Analysis comment Exclusive

Anatomy of Labour’s purge of Jews: the 68yo Palestinian solidarity and peace activist

Targeted by right-wing Labour: Naomi Wimborrne-Idrissi

Skwawkbox covered last week JVL’s (Jewish Voice for Labour) detailed and compelling complaint to the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) about the purge of Jews being conducted by Keir Starmer’s Labour.

That report contained annexes detailing the stories of ten Jewish members of the party who had been targeted, hounded and often either suspended or expelled, often while their complaints about antisemitism aimed at them went ignored. In the first of these annexes to be published, Skwawkbox revealed the story of Stephen Marks, an elected member of Labour’s most senior disciplinary committee – and in the second, that of 81yo Diana Neslen, who had seen apartheid up close during her South African childhood and recognises it when it masquerades behind a red rosette.

In this third case study, Skwawkbox highlights the case of the well-known, 68yo JVL co-founder Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi – and how both antisemitism and Islamophobia have driven her persecution by the Labour right, for being Jewish and showing solidarity with Palestinians:

Case notes from Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi
JVL media officer, former vice-chair, Chingford and Woodford Green CLP

Like all my fellow officers and national committee members, I am Jewish, a full JVL member. Both my parents came from East End Jewish immigrant families. Their parents were part of the flight from Eastern Europe at the end of the 19th century, steeped in Jewish traditions which were sustained even as the family became largely secular after WWII.

My mother and father were staunch Labour supporters, members of Withington constituency party in south Manchester as well as being active CND members. I have been an active member of the party since September 2015. I was vice-chair of Chingford and Woodford Green CLP at the time of my suspension, having been elected to the post three times. I’m a life member of the NUJ and a retired but still very involved member of the NEU, formerly as a school rep and currently as International Solidarity Officer for the Waltham Forest Association. I’ve been a committed anti-racist, anti-war campaigner for decades and
have taken a leading role in many campaigns for justice for Palestinians, including as a member of Jews for Justice for Palestinians.

Anonymous complaints against me, apparently leaked by someone at a confidential delegate meeting of my CLP last November 30, were published in the Jewish Chronicle (JC) on 1 December 2020. It quoted unnamed complainants accusing me of stating that “Jews” are “gate keepers for what can and can’t be discussed in meetings.” In another alleged comment, taken from the Zoom chat during the same GC meeting, I am accused of having ‘openly praised the speech by another member who had attacked the alleged “weaponisation” of antisemitism claims.’

I was suspended on December 2, and when my charge sheet eventually arrived on January 19, the allegations were the same. Either the same anonymous informant contacted the party directly, or they used the JC as a conduit. [Skwawkbox note: just as likely, the information was leaked to the notorious Chronicle by party insiders, as has happened many times]

I was presented with the two alleged statements and some quotations from the party’s rule book, implying that I had breached the rules in an antisemitic manner, although no argument was offered in evidence. I was invited to justify the statements without knowing what it was about them that my accusers believed to be antisemitic or in some way in breach of the rules.

The first accusation is based on a few words taken completely out of context. The Labour Party clearly took no care to check the evidence.

My spoken words, available in transcript and on video, were: “The idea … that Jewish people require for their comfort that whole swathes of subjects should not be debated by the membership of this party is insulting to Jewish people…Do we really want us Jewish members to be seen as gatekeepers – as people who prevent others from discussing issues of importance? This is serious stuff comrades.”

The misquotation erases my Jewish identity, transforming a remark in which I identified with other Jewish members like me being stigmatised, into a pejorative comment implying hostility to “Jews”. What I said expressed regret that an unfavourable impression had been created (by the general secretary in his instructions sent to CLPs at the end of November) about “us Jewish members” – that is, about me and others like me.

My statement in the chat was in support of a non-Jewish comrade: “May I just say there are many Jews in the party, including me, who endorse 100 per cent what P*** said about the weaponisation. The cynical manipulation of Jewish fears and concerns is unforgivable and undermines all our work against racism of all kinds.”

