Open Letter to Len Duvall, Labour’s Racist Leader in the Greater London Assembly

Open Letter to Len Duvall, Labour’s Racist Leader in the Greater London Assembly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Post-Blog

Forward, America’s oldest and most influential Jewish magazine, which is liberal Zionist is baffled at the warm reception for Trump and Bannon by Zionist and Israeli leaders – not something that idiot Duvall is even aware of

Labour’s Greater London Assembly
Members Support Israeli Apartheid 
in the fight against ‘Anti-Semitism’
On
February 8th Labour’s Greater London Assembly members voted to
support the International Holocaust
Remembrance Alliance
definition of ‘anti-Semitism’ that Theresa May’s
government has recently
adopted
.  The IHRA definition conflates
hostility to Israel’s Apartheid regime and anti-Semitism.  It also takes 493 words to do it. 

The witless racist who leads the Labour group on the Greater London Assembly believes democracy and apartheid are compatible

In
response Mike Cushman of Free Speech on Israel protested that the decision of the Labour
group, at the behest of Andrew Dismore, a prominent member of Labour Friends of
Israel, called into question ‘the
Assembly’s commitment to freedom of speech’. 
GLA gets
it so very wrong on antisemitism

There
is of course a much simpler definition of anti-Semitism, hatred of Jews as Jews,
which is what most people understand by anti-Semitism.  Dr Brian Klug of Oxford University, an academic
expert on anti-Semitism drew up a simple definition of anti-Semitism.  In his lecture
What Do We Mean When We Say
‘Antisemitsm’? Echoes of shattering glass’
given at the Conference “Antisemitism in Europe Today: the
Phenomena, the Conflicts
” which was held on the anniversary of
Kristallnacht, in 2014, at the Jewish Museum, Berlin, Klug came up with a 20
word definition of anti-Semitism: Anti-Semitism is:
a form of
hostility towards Jews as Jews, in which Jews are perceived as something other
than what they are.
A Rogue’s Gallery – Not a Socialist or an Anti-racist Amongst Them 
Klug went
on to explain that anti-Semitism was really ‘hostility
towards Jews as not Jews. For the ‘Jew’ towards whom the antisemite feels
hostile is not a real Jew at all. Thinking that Jews are really ‘Jews’ is
precisely the core of antisemitism.’
[see
The collective Jew: Israel and
the new anti-Semitism, Patterns of Prejudice, Vol. 37, No. 2, June 2003, Routledge
(Taylor & Francis Group)

The
problem with this definition, for Zionists anyway, is that nowhere does it
mention the State of Israel!  Hence why
the IHRA definition was first proposed by the House of
Commons Home Affairs Select Committee in a Report  Anti-Semitism
in the UK
. [see my Manufacturing
Consent On ‘Anti-Semitism
.  The
Report was a combined attack by Labour right-wingers Chuku Ummuna and David
Winnick and Tory members of the Committee on Jeremy Corbyn.
The
response to Mike Cushman from Len Duvall, the leader of the Assembly Labour group,
could have been written (and possibly was) by Israel’s Ambassador in London,
Mark Regev, the slick former PR spokesman for Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. 

