocaust.

    Perhaps the time has come ?

    • RoHa on February 13, 2020, 7:47 pm

      ” UK`s direct responsibility for it [the Nakba] as opposed to no direct responsibility whatsoever for the Holocaust.’

      I seem to recall reading somewhere that some people in the UK did a bit of actual fighting against the country that was perpetrating the Holocaust.

    • HarryLaw on February 14, 2020, 3:17 pm

      Ossinev, “Only Emily Thornberry responded with a real priority”. Was she still doing a belly crawl?
      Thornberry….”Then we need to get down on our hands and knees to the Jewish community and ask them for forgiveness and a fresh start”. https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/we-need-to-get-on-our-hands-and-knees-and-ask-for-forgiveness/

      These people are pathetic, and have no self respect.

  7. HarryLaw on February 13, 2020, 5:04 pm

    I put in a complaint to the Labour party in June of last year, and added to the complaint further evidence below. The Labour Party say all complaints will be dealt with in a “‘prompt, transparent and fair way” I told them this was an urgent matter since the person accused is suffering harm, and the LP are suffering, they have acknowledged my complaint, needless to say over 9 months later, nothing has been done. Others are immediately suspended or booted out. Could there be a double standard?

    To Labour party complaints department.
    Dear Sir/Madam,
    I made a complaint online to you on 6th June 2019 about Mr Tony Blair calling Mr Jeremy Corbyn “an Anti-Semite” I did receive an acknowledgement which said the complaint would be sent to the relevant department, could I add these observations to my complaint.
    During an interview at Bar Ilan university in Israel on 4th June 2019 Mr Tony Blair made a factually false allegation of Anti-Semitism against Jeremy Corbyn. When answering a question… “if he believed Corbyn himself was Anti-Semitic, Mr Blair said yes” Mr Blair did not refer to any specific allegation of Anti-Semitism against Mr Corbyn.
    A gratuitous and false accusation such as this without providing evidence is a grave breach of an ordinary person’s rights and does bring the Labour party into disrepute in breach of its own rules, it could also ostracize that person from society for life, in the case of Mr Corbyn a life time believer in anti-racism he could be forced out of his leadership and the country deprived of a Labour government, so the stakes are extremely high.
    Could Blair’s false allegation have any effect on Labour Party members or the average voter? Of course it could, because Mr Blair has a very high profile and having served as leader and Prime Minister of the Labour party for 13 years and Envoy to the Middle East quartet for many years, his views have enormous credibility, plus he is a lawyer, so he should know his words have consequences.
    Would the average voter believe Mr Blair? Yes, because of his high profile and credibility over many years people are inclined to say, why would Mr Blair tell lies? What could he possibly gain? Obviously nothing, so people would tend to believe him. Could you expedite this matter as soon as possible. Thank you.
    Harry Law.

  8. HarryLaw on February 13, 2020, 5:45 pm

    This first paragraph is from a comment in ‘Jewish Voice For Labour’ on the Jo Bird controversy.
    “I have myself experienced the absurdity of these fake allegations of anti semitism because I was myself placed “under investigation” by the party for nine months because someone had notified the disciplinary team of facebook posts of mine one of which said that if these false allegations of institutional anti semitism succeeded in bringing Corbyn down the Tories would be laughing all the way to the ballot box (and the bank). I was asked to explain what I meant by “laughing all the way to the bank” – as if this was some sort of anti semitic trope. The absurdity of all this is blatant. The investigation was eventually dropped but I was told that my details would be kept “on file”. I never received, nor has my executive ever received, any reply to our enquiries or any explanation of all this. This is all intolerable”.
    Harry Law….
    After reading Dr Clive Perrett’s comment above about the Tories “Laughing all the way to the bank’ [a possible trope] and that this will be kept on [LP] file and another one below it in the same vein I replied thus….
    In view of your apparent sympathy for Jo Bird, I must report you to the compliance unit because of this expression “Natural Justice and Due process”. This is obviously a synonym for ‘Jew process’ and will not be tolerated, if you complain, that is proof positive that you are an evil Anti-Semite; You could lose your job and be ostracized from the community for life. I aim to assemble a team to trawl through all your social media posts for the past 10 years and hope to find other evidence. You have been warned.
    PS: The Labour Party also give the accused the Samaritans phone number, you could not make it up.

  9. iResistDe4iAm on February 15, 2020, 11:57 pm

    Bravo Natalie!
    You are a pioneer for justice.

    Don’t let the UK Labour Party get away with Morality Apartheid:
    – one lax set of morality principles for Israel,
    – a different stricter set of morality principles for the other 194 countries.

  10. on February 16, 2020, 4:25 am

    Thank you Natalie for your act which inspired me to crib some of your statement and turn myself in to the Compliance Unit:

    I should like to refer Benjamin Treuhaft, member number L1611918, to your Compliance Unit, for ‘antisemitism’. Although he is Jewish his views are at odds with the Labour Party’s adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance definition of antisemitism.

    Treuhaft believes that Israel is a racist, apartheid endeavour and was from its very inception. It was built on the destroyed villages and broken bodies of Palestinians. International law is on his side. But isn’t that grounds for expulsion?

    He supports the purged anti-Zionists Jackie Walker, a black Jew, Chris Williamson, Marc Wadsworth, the brilliant thinker Tony Greenstein, and Asa Winstanley and is proud to do so. Surely that’s grounds for expulsion?

    It is too late to support Pauline Hammerton. She recently died a week after her shock expulsion from Labour for being insufficiently pro-Israel.

    When you expel veteran antiracists for exposing racism and capitulate to far-right-supporting apologists for racist settler colonialism, then it is YOU who are racist. When you allow the disgraceful undermining of our party, its members and its hope of winning an election, by apartheid apologists who label famously anti-racist Jeremy Corbyn as a “fucking antisemite” it is YOU who bring our party into disrepute.

    In spite of this I trust you will deal with Treuhaft swiftly and surely.

Leave a Reply