Tony Greenstein | 28 January 2021 | Post Views:

Part 2: Review of Owen Jones ‘This Land’ – a liberal apologist for Israeli Apartheid who helped bring the Corbyn Project down

 Jones description of Labour ‘anti-Semitism’ demonstrates a ‘disconnect from reality which borders on hysteria’

Michael Ellman – suspended ‘antisemitism’ – the wrong sort of Jew

I have devoted a whole blog to ‘The AntiSemitism Crisis’ in Owen Jones book, because he played a key role in supporting a campaign whose sole purpose was removing Corbyn.

In years to come, the moral panic over ‘anti-Semitism’ which helped destroy the Corbyn leadership of the Labour Party, will come to be seen for what it was. Utterly contrived and confected.

The Mail article which began the fake ‘antisemitism’ crisis

With hindsight what is not clear now will become obvious. Corbyn’s opposition to US imperialism, combined with his support for the Palestinians made him unacceptable not only to the British and American ruling elites but their racist Rottweiler, Israel.

It is no coincidence that the Daily Mail, which published the forged Zinoviev letter that led to the downfall of the first Labour government in 1924, was the paper which began Labour’s ‘anti-Semitism’ crisis.

When records at the Public Records Office are opened in 30 years time people may learn the truth of how the British Establishment, the Israeli state and others scrambled to Corbyn being elected. A rogue general had already warned that the army might mutiny if Corbyn became Prime Minister.

Freedom of information requests in the US may provide information on the involvement of Intelligence agencies such as the CIA and background to Mike Pompeo’s  warning  that the US would take action before Corbyn could get in power because

‘It’s too risky and too important and too hard once it’s already happened.”

The idea that the Daily Mail, a pro-Hitler paper during the 1930s, with its infamous ‘hurrah for the Blackshirts’ headline, was concerned about anti-Semitism beggars belief. It described ‘the German Jew, Karl Marx.’ as the ‘High Priest’ of socialism.

The Daily Mail waged a campaign against the admission of Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany. On 20th August 1938 it reported that:

The way stateless Jews from Germany are pouring in from every port of this country is becoming an outrage . . .’ In these words, Mr Herbert Metcalfe, the Old Street magistrate, yesterday referred to the number of aliens entering the country through the ‘back door’ – a problem to which the Daily Mail has repeatedly pointed.”

When the Sun dispensed with Katie Hopkins in September 2015, after her Nazi-like comment that refugees were ‘cockroaches’, she was snapped up by the Mail, at almost exactly the same time as its ‘anti-Semitism’ campaign against Corbyn started.

Now it’s possible that the Mail was suffering from cognitive dissonance. As a Mail spokesman explained

“Katie’s column is a must read for people across Britain and around the globe. Even if you don’t agree with what she says, she certainly knows how to engage and entertain an audience.”

I suspect Hitler also had his lighter moments.

The elephant in the room as far as Owen Jones is concerned is the support of the far-Right for Israel and Zionism. Donald Trump, who described the neo-Nazis at Charlottesville as ‘fine people’ also expressed his admiration for ‘the good bloodlines’ of Henry Ford, whose portrait an admiring Hitler kept in his office.

Richard Spencer, who organised the rally at Charlottesville, where marchers chanted ‘the Jews will not replace us,” idolises Israel as an ethno-nationalist state. He describes himself as a White Zionist. Tommy Robinson too is an admirer.

When White Supremacists, neo-Nazis and QAnon crazies invaded Capitol Hill on January 6 the Israeli flag flew alongside the Confederate flag. The strongest supporters of Zionism and Israel in the United States are Evangelical Christians who believe that in order to achieve Rapture millions of Jews must die.

In the Bundestag, when a resolution condemning BDS was passed, its strongest supporters were the neo-Nazi Alternative for Germany who wanted to make BDS illegal. These connections between Zionism, Israel and the far-Right are not even mentioned by Jones.

Why does the anti-Semitic far-Right support Zionism and the Israeli state? It’s because they make a distinction between Israel which they love, and the Jews who they blame for ‘replacing’ them with immigrants. That was why Thomas Bowers murdered 11 Jews in a Pittsburgh synagogue.

The far-Right supports Israel for the same reasons that they supported the apartheid state in South Africa. Creating a white ethno-nationalist state is the stuff of racists’ wet dreams.

