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Supporters of the Labour Campaign for Free Speech will be at Pro-Palestine demonstrations across the UK this weekend, arguing against the outrageous attempts by the government to discredit pro-Palestine supporters as antisemitic. We are particularly worried about efforts to outlaw the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS) by stopping “publicly funded bodies” from backing it. In the Queen’s speech, the Tories also announced that more legislation was needed, as “such boycotts may legitimise antisemitism”. 

In our new leaflet (online here), we are arguing against this vicious campaign, which is designed, quite simply, to silence anybody who dares to speak out in solidarity with the Palestinians - which, by definition, includes criticism of the actions of the government of Israel. 
  • We are looking for supporters who could help us to hand out copies of our leaflet at the demonstration in London (assembly is 1pm at Embankment). Please email us if you can make it. You can also reach us on the day on 07941 083 011 (Tina) and 07843 350 343 (Tony). 
  • If you have access to a printer or a copy shop, you can print out copies of the leaflet for your local demonstration. You can download and read the whole leaflet on our website here.
We were pleased to see that the Jewish Chronicle is covering our joint model motion to Labour Party conference, which seeks to overturn the party's commitment to IHRA and replace it with the Jerusalem Declaration. Though we would obviously disagree with some of the interpretations offered by the article's author! Please submit the motion in your branch and CLP asap (it needs to be submitted to the NEC by September 13) - and let us know if you were successful in getting it through. The model motion is here and below. 

Find below some interesting events: 
  • Today Thursday May 20, 7pm: The Threat to Free Speech and How to Defend It, with speakers Salma Yaqoob, Lowkey, Helen Steel, Naomi Wimborne Idrissi and John Rees and chaired by Bernard Regan. Register at bit.ly/defend_free_speech.
  • On Sunday June 6 at 5pm, we are holding a public Zoom event to discuss the issue of 'Palestine/Israel and academic freedom'. 
Speakers include Norman Finkelstein and Professor Moshe Machover. More details here and below. Please also note that over 3,000 people have already signed this petition calling for academic freedom and solidarity with Professor David Miller - please sign it here
  • On June 5, a number of organisations are holding 'Not the Forde Enquiry', with Jackie Walker, Chris Williamson, Graham Bash etc outlining the submissions they've made to the enquiry, which looks like it has been shelved by Keir Starmer. More details here and below. 
  • Resist Event at Labour Party conference, September 26-28 2021: If you are coming to the Labour Party conference in Brighton in September 2021 – as a delegate or visitor, or just staying at home watching on Zoom – this is your opportunity to be part of the discussion about how socialists continue to fight for real change. Register here - and note that there will be a launch event on May 29, details tbc.
Please join the Labour Campaign for Free Speech to support our work (you can also make a donation without joining - we have just paid out £200 to produce leaflets and made a £250 donation to the legal fund of Craig Murray here). All members may attend our first all-members' meeting on Saturday May 29, where we want to discuss the implications of Professor Miller's case and are planning to set up a working group specifically on the question of 'academic freedom'. Please let us know of any other issues you think we should discuss. 
Join the campaign now!
Make a donation via Paypal


June 6, 5pm: Palestine/Israel and academic freedom

In a number of universities, academics and staff are under threat of suspension for daring to speak out on Israel and Zionism, for example Bristol Professor David Miller. In addition, the government is threatening to defund universities who do not impose IHRA. Join us to discuss how to fight back. 

Speakers include Norman Finkelstein and Professor Moshe Machover. Register here

If you are on the left, there has never been a more important time to resist.

If you feel silenced, there has never been a better time to speak out.

If you are coming to the Labour Party conference in Brighton in September 2021 – as a delegate or visitor, or just staying at home watching on Zoom – this is your opportunity to be part of the discussion about how socialists continue to fight for real change.

Complete the form here to register for updates about our planned political debates, cultural events, and lots more!

Follow us: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Model motion: Abandon IHRA and adopt the Jerusalem Declaration

[This motion has been drafted as a model motion to go to Labour Party conference 2021, but it can be tweaked for other purposes.] Please note that this has to go through your branch first, then your CLP and needs to be submitted to the NEC by September 13 in order to be heard at Labour Party conference. Remember that a CLP can either submit a rule change (which needs to be submitted by June 11) or a ‘contemporary’ motion like this one.

