Sunday, 29 September 2019

Prominent Green Party Member Accuses Other Member of Antisemitism


A complaint has been made through the Green Party’s internal complaints procedure about Shahrar Ali, a former deputy leader of the party, accusing him of antisemitism. A statement has been issued by supporters of Ali in the party, reproduced in full here below, with permission, about the allegations. 

London Green Left Blog has learnt that the complainant member, is a very prominent member indeed, but we are not at liberty now to reveal their identity. When the original external complaint was made by Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) in August last year, I wrote a piece on this blog criticising the Left Foot Forward, for twisting the story. I also raised the question of the motivation of the writer.

Well, I have to question the motivation of the complainant member is in this instance as well. Would it be normal for a member, especially such a prominent member, to point the CAA in the direction of the party's external communications procedure, rather than initiate the complaint for them? Why use the members procedure, personally, yourself? I won't speculate further than this, at this stage.

Members of the Green Party of England and Wales can add their support to the statement, by following the instructions at the end. Over one hundred members have signed the statement, including myself, they are listed below.

Statement   

SUPPORT SHAHRAR ALI AGAINST GREEN PARTY INVESTIGATION INTO IHRA-FRAMED CAA ANTISEMITISM
   
We, the undersigned, are deeply troubled to learn of the Green Party’s complicity in targeting Shahrar Ali for allegations of antisemitism. A prominent Party member has now chosen to facilitate a complaint against Ali on behalf of the Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) and the Party’s own Disciplinary Committee has decided to launch an investigation.

CAA is a campaign which systematically makes accusations of antisemitism against pro-Palestine activists (esp. Jewish ones). To take up this complaint would be to collude in an anti-Palestinian agenda that would also discredit the Green Party. It is astonishing that the Party could fall for such a tactic, unwittingly or through lack of political courage.

CAA continue to make unfounded allegations about Ali’s 2009 speech – in which he spoke out against Israel’s onslaught of the Gaza children – and now they choose to criticise his 2018 speech to Autumn conference, in which he spoke against the Party’s adoption of the IHRA definition (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5R0KpG36w8A).

Conference voted to refer back the pro-IHRA motion, despite initial support from prominent GP politicians. Ali, alongside concerned Jewish Greens and others, spoke against its adoption and the associated contentious examples. The outcome was widely reported (https://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/green-party-fails-to-adopt-ihra-antisemitism-definition-at-conference-1.470718).

The IHRA definition poses a serious threat to academic freedom and freedom of expression by conflating opposition to Israeli policies with antisemitism and threatening to undermine many years of practical solidarity with the Palestinian people, including BDS in the face of decades of dispossession and occupation.

A complaint which now exploits the definition, without the backing of conference, in order to frame allegations against a member is itself evidence of this threat. For the Green Party to sponsor a politically motivated external campaign against one of its own spokespersons is an affront on the following grounds:

1.       It would undermine the members’ complaints process, which is for members only, and thereby breach the constitution.

2.       It would enable those who have lost a conference debate to collaborate or conspire with external groups to interfere with our internal democracy and policy-making.

One wouldn’t expect a Party member to stoop so low, but it’s happening now.

Following the 2018 leadership elections, and negative campaign against Ali, GPRC confirmed that Ali was not under investigation for his 2009 speech and ruled “the matter closed” (29 Aug). In Jan 2019, the Green Party condemned the way in which its statements “were used to fuel further stories and negative comment” towards Ali: https://www.greenparty.org.uk/green-party-clarification-regarding-shahrar-ali-and-allegations-of-antisemitism.html. Given that Ali received full sign off for the 2009 speech, a complaint against him would be a complaint against the Party itself.

The Party has since suspended a member for their role in the antisemitism smear campaign, and subsequent harassment of Ali. It is completely untenable now for the Green Party to bring a complaint against Ali on similar, now discredited, grounds.

It is vitally important that Greens are able to continue to speak out to challenge Israel’s history of racism towards the Palestinians without fear of being labelled as antisemitic. In 2014, Richard Falk, United Nations special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, told a news conference that Israeli policies bore, “unacceptable characteristics of colonialism, apartheid and ethnic cleansing”.

We call upon the Green Party to withdraw this politically motivated and internally damaging complaint and to work alongside Shahrar Ali to respond, as appropriate, to politically motivated attacks in the best tradition of the Party.

The Green Party must instead investigate the misuse and abuse of process which risks engendering a hostile environment internally.

In order to support this petition please email GPEWAAS@gmail.com with your name and affiliation and please say if you do not wish to receive updates on the progress of this petition.

