Tony Greenstein | 08 April 2020 | Post Views:

Open Letter to Keir Starmer from a newly resigned member of the Labour Party

Please don’t thank us for putting our trust in you We don’t trust you!

I was sent this letter out of the blue from Bronagh Wilson, who lives in the north of Ireland. Ireland, like Palestine and India, was the victim of British colonialism and its favourite ‘solution’ – Partition. In the words of Ronald Storrs, “the first military governor of Palestine since Pontius Pilate” (his words) a Jewish state would be a“little loyal Jewish Ulster in a sea of potentially hostile Arabism”.

British troops searching Palestinians under the Mandate

What I like about this letter is that it sets racism in its proper context. Maybe that is not surprising. The Irish, like the Palestinians, know all about the racism that accompanies settler colonialism. The Northern Ireland statelet was, for 50 years, an apartheid state like Israel. Sectarianism was part of its DNA. In the words of Ulster Prime Minister, Lord Craigavon, ‘All I boast of is that we are a Protestant Parliament and a Protestant State’.

“What the Holocaust teaches us is that anybody, given the right set of circumstances can become a victim or perpetrator”

There is no racial or religious monopoly on victim status. Racism is a product of society not biology or religion.The Zionist fable that Jews are the eternal victims of anti-Semitism is merely the mirror image of the anti-Semitic belief in the ‘eternal Jew’ and the Nazi film of the same name.

For the past 4 years Jews have been the weapon of choice in the arsenal of the Labour Right and the British Establishment as they fought to be rid of Corbyn. Who would have guessed that the Sun and the Mail would become ardent opponents of ‘anti-Semitism’? The same newspapers which employed Katie Hopkins as a columnist!

Jews provided a moral ballast and a sense of righteousness in the battle against Corbyn that supporting cuts and austerity lacked. Just as when the British went to India they did it to fight Suttee, the practice of burning Hindu women on the funeral pyres of their husbands, not because they wanted to exploit the Indian peasant. At least according to imperial mythology.

Starmer’s Act of Surrender to Zionism and the Israel Lobby is pathetic in its subservience of the party of labour to racism and reaction

The ‘anti-Semitism’ campaign was based on the idea that Jews are an oppressed group despite being twice as likely to be in social classes A and B as their non-Jewish counterparts. [Geoffrey Alderman, The Jewish Community in British Politics p.137]. This is the poisonous legacy of identity politics, in which the oppressor and oppressed are treated as equal.

This is who Keir Starmer is climbing into bed with

Jews were treated as one homogenous ‘minority’. In the words of Jonathan Freedland, who excludes anti-racist and anti-Zionist Jews from his strictures:

black people are usually allowed to define what’s racism; women can define sexism; Muslims are trusted to define Islamophobia. But when Jews call out something as antisemitic, leftist non-Jews feel curiously entitled to tell Jews they’re wrong,

Sir Oswald Moseley, Britain’s wannabee Hitler

Freedland forgot that Black people don’t need to define racism. It is what they experience. Jews when they experienced state or fascist anti-Semitism didn’t need a 500+ word IHRA definition. My father didn’t need a definition of anti-Semitism in order to combat Sir Oswald Moseley’s British Union of Fascists when he took part in the 1936 Battle of CableStreet.

And strangely enough the Board of Deputies, which is so opposed to ‘anti-Semitism’ today opposed anti-fascist mobilisations against Moseley, the Battle of Cable Street in the 1930’s and the Anti-Nazi League campaign against the National Front in the 1970’s.

But if you are using Jewish identity in order to stigmatise criticism of Israel, then a definition of ‘anti-Semitism’ that incorporates Zionism and Israel is essential. This is the nonsense of identity politics. Even the most reactionary forms of identity are equally valid. A supporter of apartheid, if they can claim an ‘ethnic’ identity status is equally valid as those living under the lash.

No-one has a ‘right’ to define racism to the exclusion of anyone else. Especially when your self-definition involves the oppression and exclusion of others or a denial of their rights to their own land. Racism is a function of class, the division of labour and colonialism. Being a minority doesn’t make you oppressed or Britain’s billionaires would be the most oppressed of all minorities. Not only are British Jews not oppressed most of them identify with the oppressor.

The Jews of the East End who in 1945 contributed half of Phil Piratin’s vote, the first Communist to be elected to Parliament in England, for the constituency of Mile End, are not the Jews of today’s Golders Green.

A lot has been said about how few Jews voted Labour under Corbyn. But even under Ed Miliband, Labour’s only Jewish leader, just 14% voted Labour. As Robert Philpot wrote in The Spectator (18.4.15.)

“Community activists believe Miliband’s position on Israel has become such a sticking point that many Jews who traditionally vote Labour can’t bring themselves to do so.”

If you didn’t know better you might imagine that British Jews were huddled up in their East End ghetto, living in fear of the Corbyn hordes.

