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Sunday, 24 September 2017

Corbyn Rally Attracts Thousands in Brighton - But He Refuses to Speak at Labour Friends of Palestine Meeting For Fear of Offending Zionist Lobby

Corbyn's Rhetoric Over Saudi Arabia Covers a Retreat on Palestine

A clear message that Jeremy Corbyn could not have missed
In Brighton this evening Jeremy Corbyn, supported by John McDonell, Jenny Formby, Martha Osamor and others, spoke to a monster rally, the largest rally I can ever remember on The Level, the traditional rallying place of the labour movement in Brighton.

After warm-up speeches by the above named, Jeremy Corbyn took the stage for a competent speech about placing people before profit.  Corbyn will never make a fine orator but the content was sound. What was disconcerting though was what he left out.
It's all very well to talk about abolishing tuition fees and nationalising the railways, but to do that you have to gain control of your party and there is precious little sign of that.  For all the talk about a kinder politics there comes a time when you have to take control of the Blairite civil services which is bending the rules blatantly in order to favour, wherever possible, the Right in the Party.

Tomorrow there is a demonstration outside the Conference against Iain McNicol, the plug ugly General Secretary who has engineered in conjunction with the Compliance Unit the suspension and expulsion of thousands of members.  It is about time that Corbyn had the bottle to call time on Crooked McNicol.
Brighton Momentum held a showing of a Fire Brigades Union film at Cafe Plenty after the rally.  It showed the visit of an FBU delegation to their counterparts on the West Bank - Nablus, Hebron and Ramallah.  It was a powerful film and showed that firefighters in the Occupied Territories have to fight both the occupation and fires.  With the barest of equipment they go out daily to tackle fires, often caused by Israeli soldiers firing flares and munitions.

We were shown the injuries to one firefighter when Israeli soldiers opened fire on a fire engine, wounding a firefighter.  We were also shown a visit to their Israeli counterparts in Israel who have all the latest equipment.

There was a time when Corbyn was an ardent supporter of the Palestinians.  Mark MacDonald QC of Labour Friends of Palestine spoke.  LFP is a pretty weak and wet group, mainly concerned with irrelevancies like the recognition of the non-existent state of Palestine.  It is a group with a number of MPs, like Stephen Twigg, who are or have been sponsors of Labour Friends of Israel.  Yet it was instructive that Mark told how for the first time in years Corbyn would no longer speak at their fringe rally, whereas he is due to speak at Labour Friends of Israel.  Mark also described how Corbyn now has regular meetings with Mark Regev, Israel's Ambassador and the man who fronted the PR campaign to whitewash Israel's genocidal attack on Gaza in 2014.
Corbyn's flirtations with the pro-Israel lobby are a disgrace.  Supporting Israel means supporting US foreign policy and that means its interventions in the Middle East.  If a Labour Government is truly going to strike out then it has to break with US imperialism and its destruction of states and alliances with repressive states such as Saudia Arabia, Egypt and Israel.  Corbyn above all knows that Israel is an apartheid state having been involved in Palestinian politics for over 30 years.   The fact that he is retreating on Palestine does not augur well for when and if he takes office.  Instead of standing up against the false anti-Semitism campaign that has meant supporters of Palestine have been suspended and witch hunted as anti-Semites Corbyn has gone along with it.

At least in the rally, there was a prominent banner that said that to support the Boycott of Israel is not anti-Semitic.

Tony Greenstein

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Jewish Labour Movement’s Rule Change is Gutted

Zionist attempt to make support for the Palestinians an expulsion offence fails

The first allegations of 'anti-Semitism' were made against Corbyn himself and the Guardian joined in with the Mail and Express
Ever since Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader of the Labour Party, Netanyahu’s friends in the Jewish Labour Movement and Labour Friends of Israel have waged a false anti-Semitism campaign, whose purpose was to create the impression that anti-Semitism is rife within the Labour Party. 

Jonathan Freedland, the Guardian’s house Zionist, led the way with articles such as Labour and the left have an antisemitism problem. Despite the BBC, Daily Mail and Guardian singing from the same hymn sheet, no evidence of anti-Semitism has ever been produced. What was remarkable about this furore about 'anti-Semitism' in the Labour Party was a complete lack of concern about State Racism, Islamaphobia and racism against Black people.  Racism against a privileged white minority was seen as more important than Black deaths in custody, hostility to asylum seekers and violent attacks against Muslims and mosques.  
Jean Fitzpatrick was fitted up by anti-Corbyn MP, Joan Ryan, as an anti-Semite.  The allegation was later shown to be without merit
This more than anything demonstrated the contrived nature of this campaign.  It was about Israel not Jews.  In the third of the Al Jazeera undercover programmes ‘The Lobby’, the Chair of Labour Friends of Israel, Joan Ryan MP was filmed manufacturing a false allegation of anti-Semitism against Jean Fitzpatrick, a Labour Party conference delegate.
Joan Ryan campaigned in the General Election as an anti-Corbyn candidate who stated that 'people have more confidence in Theresa May than Jeremy Corbyn'
Ms Fitzpatrick had gone to the LFI stall and asked a question about their apparent support for a 2 States Solution.  What about the Occupation and the Settlements she asked?  She soon found out that ‘2 States’ was a slogan designed to cover up continuing colonisation.  LFI and JLM have never opposed the Occupation or the Settlements.  