Delegates to the forthcoming Party conference should also be alive to motions and amendments that would have the effect of further weaponising the Party’s complaints process – and vote accordingly.


SIGNATORIES



1.              Les Levidow, Camden Green Party, Jewish Network for Palestine (JNP), Jews for         Boycotting Israeli Goods (J-BIG)

2.              Dee Searle, Camden Green Party & GPEx officer

3.              Martin Francis, Brent Green Party & Palestine Solidarity Campaign

4.              Arthur Hayles, Greenwich & Bexley Green Party & Palestine Solidarity Campaign

5.              Peter Murry, Brent Green Party

6.              Malcolm Bailey, Luton & Bedfordshire GP; Chair, Green Left

7.              Mike Sumner, Camden Green Party

8.              John Youatt, Derbyshire GP, Medical Aid for Palestine & Palestine Solidarity Campaign

9.              Michael Wilde, Elmet & Rothwell Green Party

10.          Deborah Fink, Waltham Forest & Redbridge Green Party, Jewish Greens, Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods (J-BIG)

11.          Julie Forshaw, Labour Party & disability rights campaigner

12.          Peter Caton, Barking, Dagenham & Havering Green Party

13.          Mark Douglas, Life Member, Hackney Green Party since 1985

14.          Bob Helson, Bristol Green Party

15.          Ed Broomfield, Green Party officer for East Hampshire Green Party

16.          Dawn Furness, Blyth Valley Green Party, PPC and GPEx officer

17.          Mike Shone, GPRC Co-Chair 2014-2015, Stafford and Stone Green Party, co-ordinated establishment of Disciplinary Committee

18.          Ken Huggins, North Dorset Green Party

19.          James Dickins, Leeds North-West Green Party

20.          David Taylor, Bridgwater & West Somerset Green Party (and Chair, Unite Branch SW/11999)

21.          Mike Shaughnessy, Haringey Green Party

22.          Alan Wheatley, Hereford & South Herefordshire Green Party

23.          Graham Wroe, life member, Green Party

24.          Alison Teal, Cllr Nether Edge and Sharrow, Sheffield Green Party

25.          Ann Williams, Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party

26.          Annie Neligan, Craven and Ripon Green party

27.          Andrew Bradbury, Adur Green Party

28.          Paul Philo, Brighton and Hove Green Party

29.          Cath Newnham, Radnor Green Party

30.          Cllr Peter Barnett, Green Party Executive Committee member (personal capacity)

31.          Pamela Rosling, North Dorset Green Party

32.          Scott Bartle, Brent Green Party

33.          Tony Matthews, Cardiff Green Party

34.          Tony Fawcett, Mansfield Green Party and Green Left member

35.          Ellie Crane, South Cambridgeshire Green Party

36.          Harvey Elliott, Allerdale and Copeland Green Party

37.          Noel Lynch, Barnet Green Party Officer, Former GLA Member

38.          Stephen Taylor FRSA, GP candidate for Barnet & Camden, 2016

39.          Dylan Körner, GPEW

40.          Alan Story, Sheffield Green Party

41.          Lucy Early, Greenwich Green Party

42.          Raymond Obedencio, Barnet Green Party

43.          Ben Samuel, Green Party

44.          Umberto Albarella, Sheffield Green Party

45.          Juliette de Tosni - Tauvignon, Sheffield Green Party

46.          Dr Jillian Creasy, Sheffield Green Party

47.          Heather Hunt, Sheffield Green Party (member since 1989)

48.          Steve Connor, Leeds Green Party

49.          Chris Lemin, Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party

50.          Beverly Cross, Treasurer, Sheffield Green Party

51.          Dr Jay Ginn, Croydon and Sutton Green Party

52.          Steve Dawe, Oxfordshire Green Party

53.          Bo Meson, Sheffield Green Party

54.          Prof S Sayyid, Leeds

55.          Janet Watson, Leeds

56.          Julie Taylor, GPEW

57.          Bill Linton, GPEW

58.          Peter Garbutt, Acting Chair Sheffield Green Party, councillor Nether Edge and Sharrow Ward, Sheffield City Council (personal capacities)