Israel is an Apartheid state as Israel’s main human rights group, B’tselem, belatedly admitted after 32 years. If proof were needed then one need look no further than Israel’s supply of COVID vaccines to Jewish settlers whilst denying them to 5 million Palestinians. That is what Jones, Israel’s progressive propagandist, is defending.

77% of Labour Party members believed that the ‘anti-Semitism crisis’ was about undermining Corbyn and defending Israel. They understood that there is no way Israel’s supporters can defend house demolitions, child imprisonment and torture and all the other acts of racism other than by accusing Israel’s critics of ‘anti-Semitism’!

But for Jones Labour had, for reasons unknown, been gripped by a spontaneous outbreak of anti-Semitism. The fact that the entire Tory press, not normally known for its anti-racism, was so concerned with Labour ‘anti-Semitism’ made no impression on the Guardian’s licensed radical.

In ‘The Antisemitism Crisis’ Jones simply ignored the way ‘anti-Semitism’ has been weaponised by Israel’s supporters. As Shulamit Aloni, a former Israeli Education Minister noted, anti-Semitism is a ‘trick we use’ to suppress criticism of Israel.

In the wake of the holocaust support for Israel ‘became a dominant idea among Jews.’ This is true. The victory of Zionism represented the defeat of the fight against fascism and anti-Semitism. It was this that led to the creation of a state based on the same principles of ethnic cleansing and racism that motivated the Nazis. From 1933-1941 Nazi policy was to exclude not to murder Europe’s Jews.

The real lessons from the holocaust are ones we don’t hear at today’s state sponsored remembrance of the holocaust. If Britain and America had accepted Jewish refugees from Germany and Nazi-occupied Europe and the West had not supported Hitler’s regime in its earlier years, then far fewer Jews would have died.

Herbert Morrison, Labour Home Secretary during the war, set his face against the admission of Jewish refugees despite public opinion supporting their entry. In October 1942 he rejected pleas to admit 2000 Jewish children from France. The Board of Deputies made no criticism of him. Morrison was an ardent supporter of Zionism. Another lesson might be that any people, Jews included are capable, given the right set of circumstances of becoming racists and fascists.

The Confederate flag flying on a Jerusalem house

But these are not the lessons that Jones wants us to draw. For him the lessons of the holocaust are racist ones.

Jones tells that anti-Semitism is ‘ingrained’ into European society as a result of 2,000 years of oppression: ‘Collective trauma is absolutely central to the Jewish experience’. Of course this trauma doesn’t apply to anti-Zionist Jews nor any other survivors of genocide. The idea that Israeli generals are suffering from holocaust trauma is to defile the memory of the Jewish dead of the holocaust.

This portrayal of Jews as perpetual victims is itself anti-Semitic. Jews in Britain or the United States today are not traumatized by the holocaust but by the alliances that Zionism is striking up with people like Trump. There were those who used to argue that the experience of British concentration camps in the Boer War justified Apartheid.

Every act of genocide is unique. To suggest as Jones does that the holocaust is especially unique is a racist narrative. Why was the death of 17 million in the slave trade any less traumatic than the death of 6 million Jews in the holocaust? Are Black people traumatised by the 10+ million who died in the Belgian Congo? Have Palestinians not continued to be traumatised by expulsion and massacre?

When Jackie Walker explained in a private Facebook conversation why the holocaust should be seen in the context of slavery and her Jewish heritage she was demonised and lied about, not least by Jones.

It is a myth that Jews experienced 2,000 years of persecution. It is history written backwards. Jewish historian Salo Baron described it as the ‘lachrymose version of history’. Jews lived for long periods as oppressors of the peasants not the oppressed. Zionism writes off the Jewish diaspora as a history of suffering. If this were the case then one would have to ask why? The inevitable conclusion would be that it had something to do with the Jews themselves. Jones version of history is an anti-Semitic version of history.

Zionist Apologist

Jones talks of Israel’s ‘original socialist principles’ and the kibbutzim as ‘the incubators of a new socialist society.’ [218] The kibbutzim were racially exclusive institutions. No Arab could be a member. They were established on land from which the Arab peasants had been evicted. As the British Hope-Simpson Report observed:

The effect of the Zionist colonisation policy on the Arab.— Actually the result of the purchase of land in Palestine by the Jewish National Fund has been that land has been extraterritorialised. It ceases to be land from which the Arab can gain any advantage either now or at any time in the future. Not only can he never hope to lease or to cultivate it, but, by the stringent provisions of the lease of the Jewish National Fund, he is deprived for ever from employment on that land. … The land is in mortmain and inalienable. It is for this reason that Arabs discount the professions of friendship and good will on the part of the Zionists in view of the policy which the Zionist Organisation deliberately adopted.

