Don’t appease: fight!
The Labour Party’s Compliance Unit is employing TheDaily Telegraph to pursue its allegations of ‘anti-Semitism’, writes Tony Greenstein
For the last nine months the Labour right and the Zionists have been waging a campaign around anti-Semitism, beginning with the accusation that Jeremy Corbyn was consorting with holocaust-deniers. This campaign was launched by the Daily Mail, the paper that supported Hitler before World War II, and fronted by the editor of the Jewish Chronicle, Stephen Pollard, a man who has no problem supporting fascists and anti-Semites - as long as they support Israel.1
Then, when Corbyn was elected, primarily The Guardian and its editor, Jonathan Freedland, accused Corbyn of allowing anti-Semitism to prosper in the Labour Party. And the past few weeks have seen a welter of charges around trivial examples of ‘anti-Semitism’ - some real, some imagined. There has been the case of Gerry Downing of Socialist Fight, who idiotically believes, along with Ian Donovan, that the ‘Jewish question’ accounts for western support for Israel. A two-year-old tweet by Vicky Kirby alleging Jews had big noses was brought out of the cupboard to ‘prove’ that anti-Semitism was on the rampage in the Labour Party. This was cleverly coupled by Freedland with the actions of Oxford University Labour Club for supporting Israel Apartheid week.2
On the back of Downing and Kirby the Zionists have constructed their case. Thrown into the pot is a reference to six million dead Zionists by Khadim Hussain, a former mayor of Bradford. Quite understandably he uses the term ‘Zionists’ instead of ‘Jews’ - I can’t imagine where he got such an idea! The point he made - the fact that the study of the holocaust in school syllabuses concentrates on the extermination of Jews (the disabled and Gypsies nearly always get left out) to the exclusion of the 10 million Africans who died in the Belgian Congo alone - is not in the least anti-Semitic.
The Guardian has run a whole series of articles alleging anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, whilst refusing anything by way of right of reply. These have included a piece by Nick Cohen on why he is becoming a Jew - again.3 It is a rerun of an article seven years ago in the Jewish Chronicle. Another figure joining in is Owen Jones, The Guardian’s resident leftist, whose brain seems to take a leave of absence whenever anti-Semitism is mentioned.4 So overwhelmed is Owen that he feels the need to write the same article every year. His article in 2014 even starts with the same phrase - “Anti-Semitism is a menace”!5
Having had the ground prepared by The Guardian, the Labour Party bureaucracy is now preparing to move against individual members who are active anti-Zionists or Palestine solidarity activists.
Two weeks ago I got a letter out of the blue from the Labour Party. John Stolliday, head of the Compliance Unit, informed me that I had been suspended from membership because of comments I am alleged to have made. Despite three letters to Stolliday and Harry Gregson, Labour’s south-east regional organiser, I have not been able to ascertain what the alleged comments are, still less who the complainant might be. Of course, I have my suspicions - especially after Jeremy Newmark of the grandiosely titled Jewish Labour Movement (overseas branch of the racist Israeli Labour Party) boasted on Twitter of my suspension.
Gregson had promised the chairperson of Brighton Labour Party, Lloyd Russell-Moyle, that I would be given the evidence regarding my crimes within a week. When I rang Gregson, however, I was informed that Labour Party procedures require that I should be kept in the dark until after he has conducted his investigation, despite the NEC’s own guidance stating that “the respondent should be notified of the investigation and the nature of the complaints or allegations at an early stage”.
Those readers of a literary disposition will recognise that Labour Party procedures bear more than a passing resemblance to the trial in Alice in Wonderland. First the sentence, then the verdict and finally the evidence!
Behind the Labour Party’s arbitrary procedures there lies a direct political attack on the left, led by people like John Mann, the rent-a-mouth MP who was branded a pompous liar by the employment tribunal in the case of Fraser v University College Union, when the Zionists failed in their efforts to show that the UCU was anti-Semitic because it had supported a boycott of Israeli universities.