The JLM’s real aim has been to criminalise support for the Palestinians and opposition to Zionism, an ideology of racial supremacy.  It is hard to defend jailing and torture of children as young as 12 and , the administrative detention of Palestinians without charge or trial for 6 months at a time, the demolition of EU funded schools and clinics, homes and facilities.  It is much easier to attack Israel’s critics as 'anti-Semitic' than to defend the practices of the Israeli state.
Jeremy Newmark is seen in between Israel agent Shai Masot, who was forced to leave Britain earlier this year, and Israeli Ambassador Mark Regev, second from right.
Prominent in this campaign has been the Chair of the JLM, Jeremy Newmark, an Israeli state agent and propagandist.  Newmark was accused of perjury in an Employment Tribunal case Fraser v University College Union. A Zionist academic Ronald Fraser had argued that the UCU, by supporting the academic boycott of Israel, was anti-Semitic.  He reasoned that support for Israel was an integral part of Jewish identity and therefore opposition to Israel was an attack on Jews i.e. anti-Semitic.

By the same ‘logic’ criticism of Apartheid in South Africa was anti-White racism.  By this criteria, criticism of Burma could be considered anti-Burmese racism. The threat to free speech is obvious but Zionism has consistently sought to close down free speech for anti-Zionists and in Israel even Palestinian poets are imprisoned.  
Jeremy Newmark - The JLM's perjurer in chief
The Employment Tribunal ‘rejected as untrue the evidence of Ms Ashworth and Mr Newmark’.  It described his evidence of the harassment of Jewish speakers as ‘false’ and described his claim that he was treated as a ‘pushy Jew’ as ‘preposterous’.

In ‘The Lobby’, which broadcast last January Newmark was filmed working hand in glove with Israeli Ambassador Mark Regev, a man whose previous role had been, as Netanyahu’s PR representative, to justify the murder of 2,200 Palestinians in Gaza in 2014, including over 500 children. [The real question is why Panorama, Channel 4 and the Guardian didn’t Investigate the Israeli Embassy's Political Destabilisation]

The JLM proposed a rule change last year which would outlaw ‘anti-Semitism’.  Its purpose was made blindingly clear by the ‘Supporting argument and rationale’ which stated that ‘This rule change would recognise that it is not acceptable to use Zionism as a term of abuse or to substitute the word Zionist for where the word Jew has been commonly used...’
The Genesis of a False Allegation of Anti-Semitism Courtesy of Joan Ryan MP
The JLM decries the very thing it is proposing! What has Zionism to do with anti-Semitism? Nothing unless one considers Jews and Zionists are the same. The reality is that those who confuse Jews and Zionists are the same people who regularly state that anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism is one and the same thing.  The Israeli state calls itself a ‘Jewish’ state.  As for not using Zionism as a term of abuse, well Zionism is very abusive. 
Extract from Shami Chakrabarti's Report on Racism
The heart of the JLM’s proposed Rule Change was its attempt to use the Report of the MacPherson Inquiry into the murder of Stephen Lawrence in order to make anti-Zionism an expulsion offence.  The JLM defined a ‘hate incident’ as ‘something where the victim or anyone else think it was motivated by hostility or prejudice’.  If the JLM had had their way then anyone who claimed that criticism of Israel or Zionism was anti-Semitic could say they were a victim of anti-Semitism. Racists would be turned into ‘victims’. What MacPherson actually proposed was that where someone alleged that they had been the victims of a racial attack the Police must record it as such. What was not proposed was an allegation of racism was to be proof of guilt.
Darren Williams Report of last week's NEC
It is clear from reports of Labour’s National Executive meeting last week that the JLM’s attempt to make anti-Zionism an expulsion offence has been rejected.  What has taken place since is a battle of spin.  According to NEC member Darren Williams, a rule change was approved ‘that avoided the more draconian approach favoured by the Jewish Labour Movement’.  Williams, like most NEC members, has a limited grasp of what the JLM were trying to do.  It had nothing to do with being draconian and everything to do with an attempt to outlaw criticism of Israel and Zionism.
Jeremy Newmark claims a victory despite the JLM Rule Change having been gutted
The Zionists have since been trying to dress up their defeat as a victory.  Ella Rose, the JLM’s Director, a free transfer from the Israeli Embassy, posted a press release: ‘We are heartened that the NEC has adopted our rule change.’  The Jewish Chronicle Report Labour executive gives backing to new measures on antisemitism talked up the JLM’s ‘victory’.    Newmark claimed that “These constitutional amendments, if passed, will simply bring Labour’s rules to the place that should have been expected from a political party rooted in values of equality and anti-racism.’
Jessica Elgot of the Guardian (& former JC journalist) was part of the Zionist spin operation
The Guardian’s Jessica Elgot (who didn’t reveal that she was formerly a senior journalist on the Jewish Chronicle) was part of the same operation.  She wrote an article which was little more than a JLM press release. Jeremy Corbyn will back change to allow tough line on antisemitism.

