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Keeping Palestine Solidarity Campaign Anti-Racist!!

Following a motion adopted at Palestine Solidarity Campaign’s Extraordinary General Meeting on the evening of 7th April 2013 (Yom HaShoah), an Ethics Sub-Committee has been established composed of the following six members: Toni Grimmstein (Chair), Stephen Cohen, Simon Gold, Rick Silverman, Zeb Horowitz and Aaron Levin. The Sub-Committee is charged with ensuring that PSC remains an anti-racist organisation.

This memorandum includes (a) a summary of the events leading up to the EGM, (b) the measures proposed by the Sub-Committee, and (c) a diagram (attached as a PDF) to assist the screening of applicants for membership of PSC.

(a)   A summary of the events leading to the calling of an EGM

Toni Grimmstein had called for the EGM, and explained her reasons at the meeting as follows.

“Following the expulsion of Frances Lowes-Clarke in 2011, he exercised his right of appeal at the 2012 AGM. We never should have included a right of appeal for racists in our constitution because it gave Lowes-Clarke an opportunity to harangue delegates for five minutes with his anti-Semitic filth. That the right of appeal was not removed at that AGM is a matter for profound regret, happily rectified at our AGM last January. But this was too late to prevent another five appeal speeches, all equally obnoxious, being heard at that meeting. Of course, the decision to expel was upheld in all cases, but the process of hearing appeals was undoubtedly damaging to our movement, and some deluded people may have been persuaded of the arguments they heard from appellants.

There was, however, one helpful consequence of this shot in the foot, and that was the revelation that a substantial minority of our membership are racist. 20% voted for Lowes-Clarke in 2012 (although most of those were Stalinists), and between 15% and 30% voted in the cases before us earlier this year. It thus became abundantly clear that we have work to do in ensuring that racism, anti-Semitism and Holocaust Denial have no place within our movement.

To this end I move that an Ethics Sub-Committee be established …”

(b)   Measures proposed by the Ethics Sub-Committee 

  • A programme to screen for racism all written and oral material in the public domain. In particular attention will be paid to articles, books and oral material where the words Jew, Jewish, Jewishness, Jewess, Holocaust denial and revisionism are mentioned. A list of racist authors/speakers will be compiled.
  • Any members found to be on the list of racist writers/speakers should immediately be expelled from both his/her branch and from the national organisation. Branches will be duty-bound to report any incidents of racism, and to provide documentary evidence of it. This duty should override any undertakings of confidentiality within branches.
  • Applications for membership should be checked against the list of racist writers/speakers, and if they are found to be on it, their application should be refused.
  •  This is not a sufficient precaution, however. There is a need for a rigorous screening process of application because once racists have been admitted to membership they can cause a great deal of damage to our reputation. To this end we have drawn up a questionnaire, with the diagram below to aid the assessment of responses. The Ethics Committee must endorse all applications before a new member is admitted.
  • If the responses given to items on the questionnaire by members admitted to membership prove subsequently to be false, their membership will immediately be recinded.

(c)  Click this link to view diagram: Keeping Our Campaign Anti-Racist.

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19 Responses to Keeping Palestine Solidarity Campaign Anti-Racist!!

  1. Laura Stuart February 16, 2012 at 1:42 pm #

    Is this a joke? There seems to be something very racially exclusive about the names of the members of the ethics committee! Is it safe to assume that there are no Palestinians included?

  2. Francis Clark-Lowes February 16, 2012 at 2:13 pm #

    Hi Laura, look at the date of the EGM! I’ll make it bold to be clearer. By the way, the diagram is now in colour!

  3. Laura Stuart February 16, 2012 at 2:24 pm #

    You caught me out there Francis lol

  4. Gill Kaffash February 16, 2012 at 6:51 pm #

    You have certainly saved PSC quite a lot of work, Francis! Constitutionally, they could adopt it immediately, only needing to seek ratification at the 2013 AGM: the EC already has the power to aqccept or refuse membership applications and the power to set up subcommittees.I expect they’ll have it in place in a month or two.
    Oe thing on bullet point 1: score 3 if the applicant always uses the phrase “anti-Zionist Jew” about any Jew in the solidarity movement.

    • Francis Clark-Lowes February 16, 2012 at 6:59 pm #

      Nice one, Gill. Yes, I suppose I have done their work for them. The trouble with my satire is that it could soon become reality! I wish I’d thought of the use of the expression ‘anti-Zionist Jew’. I could, of course, add it now, but there comes a point when it’s better to leave a creation alone! And I’d have to change the scoring system too. Your comment can be a kind of codicil.

      • Gill Kaffash February 18, 2012 at 8:10 pm #

        You see that’s why you had to be expelled from PSC, Francis. You don’t understand that the purpose of the Palestine solidarity movement is to make clear that Zionism is not Jewish, as Tony G. made clear in his moving closing speech at the PSC AGM.

