UK Labour Party pro-Israel purge continues: celebrated film maker Ken Loach latest member to be expelled

Among today’s myriad stranger-than-fiction political dramas, none hold a candle to the UK Labour Party in terms of sheer bizarre spectacle.

A brief history: When in 2015, Jeremy Corbyn, a Member of Parliament with a half-century track record of progressive activism, threw in his hat for Party leadership, it was widely seen as a joke. But Party membership suddenly swelled with newly-energized Corbyn supporters, and he became the leading contender.

This shocked the ruling military-industrial and neoliberal interests, who viewed his solid anti-war record and socialist ideas, such as nationalizing the railways, as a direct threat. And it rallied into high gear Britain’s pro-Israel forces, who saw Corbyn as a challenge to their dominance over the country’s Israel-Palestine “narrative”. Both vested interests shared the common enemy: If Corbyn were to win Labour leadership, he could well be Britain’s next Prime Minister.

It was Israel’s propagandists who possessed the more powerful weapon, and so both groups joined forces behind that weapon’s cross-hairs. That weapon was the single word “antisemitism”, a smear that is its own proof, and denial of which is merely to sink further into the quicksand. Once accused, you can be saved from the fire only by confessing that yes, you are a witch.[1]

Like the word “antisemitism” itself, the media hysteria self-vindicated: Corbyn was a notorious Jew-hater who funded Holocaust deniers and terrorists. The future for Jews under a Corbyn Britain was bleak.[2] But in the end, not even Labour’s own attempt to thwart new (thereby pro-Corbyn) membership succeeded in derailing Corbyn. He won the December 2015 election for Labour leadership.

The shock of his win sent “antisemitism” into all-out war mode. From one news report to another, the scourge of antisemitism reached new and newer ever-unprecedented records. Yet no matter how many times it did, the farce did not collapse under its own obvious absurdity.

Tragically, Corbyn failed the challenge. Instead of exposing the antisemitism charade for what it is, he threw good people under the bus in the naive belief that he could appease the Inquisitors, when it only vindicated the lies. One after one, good, principled, anti-racists were expelled from Labour for “antisemitism”. Nor did the media notice that an oddly disproportionate number of the “antisemites” were Jews, indeed Jews with long records of fighting against racism and inequality.

Major media in the UK and abroad uncritically parroted the narrative in a catastrophic failure of journalistic responsibility. One might read nuanced opinions of just how badly Labour was infested with antisemites, but the truth — that the entire crusade was 100% manufactured — was off the spectrum of permissible views. And when that truth was voiced independently, that view itself was tallied as another case of antisemitism.[3]

Even as Corbyn floundered under the relentless attacks, Labour went on to become the largest political party in Europe, gaining three and a half million more votes in 2017. When national elections were scheduled in 2019, major media in the UK, US, and Israel reported that British Jews had their bags packed to flee the country if he won the prime ministership.[4]

The spectre of a crack in the neoliberal order by an antiwar socialist in Downing Street drew the scrutiny of the US Trump Administration. But for Washington as well, rather than hyperbole about communism, “antisemitism” was the weapon of choice. In 2019 Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the US would do its “level best” to “push back” against Corbyn before he (as the Times of Israel reported it) “makes life difficult for Jews in the United Kingdom”.[5]

Labour lost the 2019 election.

Corbyn has been gone for a year now, first expelled from the Labour Party outright for questioning the Party line on “antisemitism”, then reinstated but denied the whip, meaning he is unable to hold office.

Many people had predicted that once he was out, the “antisemitism” claims would suddenly vanish. Instead, the purge of Labour’s anti-Zionist left adapted to the new battlefield. Upon taking control of Labour, Keir Starmer vowed to continue ridding his party of “antisemites”, voiced his unwavering support for Zionism, denounced BDS, and promised to visit Israel “as soon as possible”. Joining the Zionist exploitation of Jewish history and culture to shield Israeli crimes, he committed to a Labour effort to “learn about Jewish history and celebrate Jewish traditions in effort to root out antisemitism”.[6]

With Corbyn’s Labour suffocated in its infancy, the great burst of optimism and enthusiasm he brought was replaced with a waning, disillusioned membership, dismal election results, and a heavy pall of irrelevance. Rules were put into place banning discussion on banned issues, and banning discussion on the rules banning discussion. Britain was left abandoned, with a non-entity as an opposition leader as the country endures its most corrupt and incompetent Tory government in memory.

Which brings us to the summer of 2021 and Labour’s newest nosedive: mass expulsion, ideological cleansing, has been added to the conventional purging of members one-by-one. Labour has named four groups whose alleged values are said to be incompatible with Starmer’s Labour. Membership in these groups, or even “support” for any of them, is grounds for automatic expulsion.

Labour’s pro-Israel propaganda arm, the Jewish Labour Movement, was thrilled: “We welcome this decision [of mass expulsion in Labour’s] drive to tackle antisemitism in our party.”[7]

The four groups are:

1. Labour Against the Witch Hunt, an excellent group with which this writer is very familiar. The group was formed in 2017 to work against politically motivated allegations of antisemitism in Labour Party, and is unified by anti-racism and progressive ideals of equality.

