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28 April 2016
Baroness Neuberger slanders Militant on anti-Semitism
Socialist Party general secretary Peter Taaffe sent the following letter to the BBC following a suggestion on BBC2's Newsnight (27.4.16) by Baroness Julia Neuberger that Militant (predecessor of the Socialist Party) was involved in anti-Semitism in the Labour Party in the past.
Re: Baroness Neuberger's comments on Newsnight on 27.4.16
And subsequent clip of her comments posted on the BBC website early on 28.4.16
We are writing to demand the right of reply to a completely unfounded slur of anti-semitism made against us by Baroness Julia Neuberger on the above Newsnight programme, and to request the removal of the clip on your website that highlights her remarks.
The Socialist Party (formerly Militant) has had longstanding opposition to those who deny reality - the existence of Israel. We support the right of two states - Israel and Palestine - to exist side by side, and argue that this needs to be on a socialist basis. We have always fought against anti-semitism, as well as against fascism and all forms of racism.
The absurdity of Neuberger's claim is shown by the fact that we have a sister organisation in Israel-Palestine (Socialist Struggle Movement - like us, part of the Committee for a Workers' International) that also calls for a two-state solution and has a long history of opposing anti-semitism as well as fighting the oppression of the Palestinians. Our association with that organisation wouldn't be possible if we were adopting an anti-Jewish position in any way, as suggested by Neuberger.
There is no foundation at all for Neuberger to implicate Militant in her attempt to blame the 'hard left' and supporters of Jeremy Corbyn in Labour for the recent comments of Naz Shah, MP for Bradford West, who has now been suspended from the Labour Party.
Neuberger, as a previous leading SDP member, Liberal Democrat Health spokesperson and now a cross-bencher, has jumped on the anti-Corbyn bandwagon of parliamentary right-wing politicians across the spectrum and is slandering us in the process.
Criticising the actions of the right-wing Israeli government - which we also do - is another matter and is certainly not anti-semitic, as Lord Levy does point out in your clip.
We ask that you respond urgently to this letter, as we are not prepared to allow our party and the record of Militant to be defamed in this way.