1. We note

1.1. That the ‘working definition’ published by the IHRA (International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance) has been rejected by numerous legal practitioners and academic scholars , because it conflates anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism and has been used to ‘chill’ freedom of speech on campuses.

1.2. Among the many critics of the IHRA are:

  • Its principal drafter Kenneth Stern who explained that: “The definition was not drafted, and was never intended, as a tool to target or chill speech on a college campus. In fact, at a conference in 2010 about the impact of the definition, I highlighted this misuse, and the damage it could do.”
  • Professor David Feldman (vice-chair of the Chakrabarti Inquiry and director of the Pears Institute for the Study of Anti-Semitism) who has described the definition as “bewilderingly imprecise”.
  • Sir Stephen Sedley, the Jewish former Court of Appeal judge, who has written that the IHRA “fails the first test of any definition: it is indefinite”.
  • Hugh Tomlinson QC who has warned that the IHRA definition had a “chilling effect on public bodies”.
  • Geoffrey Robertson QC who has explained that, “The definition does not cover the most insidious forms of hostility to Jewish people and the looseness of the definition is liable to chill legitimate criticisms of the state of Israel and coverage of human rights abuses against Palestinians.” Robertson, a prominent human rights barrister, also wrote that the definition was ‘not fit for purpose’.
  • Tony Lerman, the founder of the Institute for Jewish Policy Research, wrote that “it’s not fit for purpose, but it also has the effect of making Jews more vulnerable to antisemitism, not less, and exacerbating the bitter arguments Jews have been having over the nature of contemporary antisemitism for the last 20 to 25 years.”

2. We believe:

2.1. That the adoption of the IHRA definition and all eleven examples by the Labour Party’s NEC in 2018 has not brought an end to the ongoing claims that the Labour Party is riddled with anti-Semites. In fact, the opposite has occurred. It has encouraged the leadership of the Labour Party to accelerate the expulsion and suspension of critics of the Israeli state and Zionism.

2.2. The government’s threat to defund universities that refuse to adopt IHRA is a serious attempt to shut down free speech and academic freedom

2.3.  That unlike the IHRA, the JDA, whilst not without its flaws, is about anti-Semitism not anti-Zionism.

3. We resolve:

3.1. To reverse the Labour Party’s NEC decision and jettison the IHRA definition. 

3.2. To adopt the Jerusalem Declaration, which has been “developed by a group of scholars in the fields of Holocaust history, Jewish studies, and Middle East studies to meet what has become a growing challenge: providing clear guidance to identify and fight antisemitism while protecting free expression”. In contrast to IHRA, it has been written “in good faith”, as Professor Moshe Machover said

3.3. To campaign for freedom of speech, which includes the right to call out Israel’s policies towards the Palestinians as racist, discriminatory and oppressive.

June 5, 7pm:
Not the Forde Enquiry

Under investigation — an outrageous attack on democracy inside the Labour Party. 

At the beginning of 2020 a leaked report showed Labour Party bureaucrats attempting to undermine the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn. It appeared to show evidence of rampant factionalism, racism even electoral sabotage. It also seemed to show how the Corbyn leadership tried to appease the right, leading for example to the expulsion of Jackie Walker and the resignations of Chris Williamson and Ken Livingstone. 

Keir Starmer launched an inquiry into the report headed by the barrister Martin Forde. The inquiry received submissions from over a thousand individuals and organisations — but it has never reported.Many believe Forde’s report is never going to appear because Starmer simply wants to bury the truth. 

But we are not going to let that happen. That’s why we’re holding the “Not the Forde Inquiry” online in which key figures — and YOU — will get a chance to speak truth to Forde.

Speakers include:

  • Graham Bash
  • Jackie Walker
  • Leah Levane
  • Chris Williamson 
  • Tina Werkmann
  • Rebecca Massey

Co-sponsored by Labour in Exile Network, Labour Against the Witchhunt and Labour Left Alliance.

Register here for the event

Join the campaign now!
Copyright © 2021 Labour Campaign for Free Speech, All rights reserved.


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