According to Freedland, 93% of British Jews say that Israel forms part of their identity.6 The unstated implication being that challenges to that identity, in particular anti-Zionism, is anti-Semitic. Logically therefore if a group of people define their identity as white and male, then challenges to that identity on the grounds of sexism or racism is in itself discriminatory! This is not reductio ad absurdum - fascist and racist organisations do indeed claim that the white working class is the most oppressed group in society.
In the age of identity politics, offending any group, however powerful they may be, is a particularly heinous crime. Attacking millionaire tax dodgers may soon become the new oppression! Far from being an aggressive militaristic state, armed with nuclear weapons and $3 billion of US military aid a year, Israel is “the collective Jew among the nations”.7
You can imagine my surprise when, after an evening out with my children, I came back to be informed that the internet and Twitter was buzzing with a Daily Telegraph ‘exclusive’ that I was the latest Labour anti-Semite to be unmasked. A somewhat cleaned-up version appeared in the Saturday version.8
Despite not giving me any details of the allegations made against me, the Compliance Unit had nonetheless passed the information on to a paper which is not known for supporting the Labour Party. Naturally John Mann was on hand to inform the Telegraph’s Labour readership that it was “hugely inappropriate” for me to remain a member of the Labour Party. Over the summer Mann had argued that it was “hugely inappropriate” for Jeremy Corbyn to be elected leader.
The internet version of the Telegraph article, from which The Times story was copied, claimed erroneously that I said that Jews supported the Nuremberg laws.9 The 1935 Nuremberg laws have been described as “the most murderous legislative instrument known to European history”.10 They stripped Germany’s Jews of their citizenship, made German ‘blood’ the requirement for citizenship and forbade marriage and sexual relations between Germany’s Jews and ‘Aryans’.
But they are comparable to Israeli laws and practices. There is no civil marriage in Israel, because Israel wants to prevent Jews and non-Jews from marrying. There is only religious marriage. Although theoretically an Arab can convert to be a Jew, the authorities routinely bar Arab conversions to Judaism.11 The attitude of Israeli Jews to relationships between Arabs and Jews is that it is “national treason”.12
The Israeli government even funds, thanks to the efforts of deputy foreign minister Tzipi Hotoveli, the ‘charitable’ wing of the fascist Lehava group. Lehava beats up Arab men in ‘Jewish’ areas to stop forbidden relationships. Its activists have been convicted of setting fire to one of Israel’s only mixed Arab-Jewish schools, while Hand in Hand in Jerusalem and its leader, Benzi Gopstein, advocate the burning down of mosques and churches. If a Palestinian did likewise they would be arrested at a moment’s notice.13
The print version of the Telegraph article14 alleged that I compared Israel’s laws on inter-racial marriage to the Nuremberg laws and implied that this is yet another example of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party. If I am guilty of anti-Semitism, then so is the greatest Jewish political philosopher of the 20th century, Hannah Arendt, herself a refugee from the Nazis, who wrote:
Israeli citizens, religious and non-religious, seem agreed upon the desirability of having a law which prohibits intermarriage … there certainly was something breathtaking in the naivety with which the prosecution denounced the infamous Nuremberg laws of 1935, which had prohibited intermarriage and sexual intercourse between Jews and Germans.15
The German Zionist Federation (ZVfD) were enthusiastic supporters of the separation of Jews and ‘Aryans’. As the Introduction to the Nuremberg Laws stated,
If the Jews had a state of their own in which the bulk of their people were at home, the Jewish question could already be considered solved today… The ardent Zionists of all people have objected least of all to the basic ideas of the Nuremberg laws, because they know that these laws are the only correct solution for the Jewish people too …16
Whereas world Jewry were shocked and angry at the rise of the Nazis to power and began a massive economic boycott of Germany, the Zionists welcomed Hitler to power. They even concluded their own trade agreement, Ha’avara, with Nazi Germany in August 1933, which helped destroy the Jewish and labour movement boycott.17
Zionist historian Francis Nicosia wrote that “So positive was its assessment of the situation that, as early as April 1933, the ZVfD announced its determination to take advantage of the crisis to win over a traditionally assimilationist German Jewry to Zionism” (my emphasis).18 Berl Katznelson, a founder of Mapai, the Israeli Labour Party, and editor of Labour Zionism’s daily paper Davar, who was ranked equally to David Ben-Gurion, saw the rise of Hitler as “an opportunity to build and flourish like none we have ever had or ever will have”.19
I suspect that this aspect of the charges will be quietly dropped because the historical record is so clear and embarrassing to the Zionists. Unless, of course, Labour’s witch-hunters want to turn their Star Chamber process into a historical investigation!