There is something sickening in the JLM, an affiliate of the World Zionist Organisation, which believes that world Jewry owes allegiance to the State of Israel, talking about combating racism.  It is an organisation which funds Jewish settlements and ethnic cleansing in the West Bank.

The Israeli state defines itself as the State of all Jews, including those who live outside Israel. Benjamin Netanyahu has often stated that he is the Prime Minister of all Jewish people, not merely those living in Israel. The Director-General of  the Prime Minister’s Office, Eli Groner described Netanyahu as “by design, the leader of the Jewish world.”  Is it any wonder that some people associate Jews with the actions of the Israeli state?

The JLM speaks of the openly racist Israeli Labour Party, a party of ethnic cleansing, as ‘our sister party’ For the Jewish Labour Movement to talk about racism is akin to the Yorkshire Ripper lecturing people about violence against women.  It says something of the retreat that Corbyn has made since he was elected that the JLM was even given the time of day.  There is little excuse for Corbyn’s behaviour.  In his 30+ years working with the Palestine solidarity movement he was repeatedly criticised as anti-Semitic and when he first stood as Labour leader he was attacked as being an associate of Paul Eisen, a holocaust denier. See e.g. Jeremy Corbyn's 10-year association with group which denies the Holocaust

For all the huffing and puffing, the JLM have suffered a severe reverse.  There is no sympathy in Labour’s ranks for their preposterous false ‘anti-Semitism’ campaign.  No one in the Labour Party seriously believes that there is an anti-Semitism problem.  It is a hyped up campaign perpetrated by the Tory media and the BBC.  With the excellent result of Labour in the General Election, the JLM's false anti-Semitism campaign has been sidelined.  It has been demonstrated to have no effect on Labour's voters.
Skwawkbox version of proposals before NEC - the proposal on the right was carried
According to Ann Black, a right-wing member of Labour’s NEC the following proposal was agreed:
No member of the Party shall engage in conduct which in the opinion of the NEC is prejudicial, or in any act which in the opinion of the NEC is grossly detrimental to the Party. The NEC shall take account of any codes of conduct currently in force and shall regard any incident which in their view was motivated by hostility or prejudice based on age; disability; gender reassignment; marriage and civil partnership; pregnancy and maternity; race; religion or belief; sex; or sexual orientation as conduct prejudicial to the Party. ... The NCC shall not have regard to the mere holding or expression of beliefs and opinions.

According to Skwawkbox, Black is wrong.  The phrase ‘was motivated by’ was removed.  It has been replaced by ‘which in their view might be reasonably seen to demonstrate hostility or prejudice based on age...’.  It is unfortunate because the key thing about racism is indeed the intent or motivation of the accused.  It makes it easier to bring disciplinary charges.  The previous rule, which allowed for ‘the mere holding or expression of beliefs and opinions’ has had added to it, the words ‘except in any instance inconsistent with the Party’s aim and values, agreed codes of conduct or involving any prejudice towards any protected characteristic.’  It has the fingerprints of Shami Chakrabarti all over it as it uses the objective test of reasonableness.  However this is a far cry from the attempt to frame people for racism when they are clearly not.

Despite their bluster and spin, it is clear that the JLM has suffered a serious defeat. Their attempt to close down debate in the Labour Party about Palestine, using ‘anti-Semitism’ as the excuse, has been rebuffed.  Articles in The Canary and Skwawkbox plus the willingness of people like Chris Williamson MP to speak out turned the tide against the JLM.  What they are engaged in is face saving.  What they wanted was the automatic expulsion of anti-Zionists on the say so of Zionists who posed as ‘victims’.  

