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Friday 8 November 2019

Hope Not Hate Loses Its Way

For fifteen years, among those who organised to combat the far right, Hope Not Hate was not merely in the vanguard, but at the forefront. The group did exactly what it said on the tin: it stood firm against racism and fascism. It sought successfully to “combine first class research with community organising and grassroots actions to defeat hate groups at elections and to build community resilience against extremism”.
Many who stand against the far right supported HnH; indeed, many donated to it. Then something disturbing happened: HnH began to attack politicians, rather than defend citizens from the violence and intimidation of the fascists. Specifically, as Wikipedia has put it, “In November 2019, [CEO Nick] Lowles was reported to have written to every member of Labour's National Executive Committee, urging them to bar suspended MP Chris Williamson from defending his seat at the following month's general election and to expel him from the party”. Was Williamson a fascist or racist? Well, no he wasn’t.
Chris Williamson

And nor had he been thus accused. Now, after Labour barred Williamson from defending his Derby North seat as the party’s candidate, has come the Tweet that broke the camel’s back. “HOPE not hate has been calling for Labour to expel Chris Williamson over his trolling of the Jewish community, so we welcome the decision to effectively bar him as a candidate. It is depressing that this was even a possibility, he has no place in the Labour Party whatsoever”. When did HnH become the arbiter of what was OK for Labour to do?
Moreover, what was this “trolling” of which they spoke? Worst of all, the inference of this Tweet is that there is a monolithic “Jewish Community”, which is in itself blatantly anti-Semitic - as defined by the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism.
This was not lost on Jews Sans Frontières, who responded “Hope not Hate might be anti-fascist (on the other hand they might not be) but they are certainly not anti-racist. Presenting the Jewish community as one politically motivated bloc is the main manifestation of antisemitism today. This is no faux pas. They know what they are saying”.
Other reactions have shown that HnH is losing the support of many, with Mark Baldwin’s response typical: “I have been a long term supporter of Hope not Hate but I really don't understand your take on this. I am no Labour or Williamson supporter but really do not understand what your evidence is”. Quite. And there was more.
Another Tweeter observed “I follow these issues closely. I have not seen any examples of Chris Williamson ‘trolling’ the Jewish community. Labour has not accused him of ‘trolling’ the Jewish community. Do you have ANY evidence for your allegation? If not it may be regarded as a lie by you”. Corry Shaw added “I have been a supporter of Hope not Hate for a long time. I am amazed to see this post. Championing Palestinian human rights is not antisemitic or trolling Jewish people. This is a real shame”.
And Mick Leatherland asked the inevitable question. “Hope not Hate...great sentiment and once upon a time a greatly respected organisation. I’m afraid your comment re CW wouldn’t look out of place in any of the right wing gutter rags! What happened?

What indeed. HnH has lost its way. Why that may be is for others to explain.
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Anonymous said...


1. Last year, a widely-endorsed 2018 academic report found ninety-five serious reporting failures in the reporting of the Labour Antisemitism story with the worst offenders The Sun, the Mail & the BBC.
2. On 28 February 2016, five months after becoming leader, Jeremy Corbyn appointed Baroness Royall to investigate antisemitism at Oxford University Labour Club.
3. On 27 April 2016 Corbyn suspended an MP pending an investigation into antisemitism.
4. A day later, Corbyn suspended the three times Mayor of London after complaints of antisemitic comments.
5. On 29 April 2016, Corbyn launched an inquiry into the prevalence of antisemitism in the Labour Party. In spite of later changes in how the inquiry was reported, it was initially praised by Jewish community organisations.
6. In Corbyn’s first seven months as leader of the Labour Party, just ten complaints were received about antisemitism. 90% of those were suspended from the Labour Party within 24 hours.
7. In September 2017, Corbyn backed a motion at Labour’s annual conference introducing a new set of rules regarding antisemitism.
8. In the six months that followed the introduction of the new code of conduct, to March 2018, 94% of the fifty-four people accused of antisemitism remained suspended or barred from Labour Party membership. Three of the fifty-four were exonerated.
9. When Jennie Formby became general secretary of the party last year, she appointed a highly-qualified in-house Counsel, as recommended in the Chakrabarti Report.
10. In 2018, Labour almost doubled the size of its staff team handling investigations and dispute processes.
11. Last year, to speed up the handling of antisemitism cases, smaller panels of 3-5 NEC members were established to enable cases to be heard more quickly.
12. Since 2018, every complaint made about antisemitism is allocated its own independent specialist barrister to ensure due process is followed.
13. The entire backlog of cases outstanding upon Jennie Formby becoming General Secretary of the Labour Party was cleared within 6 months of Jennie taking up her post.
14. Since September 2018, Labour has doubled the size of its National Constitutional Committee (NCC) – its senior disciplinary panel – from 11 to 25 members to enable it to process cases more quickly.
15. Under Formby and Labour’s left-run NEC, NCC arranged elections at short notice to ensure the NCC reached its new full capacity without delay.
16. Since later 2018, the NCC routinely convenes a greater number of hearing panels to allow cases to be heard and finalised without delay.
17. In 2018, the NEC established a ‘Procedures Working Group’ to lead reforms in the way disciplinary cases are handled.
18. The NEC adopted the IHRA working definition of antisemitism and all eleven examples of antisemitism attached to it.
19. A rule change agreed at Conference in 2018 means that all serious complaints, including antisemitism, are dealt with nationally to ensure consistency.
20. Last year, Jennie Formby wrote to the admins and moderators of Facebook groups about how they can effectively moderate online spaces and requested that any discriminatory content be reported to the Labour Party for investigation.
21. Since last year, no one outside Labour’s Governance and Legal Unit can be involved in decision-making on antisemitism investigations. This independence allows decisions free from political influence to be taken.
22. Corbyn has already received extensive support from Orthodox Jewish leaders. Thirty-four leading rabbis signed a letter praising Labour’s “respected leader” and describing attacks on him as “irresponsible”. The letter was attacked as a fake by Corbyn’s critics, who were later forced to withdraw the claim when evidence was revealed by the SKWAWKBOX that they were aware of its authenticity. A letter by Jewish citizens published by the Sunday Times was similarly attacked.

Frankie D. said...

"Was Williamson a fascist or racist?" Yes, quite blatently. You could have jsut stopped there.

Burlington Bertie from Bow said...

Very persuasive, Frankie D. Particularly coming after the lengthy post yours follows.
I love an evidenced based argument, don't you?

Frankie D. said...

@Burlington Bertie Well yes, especially as the lengthy comment was just copied and pasted from the dodgier parts of the internet.

@Anonymous Re you point 22, was that the letter that was signed by the Holocaust denier, or was that one of the other ones?

Sam said...

SO which points are dodgy Frankie and give some examples of alleged Williamson racism and antisemitism. (not hold9ng breath while waiting)

Jonathan said...

Worked for Hope Not Hate briefly in 2015, sad that they should be engaging in antics they campaign against.

All Chris Williamson has done is criticise the party for being fearful of criticising Israel. Which last time I checked was perfectly legitimate.

Anonymous said...

@ 20:36.

If that's your "best argument" you ought to stick with the Daily Heil, the Scum, "Tommy Robinson" and Laura Kuenssberg. They're all your type.