Tony Greenstein | 12 August 2019 | Post Views:

Open Letter to Caroline Lucas – Why Have You Remained Silent About The Attack on Freedom of Speech?

The Attempt to Ban Chris Williamson and the Rally in Regency Square was in Caroline Lucas Constituency Brighton Pavilion 

Dear Caroline,

Last Thursday a fellow Member of Parliament, Chris Williamson, spoke to over 150 people in Regency Square, which is in your constituency, on socialist economics. The meeting was originally scheduled to be at the Brighthelm Centre which is also in Brighton Pavilion. The meeting was cancelled however after the intervention of the MP for Hove, Peter Kyle

Email sent to Holiday Inn by Zionist opponents of Chris Smith

The meeting was then transferred to the Holiday Inn which received a barrage of abusive and threatening calls including a visit by two men threatening ‘consequences’

Email confirming that threats of violence were made against the Brighton Quakers by Zionists
Friends Meeting House in Brighton

The meeting was then transferred to the Quaker Friends Meeting House, again in your constituency. Although they were fully aware of the controvery the meeting was cancelled at the last minute after a barrage of abusive phone calls and threats of violence.  The FMH is also in Brighton Pavilion.

In her more radical days Caroline Lucas, Britain’s only Green MP stood on picket lines unlike Kyle, who refused to support her NHS Reinstatement Bill

Despite the best efforts of Kyle and the supporters of Israeli Apartheid, the meeting went ahead because enough people were determined enough to ensure that freedom of speech in Brighton and Hove will not be subject to a veto by the Israel lobby

The Pathetic Marie van der Zyle, President of the BOD, came down from London and stayed in the Jury’s Inn in order to protest Chris Williamson’s meeting – no one even saw her!

The Board of Deputies Led the Campaign to Ban Chris Williamson – One Year Ago It Supported Israel Shooting Unarmed Protesters in Gaza

The reasons for Kyle’s attack on what is a basic democratic right, freedom of speech and assembly, both guaranteed under Articles 10 and 11 of the European Convention of Human Rights, was that Chris Williamson was a ‘Jew baiter’. This bogus and spurious allegation, which is made against all supporters of the Palestinians including Jewish supporters, has no foundation. There is nothing that Chris has said which merits this venomous accusation.

At the meeting in Regency Square the Chair of the meeting Greg Hadfield, told how he wrote to you asking for a message of support which could be read out at the meeting. It would appear that you decided not to respond.

This attack on freedom of speech is not a one-off. There have been repeated attempts to prevent supporters of the Palestinians, including Jewish people, from speaking by those acting on behalf of the world’s most racist state.

Steve Bell, the legendary Guardian cartoonist, had an innocuous cartoon depicting Tom Watson as the witch-finder general censored. Jackie Walker has been confronted by aconcerted attempt to prevent her film The Witchhunt being shown, including bomb threats.

Chris has been subject to a McCarthyist campaign for having dared to challenge the Establishment Consensus that the Labour Party is overrun with anti-Semitism. As happened at Salem in the 18th century, denial of being a witch is taken as proof of one’s guilt. As you are probably aware, Arthur Miller’s Crucible used Salem as a metaphor for McCarthyism in the United States.

When you were first elected I, like many socialists, was happy to vote for you rather than New Labour. You were then an explicit supporter of the Palestinians. Of late you have remained silent in the face of a wall to wall propaganda blitz, led by BBC’s Panorama, . It would seem that Brexit and your new allies such as Peter Kyle have had a deleterious effect.

Although you initially opposed the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism you succumbed to the onslaught and changed your position despite the Green Party conference rejecting the IHRA.

The IHRA has been slated by academics and legal scholars. Geoffrey Robertson described the IHRA as ‘not fit for purpose’. Even the person who drafted it, Kenneth Stern, in testimony to the US Congress, described it as ‘chilling’freedom of expression.

Only yesterday Tony Lerman, a distinguished Jewish academic and founder of the Institute for Jewish Policy Research wrote in the Independent an article I warned that adopting the IHRA would shut down Palestinian protest – I’ve been proved right based on the decision last week by Tower Hamlets council to refuse to allow the Big Ride for Palestine, which raises funds for children in Gaza, to meet in a local park because they feared it was ‘anti-Semitic’

Peter Kyle – right-wing Labour MP for Hove

More recently we have seen Greens and neo-Nazis voting together to condemn BDS in the Bundestag as ‘anti-Semitic’ and in Austria to ban Ronnie Kassrills, the Jewish founder of the ANC’s military wing, Ukkhonto we Sizwe, from speaking on Viennese council premises.

I am therefore writing to ask you to condemn Pete Kyle’s attack on freedom of expression in your constituency and to reconsider your support for the IHRA.

It should not have been necessary for me to ask you to speak up for what are basic civil liberties such as freedom of expression. However we are living in a period when the Daily Mail and the Sun can condemn ‘anti-Semitism’ at one and the same time as they employ Katie Hopkins as their columnist.I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards

Tony Greenstein

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Tony Greenstein

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