Labour’s Expulsion of Cyril Chilson, a Child of Holocaust Survivors, Says Everything You Need to Know About Labour’s ‘Antisemitism’ Witchhunt

Labour’s Expulsion of Cyril Chilson, a Child of Holocaust Survivors, Says Everything You Need to Know About Labour’s ‘Antisemitism’ Witchhunt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Post-Blog

Emina Ibrahim, Vice Chair of
Momentum,  A Collaborator in this Racist Outrage

Below
is the case of Cyril Chilson, an academic
at Oxford University and an ex-Israeli who served as a Captain in the Israeli army.
 

Cyril’s parents were both Holocaust survivors, including his mother who was a Auschwitz concentration camp.  His father only just escaped the Nazi invasion of Soviet-occupied Poland and went on to fight in the Soviet army.  As such Cyril was an ideal target for the vile racists behind the racist witch-hunt.  Perfect in fact.

Cyril was expelled for two years by Labour’s
National Kangaroo Court on March 20th as part of the fight against ‘anti-semitism’ in the Labour Party.

Tony Greenstein
Cyril Chilson

Giving the Truth a Voice in Labour’s Kangaroo
Court

I had been
suspended since August 2016. Was it a coincidence that the letter from the
Party, informing me about my suspension (following an anonymous (!) ‘complaint’,
came through my letter box only a short time after I posted on the Labour
website a note in  support of Jeremy
Corbyn’s leadership?
Be that as
it may, it seems that after this extended period of incubation the NEC and the
NCC became all of a sudden quite anxious to get things done. Was the impending
election of a new General Secretary the stimulus to this newly found
efficiency? I was contacted in November 2017 and was given three weeks to
respond and find legal representation. The NCC rejected my request to have Tony
Greenstein as my legal representative, despite his legal qualifications. When
Daniel Bennett, a Barrister from the Doughty Street Chambers volunteered to act
on my behalf the NCC agreed at last to defer the hearing. Having been forced to
accept that being represented by a lawyer would deprive me of the right to
speak during the hearing, I decided to represent myself and give up Mr
Bennett’s kind offer. with my wife as my ‘silent friend’. My wife joined me as
a ‘silent friend’.
Maggi Cosins – the Right-wing GMB Chair of the National Kangaroo Court
We arrived
at the hearing venue, the Jurys Inn Hotel in Oxford where the NCC panel met. The
panel was chaired by one Maggie Cousins. Her lieutenants were Emina Ibrahim and
Douglas Fairbairn. The ‘prosecutor’ (appearing here under the bureaucratic
euphemism: ‘presenter’) was a certain Dan Hogan from the infamous Compliance
Unit. A young trainee-apparatchik with a title to match: ‘Investigations
Officer’. He was accompanied by Louise Withers-Green, an even younger ‘silent
friend’.
 The session began with Mr Hogan’s presentation
i.e. the charges against me. He homed in on an assortment of my tweets which
were the sole material used as ‘evidence’ by the NEC industrious investigators.
A mass grave in Belzec, which was a pure extermination camp
Hogan
pulled out of nowhere  the Chakrabarti
Report. To the best of my knowledge this report may have been endorsed by the
Party, but not implemented. I tried to question the use of the Chakrabarti
Report ad hoc while the official status of this document remains
unclear. At this point the Chair, Ms Cosins started to shout at me: “If you go on like this, you will have to
leave the room.”
  Hogan ‘apologised’
for not having added the said report to the bundle and dispatched Jane Shaw, Secretary
to the NCC, to photocopy the pages thereof. The same thing happened with
Hogan’s reliance on the IHRA definition which was called into question by me. I
referred Hogan and the panel to the resolution of the last Party conference
whereby the endorsement of the definition for Antisemitism which was laid down
by  IHRA in 2016, was limited to the
preamble, not to the examples which follow it. Once again, the Chair chided me:
‘Keep this for your own presentation’.
When I tried to clarify that this was a procedural issue, given that this
material did not appear in the bundle and the Party’s own rules make it clear
that no further evidence can be accepted after the deadline of evidence
submissions, I was once again facing a threat from the Chair: “Enough of this. I have been very tolerant
up until now”.