Jones describes the Zionist enterprise in Palestine as ‘fundamentally different’ from other projects of settler colonialism. Why? Because it was founded by ‘survivors of a genocide.’ [219] The first Zionist kibbutz Degania was established over 30 years before the holocaust. David HaCohen, a prominent Labour Zionist,  described how

‘I had to fight my friends on the issue of Jewish socialism, to defend the fact that I would not accept Arabs in my Trade Union, the Histadrut; to defend preaching to housewives that they should not buy at Arab stores; to defend the fact that we stood guard at orchards to prevent Arab workers from getting jobs there… to pour kerosene on Arab tomatoes; to attack Jewish housewives in the markets and smash Arab eggs they had bought… to buy dozens of dunums from an Arab is permitted but to sell God forbid one Jewish dunum to an Arab is prohibited; to take Rothschild the incarnation of capitalismas a socialist and to name him the ‘benefactor’ – to do all that was not easy.’

Racial exclusivity was in Zionism’s DNA. The Pilgrim Fathers were also fleeing religious persecution. The leaders of the London Underground Church were repeatedly imprisoned and in 1593 three of them were executed. Did that justify what followed? The massacres of Native Americans and later slavery?

Ahad Ha’am, an early Zionist, who first visited Palestine in 1891, some 50 years before the holocaust, described how the Zionist settlers

deal with the Arabs with hostility and cruelty, trespass unjustly, beat them shamefully for no sufficient reason, and even boast about their actions. There is no one to stop the flood and put an end to this despicable and dangerous tendency.

99% of the 2.7 million Jews of Czarist Russia who fled the pogroms came to Britain and the United States not Palestine.

The ‘Anti-Semitism’ Crisis

Jones begins his account with a ‘mural’ that had been erased in 2012. It depicted 6 bankers sitting on the backs of Black people. Corbyn had defended it on the grounds of free speech. It wasn’t even obvious that it was anti-Semitic. Only 2 of the bankers were Jewish. In 2018 it was raised out of the blue by Luciana Berger MP, who later defected to the ‘funny tinge’ party.

Jones never asks why the mural made an appearance 6 years later. Nor does he mention the fact that Berger was Director of Labour Friends of Israel before entering parliament in 2010.

Jones does not mention The Lobby, an undercover documentary by Al Jazeera which showed that the Israeli Embassy was deeply involved in the anti-Semitism crisis. Shai Masot, from Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs, was busy trying to bring down politicians such as Alan Duncan, the Deputy Foreign Minister. Michael Rubin, former Chair of Young Labour and Parliamentary Officer for LFI was coordinating his activities with the Israeli Embassy.

The JLM was refounded in 2015 in order to spearhead the anti-Corbyn campaign yet Laura Murray from Corbyn’s Office held bi-monthly meetings with them as part of Corbyn’s appeasement strategy. It was to no avail. In March 2019 when the JLM threatened to disaffiliate Corbyn begged them to stay saying he understood their ‘distress’. They responded with a vote of no confidence in him refusing to campaign for Labour at the General Election.

Instead Jones reserves his bile and vitriol for Jewish Voices for Labour [JVL] which probably has more Jewish Labour Party members in it than the JLM. The JVL was ‘an active barrier to dialogue with the wider Jewish community.’ [234]

British Jews don’t constitute one community. What Jones is saying is that the most radical and anti-racist Jews should be ignored in order to placate the racist majority. Jones admits that just 22% of British Jews voted Labour, even under the Jewish Ed Miliband.

It is as if when it came to Apartheid in South Africa Jones was to side with the White majority and attack the minority of Whites who opposed Apartheid as racists. The veterans of the struggle in South Africa such as Archbishop Desmond TutuRonnie Kasrills and Andrew Feinstein agree. Israel is an apartheid state.

Board of Deputies

Trying to win over a privileged White group was more important to Jones than solidarity with oppressed Palestinians. The Board of Deputies is the most reactionary section of British Jewry. Support for Israel is part of its Constitution. It even welcomed Trump to power.

