30 September 2017

Anti-Semitism - Moral Panics

The Anti-Semitic Attack that wasn’t

I'm happy to run this story about a serious assault on a Jewish man, but the question is whether it was anti-semitic or not.  It would appear that what was a drug related attack has been elevated, for entirely cynical reasons into being an anti-Semitic attack.  We should remember that whilst all anti-Semitic attacks are made on Jews, not all attacks on Jews are anti-Semitic.

tony greenstein

Guest Post:  Gavin Lewis
Gavin Lewis is a freelance British mixed-race writer and academic. He has published in Britain, Australia and the United States on film, media, politics, cultural theory, race and representation. He has taught critical theory, film and cultural studies at a number of British universities.

Coverage of the Moshe Fuerste assault reveals deep-seated media prejudice.

In the aftermath of global condemnation of Israel’s 2014 bombing of Gaza’s civilians, including hundreds of children, the UK media and that of the broader Western world became swept up in a moral panic suggesting that the world’s ‘real’ victims were in fact affluent, middle-class, white ethnic Western Jews. Apparently anti-Semitism was to be the ‘real’ prioritised problem, and it was claimed to be rife. However, in the UK, even in the face of media under-reporting, the extent of racism experienced by Black Britons and Muslims is evident, because we know the names of those who experience crippling attack, and who die at the hands of racists and disproportionately at the hands of the police: Dr Sarandev Bhambra, Mohammad Saleem Chaudry, Mark Duggan and Jermaine Baker have been some of the many victims of these various experiences. We even know the places of Muslim worship subjected to arson, such as the Finsbury Park and Bishopbriggs mosques. By comparison, where were the equivalent white ethnic Jewish victims of anti-Semitism? Even in the case of the much-trumpeted fist fight that occurred at Stamford Hill synagogue—which got considerable, disproportionate media coverage—the local rabbi, Maurice Davis, excluded anti-Semitism as a cause. Finally, filling a gap in the dominant ideological narrative, there was one incident that the media could invoke by reference to a real name, which therefore was privileged with elevated coverage, despite obvious undermining contradictions in the reportage.

‘This was not an anti-Semitic attack’, a family friend of Fuerst’s was reported as saying. ‘They might have said something about him being Jewish—but it all started because of drugs. He smokes a lot of weed.’

Reporting the incident

While out in a group of four teenage Jewish friends, Moshe Fuerst was involved in an incident during which he suffered a ‘bleed on the brain’ (media accounts of his injury vary from ‘serious head injury’ to ‘fractured skull’). The Guardian chose to headline the story ‘suspected antisemitic attack’. However, the Jewish Chronicle (JC), which was the Guardian’s cited source, initially reported Fuerst’s father’s assertions that this had actually been drug-related violence; it later took down its original online report entirely, and instead ran with an anti-Semitism claim. Israel’s Haaretz, though, ran the original JC story, which is still available: ‘This was not an anti-Semitic attack’, a family friend of Fuerst’s was reported as saying. ‘They might have said something about him being Jewish—but it all started because of drugs. He smokes a lot of weed.’ Fuerst’s father, Rabbi Michael Fuerst, told the JC in an exclusive interview that he would not be surprised if the attack on Saturday night came after a disagreement over cannabis. ‘He is on the fringes of society and that is what kids on the fringe do’, Rabbi Fuerst said. ‘He was not involved in hard drugs—he’s not any different to any other middle classes’.

At trial, ‘Judge Prowse said that “throwaway remarks that were anti-Semitic were made”, but ruled the victims weren’t attacked because they were Jewish, saying they were simply “in the wrong place at the wrong time”’. Ian Rushton, deputy chief crown prosecutor at the Crown Prosecution Service for the North West, said:

We considered very carefully what each of the victims reported the two attackers saying during the incident, and we have studied the available CCTV. None of the victims reported that racist or religiously abusive language was used by the offenders and there is no clear evidence from the statement or CCTV to prove to the court that they demonstrated or were motivated by racial or religious hostility.

This material was never used to update the Guardian’s original story page, which to this day continues to label the attack as anti-Semitic violence

Despite the fact that anti-Semitism as a motivation for the attack was unsubstantiated by any official source, the paper referred to the two accused as ‘the hate attackers’.


In a broader context, the evolving coverage that occurred during the course of this story was considerably worse. The Manchester Evening News (MEN) is the newspaper of the city where the incident took place. The MEN has a practice of covering criticism of Israel pejoratively, as anti-Semitism—there is a very small hard core of wealthy Zionist activism in Manchester, apparently with significant advertising budgets to spend or withhold. The paper has previously smeared Muslims protesting Israel’s bombing of Gaza by likening them to Nazis (as if people of colour weren’t also persecuted by the Nazis). The credibility of these smears unashamedly rested entirely on the utterings of local councillor Richard Leese, who in 2010 spent twenty hours in a cell and received a police caution for assaulting his sixteen-year-old stepdaughter. The paper ran more than eight variants of the Moshe Fuerst story, of which some, perhaps reflecting the sensationalist tone of its coverage, it subsequently felt obliged to either take down or update. In its coverage the paper explicitly labelled the attack anti-Semitic or emphasised the Jewish identity of the teenagers, so as to give that impression. This overt and definitive media reporting tends to be rarer in the cases of Black Britons who have suffered a racist attack, where the label ‘racism’ is often withheld until it has been ‘legitimised’ by the police or a court. In almost all coverage, and heightening the sensationalist tone, a substantially blown-up photo of Moshe Fuerst’s shaved, stitched and operated-on head was used. The Guardian employed a similar tactic of ‘splashing’ the photo.

