by Francis Clark-Lowes
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.