  5. Jonathon Blakeley February 16, 2012 at 7:14 pm #

    Super, the best laugh I have had all week.

  6. Gilad Atzmon February 16, 2012 at 11:01 pm #

    Francis you are so funny !!!! i put it on my site . Peace G

  7. Francis Clark-Lowes February 17, 2012 at 8:26 pm #

    It may be narcisstic of me, but the penultimate sentence sounds as if it’s directed at me. I have been accused of damaging PSC, I recently definitively left it and I certainly made fun of it in my article, if I didn’t actually trash it. But then I’m reassured when you write that I’m just a bit-player in ‘their’ great drama. So I suppose you weren’t talking about me after all. I just wonder whether your fondness for the idea of nacissism isn’t a bit, well, narcisstic. I certainly love myself, don’t you? Having said this I agree with much that you say!

    • Jonathon Blakeley February 17, 2012 at 10:16 pm #

      It may be narcisstic of me, but the penultimate sentence sounds as if it’s directed at me

      Francis I think you mean Paranoid, and it is understandable, because the PSC were plotting against you.

      • Jonathon Blakeley February 17, 2012 at 10:36 pm #

        Indeed. I think it was Francis in one of his earlier posts quipped that “he was not Tony Grimstein’s psycho-analyst”.I chuckled when I read that, imagining what it must be like. Tony laid down on the couch. The psycho-analyst leans forward and asks.

        So Tony tell me about the PSC?

        • Jonathon Blakeley February 17, 2012 at 11:17 pm #

          Hmmmn interesting, so Abuse > Compartmentalisation can lead to Narcissism.

        • Somoe February 17, 2012 at 11:23 pm #

          Bless you, for making me feel genuine pity for Tony as I have to confess I was struggling. You are clearly someone who has given much consideration to the workings of the human mind, and have great compassion and a desire to help humanity understand themselves and others better. Thank you for sharing:-)

        • Roy Bard February 18, 2012 at 10:08 am #

          JB: “I think it was Francis in one of his earlier posts quipped that “he was not Tony Grimstein’s psycho-analyst”.I chuckled when I read that, imagining what it must be like”

          I know Francis said that in the audio interview :-)

          It is quite an amusing idea. But I think it would also be a very painful job :-(

          • Jonathon Blakeley February 18, 2012 at 10:45 am #

            Oh thanks for that Roy, I knew I had come across it somewhere. As you say it would be a very bad job. ;-)

    • Francis Clark-Lowes February 18, 2012 at 9:33 am #

      Ok, but what was the reference to trashing PSC on the way out about?

      I feel I was a bit ungrateful for your support, but you pressed one of my buttons. After many years of working in the area of mental health myself, and also of research into the history of psychoanalysis, I’ve come to have an aversion to psychological language. It seems to me that it obscures, rather than enlightens, particularly when used in discussion with people who are not specialists. But even among specialists, I doubt if it really helps to label someone narcissistic. At best it is a very rough description. And after all, one of our main objection to our opponents is that they label us according to their schema of the world.

      The definition of narcissism I got from the internet is:

      (1) Excessive or erotic interest in oneself and one’s physical appearance.
      (2) Extreme selfishness, with a grandiose view of one’s own talents and a craving for admiration.

      In relation to the people we’re talking about, we not in a good position to make judgements about their erotic life, but when it comes to their interest in their physical appearance, the definition seems to fit rather badly! As regards the second part of the definition, when does ‘extreme’ kick in? And what does grandiose really mean?

      How about simply reverting to good old English and saying that these people are arrogantly convinced on their own view of the world, and enjoy the power derived from convincing others of this view? This may take longer to say, but it has the great advantage of being a common-or-garden judgement, and therefore of not pathologising people. Once you give someone a pathological label you are, effectively, absolving them of responsibility. This is the last thing I want to do with the people who had me removed from PSC.

      I feel a post coming on!

      I’m sorry, once again, for my rather hasty comments last night.

      • Gill Kaffash February 18, 2012 at 7:57 pm #

        Now that is the really interesting question. How do they convince others of their views? What makes us pay our dues to their superiority? “David’s people taught the world in righteousness” according to Deborah Maccabee’s alternative carol. Really? Is this the Judeo-Christian tradition?

  8. Somoe February 17, 2012 at 11:28 pm #

    Like Laura, I too had to do a double-take on this one Francis, just because it mimicked their crazy ways so well. LOL when the penny dropped:-D

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    [...] 30% voted in the cases before us earlier this year. It thus became abundantly clear that we have work to do in ensuring that racism, anti-Semitism and Holocaust Denial have no place within our [...]

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