Tony Greenstein | 28 March 2016 | Post Views:

The English Defence League attacks a Palestine solidarity stall – Israeli flag in one hand, Hitler salutes with the other – anti-Semitic support 4 Zionism is a topic glossed over by Freedland & mass media

False accusations are being carefully aimed at Jeremy Corbyn and the left

Weekly Worker 24.3.16.  

Jonathan Freedland – Senior Guardian & Jewish Chronicle journalist – confuses anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism
might be forgiven for thinking, such has been the plethora of articles about
‘anti-Semitism’ recently, that the Labour Party had been taken over by the
provisional wing of the National Front. But, of course, the recent obsession
with ‘anti-Semitism’ has nothing whatsoever to do with the Oswald
Moseley/British Union of Fascists variety.
Owen Jones – erstwhile hero of the working class and fairweather friend of the Palestinians – hawking his conscience around anyone who will listen
is what is termed the ‘new anti-Semitism’. This does not include any of the old
features, such as hatred of Jews as Jews, stereotyping, hideously distorted
cartoons, violence and theories about world Jewish conspiracies. Good gracious
no. That would mean that groups such as the Zionists’ friends in the English
Defence League, alongside whom Jonathan Hoffman, vice-chair of the Zionist Federation,
happily demonstrated against the boycott of the Ahava shop in Covent Garden,
would have to be ostracised. The EDL has a habit of attacking Palestine
solidarity events – flying the Israeli flag in one hand, whilst giving the
Hitler salute with the other.
Alex Chalmers – Upper Class twit, Zionist hack and Chair of Oxford University Labour Club – sees no evil where Israel is concerned
anti-Semitism’ means that Israel is the “Jew amongst the nations”.1
It is picked on, not because it is the world’s most racist state, but allegedly
because it is a Jewish state. Opposition to the Israeli state and Zionism
therefore qualifies as anti-Semitism. However, a traditional anti-Semite, such
as Poland’s Michał Kamiński MEP, who demanded that the Jews of Poland apologise
for the fact that 900 of their fellows had been burned alive by fellow Poles in
1941, can qualify – according to the editor of the Jewish Chronicle,
Stephen Pollard – for the title of “friend to Jews”.2
Caryl Churchill – author of brilliant 7 Jewish Children
recent hysteria over ‘anti-Semitism’ began last summer when the British
establishment and the Labour right, via its ‘liberal’ mouthpiece, The
, woke up to the fact that rank outsider Jeremy Corbyn was about to
win the leadership of the Labour Party. Their initial reaction was to try and
get the whole election called off because of ‘infiltrators’, but that was too
obvious. Even Hatty Harman worked out that this would have led to an
insurrection by Labour members.
the same time the Daily Mail and the Jewish Chronicle tried to
suggest that Corbyn had kept company with a Jewish holocaust-denier, Paul
Eisen, British director of Deir Yassin remembered. There is, of course,
a rich irony in the Daily Mail’s concern with anti-Semitism. Not only
did the Mail vigorously campaign in the 1930s against the admission of
Jewish refugees from Germany, but its owner, Viscount Rothermere, wrote that
the Jews had “started a clamorous campaign of denunciation against what they
call ‘Nazi atrocities’, which, as anyone who visits Germany quickly discovers
for himself, consists merely of a few isolated acts of violence”.3
Gerald Downing of Socialist Fight – playing with the ‘socialism of fools’
allegations against Corbyn were preposterous. He had attended a Palestinian
fundraising concert in 2013. However, Eisen played no part in organising that
concert. It was St John’s Wood Church which organised the event through another
organisation called Deir Yassin Day.
Jonathan Hoffman co-vice chair of the Zionist Federation (& Harvey Garfield) demonstrate with Roberta Moore of the neo-Nazi Jewish Defence League with the fascist holocaust deniers of the EDL behind them (in paramilitary uniforms) 
campaign against Corbyn and his supporters went quiet for a few months. There
was a brief interlude when the father of the House of Commons, Gerald Kaufmann,
a Jewish MP and previously strong supporter of Zionism, referred to “Jewish
”. It’s not a phrase that I would have used, but it is commonly used by
Jewish people. One of Kaufmann’s main accusers was the far-right Jewish
journalist, Geoffrey Alderman, who called for the excommunication
of Kaufmann despite using the same phrase himself, twice within the same
it was different when it came to David Whelan, the owner of Wigan Athletic
football club, who told of how “there is nothing like a Jew who sees money
slipping through his fingers
” and when challenged by The Guardian
responded, “I think they are very shrewd people … I think Jewish people do
chase money more than everybody else.
”5 Complaints about this for
Alderman amounted to “a sad and miserable tale of political correctness taken
to new depths of absurdity”
. In his view “there is nothing remotely
anti-Semitic in what Whelan is alleged by The Guardian to have said
about Jews
the Tories find themselves in political difficulty over George Osborne’s budget
and the resignation of Iain Duncan Smith, Labour is beginning to seem a
credible government in waiting. But thankfully for the establishment, the
Zionist movement had already taken on the role of an outrider for the political
establishment. Together with The Guardian, it has decided to revert to
that tried and trusted weapon, ‘anti-Semitism’.

