Defend Moshé Machover
THIS OPEN LETTER IS NOW CLOSED

As the Party officials have now, grudgingly, re-admiited Moshé we are no longer seeking additional support for this letter.

But the campaign is not over.

We are asking all Party members to move motions covering these points, in their local parties

• All the damaging insinuations of antisemitism must be publicly retracted
• A full apology as requested by Moshé must be published
• The whole system that allowed this travesty of justice, which has brought the Party into disrepute, must be fully investigated and reformed and those who instigated this damaging course of action held to account
• All the recent expulsions and suspensions to be reviewed and must be revoked where there is no clear evidence of breach of rule.
There must be no more Labour Party kangaroo courts. The Labour Party should adopt Trade Union best practice on discipline of member and adopt Chakrabarti's recommendations on due process. Natural justice: not procedural unfairness based on prejudice. Moshé Machover must be the last to suffer this injustice.

Add your name to the letter of protest from Labour Party members about the exclusion of Moshé Machover from the Party

We, the undersigned members of the Labour Party, condemn the expulsion of Moshé Machover from our Party. This decision is a political attack on a life-long socialist activist, and a scholar of international renown.

Professor Machover has been told that his expulsion results from his ‘support’ for Labour Party Marxists and the Communist Party of Great Britain. The evidence offered for this is that he has had articles printed in their publications, and has spoken at their meetings. This is no evidence at all. It is, for example, completely normal for senior figures in our Party (including MPs and indeed our current leader) as well as senior figures in the trade union movement who are Labour Party members, to write for Communist Party publications.

There has never been a suggestion that willingness to engage with these publications constituted support to a rival political organisation. This is Guilt by Association, once notoriously indulged in by the House Un-American Activities Committee.

The apparent implication is that membership of our Party is incompatible with publishing in outlets that may not always support the Labour Party. Such a rule would clearly make it ultra vires for Labour Party members to write anything in the pages of the Financial Times, The Times, the Daily Mail, The Express, and so on. It is surely inconceivable that a major political party would seek to prevent its members from expressing their views publicly in the major newspapers of the country, on the grounds that these papers offer support to a rival political party. This proffered reason for the expulsion of Professor Machover is evidently a pretext.

The real reason is surely revealed in the opening remarks of the letter to Professor Machover announcing his expulsion. These refer to allegations made against an “apparently antisemitic article” authored by him, which “appears to meet the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism”. No source of these allegations is identified in the letter. No argument is provided to justify this absurd allegation against Professor Machover, an Israeli Jew and a lifelong anti-racist activist. Criticisms of Israel, in respect both of its brutal policies against the Palestinians, and of its character as a systematically and constitutionally discriminatory state, are not antisemitic in any reasonable understanding of the term. Not even by reference to the flawed and discredited IHRA definition in the form accepted by the Labour Party can such criticisms be considered antisemitic.

The character and personal history of Professor Machover speak powerfully against this absurd charge of antisemitism. An author of books and many articles on Zionism and its varied iniquities, and for three decades a founder and leader of the Socialist Organisation in Israel (Matzpen), he is a life-long activist against racism of all kinds, both in Israel and elsewhere. The allegation against him is a serious abuse of the accusation of antisemitism.

That there is no rationally sustainable ground for this expulsion raises serious concerns about the operation of the party’s apparatus for dealing with disciplinary matters. The letter of expulsion was signed by the head of disputes, located within the governance and legal unit. The operation of our Party’s Compliance Unit has also given grave cause for concern. All of course are subject to the party’s general secretary Iain McNicol. He has ultimate responsibility for a process which has seen Machover excluded without an inquiry, and without the opportunity to answer the accusations against him. The Chakrabarti report called for all disciplinary procedures of the Party to follow principles of natural justice, and to do so transparently; this has patently not happened in this case.

From its complete failure to observe these principles it will be widely inferred that pressure has been exerted on the relevant Labour Party organisational units from supporters of Israel (not excluding the Israeli Embassy) to act against critics of Israel and of Zionism. That they have exposed themselves to such criticism is an indication of how far the organisation has deviated from due process, and from its responsibilities. The Compliance Unit in particular cannot allow itself, cannot be allowed, to harass members of the Party who support justice for Palestinians. It must not become party to the misuse of the accusation of antisemitism for partial and propagandistic purposes. It cannot allow itself, or be allowed, to become a mechanism for silencing criticism of Israel, and denying its own party members the right to speak out on grave injustices.

We, Jewish and non-Jewish members of the Labour Party, call upon the Leader of the Party, and on the National Executive, to reinstate Professor Machover pending investigation and to apologise to him for the totally unjustified assaults that have been made on his integrity.

We further call for an immediate inquiry to be established, headed by an independent legal expert, to review all the circumstances of this particular expulsion; and also to investigate the operation of the Compliance Unit, including the moral, political and legal implications of the Unit’s procedures and its recent decisions.

You can see the 130 initial signatures at http://www.freespeechonisrael.org.uk/machover-corbyn

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