Both my comments reflect my view, shared by many of us, that we are witnessing a dangerous concentration on so-called “new antisemitism”, or “left antisemitism,” alleging that critical views of Israel and support for Palestine are motivated by hostility towards Jews as Jews. We see alarming evidence that this misplaced emphasis is suppressing legitimate speech and diverting attention away from the true source of the threat we and other racialised communities face – the threat of rising bigotry on the right and far right.

This rise is very disturbing and frightening to me. Like everyone raised in a Jewish family setting, I grew up knowing what antisemitism is in the depth of my being. We all carry the fear of it with us through our lives. The allegations against me ignore this essential background, misrepresenting and decontextualizing what I had said.

Emphases added
Miriam Margolyse (image by CelebHeights (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Actress Miriam Margolyes has sent the party a supportive statement protesting at my
suspension. She said:

Her views on Israel and antisemitism are clear. I SHARE THEM ENTIRELY. To say she is anti-Semite is utter nonsense; her whole life has been spent fighting racism of all kinds and we bring disrepute on the Party if we call such warriors ‘anti-Semites‘.”

Miriam added:

There has been an absurd conflation of anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism, which has bedevilled the Party & the definition recently adopted has worked against us all.

There IS anti-Semitism in the Party, always has been. And it’s worse in the Tory Party but to call Naomi names of this sort is foolish and I would say – evil. JUST STOP. Reinstate her and focus on the real fight ahead.

My case has not been settled yet and I am threatened with further action from the Party if I publish this information. But I am not alone in feeling we Jews whose voices are being silenced must defend ourselves vigorously and look for justice outside the Party.

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  1. Skwawkbox, please remove the ability to make comments for articles of this nature, in line with previous articles of same nature.

      1. I would just like consistency, i’m certainly not worried about what anyone might say and I did not say I was worried, so do not “put words in my mouth!”

      2. Richard – You are of course correct, it was remiss of me to ‘put words in your mouth’. I can’t imagine why your quest for consistency didn’t occur to me.

      3. Steve H….looking to not only bring down individuals but Squawkbox itself who are well aware of the knight and evans ability to throw away members hard earned money on Court or loose its just confetti money to them….I hope you are settled in the Caribbean bolt hole now and you can get back to posting on bot sentinel who are far more gullible than Squawkbox posters mr Hall centrist Dad….!

      4. Steve H centrist Dad…. The point is you are on a fishing expedition and I certainly wouldn’t trust your motives that are bought and paid for.I am pleased that my Jewish wife and son are no longer Labour party members,god knows what racist profile they would have been labeled with.The penny dropped with them under Corbyn whom they thought had thrown too many comrades under a bus on the AS scam.?I didn’t agree at the time but thought that we could win despite sacrificial lambs.I was so very wrong.along with hundreds of thousands of members like me who were betrayed.and left for good.I heard last week that my neices and nephews in Lancashire have also thrown in the towel and left.So many like them of the younger generation completely disillusioned with the knight led Labour party.

      5. Richard’s request is very reasonable stevieh. Not only should you not put words in his mouth, you should also try to stop catastophising the entire issue of socialists having opinions about a country which many of us want to support, but which we cannot because it is an apartheid state and is lining itself up for worse.

        I’d like to thank Miriam Margolyse for holding her opinion so strongly, so firmly and so humbly.

    1. It seems obvious to me that Steve Walker has liaised with each of these people prior to posting their stories and, as such, asked them whether they would prefer not to have a comments section. So it has nothing whatsoever to do with inconsistency.

      1. And Miriam Margolyse was dead right about it being evil. And evil can only be perpetrated by evil minds!

      2. PS And given the ‘discourse’ above, who can possibly blame any of the people concerned for preferring NOT to have a comments section! But the shills do it all the time so as to disrupt the thread. It’s a classic disruption technique on social media platforms and – where it’s allowed – on blogs like skwawkbox.

      3. Afterthought: Apologies, but I just though of something.

        These people are not ‘Human Beings’, they are ‘Evil Beings’, and we should refer to them as such, because they are DEFINITELY not Human!.