Hogan’s
presentation was chequered with personal insults and mendacious statements. He
did not refrain from character assassination by association aimed even at  those who were already expelled from the
Party during the present witch hunt:  “Mr Chilson”, announced Hogan in
dramatic pathos, “wanted to be
represented by Tony Greenstein. This was followed by Mr Chilson dismissing Mr
Daniel Bennett, a Barrister who volunteered to act on his behalf. One wonders
why”
. Mr Hogan seems to have forgotten that innuendo and indeed innuendo
based on lawyer-client relationship (which is meant to be confidential), is unacceptable.
What one should have really wondered in this context, is how come Mr Hogan knew
that I had ‘dismissed’ Mr Bennett? He wasn’t briefed by Mr Bennett, surely?
Dr Joseph Mengele, the SS Doctor known as the Angel of Death
This was
followed by a failure of Hogan’s reasoning. “Mr Chilson refused to engage with the NEC investigation”. When I
reminded him that I did answer the questionnaire which was sent to me and asked
him how this can be squared with my attendance which on the face of it
contradicts his postulate, he ignored my question and instead the Chair again
reprimanded me: “Don’t talk over him!”
despite the fact that I never did so. In fact, Ms Cosins herself kept
interrupting me time and again.
One of the
charges against me was hinged on one of my tweets about Zionism whereby I
reminded my interlocutor that following the Boycott of German goods  which the Jewish leadership in the US had
organised after the Nazis came to power in 1933, the Nazis had swallowed their
racist pride for fear of the impact on Germany’s frail economy and agreed to
negotiate with the Zionist Federation, forced to treat the Zionist representatives
as their equals.  Hogan tried to liken
this to an act of Holocaust denial dubbing it ‘historical revisionism’. When I mentioned that I was a son
of Holocaust survivors and therefore could not be anti-Semitic let alone a
Holocaust denier, Hogan said “I only
refer to the evidence, I don’t know you”
… I went on to ask him if he was a
trained historian with an expertise on the history of the Zionist movement in
Nazi Germany. He admitted he was ‘no
expert’
. At this stage the Chair intervened: “I know everything about the history of Nazi Germany and everything
about Jewish history  and I want this to
stop and I want it to stop now! We are not here for a history lesson!
Children in the Lodz Ghetto, which was the second largest ghetto after Warsaw in Poland and which survived almost till the end of the war
Was the
Chair of the Kangaroo Court becoming concerned as Dan Hogan was losing ground?
Another contention which demonstrates the falsehood
of the charges and the way in which they were looked at by the panel revolved
around my tweet about the pro-Israeli lobby in the UK and those who run it. I highlighted
the pivotal role of two individuals connected with the arms trade, Hogan tried
to portray this as an attempt to present the UK Jewish community as a
collective whose loyalty to the UK is questionable. Hogan went on to refer to
it as a ‘typical anti-Semitic trope’.
Likewise, drawing on one of my tweets in which I argued that ‘Jewish solidarity is not a sentiment but an
investment
’ he tried to develop this theme and claim that by criticising
certain British Jews I was employing an anti-Semitic stereotype whereby Jews
around the globe are collectively responsible for the policies and acts of the
State of Israel.  ‘The investment’ theme’, declared Hogan, ‘is a typical reference to Jewish greed and manipulative behaviour’
When I reminded Hogan that even a broken clock shows the correct time twice a
day, he was struggling with the meaning of this metaphor. I had to explain to the
puzzled ‘presenter’ that the existence of anti-Semitic tropes does not exclude
the existence of Jewish individuals who sadly behave in a way reminiscent of
those repulsive generalisations. If we were to refrain from criticising them
because they happen to be Jewish, we betray the truth and by remaining silent
we actually join the oppressors.  I also reiterated
a claim which Hogan tried to dispute and found himself in a pickle due to his
ignorance of Jewish contemporary history: the leadership of the Jewish communities
in the western world (particularly in the US and the UK), adopted a policy of ‘right or wrong my country’ vis-à-vis the
State of Israel especially since the coming to power of Likud in 1977. This is not
a ‘trope’ or a ‘stereotype’ but a historical fact.