This is a good example of Duvall’s Israeli democracy – a debate on whether to let Israeli state land (93% of all land in Israel) to non-Jews.  Racist?  Perish the thought Len
Duvall’s
reply is classic hasbara (propaganda).
 Israel is ‘a fully functioning and vibrant
participatory democracy
.  I therefore decided it would be useful to
write him an Open Letter.  Not in the
hope of convincing him.  Duvall is a
convinced racist who sees nothing wrong in a Jewish supremacist settler
colonial state founded on ethnic cleansing. 
To him that is ‘democracy’ – Duvall is no different from previous labour
imperialists and colonial apologists. 
However I hope to enlighten others.
When looking
for the names of members of the GLA Labour Group I noticed one particular name,
Unmesh Desai, the member for Newham.  I
remember Unmesh from the 1980’s when both of us were on the Executive of
Anti-Fascist Action.  Both of us went on numerous
anti-fascist actions together, many of which ended up in confrontations with
the National Front and assorted neo-Nazi thugs. 
Unmesh was a supporter of the Newham Monitoring Group, an anti-racist
group that was at the forefront of the conflict with the racist Metropolitan
Police.  It’s quite sad to see someone
swap their previous principles for the trappings of office and the salary and
perks that come with it.
Tony
Greenstein
Andrew Dismore – Labour Friends of Israel member who moved the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism
Open Letter to Len Duvall, the Racist Leader of Labour in the Greater London Assembly
Without Anti-Semitism There is no Zionism
Dear Mr
Duvall,
I read
with interest your response to Mike Cushman of Free Speech on Israel.  Mike wrote to you concerning the Labour group’s
support for the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of
anti-Semitism. 
This
definition of ‘anti-Semitism’ was drawn up by 31 governments including the
far-Right anti-Semitic governments of Poland and Hungary, amongst others.   The Hungarian government under Victor Orban,
which is viciously hostile to refugees, combines anti-Semitism and Zionism.  It is consciously rewriting history to
portray Admiral Horthy, who presided over a puppet Nazi government in 1944,
which deported nearly ½ million Jews to Auschwitz, as a nationalist hero. [Rewriting
the history of the Hungarian Holocaust
]
You say
that the definition is ‘a fair
representation  of how Israel  can be criticised when necessary in a
reasonable way’.
  What has a
definition of anti-Semitism got to do with Israel?  Are you suggesting that British Jews bear a
responsibility for Israel’s actions?  If
not, why conflate the two?
You quote
the definition as saying that ‘‘criticism
of Israel similar to that levelled against any other country cannot be regarded
as anti-Semitic’.
  The whole point about
criticism of Israel is that it is not like other states.  It is the world’s only Apartheid state.
Unmesh Desai – from anti-fascist activist to New Labour sycophant
You also say
that criticism of Israel should not be ‘referring
back to the Holocaust’
.  Perhaps you
would tell that to Israel’s supporters who routinely justify Israel’s actions
on the basis of the Holocaust.  For
example Abba Eban, Israel’s former Foreign Minister described the Green Line
between Israel and the West Bank as an ‘Auschwitz
border’
.
I realise that your knowledge of Israel is probably gleaned from the briefings
and expenses paid trips that you have received from the Israeli Embassy,
however your muddled defence of Zionist racism is worthy of the Booker prize
for fiction.
You put
forward the view that ‘Anti -Semitism is fuelled by far right and far left
views’.  I understand our ignorance but anti-Semitism
has always been fought by the Left and supported by the Right.  Zionism has always been unique as a Jewish political
movement in that it accepted the idea that Jews didn’t belong in the countries.  Like the anti-Semites they believed Jews should
live in their ‘own’ state.  That was why
the only Jewish member of Lloyd George’s War Cabinet, Sir Edwin Montagu,
opposed the Balfour Declaration.  Historically
Zionism was seen as a form of Jewish anti-Semitism.

You refer
to the alt-Right and Donald Trump’s Strategic Advisor Steve Bannon who talks of
“cosmopolitan elites in the media”…
He means Jews.’  Yes you are right.  Perhaps you would care to explain then why
the Zionist Organisation of America welcomed
Bannon to its annual gala dinner in November?  

It was a demonstration organised by the anti-Zionist Jewish Voices for Peace and If Not Now that persuaded Bannon to
stay away. [see Ha’aretz’s ‘Zionist
Organization of America Flooded With ‘Dozens of Calls’ Amid Backlash Over
Bannon Support’
.  Ha’aretz’s subtitle
was ‘We did not survive the Holocaust, we
did not found the State of Israel, just so that less than two generations later
we could cozy up to neo-Nazis.’
  
According to your views above, Ha’aretz
must also be anti-Semitic.


Netanyahu
is fulsome in his support, not only for Donald Trump  but Steve Bannon. [Why
Netanyahu doesn’t worry about Steve Bannon

Isn’t it strange that the Jewish Prime Minister of a Jewish state welcomes
anti-Semites in the Trump administration. 
And not only Netanyahu but Israeli Labour’s Isaac Herzog. [Herzog to Trump: Your win shows elites are thing of
past
You see without anti-Semitism
there is no Zionism.
Your suggestion that the Left calls Israel a ‘Nazi state’ or
compares Israelis to SS murderers is simply untrue and I challenge you to back
up your lies.  There are though many
comparisons which can be made between Israel and Nazi Germany, especially in
the period before 1941.  The Palestinians are treated as an untermenschen.  When Israeli mobs march to the beat of ‘Death to the Arabs’ – maavet la’aravim] it does bear a
similarity to the chant of ‘Death to the
Jews’
that was commonplace in fascist Europe during the 1930’s.  Don’t you agree?
However the full measure of your racism, because turning a blind
eye to racism makes you equally guilty as those who practice it, is in your
assertion that ‘it is wrong to call Israel an ‘apartheid’ state.’  Apparently
it shows ‘real  disrespect and diminishes the sacrifices made by the
majority population in South Africa’.
This is
hypocritical cant.  It is South Africans
above all who make the comparison between Apartheid in South Africa and
Apartheid in Israel. The Jerusalem Post reported Archbishop
Desmond Tutu thus:
“I have witnessed the
systemic humiliation of Palestinian men, women and children by members of the
Israeli security forces.  Their
humiliation is familiar to all black South Africans who were corralled and
harassed and insulted and assaulted by the security forces of the apartheid
government.” 