  2. We have rules about rules and yet we are still mired in what constitutes Anti Semitism, I actually feel those running this once great party do not themselves understand or don’t want to understand the definition of AS that has been set out, they are either being selectively vindictive or totally ignorant of their abhorrent actions

    1. Or
      They want to destroy the party, JC came to close
      Not Allowed
      Bully’s are the few and get away with it through fear but miraculously disappear when challenged
      Temporary Embarrassment now has the backing of no one but the Usual Suspects
      Rise up and sweep them away
      If nothing is done at conference then move to mass resignations on Labour Day, Tuesday 5th October and bankrupt the fuckers

      1. Doug, you have made my day. Well said.

        The Scumbags now running the Labour Party know exactly what they’re doing. All one has to understand is what the Trilateral Commission stands for. Then you will know why they’re taking the Labour Party apart member by member. Corbyn and his followers frightened the Establishment that much.

      2. Why wait until October 5th? Nowt will change between now & then. That have too many rats taking up or already in the positions of influence. Be in no doubt the delegations are being rigged (if they haven’t already been) as I write this.

        It just gives them more time to expel more decent people unfairly, agree with the toerags instead of oppose them, and generally be as terminally/criminally useless for another 8 or so weeks.

        If you advocate for people to leave then you should suggest they do so at the earliest opportunity i.e. now.

    2. TC, Starmer, Evans and others in the LP are not interested in actual antiSemitism, they are more interested in the perception of antiSemitism which is promoted by the largely Zionist supporting media. Anyone, as we have seen, be they Jews or not who criticises Israel, which is a racist Zionist endeavour, is deemed by the Israel Lobby, including Starmer, to be an antiSemite.

      One of the problems is we get hung up on definitions. It’s so easy for someone to deny that a particular definition applies to them. We need to know others by their actions not by a definition such as that dreamed up by the IHRA which takes pages to define a particular type of racism.

      Starmer’s actions show beyond doubt that he is racist but he could argue that his actions do not fit the definition of racism or antiSemitism.

      1. Yes, the likudist tendency and (TPTB) Establishment have weaponised antisemitism and already there is a direct global correlation or causal relationship between Israel’s behaviour and on-the-ground distrust of Jewish institutions and the antisemitism that we all detest.

        If I were a conservative Jew, I’d notice that my synagogue has to run off to G4S and procure badly-paid security personnel every time the state of Israel kills or hospitalises a Palestinian child, denies a Palestinian community fresh water or medicines or bombs one of its hospitals.

      2. Doug, good Jews such as Margaret Hodge?

        Ultimately, it’s not about good or bad Jews, it’s about support or otherwise for a racist apartheid State which has the power to heavily influence British politics in its favour. We didn’t allow it with South Africa, why should we allow it with Israel?

  3. The biggest problem that I have with any political comment is the overwhelming acceptance of the establishment status quo & that courts; institutions judges; quangos; universities etc are run by decent & honest people who know ‘what’s best’. One prime example is the EHRC, set up by Tony Blair to ensure that bourgeois morality is the ‘norm’ & any challenge is eliminated.& the function of MSM is to manufacture acceptance & consent for the establishment ‘norms’. Education no longer asks questions as political parties become mirror images of themselves as they forever drift to the right. When was the last time a ‘Socialist’ was given a platform on the BBC? The ‘Times they are-a-changin’ as control mechanisms tighten..

  4. Yes I am afraid it was and is a tripartite attack against JC, the Left and policy on Palestine.
    Right Wing Jewish groups on Jewish diversity (US Academic, Richard Silverstein) and those Jewish people who don’t agree with their perspective, they decide you don’t count.
    The Right Wing (and liberal media) piling in with the former protecting their tax dodging owners who under a Corbyn Labour Government would have had to cough up!
    Right Wing Labour MPs jumping on the bandwagon because they couldn’t beat Corbyn and the Left on ideas as perhaps they are devoid of them?
    But of course readers could do what my union branch did, become a Solidarity Supporter of the brilliant JVL.
    Oh and read Bernard Regan’s brilliant ‘The Balfour Declaration’ and you learn that Britain was following its own imperial interests in the region and “used surrogate settlers” to achieve its political ends.
    Now the US Centrist Capitalist Biden maintains the status quo with nearly £4b of military aid annually to Israel and £8b of debt guarantees – all to support US imperial interests in the region – oil, arms sales, capitalist investment.
    So the region needs an honest broker which is why Corbyn from their perspective had to go.
    But perhaps the wheels of history are turning.
    Justice for the Palestinians and Peace For All in the Region!

