A veteran Israel born anti-Zionist has been expelled from the Labour Party after an investigation into an alleged antisemitic article he wrote led to the discovery of his involvement with an organisation linked to the Communist Party Of Great Britain (CPGB).
Moshe Machover – a retired University of London professor who has lived in the UK since 1968 – was informed of his expulsion from Labour last week following a probe into an article titled “Anti-Zionism does not equal anti-Semitism” which he wrote for Weekly Worker, the newspaper of the CPGB.
The article – which included a quote from Reinhard Heydrich, one of Hitler’s most notorious lieutenants, made in 1935 which suggested the early Nazi government agreed with Zionist ideals – appeared on the front page of the newspaper. It was widely distributed by a group calling themselves Labour Party Marxists (LPM) at last month’s party conference in Brighton.
In a letter sent to Mr Machover by Labour’s Head of Disputes, it was stated that the article he wrote “appears to meet the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism.”
But in the same letter it was suggested that Mr Machover, who was a member of Hampstead and Kilburn CLP, was in contravention of party rules due to his involvement in “both LPM and the Communist Party of Great Britain.”
This breach led to the conclusion that he was “ineligible to remain a member of the Labour Party”.
But the decision has prompted anger among left-wing anti-Zionist groups which have long regarded Mr Machover as one of the leading voices for their cause.
The Jewish Socialists’ Group released a statement saying the decision represented a “McCarthyite-style attempt to expel members for alleged ‘involvement and support for’ other left groups on the basis of writing articles and attending and participating in meetings.”
The Jewish Voice for Labour (JVL) group said accusations of antisemitism against Mr Machover were “ill founded” .
There were also incorrect suggestions that Mr Machover’s expulsion had come about because of the new Jewish Labour Movement rule change on antisemitic abuse by members of the Labour Party.
Mr Machover told JVL:” I never had any ‘organisational involvement’ with the CPGB. I am not and have never been a member. I use their paper and meetings as a forum to express my own ideas.
“My ‘involvement’ with Labour Party Marxists (LPM) is zero. My article they printed was in fact a reprint of an article published months ago in the Weekly Worker. I allowed them to reprint it – as I would allow any paper and anyone to reprint my articles.”
During last month’s Labour conference the Holocaust Educational Trust and John Mann MP were among those to react furiously to Mr Machover’s article as it was handed to delegates and members outside the gathering in Brighton.
Karen Pollock, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said: “I don’t understand how it is acceptable to be handing out such disgusting literature outside Labour’s conference quoting one of the 20th century’s most notorious antisemites and architects of the Final Solution, Reinhard Heydrich.”
She added: “The Labour Party Marxists’ guide to motions at the conference suggests that at least some of their supporters are party members — Labour needs to identify who is linked to this group.”
John Mann, Labour MP for Bassetlaw and chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism, said: “The Labour Party Marxists should all be thrown out of the party, every single one of them. We want them investigated and then thrown out. Their scurrilous publication, which contains antisemitic material, is good only for the recycling bin.”
Mr Machover founded the notorious Israeli socialist organisation Matzpen in 1962 which achieved notoriety during the 1967 Six-Day War with regular marches against Israeli military action.
He has spoken repeatedly against Israel which he describes as a “settler state” and has attempted to draw links between Zionist and Nazi ideology. But at a lecture at a CPGB event in 2016 Mr Machover said it was historically incorrect to say Hitler supported Zionism.