17 October 2018

Open Letter to Brighton & Hove Green Councillors - Don't Betray the Palestinians

Hove Town Hall - Thurs 18 Oct at 3.30pm Demonstrate opposition to the city council's adoption of the IHRA definition of antisemitism

Like the Zionists, the Neo-Nazi Britain First accuse Black people, their victims, of racism - chants of 
'What do we want? Racist filth off our streets'

Open Letter to Brighton & Hove’s Green Councillors - Don't Betray the Palestinians – Don’t Support the IHRA 
Brighton and Hove Council will, barring a miracle, be another right-wing Labour Council to approve the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism come Thursday night. The arguments against it are very simple and are contained in the following posts:

Open Letter to Caroline Lucas - You can’t run with the Palestinian hare and hunt with the Zionist hounds – You are either with the Oppressed or the Oppressor

The Zionist poster that inverts the neo-Nazi message
In short. The definition, as a definition of anti-Semitism is not fit for purpose. It is 500+ words when the 6 words of the OED, ‘hostility to or prejudice against Jews’ are more than adequate. Anti-Semitism is a marginal form of racism in this country compared to Islamaphobia or racism against Roma or Black people yet the only form of racism that the Labour Party and the Tories are concerned about is ‘anti-Semitism’. That in itself should be enough to put people on notice that the IHRA debate is not about Jews but Palestinians.
Hove Town Hall is the venue for the IHRA resolution
A coalition of 17 anti-racist groups wrote to the Council protesting against the adoption of the IHRA. There will be a large anti-racist demonstration outside the Council meeting at Hove Town Hall this Thursday at 3.30 p.m to protest this racist exceptionalism. It is supported by Brighton and Hove Trades Council, Brighton and Hove UNISON Local Government Branch, UNITE, Stand Up To Racism and many others.  If you are around please join us.
Below is an open letter to the Convenor/Leader of the Green Group, Phelim McCafferty. Phelim was, until recently, seen as being on the left of the local Greens after the disastrous Green Council (2011-2015) led by Jason Kitcat which entered into conflict with the Refuse workers and built what is now known as the Eyesore (I-360).
The IHRA is aimed at BDS
Phelim was, until he was elected to the Council a member of Brighton Palestine Solidarity Campaign. As someone who came from Derry, a nationalist stronghold in the north of Ireland which was the scene of Bloody Sunday and the Battle of the Bogside, Phelim of all people should know what the racism of settler-colonialism is about.
Phelim’s sponsorship of the IHRA resolution with the leader of the Conservative group, Tony Janio, is beyond parody.  The Tory party’s full name, as Theresa May emphasised when reaching her deal with the DUP, is the Conservative and Unionist Party. Not only is Phelim betraying the Palestinians but he is also betraying those he lived with and grew up with.
It is to be hoped that anti-racist Green councillors and those who support the Palestinians will break ranks with their opportunist leader and oppose this racist (and anti-Semitic) motion from the Tories and New Labour.
Tony Greenstein 
The Campaign Against Antisemitism demonstration outside Labour Party HQ - the real purpose of the IHRA campaign is the removal of Jeremy Corbyn
Open Letter to Phelim McCafferty and the Green Group on Brighton and Hove City Council
Dear Councillor,

Attached is an Open Letter to Phelim McCafferty, Convenor of the Green Group, who has co-sponsored a resolution on the IHRA to the Council meeting with Tony Janio, Tory group leader. I will not rehearse the arguments as to why the IHRA is unfit for purpose. You can read the arguments here and here.

Motion 34(2) on Hate Crime, which is the quid pro quo for this sordid deal, offers a ‘glossary of terms or definitions’ to help the victims of hate crimes!! 

The Zionists' 'antiracist' demonstration outside Parliament on March 26 that included Norman Tebbit and the DUP
Whatever else motivates the IHRA motion it is not anti-Semitism. Levels of racism against Muslims, Roma and other minorities are far higher than anti-Semitism, yet this is of no concern.

The real reason why this motion is being moved by right-wing Labour councillors, many of whom won’t be there after next May, is Jeremy Corbyn. It is part of an internal battle in the Labour Party. That is why the Tories are so keen to support the IHRA. It is shameful that the Greens should be prepared to join those who went to war in Iraq, demonised asylum seekers and supported the 2014 Immigration Act which led to the Windrush Scandal.