Nor
is Desmond Tutu alone.  Ronnie Kassrills,
the ANC’s Jewish Police Minister noted, at South Africa’s Israel Apartheid Week
that it was the architect of apartheid, Dr. Hendrik Verwoerd who stated
that Israel was an Apartheid State.  That
was why Israel was South Africa’s best friend. 
Desmond
Tutu: Israel guilty of apartheid in treatment of Palestinians
You are
simply wrong when you state that Israel doesn’t enforce pass laws.  In fact its system of check points, databases
and ID cards in the West Bank is far worse than South Africa’s pass laws. 

You say
that in Israel incitement to racism is a criminal offence.  Not true. 
Jews are never penalised for
incitement to racism because their anti-racist laws exclude discrimination on
the grounds of religion.  Only Arabs are
ever prosecuted.  To this day the fascist
Lehava organisation, whose leader Benzi Gopstein called for the burning down of
mosques and churches remains free. 
Indeed the Israeli state funds Lehava’s ‘charitable’ wing, Hemla, which
campaigns against sexual relations between Arabs and Jews.  When
Nuremberg Came to Israel
Apparently
‘Every person in Israel has full
equal rights; 1.6 million Arab Israelis have the same rights as the 6.8
million Jewish Israelis’. 
Yes Israel’s
Arab population has the vote, but it is meaningless.  In nearly 70 years, no Arab party has ever
been part of Israel’s government.  Only
last week the Knesset passed a Bill which will prevent parties that don’t
accept that Israel is a Jewish state rather than a state of all its citizens
standing. Expanding
Political Persecution With an Amendment

You also
said that ‘Every person in Israel
has full equal rights; 1.6 million Arab Israelis have the same rights as
the 6.8 million Jewish Israelis…Israel is a fully functioning and
vibrant participatory democracy.’ 
It
is difficult to know where to begin when confronted with such nonsense.  Perhaps the best place is the Pew Research Centre Report Israel’s
Religiously Divided Society
.
In
this Report some 64% of Arabs said Israel could not be both a Jewish and a
democratic state (27% disagreed).  79% of
Israeli Arabs say there is a lot of discrimination as opposed to 74% of Jewish Israelis
who disagree.  No doubt you believe the
racists!  A plurality of Israeli Jews (48%)
support the physical expulsion or transfer of Arabs from Israel.  79% of Israeli Jews believe that Jews should
be given preferential treatment in comparison with Arabs.  Perhaps you would care to explain how this is
compatible with a free and equal society? 
To
give but one example of the equality you talk about, in Israel, despite a 10
fold population increase Israel’s Arabs are confined to the same area of land
(about 2%) that they occupied in 1948. 
There have been no new Arab towns. 
Planning applications are routinely rejected resulting in thousands of house
demolitions.  Half of the Arab villages
are ‘unrecognised’ which means that basic facilities – running water,
electricity, sewerage is not supplied. 
This would be unheard of for Israeli Jews.

Just
four weeks ago the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran was demolished and one
villager murdered by the Police in order to make way for a Jewish town, Hiran,
in its place.  This is the real meaning
of a Jewish state.  Israel’s Inhumane and
Stupid Bedouin Policy
You
compare Israel as a ‘Jewish’ state to Islamic states.  There is one difference.  In Israel to be Jewish means to be privileged,
like being White in South Africa.  In Iran,
Saudi Arabia etc. Islam is used as a means of justifying the oppression of
Muslims. 
The
Labour Party has a long history of supporting colonialism, including in South
Africa.  It is no surprise that you
should continue this inglorious tradition with your racist apologia for Israeli
Apartheid.  What is surprising is that
the Black Assembly members should go along with what you wrote.  I can only assume that the perks and salary go
some way to alleviating their consciences.
Yours
fraternally,
Tony
Greenstein
Response from Len Duvall to Mike Cushman of Free Speech on Israel

Good
morning
This is
the response which is on behalf of the Labour Group.
Thank you
for your email  about the anti -Semitism motion.
I believe
this represents mainstream Jewish opinion about anti- Semitism and is a fair
representation  of how Israel  can be criticised when necessary in a
reasonable way. The motion says in terms:
‘criticism
of Israel similar to that levelled against any other country cannot be regarded
as anti-Semitic’.