Emina Ibrahim – Vice Chair of Momentum goes along with all McNicol’s expulsions
I referred Hogan to an article by the American
Jewish columnist Jonathan Weissman on this specific issue, published only four
days beforehand in the New York Times. Weissman criticises the American Jewish
leadership for being ‘obsessive’
about Israel. So much so, that the community leaders had neglected domestic
Jewish-American issues such as the 
rising home-grown anti-Semitism. They also refrained from criticising
the rise of far right anti-Semitism in Europe as this did not suit the Israeli
foreign policy.  As regards Anglo- Jewry,
Hogan kept ignoring my references to a study  by a Jewish sociologist from London City
University which corroborated my claim that the majority of Jews in Britain
regard the State of Israel as an essential part of their self-identity. Among
these, 71% accept (to a variable extent) Israel’s policies in the occupied
territories even if they are unhappy about parts or all of them.  All of this was labelled as ‘typical anti-Semitic conspiracy theories’.
Hogan asked me or rather stated at some point: “so like most anti-Semites you think that all
the Jewish community in the UK are in Israel’s pocket or collaborators of Hasbarah!
” (the Israeli
state-sponsored propaganda system). I said: No. No one could say such a thing
about the late Sir Gerald Kauffman or the late Harold Pinter or the excellent
members of Jewish Voice for Labour or Labour against the Witch Hunt, but these
are, alas, the exception.  Let me remind
you that certain dignitaries in the Jewish community called not to vote Labour
in 2015 because ‘Ed Miliband’ as they put ‘is
not one of us’
.  Was it the bacon bap
that he ate in public or rather his (fairly moderate) criticism of Israel that
made Miliband fall afoul of them?
Cyril’s father fought at Kursk, the largest tank battle in the second world war
When I was suspended I used (and I still do so) to tweet
the headlines concerning the atrocities committed by Israel in the Palestinian territories.
I added to those headlines the rhetorical question: ‘is reporting this anti-Semitic?’ Hogan tried to claim that by doing
so I was mocking the very concept of anti-Semitism and thus “denying the Jewish people the language  to describe their persecution by a deliberate
attempt of  hijacking the  definition of what anti-Semitism is”.
Hogan
failed to realise that he was actually conflating criticism of Israel with
antisemitism contrary to his own admission that ‘criticising Israel is not anti-Semitic’ and therefore he himself
was actually denying me any language to describe the unpleasant truth. Certain
Israeli Jews have become persecutors and certain Jews abroad support them by
trying to gag anyone who dares to tell this simple and horrible truth.
Are you
denying
”, asked Dan Hogan, relishing his freshly-baked scholasticism, “that by sending those tweets you were
distracting from actual anti-Semitic acts which deserve redress and indeed, by
doing so you were denying Jewish people the language to describe the prejudice,
discrimination and hatred they are subject to? And if you do deny it, what for
should a reasonable person send these questions? Who was meant to answer them?”

Here I had to remind the already ecstatic Mr Hogan
that rhetorical questions were not meant to be answered. The Chair interjected:
we all know what a rhetorical question
means.”
“Apparently
not
” I
replied.
“Well, answer
then:  what was the purpose of all of
this?
Telling the
truth and opposing the gagging by false accusations of anti-Semitism”
I
replied.
Mr Hogan wanted to continue but the Chair signalled
him to stop. She seems to have realised that even in a Kangaroo Court, silly
questions must be asked measuredly.
Now presented itself an opportunity for the hitherto
silent panellist namely Ms  Emina Ibrahim
to share with me her own pearls of wisdom: “Well,
perhaps this is an issue of cultural differences. Take me for example: I am of
Turkish – Cypriot background. In my culture we often use rhetorical questions
to express displeasure or exasperation or at time, over-excitement. Perhaps
this was an unnoticed return to your personal culture of origin?’
The question is whether she is going to continue where her predecessor, Crooked McNicol left off 
Cyril was the victim of this vile racist, Iain McNicol
I was profoundly shocked and I hope that my speechlessness
may have allowed Ms Ibrahim to consider her question as  a rhetorical one, and therefore, a question
not meant  to be answered.
Mr Hogan’s ‘cross examination’ featured repeated insinuations
such as: “Have you been aware of the
inflammatory nature of your twits?”,
“Can
you understand that your tweets come across as offensive?” “How do you feel
about causing pain to Jewish members of Labour?” “Do you think that comments
such as yours would make Labour an attractive and safe place for Jewish
voters?”

