Tony Greenstein | 23 November 2021 | Post Views:

HnH Scores Own Goal As First It Cancels Joe Solo and then Offers Him Back the Money he Won!

 Hate not Hope and the vile Ruth Smeeth Use McCarthyite Tactics to Smear Joe as an ‘anti-Semite’ for Supporting Chris Williamson 

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The Problem with Hope not Hate

Wednesday 24 November 7.00 pm

I first saw Joe Solo at the Festival of Resistance 6 weeks ago, a genuinely empathetic working class street performer. So it was no surprise that a socialist, an anti-racist and anti-imperialist should come in for a vicious attack by the misnamed Hope not Hate which is a right-wing ‘anti-fascist’ group.

HnH was first formed in 2004 and in 2011 it split with its parent organisation, Searchlight Anti-Fascist Magazine which also had a record of smearing anti-fascists and anti-racists. The split was not based on any principled disagreements but about money. Nick Lowles, its Director wanted to be free of the ageing Zionist Gerry Gable in order to make as much money as he wanted without restrictions placed on what he could do with it.

At first Lowles proclaimed that he was not ‘vocalising’ about Palestine and the group had no position on Israel/Palestine. But that soon changed as it was made clear that if he didn’t take sides then money would dry up, certainly from Establishment and Zionist sources.

One of the tweets that Hate not Hope objected to

Literally Hate not Hope sold its soul to the Zionist devil. It leaps upon any manifestation of sympathy with the Palestinians and describes it as ‘anti-Semitic’.

In June 2015 the detestable racist former MP Ruth Smeeth was appointed as Deputy Director of HnH. Two years later HnH became part of the ‘anti-Semitism’ smear campaign against Corbyn and later against Chris Williamson. Smeeth is now a Director of HnH.

Liron Velleman

Nor is Smeeth the only paid-up Zionist at HnH. Liron Velleman, the Political Organiser at HnH is policy officer for the rabidly right-wing Jewish Labour Movement. It’s a small world as they say!

Gurinder Singh Josan

And just in case you were worried the trustee board is chaired by Labour far right NEC member, Gurinder Singh Josan.

On 1 November HnH invited people to vote from a shortlist of 6 for their ‘Hope Hero’ awards. Out of the 6 people selected, Joe Solo won the award. What happened next was predictable. The ‘anti-Semitism’ smear campaign went into operation.

On 17 November HnH issued a statement with scab ‘union’ Community, the only trade union to support Zionism and the State of Israel, that they were withdrawing the award. People had voted for Joe on the basis of the work he had put in in forming ‘We Shall Overcome’ an artist led response to growing poverty. Just the kind of grassroots work anti-racists and anti-fascists should be involved in.

This vitriolic statement from Nick Lowles MBE was made because tweets had been uncovered in which Joe had defended Chris Williamson from the attacks which had received. Chris, one of the few working class MPs the Labour Party had was also the only one to oppose the fake ‘anti-Semitism’ campaign.

Joe Solo at the Festival of Resistance

Tony Booth on the Not the Andy Marr  Show with Crispin Flintoft

If HnH had its ear to the ground then they would know that Joe also performed at Chris Williamson’s Festival of Resistance on the evening of Saturday October 16. As Chris noted:

HnH is basically a smear machine. Its latest attacks on Joe Solo and me have plumbed new depths. Joe was instrumental in establishing the ‘We Shall Overcome’ initiative in 2015, which brought musicians together to give hope to disadvantaged communities and raise money to help others. Yet Joe is now being smeared.

Like the bullies and liars that they are, HnH reckoned without the anger of the ordinary mass of people. In many ways HnH are like Nicola Doward, Headmistress of Stretford High School who tried to steal the funds children had collected for the Palestinian victims of Israeli bombing and hand them over to an Israeli charity. She was taken aback by the furore.

Joe Solo at this year’s Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival

Tony Booth’s Crowdfunder

Likewise with Nick Lowles. He mixes in such rarefied and reactionary circles that he has come to believe all this nonsense about Labour anti-Semitism and in particular Chris Williamson. So they were taken aback at the reaction to their decision. Nick Lowles doesn’t understand that ‘Labour Anti-Semitism’ was a ruling class narrative.  Most people were oblivious to it.