The accusation of ‘anti-Semitism’ is absurd because my record as an anti-fascist is well known and documented. Not only am I the author of the book The fight against fascism in Brighton and on the south coast, published by Labour History Workshop, but I was a founder-member of Brighton and Hove Anti-Fascist Committee in the 1970s, as well as being secretary of the Anti-Nazi League in Brighton in the early 1980s, when we cleared out the National Front. I later became an executive member of Anti-Fascist Action.
I led the fight to eradicate Gilad Atzmon and his supporters from the Palestine solidarity movement at a time when Zionists such as Michael Ezra and David Taube were arguing that he was not anti-Semitic.
Even Jamie Slavin of the overtly Zionist Board of Deputies of British Jews admitted on its website:
Tony is an anti-Zionist, Jewish member of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC). Whilst his views on the situation in the Middle East are a complete anathema to me, to his credit, he has led the opposition within the PSC against rising levels of anti-Semitism.20
And Jonathan Freedland himself confessed in a private email to me that “I have always had respect for the integrity of your position: I remember your admirable stance on Gilad Atzmon, for example” (October 23 2015).
However, it is amusing that non-Jewish bureaucrats, who have never lifted a finger when it comes to fighting racism, are accusing a Jewish anti-fascist of anti-Semitism!
I look forward to doing battle with Labour’s McCarthyites. I hope that Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell and those in Brighton Momentum and the Labour Representation Committee who want to turn a blind eye will understand that those who come for me will soon enough come for them. No-one serious can accuse me of anti-Semitism - a useful vehicle to attack the left and the Corbyn leadership itself.
Corbyn says that he has condemned anti-Semitism seven times. What he does not appreciate though is that the anti-Semitism he is talking about - hatred of, discrimination and violence against Jews - is not the anti-Semitism that the Board of Deputies is talking about. Anti-Semitism to the Zionists means anti-Zionism and opposition to the apartheid state of Israel.
McDonnell, who, as the Iron Chancellor in waiting is trying to make himself acceptable to the City of London, has also conceded to the Zionists. In an interview with Andrew Marr he said that he would take his lead from the Board of Deputies on anti-Semitism. The same Board of Deputies which, in the 1930s, told Jews to stay at home and ignore Moseley’s march through the Jewish East End of London. Thousands ignored them and at the 1936 Battle of Cable Street they defeated the fascists decisively.
Corbyn and McDonnell have a choice. They can allow the witch-hunt by Labour’s bureaucrats to go ahead or they can call a halt to the process before they too are its victims. As Kipling put it, “Once you pay them Dane-geld you never get rid of the Dane.” In other words, don’t appease the right: fight them.
2. See ‘Weapon of choice’, March 24 2016.
9. What it should say is that the Zionist movement supported the Nuremberg laws - a classic example of confusing Jews and Zionists!
10. G Reitlinger The final solution London 1998, p7.
14. ‘Corbyn told to “exorcise” anti-Semitism in his party, April 2 2016.
15. H Arendt Eichmann in Jerusalem Old Saybrook 2011, p7.
16. M Machover and M Offenberg Zionism and its scarecrows London 1978, p38. It is directly quoting Die Nurnberger Gesetze. See also F Nicosia The Third Reich and the Palestine question London 1985, p53 and FR Nicosia Zionism and anti-Semitism in Nazi Germany Cambridge 2008, p108, citing a 1935 article by Bernhard Lohsener in the Nazi journal Reichsverwaltungsblatt.
17. See E Black Ha’avara - the transfer agreement New York 1999.
18. FR Nicosia Zionism and anti-Semitism in Nazi Germany Cambridge 2008, p146.
19. Ibid p91.
20. The page has since been removed.