I stressed time and again that I never meant to hurt
anyone. I likewise apologised for any feelings which may have been hurt but at
the same time I expressed my belief that mature and constructive politics must
not involve sentiments. Rather, it must be realistic, truthful and logical. I then
told the panellists how I was abused by one of the most active pro-Israel
accounts on Twitter whose handle is @GnasherJew. This hitherto  anonymous operator (whose identity seems to
have been revealed by now) did not refrain from appealing to the Oxford College
in which I teach, requesting the College to sack me while adding an abusive
description  of myself.
My account of the abusive and slanderous behaviour
of @GnasherJew was simply ignored.  The above are of course only snippets from what went
on during my hearing.  I concluded my
summations by saying: “I never imagined,
when I proudly joined the Party, that I, son of Holocaust survivors, would have
to defend myself against allegations of anti-Semitism against other Party
members who have chosen to use a weaponizing of anti-Semitism to achieve their
political targets . You may disagree with me but expelling me from the Party
will be tantamount to spitting on the non-existent graves of the Holocaust victim,
including those of my extended family.”

The Chair asked me after my concluding remarks: “Do you think your hearing was a fair one?
“I think
this question is unfair. I do have some misgivings about what went on here
today, but I hope to be proven wrong
”. I replied,
trying hard to maintain a calm tone, hoping I was not showing my indignation
and disgust at this ostensibly-innocent question.
There was a break of 30 minutes. When we returned to
the room the Chair said: “The panel has
decided that the charges against you have been proven. I want to remind you
that we are able to expel you and would like to ask you whether there were any
mitigating circumstances?”

So I was not proven wrong after all. This was indeed
a kangaroo court that was apparently one track minded.
At this point, I decided that this farce had to be
brought to an end. I grabbed my briefcase and said: “This was a colossal waste of time. Good bye!”

“Hang on!
Don’t go! We haven’t reached a decision as yet!”
Shouted
the Chair in a last attempt to keep a façade of fairness. Me and my wife kept  walking and did not look back.
The letter with the expulsion for two years
decision, arrived on the following Saturday. I found particularly repulsive the
concluding paragraph:
“If you apply
to re-join you will not be eligible to have your join date backdated to give
you continuity with an earlier period of membership.”