To rub salt in the wounds not only had Hate not Hope removed Joe as a prize winner and taken away the £5,000 prize he had won but they suggested that this working class fighter against racism needed ‘training’ on anti-Semitism. Training as Tony Booth says is what you give to a dog.  Human beings have education, which is a 2 way affair.

But it’s not Joe who needs anti-racist education but Nick Lowles Liron Velleman and the execrable Ruth Smeeth. They need to understand that when you demolish homes of Palestinians in order to move Jewish settlers in that is racist.

When I can go to Israel anytime I like and claim citizenship, because I’m Jewish but my friend who is a Palestinian, born and brought up there, has no such right that is racism.   

If you go to the statement that HnH issued alongside the scab Community Union, then what is remarkable is the number of adverse comments. It is clear that Lowles and Smeeth have misjudged the mood of people.  Talk of Labour ‘anti-Semitism’ may have been common at the dinner tables in North London but real people did not buy into this fable.

And if you go to Joe’s Facebook page there are literally hundreds of supportive comments and only the odd Zionist.

Statement by Joe Solo on Facebook

So when Tony Booth put up a fundraiser to replace the £5,000 that was Joe’s prize it was no surprise that within 4 days it had raised over double that amount. So strong was the reaction to Hate not Hope’s decision that Lowles’ lackeys were forced to go, cap in hand to Joe and ask him to take their soiled money, donated no doubt by some Zionist millionaire, after all.  Unsurprisingly Joe turned them down with a statement that sums up everything about Joe:

I am a Working Class Socialist Trade Unionist and I’m afraid taking that money after the abuse I have suffered this last 36 hours would be the equivalent of hanging my head in shame and crossing a picket line. Something I would not and could not do.

But Hate not Hope and Nick Lowles have form. Back in 2018 the National Union of Students Black Students made it clear that they did not want Lowles as a speaker because of his Zionism and Islamaphobia, which are really Siamese twins.

Nick Lowles was also taken to task by Liz Feketo of the Institute of Race Relations for his adoption of a racist narrative during the ‘grooming affair’ in the North of England in accepting the conflation of Pakistani men with child abuse.

HnH has been in the forefront of the false and confected moral panic over Labour ‘Anti-Semitism’. A moral panic that newspapers like the Daily Mail and The Sun did their best to promote.  The same papers that had no difficulty employing a neo-Nazi Katie Hopkins as a columnist. To those who doubt this I suggest you watch Chris Williamson’s Reaching Over The Noise – Is Labour Really Antisemitic? which is a retort to the deliberately deceptive and dishonest BBC Panorama programme ‘Is Labour Anti-Semitic?’

HnH’s Zionism did not come out of nowhere. It began with Searchlight Magazine. In the 1980s, during the Reagan era, it ran with an overtly anti-Arab racist agenda positing what it called ‘The New Axis’ made up of Arabs and Black leaders together with fascists.

Its editor, Gerry Gable, had resigned from the Communist  Party because it was no longer pro-Zionist.  Gable himself worked both with Israeli and British intelligence. We discovered this when the New Statesman published a leaked memo from Gable to his boss, Barry Cox, at London Weekend Television. It spoke of MI5’s ‘left watchers’.

Gable followed this up with a concerted attempt to destabilise Anti-Fascist Action by making a series of false accusations of  Nazi links about anarchist groups and individuals such as Class War.

Gable and Lowles were both implicated in a series of racist incidents prompting an impressively large number of Black organisations to write an Open Letter to Searchlight (which of course it didn’t print but which Labour Briefing did print).

In 1977 the then Labour Home Secretary, Merlyn Rees, was proposing to deport American journalist Mark Hosenball and ex-CIA agent Phil Agee. Gable was willing to spread dirty about both of them alleging that Phil Kelly, who later became editor of Tribune and an Islington Councillor, had trained as a ‘terrorist’ in Jordan with the PLO and other nonsense.

Gable calls me a ‘Jew hater’ for solidarity with the Palestinians

I crossed swords with Gable frequently in my role as a member of Anti-Fascist Action’s Executive and as part of my role in fighting fascism in Brighton. Gable called me a ‘Jew hater’ in an editorial in the Winter 2015/16 issue, just as the fake ‘anti-Semitism’ campaign was being rolled out in the Labour Party. Gable offered, in the same editorial to ‘give evidence about the current probems that urgently need to be tackled.’

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Tony Greenstein

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