Ken Livingstone’s Fainthearted Friends at the Morning Star, Socialist Worker & the Jewish Socialists Group

Ken Livingstone’s Fainthearted Friends at the Morning Star, Socialist Worker & the Jewish Socialists Group

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Post-Blog

Lansman & Owen Jones Attacks on Livingstone Only Helps Tom Watson

The Right has begun to smell blood. 
Corbyn was himself originally accused of anti-Semitism by consorting
with holocaust deniers such as Paul Eisen. 
He has been under attack by the Zionist lobby since day one.  See for example Jeremy
Corbyn’s ‘long-standing links’ with notorious Holocaust denier
  ‘Anti-Semitism’ has been the Right’s chosen
weapon. 

Letters in Morning Star objecting to their editorial

No one of course could point to anything actually ‘anti-Semitic’ that
Corbyn said hence why they have directed their attention on to the one person
who best exemplifies the fight against racism in the Labour Party.  Noone did more, at the Greater London Council
to support and fund anti-racist initiatives than Ken Livingstone, as David
Rosenburg of the JSG admits in his flabby and shallow article for the Morning
Star. A
Row With Its Roots in the Thatcher Years

Under relentless attack from the Right and the Zionists, Corbyn has
abandoned the Palestinian cause and 30 years of support for the Palestinians which
included at least 6 visits to Palestine. 
At a Jewish Labour Movement debate last summer between Corbyn and Owen
Smith when asked what he liked most about Israel, Corbyn could have mentioned
child torture, mobs who chant ‘Death to the Arabs’, banning of Arabs from 93%
of the land in Israel, a starvation siege of Gaza etc. etc.  He was spoilt for choice.  Instead he said:
I admire the verve and spirit of the
towns and cities in Israel – the life and the way people conduct themselves, I
admire the separation of legal and political powers and the system of
democratic government that is there and I admire many of the technical and
industrial achievements that Israel has made and its very advanced technology
in so many way that it has developed in medical and telecommunications
technology.  
Dave Rosenberg of the Jewish Socialists Group article in the Morning Star attacking Ken Livingstone whilst purporting to support him

Why has there been this political collapse?  Because in supporting a 2 state solution,
Corbyn was also supporting Israel as it is. 
Support for Israel is support for the Right of the Labour Party in the
UK.  Why? 
Because Israel is the United States racist rotweiller in the Middle
East.  If your foreign policy is based on
the alliance with the US then it must involve uncritical support for Israel.

Given that Corbyn was himself originally attacked as an anti-Semite,
not only by the Daily Mail but by The Guardian’s Jonathan Freedland Labour
and the left have an antisemitism problem
it is sad that he cannot
see that bogus allegations of ‘anti-Semitism’ are a weapon of the Right.  The bigger a lie and the more often it is repeated
the more it is likely to be believed.

The Right is quite open about what they desire.   A crowd-funding appeal has now been launched
under the title ‘Expel
Ken #Corbyn Out’
.   These are
supporters of the only apartheid state in the world, Israel.  When Tom Watson calls for the expulsion of
Livingstone that is code for the removal of Corbyn.  
It is therefore to be regretted that the Morning Star, the only Left
daily, has equivocated in its support.  In
Fresh
bid to attack the left
it
speaks of the ‘real offence’ caused when the Nazis ‘are compared
to or associated with their victims’. 
Except of course that Livingstone didn’t
compare the Nazis to their victims. 
What he did was say that the Nazi state and Hitler supported Zionism, a
political movement.  Zionism in Germany
was a tiny minority of German Jews.  It
is a fact that the Nazis saw the
Zionists as volkish (racial) Jews.  
The paper of the German Zionist Federation welcomes the Nuremburg Laws
On September 17th 1935, the paper of the German Zionist
Federation welcomed the Nuremburg Laws which removed German citizenship
from Jews and effectively made them stateless. 
Judische Rundschau wrote
that:
Germany
… is meeting the demands of the International Zionist Congress when it
declares the Jews now living in Germany to be a national minority. Once the Jews have been stamped a
national minority
it
is again possible to establish normal relations between the German Nation and
Jewry. The new Laws give the Jewish minority in Germany their own cultural
life, their own national life. In future they will be able to shape their own
schools, their own theater, their own sports associations; in short, they can
create their own future in all aspects of national life.
On
the other hand, it is evident that from now on and for the future there can be no interference in questions connected with the
Government of the German people… for Jewry in Germany itself, as for the
Germans. Germany has given the Jewish minority the opportunity to live for
itself and is offering State protection for this separate life of the Jewish
minority: Jewry’s process of growth into a nation will thereby be encouraged
and a contribution will be made to the establishment of more tolerable
relations between the two nations.
Francis Nicosia’s Zionism and anti-Semitism in Nazi Germany