BACKGROUND TO CYRIL CHILSON

Cyril Chilson was born in Petakh
Tikva, near Tel Aviv, Israel, into a family of holocaust survivors.
His father Leon came from Drohobycz, a town situated south-west of Lwow, the
regional capital of what used to be between the two world wars, the province of
Galicia in Eastern Poland (now, part of Western Ukraine). Following the Molotov–Ribbentrop
Pact Cyril’s father transferred to a technical school which was run by Red Army
personnel. When the Nazis invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941, Leon joined
the retreating school personnel twenty-four hours before the invading troops
reached his hometown. Leon was drafted and
trained by the Red Air Force as a combat pilot. He first saw action in air
battles at the Finnish Front during the Soviet-Finnish Continuation War and
later took part in the battles of Kursk and Stalingrad where his aircraft was
shot down by a German anti-aircraft battery. Despite being wounded Leon managed
to down a German fighter aircraft before parachuting
himself out of his fire-engulfed plane. Nonetheless, he managed to make
it to the nearest Soviet outpost with four (half-frozen) German soldiers he captured single-handedly en route.
For this feat, he was decorated with the Soviet  Order of Glory (Russian: Орден Славы).
Lodzia,
Cyril’s mother, was transferred in 1942
from her hometown Ozorkow in Central Poland, to the Lodz ghetto. Having
survived there nearly two years, she was deported
in summer 1944 together with her mother and sister to Auschwitz. Upon arrival Dr Mengele, who was in charge examined the
newly-arrived and with his index finger decided who will be killed instantly
and who could still make themselves useful
to the Reich through hard labour. Lodzia
and her mother Helena were granted the privilege
to work for the Germans. However, Lodzia suddenly noticed that her sister was
sent to the queue on  ‘the opposite
side,’ i.e. to instant gassing in the crematoria. Lodzia dared to try and
flatter  Dr Mengele  (speaking unasked to an SS officer, was deemed
suicidal). Lodzia hoped to flatter Mengele by calling out towards him: ‘Herr Feldmarschall!.’ Instead of
shooting her in the head (as everyone expected), Mengele asked Lodzia what he
could do for her. Lodzia did again the unimaginable. She insisted (another
taboo in the relations between Jews and Nazis) that an error had occurred. Her
sister, she claimed,  was young and
healthy and perfectly fit for work. Mengele asked Lodzia to point at her sister
(the stunned inmates thought he wanted to murder both sisters to discourage any
future impertinence). Lodzia did as she was 
told and to the amazement of everyone present, Mengele ordered to remove
Perla, Lodzia’s sister from the death queue and reunite her with her family
among those destined momentarily for life.
Lodzia, Perla and their mother Helena survived the Holocaust.
They were liberated by the Red Army in Terezienstadt, Czechoslovakia. After
three years in a Displaced Persons camp near Munich, they emigrated to Israel.
Lodzia trained as a nurse and met Leon who arrived in Israel from France. Leon
returned to Poland after the war  only to
find out that the Nazis murdered his entire family (parents and two younger
siblings)  in the concentration camp of
Belzec in south-eastern Poland. He moved to Paris where he studied engineering.
With the outbreak of the Korean War in 1951 and despite not being a Zionist,
Leon chose to come to Israel. He became a senior official at the Israel
Electric Company but passed away following a cardiac arrest aged 48.
Cyril  was educated at
the first Hebrew secondary school in the world, Ha-Gymnasiya Ha-Ivrit Herzliyah
in Tel Aviv (founded: 1906) and after his military service which was spent
almost entirely in the occupied West Bank (where he witnessed the
instrumentality of the  IDF  in the daily oppression of the Palestinian
population), Cyril served  in Lebanon
during the first Lebanon War in 1982 where he witnessed the treachery of the
then secretary of defence General Ariel Sharon, who was responsible for  the infamous 
massacre of thousands of Palestinians at the Sabra and Shatilla refugee
camps on the outskirts of Beirut. As a reservist Cyril who is fluent in
several  lanaguages, was transferred to
the IDF spokesman unit and served there  as a liasion officer to foreign press. Cyril
read Classics and History at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem graduating with
distinction. He worked as a journalist in the printed and electronic media. Cyril
was news editor at the defunct Al Hamishmar Daily, the organ of the United
Workers Party (MAPAM- also defunct) and served as news editor at Channel 1 of
the Israeli TV. Alongside his socialist convictions he has been a staunch
opponent of the Israeli occupation and supporter of justice for the Palestinian
people. Cyril came to the UK as a post-graduate student and wrote a doctoral
thesis at Brasenose College, Oxford about the 5th century
Palestinian-born  church historian
Sozomenus of Bethelia (near Gaza). Cyril teaches at Blackfriars Hall, Oxford.
He is married to Dr Tali Chilson, a scholar of Jewish thought and Hebrew
literature. They have two grown-up sons. He and his family have been naturalised
as British Citizens. They live in Oxford.

 

 

 

1 Comment

  1. Tony

    I don’t have nearly as tragic family story as yourself but the deep sadness i feel at the injustices of the world & the truly disgusting state of politics in this country make me weep
    Like a lot of people i rejoined labour to elect Jeremy & felt this was the only chance for justice truth & socialism in my lifetime. It was obvious from the start that he would be assassinated but still amazes the level of betrayal ………..
    in solidarity & comradeship
    mucho love&peace

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share This