The real reasons for expulsion
19 October, 2017 — By Moshé Machover
INFAMY, Infamy – they’ve all got it in for me. Well, not really all. It is the Labour Party right-wingers and their allies in the Israel lobby who have got it in for me.
On the other hand, I have got a huge wave of support and solidarity from grass-root LP members. Resolutions demanding that my arbitrary summary expulsion from the party be rescinded have been passed by branches up and down the country, and they keep coming.
Let me explain the background. I am an Israeli citizen and a naturalised British citizen. I have long been an Israeli dissident, holding internationalist socialist views, and hence am an opponent of the Zionist project and ideology.
Since my arrival in Britain in 1968, to teach mathematical logic in London University, I have continued my political activity, which has mainly taken the form of lecturing and writing articles advocating my views on Zionism, the Israeli–Palestinian conflict and the wider region of the Middle East. I have appeared at numerous meetings organised by a variety of organisations – such as student socialist societies and Palestine solidarity groups – and have been interviewed by and publish articles in various publications. My only condition is that I am allowed to speak freely and that my articles are not censored.
In 2007 I came across a leftist group calling itself the Communist Party of Great Britain, of whose existence I had not been previously aware. They soon invited me to publish articles in their weekly journal, the Weekly Worker. I was pleased to discover that the WW has a very liberal publishing policy and provides space for a variety of radical left views, without insisting that they agree with the CPGB political line, or subjecting them to political censorship. I thought this was both nice of them, and very clever.
While many small left-wing publications print mainly stuff conforming to their “party line” – which makes them, frankly, quite boring – the WW is a good read because of the diversity of leftist opinion it reflects. So I was happy to continue publishing articles in the WW. Likewise, I was happy to speak at various meetings organised by them, just as I have been happy to speak at meetings organised by various other groups and organisations.
Last month (September 2017) I was approached by a related group called Labour Party Marxists, asking my permission to reprint an article of mine that had appeared last year in WW. They were going to include it in a bulletin to be sold or distributed at the fringe of the upcoming LP conference. I willingly agreed. The article, entitled “Anti-Zionism does not equal anti-Semitism” was well received by many but was met with great hostility by some. I pointed out in it that in the mid-1930s the Nazis welcomed certain aspects of Zionist ideology, which was very much a minority view among the Jews in Germany (as indeed in this country). I quoted the Nazi monster Reinhard Heydrich, who several years later was to be a prime planner and organiser of the Holocaust, saying in 1935 nice things about Zionism, calling it “the great spiritual movement within Jewry”. Many people found this very upsetting. So do I. But it is a historical fact that needs to be understood and lessons learnt from it.
As a matter of fact, there is something even more upsetting that I did not include in my article. Heydrich was actually responding to something unbelievable published by the Zionists. On September 17 1935 the official Zionist paper Jüdische Rundschau, printed on its front page the notorious ultra-racist Nuremberg Laws, which had been promulgated two days earlier, and alongside them it printed an editorial praising these laws as according with Zionist wishes! This was because Zionists agreed that the Jews in Germany were not real Germans, not part of the German nation who differ from other Germans by religion, but a separate nation or race that should not assimilate among Gentiles.
Of course, the Zionists did not know at the time that Nazism would eventually perpetrate the extermination of Europe’s Jews. But even absent this foreknowledge, was it right of them to welcome those racist laws, which the majority of Jews received with horror and foreboding?
I think this is a serious question, which deserves serious discussion. It does not deserve a hysterical reaction and knee-jerk expulsions. The message may be unpalatable to may people, but this is not the messenger’s fault.
The LPM publication led to my expulsion. The letter expelling me repeated absurd and scurrilous allegations that my article was “anti-Semitic”. But then went on to give quite a different reason for expelling me: my alleged (but unproven!) “support” for CPGB and LPM, which are alleged (again without any evidence that I know of) to have aims incompatible with those of the LP.
Of course, these are mere pretexts.
The real reason is that the right-wingers and Israel-worshippers are trying to fight back against the growing opposition to Israel’s policies and support for Palestinian rights.
• Moshé Machover is a mathematician, philosopher, and socialist activist, noted for his writings against Zionism. Born to a Jewish family in Tel Aviv, then part of the British Mandate of Palestine, Machover moved to Britain in 1968 where he became a naturalised citizen. Moshé Machover was expelled from the Labour Party for his association with a rival political party, the Communist Party of Great Britain (Provisional Central Committee), in contravention of party rules. The expulsion came when an article he wrote for the CPGB (PCC)’s newspaper the Weekly Worker was being investigated as, according to the Labour Party’s head of disputes, it “appears to meet the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism”.