Selma James writes an open letter to Chris Williamson

OpinionWe are in the midst of an anti-left witch-hunt

Dear Chris,

I read your statement in support of Jeremy Corbyn and your article in the Morning Star and was struck by your honesty, clarity and determination to win for Labour in this election.

Though I wish you were running as an official party candidate, I am well aware why you are running as an independent.

Many of us have to hold our tongues about the malicious fabricated attacks on the Labour leadership which have often gone unchallenged and have resulted, therefore, in wildly unjustified suspensions and expulsions like yours.

Otherwise we risk being suspended just when we are needed to fight for Labour in the election. (This of course is the intention of the attacks.)

I am delighted to hear that many party members in your constituency are backing your candidacy in order to get a Corbyn victory based on Labour’s terrific manifesto, which outlines a new start for Labour, for working-class people and for the country as a whole.

In fact it’s a new start for the planet when we consider Labour’s programme for immediately and massively funding measures to address the climate crisis.

We thank you for campaigning for a Corbyn-led government that we desperately need. We are terrified of what might happen to the NHS, the climate emergency and rights of all kinds if Johnson is elected.

He is pro-fossil fuels, pro-hostile environment, pro-austerity, pro-arming the Saudi and Israeli governments, pro-occupation of Palestine, and friends of the racist anti-semitic Islamophobic far right in Europe — the list is endless.

A deal with Donald Trump, the sexist, racist climate change denier, would destroy the NHS and our possibilities to stop climate change.

They are genocidally and suicidally greedy for money and power, and don’t care that over 50 million people in Africa (the equivalent of three-quarters of the UK population) are already going hungry because of previously unheard of climate catastrophes, or even that unprecedented numbers of people in Britain are being flooded or surviving on foodbanks.

Even Dominic Cummings has spelled this out, saying Tory MPs “don’t care about these poor people, they don’t care about the NHS.”

I want to tell you a few things about recent Jewish history which have been censored by apartheid Israel.

One big event that has been misrepresented is the Battle of Cable Street. The East End of London had Irish and Jewish immigrants.

The Irish Catholics were likely to be dockers and the European Jews sweatshop workers, for example in the garment industry.

They had a good understanding and supported each other. When the fascist Blackshirts attempted to march through the East End, the Irish and the Jews fought alongside each other and drove the fascists out.

Those who represented Jewish nationalism rather than traditional Jewish internationalism, told the Jewish community to stay home.

But the Jewish working class came out with their Irish comrades and won the day. On the 80th anniversary of that great victory, the Israeli ambassador who had been the spokesman for the bombing of Gaza that killed over 2,000 people, tried to claim the Battle of Cable Street as their victory.

I grew up in the US in the ’30s when the nazis came to power in Germany. Among the first to be put in concentration camps were Jewish people not only because they were Jewish but because they were trade unionists, socialists, communists, anti-war, anti-nazi, lesbian and gay.

There was a tradition among Jews, wherever we were in the world, that we stood with every underdog, every fighter for freedom, every struggler against racism and other discrimination.

To quote Marek Edelman, one of the leaders of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, “To be a Jew means always being with the oppressed and never the oppressors.”

Imperialist and militarist Israel has hidden that history and replaced it with political alliances with dictators and far-right regimes, beginning with Trump, Victor Orban, etc, and charges of anti-semitism against anyone left-wing.

The latest is their connection with the genocidal Myanmar regime, which they helped arm and train, which raped, tortured and even burned alive Rohingya people driving hundreds of thousands out of their homes and out of their country.

Israel’s ambassador to Myanmar tweeted “Good luck” to Aung San Suu Kyi who is testifying at the International Court of Human Rights on behalf of the military which committed these atrocities. The mainstream media has censored out any reference to this alliance.

How is it possible that we can even consider the views on anti-semitism or any other human rights issue from supporters of such a barbaric apartheid regime?

Haaretz, the most truthful Israeli daily newspaper, has published an article by one of its editors saying that there has been a “contract” on Corbyn since his election as leader of the Labour Party. Anyone who cares about Jewish people anywhere should take this very seriously.

There has also been a “contract” against you, Chris, as a vocal, effective and principled supporter of Corbyn and his policies.

It is scandalous that you have been denied a platform as venues cancelled meetings where you were to speak following threats and false accusations of anti-semitism.

And when Greg Philo of Glasgow University Media Group and other academics showed how much the biased media has been allowed to influence public opinion on the basis of lies and misinformation, they also were denied a venue to issue the book with their findings by Waterstones bookshop (Bad News for Labour: Antisemitism, the Party and Public Belief). Professor Philo said: “The next step is book burning.”

We are in the midst of a witch-hunt where the witch-hunters attacking both the Labour leadership and the hundreds of thousands who elected them, are both inside and outside the party, supported by the corporate media, beginning with the Murdoch press and extending to the BBC and the Guardian.

Much like the ’50s in the US under Joe McCarthy attacks are launched against anyone who spoke up, lies are presented as truths, accusations equal evidence, and denial proves guilt.

I lost my job in a factory because they knew I was a socialist, and the man I came to England to marry, CLR James, had been deported for being an anti-Stalinist socialist.

There’s one letter that won’t make headlines. It is from Rabbi Mayer Weinberger on behalf of the Executive Board of the United European Jews.

He “totally rejects and condemns” comments that British Jews are “gripped by anxiety” at the thought of a Labour government, saying that “such assertions are due to propaganda with a political and ideological agenda.”

He thanks Corbyn for his “acts of solidarity for the Jewish community over many years.” Subsequently he and his family have been threatened with harm.

How much do people believe the lies of the Tory media? We won’t know until the election. But we do know that many people know the difference between what the media tells them and their own reality, and your campaign strengthens them and all of us to stick to our guns and work for a Corbyn victory.

Power to the people against the exploiters, the polluters and the warmongers.

Selma James