Tony Greenstein | 19 October 2021 | Post Views:

An Open Letter to Lisa Nandy, Who Went from Chair of Labour Friends of Palestine to Becoming the Zionist’s Favourite Pet

Is there anything more sickening than a politician who steps on the bodies of Palestinian children in order to build her career?

I thought it was about time that I wrote to an old friend, Starmer’s Shadow Foreign Secretary, Lisa Nandy. Because it is of general interest I have decided to share it with others but I would ask that you keep it confidential. I don’t want our friendship to be derailed!!

The JLM’s Mike Katz praises Louise Ellman, who has defended the torture and abuse of Palestinian children in the name of ‘security’ – Ruth Smeeth was very brave in lying to get Marc Wadsworth expelled.

It’s not often that I agree with Stephane Savary of the Jewish Labour Movement, who accused Lisa Nandy of “playing both sides.” Just a day after saying, at a JLM hustings for Labour leadership candidates that she was a Zionist, Nandy agreed to sign up to 3 Pledges from PSC, including the right of return for Palestinian refugees.

If Nandy had understood what she said then she would know that a return of those who were ethnically cleansed in 1948 would spell doom for Israel as a Jewish Supremacist state. It would force Zionism to choose between a democratic state or an apartheid state. In practice the choice has already been made. Israel rules over 5 million Palestinians in the Occupied Territories yet refuses to grant them even the most minimal civil or political rights.

The refugees were expelled in order to create a Jewish majority in Israel. That was always the intention of the Zionist movement. In December 1940, Joseph Weitz, Director of the Jewish National Fund’s Lands Settlement Department, wrote in his diary:

Ruth Smeeth, described in one US memo published by Wikileaks as a Protected Asset of the United States.  A hard line Zionist, she lied about anti-racist activist Marc Wadsworth whom Corbyn failed to defend

There is no way besides transferring the Arabs from here to the neighboring countries, and to transfer all of them, save perhaps for [the Arabs of] Bethlehem, Nazareth and Old Jerusalem. Not one village must be left, not one [bedouin] tribe. And only after this transfer will the country be able to absorb millions of our brothers and the Jewish problem will cease to exist. There is no other solution.”

In December 2018 Nandy became Chair of the invisible Labour Friends of Palestine. In an article outlining her plans as the new Chair, Nandy waxed lyrical about the oppression that the Palestinians faced.

How is it that Nandy, who wrote eloquently about ‘families humiliated at checkpoints on a daily basis and the denial of basic medical care’ and in support of an arms embargo could also support the fake ‘anti-Semitism’ campaign directed against Corbyn and supporters of the Palestinians?

Labour Party policy on Palestine as passed by the 2021 Conference

Nandy’s condemnation of the Palestine motion passed at Labour Party conference was a further example of how she is prepared to sell the Palestinians down the river if it benefits her career. He condemnation was of course supported by Starmer, who had previously declared that he is a ‘Zionist without qualification.’

As someone who always believes in the best in people I thought I should write a personal letter to Nandy expressing my disappointment and hoping that she had been misquoted. After all Nandy can’t want people to think that the only thing she is interested in is power for its own sake!

Open Letter to Lisa Nandy

Dear Lisa Nandy,

I am sure you will agree with me that consistency, honesty and integrity are qualities to be admired in a politician, rare as it might be to find such a person. I have looked in vain for any evidence that you possess any of these qualities.  Given your record to date you will understand why integrity, honesty and consistency are not the things that spring to mind when your name is mentioned.

However, since I always try to look for the best in a person I thought that if I wrote to you that you might help me in my endeavours.

My problems stem from the fact that in December 2018, when you became Chair of Labour Friends of Palestine, you spoke movingly of your experiences visiting the West Bank. I hope I am not embarrassing you if I quote back to you what you said, as in today’s climate in the Labour Party they may well be termed ‘anti-Semitic’ and get you suspended:

I met a three-year-old child whose house was surrounded by the Separation Wall and was growing up without daylight. I saw a 15-year-old shackled by the ankles, who had been held in administrative detention for months without any contact with his family, access to school or a lawyer. I saw families humiliated at checkpoints on a daily basis and the denial of basic medical care as a result…. After a decade working with some of the most marginalised children in the UK, I didn’t think I could be shocked anymore, but what I saw in the West Bank amounted to the deliberate destruction of the hopes of a generation.

You will be aware that the cry of ‘anti-Semitism’ is routinely used, not only against critics of Israel and Zionism but even against its friends who stray from the Zionist pth. The examples are legion. Even President Obama, who agree to the largest ever military aid to Israel, some $38 billion over 10 years, was labelled an ‘anti-Semite’ for having the temerity to abstain on a UN resolution condemning Israel’s illegal settlements.