Defining criticism of Israel and anti-Zionism as anti-Semitism means making Zionism an inherent part of Jewish identity and excluding anti-Zionist Jews. It means identifying British Jews with everything Israel does, which is anti-Semitic, even according to the IHRA!

It also means that Palestinians are defined as ‘anti-Semitic’ for opposing Zionist settler colonialism. According to the IHRA Palestinians protesting the demolition of their homes are being anti-Semitic if they accuse Israel of racism! Identity politics in practice amounts to a form of White racism.

If 30 years ago there had been a substantial White South African population in Britain who identified with Apartheid, it would then have been racist to oppose Apartheid according to the ‘forensic mind’ of Keir Starmer.

Israel proves that any group of people can become victims or perpetrators. No better example could be provided than the settlement of Liberia, of which this is the 200th anniversary. This was a form of Black Zionism and those who colonised Liberia became its ruling elite dominating Liberian society and excluding its indigenous population from power. As Angela Thompsell writes in this month’s History Today:

members of the Liberian senate

For slave owners, free black populations were a direct threat: their existence undermined the justifications for slavery and owners feared a slave uprising. Many white people who were ambivalent about, or even opposed to, slavery also feared the growing number of free black people who they saw, in the words of ACS co-founder Clay, as ‘useless and pernicious’, a threat to the security, prosperity and culture of the US. Some saw the prospect of a large, free black population as one of the chief obstacles to emancipation.

Just as Zionism and Jewish colonialism was seen as the antidote to Jewish participation in revolutionary movements, so the settlement of Liberia was seen as the solution to the ‘problem’ of free American Blacks. These schemes of colonisation were overwhelmingly opposed by American Blacks.

‘Just three weeks after the ACS was founded, black activists organised a protest in Philadelphia, which drew 3,000 people, and only 138 northern free blacks chose to emigrate to Liberia between 1820 and 1830.’

In Britain Arthur the Zionist hero ‘Bloody’ Balfour began his infamous career with the shooting of 3 demonstrators in Mitchelstown, County Cork. As Prime Minister he introduced the 1905 Aliens Act, which aimed at keeping Jewish refugees out of Britain. In 1917 he sponsored Zionist settlement in Palestine with his infamous Balfour Declaration.

In so far as British Jews identify with Zionism and the Israeli state it is a reactionary identity. Opposition to that identity is, by definition, anti-racist. It is no accident that ‘Sir’ Keir identifies with the most reactionary and racist section of British Jews.

This is at one with the naked class collaborationist politics of Starmer. When he said that

“Whether we voted for this government or not, we all rely on it to get this right. That’s why in the national interest the Labour party will play its full part.”

There is no national interest. The interests of the poor and working class are diametrically opposed to that of Boris Johnson and the Tories. Starmer is just another Tony Blair, minus the personality.Below is Bronagh Wilson’s letter to Starmer:

Bronagh Wilson with Chris Williamson

Letter to Sir Keir from a newly resigned member of the Labour Party

Dear Sir Keir (don’t fret, I’m genuflecting as I type) and Angela,

you have absolutely no need to thank me for “putting my trust in you” as nothing could be further from the truth and, in fact, I cancelled my DD within 10 minutes of learning the result.

I must say that it has been an extraordinary and enlightening few years. I have now learnt that the two things you are not allowed to be in a “democratic socialist party” are democratic or socialist. War criminal or friend to Russian oligarchs and paedophile pimps, no problem.

Furthermore, I have learnt that anti-racism is not something to be lauded or promoted but something to be cynically employed by racists to destroy anti racists.

Equally, I have learnt that the bulk of the PLP are vile, self-serving, self-entitled vacuous nonentities who would shame a convention of professional fraudsters. At last, and to my great relief, I don’t have to sacrifice my own integrity by having any connection whatsoever with the likes of Tom Watson, Wes Streeting, Ian Austin (God help us all), Margaret Hodge, John Mann, Louise Ellman, Joan Ryan, Jess Phillips (giving Hazel Blears a run for her money in the most objectionable female ever to sully the Party in the unspeakable futility and vacuity stakes).

I could go on at great length but I’m sure you get the picture. The Labour Party had one chance and one chance only to save itself from the terminal death spiral it was determined to pursue. And for nothing other than the very narrow self interest of the utterly useless but pernicious degenerates who mainly populate the Labour benches, you have eschewed that chance and destroyed the hopes of the majority who you pretend to represent. The Labour Party is now an embodiment of ignominy and a rancid, noisome, rotting, corpse that needs burying, for the sake of human decency, as soon as possible.

Believe me when I state that I would far rather not be in a position to say “told you so” but your collective lack of imagination and integrity and inability to learn anything from experience means that that is an inevitability. We are now expected to return to the merry go round of blue Tory, red Tory and be content with that?

The year 1997 is long gone and is not coming back. The world is careering towards a dystopian nightmare, the like of which has rarely if ever been seen, and what do the likes of you and your colleagues have to offer as a solution? Do you really believe that cretins of the calibre of those mentioned above (and many others beside) have the slightest idea how the coming storms can be negotiated or ameliorated? Do you really?