Moshe Fuerst

One report, which later disappeared from the news site but is still available via the website of one of the MEN’s local sister papers, The Bury Times, claimed that it was a case of young teenagers ‘set upon by a gang of men’—by inference many fully grown adults victimising a smaller number of teenagers. Like several other news outlets, Israel’s National News revised the figure down to a ‘gang of three men’. The MEN conceded that it was actually a ‘gang of three youths’—so, not adults. By the time the case went to trial, it turned out—as the MEN had to further concede—to be two youths in a confrontation with, er, a ‘gang?’ of four Jewish youths. Despite the fact that anti-Semitism as a motivation for the attack was unsubstantiated by any official source, the paper referred to the two accused youths as ‘the hate attackers’. The extent of some of these hyped claims is still evident, and they have been repeated in the Israeli media, for example in The Times of Israel: ‘Fuerst’s father Michael said the attack was carried out by a gang of “non-Jewish boys who were drunk” and who took “great joy, I’m sure, from the fact that they were beating up a Jewish kid”’. However, it’s not just that the numbers and ages of the people involved in this confrontation were manipulated, or even that loaded assumptions about the assailants’ motivations coloured the story, but also that in this coverage the media use of the word ‘gang’ is coming though a particular class- and race-based ideological prism, and therefore it has been unevenly applied. North Manchester has some affluent sections, home in part to the city’s historic Jewish communities. When middle-class Jewish teenagers congregate in these areas they are referred to as a ‘group’. By contrast, working-class kids from poorer and former blue-collar neighbourhoods that border these areas, such as Middleton and Salford, are described as gathering in ‘gangs’, as are, in particular, Black teenagers from the poorer parts of South Manchester, known as Moss Side. None of the media coverage that prioritised an anti-Semitic motivation in its reporting investigated or even considered the option that this was perhaps simply lower-middle-class youths fighting with rich kids.

None of the media coverage that prioritised an anti-Semitic motivation in its reporting investigated or even considered the option that this was perhaps simply lower-middle-class youths fighting with rich kids.
Much of the MEN’s coverage not only gave the impression that this was without question an anti-Semitic attack but also that it was attempted murder. ‘I believe these men killed my son and the NHS brought him back to life’ (Michael Fuerst). ‘(W)hy…come up to him while he is lying on the ground unconscious, kick him in the head, and potentially kill him?’ The impression is also given by the MEN that the extent of Moshe Fuerst’s vulnerabilities and potentially critical health status was instantly evident to those involved in the violent confrontation, thereby justifying the attempted-murder inferences. Here the MEN writes, suggesting an immediate consequence, ‘He suffered a bleed to the brain. He was intubated at North Manchester General Hospital and then put in an ambulance and taken to the neurosurgery specialist centre at Salford Royal. As soon as he arrived there he was operated on. At Crumpsall (North Manchester General) he was already slipping into a coma’. Actually, as the JC reported—perhaps unaware of the MEN narratives—it was apparently a day or so later that Moshe Fuerst’s health crashed and his condition became apparent: ‘The 17-year-old was taken to hospital and initially discharged. He returned to Salford Royal Hospital on Sunday after he complained of headaches, and vomited and collapsed’. But the MEN reporting reinforced national tabloid coverage in papers like the Daily Mail and Daily Mirror, which consequently followed a similar tone: using the language ‘anti-semitic attack’ and the inference of attempted murder, and, like the Guardian, splashing the post-operative photo of the teenage victim. It’s worth reiterating that the youths were convicted of assault: no attempted-murder or hate-crime charge was made. By the time the case came to trial, in reference to the assailants and in contradiction of the implied media narrative that they’d kicked the victim into a coma and casually sauntered off, Judge Prowse said, ‘They genuinely had no idea of the severity of the incident that they had been involved in’.
The other issue in the reporting is the manner in which the potential gangs, class, drugs and/or alcohol-related aspects of this case were underexplored and under-represented in favour of an anti-Semitism narrative. Significantly, the JC initially wrote that ‘the two groups clashed after shouting at each other’ (accounts suggest that this took place from opposite platforms at a tram stop). The JC’s subsequent reports were revised, apparently so as not to give the impression that the Jewish teenagers had been doing any of the baiting and ‘shouting’. But the pictures of the two youths who were eventually convicted of the assault are quite telling in that, in contradiction of the anti-Semitism narrative, both young men appear to be performing gang signs with their hands, perhaps indicative of a more basic, tribal youth conflict?
Moshe Fuerste’s assailants, Joseph Kelly, left, and Zach Birch, right. Source: Manchester Evening News.
None of this—even the legal decision—categorically rules out any anti-Semitic motive in this attack, but a number of questions arise. Why, given the weight of evidence and testimony, did the coverage veer off in the direction of an anti-Semitism narrative when so many other factors were worthy of consideration? Why did the corporate media manipulate material in this way, particularly as the coverage occurred just after the first anniversary of Israel’s bombing of the children of Gaza? If there is a homogenous ‘anti-Semitic’ narrative being encouraged, it does not appear to be a genuine expression of the diverse grassroots reality of Jewish-British experience, sentiments or communal allegiances. In May 2016 the Daily Mirror (also part of the MEN’s Trinity Mirror news stable) splashed the headline ‘Jewish cemetery vandalised by yobs in “sickening” anti-Semitic attack’. Yet buried at the very bottom of the page was the following statement: ‘Stephen Wilson, administrator of the North Manchester Jewish Cemetaries Trust, said he reported the vandalism to the police after being alerted by the cemetery’s ground staff. He said he was “dismayed” by the attacks but was not convinced the motive was antisemitism. “It’s my guess—locals come over the wall, you always find drink cans (beer) over here, they’ve been in that frame of mind and they’ve done it for the sheer hell and fun of it”’. Mr Wilson’s dismissal of an anti-Semitic motive to the vandalism in Manchester replicates Rabbi Maurice Davis’s position—‘everybody gets on and we haven’t had any experience of anti-Semitism’—on the fight that occurred at the entrance to Stamford Hill synagogue hundreds of miles away in London. Both incidents, though, were headlined as anti-Semitic.

