PSC, Ben Soffa and a Blatant Conflict of Interest

This exchange of correspondence relates to my appeal against expulsion from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign over a year ago, to be presented to the PSC AGM, which this year will be virtual and online, on 24th April. The entire text of the appeal is available here. Amazingly, since much of the content of the appeal is a complaint about repeated violations of the PSC Constitution in which Ben Soffa appears to have been a prime mover, if not the prime mover, I am written to by … Ben Soffa, demanding that I shorten, and censor, my appeal.

With PSC, there is not even a pretence of due process or impartiality. The person handling the appeals process is the person whose violations of the constitution the appeal complains about. There is no even nominally impartial body handling this. Key people organising the expulsion of a member of PSC purely for views/opinions, are paid officials of a political party whose leadership is opposed to everything PSC is supposed to stand for and which supports the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people. This is like something out of a novel by Franz Kafka.

Further developments will be documented here. If there was some pretence of due process, and some semblance of impartiality, I might not be rushing to go public with all aspects of this correspondence. But Ben Soffa’s involvement in trying to censor and change an appeal that makes serious allegations of unconstitutional behaviour and conflict of interest against himself, is so farcical that it cannot be treated as confidential. It is reminiscent of the conduct of Boris Johnson in ignoring all sense of basic procedure. In any remotely democratic organisation, let alone one that is supposed to operate as part of the left and the workers movement, it would be a scandal.

Reply to Ben Soffa, 16 April

To: Ben Soffa, PSC Secretary 

Dear Ben, 

Thank you for your email. I am again actually quite astonished to be hearing from you personally about my appeal, since you are the main person complained about and accused of anti-democratic, bureaucratic, and unconstitutional behaviour in my appeal. 

In my appeal I complain at length about the conflict of interest in your being the Secretary of PSC and acting to expel anti-Zionist socialists and anti-racists from PSC, when you are also an employed national official of the Labour Party, led by Keir Starmer.

Starmer is an avowed enemy of the entire purpose of PSC, support for Palestinians, due to his public statement that he supports Zionism “without qualification” and his purging of numerous Labour Party members for their opposition to Zionist racism and support for the Palestinians. 

A far as I am concerned this conflict of interest makes you to all intents and purpose an enemy agent and fifth columnist. 

Your demand for a word limit on my appeal has no justification at all. It is an attempt to exclude evidence of my being victimised, by you, from my appeal. Since this appeal is also an indictment of yourself and the EC for violations of the PSC constitution, your demand that my appeal be re-written is an outrage and an attempt to censor the evidence of your wrongdoing. The text of my appeal is of reasonable length by legal standards, it is necessary to explain the full complexities of the case. The appendices consist of evidence of your misconduct and that of your associates, and commentaries that provide full context. They will not be removed, and I do not agree. 

The claim that PSC will be the ‘publisher’ of my appeal if it is circulated is spurious. The only defamation involved in this case is your defamation against me, and this fraudulent purge. This is my appeal, not yours, and the membership of PSC have the right to read the full content of my appeal to fully judge the context. The only item that can be safely removed from my appeal and its accompanying evidence/appendixes is the full text of the PSC Constitution, which has now been replaced by relevant extracts. That reduces it from 20 pages to 15 pages, including the images which are also evidence – of your role as a functionary of Zionist New Labour and of the left-wing, anti-Zionist activism of Peter Gregson who you also purged and whom I was purged for defending from your anti-democratic behaviour. One page for each year of my membership of PSC before being purged by Zionist stooges. Not too much to ask.

You do not even have the excuse about trying to conserve paper, as this year’s AGM is virtual, and material will be circulated online. One modest sized email attachment is hardly excessive. 

Apart from that, this is my appeal, and nothing will be changed. If you are planning to censor or refuse to circulate my appeal, then that will be another breach of the PSC Constitution by yourselves on top of the previous ones. Members have the right to be fully informed of ALL the circumstances of an appeal and ALL the evidence of any appeal. That is a basic principle of natural justice. 

I am copying this letter to the Labour Campaign for Free Speech and the Left Legal Fighting Fund initiated by Chris Williamson, both bodies which I support, both of which deal with Zionist witch-hunting in the Labour Party and labour movement. Your purging of me is clearly part of the ongoing witchhunt in the labour movement against anti-Zionists, of which we are the most consistent trend, and I will not collaborate or submit to it in any way. This exchange will be made public immediately. 

Communist Greetings

Ian Donovan 

Cc: in**@la**************.uk


Letter from Ben Soffa regarding appeal, 13th April

Dear Ian,

thank you for your earlier notification that you intend to appeal against the termination of your PSC membership. I note the attached document runs to some 20 pages. Please could you provide a version of your appeal edited to be no more than 400 words in length and not including any images.

As we will be distributing the text of the appeal to those attending the AGM, PSC will in effect be acting as the publisher of your statement. We will not be able to publish any defamatory statement that would open up PSC to legal liability, therefore, to ensure your appeal can be distributed in full, please avoid comments that could reasonably be held to be defamatory.

If you could please provide the statement by 5pm on Sunday 18th April, we will be able to distribute it, alongside a statement from the Executive Committee, to delegates next week.

Many thanks,

Ben Soffa

Secretary, Palestine Solidarity Campaign

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