The accusation that anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism is a catchphrase of the Right, from President Macron of France to Mike Pompei, Trump’s Christian fundamentalist Secretary of State. It is a lie that has become part of the West’s imperialist narrative. As Goebbels noted if you “Repeat a lie often enough it becomes the truth”

What surprised me most about this fake narrative was how yesterday’s racists, such as Tom Watson and John Mann, were born again opponents of ‘anti-Semitism’. How is this possible?

Who would have thought that Watson, who ‘lost sleep thinking about poor old Phil Woolas and his leaflets’ was the same Watson who declared that he wouldn’t rest until the last anti-Semite had been driven out of the Labour Party? This was the same Tom Watson who, as campaign manager in the Birmingham Hodshrove by-election in 2004 had issued a leaflet “Labour is on your side, the Lib Dems are on the side of failed asylum seekers.”

The Feeble Five Labour Leadership Candidates

You will I am sure remember Woolas and the campaign he ran in Oldham. The campaign strategy wasmaking the White folk angry’. John Mann, the ‘anti-Semitism Czar’ (a fitting title) was also angry at the ‘injustice’ to Phil Woolas as was Steve McCabe, the current Chair of Labour Friends of Israel.

Following the suspension of Woolas, after not before, the High Court removed him from the House of Commons, John Pienaar revealed that a mutiny took place during the weekly meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party. Harriet Harman, the acting leader of the party was called a ‘disgrace’ for suspending this vile racist. These are the same people who carried the flag for the fake ‘anti-Semitism’ campaign five years later.

Indeed John Mann went even further. No stauncher defender of Israel and Zionism is there than Mann. He is infamous for his bullying confrontation with Ken Livingstone for having referred to how the Nazis and the Zionists got on like a house on fire in the 1930s. It was the same John Mann who wrote a handbook on anti-social behaviour which described Gypsies and Roma as examples of anti-social behaviour, an asocial pest to be excluded from polite society.

In the section on ‘Travellers’ there was ‘a big, bold strapline saying “the Police have powers to remove any gypsies and travellers”. If John Mann or the Labour Right had any sense of history they might recall that it wasn’t only the Jews who died in the Nazi death camps but Gypsies too and in much the same proportions.

Don’t you think it is strange that the most rabidly racist section of the PLP were also the most ardent opponents of ‘anti-Semitism’ under Jeremy Corbyn? Why do you think it is that the mass media, from the Mail and the Sun to the BBC and LBC, were united in condemning ‘anti-Semitism’ when they have all played their part in whipping up hatred against Black and Muslims in this country?

But you also played your part in stirring the ‘anti-Semitism’ cauldron. In your imitation of a nodding dog, in an interview with Andrew Neil in 2020, Rachel Cousins was quoted by Neil as a ‘prominent Labour activist’ who had tweeted that the Board of Deputies were ‘Conservative backers’, which is a statement of fact. The Board welcomed the anti-Semitic White Supremacist Donald Trump to power but not Corbyn to the Labour leadership.

Rachel demanded that the BOD condemn all Israeli military atrocities in the West Bank. Neil then asked you ‘is that anti-Semitic?’ to which you answered – ‘yes, it is’.

Forgive me if I am slightly puzzled but that is always what happens when non-Jews profess to be such experts on ‘anti-Semitism’. Perhaps you could tell me, being Jewish, exactly what was anti-Semitic about calling on the BOD to condemn Israel’s military atrocities? This is the same Board which has supported each and every Israeli attack on the Palestinians.

When Israeli snipers mowed down unarmed Palestinian civilians in Gaza the Board was on hand to defend Israel. When Israel attacked Gaza earlier this year the BOD immediately issued a statement of support. It even organised a demonstration of support (which Tommy Robinson, that well known opponent of racism, attended). Indeed Robinson was welcomed like a hero.

One of the most striking thing about support for Israel today is how the strongest supporters of Zionism, from Viktor Orban and Steve Bannon to neo-Nazi Richard Spencer and Tommy Robinson, come from the White Supremacist far-Right. Don’t you think that is strange? How is it that the most racist and anti-Semitic elements in society are also those who are most opposed to ‘anti-Semitism’?

But I digress. The BOD has support for Israel embedded in its constitution. Why then should Rachel Cousin’s call for the Board to criticise Israel’s military reign of terror, which you yourself once opposed, be anti-Semitic?

Given your previous role as Chair of Labour Friends of Palestine it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that you are a prime example of a hypocrite who will say and do anything in order to advance her career.

Lisa Nandy’s idea of ‘balance’ is to support both the victims of Israeli apartheid and the supporters of apartheid!

Given your strong condemnation, as Chair of LFP, of Israel’s reign of terror in the West Bank, I would have assumed that you would have welcomed the Young Labour motion on Palestine which was passed by the most recent Labour Party conference.

The motion called for support for the ‘international campaign to stop annexation and end apartheid.’ It was only this year that B’Tselem and Human Rights Watch concluded that Israel is practising the crime of apartheid. How can there be any doubt about this? It is a statement of fact.