The German Zionists, as was the case with the rest of the Zionist movement,
believed that Jews were not part of the German people.  They were part of a separate Jewish nation.  It was therefore quite reasonable for the
Nazis to say that Jews should play no part in German society.  It was a position rejected by the overwhelming
majority of German Jews but it was music to the ears of the Nazis.  Alfred Rosenberg, the principal Nazi
theoretician, who was hanged at Nuremburg, was fond of quoting the Zionists to
support what the Nazis said.  As Francis
Nicosia, Professor of Holocaust Studies at Vermont University noted, Rosenberg

 ‘intended to use
Zionism as a legal justification for depriving German Jews of their civil
rights.’  He ‘sanctioned the use of the
Zionist movement in the future drive to eliminate Jewish rights, Jewish influence
and eventually the Jewish presence in Germany.’ [Nicosia, The Third Reich and
the Palestine Question, pp. 25-26.  See
also Edwin Black p. 173, The Transfer Agreement]

In his book The
Final Solution
(Pan Macmillan) 2016 (p.96)
Professor David Cesarani quotes from a 1934 Gestapo
report: “The efforts of the Gestapo are
oriented to promoting Zionism as much as possible and lending support to its
efforts to further emigration.” 

Having made one blunder, the Morning Star went on to concede
the Right’s case when it said that ‘Livingstone
should have acknowledged this and apologised
’.   Why should anyone apologise because telling
the truth has offended them?  It is a
fact that the Zionists played a quisling role in the Jewish community in
Germany (& elsewhere) during the Holocaust.
Having made this concession to the Right the Morning Star then concluded
that It is outrageous that
the most consistent and principled anti-racist ever to lead the Labour Party
has been constantly harassed by bogus accusations of anti-semitism — which are
clearly inspired by fear of the effect a supporter of the rights of the
dispossessed Palestinian people could have on British foreign policy if he
becomes prime minister.’