2. Socialist Appeal, which describes itself as working toward “the socialist transformation of society”.

3. Labour in Exile, formed last February “in despair of the party’s direction of travel under Keir Starmer and [General Secretary] Dave Evans”.

4. Resist, “a grassroots movement which aims to empower communities and workers through democratic, practical and political means”.

The proscription is even more insidious than it first seems, because groups like Labour Against the Witch Hunt do not make their membership public. Starmer’s purgers therefore merely suspect membership, leaving the accused either to prove a negative, or accept “guilt” for something s/he should not have to justify.

The case of Roger Silverman, a member of the Labour Party for six decades, is one that I can cite publicly. His response to Labour’s notice of proscription began thus:

I have received your communication, in which you demand that I “provide evidence that I am not a supporter” of a group that you arbitrarily proscribed three weeks ago. This is a classic technique practised in all such purges going right back to the original witch-hunts of the seventeenth century. It defies all norms of natural justice. I am under no obligation to prove anything.[8]

Yet proscription was not the most Orwellian move of this summer. In my view, that prize goes to Labour’s new rule that any candidate for Labour office will first have to undergo “antisemitism” training by Labour’s Jewish Labour Movement, which is part of a coalition including the (staunchly Zionist) Board of Deputies of British Jews, the World Zionist Organisation, the Israeli Labor Party, and the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland.

The insidiousness of this dictate can scarcely be overstated. It means that all candidates, and thus implicitly all people, are presumed to harbor anti-Jewish bigotry, that only pro-Israel activists can exorcise it, and that anyone seeking public office in the UK Labour Party must first be “educated” (and implicitly approved) by an overtly Zionist organization aligned with an Israeli political party.

Finally, August 14 brought the news — shocking, if in retrospect unsurprising — that acclaimed film maker Ken Loach, whose life and work has been a model of solidarity with the oppressed, has been expelled from Labour.

Mr. Loach was already a target of the Zionists. Most recently, he was forced by them to remove himself as a judge in Show Racism the Red Card’s 2020 art competition. After Mr. Loach refused to cave to the bullying, the propagandists targeted the charity itself, in effect threatening its destruction if he remained.

Responding to Labour’s expulsion, Mr. Loach tweeted :

Labour HQ finally decided I’m not fit to be a member of their party, as I will not disown those already expelled. Well… I am proud to stand with the good friends and comrades victimised by the purge.

One of the attacks on Ken Loach, from the Times of London, August 2021.

Using the antisemitism charade, Labour has committed suicide at the behest of both Israel and the pro-military, anti-progressive right. The sorry spectacle has served both well. It is hardly far-fetched to suggest that had Corbyn not been sabotaged, the UK would be in a vastly better position than it is now, weathering the pandemic with a leader devoted to the National Health System rather than one trying to destroy it in order to privatize it, and who would not have exploited the tragedy for lucrative, no-bid contracts to cronies with zero expertise in the fields at issue.

All through the power of the word “antisemitism”.

One can only recall the words of lawyer Joseph N. Welch during another witch hunt, in 1954. We need merely replace “Senator” (McCarthy) with the purveyors of today’s tragedy:

Until this moment, Senator, I think I have never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness … I fear he shall always bear a scar needlessly inflicted by you. If it were in my power to forgive you for your reckless cruelty I would do so. I like to think I am a gentleman, but your forgiveness will have to come from someone other than me … You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?

Author’s Note: For excellent sources of news and commentary on the issue, see the websites of Jewish Voice for Labour and Labour Against the Witch Hunt.


  1. “Accusing Jews of making accusations of antisemitism in bad faith in order to aid a hidden agenda is a well-established antisemitic slur.” — from the Campaign Against Antisemitism, a British pro-Israeli organization established in August 2014 to counter media fallout from that summer’s “Protective Edge” assault against Gaza.
  2. As but one of hundreds of examples, the Jewish Chronicle, The key questions Jeremy Corbyn must answer, August 12, 2015
  3. See #1, above. This writer, for example, was accused of antisemitism for questioning the claims of antisemitism.
  4. Jewish families will leave the UK if Jeremy Corbyn wins, The Telegraph, November 2, 2019 (among many others)
  5. “Pompeo: US will ‘push back’ against Corbyn before he makes things hard for Jews”, The Times of Israel, June 10, 2019
  6. The Jerusalem Post, UK Labour Party leader Starmer: We must change party culture, November 29, 2020
  7. The Jewish Chronicle, Labour set to expel hundreds who denied extent of antisemitism in party, July 18, 2021; The Guardian, Labour votes to ban four far-left factions that supported Corbyn’s leadership, July 20, 2021; The Jewish Chronicle, Labour NEC approves proscription of four organisations, July 20, 2021; BBC News, Left-wing anger over expulsions from Labour Party, July 21, 2021; Sienna Rodgers, Labour List, Labour’s ruling body agrees to proscribe Socialist Appeal and three other groups, July 20, 2021
  8. Roger Silverman: My reply to the Labour Party’s “Governance and Legal Unit”…, August 13, 2021

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