Tony Greenstein | 06 January 2023 | Post Views:

Whilst there are very few anti-Semites who support the Palestinians – Gregson is the exception that proves the rule

Many people involved in Palestine solidarity activism in Britain are likely to have come across Peter Gregson. He has often been unfairly treated, such as when the GMB union expelled him in March 2019 for ‘anti-Semitism’. His expulsion was effected by the rabidly racist and misogynist Gary Smith, then Regional Secretary of Scottish GMB and now General Secretary of the union.

I even testified at the kangaroo court that the GMB had assembled and wrote a document in his defence. However if one week is a long time in politics 3 years and 9 months is an eternity. Peter’s politics, which were always flaky, have now become anti-Semitic.

Nick Kollerstrom – Holocaust ‘sceptic’

Peter has to his credit expulsion from a number of organisations. I initiated the first from Labour Against the Witchhunt when he put up a petition on his website linking to an article by Holocaust denier Nick Kollerstrom who had written a ‘literature review’ on ‘The Auschwitz “Gas Chamber” Illusion’.

Peter decided to publish on his blog my entire correspondence with him over this. The Jewish Chronicle then published it verbatim. It is probably the only article that ‘liar’ Lee Harpin has written that didn’t contain the obligatory quota of mistakes!

PSC and I believe Jewish Voices for Labour have also expelled him and Jewish Network for Palestine has rebuffed his attempts to join.

Peter is notorious for setting up his own ‘campaign’ groups such as LAZIR (Labour Against Zionist Islamophobic Racism) and now the Campaign Against Bogus Anti-Semitism (which he tells me has 60 members!).

In April 2022 Gregson emailed me asking me to comment on a document he’d written Why Zionists Are Not Jews.There are many arguments in the anti-Zionist armoury but this is not one of them.

My response was as diplomatic as I could manage:

Obviously many Zionists are Jewish according to the halachic definition of being born to a Jewish woman.  Being Jewish is not just a matter of belief.  Of course Jewish identity has changed throughout the ages and Zionism is one such identity.  Anti-Zionism is another but to go down this road is extremely dangerous and completely besides the point.  The fact is that the religious establishment and most rabbis do believe in Zionism.

Indeed this whole debate over whether someone is Jewish or not reminds me of the Nazis trying to define being Jewish.  The Law of Return then adopted the Nazi definition almost wholesale.

Totally misplaced and your campaign will go the way of your previous campaign I suspect

Peter has taken to heart the ideas of Neturei Karta that ‘true’ Jews do not support Zionism but NK are not Marxists. They are well meaning but politically naïve. Orthodox Jewry, which historically was anti-Zionist, has changed its position though even now the United Torah Judaism party in Netanyahu’s coalition is officially non-Zionist.

The majority of Haredi Jews in Israel are Zionists and indeed are among the most anti-Palestinian elements in Israeli society.

Gregson’s political degeneration began with his article Do Jews in the UK have significant leverage on Israel? on the anti-Semitic Redress Online site which has itself published articles by holocaust deniers.

The article is historically illiterate. It asserts ‘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 first Rothschild that Theodor Herzl, the founder of Political Zionism encountered, was Edmond Rothschild, who opposed Zionism.

Contrary to the assertion of Wikipedia Lord Walter Rothschilds was not a ‘Zionist activist’ but an obsessive Zoologist. He was considered the leader of British Jewry by virtue of his aristocratic rank, which was why the Balfour Declaration was addressed to him (also contrary to Wikipedia he wasn’t President of the Board in 1917 but 1925-6). In 1919 Walter Rothschild stood for Vice President of the Board against both Anthony de Rothschild and the Zionist candidate, Samuel Duiches. who obtained just 21 compared to Walter’s 123, which is a good indication of the strength of the Zionists amongst the Jewish bourgeoisie then. In 1918 the anti-Zionist Leopold de Rothschild was unanimously elected President of the United Synagogue.

