Johnson’s Cowardice When Confronted With Starmer’s McCarthyism Speaks Volumes About the Socialist Campaign Group and the Labour Left

It was nothing if not predicable. A member of the Socialist Campaign Group collapsed like a pack of cards when threatened by Starmer’s bullies. Instead of standing her ground and defying Starmer to do his worst, instead of defending what she had said, she chose to preserve her parliamentary career above principle.

What a contrast with holocaust survivor Stefan Kapos, who when he was told last week by a Labour apparatchik not to speak at a Holocaust Memorial Day meeting organised by the Socialist Labour Network, or he could be expelled, immediately resigned. The SCG prefer instead to capitulate.

If John McDonnell, Zara Sultana and the rest of the opportunists in the SCG had any principles, still less strategy, they would have immediately backed up Kim Johnson and gone on the offensive, defending that she had said, calling out Starmer’s racism and challenging him to do racist worst. Instead they remained silent.

When, during Israel attacked Gaza in 2009 Gerald Kaufman, a Jewish MP who was not even on the left, compared Israel to Nazi Germany, no one even thought that he should be disciplined. Even Tony Blair, a renowned Zionist, didn’t entertain the idea of removing the Whip. That shows just how far down the road we have come with Starmer.

Gerald Kaufman’s famous speech comparing the Israeli Army to the Nazis

When Kaufman died in 2017 the Jewish Chronicle told its readers that he was ‘reviled’. Marcus Dysch wrote:

He compared Israeli soldiers serving during the Gaza conflict of 2009 to the Nazis who forced his ancestors to flee Poland.

His “here we are, the Jews again” comment when Labour MP Louise Ellman rose to speak in the chamber in 2011 was not just crass, but specifically targeted, knowingly full well the hurt that would – and did – follow.

It is not as if there isn’t proof a plenty that Israel is an apartheid state. It is also clear to all except wilful racists like Starmer, that Israel’s government is stuffed with extreme racists and fascists.

All the major human rights organisations, from B’Tselem’s Report to  Human Rights Watch’s A Threshold Crossed to Amnesty International’s Israel’s apartheid against Palestinians, that Israel is guilty of the crime of Apartheid.

Starmer embracing Louise Ellman, the MP for Liverpool Riverside and Tel Aviv South, who defended the Israeli army’s abuse of Palestinian children

If we could turn the clock back 90 years then Starmer would have had no difficulty explaining why Hitler had come to power. He is a man without principle dedicated to defending imperialism come what may.

When a delegate at Labour’s conference last September pointed out that the Zelensky regime had banned trade unions and incorporated neo-Nazis into his regime Starmer had him immediately suspended.

Kim Johnson prostrating herself at the feet of Starmer & the Israel lobby

The truth of what Kim Johnson said, before she recanted like a victim of Stalin’s purges, is self evident. Israel has de facto annexed the West Bank but denies any rights to its Palestinian inhabitants unlike the Jewish settlers who have the full protection of Israeli civil law.

Israeli maps treat the West Bank as part of Greater Israel. The Green Line has long disappeared. In the West Bank two different sets of laws apply to two different peoples – Jews and Palestinian. That is the quintessential definition of apartheid.

But within Israel Apartheid also exists. There are over 60 laws which explicitly discriminate against Israeli Palestinians.

The 2003 Citizenship Law prevents Israeli Palestinians from marrying Arab spouses living outside Israel. The Admissions Committee Law 2013 enables hundreds of Jewish communities to bar Israeli Arabs from living amongst them.

The Jewish Nation State Law reserves national self-determination only for ‘the Jewish people.’ 93% of Israeli land is reserved solely for the use of Jews via the Jewish National Fund.

Arabs are confined within their towns and villages which are unable to expand, unlike Jewish towns because they are deliberately surrounded by Jewish communities.

In the Galilee, East Jerusalem and the Negev/Naqab there is a deliberate policy of Judaisation. If you want an equivalent then you only need to recall Nazi Germany’s policies of deJewification’.

Israel isn’t a fascist but a settler colonial state but that doesn’t make it better. Arguably it makes it worse. America wasn’t a fascist state but its settlers exterminated millions of the indigenous native Indians.

The Israeli government is, however, stuffed with people who proudly declare that they are fascists. Bezalel Smotrich, Israel’s new Finance Minister who is in charge of the Civil i.e. Military Administration in the West Bank said that ‘My voters don’t care if I’m a homophobe or fascist’. Miri Regev, Israel’s new Minister of Transport said ‘I’m happy to be a fascist’.