    1. Absolutely spot on Bazza. Israel would not exist without US and UK arms and money. A surrogate US and UK army if there was any doubt. Biden’s actions just confirmed it.

  5. The Labour party I once loved has turned into a Nazi party, Keith Adolph Starmer and his stormtroopers { the PLP} the brownshirts {the right wing MSM including the BBC} are creating artificial antisemitism to cleanse the party of true socialists. I will never ever vote for this adulterated party.

    1. Thank you for the link. I try to never swear in any comments online but how f*****g dare he. Starmer : “The situation we are in is of Jeremy’s making….It is clear what needs to happen: a clear unequivocal apology, taking the post down and working with us on anti semitism.” Just how ******* dare he say this about Jeremy Corbyn who has spent a lifetime fighting racism and anti semitism.

      I am in my 70’s and Jeremy Corbyn brought me fresh hope. It saddens and angers me so much to see the Labour Party being trashed by Starmer and his cronies. I thought the writing was on the wall the very day of his election, and as things went from bad to worse I eventually allowed my membership to lapse at the time of the payout to the so called ‘whistle blowers’. Little did I know how much worse things would get…

      My heart goes out to Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi and Diana Neslin and all the other fine people targeted in this utterly disgusting manner.

  6. It was never about Jews who live in this country at all was it? It’s about the state of Israel, support for European settlers, ethnonationalism, following American foreign policy (which is influenced by ‘Judeo-Christian nut jobs) and distaste for Muslims, especially Shia Muslims.
    It highlights the hypocrisy of government/establishment who fostered the public’s Islamophobia while covertly arming Sunni Islamist terrorist groups fighting in Afghanistan against the Russians, then fighting a 20 year war in Afghanistan in retaliation for 9/11 (which was perpetrated by Saudi Arabians) and more recently Libya and Syria.

      1. Brzezinski founded Trilateral Commission along with David Rockefeller to name but one. He loves Keith….who is doing an excellent job for the movement.

      2. And the Zbigniew Brzezinski person you speak of was a founder (along with David Rockefeller) of the Trilateral Commission in 1973.

        The New World Order has been the ultimate objective of the billionaires and, today, they are engineering the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic to facilitate it.

      3. And funded 43,000 Jihadists including Bin Laden plus brought in 100,000 from abroad to fight the Russians who had come in to support the Communist Govt (and backed the Anti-Soviets with satellite technology and weapons).
        Russia was to lose 20,000 troops, ironically closely matching what the US later lost as the they naively (white notions of superiority?) thought their ‘social inferiors’ (?) would continue to do as they wished.
        Lesson: Treat all people as equals and stop interfering in other countries?

  7. JC has a huge fighting fund so can more than look after himself
    Forde report we don’t need it
    Scorched earth policy, its there for all to see
    Now when it comes to conference there will be no hiding places, time to stand up and be counted, let’s see what happens
    Its another 10 from Len he has a book coming out at the same time as the JC court case and conference
    That lad would make Prince Harry blush, fair play

  8. Another example of Starmer’s scorched earth policy working well for the Labour Party. 😂😂😂

  9. If that council elections anything to go by stammer ought to have been grovelling his gratitude towards Apsana Begum’s acquittal else Poplar and Limehouse would’ve seen him off…. Especially if he’d posted another of his lackeys to contest that seat.

    I said that at the time, this by election result would confirm my suspicions.

    1. How do we know he wasn’t behind Apsana’s bogus prosecution? After all, has the leaders office or Labour HQ ever expressed any solidarity to her since the acquittal?

      Cue the entrance of the Turd Polisher to refute spurious allegations.

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