Labour’s ‘problem’
Freedland, a senior Guardian journalist, set the tone with an article
which used the idiocy of one Labour Party member, Vicky Kirby, and the
stupidity of Gerry Downing7 to tar the left in the party as
apparently believes that Jews have big noses and that Hitler is a Zionist god,
which suggests she needs help rather than expulsion. Downing’s stupidity is
less excusable.9 The French Revolution resolved the Jewish question,
the place of Jews in European society, over 200 years ago. In the words of
Stanislas Marie Adélaïde, the count of Clermont-Tonnerre, “We must refuse
everything to the Jews as a nation and accord everything to Jews as
10 Only the Zionists and the anti-Semites rejected the
emancipation of the Jews.
Freedland lacks in substance he makes up for with innuendo. Not once does he
attempt to define the anti-Semitism he talks about. Is it new or old
anti-Semitism or a mixture thereof?
like to use the discredited European Union Monitoring Committee definition of
anti-Semitism, which included “vilification of Israel” and comparisons between
Nazi Germany and Israel. The only problem is that even the European Union’s
Fundamental Rights Agency has junked it – which led Shimon Samuels of the Simon
Wiesenthal Center to claim: “Those who fight anti-Semitism have lost an
important weapon.
” A weapon not against anti-Semites of course, but against
Kirby and Downing are two idiosyncratic individuals. Even Freedland did not
think it wise to base his suggestion of widespread anti-Semitism in the Labour
Party on these two. It is on the case of Oxford University Labour Club that his
case rests.12
his own words, its chair, Alex Chalmers, decided to resign “in the light of
OULC’s decision … to endorse Israel Apartheid Week
”.13 But
Chalmers’ assertion that “the student left in Oxford … have some kind of
problem with Jews”
was clearly based on their anti-Zionism, not their anti-Semitism.
is a political lightweight. His Zionist politics are crystal-clear. He speaks
about Hamas’s violence, yet he ignores the far greater violence of the Israeli
state and the settlers. He claimed on his blog that he was offended by use of the
term ‘Zio’ – shorthand for ‘Zionist’ – because apparently the Ku Klux Klan use
it. Possibly they do, but so do many people and it has no anti-Semitic
connotations. Should we stop speaking English because the KKK do?  This is absurd.  Chalmers also complained that a former Labour club officer
commented that “most accusations of anti-Semitism are just the Zionists crying
In asserting that anti-Semitism was the reason for his resignation,
Chalmers has proved the very point that he disputes.
lost the vote over the Labour club’s support for Israel Apartheid Week and
decided to throw his toys out of the pram. Yet it is indisputable that Israel
presides over a system of overt racial segregation in the West Bank, where four
million Palestinians have lived under military law for nearly 50 years, without
any civil or political rights, whilst Jewish settlers enjoy all the benefits of
Israel’s civil law. Even the highways are reserved for Jews only. How can
anyone seriously suggest that this is not apartheid?
the ‘green line’ (Israel’s borders till 1967) a subtler form of apartheid
exists. There are no ‘Arabs only’ signs, but housing, employment, education are
segregated. Only five private high schools in Israel are mixed. Half of
Israel’s Arab villages are ‘unrecognised’ – meaning that they have no
electricity, sewerage or services and they are liable to be demolished at a
moment’s notice. In the Negev, Jerusalem and Galilee there is an ongoing
government programme of Judaisation, just as in Nazi Germany prior to 1941
there was a process of deJewification. Zionist policy is a mirror reflection of
European anti-Semitism.
the recent Pew Opinion Survey a majority (48%) of Israeli Jews want Israeli
Palestinians expelled from the country. 79% believe Jews are entitled to
preferential treatment.14 In which western state would a majority of
the citizens support the expulsion of 20% of the population?
only example of anti-Semitism at Oxford that Freedland gives is where
apparently one member of the Labour club “organised a group to shout ‘filthy
Zionist’ at a Jewish student whenever they saw her”
. This allegation is sourced
to Aaron Simons.15 We have no indication of who made the allegation,