Four consecutive Al Jazeera investigations plus ongoing commentaries have revealed that the Israeli embassy has been attempting to provoke its sympathisers to intervene in and manipulate British political and media culture. Could this current moral panic, its tone and potential misrepresentation of Jewish-British experience, be a reflection of this?

It appears that at one point, apparently in support of an interpretation of the Moshe Fuerst incident as an anti-Semitic attack, claims were made that ‘a Jewish Kippah skullcap worn by one of the boys appeared to have been spat at after it fell to the ground during the incident. However, police said the victim “couldn’t be sure” about this happening in a formal statement which was presented to the Crown Prosecution Service to make a charging decision’. Greater Manchester Police ‘said the allegation surrounding the Kippah cap was fully investigated, but the victim was “unsure” as to whether it was spat on’. The police later said:

On September 21, two weeks after the attack, one of the victims attended a police station to report that he believed his Kippah may have been spat upon on the floor during the attack. Further enquiries were carried out by officers to investigate and the circumstances were discussed with the victim. On September 30, the victim made a formal statement to the police regarding this matter, in which he was unsure if the offender spat towards his Kippah.

To summarise: in support of an anti-Semitism narrative, and as an apparent afterthought two weeks after the incident, these claims were made, then withdrawn, then made again, unsubstantiated, at trial. No DNA evidence was ever produced in support of the claims.

As noted above, this coverage and its continuous self-contradictory, flip-flopping claims, occurred just a few months after the first anniversary of Israel’s bombing of Gaza’s children, which in many quarters received much less coverage than the assault on Moshe Fuerste. To put this incident in broader socio-historical context, at almost any time in postwar Britain, regardless of the injuries he sustained, if Moshe Fuerst had been Black, he may well have been treated as a suspect, even prosecuted—unjustifiably or not—for an offence such as ‘affray’. One infamous historical example illustrating this institutional prejudice is the 1993 racist murder of Black teenager Stephen Lawrence, where not only did the authorities initially refuse to prosecute the killers but also the police put the dead victim’s parents, Neville and Doreen Lawrence, under surveillance after they publicly complained to the media about continuing police inaction.

More recent incidents echo Britain’s ‘all darkies look and are the same’ racist past. Bristol police tasered an elderly Black Briton, Judah Adunbi, directly in the face because the officers involved couldn’t tell the difference between him and another Afro-Caribbean man who was the genuine suspect. This generic ‘Black labelling’ resulting in a ‘police stop’ was something Adunbi had suffered before. He had merely been attempting to enter his own home, and the police were apparently oblivious to or unable to recognise the fact that he had been their own race-relations adviser to the local Independent Advisory Group. An innocent, unarmed Brazilian, Jean Charles de Menezes, was publicly shot dead because he was presumed to be Middle Eastern—as if that would have made it all right. Retired top-flight professional footballer Dalian Atkinson was killed by repeated police taser assaults. Complaints of racism—on an incident-by-incident and thematic basis—are given far less column space, and often the term ‘racism’ may not even be used. These inconsistent degrees of coverage have certainly never reached equivalent anti-Semitism moral-panic reportage levels, even—as in case of the killing of Mark Duggan—when the original incident provoked rioting. In contrast to the relatively free use of the term anti-Semitism, the word racism was hard to find in news coverage of the original de Menezes killing or in commentary on the extraordinarily surprising subsequent promotion of Police Commander Cressida Dick, the officer in charge of the operation in which he was killed, to police commissioner.