In 1917 the anti-Zionist League of British Jewswas formed at a meeting in New Court, headquarters of the Rothschilds’ business interests. Its first AGM in March 2018 was attended by over 400 members. Lionel Rothschild, a Conservative MP was elected President. Gregson’s attachment to the Rothschild’s legend is in itself telling. Gregon’s article asserts that

Around 75 per cent of the UK’s 300,000 Jews support Israel (if they didn’t, we wouldn’t have the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism).

The idea that the IHRA only exists because of Jewish support is indicative of Gregson’s drift to the anti-Semitic right. Jews were convenient political pawns of the political establishment. The reason for the IHRA is to outlaw as far as possible opposition to British foreign policy in the Middle East by calling it ‘anti-Semitic’. For example Lord Eric Pickles is a White non-Jewish racist and the British delegate to the IHRA.

What Gregson is doing is suggesting that Jewish Power is responsible for British support for Zionism rather than seeing support for Israel as a consequence of imperialist politics. Jews are convenient political pawns or as Barnaby Raine described them,

‘favourite pets: heroic colonists in the Middle East… Jews are conscripted as the alibi of white society…. We are the useful props for a moral panic.’

But Gregson doesn’t do subtle. He goes on:

Jews have significant leverage. And the majority of them throw their wealth and personal resources into ensuring Israel maintains its immunity from criticism.

But it was the wealthy and influential Jews in politics and the media who foisted the IHRA definition upon us, the tool now widely used to silence pro-Palestine campaigners and used by the Labour Party to expunge activists. If Jews had not been behind demanding the new definition and claiming it was essential for their safety, we would not have it.’

That this analysis is complete nonsense hardly needs stating. The British bourgeoisie adopted the IHRA definition, as did open anti-Semites like Trump and Viktor Orban in Hungary.

Gregson assumes that Jews act as one homogenous mass. You can accuse British Jewry of many things, not least stupidity, but to suggest that they acted in concert to foist the IHRA on gullible Gentiles is simply untrue. Gregson’s defence, for what it is worth is that:

To say Jews in the UK have great leverage is not anti-Semitic, it is just a statement of fact. Like saying an Eton education gets you into Parliament. Or Muslims don’t like alcohol and fear speaking out about Islamophobia. Or Scots are “good with money”, i.e. not profligate. Or Germany has an enormous collective guilt over the holocaust, while Austria, its partner in crime, has not. Or London has many rich Russian oligarchs…

It should not take a genius to see why Gregson is comparing apples to oranges. To suggest that Jews, as a collective group, have ‘great leverage’ makes assumptions about Jewish political power whereas saying Muslims don’t drink alcohol (untrue, many do) is a generalisation.

Gregson goes on to say, on the basis that Jews are eight times over-represented in the UK Parliament that

they are powerful, in proportion to their share of the population (300,000 out of 66 million), comprising 0.4 per cent of us.

The fact that the Zionists encourage such conspiracy theories by claiming to speak on behalf of all Jews, doesn’t make what Gregson says any the less anti-Semitic. Gregson’s assertion that

It is because of these wealthy Zionist Jews, steered from the British Board of Deputies of British Jews and the like, that nobody in this country, including our media, dare point out the blindingly obvious: that we have utterly lost our freedom of speech on Israel because everybody is frightened of what Zionist Jews will do to them.

One wonders why, if Jews are only 0.4% where they get all this power.

Sir Edwin Montagu

Historically the British Jewish bourgeoisie was determinedly anti-Zionist until 1940. The only member of Lloyd George’s War Cabinet to vote against the Balfour Declaration was its only Jewish member, Sir Edwin Montagu, who accused his fellows of ‘anti-Semitism’.

It was the adoption of Zionism by the non-Jewish bourgeoisie that eventually led the Jewish bourgeoisie to realise that it was ‘patriotic’ to support Zionism.  In other words Gregson gets cause and effect the wrong way round.

However it is his latest article Against Zionist invaders: Why race matters in Palestine on Redress (where else) that should put him beyond the pale for Palestine solidarity activists.