That is of course correct – these are bogus accusations which is why
it is even more stupid of the Morning Star to give the time of day to their
validity.
The real problem for the Morning Star is that it follows in the
traditions of Stalinism, which in 1948 supported the establishment of the
Israeli state and thus the legitimacy of the Nakba.  The Morning Star might be a supporter of the
Palestinians but it refuses to oppose Zionism, the movement and ideology which
created a settler-colonial state in the Middle East.
Jewish Socialist Group’s
David Rosenberg Damns Livingstone with Feint Praise
It took a long campaign by
this blog before the JSG finally came off the fence and in support of Jackie
Walker [The
Strange Silence of the Jewish Socialists Group
] , the Black-Jewish woman who was suspended
for ‘anti-Semitism’. [The
lynching of Jackie Walker
]. 
David Rosenberg has now done
a wobble on Ken Livingstone too, in the Morning
Star
.  Whilst welcoming the fact that
Livingstone wasn’t expelled, Rosenberg says that he ‘ought to have avoided a sorry affair which hasn’t helped Corbyn’
thus missing the whole point of the affair which was that Livingstone’s
unremarkable opinions were deliberately blown up by the right-wing in the
Labour Party.  Whatever he said would
have been magnified. 
As Kipling’s poem Dane-geld
put it ‘”once you have paid him the Danegeld/ You never get rid of the
Dane.”
  In other words when you
pay off a blackmailer you just encourage them to continue.  The more the Zionists and the Labour Right
have been appeased over ‘anti-Semitism’ the greater the incentive for them to
continue.
Rosenberg
accepts that ‘Under Ken Livingstone’s visionary leadership from
1981, the GLC railed against both discriminatory practices and the mindset
supporting them — racist, sexist, homophobic and disablist.
’  Despite
vociferous opposition from the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the very body
that is now campaigning loudest about ‘anti-Semitism’, Livingstone’s Greater
London Council funded the Jewish Cultural and Anti-Racist Project, set up by
the JSG, of which Rosenberg was the co‑ordinator.
Rosenberg asks ‘How is it possible that,
three decades on, the person who played such a pivotal role in these fights for
equality is facing demands for expulsion by the Labour Party after making
dubious comments about Hitler and zionism, and defending another MP’s comments
about Jews, which she herself apologised for?’
Well there is a simple answer.  Unfortunately it is one which escapes
Rosenberg.  It is that far from being ‘dubious’ Livingstone’s comment that the
Nazis supported Zionism was a simple statement of fact.  He also asks why Livingstone was defending
Naz Shah when she herself admitted her comments were anti-Semitic?
Again there is a very simple answer.  Naz Shah, in the middle of the slaughter of
2,200 people in Gaza, including 551 children, remarked by way of a
tongue-in-cheek joke how much better things would be if the United State’s
racist rotweiller in the Middle East were transplanted to the USA, which helps
fund it.  There was nothing anti-Semitic
about this joke at all.  The cartoon which
Naz Shah used came originally from Yad Vashem’s Jewish
Virtual Library
Why did she admit to anti-Semitism?  The same reason that the victims of Stalin’s purges
admitted their ‘guilt’.  It is quite
possible to intimidate people, who know little about anti-Semitism, into
admitting their guilt because they are guilt-tripped.
I have read a number of things by David
Rosenberg over the years and this is hardly his finest hour.  He says that he is reticent to come to Livingstone’s defence.  Why? 
Because ‘his controversial and
completely unnecessary intervention has undermined Corbyn, been detrimental to
the Palestinian cause.’ 
This is what
is known as political cowardice.  Anything that Corbyn said would, like
Jackie Walker, have been twisted and distorted as ‘anti-Semitism’.  Jackie said that she hadn’t heard a
definition of anti-Semitism that she could agree with.  This too is ‘evidence’ of her anti-Semitism.  Apparently Livingstone has ‘handed a free gift’  to the Labour Right and assorted Tories and
Zionists. 
These are the politics of timidity and
cowardice.  What David should be doing is
calling out a politics of denunciation by misquoting people.  Instead of going on the defensive about every
word we say, Dave should be calling out those who defend the Israeli state
right or wrong.
For example the Jewish Labour Movement, which
Rosenberg has become quite sympathetic too, calls itself the ‘sister’ party of
the racist Israeli Labour Party.  A party
that ethnically cleansed ¾ million Palestinians in 1948 and which has been
every bit as racist as its Likud equivalents. 
A party whose current leader, Isaac Herzog can say that his nightmare
is waking up to a Palestinian Prime Minister and 61 Palestinian MKs.  A man who declares that he doesn’t want the
ILP to be seen as an Arab
lover’s
party.  Yet Rosenberg remains
silent about the ILP.
It is the failure of the
Left, Rosenberg and Jon Lansman included, to call out the ILP and the
witch-hunters, that has led to the situation of people cowering lest they say
the wrong word.  One does not need to
know any more about the JLM than that it voted by 92-4% in favour of Owen Smith
in the summer.  Corbyn was stupid for
even having agreed to allow the JLM to host a debate.  What did he think he gained?  He didn’t allow Progress to become a host why
the JLM? 
As  an
indication of the political collapse of the JSG, Rosenberg says that it was beyond
me’
why Tories such as Board of Deputies
President Jonathan Arkush or Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis ‘feel entitled to comment on Labour’s internal disciplinary processes’.  The answer is obvious.  They are batting for Israel and attacking the
Left in the Labour Party is part of that defence.  As Rosenberg pointed out, Arkush ‘rushed to congratulate
Donald Trump on winning the US election’
and
Ephraim Mirvis attacked Labour in the Daily Telegraph, a paper that openly
supported the Tories’ ‘openly
Islamophobic campaign against Sadiq Khan.’
 
So it should be obvious that the Zionists’ concern is neither racism nor
anti-Semitism.
Surely it isn’t beyond the ken of Rosenberg
to work out why Jewish racists oppose Livingstone?  Rosenberg 
provides the answer to his own question, 
He describes how the GLC’s Ethnic Minorities Unit provided a grant to
the JSG despite what he calls the Board’s ‘unsolicited
“reference
” on the JSG which was ‘full
of lies and unfounded smears and allegations linking us to organisations
described as “terrorist.”
Dave was grateful that ‘the GLC disregarded it, but it revealed the BoD’s methods.’  So grateful that he takes to the Morning
Star to make what amounts to a thinly veiled attack on Livingstone.
Livingstone is hated by the Zionists because
he wasn’t prepared to treat the BOD, which is based on synagogue going Jews
only, as Corbyn and McDonnell do, the sole legitimate representative of Jews in
Britain. 
Rosenberg harks back to a cartoon in the
Daily Herald, which Livingstone was involved in in the early 1980’s, ‘which published crude denunciations of
Israel and cartoons of prime minister Menachem Begin dressed in nazi uniform
’.  There was nothing that was anti-Semitic in
this.  It was making the point that those
who claimed they were the heirs of the Holocaust victims were behaving in ways
similar to the Nazis.  These cartoons
occurred at the same time as Israel’s invasion of the Lebanon, whose purpose
was to defeat the PLO and install as President Bashir Gemayel of the fascist
Phalange.  When Gemayel was assassinated
by the Syrians, the Israelis let loose the Phalange’s militias on the unarmed
and defenceless refugee camps of Sabra and Chatilla.  Some 2,000 mainly women and children were
massacred.  This and the death of 20,000
Lebanese richly deserves the title of ‘Nazi’. 