Given how heavily the anti-Semitism narrative was pushed in reporting the Moshe Fuerst assault, it’s worth going back to original coverage, including family testimony, that featured in the JC: ‘The rabbi [the boy’s father, Michael Fuerst] questioned whether antisemitism had been the key driving force behind the attack. “They were not neo-Nazis out looking for Jewish boys to beat up. They were drunk kids. I imagine they knew they were all Jewish—one of the boys was wearing a yarmulke”’.
One of the defining characteristics of ongoing racial oppression is that it is underpinned by a history of slavery, colonial genocide, institutional power, the leverage of the cultural-media apparatus, and white racial, economic and class privilege. This is what differentiates it from simple prejudice that individuals such as redheads experience. By comparison to the Black experience of racism, rather than being oppressed by institutional practices, the mobilisations of current anti-Semitism moral panics—particularly as and where they support the Israel lobby and aspects of white privilege—appear to be benefiting from these entrenched power dynamics. Even now there are numerous easily accessible webpages on news sites—including that of the Guardian—where the constructed narrative of the Moshe Fuerst incident includes the headlines and descriptions ‘anti-semitic attack’, and this plays into a broader, largely incident-free moral panic about anti-Semitism. By comparison, racist incidents against Black and Muslim Britons require a far greater degree of substantiation. The death toll experienced by the Palestinians is downplayed and/or—in the tradition of nineteenth-century racist, ‘civilising-the-savage’ narratives—is treated as a justifiable developmental inevitability of white Western progress. Similarly, the oppression of Black and indigenous Jews in Israel is made invisible by the corporate media. And, disgracefully, the reported reality of Israel practising apartheid and ethnic cleansing is treated as debatable, even when it is supported by the testimony of Nobel Peace Prize winners Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. But perhaps, given the racist double standards on the comparative value of human life upon which the current moral panic is structured, the hypocrites in the corporate media regard Mandela and Tutu as only Black Noble Prize winners.

28 September 2017

Ian McNicol Receives the Warmest Welcome of Anyone at Labour Friends of Apartheid Israel Meeting

The part of Jeremy Corbyn’s Speech which received the greatest cheer was on Palestine

It’s good to see that the supporters of the world’s only apartheid state, Labour Friends of Israel, know how to reward their friends.  As today’s Jewish Chronicle reports ‘The warmest welcome at the event was reserved for Iain McNicol Labour’s General Secretary who appeared on stage alongside the speakers.’
This is quite right.  McNicol has done more than anyone else to support the Zionist cause.  It really is gratifying to know that McNicol has received due recognition of his achievements.  McNicol has suspended literally thousands of anti-Zionists, sorry anti-Semites, in the past year.  Merely to mention the word ‘Zionism’ other than in a completely laudatory and approving fashion was likely to get you turfed out of the party or suspended at the very least.

On the other hand when it came to the abusive Mike Foster, who accused Jeremy Corbyn of being on a par with the Gestapo and SS combined, it took a full 2 weeks before McNicol got around to reluctantly suspending him.

One good piece of news was that Jeremy Corbyn didn’t attend this nest of vipers and racist backstabbers.  Amusingly when their corrupt Chair Joan Ryan MP read out a message from Corbyn she was interrupted with ‘where is he, why is he not here.’  Quite right too.   Doesn’t this fella Corbyn realise that attendance at the Labour Friends of Apartheid is compulsory.

In the Blair years, Labour Friends of Israel believed that they ran the Labour Party.  It is quite disconcerting to find out that maybe you don’t own the Party.  One can only hope that next year Tom Watson will gently escort Corbyn to the reception.
One really gratifying piece of news was that Corbyn finally mentioned Palestine in his speech. And this was, as the Guardian reports, rewarded with the loudest cheer of the speech.  This must have gone down like a lead balloon with ‘perjurer’ Jeremy Newmark and his side kick Mike Katz. 

What is shows is that despite the anti-Semitism witch-hunt for the past 2 years Labour members are becoming resilient to the false anti-Semitism smears and if anything it is having the opposite effect of getting people more clued up about the situation in Israel/Palestine!

Jewish Chronicle Report of Labour Friends of Apartheid meeting

27 September 2017

The false 'anti-Semitism' allegations at Labour Conference have one purpose only - to destabilise Corbyn's leadership

One Lie Too Many - Warren Morgan, Brighton's Council leader should be expelled for falsely alleging that supporters of the Palestinians & FSOI are holocaust deniers

When it comes to lying, Cllr. Warren Morgan has form
The Zionists must be getting desperate when they have to resort to blatant lies about holocaust denial at a fringe Labour Party meeting held by Free Speech on Israel.

The fake news allegations, from Wes Streeting MP, Warren Morgan and the Zionist Jewish Labour Movement that Free Speech on Israel or myself believe that Holocaust denial is a topic worthy of discussion is a blatant lie.  At no time has anyone ever suggested this. 

Last Monday there was a packed fringe meeting of Free Speech on Israel at the Friends Meeting House in Brighton.  The room was so packed that people were listening in the garden.  All the speakers at the top table including the Chair Jenny Manson were Jewish.
Approximately half of those in the audience were Jewish.  All the speakers were Jewish. Nobody noticed anything about Holocaust denial because there was nothing. This whole story in the mass media about ‘anti-Semitism’ is a wholly contrived example of false flag news.  Complete Black Propaganda.