Jeremy Corbyn is the real target of the IHRA resolutions
Anti-Semitism in Britain is not a form of state racism. Jews are not deported, they don’t die in Police custody, they are not subject to deportation as Jews nor do they bear the brunt of racial violence.
Jews and ‘anti-Semitism’ is being used as a convenient stick with which to beat the Left The same happened with leftist regimes in South America. I am surprised that Green councillors, especially in view of the refusal last week of your Conference to agree to the IHRA, should be supporting the IHRA which, in so far as it defines Jews as a separate people, is itself anti-Semitic.
I hope that there will be sufficient anti-racist Green councillors this Thursday prepared to rebel against Phelim McCafferty’s appeasement of the local political establishment.
Tony Greenstein 
Phelim McCafferty in more radical days alongside Caroline Lucas MP

Dear Phelim,

I am writing to you regarding your decision to jointly sponsor with Tony Janio, Leader of the Conservative Group, the IHRA motion to Council this Thursday.

I have lived in Brighton for over 40 years. During that time I cannot remember having experienced a single instance of anti-Semitism other than from supporters of Israel/Zionism, for whom I am a ‘traitor’ (to Israel presumably). 

As a founder of Brighton & Hove Anti-Fascist Committee and then Secretary of the Anti-Nazi League I helped lead the fight against the National Front and assorted fascist groups. We did not need a 500+ word definition of anti-Semitism in order to recognise what it was we were fighting. Nor do I recall your new found friends in the Tory Party giving us any support.  Quite the contrary they defended the ‘freedom of speech’ of the fascists!

This was a time when the Tory MP for Brighton Pavilion, Julian Amery, was an open supporter of Apartheid in South Africa and a member of the Monday Club.
What I do remember though is the death of Jay Abadan and the abysmal failure of a racist police force in Brighton to investigate the case. I also remember the failure of the same police force to prevent the racial harassment of the Degayes family which led directly to the sons joining jihadist forces in Syria and to their deaths.

Orthodox Jews demonstrate their opposition to the IHRA outside Labour Party HQ
Anti-IHRA demonstration outside Labour Party HQ - prominent is Brighton and Hove Momentum and IJAN
Why is it that anti-Semitism is such a pressing concern when racism against Muslims and Roma is between 4 and 6½  times higher? I have included a chart from the Pew Research Centre above since you seem to have difficulty comprehending the written word.

I wrote to you last week concerning the IHRA definition and how it has been savaged by people like the Jewish former Court of Appeal Judge, Sir Stephen Sedley, Hugh Tomlinson QC and Geoffrey Robertson QC, who called it ‘unfit for purpose’.
You chose not to respond to either myself or the Secretary of Brighton and Hove Palestine Solidarity Campaign. I can well understand your embarrassment. When you were elected you pledged to do all you could to support the Palestinians. Supporting a definition of anti-Semitism which brands criticism of Zionism as anti-Semitic is a strange form of support.

What I cannot understand is how you can join forces with the Conservatives on a matter such as anti-racism. Do you really think that the party which introduced the 1905 Aliens Act to keep out Jewish refugees from the pogroms or which set its face against the admission of Jewish refugees from Nazism has changed its spots? Is the Tory Party today refugee friendly?

In 2014 the Conservatives introduced an Immigration Act whose purpose was to create a ‘hostile environment’ for asylum seekers fleeing persecution. 

In that time at least 70 and possibly hundreds of Black British citizens have been deported. New Labour, which is proposing the IHRA resolution, gave the Bill its tacit support in the House of Commons by abstaining. Jeremy Corbyn was one of 8 Labour MPs to break the whip and vote against the Bill, as was Caroline Lucas.
Have you asked your new found friend Tony Janio whether he and the Tory group now support the repeal of this racist Act or is their opposition to racism only confined to anti-Semitism?  If the latter is the case has it ever occurred to you that this motion is more about opposition to Jeremy Corbyn and support for Israel than concern about anti-Jewish racism?
You used to live in Derry in Northern Ireland. You will no doubt remember the presence of British colonial troops and the anti-Irish racism that the British presence engendered. People back in Ireland will find it difficult to understand why you have joined forces with the Conservative and Unionist party, to give it its full title. The same party that is in alliance nationally with the DUP.
Perhaps I should remind you that the British sponsored not only Protestant Supremacy in Ireland but Jewish Supremacy (Zionism) in Palestine. As Ronald Storres, the first Military Governor of Jerusalem wrote in Orientations, a Jewish state was seen as “a little loyal Jewish Ulster in a sea of hostile Arabism.
What the IHRA is really about is branding as ‘anti-Semitic’ those who are anti-racist. This is not a new phenomenon. The National Front and BNP used to run ‘Rights for Whites’ campaigns. Only a few days ago the neo-Nazi Britain First group held a demonstration outside Didsbury Mosque in Manchester and chanted ‘racist scum off our street’ to Muslims. You can view the video here.
Both you and the Green Group on Brighton and Hove Council have two days in which to reconsider your decision to hold hands with the Tories and New Labour in proposing a definition of anti-Semitism which is incoherent, contradictory, a threat to freedom of speech as well as being anti-Semitic.  I hope you choose wisely.
Tony Greenstein 

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