Letter from Albert Einstein, Hannah Arendt compares the party of future Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin to that of the Nazis
If Rosenberg is still cowering at the thought
of comparing an Israeli Prime Minister as a Nazi he should remember that no
less than Albert Einstein and Hannah Arendt amongst other prominent Jews made
this comparison
on the occasion of Begin’s visit to the USA in 1948. 
 ‘Among
the most disturbing political phenomena of our times is
the emergence in the newly created state of Israel of the “Freedom
Party” (Tnuat Haherut), a political party closely akin in its
organization, methods, political philosophy and social appeal to the Nazi and Fascist
parties
. It was formed out of the membership and following of
the former Irgun Zvai Leumi, a
terrorist, right-wing, chauvinist organization in Palestine.
David Rosenberg really goes off the edge when
he refers to the source of Livingstone’s quote about Hitler ‘supporting zionism’,
the  book ‘Zionism in the Age of the
Dictators’
by Lenni Brenner. 
Rosenberg argues that Brenner makes ‘crude
allegations of zionist-nazi collaboration, treats the actions of some zionists
as representing all zionists, and utterly distorts the power relations between
zionists and nazis.’
 

Rosenberg
admits that ‘There were attempts by some
zionist Jews in Germany in 1933 to make deals with the nazi dictatorship’
but  says that they
were criticised by other Jews, including many zionists.
Yes most Jews did criticise the collaboration
with the Nazis by the Zionist leadership. 
This included individual Zionists but it is a fact that the Zionist
movement, including its leadership, were wholly in favour of collaborating with
the Nazis over Ha’avara. 
Rosenberg cites a meeting in 1983 when Brenner
spoke to a JSG meeting and says that ‘When
audience members labelled some of his comments anti-semitic
’, he responded
that he couldn’t be anti-Semitic because his wife was Black . Apocryphal or
not, this is hardly a serious critique of Brenner, with whom I have certain
differences in terms of his analysis.  However
it is a fact that even Zionist historians such as Lucy Dawidowicz, Francis
Nicosia and David Cesarani came to the conclusion that the Nazis had supported
Zionism.  There is no need to reference
Brenner’s book to reach this conclusion.  
As it happens the book is a good one even it is limited in its analysis
and on occasions wrong.
Rosenberg references other examples of
Zionist collaboration with anti-Semites such as the talks that the founder of
Zionism, Theodor Herzl held with von Plehve, the Czarist Interior Minister in August
1903.  Herzl promised that ‘Jewish revolutionaries would cease their
struggles against tsarism for 15 years if he would grant a charter for
Palestine
.’  Dave however misses out
the salient point that it was von Plehve who had personally organised, some 4
months earlier, the pogrom at Kishinev when 50 Jews were murdered and hundreds
were injured. 
Rosenberg concludes that ‘this whole effort to dig out evidence of
zionists behaving badly in the 1930s in order to expose the way zionism behaves
today is such a shoddy way of supporting the just demands of Palestinians and
rests on crude generalisations.’

It is true that one doesn’t have to reference
what Zionism did in the 1930’s to challenge what Israel does today to the
Palestinians.  However the refusal of the
Zionists to oppose genuine anti-Semitism, whether it was in the 1900’s when
they supported the Tory anti-alienists who opposed the immigration of Jewish
refugees into this country or the 1930’s, when they sabotaged the boycott of
Nazi Germany, is relevant.  The Zionist
idea that Jews did not belong in the countries of their birth is the mirror
image of the idea that the Palestinians have no right to live in the land of
their birth.  It is blood and soil
nationalism, a Jewish form of German volkism The racism of Zionism towards Jewish
people is mirrored in its treatment of the Palestinians today. 
Because Rosenberg doesn’t understand the
racist nature of Zionism he believes that it is sufficient to “use the modern universal language of human
rights
’.  Citing Shami Chakrabarti, Rosenberg
would rather that we talked of ‘dispossession,
discrimination, segregation, occupation, persecution and leave Hitler, the nazis and the Holocaust out of it.”

