Statement from Palestine solidarity activists and organisations concerning Peter Gregson
For a number of years Peter Gregson has been an activist on the fringes of the Palestine solidarity movement. Whereas previously he has been treated as a nuisance today his activities pose a threat to the solidarity movement and should be treated as such.
Gregson is notorious for setting up his own ‘campaign’ groups such as LAZIR (Labour Against Zionist Islamophobic Racism) and the Campaign Against Bogus Anti-Semitism. Now it is the One Democratic Palestine [ODP].
Gregson was initially expelled by Labour Against the Witchhunt in 2019 for posting a petition linking to an article by Ian Fantom that defended a holocaust denier Nick Kollerstrom, who Gregson described as a ‘holocaust sceptic’. Fantom wrote that Kollerstrom ‘had been targeted in a witch-hunt for a literature review he wrote on ‘The Auschwitz “Gas Chamber” Illusion and a… swimming pool at Auschwitz.’
When requested to take this link down Gregson refused. Fantom and Kollerstrom are co-founders of the Keep Talkinggroup which has hosted a variety of conspiracy theorists like Piers Corbyn and anti-Semites such as Gilad Atzmon.
Gregson’s reasons for participating in the ‘Keep Talking’ group’ was that ‘we need to use every single platform we can find to get our message out.’ This included the anti-Semitic far-Right. The Jewish Chronicle published an article based on correspondence which Gregson had made public detailing what had happened.
Gregson has since been refused membership by Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Jewish Network for Palestine and a host of similar groups.
Recently Gregson has espoused openly anti-Semitic arguments seeing the source of the government’s support for Zionism as being due to the undue influence of Jews. In an article on the anti-Semitic Redress site, he stated:
The people who foisted the IHRA definition upon us were the Jews in the UK who support Israel, so the question arises: do Jews in the UK have significant leverage within the bodies that represent our interests – our courts, our media, our trade unions, our political parties, our government?
Gregson answered his question in the affirmative. In a section ‘Rich Jewish bankers’ Gregson declared that ‘Right from the outset, rich Jewish bankers such as Lord Rothschild backed Zionism. It is unlikely we would have Israel now were it not for his influence.’
The suggestion that Israel owes its existence to ‘rich Jewish bankers’ is a classic anti-Semitic stereotype. It is also untrue. The Rothschilds were a house divided with the majority of the British family opposed to Zionism. For example the President of the anti-Zionist League of British Jews, formed in the wake of the Balfour Declaration, was Sir Lionel Rothschild, a Tory MP.
The Jewish bourgeoisie were overwhelmingly opposed to Zionism. The only member of the Lloyd George cabinet who opposed the Balfour Declaration was its only Jewish member, Sir Edwin Montagu. However facts rarely disturb Gregson.
Gregson wrote that ‘Plenty of politicians too… are Jewish and support Israel.’ Support for Israel is common to all politicians, Jewish and non-Jewish. Gregson singled out Jon Lansman and Rhea Wolfson who ‘used their tribal background shamelessly in 2018 to successfully remove our freedom of speech on Israel.’ Gregson completely ignores non-Jewish and Christian Zionist support for Zionism.
Gregson asserted that ‘it was the wealthy and influential Jews in politics and the media who foisted the IHRA definition upon us’. Gavin Williamson, who threatened universities with a loss of funding if they didn’t adopt the IHRA, is not Jewish. In conflating being Jewish with Zionism and Israel, Gregson echoes Zionist propaganda and the IHRA itself.
The struggle for Palestinian liberation and against Zionism is an anti-racist struggle. There is no place in the Palestine solidarity movement for those who spread anti-Semitic propaganda under the guise of support for the Palestinians. In so doing Gregson plays into the hands of the Zionists and Israel’s supporters.
We advise supporters of Palestine to reject Peter Gregson and keep a wide berth from his many and varied organisations.
|Name||Organisation (if any)|
|Huda Ammori||Palestine Action|
|Beatrice Andrieu||Brighton and Hove PSC|
|Richard Barnard||Palestine Action|
|Graham Bash||Jewish Voice for Labour member|
|Tom Bimpson||Labour Friends of Palestine|
|Haim Bresheeth-Zabner||Jewish Network for Palestine|
|Cambridge Palestine Solidarity Campaign|
|David Cannon||Jewish Network for Palestine|
|Mike Cushman||Jewish Voice for Labour member|
|Iola Davies||Worthing PSC|
|Helen Dickson||Liverpool Friends of Palestine|
|Greg Dropkin||Liverpool Friends of Palestine|
|Pete Firmin||Brent & Harrow PSC & Labour Representation Committee|
|Ellen Graubart||Brighton and Hove PSC|
|Tony Greenstein||Jewish Network for Palestine/ Author Zionism During the Holocaust|
|Jenny Hardacre||Cambridge PSC|
|Jeremy Hawthorn||Liverpool Friends of Palestine|
|Nina Heaton||Hastings PSC|
|Shareen Khan||Birmingham Stop the War/Birmingham PSC|
|Les Levidow||Jewish Network for Palestine|
|Anne Mitchell||Brighton and Hove PSC|
|Adie Mormech||Manchester Palestine Action|
|Mick Napier||Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign|
|Norwich Palestine Solidarity Campaign|
|Pam Page||Brighton and Hove PSC|
|Jeremy David Parker||Palestine Action|
|Ibrahim Samadi||Palestine Action|
|Roger Silverman||Socialist Labour Network|
|Stephen Sizer||Convivencia Alliance|
|Linda Speight||Jewish Network for Palestine|
|John Tymon||Football Against Apartheid|
|Asa Winstanley||Journalist, author of “Weaponising Anti-Semitism”|
Representatives of religious Zionist youth group Bnei Akiva Meet Jewish Racist Bezalel Smotrich in London
Gregson’s Anti-Semitism Doesn’t Hurt Jews But It Does Hurt Palestinians
As Palestine solidarity activists are well aware, accusations of anti-Semitism are the only defence that apologists for Israeli Apartheid have left in their armoury. With Jewish neo-Nazi Ministers Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich in Israel’s coalition government and the reign of terror that is being conducted by the military junta in the West Bank, ‘anti-Semitism’ is their only answer to the call for Boycott Divestment and Sanctions.