Smotrich is on record as opposing having Arab women share maternity wards with Jewish women but to Starmer this too is ok.

Even the European Union of Jewish Students has warned against ‘Fascist’ Ben Gvir, the new Police Minister. Calling Israeli Ministers and the Israeli state ‘fascist’ is commonplace but for Keir Starmer, any criticism of the United States’s racist Rottweiler is forbidden.  

The Independent reported that:

Sir Keir’s spokesman denounced the use of both the terms “apartheid” and “fascist”, saying many will have taken offence at the latter in particular. He told reporters: “As a first step we would obviously want her to withdraw the remarks that she used for sure.”

Johnson’s crime was giving ‘offence’.  No doubt many Germans would have taken offence at criticism of Hitler’s regime and racist Whites like Starmer would have taken offence at criticism of South Africa but so what? If telling the truth gives offence then so be it.

If anything the description of people like Bezalel Smotrich and Ben Gvir as fascists is too kind. The proper description of them is Jewish or Judeo-Nazis. The Times of Israel reported, on election night Gvir

interrupted his own victory speech… to pay tribute to the radical settler Rabbi Dov Lior and to his former political partner Bentzi Gopstein, the head of the racist and homophobic Lehava organization.

Rabbi Dov Lior is Chairman of the Jewish Rabbinical Council of the West Bank and Chief Rabbi of Kiryat Arba and Hebron. He is also an unreconstructed racist, even by Israeli standards.

In 1994, he supported the murder by an American settler, Baruch Goldstein, of 29 Palestinian worshippers at the Ibrahimi Mosque. Lior then issued a religious edict, saying,

There is no such thing as enemy civilians in war time. The law of our Torah is to have mercy on our soldiers and to save them….A thousand non-Jewish lives are not worth a Jew’s fingernail.

Lior praised Goldstein, calling him a “great saint and rabbi … may his memory be blessed”. Ben Gvir, until recently, had a poster on his wall of Baruch Goldstein.

Not to be outdone, Rabbi Yaacov Perrin, officiating at Goldstein’s funeral, told mourners that even 1 million Arabs “are not worth a Jewish fingernail.” Angry voices in the congregation shouted, “We are all Goldsteins!” and “Arabs out of Israel!”

Several months after the massacre, Lior told disciples in Kiryat Araba near the occupied West Bank city of Hebron

Jewish blood was redder than non-Jewish blood … and that a Jewish life is preferred by the Lord than a non-Jewish life.

In 2009 Rabbis Yitzhak Shapira and Yosef Elitzur wrote Torat HaMelech, a religious guide to killing non-Jews legally. Among their insights was the ruling that the ‘Prohibition ‘Thou Shalt Not Murder’ applies only ‘to a Jew who kills a Jew.’ Non-Jews are “uncompassionate by nature” and attacks on them “curb their evil inclination,” while babies and children of Israel’s enemies may be killed since “it is clear that they will grow to harm us.” It was immediately endorsed by Dov Lior.

Another hero of Gvir is Benzi Gopstein of the fascist Lehava whose slogan is ‘assimilation is a holocaust’. Like its Nazi forebears it openly campaigns against miscegenation, sexual or personal relations between Jew and Arab.

Lehava thugs openly attack Arabs who they suspect of liaisons with Jewish women and in one attack 105 Palestinians were wounded and 22 hospitalised in a pogrom in Jerusalem.

Lehava activists were also responsible for arson at one of the few mixed Jewish-Arab schools, the Hand in Hand in Jerusalem. One of those who set fire to the school received 3 years in prison. If he had been a Palestinian the sentence would have been 3 or 4 times that.

As someone equally hostile to Christians Gopstein has advocated burning churches too. These are the friends of Israel’s new Police Minister, Itamar Ben Gvir who is now in charge of directing Israel’s police. Yet Labour’s racist leader, Keir Starmer, objects to calling the Israeli government ‘fascist’ or apartheid. But then Starmer or was quoted as saying ‘I support Zionism without qualification.’

There is nothing that Israel could do that would disturb Starmer and Biden. All that matters is its strategic role in the Middle East. Labour has a racist as leader yet the SCG, instead of following in the footsteps of previous generations of socialists like Mervyn Stockwood and Lord Soper keeps quiet in the hope of keeping their parliamentary seats.

There really is nothing more contemptible than the likes of Kim Johnson or Richard Burgon apologising for even the slightest criticism of Zionism or Israel.

Tony Greenstein