In a strange twist of events, a group set up to protest the expulsion of Labour members for alleged antisemitism has begun expelling members for, antisemitism.
Labour Against the Witch-Hunt (LAW) was launched in October 2017 as a group protesting expulsion of Labour party members following antisemitism claims. It swiftly won the support of the Labour Party Marxists group.
However, LAW has now reportedly expelled one of its founders, Gerry Downing, for antisemitism. Mr Downing is planning a protest meeting to coincide with a LAW meeting on Saturday this week in an effort to be readmitted. Both the protest meeting and the LAW meeting will take place in the same pub.
Mr Downing was suspended by Labour in 2016 after he tweeted a link to an article by the far-left group, Socialist Fight, a group he is involved with, which encouraged Marxist Labour members to “address the Jewish question” as well as claiming the “Jewish-Zionist bourgeoisie” had “played a vanguard role for the capitalist offensive against the workers”. Shortly following this, he was expelled from the Labour party after David Cameron quoted a blog by Mr Downing during Prime Minister’s Questions, in which he had written about 9/11, suggesting violence against the United States is “progressive, no matter how distorted its actions are, and must never be ‘condemned’”.
Mr Downing was dismissed from LAW shortly after it was established and told not to attend meetings.
Mr Downing has now set up his own group called Reject Bogus Left Antisemitism, and used its Facebook claim to accuse LAW of wanting a “witch hunt [against] genuine anti-Zionists and revolutionary socialists”.
Some of LAW’s key aims include ending the practice of automatically ending or suspending Labour membership following claims of antisemitism and demanding “the Labour Party rejects the International Definition of Antisemitism, claiming that it “conflates antisemitism with anti-Zionism and support for the rights of the Palestinian people”.
At its meeting this Saturday, LAW will debate a motion demanding that anyone suspended by the Labour Party over claims of antisemitism have their membership reinstated. They will also be motioning that Labour’s own Compliance Unit, which investigates disciplinary matters including antisemitism, be abolished. The meeting will be addressed by Ken Loach, who declared on the BBC during last year’s Labour Party Conference that allegations of antisemitism in the Party were a fallacy “without validation or any evidence” despite the fact that Campaign Against Antisemitism had just published detailed evidence.
Amongst the foremost members of LAW are notorious antisemites including Jackie Walker, and also Tony Greenstein who has organised a petition calling for the Charity Commission to shut down Campaign Against Antisemitism by deregistering it as a charity and is currently crowdfunding in an attempt to sue us for calling him a “notorious antisemite”.