One of my earliest politically informative experiences, one that motivated me to be a socialist, was learning about the Holocaust. The most crucial lesson I took from that awareness was that the completely irrational nature of that horrific stain on humanity’s history meant that any of us, in the right circumstances, could similarly be victimised. And, equally importantly, any of us could be the victimisers.

The fact, for example, that in the instance of the Holocaust, Jews were the primary (but not only) victims does not for one moment mean that Jewish communities could not themselves harbour racists in their midst. And your “friends” in the BoD, the JLM and the LFoI, in their unswerving promotion and support for the definitive racism that is Zionism, seem to be determined to prove the second point.

The Holocaust wasn’t deplorable because it was Jews who were victims it was deplorable because they were human beings. It may have been the greatest crime in history but it has some stiff competition for that accolade. Or perhaps you have never troubled yourselves to look into the reality of black African slavery in the Americas. An obscenity, beyond adequate description, that lasted for hundreds of years. Try visiting the Slavery Museum in Liverpool and see how long you can last without retching with disgust. All racism is equally repugnant and wrong, both morally and factually. But to promote a hierarchy of racism is nothing more than an act of racism in itself.

For the record: Jews, scattered around the world as they are, do not have the right to self determination in Palestine, or any other country in which they are not already residing. The only people who have the right to self-determination in Palestine are the Palestinians, whether they be Jewish, Christian or Muslim. Jews from Europe, North Africa or elsewhere arriving in Palestine, and ethnically cleansing the existing population because they covet their land, are not exercising their self-determination they are exercising colonialism. It may have been unfortunate for the ethno-nationalists of the Zionist movement that they only succeeded at the same time as colonialism had become anathema, but that is tough luck.

Colonialism always was, and still is, an abhorrence, which is quite rightly now spurned as completely unacceptable. Using the argument that Jews are uniquely singled out to be denied the same right to exercise their self-determination as other people is an offensive absurdity when their “self-determination” depends upon the ethnic cleansing of the long existing population. To pretend that objections to the Zionist takeover of Palestine must solely be motivated by antisemitism is offensive in the extreme. Or, to further the analogy, which black or brown people would you deem to be acceptable targets for ethnic cleansing in order to provide for the self-determination of Gypsies, Roma or Jehovah’s Witnesses? All of whom were also targeted by the Nazis and still endure widespread discrimination and persecution.

I don’t really believe that you Sir Keir (genuflecting while typing), with your “forensic” mind, need to have explained to you why two wrongs don’t make a right. So I can only conclude that your shameful grovelling to the racist Board of Deputies is an acute demonstration of your utter bad faith. But why talk of shame where there is no conscience?

I have to admit that the apparatchiks and core of the PLP are certainly on trend with their adoption and promotion of the black is white, up is down, war is peace narratives that are so de rigueur these days. The two of you may not have been the most prominent culprits in the obsessive and deranged campaign to destroy the most decent man in political life, for a generation at least, to endlessly accuse a lifelong campaigner against racism of embodying the most egregious racism, to attack good, Jewish, socialists for being antisemites (risible if it weren’t so serious) but I think it safe to say that your low profile on the issues was motivated more by an eye on the main chance rather than a matter of any principle.

Principle, in this context? Don’t be ridiculous. The world is in an extremely precarious state, the future will not be pretty if we continue with this current trajectory. What we definitely do not need is the likes of you two, David Miliband, Tony Blair, Peter Mandelson and all their cronies who infest the Party (in particular its machine and the bulk of the PLP) with their arrogant, self-entitled, mendacious inversion of the truth, to assume control of the political discourse at the expense of truth and social justice.

I really am perplexed as to where you think you’ll be going with this. You will never win back Scotland, “northern heartlands” – forget it. You’re obviously banking on once again being allowed to be the Tory B team while the real article regroups and refreshes for its next assault on society. In this triumphally Goebbelian era, it is actually you who are the racists, you who are utterly indifferent to the truth. Faux outrage about racism is just a tool that can be used to smear socialists into silence and oblivion.

I think you Sir, knight of the realm, forensically minded Keir (genuflecting etc) must be delighted with the hearty endorsement of George Osborne; what an accolade. He certainly believes that the preservation of the status quo is firmly secured. And who could argue with that? The Labour Party is now dead, it has ceased to be, it is bereft of life. You and your fellow travellers disgust me and it is time you PASOKed right off!. “Put my trust in you”? You certainly have a warped sense of humour, I’ll grant you that much!

Bronagh Wilson
former Labour Party Member, Armagh

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Tony Greenstein


  1. kiwiwolf on 10/04/2020 at 4:11am

    Thank you Bronagh, you have captured, brilliantly, the thoughts of thousands of betrayed Socialist’s

  2. James Thomas GIBLIN on 18/06/2023 at 10:22am

    In a word, Fantastic

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