It is of course strange because the 5th of the original 10 Commandments, was ‘thou shalt honour thy father and mother‘ not ‘thou shalt not speak with Jewish anti-Zionists and those expelled for anti-Zionism.’
In the Board of Deputies history it has never organised a demonstration against fascists or racists. When Sir Oswald Moseley’s British Union of Fascists tried to march through the Jewish East End on October 4 1936, the Board told Jews to stay at home and keep quiet. Thousands of Jews, including my father, ignored them and the Zionists.
But when Jeremy Corbyn got elected the Board waged an all out war on him. On 26th March 2018 they organised an ‘Enough is Enough’ demonstration outside Parliament calling Corbyn a racist. They were joined by fellow racists, Norman Tebbit of the ‘cricket test’ (if you were an Indian and supported the Indian cricket team you weren’t really British) and Ian Paisley Jnr. MP, the Protestant bigot from Northern Ireland.
The Board of Deputies is mandated by its own Constitution, Clause 3(d) to ‘Take such appropriate action as lies within its power to advance Israel’s security, welfare and standing.’
That was why the Board was so insistent that the Labour Party accept a new definition of ‘anti-Semitism’. The old one in the Oxford English Dictionary, ‘hostility to or prejudice against Jew’ was obviously useless when it came to defending Israel. Whereas the IHRA, a 500+ word ‘definition’ which includes ‘Israel’ in 7 of its 11 examples is tailor made.
It is as if it were anti-Brazilian to demonstrate against Bolsonaro or we were anti-Chilean when we demonstrated against Pinochet.
It is unfortunate that some on the Left, in particular Counterfire but also the SWP, still don’t get it. They still think it’s about anti-Semitism. They still shout ‘I am not anti-Semitic’ as if the Zionists are in the slightest concerned.
Zionism begins from an abandonment of the fight against anti-Semitism. It believes that Jews form a separate nation from those they live amongst and that they should live in their own nation state, Israel.
Not for nothing did the founder of Zionism write in his Diaries (p.231) that
‘Anti-Semitism, too, probably contains the Divine will to Good, because it forces us to close ranks, unites us through pressure, and through our unity will make us free.’
That is why anti-Semites love the IHRA. It’s not about hating Jews but hating Zionism. That is why from Tommy Robinson to neo-Nazi Richard Spencer and DonaldTrump, you can both hate Jews and love Israel as the ideal ethno-nationalist state.
At the end of April, Jackie Walker and I spoke at a meeting at which Dianne Abbot MP and Bell Ribeiro-Addy spoke. All hell broke loose with the Zionists demanding both MPs be suspended. The Jewish Chronicle reported that
‘Tony Greenstein, who was expelled over antisemitism allegations, and Jackie Walker, who was booted out of Labour on gross misconduct charges, both participated in Wednesday evening’s meeting of the newly formed ‘Don’t Leave, Organise’ group, who also received the backing of former Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell.
Last May I spoke at a Birmingham Stop the War Coalition meeting to which Salma Yaqoob had been invited. Immediately Ian Austin, the nasty little right-wing twerp who heckled Jeremy Corbyn during the Chilcott debate, an avid warmonger, called for Salma’s suspension. Salma denied having ever accepted the invitation but regardless it should be obvious to all that this Zionist McCarthyism has to be fought.
The Zionist tactics resemble the actions of the Apartheid regime in South Africa which, under the 1982 Internal Security Act had a class of ‘banned persons’ who could neither be associated with, quoted or published. They are the tactics of the Board of Deputies and their Zionist supporters, Starmer included.
It is regrettable that in a statement that Stop the War Coalition put out defending Salma Yaqoob, instead of attacking the witchhunters they sought to allay the fears of their Labour MP patrons. Lindsey German, their Convenor, refused to take down the last 2 sentences of a statement which read:
‘Local StWC groups act autonomously in deciding their platforms, but we note that Tony Greenstein has never been asked to address a national StWC meeting. StWC rejects both anti-Semitism and abusive language in political debate.’
Normally organisations publicise who has spoken on their platforms not who hasn’t! StWC was however seeking to placate the witchhunters and their Labour patrons who refused to give Chris Williamson any support when he was suspended.
Tomorrow we are holding the first in what we hope will be a series of meetings highlighting the growth of McCarthyism in the Labour Party. Chaired by Chris Williamson, Ken Livingstone, Jackie Walker, Marc Wadsworth and myself will be speaking.You can tune in on either Youtube or Facebook. We look forward to you joining us. We will not be silenced