the name of the student who organised this shouting or indeed the alleged
victim. Bearing in mind that Jewish students who support the Palestinians are
regularly abused with the terms, ‘traitor’ and ‘self-hater’, and told they
should have died with their families in the gas chambers, it is pretty small
beer, even assuming there is any truth in it. 16
other argument is that in a recent survey 93% of British Jews said Israel
formed some part of their identity. Even were this true, then the obvious
retort would be … so what? Is it racist to criticise and attack a state that
people identify with? The journalists of Charlie Hebdo attacked what
some Muslims identified with. Were they racists or defenders of free speech?
Supposing Muslims or Africans were to argue that female genital mutilation was
part of their identity, would we be racist to oppose FMG and challenge that
have a brother living in Israel but that does not affect my anti-Zionism. Many
British people had relatives in Rhodesia and South Africa under apartheid. Were
they victims of racism when we opposed the system they identified with?
Freedland is unable to explore the implications of his statement because he
knows that it does not stand up to scrutiny.
is about denying the existence of a human being because of fixed or unalterable
characteristics. It is about dehumanisation. It involves stereotypes,
discrimination, hate and violence. It is not about challenging group identity.
If it is part of free speech not to accept reactionary Islamic practices or
ideology, then the same applies to Jews. Freedland reluctantly accepts that
opposition to Israel “is not always anti-Semitic”, implying that it normally
is. Having conceded the point, however, he goes on to make the opposite case: viz
that anti-Semitism is equivalent to anti-Zionism.
tells us that when Jews pray they face east towards Jerusalem and that they
have done so for 2,000 years. Certainly the holy land had a religious symbolism
for Jews, but it had no political significance. When the Zionist movement first
arose, the fiercest opposition to it came from the Orthodox Jews. Jews never
sought to go to Palestine until the era of late-colonialism. The migration to
Palestine was provoked not by religion, but by anti-Semitism in eastern Europe.
It was evangelical Christians such as Lords Palmerstone and Shaftesbury who
urged Jews to settle in Palestine (and build a state which would protect the
Suez Canal). Even then most Jews desired to go anywhere but Palestine (between
the mid-19th century and 1914, of the 2.5 million Jews who fled tsarist Russia
only 2% went to Palestine).
other point is simply dishonest. He says that Corbyn “praised Islamist leader
Sheikh Raed Salah”
. He may well have, but so what? Contrary to Freedland’s
assertions, a British court was in no position to determine whether or not Raed
Salah had “deployed the blood libel”. It heard no witnesses to this event. The
passing comment of the court that in its opinion Salah had referred to the
Jewish blood libel was obiter dictum: ie, wholly irrelevant to the
court’s actual finding that Raed Salah’s detention by Theresa May was illegal.
May’s deportation order was overturned and Salah was freed as a consequence.
The Upper Immigration Tribunal also found that the allegation that Salah had
written an anti-Semitic poem was based on faked evidence supplied by the Jerusalem
and the Zionist Community Security Trust. Freedland does not mention
this, however.
also fails to mention that the Jerusalem magistrates court found Salah had not
referred to the Jewish blood libel in a speech. Salah said his reference was to
the Spanish Inquisition and its murder of children. The decision was reversed
on appeal by the Jerusalem District Court, colonial court, in a nakedly political attack on Salah, who has
been one of the main leaders of Israeli Palestinians and a thorn in the
government’s side. During the Israeli raid on the ship, the Marvi Marmara, when
Israel murdered nine Turkish citizens, there was an attempt by Israel’s forces
to assassinate Raed Salah, but they shot a Turkish man by mistake. I clearly
remember the announcement of Salah’s death by Israel.17
short there is no substance to Freedland’s arguments. The issue of
‘anti-Semitism’ in the Labour Party is wholly contrived. It is the creation of
journalists and Zionist activists. It has no basis in reality. The real agenda
is defence of the Israeli state.