Of
course, there are minorities within the Jewish and other  communities
 who will disagree from both a fundamentalist religious viewpoint and from
an anti- Zionist  left view, but  I think criticisms of Israel should
be expressed in a way that does not encourage or reflect anti – Semitic
tropes, especially referring back to the Holocaust.
Anti
-Semitism is fuelled by far right and far left views, in my opinion. On the
right, believers that the world is engaged in a clash of cultures approve 
of a strong Jewish state in the Middle East – they support  Israeli
settlement building as part of a generational struggle rooted in Islamophobia.
These same groups on the right hold in disdain the majority of diaspora Jews, who
are overwhelmingly centrist liberals and generally do not support parties of
the far right or far left  especially in the UK and North America.
This in
the eyes of the alt-right  makes them enemies of their national projects.
For example Steve Bannon, chief strategist to President Trump is on record
using various demeaning terms about Jews.  When he refers to a shadowy
group of “cosmopolitan elites in the media that live in a handful of larger
cities.” He means Jews.  At a meeting of Jewish Republicans, President
Trump stated how honoured he was to be in a room of ‘great negotiators’ and
then went on to suggest that they wouldn’t like him because he doesn’t want
their money. Another anti-Semitic trope.
And
 when people from the left proclaim  that Israel is a Nazi state or
compare Israelis to SS murderers, they are using the most horrific and personal
imagery to Jewish people. To do so is not only anti-Semitic in itself, but also
downplays the significance of the Holocaust and  the suffering of its
victims and  survivors.
Equally
it is wrong to call Israel an ‘apartheid’ state. To do so is not merely a
sloppy and inaccurate analysis, it shows real  disrespect and diminishes
the sacrifices made by the majority population in South Africa, to obtain the
rights all Israelis have.
Israel
does not deny Arab Israelis voting rights, nor enforce pass laws, nor insist,
unlike Apartheid South Africa’s Afrikaans rules, that Hebrew should be the
medium in schools.
Every
person in Israel has full equal rights; 1.6 million Arab Israelis
have the same rights as the 6.8 million Jewish Israelis; in Israel incitement
to racism is a criminal offence; people have freedom of association, freedom of
expression, freedom of religion, freedom of speech and they enjoy universal
adult suffrage.
Israel is
a place where women enjoy equality, religious minorities are free to practice
their faiths, the media is unfettered and critical, an independent judiciary
protects the powerless from the powerful, educational excellence and scientific
innovation are pursued and a welfare state supports the poor.
Israel
is a fully functioning and vibrant participatory democracy.
By the
same token, any criticisms of Muslim states and the activities of the
Palestinian Authority  should be measured, though many of those who
demonise   Israel seem willing to turn a blind eye to them.
Those who
criticise Israel as a ‘Jewish’ state should reflect  that whilst this does
not form part of the country’s official name, ‘Islamic’ is  part of the
official name of  quite a number  of countries; they  expelled
their Jewish communities 60 years ago, (incidentally  in far greater
numbers than displaced Palestinians), do not allow Jews to visit , do not
promote religious  tolerance, criminalise homosexuals, have restrictions
on the media, deny rights to women and are not functioning democracies
Such
criticisms  can be advanced, as I just have,  without recourse to the
insulting language that some critics of Israel feel they are free to 
deploy against Israel.
Best
wishes
Len
Len Duvall
AM
FSOI letter to all GLA members

 Jewish led Free Speech group says
London Assembly antisemitism vote is “A charter for censors”
Dear
Assembly Member
We would
like to draw your attention to this statement from the Jewish-led Free Speech on Israel
campaign regarding the motion on antisemitism passed by the London Assembly on
Feb 8.
In the
statement, the group points out the worrying implications of the position the
Assembly has taken – a position that could call into question the Assembly’s
commitment to freedom of speech.
We invite
you to look more carefully at the decision you made at the behest of Andrew
Dismore, a prominent member of the lobby group Labour Friends of Israel.
briefing document from Free Speech on Israel explains how
equating anti-Zionism (a valid political position) and antisemitism (a noxious
form of race hatred) constrains discourse about Palestine under the rubric
of protecting Jews from antisemitism. This can only have the unintended
consequence of stoking new hostility to Jews who may be seen as attempting to
determine what non-Jews may or may not say about a foreign state.
We have a
large number of London-based Jewish members who would welcome the opportunity
to talk to you, individually or as a group, about this important subject.
Yours
faithfully,

Mike
Cushman
for FSOI

 

 

 

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