Saturday, 20 January 2018

EXCLUSIVE – Rogue Anti-Semitic Palestine Solidarity Group in Teesside claims affiliation to National PSC

PSC nationally has suspended Teesside Organiser Mehdi Husaini from membership but it is essential that he is expelled

Mehdi Husaini (left) calls for zero tolerance but it doesn't apply to racism - none of the other persons in this photo have anything to do with Husaini's antisemitic politics.   
This is not a story of fake anti-Semitism such as the Jewish Labour Movement alleges against activists.  This is not about the defence of the racist Israeli state.  It is about people, one person in particular, Mehdi Husaini, who regularly posts virulently anti-Jewish material.  I don't know whether he personally hates or dislikes Jews nor do I much care.  I am quite prepared to believe that he welcomes Jewish anti-Zionists but on the other hand he is prepared to post and distribute the most offensive and vicious anti-Semitic material and at the end of the day it is not his subjective intentions but what he does that matters.

We are therefore calling for PSC nationally to expel him as soon as possible and for members of Teesside PSC Facebook group and members of the local group to dissociate themselves from him as soon as possible.

From Exeter to the Orkneys you will find on the Palestine Solidarity Campaign website over 50 local groups with more springing up all the time.  Palestine is a popular cause.  Unfortunately there isn’t one, yet, in Teesside.  Instead there is a bogus group claiming to be one in Teesside.  It is not, however recognised by PSC nationally and it doesn’t appear on the list of groups.

This group is headed by a certain Mehdi Husaini, a retired university academic who is also active in the Universities and Colleges Union and a member of the Labour Party.  The group has never applied for PSC recognition, even though it insists on using the PSC name on its publicity materials and social media. That Mehdi Husaini and some of the group around him have difficulty in telling the difference between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism would likely mean that any application to achieve official recognition would be rejected without some drastic changes in the group. 
Husaini has previously stood as a Labour candidate for Middlesborough Council

As is well known, Zionist groups make accusations of ‘anti-Semitism’ against all of their critics. In 99%+ cases these allegations are bogus, false and often libellous.  However, just as a stuck clock is right twice a day, so Zionists occasionally get it right too.  We should be aware of the following:

i.                    One reason that some people can’t tell the difference between hostility to Jews and hostility to Israel/Zionism is because supporters of Israel repeatedly attack all supporters of the Palestinians and opponents of Zionism as anti-Semitic.  The Zionist movement has done its best to associate the crimes of Zionism and Israel with that of all Jewish people.

ii.                  The primary responsibility for the growth of what is termed ‘anti-Semitism’ is that of Israel’s supporters and the Zionist movement.  Many people are fooled into believing that the self-proclaimed ‘Jewish state’ speaks on behalf of all Jews and are therefore fooled into making ‘anti-Semitic’ comments or statements.  We should be extremely tolerant and understanding of this phenomenon and part of the job of the solidarity movement is to educate people who are deceived by Zionism into making stupid and anti-Semitic comments. 
It seems every atrocity in the world is based in Israel!
iii.                These people are not anti-Semites.  They are not hostile to Jews on a racist basis but they have been taken in by Zionist and Establishment propaganda.  However there are some people, of which Mehdi Husaini is a good example, who refuse to learn or educate themselves.  They should be cut off from the movement.

iv.                However that does not absolve us from making it clear that support for the Palestinians has nothing to do with racism, be it anti-Jewish racism or racism in general.
v.                  Anti-Semitism is of no help to the Palestinians.  Historically anti-Semitism and Zionism were seen as two sides of the same coin.  The anti-Semites wanted Jews to leave the countries of their birth and the Zionists agreed that they didn’t belong.  Without anti-Semitism there would have been no Zionism.
Mehdi Husaini refuses to accept that the Teeside PSC group is unrecognised by PSC nationally
 The Teesside PSC group has two main social media outlets:  it has a Facebook group and a Facebook page.  Husaini has repeatedly posted antisemitic material in the group, on his personal timeline and in posters for promoting actions.

A couple of weeks ago I was alerted to the fact that there was a PSC group in Teesside which was publishing overtly anti-Semitic imagery and articles on its Facebook group and in its promotional materials.  The administrator of the Facebook group and chair of ‘Teesside PSC’, Mehdi Husaini, kept posting articles that were anti-Semitic. Sometimes, he apologised for his ‘mistakes’ when the nature of the content was pointed out.  Of course anyone can make a mistake once or even twice but when they repeatedly make mistakes of the same nature then it is clear that there is a political problem.  But in many cases he simply denied that they are anti-Semitic and accused group members of being racist against him for expressing concern about it.

Husaini has long been involved in campaigning for progressive causes and has served on a number of equality bodies, including as chair of the now-defunct Racial Equality Council Cleveland.  And the Teesside group did organise some useful actions opposing Israel’s military attacks on Gaza at the time of its formation in 2014. As Husaini became increasingly active on social media, however, his willingness to endorse anti-Semitic material has become more apparent.
Huaini reaches into the depths of the political sewer to find material for his hate filled posts

The first example was a poster promoting a Teesside PSC protest against Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, which was held in Middlesbrough on 16 December 2017.  Of course that’s a worthy cause and the group was right to feel outrage at Trump’s actions, but was it really necessary for the event poster to include an image which portrays a Hasidic Jew rubbing his hands with glee over a globe and the slogan "Zionism, the cancer of the earth"?