I leave to one side his mistaken position, derived from Neturei Karta that up until 1940 most Jews refused to move to Israel on religious grounds.’What should be condemned is Gregson’s assertion that

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… (my emphasis)

I won’t quote the rest of this rubbish. Weissmandel didn’t make an agreement with Eichmann, nor was he from Hungary! Having read Zionism During the Holocaust Gregson has failed to understand any of it.  There is absolutely no proof that the Zionist leaders, supported the extermination of European Jewry. It is simply not true.

There are many criticisms that can be made of the Zionists during the war and I make them, at length. Their obstruction of rescue attempts not involving Palestine, their playing down of the holocaust because people would be distracted into giving money for the refugees rather than their own fundraising, but to say that the Zionists supported the gassing of Jews is both false and anti-Semitic.

Ironically the main criticism of the Zionists for what I and Lenni Brenner before me write, is that what we are saying amounts to saying that the Jews murdered themselves. Once again Gregson has acted to reinforce the Zionist narrative rather than the other way around. Instead of reading my book and reflecting Gregson has cherry picked a few quotations and put his own crazy interpretation upon them. For those interested in the debate on this issue on my blog go here.

Gregson is apparently organising a tour of Britain in April/May involving both Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss of Neturei Karta and Dr Azzam Tamimi. I shall write to the former but if anyone has any contact with Dr Tamimi he would be well advised to pull out.

Tony Greenstein

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Tony Greenstein


  1. Daniel Waterman on 06/01/2023 at 7:28am

    Tony, while I agree with much of what you say here, I really do not agree with your application of the term antisemite to someone who is so clearly ignorant of certain aspects of history and perhaps overzealous in attempting to argue his case. If we were to adopt this line of reasoning then many less prominent and outspoken people who support the Palestinian cause must also be antisemites. Which means we should not be working with them either. We should strive consistently and with as much as possible evidence to counter poorly worded arguments and to point out that there are many within the Jewish community who do not support Israel or Zionism but who feel alienated by the actions and type of arguments being put forward by Gregson et al.

    Another point I would like to make however is that you are easily triggered by references to ‘Jewish wealth’ and are failing to make an important Marxist distinction concerning the deep divisions within Jewish society that are due to some prominent and wealthy right-wing Jews and Jewish groups.

    You have addressed the question of the Ha’avara agreement and the collusion of Zionist organisations with the Nazi’s but what of the Jewish lobby in the US, and prominent Jews like Milton Friedman and Kissinger (and there are many more) who for much of their carreer received accolades from Jewish communities congratulating themselves for the political power JEWS have been able to exercise on the world stage. I don’t think you fully appreciate how many gentiles perceive this. How easily it fits into general antisemitic claims about Jewish power.

    So when we address these perceptions we need to tread carefully so as not to provoke people who have not yet adopted a more subtle political analysis. A case in point is another target of yours Gilad Atzmon who is so frustrated with the Jewish community and its general hysteria that he adopts antisemitic tropes himself. In other words, instead of reaching for Marx, he assumes that the inability of Jews to accept his criticism is innate. I say it is inherent to the situation and we need to promote understanding of the situation and not waste our time with accusations of antisemitism which, as I see it, is hardly going to lessen any extant antisemitism but might actually entrench more virulent antisemitic narratives on the left.

    The time has come for Jews to treat antisemitism as cause to consider our political principles and commitments and ask ourselves a) whether there is a grain of truth to some things antisemites (or people we perceive as antisemites) say, and b) how we can counter antisemtism by standing up for human rights, instead of for a colonialist oppressive neoliberal fundamentalist banana republic ‘of our own’.