Jewish Labour Movement Original Proposed Rule Change

Add an additional sentence after the first sentence:
‘A member of the Party who uses antisemitic, Islamophobic, racist language, sentiments, stereotypes or actions in public, private, online or offline, as determined by the NEC, shall be deemed to have engaged in conduct prejudicial to the Party.’

Add at the end of the final sentence after “opinions”:
…” except in instances involving antisemitism, Islamophobia or racism”

Insert new paragraph E:
“Where a member is responsible for a hate incident, being defined as something where the victim or anyone else think it was motivated by hostility or prejudice based on disability, race, religion, transgender identity, or sexual orientation, the NEC may have the right to impose the appropriate disciplinary options from the following options: [same as D]”

see Did the Jewish Labour Movement get its way over Labour Party rule changes?

Friday, 22 September 2017

Jewish Voices for Labour Expels Gary Spedding & its Zionist wing (or some of them) - after much Blood, Sweat & Bile

JVL faces a choice – Jewish anti-Zionism or Jewish Identity Politics

I have to confess that getting the leadership of Jewish Voice for Labour to see sense and remove some of its Zionist members was like drawing teeth.  A few days ago I was contacted by members of Jewish Voice for Labour, which sees itself as an alternative Jewish group in the Labour Party to the Jewish Labour Movement.  Why they wondered had the Steering Committee decided to accept Gary Spedding in its Facebook group and as an associate member?
It was only after an Open Letter to JVL that Arik Moshe, author of this vitriolic attack on Jackie Walker was removed

It was a good question.  Why had they also included Arik Moshe, a particularly vitriolic Zionist who had tweeted in respect of Jackie Walker, the former Vice-Chair of Momentum:

Has anyone else noticed how Jackie Walker only really mentions being Jewish when accused of #AntiSemitism?  Funny that...#Jackie out’
A post on the JVL Facebook group as a result of having forced it onto their agenda
A Zionist who believes that people who are Black cannot be Jewish, because that is what the political on Jackie is about, surely has no place in a group like JVL.  No one ever challenges the credentials of white people who say they are Jewish by virtue of their father, which is Jackie’s situation.  This has long been accepted in Reform Judaism.

Spedding has a long pedigree purporting to be a Palestine solidarity activist whilst echoing all the talking points of the false anti-Semitism attacks.  In 2016 he wrote an article for Ha’aretz echoing all the talking points of Zionist propagandists to the effect that the Palestine solidarity movement is riddled with anti-Semitism. We in the Palestinian Solidarity Movement Have a Problem With anti-Semitism
Just some of Gary Spedding's fan mail

Spedding also criticised Ken Livingstone as ‘anti-Semitic’. He has also accused me of ‘anti-Semitism’.  Lacking all self-awareness, since Spedding suffers from an extreme form of narcissism, he didn’t understand why it is not a good idea for someone who isn’t even Jewish to call Jewish people anti-Semitic. In his Ha’aretz article he wrote that 'Anti-Zionist Jews are also not immune from being complicit in, and promoting, anti-Semitism.'  Less considerate people than me might say that that is a good example of anti-Semitism.

Spedding is one of the few people to have given credence to the lies of Angela Eagle that she was subject to homophobic attacks at a meeting she didn’t attend in Wallasey CLP.  These lies were used to suspend Wallasey CLP.  Most people discounted them, but not Spedding.  So although being a socialist or a Corbyn supporter isn’t an absolute condition of membership of a non-Zionist Jewish alternative to the JLM being a witch-hunter should certainly debar you.

I first encountered Spedding when he messaged me furiously after I had criticised an Early Day Motion on anti-Semitism that he had drawn up.  This EDM talked about

‘the single biggest contributing factor to[anti-Semitic incidents] have been anti-Semitic reaction to the armed violence between Israel and Gaza in July 2014’ 

It is a curious phrase ‘armed violence’ to describe the one-sided attack by Israel on the defenceless Palestinians of the Gaza.  It suggests that Spedding was deliberately seeking to minimise the one-sided nature of that conflict by equating Palestinian defence with Israel’s armed aggression on a people under occupation.  In stating that anti-Semitism ‘has no place in campaigns of solidarity with the Palestinians’ Spedding implied that anti-Semitism had such a place.