It is with extreme reluctance that I circulated the statement below to activists asking them to sign a call for people to avoid Peter Gregson and his increasingly bizarre anti-Semitic statements such as his remark that
The people who foisted the IHRA definition upon us were the Jews in the UK who support Israel
Those of us with longer memories than the day before yesterday will recollect that it was the distinctly non-Jewish Gavin Williamson who foisted the IHRA fake definition of anti-Semitism upon universities by threatening their funding.
Jonathan Freedland – Led the Fake ‘Antisemitism’ Campaign Against Corbyn
Even worse was the remark of Gregson that the Zionist movement supported the annihilation of European Jews. Such hyperbole is totally unnecessary. As I show in my recent book Zionism During the Holocaust the Zionists did many terrible things, from blocking routes of escape for Jewish refugees to entering into an trading agreement with the Nazis that destroyed the Jewish Boycott but there is no evidence that they supported Hitler’s final solution.
until 1940 most Jews refused to move to Israel on religious grounds. These were the people that Hitler gassed. With Zionist support. Proof? Over the period 1942-44, Rabbi Weissmandl of Hungary made a deal with Adolf Eichmann whereby the Germans would “sell” the Jews to him
Weissmandel made no deal with Eichmann, that was Rudolf Kasztner, the leader of Hungarian Jewry. If Gregson is referring to the Europa Plan of Weissmandel it was with Dieter Wisliceny not Eichmann. To accuse any Jew, even Zionists, of having supported Hitler’s extermination of the Jews is clearly anti-Semitic because it is blaming the dead for their own murder. The Nazis did not distinguish between Zionist and anti-Zionist Jews in the gas chambers.
As Boris Johnson demonstrated with his racist and anti-Semitic novel 72 Virgins the Zionist movement has no objection to genuine anti-Semitism. Instead it seeks to redefine opposition to racism as racism in an exercise of double think that Orwell long ago predicted.
Jews in Britain are overwhelmingly White and suffer no discrimination on account of being Jewish. Jews in Britain are a largely middle class community as Jewish historians Geoffrey Alderman and William Rubinstein have documented. Of course not all Jews are prosperous but on average they are. Nor do they suffer from state racism.
Nonetheless anti-Semitic prejudice is to be condemned, not because of its effect on Jews but because it is extremely damaging to the Palestinian cause. It lends weight to the false accusations of the Zionists that support for the Palestinians is anti-Semitic.
It is welcome that Asa Winstanley, author of Weaponising Anti-Semitism, which documents the scurrilous ‘anti-Semitism’ campaign waged against the left and Jeremy Corbyn,has signed the statement. Altogether 57 people and organisations have added their signature, representing a cross section of the Palestine solidarity and Jewish anti-Zionist spectrum. It is regrettable that noone in the Jewish Socialists Group signed the statement although people are welcome to add their signatures by commenting on the article or emailing me.
Although national PSC declined the opportunity to sign the statement activists from 6 PSC branches have added their signature in addition to two branches, Norwich and Cambridge. Mick Napier, founder member and former Chair of Scottish PSC has also signed.
Palestine Action Activists Picketing Court Hearing
Five activists from Palestine Action, including founders Huda Ammori and Richard Barnard as well five members of Jewish Network for Palestine have added their names as has John Tymon of Football Against Apartheid.
The Rev. Stephen Sizer – Victim of Justin Welby and the Zionists
Especially welcome is the Rev. Stephen Sizer, who was defrocked earlier in the year after false allegations of anti-Semitism from the Board of Deputies were upheld by a rigged Church of England tribunal. Justin Welby, the most right-wing Archbishop of Canterbury since George Carey, presided over the campaign against Stephen. Carey was later found to have covered up child abuse in the Church of England as Welby has also done.
The statement below conveys a very simple message. The cause of Palestine is an anti-racist one and when anti-Semites take up the cause we will act to isolate them in just the same way as we did Gilad Atzmon a decade ago.
Unlike the Zionists and the multiplicity of lobby groups such as the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism/CST/Board of Deputies etc. we will not tolerate racists in our ranks and we will call them out.
Speaking of which Joseph O’Neill’s Interfaith for Palestine based in Chester also needs to be ostracised. As this report of a speaking engagement by Alain Alameddine of One Democratic State Initiative shows,
Joseph O’Neill’s Interfaith for Palestine group is stuffed the most appalling bigots and anti-Semites. They invited me to speak a few years ago but when I took a look at their other speakers, who included holocaust denier Israel Shamir I declined.