You yourself condemned Israel’s treatment of Palestinian children whereas Jewish children living in the settlements receive entirely different treatment. They aren’t arrested in the middle of the night, blindfolded, shackled and beaten? How can this be anything than racism and apartheid? Or were you also ‘anti-Semitic’ at one time?

The motion condemned

‘the ongoing Nakba in Palestine, Israel’s militarised violence attacking the Al Aqsa mosque, the forced displacements from Sheikh Jarrah and the deadly assault on Gaza.’

‘International Criminal Court decision to hold an inquiry into abuses committed in the Occupied Palestinian Territories since 2014.’

as well as calling for ‘stopping any arms trade used to violate Palestinian human rights and trade with illegal Israeli settlements’ and to ‘support “effective measures” including sanctions’ against Israel, as well as supporting the Right of Return. It also called for an end to the occupation of the West Bank, the blockade of Gaza and the demolition of the Apartheid Wall.

The Board of Deputies held its first ever ‘anti-racist’ demonstration in 2018 – against Jeremy Corbyn. Against the National Front and Oswald Moseley it advised Jews to stay at home!

Finding nothing that you could disagree with in the motion you declared that the Labour leadership ‘cannot support pro Palestine motion’ at conference because the motion ‘does not address the issues in a comprehensive or balanced way’.

Perhaps I am naïve but didn’t South Africa in the days of Apartheid also condemn the attacks on it as ‘one sided’? Today the Saudi regime makes similar criticisms of UN resolutions on Yemen. Would you would have insisted, as many in the West did, on a ‘balanced’ approach to the Nazis’ treatment of the Jews prior to 1939?

What does ‘balance’ mean when there is a choice between good and evil? It can only mean conniving in the perpetuation of injustice. Turning a blind eye to evil. That and that alone is the real meaning of your weasel words. As Martin Luther King observed,

‘The hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of great moral conflict.’

In days gone by even Sir Keith supported the Palestinians 

I realise that hope must spring eternal in your breast as you look upon the walking disaster that goes by the name of Keith Starmer. It cannot be but a matter of time before Starmer, whose performance as Labour leader resembles Ian Duncan Smith’s leadership of the Tory Party, is removed. Ambition seems to be the only quality you have. But as Shakespeare noted in Hamlet ‘The very substance of the ambitious is merely the shadow of a dream.’

At the hustings for Labour candidates in the leadership campaign you described yourself as a Zionist. You said that:

“I believe that Jewish people have the right to national self-determination. That makes me a zionist.”

Zionism was a political ideology and movement that sought to create a ‘Jewish’ state in Palestine. The first Zionists weren’t Jewish. They were Protesetants. Lords Shaftesbury and Palmerstone, George Elliot, Napoleon, Ernest Laharanne. In essence western imperialists who wanted a ‘Jewish’ settler state to safeguard their imperialist interests, notably the Suez Canal and the route to India.

Zionism has nothing to do with Jewish ‘self determination’. Zionism never claimed to be such a movement. It saw itself as a colonising movement, hence why Zionists organisations such as the Jewish Colonisation Agency were set up. Of course today, with movements for racial justice and national liberation, Zionists want to be part of the zeitgeist. They use the language of the left in defence of their colonising project much as the Jewish National Fund, whose sole purpose is to effect ethnic cleansing, has taken to describing itself as an ecological movement.

It never ceases to amaze me that those who shout loudest about ‘anti-Semitism’ are usually the worst anti-Semites. When you say that Jews are entitled to ‘self determination’ what you mean is that Jews don’t belong in the countries where they live.

Unfortunately  Palestine Solidarity Campaign thinks it advances the Palestinian cause to put Zionists on its platforms

When Zionism first arose, its fiercest opponents were themselves Jewish. They saw in Zionism a form of Jewish anti-Semitism, which is not surprising since most anti-Semites – from the anti-Dreyfusard leader Edouard Drumont to Williams Evans-Gordon, the founder of the British Brothers League and Alfred Rosenberg, the Nazi Party’s main theoretician, all supported Zionism.

The reaction of Lucien Wolf, Secretary of the Conjoint Foreign Committee of the Board of Deputies to the idea that Jews constituted a separate nation from other British people was typical:

I have spent most of my life in combating these very doctrines, when presented to me in the form of anti-Semitism, and I can only regard them as the more dangerous when they come to me in the guise of Zionism. They constitute a capitulation to our enemies.’ [i]

[i]            B Destani (ed) The Zionist movement and the foundation of Israel 1839-1972, p.727.

The only people who are entitled to national self-determination are oppressed nations. The Jews are neither oppressed nor a nation. Jews speak a variety of languages and live in a multiplicity of countries.

In other words, in adopting the Zionist creed you have also adopted the anti-Semites belief that Jews are not really British.

Rest assured Lisa that it may well be that the Labour Party deserves you as a leader. Today it seems as if the only person fit to lead the Labour Party is someone totally lacking in principle and whose only distinguishing characteristic is a willingness to say anything if it pleases the British Establishment.

Yours as ever,

Tony Greenstein

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