Monday, 19 February 2018

Tony Greenstein - Expelled for Opposing Zionism and the Israeli State – The Fight Goes On

Racists Celebrate as the Labour Right and the Zionists Gets Their First Victim

The day began brightly enough with a lively picket of the Metropole Hotel in Brighton as Labour’s National Constitutional Committee met to decide whether to expel me for my support of the Palestinians and opposition to Zionism.  It is of course appropriate that as someone who is Jewish that I should be one of the major casualties of the false anti-Semitism witchhunt.  The allegations of ‘anti-Semitism’ in the Labour Party have nothing to do with anti-Semitism and everything to do with opposition to the racist creed of Zionism and support for the Palestinians.

My thanks to Debbie Hobson from Grassroots Black Left for being my silent witness.  Thanks also to Marc Wadsworth, another of those victimised and suspended by the Labour Party for opposing racism and to all those in Brighton and Hove Momentum and comrades for turning out.  Even Simon Cobbs of Sussex Friends of Israel, in a unique and comradely gesture, turned out to give his support, however fleetingly, to me.  
I was suspended nearly 2 years ago for comments I was alleged to make.  The Skeleton argument argument of the NEC’s barrister, one Mr Ogg, admitted that all the charges related to events that took place after I had been suspended.  In other words I was originally suspended without just cause yet despite this the NCC saw no problem in continuing.  Why?  Because as part of its Guidelines, Appendix 6D to the Rules of the Labour Party (which are actually not part of the rules!) stipulates that the NCC must ignore everything that happens prior to the issuing of charges.  This is the ‘turning a blind eye’ clause.  It states that:
The NCC is entitled to (and will) act on the basis that the charges are properly brought before them and cannot become embroiled in dealing with complaints about the administration of any investigation leading to the charges. Any such complaint will therefore not be entertained by the NCC or panel thereof unless it is material or relevant to the consideration of the evidence to be used by the presenter in support of the charges.

This enables the NCC to ignore any injustice, breach of the rules, leaking to the press etc. that occurs.  Of course the NCC is also bound to act fairly under Chapter 1, Clause IX (4) of the Rules, which are part of the Labour Party constitution and also to modify the Guidelines as it sees fit but the NCC chooses to interpret its remit narrowly and against the interests of natural justice.  That was why I was forced to obtain an injunction against the Labour Party on December 7th preventing them from holding a rushed hearing.

The charges which were brought, as the barrister for the Labour Party was at pains to point out, were not that I was anti-Semitic although of course the Zionists will pretend otherwise. My ‘crime’ in essence was the abuse of racists and Zionists (or Zios) in the Labour Party including that detestable supporter of Palestinian child abuse, Louise Ellman.
Ivor Caplin - war criminal and former Junior Defence Minister
A Mr Ogg, the Labour Party barrister gave a long 2 hour + speech which was the equivalent of watching paint dry.  My own speech was much shorter and to the point.  I made it clear that I regretted nothing.  I was accused of insinuating, when accusing the execrable MP for Liverpool Riverside, Louise Ellman of supporting the abuse of Palestinian children, that she therefore supported sexual abuse of those children.  Although this wasn’t directly true I made it clear in my submission that the abuse of Palestinian children was often sexual in nature and that Ellman had never spoken out against this treatment.  On the contrary she supported everything Israel did in the name of ‘security’.
The NCC under Maggie Cosins who chaired the hearing has repeatedly ignored the question of fairness, in my case trying to rush a hearing after a 20 month suspension.  The other 2 wing members of the NCC included a Gordon (?) Fairbrother of the Community Union.  As I pointed out this right-wing union was the only one to affiliate to Trades Union Friends of Israel.  So the verdict was no surprise.  Unfortunately Emina Ibrahim, who was elected as part of the Left, also supported the Right on the NCC and seems incapable of standing up to the Right by herself.
As I told the Committee when beginning my response, an old time friend, Graham Bash rang me this morning and said that he reckoned I had a 1% of chance of not being expelled to which I responded that the odds probably weren’t that high!  Ogg argued that I was not being expelled for my views but for abusing racists and right-wingers online.  However the bundle of papers prepared for the hearing demonstrated that this was a lie.  Statements such as ‘Israel is a settler colonial state’ were highlighted in an article dealing with the eviction of a Bedouin village Umm al-Hiran in Israel’s Negev.  Although dressed up in procedural terms, my expulsion was for my anti-Zionist politics. 

That is why the Southern organiser for the Jewish Labour Movement, junior war criminal and former Defence Minister Ivor Caplin welcomed my expulsion.  My expulsion and the proposed expulsion of Marc Wadsworth and Jackie Walker are nothing less than an attempt by the Right and the Zionists in the Party to purge the party of socialists and anti-imperialists.  The fight will go on for my reinstatement and the acquittal of both Mark and Jackie.  It is not we but the Jewish Labour Movement, the apologists for the deportation of African refugees from Israel for the ‘crime of being Black and not Jewish, who deserve to be expelled.

It is ironic that at the same time as I am expelled for anti-Zionism and anti-racism, Labour’s Crooked General Secretary McNicol has declared that the charges against the JLM’s former Chair Jeremy Newmark of having defrauded a Jewish charity of thousands of pounds are a ‘private’ matter. 
The right-wing Huff Post, the Jewish Chronicle, Jewish News and no doubt others will be celebrating as Labour’s witch-hunt continues even whilst they keep quiet about the Jeremy Newmark scandal.  The Daily Mirror has managed to outdo even Marcus Dysch of the Jewish Chronicle in the number of mistakes it has made. 

Tony Greenstein 

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