We in Academics for Palestine have been following with interest the events in the UKs Labour Party – in particular, charges of antisemitism against Labour Party activists who support Palestinian rights and/or are critical of Zionism/Israel and its methods. The slur of antisemitism is being used to shut down criticism of the State of Israel and its criminal actions, and through so doing, to evade accountability.
The latest episode in this saga has resulted in the expulsion from the Labour Party of our esteemed academic colleague, Professor Moshe Machover on spurious grounds and without due process. An intellectual, an Israeli and a Jew, but perhaps most significantly, an outspoken anti-Zionist, Professor Machover has a long and honourable record of standing for justice and against Zionism’s oppression and the crimes of the Israeli State. This position is part of a wider anti-imperialist and anti-racist stance by Professor Machover.
Machover’s expulsion is a worrying development for a number of reasons: it indicates a tacit acceptance by the British Labour Party of the conflation of antisemitism and antizionism – an entirely false equivalence being actively promoted for political ends; by following Israel’s agenda, the Labour Party has shown itself as being open to inappropriate political influence; it attempts to legitimise the political persecution of critics of Zionism and the State of Israel and has profound implications for freedom of speech and political thought – the bedrock of democracy. That the UK’s Labour Party would act as a proxy for the harassment of an Israeli Jew who criticises Israel would be farcical were it not so serious.
We write to lend our support to our colleague Professor Moshe Machover, to demand that he be reinstated with reparation made for the outrageous slur on his good name, that this witchhunting within the Labour Party is ended immediately. Further, we demand that a review is undertaken of the influence of Israel and its supporters within the party, particularly where Israel’s interventions overstep the bounds of acceptable diplomacy and instead constitute illicit political interference.
Academics for Palestine.
23 October 2017