But that turned out to be nowhere near the worst of it as, looking through the Teesside PSC Facebook group, I saw that Husaini had repeatedly used it to promote some truly vile anti-Semitic propaganda.

In January 2016, he shared an 'Ancient Swastika' video titled 'Lord Rothschild and the Illuminati New World Order', which starts off going on about the Rothschilds, cites the forged Protocols of the Elders of Zion (4:48) and then shows a sermon by Pastor Ray Hagins in which he claims that Adolf Hitler has been defamed as a mass murderer when he was merely trying to"cleanse the world" of Jewish "liars and deceivers". The second half of the film is a eulogy to the Fuhrer, showing him in sympathetic scenes such as being kind to children. The original video can be viewed here.

In July 2017, he posted an article from a white supremacist website,, titled 'Jews caught operating White sex slavery ring in Israel', which argues that white men "need to deal with the Jewish problem, sooner rather than later". Full link Jews caught operating White sex slavery ring in Israel

In December 2017, members of the Facebook group were treated to a delightful film called 'The Israeli Lobby - a danger to the world', which commences with former Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamad's notorious antisemitic lecture claiming that Jews invented socialism, communism, human rights and democracy as part of their plot to achieve world domination.

A particular favourite of Husaini’s is the ‘Real Jew News’ website of far-right ranter Brother Nathanael Kapner, who publishes articles and videos warning how “Jewry is destroying Christianity throughout the world”. Here’s one example from that.
Mehdi Husaini posts anti-Semitic and racist stuff like this regularly whilst denying that there is a problem - he also refused to stand down as Administrator of the Facebook Group and blocked me and others instead
As you can see from the screenprints, Husaini has faced some challenge to his social media output and a number of people joined in the fray, including myself, criticising his actions and trying to explain the difference between Jews and Zionists, Judaism and Zionism, etc.  Sadly, these interventions were in vain as Husaini responded that his posts couldn’t be anti-Semitic because X, Y or Z member of the group had ‘liked’ them and accusing his critics of being racist against him.

In another incident, Husaini claimed a video showed IDF troops attacking Palestinian demonstrators, but it was actually film of Moroccan police using violence against protesters in Morocco.

He offered this pitiful defence to challenges from myself, Steve Cooke, Barbara Campbell and other activists recently:

Defence to challenges from myself, Steve Cooke, Barbara Campbell ant need to defend myself [against] those who do politics sitting on chairs. Never seen participating in demos which were organised. You do not know what hate means. I have suffered from it being a black and a Muslim. I have always fought throughout my life against racism, Xenophobia, Fascism, Zionism. Please stop the tirade against me being black. If you dont like then tough. Dont be a judge of everything I do Mr Cooke & Mr Greenstein & Ms Campbell & leave.r
Husaini's pathetic response to accusations of antisemitism - 'I'm black'!

Sadly, despite the Facebook group having over 400 members, very few other than those named have been willing to challenge Husaini’s antics and those who do tend to be thrown out of, and banned from, the group – as indeed has now happened to the activists named above.

When Steve Cooke, the Teesside-based comrade who tipped me off about these goings-on, contacted key group member Nader Alhussain to express concerns about the anti-Semitic poster for the 16 December protest, expecting that he would be able to talk some sense into the group’s leader, Alhussain reacted by blocking him on Facebook rather than raising the issue with Husaini.

Other members have said they shared our concerns about the anti-Semitic politics of Husaini, but they have been reluctant to take a strong stand against Husaini, at least not in public.  A number have also reported that they no longer take part in the Teesside group’s activities because of its vile rhetoric, which they feel undermines the credibility of the Palestinian liberation cause.

But there has been an encouraging development in the last few days.  Comrade Cooke reported his concerns to the PSC national office and they have taken steps to address them.  Just before this blog went to press, PSC national secretary Ben Soffa wrote to Steve and myself as follows:

“PSC's Executive Committee agreed that an interim suspension was appropriate in this case, which will remain in place whilst the investigation into Mr Husaini's compliance with our constitution takes place. This will now take place over the coming weeks before going back to the Executive for decision at its next meeting. This will be its first meeting after our AGM next Saturday, so the date can't be confirmed until new members are consulted, but provisionally, I'd expect this to be on the 10th of February.

“We are dealing with the status of the Teeside group as a separate matter, as whilst clearly Mehdi Husaini is a significant part of that group, we would wish to address those leading it more generally.”

 Husaini has gathered around him a number of people who are either sympathetic to him or unwilling to challenge him.  These include Len Junier, who is a former Labour councillor who has now left the Labour Party.  He won't say anything against Mehdi.   

Another member is one Jolanda Fitzgerald, who is a Green Party member, She was the Green Party’s PPC at the last election.  Her politics seem to have moved towards conspiracy theories.

Mehdi Husaini has a long track record.  He was chair of Cleveland’s Racial Equality Council for many years.  However, the organisation collapsed in the late 1990s after it was taken to an employment tribunal for racial discrimination and lost the case.  See Widlinski v Racial Equality Council of Cleveland and others [1996] IT/38275/96

Here is a video made of a demonstration on 26 July 2014 against Israel’s Operation Protective Edge attack on Gaza when over 2,200 Palestinians including 551 children were murdered. - including speech by Mehdi Husaini from 17:05.

You can see here an album of photos from the 26 July 2014 demo: 

Tony Greenstein 

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