Some examples of why Spedding should not have been allowed to join JVL
Early Day Motion that Spedding claims to have drafted for the SNP - John Mann signed it
i.   Drafting an EDM which SNP MPs and John Mann signed linking opposition to Israel’s Operation Protective Edge, when 2,200 Palestinians were murdered, with anti-Semitism.  This lie provided the pretext for the formation of the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, a far-Right Zionist group which even other Zionist groups keep their distance from.

ii.  Spedding attacked as anti-Semitic both Ken Livingstone and Jackie Walker.

iii.  Spedding attacked Ali Abunimah of Electronic Intifada.

iv.  Spedding was a member of the liberal Unionist Alliance party in the North of Ireland.

v.  Spedding has given full support to Owen Jones’s campaign, alongside the Jewish Labour Movement, in its attacks on Jackie Walker and Ken Livingstone.

vi.  Spedding has praised the Community Security Trust, a Zionist vigilante group that specialises in conflating anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism.  Its Deputy Director Dave Rich recently brought out a book, The Left’ Jewish Problem.

Jackie Walker belongs to Momentum Thanet
Unfortunately not only the SNP but the JVL took Spedding seriously as a Palestine solidarity activist.  I’ve  posted a number of articles on his antics including:

What is particularly outrageous is that I and others were excluded from JVL because of political disagreements with the Steering Committee whereas open Zionists seemed able to waltz in with the blessing of the FB moderators– Messrs. Kuper, Cushman and Saville.

I was particularly critical of the fact that it had avoided open support for the Palestinians in its Statement of Principles in favour of an anodyne ‘We stand for rights and justice for Jews everywhere and against wrongs and injustice to Palestinians.’.  The Right of Return, a basic democratic demand or even opposition to the bogus anti-Semitism witch-hunt were not mentioned.  Whereas the JLM is an explicitly Zionist group, the JLV prefers not to even mention the word.  I therefore penned an open letter to JVL about what was happening and sent it by Messenger to all 160 or so of their Facebook group.  This led to my exclusion from their Facebook group. Such is the price of free speech (although all the moderators are members of Free Speech on Israel!).

The Jewish Socialist Group Take My Criticism Particularly Badly
The JSG, a group which barely exists today (its last magazine came out over a year ago) have taken my criticisms particularly badly. This is because I called on them to distance themselves from Jon Lansman, the Momentum proprietor and dictator, who is also a member of the JSG.  Lansman bears most responsibility for the suspension of Jackie Walker. 

When the JLM attacked Jackie after last year’s Labour Party conference, Lansman immediately leapt to their defence.  He told the Independent that their Chair Jeremy ‘perjurer’ Newmark was  ‘very upset and I can understand that – I work closely with Jeremy, I’ve been meeting with Jewish organisations to talk… I’ve been outspoken. I was very, very unhappy about… and I did comment on it, about it, what she had previously said.’  Lansman joined in with the political lynching of a Black comrade who was his own Vice-Chair without once asking for her opinion.  Newmark is a paid propagandist and Israeli state agent.  The idea that he was ‘upset’ is fanciful.  He was probably delighted to have a pretext for attacking Jackie.  Lansman scabbed on her and the JSG refused to call him out on this.
When a member of the JSG, Ruth Appleton, signed a joint letter to the Guardian as a member of the JSG, she was told to take it off by Julia Bard

In a number of posts I called on the JSG to distance themselves from Lansman, e.g.

Jewish Socialist Group Cowardice Over the Zionists' Racist Attacks on Jackie Walker

An Open Letter to the Jewish Socialists Group

The Strange Silence of the Jewish Socialists Group

I initiated a campaign in October 2016 to get the JSG to come off the fence.  Some 5 months later the JSG finally caved in to the pressure.  But they did so with little grace.  David Rosenberg, who previously I have known as affable and mild mannered, the leading light of a progressive if somewhat ineffective Jewish group, had taken any criticism of Corbyn for his backtracking on Palestine to heart. 

David Rosenberg's response to queries from Debbie Fink re their stance on Jackie Walker's suspension
Dave Rosenberg’s vituperative response to Debbie Fink of Free Speech on Israel and J-Big was indicative.  Her queries were
‘‘based on ignorance and vituperation, they were not worth responding to. The JSG is solely accountable to its members, not to you, nor to FSOI, nor to any other groups we may or may not be connected with or work with.’ 
Realising that this was hardly an adequate response, Rosenberg issued a ‘Statement of Clarification re Debbie Fink’s questions re JSG, Jews for Jeremy, and John Lansman. This is for information. We won’t be making further comment on this matter as we have more important work to do.’
Unfortunately the 'Statement of Clarification' was anything but clear:
'Our group is anti-Zionist but does not go in for gratuitous and childish demonisation of those who identify as Zionists’. 
David Rosenberg's response to my campaign to have Gary Spedding barred from the JVL Facebook
 What Rosenberg defined as ‘demonisation’ most people would call criticism.  The JSG have always been wary of being seen to be an anti-Zionist group.  Rosenberg explained why someone who had previously criticised the lack of democracy in the Jewish community had become a petty dictator in his own right: 
'we have, reluctantly, had to block people for misusing our page by posting anti-Corbyn material, abusive sectarian political material, or re-posting material by those who they know have been blocked from the page. [me!] It is for these reasons that J4J collectively decided to block Debbie Fink.'
Jews 4 Jeremy was set up by a number of people, Debbie Fink and me included, not just JSG yet Rosenberg referred to it as ‘our group’.  They had deliberately let it run down, opposing it doing anything collectively about the witchhunt. Like Debbie I was also removed from JSG's Facebook Page for Asking Awkward Questions about Lansman.