Mental disease?

has gone overboard in the campaign to brand
Labour under Corbyn as anti-Semitic. It recently printed an article by that
champion of the Iraq war, Nick Cohen, on how it is the duty of every
freedom-lover to convert to being Jewish as a protest against anti-Semitism.18
Unfortunately, in its eagerness to attack the left, The Guardian failed
to pick up on a similar article by Cohen in the Jewish Chronicle a mere
seven years previously!19 (Another person with an urge to regurgitate
a previous offering is Owen Jones.20 His latest piece bears a
distinct resemblance to an article he wrote last summer.21)

Pinsker, one of the earliest Zionists, the founder of the Lovers of Zion, wrote
in 1882: 

“Judaephobia is then a mental disease and, as a mental disease it is
hereditary; and, having been inherited for 2,000 years, it is incurable.

This summarised Zionism’s attitude to anti-Semitism. If anti-Semitism was
incurable it was ‘futile’ to fight it. This belief that anti-Semitism was an
incurable disease was fundamental to Zionism’s acceptance of anti-Semitism. It
was a natural consequence of living in ‘other people’s lands’. Far better to
establish a settler-colonial state of Israel.
fact anti-Semitism had material roots in the societies in which it occurred.
Far from suffering a continuous anti-Semitism for 2,000 years, Jews were both
oppressors and oppressed. They were the allies of the ruling classes under
feudalism and the exploiters of the peasantry. In the words of Abram Leon, the
Jews were a people class.23 It was the transition to a decaying
capitalism in eastern Europe which unleashed racial, as opposed to religious,
anti-Semitism. The Jews found themselves “wedged between the anvil of decaying
feudalism and the hammer of rotting capitalism”
has the advantage over Nick Cohen of possessing a modicum of intelligence.
Unfortunately it is wasted. The only example he finds of anti-Semitism is Vicky
Kirby. Jones, a gadfly of the left, complains that whenever he raises the
question of anti-Semitism people cry, “Ah, but what about Israel?” It doesn’t
seem to have occurred to him that the reason why Israel and anti-Semitism have
become intertwined is because it is a deliberate strategy of the Zionist
movement to label supporters of the Palestinians and opponents of Zionism as
Jones has any doubts on the matter then he could, for example, refer to Abe
Foxman, director of the US Anti-Defamation League: “To me, it’s very simple:
anti-Zionism 99% of the time is a euphemism for anti-Semitism.”
25 In
such a situation and where communal bodies such as the Board of Deputies
proclaim that British Jews support the latest attack by Israel on Gaza, it is
inevitable that people will react to allegations of anti-Semitism, even if
genuine, by raising the question of Israel.
Jones is a fair-weather friend of the Palestinian struggle and the fight
against Zionism. He tries, like a good opportunist social democrat, to befriend
both the oppressor and the oppressed.26
jumping on the bandwagon is Blair’s ‘Lord Cashpoint’ – otherwise known as Lord
Levy. He has taken to both The Guardian and the Jewish Chronicle
to warn that he could quit Labour over anti-Semitism! If the noble lord carries
out his promise, it will be one of the few gains from this contrived affair of
into this one-sided debate is Aaron Simons, a former chair of Oxford
University’s Jewish Society (for which read Zionist society). Borrowing from
the 1999 Macpherson report, Simons claims that Oxford’s student left is
institutionally anti-Semitic”. There cannot be a more absurd formulation.
Anti-Semitism is not a form of state racism in British society. Jews in this
society are white, not black. Anti-Semitism is, at most, a marginal form of
prejudice. It is not synagogues, but mosques, which are repeatedly the subject
of arson attacks. Just as defenders of Israel and its genocidal attacks on
Palestinians have resorted to the tag, ‘Jewish lives matter’, in imitation of
‘Black lives matter’, so Zionist students in Britain, having played no part in
anti-racist struggles, seek to capitalise on the struggle of black people.28
was also the affair of York University’s Palestine Society, which was accused
of ‘anti-Semitism’ for putting on the play Seven Jewish children (an
added ingredient was that Jeremy’s son, Tom Corbyn, is a member of York’s
Palestine Society). Freedland did not publicise this example of ‘anti-Semitism’
– perhaps because The Guardian has promoted Seven Jewish children
on its own website. This is a quite beautiful and thought-provoking play by
Caryl Churchill, comparing a child hiding in a Jewish ghetto in Nazi-occupied
Europe to a Palestinian child killed in Gaza.29
course, the fact that some Jewish students supported the play was not news –
maybe theirs is a form of ‘anti-Semitism’ that Jonathan Freedland and co have
not examined. This is an example of making Jewish people who are anti-Zionists
invisible – as Jewish anti-Zionists do not support the Israeli state, they do
not count, of course, being ‘race traitors’ and ‘self-haters’. The Jewish
, however, ran with a story calling the play “anti-Semitic”30
– which provoked an open letter from six Israeli and Jewish students from York
University’s Palestine society denying this.31
theme of Seven Jewish children is one taken up by the socialist and
Jewish folk singer, Leon Rosselson, in his recent song, ‘The ballad of Rivka
and Mohammed’
, which ends up with Rivka, the Jewish girl in the ghetto, and
Mohammed, the Palestinian boy in Gaza: “then each took the hand of the other
and then they were seen no more
surprisingly members of the Blairite right, such as Michael Dugher MP, who was
recently sacked from the shadow cabinet, Rachel Reeves MP and, of course,
rent-a-mouth John Mann MP have all jumped on the bandwagon. Mann is quoted as
saying that “urgent action” must be taken, as “the problem has got worse since
new members joined following Mr Corbyn’s election”
and the Labour leader will face
an almighty row” if he does nothing. Of course, there is something very simple
that Corbyn could do – and that is to tell Mann and co to put up or shut
up. In other words, come up with some evidence that there is a problem
of anti-Semitism in the party.
should bear in mind that this is not the first time that Mann has made
allegations he cannot back up. John Mann was a witness in the Fraser v
University College Union employment tribunal case, where it was alleged that
the boycott of Israeli universities was anti-Semitic. The tribunal dismissed
the claim and described Mann’s evidence thus:

We did not derive assistance from the two
members of parliament who appeared before us. Both gave glib evidence,
appearing supremely confident of the rightness of their positions … Mr Mann
… told us that the leaders of the respondents were at fault for the way in
which they conducted debates, but did not enlighten us as to what they were
doing wrong or what they should be doing differently … And, when it came to
anti- Semitism in the context of debate about the Middle East, he announced,
“It’s clear to me where the line is …”, but unfortunately eschewed the
opportunity to locate it for us. Both parliamentarians clearly enjoyed making
speeches. Neither seemed at ease with the idea of being required to answer a
question not to his liking.

put to the test, Zionist claims of ‘anti-Semitism’ are invariably found
wanting, because Zionism has no interest in combating genuine examples of
anti-Semitism. That is not, and never has been, its concern.
Suspended – Latest victim
In the course of writing this article I received a letter from the Labour Party. I was informed that, on the basis of comments I was alleged to have made, I was being suspended forthwith from membership. No indication was given as to the nature of the comments I was alleged to have made. I can only assume that they related to anti-Semitism or Zionism. Perhaps my case too will be used as an illustration of the growth of ‘anti-Semitism’ in Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party!

I shall, of course, be fighting this new witch-hunt and I hope that Corbyn and McDonnell will begin to take charge of the Blairite civil service they have inherited in the party.

1 .
Jewish Chronicle July 16 2015:
3 .
The Daily News September 4 1933 under the title, ‘Nazi youth in
4 .
Jewish Chronicle August 14 2015: 
5 .
6 .
7 .
See T Greenstein, ‘Confusing the question’ Weekly Worker March 17 2016.
9 .
See T Greenstein, ‘Confusing the question’ Weekly Worker March 17 2016.
10 .
Speech in the French Constituent Assembly, December 21 1789: 
11 .
EU drops its “working definition” of anti-SemitismThe Times of Israel
December 5 2013: 
13 .
14 .
Pew Research Centre, ‘Israel’s religiously divided society’: 
17 .
18 .
N Cohen, ‘Why I’m becoming a Jew and why you should, tooThe Guardian
March 19 2016: 
19 .
‘Hatred is turning me into a Jew’ Jewish Chronicle February 12 2009:
22 .
L Pinsker Autoemanzipation, ein Mahnrufan seine Stammesgenossen, von einem
russischen Juden
Berlin 1882, p5.
23 .
A Leon The Jewish question: a Marxist interpretation London 1974.
24 .
Ibid p226.
26 .
For a more in depth analysis see ‘Owen Jones’s obsession with “anti-Semitism”’: 
27 .
‘Lord Levy warns he could quit Labour over anti-Semitism’ The Guardian
March 20 2016; and ‘I will leave Labour unless it stands up to anti-Semitism,
says Lord Levy’ Jewish Chronicle February 21 2016.
29 .
30 .
32 .

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