I spoke at the meeting and my main message was that we should not be defensive over the allegations of anti-Semitism.  On the contrary it is the far-Right, Breitbart News, Richard Spencer of the alt-Right and fascist parties led by people such as Marine Le Pen, Geert Wilders, Herr Strache of Austria and of course our very own BNP and EDL who are avidly pro-Israel and pro-Zionist. 
Steve Bannon - Trumps anti-Semitic former advisor is ardently pro-Israel
The next guest at the Gala Dinner of the Zionist Organisation of America in November, is , Steve Bannon, Trump’s former strategic advisor and a known anti-Semite.
Add caption
As Richard Spencer, founder of the alt-Right and a fully paid up neo-Nazi declared, he is a White Zionist.  Anti-Semites the world over admire Israel and only wish they could emulate it.  Israel is viciously anti-Muslim, overtly racist     and at the moment it is trying to remove citizenship from its own Palestinian citizens.  What is there not to like about Israel from the point of view of fascists and anti-Semites?

That is why the new far-Right party in the German Bundestag, Alternative for Germany, AfD is pro-Zionist.  They love Israel but hate Jews!  They want to rehabilitate the German army in the war, they want to 'revise' German history concerning the second world war but they are above all an anti-Muslim party.  That is why Zionism fits the bill.
When Benjamin Netanyahu’s own son, Yair, posted an anti-Semitic cartoon directed at George Soros, his biggest fans were David Duke, a holocaust denier and former KKK Grand Wizard and Andrew Anglin, editor of the Neo-Nazi Daily Stormer, named after the paper of Julius Strecher, Der Sturmer.  Streicher was executed in 1946 for crimes against humanity at Nuremburg.

There is no truth whatsoever in Warren Morgan's statement that

 'We have the prominent activist and suspended Labour Party member Tony Greenstein here, who indeed was present at the [Free Speech on Israel] fringe meeting where it was suggested that Holocaust denial should be allowed. His expulsion, in my view, is long overdue.' 

This is a good example of how Labour's false antisemitism allegations have been manufactured over the past two years.  No one at the Free Speech on Israel meeting last Monday even mentioned holocaust denial, let alone suggested that it should be discussed.  I would be completely opposed to such a discussion.  There is no  point in debating flat earthers.

I don't believe holocaust denial should be criminalised, as in Germany and Austria, because not only does that drive it underground but it gives the appearance of people wanting to suppress uncomfortable truths.  However, in Europe and America, there is no doubt that holocaust denial is nearly always a product of neo-Nazi historical revision.

There are some people who do believe that holocaust denial is protected speech.  They are not anti-Semites.  They include not only Noam Chomsky but the most renowned historian of the Holocaust Raul Hilberg, editor of The Destruction of the European Jews.  Hilberg believed that Holocaust historians could actually learn something from these people because they pointed out flaws in our own reasoning.

However no one at the FSOI meeting advocated talking with holocaust deniers.  In my 40+ years involvement in the Palestine solidarity movement I have known of no such discussion in PSC. 

In 2012 one person, Frances Clarke Lowes expressed Holocaust denial views in Palestine Solidarity Campaign.  I immediately proposed his expulsion both from the local group and nationally.  What Miko Peled said was:  '‘It’s about freedom to discuss and criticise every issue whether it’s the Holocaust yes or no whether its Palestine...’ He obviously was not disputing the holocaust.  What he was doing was advocating that we should have freedom of speech on every issue, including the Holocaust.  A very different thing.

Last year Warren Morgan alleged that there was spitting at the Labour Party AGM in Brighton.  It was totally untrue but it achieved its purpose, the suspension of Brighton & Hove Labour Party and the annulment of the elections.  Warren Morgan is someone who has no compunction in lying if it benefits Progress and his wing of the Labour Party.  The man is completely unfit to be Labour leader in Brighton and Hove.  He has no regard for the truth.  He is prepared to lie for political advantage no matter who he hurts or damages.  He has no moral scruples worthy of the name. Warren Morgan has to go as Brighton & Hove's Council leader.

Even if someone had mentioned Holocaust denial at the meeting in question, why does that make me guilty?  This is an excellent example of the McCarthyist technique of guilt-by-association.  Socialists and democrats fought hard against the techniques of Joe McCarthy, who was himself a Southern white supremacist and anti-Semite. 

I have been an active anti-racist and anti-fascist throughout my life.  I have been arrested and beaten up for opposing the fascists.  I co-founded Brighton & Hove Anti-fascist Committee and was Secretary of the Brighton and Hove Anti-Nazi League.

As the article I reproduce here from the Argus of October 16 1983 demonstrates I have myself been at the receiving end of this vile literature.

This is not about Holocaust denial but defending the Israeli State.  How else do you defend barbaric practices such as gaoling, shackling and torturing Palestinian children as young as 12 or the demolition of Palestinian villages such as al Hiran, in Israel's Negev, in order to build Jewish towns and settlements, other than by accusing Zionism’s opponents of anti-Semitism?  

Israel today is a racist and repressive state, which is attacking even Israeli human rights organisations such as Btselem and Breaking the Silence.  It is defunding critical and left wing theatre.  It is no accident that the reason why Netanyahu joined in with Hungary's racist Prime Minister Viktor Orban in attacking George Soros was because Soros has funded liberal Israeli NGOs.  

Israel is a state where right-wing mobs indulge in pogroms chanting ‘Mavet LaAravim’ (Death to the Arabs).  In Europe 80 years ago similar mobs chanted ‘Death to the Jews.’