Once you become a witch hunter you develop a logic of your own.  Everyone else but you is a sectarian.  David Rosenberg and his partner-in-crime Julia Bard, were extremely angry after having been backed into a corner over Jackie Walker.  See Better Late than Never - Jewish Socialists Group Finally Supports Jackie Walker

Although, they grudgingly agreed to oppose Jackie’s suspension they did it very reluctantly.  Hence when I launched a campaign against the JVL admitting Zionists whilst excluding anti-Zionists as well as criticising JVL’s chauvinist membership structure, Rosenberg resorted to the kind of language that Stalinism was famous for.  He informed members of the JVL, most of whom are in no position to know any better, that I was barred because of my ‘serial abuse of people within those groups whom he disagrees with, his lying about and smearing of other left wing Jews.’ As a final flourish, apparently ‘The Zionist establishment should thank him.’

As I wrote in my second letter to JVL, this kind of response was knockabout stuff designed to avoid debating the real issues.  A large number of people on the JVL Facebook page agreed with my comments with one resigning.  With difficulty I persuaded two others not to resign. 

David and the JSG have no analysis or understanding of Zionism.  They have done little in the Palestine solidarity movement and nothing around BDS.  What surprised me was David’s resort to outright lies. Far from my being excluded from the JVL FB group for lying, smearing etc. Ian Saville, who is appropriately a magician, wrote informing me that:

‘Your posts attacking the steering group ... and other people posting on the page seem provocative and divisive, and have caused concern to other members. If you persist with such posts you will be removed from the group. It seems also that even before joining the group you circulated some of its members with unsolicited material attacking the JVL and disparaging the process of its formation.’

Nothing here about lies or smears but plenty about ‘attacking’ (i.e. criticising) the steering group and even worse circulating those criticisms to JVL members.

It was because I circulated Saville’s warning, coupled with my own response, JVL – What are they afraid of that I was removed.  What the JVL chiefs couldn’t stand was criticism!  Ian Saville then wrote to me privately complaining about my having called him a Stalinist!  He also added that ‘the fact that you chose to make public other people's private correspondence without even seeking permission was a breach which couldn't be tolerated. Some people saw your final post as a challenge to the Steering Group to exclude you, given that you chose to quote the warning you were given.’

The correspondence in question was anything but private.  It was part of a political polemic between Rachel Lever and others regarding the formation of the JVL.  The real reason why Rosenberg and Saville indulged in these transparently poinless lies is political. Rosenberg and what’s left of the JSG believe that we should be completely uncritical of Jeremy Corbyn, his retreat from Palestine and appeasement of the JLM. I take the view that if we don’t exert counter-pressure on Labour’s leadership then the JLM will triumph by default.

JVL’s Apartheid Membership Structure - Only Jews can be full members – non-Jews are non-voting ‘associates’

From the day that I was first asked to sign up to the JVL’s principles I have argued that the group should not be Jewish only.  JVL’s Steering Committee has decided that whereas Jews can be full members, non-Jews can only be Associate Members.  The Steering Committee, whose composition hasn’t been made public, but which is believed to include Jenny Manson as Chair, Mike Cushman as Treasurer/Secretary, Naomi Wimborne-Iddrissi, Joseph Finlay, Miri Franklin, David Rosenberg and Richard Kuper, has taken leave of its senses.  They seem incapable of understanding or appreciating that they are effectively setting up a group with an apartheid structure.  Again they were not prepared to debate this.

JVL should be a political group in opposition to the Zionist politics of the JLM.  What it is doing is pretending that it is a broad based ethnically Jewish group and smuggling its politics in by the backdoor.  Hence its Jewish only structure.
Non-Jews are made to feel guilty by being less than full members or participants in JVL - either JVL is a political group or it is a specifically ethnically oriented one -  even the JLM admits non-Jews into full membership because it is a political Zionist group
 Everything I predicted about this decision has come to pass.  Jewish members of the group have expressed their resentment at non-Jews participation and made the latter feel guilty.  There were even suggestions for a non-Jewish FB group!  After a woman (Jo) expressed her hostility to the involvement of non-Jews in the Facebook group, one woman Eleanor promised to take ‘more of a backseat’.  Another non-Jewish member John reacted by saying ‘I’ll shut up then.’  Yet Jo and others began to whinge that I had publicised what they thought were their private discussions!  Yes it’s unfortunate that some members of the group have enough courage and principle to leak information to me.