This is the major problem of Rosenberg’s
analysis.  If the Palestinian Question
and Zionism is merely one of human rights, then there are other places in the
world where human rights are far worse – South Sudan, Syria, the Congo, Burma –
the list is endless.  In terms of
straightforward abuses of human rights Israel is not the worst offender by any
measure.
What makes Israel unique though is the fact
that it is the world’s only Apartheid state. 
Coupled with that, Israel is the central pillar of US foreign policy in
the Middle East.  It is the primary agent
of counter-revolution in the Arab East. 
That is why the United States gives it $4 billion a year, more than
every other country put together.  Israel
is the bastion of imperialist domination in the Middle East and that is why
allegations of ‘anti-Semitism’ are made in this country.  It is Rosenberg’s inability to understand the
political nature of Zionism and the
ruling class’s attack on anti-Zionists and the Palestinians which explains his
reduction of support for the Palestinians to one of human rights.  It is this lack of any class or political
analysis which led him and the JSG in 1993 to support the disastrous Oslo
Accords. 
Socialist
Workers Party Cowardice
Charlie Kimber, their National Secretary wrote
that Livingstone ‘has made life easier
for the supporters of Israel.’ 
In
what is little more than an echo of what David Rosenberg wrote, he cites the
SWP’s Middle East ‘expert’ John Rose as saying that Livingstone walked into a
trap set by his opponents.  ‘The argument about Zionist collaboration
with the Nazis has been around for a long time. It is rightly ignored by
solidarity activists with Palestine
.’
This is what they call a lie.  The
evidence is overwhelming.  The agreement
over Ha’avara for example is extremely well documented by Zionist historians.  There are many other examples of Zionist Nazi
collaboration such as the suppression of the Auschwitz Protocols by two Auschwitz
escapees Rudolph Vrba and Alfred Wetzler. 
The Protocols revealed, for the first time in April 1944, that Auschwitz
was an extermination not merely a labour camp. 
The subsequent deportation of nearly ½ million Hungarian Jews in May
1944 as Germany was collapsing militarily, occurred because Kasztner reached an
agreement with Eichmann for a train out of Hungary for the Zionist elite.  In return he not only suppressed the Protocols
but his ‘Rescue Committee’ and the Judenrat actively deceived those boarding
the trains as to where they were heading. 
This was the subject of a four year long trial in Israel itself.  The findings of the Jerusalem District Court
in 1955 that Kasztner was a collaborator have stood the test of time.
Rose suggests that the Ha’avara agreement ‘bitterly
divided the Zionist movement
.’  No it didn’t. 
It was supported by all except the Revisionist (fascist) wing.  His argument that “Many young Zionists, in particular, were outraged” is unsupported
by anything in the way of evidence.  This
is in contrast to when Tony Cliff, who had experience of Zionism in the second
world war was the leader of the SWP.  When
in 1977 the Zionists attacked the Anti-Nazi League, which was then a mass
movement set up to fight the National Front, Socialist Worker had a double page
spread about Nazi-Zionist collaboration in WW2 as an explanation for why they attacked
anti-fascists whilst leaving the fascists alone.
Rose considers himself a historian and bowled over by having met and
reprinted The Ghetto Fights by the
Bundist leader of the Warsaw Ghetto Resistance, Marek Edelman, he is unable to
understand that the Zionists who fought in the Jewish Fighting Organisation did
so not because of Zionism but in spite of it. 
In short the SWP is peddling junk history.
Unfortunately, lacking all internal democracy, these things are not
debated in the SWP but handed down from on high by the leadership.  As with the affair of the rape allegations
that nearly destroyed the organisation, there is no effective way of people
inside the SWP challenging their own leadership.
At a time when Livingstone is under attack for making statements of fact
about Zionism, it is incumbent upon us to defend him because if we don’t do so then we actually leave the Corbyn leadership
of the Labour Party even more vulnerable to attack.

Unlike the Morning Star, the SWP and the JSG/Dave Rosenberg the Right
understands this simple concept.

Tony Greenstein

 

 

 

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Share This