People like Warren Morgan and the so-called Jewish Labour Movement want to divert attention from the fact that Israel is the most racist state in the world by distorting what we say.  It is a classic example of shooting the messenger rather than dealing with the message.

I have written to Morgan saying that if he doesn’t retract his insinuation that I am a sympathiser with or support Holocaust denial I will sue him for defamation.

Tony Greenstein

Please note this blog was corrected on 18th October to amend what Miko Peled said.  However my interpretation of what he said is exactly the same.

A good 2 days for Palestine at Labour Party Conference - the Right cry 'antisemitism' at anti-racist Jews!

The allegations of Brighton Cllr Warren Morgan that Free Speech on Israel meeting supported holocaust denial is a total lie

Unite and Aslef leaders commit to seeking affiliation to Jewish Voices for Labour

Yesterday delegates made it clear that they supported the Palestinians and opposed Zionism.  The effect of Labour's swing to the Left and the diminishing number of right-wing delegates have had their effect on Labour Conference.  The Zionists did not like it.  The day started out brilliantly with a wonderful speech by Naomi Wimborne Idrissi of Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods/Free Speech on Israel and latterly Jewish Voice for Labour.   It was followed up by another barn storming speech by Leah Levane from Hastings & Rye Labour Party.

Speaking to Labour Party conference about the Zionist attempt to take out of Labour’s international policy any opposition to Israeli settlements, the occupation of the West Bank or the siege of Gaza Naomi reminded conference of the campaign of the Jewish Labour Movement to demonise opponents of the Zionist state as ‘anti-Semitic’.  

In their desperation today, the Jewish Labour Movement and the Daily Mail alleged that Miko Peled, an Israeli anti-Zionist had questioned whether the Holocaust had taken place at a fringe meeting yesterday.  Let's be clear, this is an absolute lie and Cllr Warren Morgan, Progress leader of Brighton Labour Council is a liar.  

Warren Morgan has a track record of lying.  On July 2nd, after Progress candidates had been trounced in the largest AGM ever seen in Brighton, Warren Morgan secured the suspension of the Brighton District Labour Party and the annulment of the elections by lying about a non-existent incident of spitting.

The allegations by the Jewish Chronicle, the Daily Mail and Warren Morgan today are the purest lies and a measure of how desperate the Zionists are.  They are running scared after it was clear that the mood of the conference was not to tolerate false allegations of anti-semitism anymore.

Miko Peled speaking at Free Speech for Israel meeting

Under the eye of Emily Thornberry, Shadow Foreign Secretary and a sponsor of Labour Friends of Israel, the National Policy Forum had removed all opposition to the occupation, the settlements or the siege of Gaza from Labour’s policy.  All of the above had appeared in Labour’s manifesto but the Zionist JLM had succeeded in deleting them.
Even the Telegraph - not normally known as an anti-racist paper is against 'antisemitism'
All that remained was support for a 2 states position.  Since a 2 State solution is no longer possible, if it ever was, it is not surprising that the pro-occupation Labour Friends of Israel and JLM, support it.  It sounds reasonable but it is a cover for the present apartheid situation in what is effectively a Greater Israel.  As long as states remain committed to this complete chimera and fiction then Israel has an excuse to continue its military occupation of the West Bank and its denial of the most basic rights to the Palestinians.  Britain’s Zionists feel comfortable in supporting something that will never happen whilst at the same time being careful never to oppose the military occupation and rule of the Palestinians of the West Bank.
Salma Kharmi-Ayoob speaking
The Jewish Labour Movement call themselves the ‘sister party’ of the Israeli Labour Party.  It is instructive that the ILP does not support a 2 state position.  It prefers 'segregation' in Bantustans.

The  Jewish Labour Movement tried to get Labour to support Israel’s Apartheid occupation and Jeremy Corbyn went along with it.  It was only because of the vigorous opposition of people to this blatant attempt to get the Labour Party to support a situation where, in the West Bank there are 2 sets of laws– one for Jews and the other for Palestinians – that these provisions were reinstated into policy.  However it is sad that Jeremy Corbyn has at no time spoken up against this attempt to get Labour to support the Israeli state’s racist rule over 5 million Palestinians who have no civil or political rights.
Speaking as a Jewish anti-Zionist, Naomi finished with a flourish:  ‘this party does not have a problem with Jews’  What was remarkable was not only speech itself, which condemned the Balfour Declaration which set up the Israeli state but the reaction of conference.  Naomi received a standing ovation.  It is clear that with the clear shift leftwards in Labour conference, the Right is believed to be outnumbered by about 3-1, that ordinary delegates are sick to the back teeth with the attempt of the Zionists to label opponents of Israel and Zionism as ‘anti-Semitic’.  The JLM’s attempt to portray anti-racists as anti-Semitic is rapidly backfiring on them.  Below I reprint Naomi’s excellent speech.