Shlomo Anker's contribution to a discussion group - he is still a member
However all’s well that ends well.  After having defended Gary Spedding against all comers in the end the JVL moderators bowed to the inevitable and removed both him and the even more vitriolic Ari Moshe.  However that still leaves Shlomo Anker, who has even posted a report on the JLM’s recent conference on the JVL site.  Rob Abrams is another Zionist who has been left untouched. 

Tony Greenstein

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

A letter from an Israeli History Professor Shlomo Sand to the President of France

This is a powerful open letter to the French President Macron by Israeli Professor Shlomo Sand.  Macron a few weeks ago made a particularly stupid statement, even for a French Blairite, when he declared that anti-Zionism was the new anti-Semitism.  This of course has been the message of Zionism for the last 30 years.
You wonder why people who are, at least on the surface, superficially intelligent, repeat this vacuous nonsense.  Anyone with any understanding of Zionism would know that it was Jewish people who were always its fiercest opponents.  Jews saw in Zionism the validation of anti-Semitism.  It was a Jewish form of anti-Semitism.  Anti-Zionism rejected the idea that Jews could not live with non-Jews, that anti-Semitism was part of the non-Jewish psyche and could never be eradicated.  Zionism was racist even in its attitude to Jews.  It was no wonder that an ideology that was transfixed by the racist nostrums of its day should, in turn, treat the Palestinians in the same way as the Jews of Europe were treated.
Please read!
Tony Greenstein
France's increasingly unpopular and intellectually lightweight President Macron
To President Macron
As I began reading your speech on the commemoration of the Vel d’Hiv round-up, I felt grateful toward you. Indeed, in the light of the long tradition of political leaders, both Left and Right, past and present, who have denied France’s participation and responsibility in the deportation of Jewish-origin people to the death camps, I was grateful that you instead took a clear position, without any ambiguity: yes, France is responsible for the deportation, yes there was anti-Semitism in France before and after the Second World War. Yes, we must continue to fight all forms of racism. I saw these positions as standing in continuity with the courageous statement you made in Algeria, saying that colonialism constitutes a crime against humanity.
But to be wholly frank, I was rather annoyed by the fact that you invited Benjamin Netanyahu. He should without doubt be ranked in the category of oppressors, and so he cannot parade himself as a representative of the victims of yesteryear. Of course, I have long known the impossibility of separating memory from politics. Perhaps you were deploying a sophisticated strategy, still yet to be revealed, aimed at contributing to the realisation of an equitable compromise in the Middle East?
Shlomo Sand - history professor at Tel Aviv University
I stopped being able to understand you when, in the course of your speech, you stated that “Anti-Zionism … is the reinvented form of anti-Semitism.” Was this statement intended to please your guest, or is it purely and simply a marker of a lack of political culture? Has this former student of philosophy, Paul Ricoeur’s assistant, read so few history books that he does not know that many Jews or descendants of Jewish heritage have always opposed Zionism, without this making them anti-Semites? Here I am referring to almost all the old grand rabbis, but also the stances taken by a section of contemporary orthodox Judaism. And I also remember figures like Marek Edelman, one of the escaped leaders of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, or the communists of Jewish background who took part in the French Resistance in the Manouchian group, in which they perished. I also think of my friend and teacher Pierre Vidal-Naquet and of other great historians and sociologists like Eric Hobsbawm and Maxime Rodinson, whose writings and whose memory are so dear to me, or indeed Edgar Morin. And finally I wonder if you seriously expect of the Palestinians that they should not be anti-Zionists!