59.          Claudine Letsae, Greenwich & Bexley GP, Ex Diversity and Equality Coordinator GPEW

60.          Hazel Dawe, GPEW

61.          Clive Martin, Taunton Deane Green Party

62.          Sarah Wiltshire, GPEW

63.          Christine Bridges, GPEW

64.          Charles Graham, Sedgemoor & West Somerset Green party

65.          Rosalind Wollen, Sheffield Green Party

66.          Roy Sandison, Rugby Green Party

67.          Alan Borgars, North Staffordshire Green Party, PPC

68.          Simon Glover, GPEW

69.          Anne Gray, Haringey Green Party

70.          Norma Stout

71.          Fergal McEntee, Wandsworth Green Party membership officer and Media officer

72.          Rebecca Ruth Gould, Professor, Islamic World & Comparative Literature, University of Birmingham

73.          John Boyd, Membership Secretary Merton Green Party

74.          Dr Rasha Soliman, Lecturer in Arabic Language, University of Leeds

75.          Andrea Carey Fuller, Lewisham Green Party & Lewisham Deptford General Election Candidate

76.          Rashid Nix, GPEx officer, Equalities and Diversity

77.          Michael Gold, GPEW

78.          Megan Povey, Leeds

79.          Rachel Hope

80.          Alexi Dimond, Sheffield Green Party

81.          Ken Burgess

82.          Lynn Finnigan, Adur Green Party

83.          Bob Murphy, Green Party member Brighton and Hove

84.          Marc Scheimann, Luton and Bedfordshire Green party, parliamentary candidate in Luton South in 2017

85.          Neil Parsons, Cornwall Green Party

86.          Diana Korchien, Media Team Coordinator, Waltham Forest & Redbridge Green Party

87.          Cllr Tony Pearce, Stafford and Stone Green Party

88.          Geoff Richardson

89.          Jim McGinley, WIrral Green Party Chair and Local Co-ordinator

90.          Earl Bramley-Howard, SW Green Party

91.          Nicole Haydock, Bury Green Party

92.          Susan Tibbles, Oxfordshire Green Party

93.          Jenny Richardson, Sheffield Green Party

94.          Chris Glenn

95.          Nick Hooper - Southwark Green Party

96.          Paul Ingram, Southwark Green Party, former Co-Leader Oxford City Council (2000-02), 2nd on London list for European Elections 2004

97.          François Guesdon, Sheffield Green Party

98.          Kirsten de Keyser, Camden Green Party, PPC Holborn & St Pancras, GLA Candidate Barnet & Camden

99.          Julie Birch Holt, Liverpool Green Party

100.            Jeremy David Parker, Ealing Green Party

101.            Lily Clough, Wirral Green Party

102.            Harry Ross Gorman, Secretary of Wirral Green Party

103.            Chris Cooke, Wirral Green Party

104.            A Burton, Wirral Green Party

105.            Charles Birch, Bridgwater & West Somerset GP

106.            Donald Mollison, Green Party member & Quaker Sanctuary Everywhere

107.            Catherine Toch

108.            Sarah Perrigo, Labour Party Leeds NE CLP, Associate member of Jewish voices for Labour

109.            Madeleine Atkins, Harrow Green Party

110.            Linda Oubridge, Salisbury Green Party

111.            Shaka Lish, Brent Green Party

112.            Claire Stephenson, Blackpool and Flyde Green Party

113.            Derek Hardman, Mid-Sussex Green Party, Crawley and Horsham

114.            Jonathan Essex, East Surrey Green Party

115.            Lois Davis, Wandsworth Green Party

116.            Alix Cockcroft, Wirral Green Party

117.            Jenni Agricola, Isle of Wight Green Party



In order to support this petition please email GPEWAAS@gmail.com with your name and affiliation and please say if you do not wish to receive updates on the progress of this petition.



Delegates to the forthcoming Party conference should also be alive to motions and amendments that would have the effect of further weaponising the Party’s complaints process – and vote accordingly.

5 comments:

  1. It is disgraceful Shahrar is confronted with this just for sticking up for Palestinian rights... and in a way consistent with Green Party policy! The Green Party has NOT adopted the IHRA definition and its distorted examples of supposed anti-semitism are the only possible basis for the accusation against Shahrar. He does NOT hate or insult Jews. And many of his supporters on this issue ARE Jewish. And incidentally, since Netanyahu's latest threats to annex even more of the West Bank, how can anyone maintain that criticism of Israel is unfair or applies different standards to those we apply to say Russia (re Ukraine) or Burma (re the Rohingya) or India (re Kashmir) or historical colonialism ?

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  2. If still a GP member I would sign in support of Shahrar. Hope others who are members will stand up for him. It is disgraceful he is confronted with this.

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  3. It would be very helpful if a link to the petition was added to this article.

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  4. As far as I am aware Alan, this is the only place on line that you can read the petition. To sign email the email address quoted.

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  5. If you know who the person is, approach them for comment as this is in Green Party members interest.

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