At lunchtime there was a packed meeting of Free Speech on Israel at Friends Meeting House in Brighton’s Lanes.  Miko Peled and Salma Yakoob-Kharmi, Chair of the Palestine Lawyers Association spoke.  Miko Peled is the son of a dissident Israeli General, Mattiyahu Peled.  Miko, who now lives in the USA is a committed anti-Zionist.  He refuses to call Palestine Israel insisting that it belongs to the indigenous population not those who have settled it.  Miko was openly contemptuous of the idea of 2 States and spoke eloquently about how Israel itself is as much occupied territory as the West Bank.
This is what is hurting Labour's Zionists - they have been caught out lying once too often about 'anti-Semitism'
He described how, just 5 minutes from Tel Aviv, people in the Gaza Strip don’t have access to drinkable water.  How Palestinians living in villages a stone throws away from settlements on the West Bank, have access to running water for only 10-12 hours a week whereas Jewish settlements have unlimited supplies of water.  This is because Mekorot, the Israeli water company allocates only 3% of its supplies to the Palestinians.  The third world living conditions of Palestinians living near the settlements contrasts with the advanced living standards of the settlements.  Again a situation identical to that in Apartheid South Africa.
Jenny Manson - Chair of the meeting
I spoke from the floor as a suspended member of the Labour Party to emphasise not only that the anti-Semitism witch hunt has nothing to do with anti-Semitism but that the friends of the Israeli state today consist above all of the far-Right, whether it is the BNP or EDL in this country or Le Pen in France or Gert Wilders in Holland or Herr Strache in Austria.  Indeed there are no greater supporters of Israel than the White Supremacists of the USA with Steve Bannon, Trump’s former advisor and CEO of Breitbart News, magazine of the far-Right, a guest speaker at this year’s annual gala dinner for the Zionist Organisation of America.  Richard Spencer, the founder of the Alt-Right movement in the USA, declares that he is a White Zionist because Israel is everything that racists in Europe and America dream about in terms of an ethnocracy.

In the evening there was a large, overflowing meeting of the new Jewish Voice for Labour.  I have been a critic of the organisation in terms of its reluctance to openly embrace an openly Palestinian stance and the Right of Return, as well as opposition to the witch hunt but there is no doubt that they had organised a very successful meeting. But as Graham Bash of Labour Briefing put it, it was a historic meeting in terms of the Labour Party. I would estimate over 300 people attended the meeting.
There were a number of speakers including Sir Stephen Sedley, the former Court of Appeal Judge, who is himself Jewish, Avi Shlaim, the Israeli Professor of International Relations at Oxford University and a renowned historian, David Rosenberg of the Jewish Socialist Group and Naomi again with Jenny Manson chairing the meeting.

I thought Sedley and Avi Shlaim were somewhat disappointing and Avi Shlaim’s suggestion that Zionism was both a settler colonial movement and a movement of Jewish national liberation was bizarre.  Sedley’s speech was disappointing given his excellent article on the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition on anti-Semitism in London Review of Books.  Rosenberg’s speech was solid and factual harking back to the days of the Bund in Poland when there was a socialist working class Jewish organisation which was anti-Zionist.  His point that the essence of being Jewish was to oppose oppression was well taken.
How Tory blogger Guido Fawkes     saw it
A number of us including Stephen Marks and myself spoke from the floor.  Ken Loach came to the meeting and was immediately co opted onto the platform where he made an impromptu speech.  Ken has been a long standing supporter of Palestine and produced the play Perdition, which dealt with the collaboration of the Zionists with the Nazis in Hungary a quarter of a century ago.  What was most remarkable about the meeting was not only the consensus among people that the anti-Semitism witch hunt and smearing of people by Zionists in the Labour Party had to stop but the attendance of two union leaders, Len McLuskey of UNITE and Tosh MacDonald of ASLEF.  Both union leaders spoke and both promised to recommend to their unions that they affiliate to the JVL.  This is quite remarkable as this means recognition by a significant section of the labour movement that they are no longer prepared to put up with the snide smearing attacks by the Zionists on ordinary members of the Labour Party as ‘anti-Semitic’ for having the temerity to support the Palestinians.
I stopped the notorious David Collier, who tries to secretly record meetings in order to ‘prove’ that they are anti-Semitic, from entering the JVL meeting.  No doubt this will be written up as him having been stopped because he was Jewish but in view of the name of the group and the fact that all the main speakers bar Ken Loach was Jewish this nonsense is not going to wash.

After the JLV meeting ended there was an excellent performance by Jackie Walker of her political play The Lynching to a packed audience of over 200 people.  Jackie depicted how she has been treated by the racists in the Jewish Labour Movement, the Zionists and the press over what, as she made clear, was her omission of one word in a private conversation with a friend on Facebook.  Jackie said 'Many Jews (my ancestors among them) were the chief financiers of the slave trade' omitting the word ‘among’.  She has been pilloried and subject to vicious Nazi like attacks by Zionists who have questioned her Jewishness.  As Stephen Marks remarked in his speech in the JVL meeting Jackie is Jewish enough to have perished in Hitler’s gas chambers and she is Jewish enough to qualify to emigrate to Israel and claim citizenship.  It was a heartfelt performance and people were very moved by the vicious treatment of Jackie who, notwithstanding this, has managed to come out of it with her head held high.  It is clearly time that the Labour Party ended this charade and persecution of a fine Black comrade and that the racists of the Jewish Labour Movement were sent packing.   It is very appropriate that the performance was named The Lynching.