Nonetheless, I suppose that you do not particularly appreciate people on the Left, or, perhaps, the Palestinians. But knowing that you worked at Rothschild Bank, I will here provide a quote from Nathan Rothschild. President of the union of synagogues in Britain, he was the first Jew to be named a lord in the United Kingdom, where he also became the bank’s governor. In a 1903 letter to Theodor Herzl, the talented banker wrote that he was anxious about plan to establish a “Jewish colony”; it “would be a ghetto within a ghetto with all the prejudices of a ghetto.” A Jewish state “would be small and petty, Orthodox and illiberal, and keep out non-Jews and the Christians.” We might conclude that Rothschild’s prophecy was mistaken. But one thing is for sure: he was no anti-Semite!
Of course, there have been, and there are, some anti-Zionists who are also anti-Semites, but I am also certain that we could find anti-Semites among the sycophants of Zionism. I can also assure you that a number of Zionists are racists whose mental structure does not differ from that of utter Judeophobes: they relentlessly search for a Jewish DNA (even at the university that I teach at).
But to clarify what an anti-Zionist point of view is, it is important to begin by agreeing on the definition of the concept “Zionism,” or at the very least, a series of characteristics proper to this ter. I will endeavor to do so as briefly as possible.
First of all, Zionism is not Judaism. It even constitutes a radical revolt against it. Across the centuries, pious Jews nurtured a deep ardour for their holy land, and more particularly for Jerusalem. But they held to the Talmudic precept intimating that they should not collectively emigrate there before the coming of the Messiah. Indeed, the land does not belong to the Jews, but to God. God gave and God took away again; and he would send the Messiah to restore it, when he wanted to. When Zionism appeared it removed the “All Powerful” from his place, substituting the active human subject in his stead.
We can each give our own view on the question of whether the project of creating an exclusive Jewish state on a slice of land with a very large Arab-majority population is a moral idea. In 1917 Palestine counted 700,000 Arab Muslims and Christians and around 60,000 Jews, half of whom were opposed to Zionism. Up till that point, the mass of the Yiddish-speaking people who wanted to flee the pogroms of the Russian Empire preferred to migrate to the American continent. Indeed, two million made it there, thus escaping Nazi persecution (and the persecution under the Vichy regime).
In 1948 in Palestine there were 650,000 Jews and 1.3 million Arab Muslims and Christians, 700,000 of whom became refugees. It was on this demographic basis that the State of Israel was born. Despite that, and against the backdrop of the extermination of the European Jews, a number of anti-Zionists reached the conclusion that in the name of avoiding the creation of fresh tragedies it was best to consider the State of Israel as an irreversible fait accompli. A child born as the result of a rape does indeed have the right to live. But what happens if this child follows in the footsteps of his father?
And then came 1967. Since then Israel has ruled over 5.5 million Palestinians, who are denied civil, political and social rights. Israel subjects them to military control: for part of them a sort of “Indian reservation” in the West Bank, while others are locked up in a “barbed wire holding pen” in Gaza (70% of the population there are refugees or their descendants). Israel, which constantly proclaims its desire for peace, considers the territories conquered in 1967 as an integral part of the “land of Israel,” and it behaves there as it sees fit. Thus far 600,000 Jewish-Israeli settlers have been moved in there… and this has still not ended!
Is that today’s Zionism? No!, reply my friends on the Zionist Left — which is constantly shrinking. They tell me that we have to put an end to the dynamic of Zionist colonisation, that a narrow little Palestinian state should be created next to the State of Israel, and that Zionism’s objective was to establish a state where the Jews would be sovereign over themselves, and not to conquer “the ancient homeland” in its entirety. And the most dangerous thing in all this, in their eyes, is that annexing territory threatens Israel’s character as a Jewish state.
So here we reach the proper moment for me to explain to you why I am writing to you, and why I define myself as non-Zionist or anti-Zionist, without thereby becoming anti-Jewish. Your political party has put the words “La République” in its name. So I presume that you are a fervent republican. And, at the risk of surprising you: I am, too. So being a democrat and a republican I cannot — as all Zionists do, Left and Right, without exception — support a Jewish State. The Israeli Interior Ministry counts 75% of the country’s citizens as Jewish, 21% as Arab Muslims and Christians and 4% as “others” (sic). Yet according to the spirit of its laws, Israel does not belong to Israelis as a whole, whereas it does belong even to all those Jews worldwide who have no intention of coming to live there. So for example, Israel belongs a lot more to Bernard Henri-Lévy or to Alain Finkielkraut than it does to my Palestinian-Israeli students, Hebrew speakers who sometimes speak it better than I do! Israel hopes that the day will come when all the people of the CRIF (“Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France”) and their “supporters” emigrate there! I even know some French anti-Semites who are delighted by such a prospect. On the other hand, we could find two Israeli ministers close to Netanyahu putting out the idea that it is necessary to encourage the “transfer” of Israeli Arabs, without that meaning that anyone demanded their resignations.
That, Mr. President, is why I cannot be a Zionist. I am a citizen who desires that the state he lives in should be an Israeli Republic, and not a Jewish-communalist state. As a descendant of Jews who suffered so much discrimination, I do not want to live in a state that, according to its own self-definition, makes me a privileged class of citizen. Mr. President, do you think that that makes me an anti-Semite?