  2. Pete Gregson on 06/01/2023 at 8:59pm

    Tony, you misrepresent me and even contradict yourself. It feels as if you have never heard of the Campaign Against Antisemitism, the Community Security Trust, the Jewish Labour Movement, Hope not Hate (a misnomer!), Labour Against Antisemitism, the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the Jewish Leadership Council, the three Jewish newspapers, UK Lawyers for Israel, Friends of Israel, Britain Israel Communications & Research Centre (BICOM) – and of course the Israeli Government. These are the agencies that are run by Zionists who are also, interestingly Jews- and they are the people who brought down Corbyn because of his support for Palestine. But according to your twisted logic, it was the capitalists who destroyed him because he was a leftie and the Zionist Jews were just their pawns. You are oblivious to anything but Marxist analysis.
    And I never said the Zionists supported the gassing of Jews. I said they supported Hitler’s rise to power by stopping any boycott of Nazi Germany – and by being leading lights in the Judenrat, and by saying that Jewish blood must be spilt if they were to get their hands on Palestine. This is all in your book… Do pay attention to what I actually say, Tony- before you go off on a rant. You are becoming quite infatuated in attacking me

  3. Ernesto Che on 07/01/2023 at 12:57pm

    Tony, it is high time, but really HIGH TIME, that you guys provide hard, FACTUAL evidence for the gas chambers.

  4. Ernesto Che on 07/01/2023 at 5:13pm

    Just an addendum: one of the world’s greatest Holocaust authorities, if not THE greatest, the late Raul Hilberg, was not able to produce such hard, factual evidence. Heck, he was not even able to produce a scrap of evidence of a supposed order from Hitler for the extermination of the Jews in Europe.

  5. Tony Greenstein on 08/01/2023 at 2:42pm


    I make a distinction between Peter as a person, who is not personally anti-Semitic, and his politics which are anti-Semitic.

    Peter is experienced around the Palestine solidarity movement. He is not some innocent abroad who has misspoken. I have repeatedly defended people who misspeak because what they say is a reflection of what the Zionists say, e.g. my recent blog on UN rapporteur Francesca Albanese. Peter knows what he is doing. I have argued with him, yet he persists in looking down the telescope the wrong way and he has to be called out. His views, which he organises around through various bogus groups, can only damage the Palestinian cause. If he won’t take responsibility, if he insists on linking with holocaust deniers then so be it. Peter is not on the left. He makes that abundantly clear.

    As for Atzmon the least said the better. He has linked up with far-right elements like Michele Renouf.

    Kissinger was never of the Jewish lobby. He was a highly influential, maybe the most influential US politician of the last half century. What he did was not because he was a Jew but a member of the US political establishment. A war criminal many times over.Kissinger’s religion is irrelevant. He would have done the same if he had been a Catholic. Likewise Milton Friedman. I

  6. Tony Greenstein on 08/01/2023 at 2:46pm

    There is no misrepresentation. This was what you wrote:

    ‘These were the people that Hitler gassed. With Zionist support.’ You clearly aren’t referring to anything but the gassing. I’m sorry but they are your words.

    Yes the above organisations are largely Jewish though BICOM includes We Believe in Israel which is run by a Luke Akehurst who is not Jewish.

    But who supported them and willing used what they said indeed began the campaign? The Daily Mail, Guardian, BBC etc. etc. It was the ruling class, the Establishment that put its weight behind the ‘antisemitism’ campaign and so when you focus on Jews you are looking down the telescope the wrong way.

  7. Tony Greenstein on 08/01/2023 at 2:51pm

    I have admitted this comment, because it shows the stupidity and disingenuousness of your average holocaust denier.

    Nor is it intended to open a debate about the Holocaust or any aspect of it, including the gas chambers.

    As a fairly obvious point to make, there are of course no witnesses to the gas chambers (I’m wrong there are 1 or 2 including a Jewish doctor in Auschwitz who was spared at the last minute by Mengele) because those who witnessed it also died inside it.

    But there is testimony aplenty from those who were able to watch its operation from a distance such as Rudolf Vrba who counted in some 1.75 million people who had arrived by train at Auschwitz/Birkenau yet mysteriously none of them survived whilst the crematoria did a roaring business (literally).

    How this dishonest fool asks for hard factual evidence. Well there is plenty.

    There are thousands who will testify to the all pervasive sickly smell of human flesh burning, night and day with flames roaring 30 meters high. But of course all eye witness evidence is, a priori ruled out by Nazi apologists.