Similar treatment was handed out to Black anti-racist activist Marc Wadsworth at the press conference of Shami Chakrabarti.  Marc accused the detestable Labour MP Ruth Smeeth of working hand in glove with The Telegraph.  Smeeth is described in Wikileaks by the US Embassy here as an ‘asset’ and so she is.  She falsely alleged that at the press conference she had been subject to an ‘anti-Semitic’ attack by Marc however an examination of the recordings showed that Marc made no mention of Jewish.  Unsurprisingly since he didn’t know she was Jewish.  She was just another obnoxious right-winger to him.
Sir Stephen Sedley, former Court of Appeal Judge and Jewish
What is clear from the comments of Len McLuskey and Tosh MacDonald is that trade unionists don’t accept the nonsense that the JLM represents Jews.

At the end of Jackie’s performance Miko Peled gave another stirring speech outlining why Israel is a racist state and Zionism a settler colonial ideology.  There can be few people who left the meeting not fully cognisant of why it is a matter of some shame that the JLM is still affiliated to an openly racist party.  The privileged position of the JLM, despite their right-wing supporters, has to end.  There is no justification for an emanation of the Israeli state to have privileges inside the Labour Party that no other state has.  Because Israel is an apartheid state there is even less reason for the JLM to have any representation inside Labour.  The JLM doesn’t represent Jews in the Labour Party it represents Zionists – Jewish and non-Jewish.

Let us hope that Jeremy Corbyn reverts back to the politics he held in 1984 when he chaired the Labour Movement Campaign on Palestine conference which called for the breaking of links between the Labour Party and what was then Poale Zion.  His dalliance with those who detest him (the JLM voted 92-4% for Owen Smith last year) is nothing more than appeasement and the lesson of appeasement, be it of Zionists or Nazis is that it doesn’t pay.

All in all a good day for anti-Zionists in the Labour Party.  Not surprisingly the Tory blog Guide Fawkes immediately went onto the attack in support of their Zionist friends.  Let us hope that Corbyn and Lansman, who has played a disgraceful role in Momentum in support of the JLM, draw some conclusions from what happened.  They ran an article Labour Fringe:  Expel Jewish Group from Party, Israel like Nazis.  It contained all the usual slurs including an attack on the ‘notorious Tony Greenstein’!  It is an honour to be attacked by these Tory vipers.  It is no surprise that the JLM and Labour Friends of Israel receive support from right-wing Tories.  Birds of a feather and all that.
Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi’s Speech to Labour Party conference can be seen here  and there is a transcription below: 

Naomi: Thank you, thank you Chair. My name is Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi. Despite my grey hairs I am a virgin in terms of the Conference, first-time delegate, hooray. I'm from Chingford & Woodford Green, the newly marginal constituency, where we are going to unseat Iain Duncan Smith. [loud cheers and applause] Thank you, but don't take up too much of my three minutes. Come and help us bring about a sweet Portillo moment, when the time comes.

Now, I'm here today because although I care deeply about Brexit and the debate has been excellent in some respects, I want to welcome the insertion into the NPF Annual Report section on the Middle East of the key paragraph from our ground-breaking Manifesto which referred to Israel's occupation and settlement of Palestinian land [cheers and applause]. I am so pleased that this section has been put back in after being inexplicably omitted from the NPF Report. Let me tell you my perspective on this. I'm Jewish; I come from the tradition of anti-racist and anti-colonialist struggle, a Socialist Labour tradition of international solidarity with oppressed people. [applause] This is not some meaningless David Sparks slogan out of the pages of Private Eye. It's a fundamental feature of our traditions as a party committed to justice and equality.
JVL Meeting
Oppression and discrimination are rampant in today's world. So why Palestine? Well it's not only that this year marks 50 years of Israeli occupation and illegal settlement. It's not only that this year marks 10 years of the siege of Gaza with intermittent military onslaughts against its people. This year also marks 100 years since the Balfour Declaration, when a British foreign secretary promised the land of Palestine to the Jewish people, my people. The civil rights of the existing population, that's the Palestinians, were meant to be protected, but that turned out to be an empty promise. We Brits, all of us, have a responsibility for what occurred. Despite huge misgivings and even outright opposition from many Jews, our leaders, British leaders, facilitated founding a state which privileges Jews such as myself over non-Jews. [applause] Thank you. I've only got half a minute. Seventy years ago, 750,000 Palestinians were driven from their homes in what for them was a catastrophe, that they call the Nakba. More than 450 towns and villages were destroyed, the world's longest-running refugee population was created. We Brits need to take responsibility for the on-going Palestinian tragedy dating from Balfour's pledge.

So in this Policy Report we call for an end to Israel's blockade on Gaza, an end to occupation and settlements [loud cheering and applause -warned that her time is up she says: damn, I'm nearly there, nearly there, thanks - more applause - OK, I've got two more sentences and my time is up, so please indulge me] and endorsement of a Palestinian state. This is the very least that we should be doing. I say this as a Jew, as an anti-racist and as a dedicated member of this revived Socialist internationalist Labour Party. And Comrades, I'm not an anti-Semite, [cheering] and Conference, and Conference, this party does not have a problem with Jews. Thank you. [prolonged cheering, applause, standing ovation] [4:45' duration of speech]
Len McLuskey at JVL Meeting
Jacky Walker' The Lynching