    In just the same way the Zionists rule out oral and eye witness evidence of the Nakba. The mentality of holocaust deniers and Zionists is very similar.

    The first thing to say is that no leading Nazi ever denied what happened.

    The second thing is that there is very strong evidence, from the doctors/nurses and ancillaries to the murder by gas of 70,000+ disabled and mentally handicapped people in gas trucks in Germany between 1939-41. This is indisputable. It led in August 1941 to its denunciation by Bishop Galen of Muenster. There was never any Nazi denial and it is accepted by genuine historians such as Henry Friedlander in The Origins of Nazi Genocide that this was the precursor of the gassing programme in Auschwitz and elsewhere.

    At this time the murder was by carbon monoxide not cyanide.

    But Ernesto forgets that the person in charge of the co-ordination of the Holocaust, Adolf Eichmann ADMITTED to his role, quite proudly.

    In his interview with Dutch Nazi journalist William Sassen, freely given in 1954 and reprinted in Life magazine on November 28 1961 this is what Eichmann said:

    ‘Where I was implicated in the physical annihilation of the Jews I admit my participation freely and without pressure. After all, I was the one who transported the Jews to the camps. If I had not deported them they would not have been delivered to the butcher.’ (this is printed in full in Lenni Brenner’s 51 Documents – Nazi Collaboration With the Nazis)

    Only the most malevolent and dishonest holocaust denier would challenge this.

    Eichmann continues:
    ‘After the onetime German Fuhrer gave the order for the physical annihilation of the Jews, our duties shifted. We supervised Gestapo seizures of German Jews and the trains that took them to their final destination.’

    He goes on to say that:
    ‘In the years that followed I often said to Jews with whom I had dealings that, had I been a Jew, I would have been a fanatical Zionist. I could not imagine being anything else. In fact I would have been the most ardent Zionist imaginable.’

    Eichmann continues with a section on the ‘(Gas) Chambers at Maideneck and then another section ‘The gas chambers at Auschwitz’. Here is what he said:

    ‘I never had anything directly to do with the gas chambers which evolved from early measures like those at Litzmnnstadt’. (Lodz) Presumably Eichmann refers to the fact that at the first extermination camp, Chelmno, they did not have gas chambers but gas trucks which had been used to murder disabled people first. He continued:

    ‘But I did visit Auschwitz repeatedly. It had an unpleasant smell. Even today I do not know how the gassing was carried out. I never watched the entire process. Even a man like Hoess, the commandant at Auschwitz, described the matter to me in a rather rose–coloured way…. It was Hoess who told me that Reichsfuhrer Himmler, taking a personal look at the entire liquidatintg action, had declared that this was a bloody fight which our coming generations would need to fight no more.’

    I suspect that neither this nor any other evidence would satisfy our budding neo-Nazi. After all the purpose of holocaust deniers is to deny what they would like to repeat again.

    The tragedy is that these people, with their Camp Auschwitz tee shirts stood side by side with Zionists and their Swastika Flag of David at the insurrection at Capital Hill a couple of years ago.

  8. Tony Greenstein on 08/01/2023 at 2:54pm

    Raul Hilberg was not able to produce evidence of an order from Hitler because it was an oral order. If this idiot knew anything he would know that the word of Hitler was law.

    The fact that David Irving, the one genuine historian the holocaust deniers have, was forced to manipulate and change his footnotes to support his charge that Hitler was innocent says everything. I refer to the Penguin v Irving libel trial.

    There is abundant evidence – those who survived for a state. Oscar Groenberg (?) the Auschwitz accountant and member of the SS who, when morons like Austistic Ernesto denied that there were gas chambers, came out and said oh yes there were, even though that put him in legal jeopardy.

    People like your Ernesto are just despicable and this is the last comment you are allowed. Go ply your trade elsewhere.

  9. Mick wright on 09/01/2023 at 8:39pm

    Tony do you believe that the Palestinians have rights to live freely and not under murderous regime?

  10. Tony Greenstein on 10/01/2023 at 3:21pm

    of course. Whatever gave you the idea I didn’t?

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