The Board of Deputies ‘anti-racist’ demonstration

Not once in its history has the Board ever held a demonstration. Not against the British Union of Fascist or the National Front, Yet in March 2018 it held a demonstration against Corbyn! And who graced the demonstration with their presence? Those well known anti-racists Norman Tebbit and Ian Paisley! The slogan of the hour was the anti-Semitic ‘For the many not the Jew.’

What would have happened if White expatriates from South Africa living in Britain had also numbered ¼ million? Perhaps Jones would have argued that we have to take their ‘unique trauma’ into account.

We might have been warned not to use the term ‘Apartheid’ which simply meant separate development. Advocates of apartheid did not argue for racial supremacy. That was the interpretation of others. So too with Zionism.

Zionists also advocate for separation (Hafrada) from the Palestinians. The Israeli Labour Party supports a two state solution on the basis that Jews and Arabs can’t live together.

In supporting a two state solution Jones is arguing for a policy of apartheid, dressed up as separate development. The ideology of separate but equal has a long lineage. It was first approved by the US Supreme Court in Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896.

The decision in Plessy was overturned in the landmark civil rights case of Brown v Board of Education in 1954 where it was held that if a facility was separate it was unequal.

Despite accepting that the JLM ‘was undoubtedly overwhelmingly hostile to the Labour leadership’ this master of the empty phrase complains that Corbyn was ‘less interested in other perspectives.’

The JLM represents the Israeli state inside Labour. Poalei Zion’s [PZ] affiliated to the Labour Party in 1920 because Labour was a party of colonialism and Empire. PZ had little support among British Jews.

IHRA Definition of Anti-Semitism

The proof that the JLM and the Zionists concerns were about Israel not anti-Semitism was the campaign to force Labour to adopt the IHRA definition of ‘anti-Semitism’. As Stephen Sedley, the Jewish former Court of Appeal Judge wrote the IHRA ‘fails the first test of any definition: it is indefinite.

The IHRA has been slammed as ‘bewilderingly imprecise.’ and ‘not fit for purpose’ by academics and legal scholars. Its 11 examples of ‘anti-Semitism’ include 7 references to Israel.Truthfully describing Israel as a racist state is now deemed anti-Semitic.

According to Owen Jones logic, these demonstrations against Trump are anti-Semitic!

Yet Jones says of the IHRA that ‘the definition itself was uncontroversial’ [236]. ‘Almost all’ the 11 examples ‘were equally uncontroversial’. Palestinian opposition is simply disregarded by Jones, if he is even aware of it. The opposition of the UCU, the lecturers union is also ignored. Opposition to the way the IHRA is being used to target individuals includes the principal drafter of the IHRA, Kenneth Stern but to Jones all this is ‘uncontroversial’.

Jones is oblivious to the company he is keeping. Donald Trump was an enthusiastic supporter of the IHRA, signing an Executive Order in 2019 imposing the IHRA on colleges. Jones also confuses Budapest with Bucharest where the IHRA Definition was first adopted!

Comparing Zionism and Israel to the Nazis

One of the IHRA examples of ‘anti-Semitism’ was ‘Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.’ To Jones that is ‘as offensive as it is manifestly untrue.’

Why shouldn’t the Israeli mobs who chant ‘death to the Arabs’ not be compared to those in Germany and Poland who chanted ‘death to the Jews’? How is the principle behind Israeli ethnic cleansing any different from that of Nazi Germany?

In Israel making such comparisons is commonplace. The Times of Israel described how demonstrators called the Police ‘“Nazis” and “kapos,” as ‘Holocaust imagery’ was used to describe police violence. Clearly these Israeli demonstrators weren’t traumatised!

Israelis such as Yair Golan, former Deputy Chief of Staff to Professors Ze’ev Sternhell, a child survivor of Premszyl ghetto and Yehuda Elkana, a child survivor of Auschwitz, all made comparisons between Israel and Nazi Germany. According to Jones their only purpose being ‘to bait Jews with the memory of their most murderous persecutors.’ Jones disregards the far more common Zionist comparisons between Palestinians and Nazis when for example Menachem Begin compared Yasir Arafat to Hitler in his bunker.

Jews aren’t quite as traumatised as Jones, trapped by his identity politics, believes. The whole point of comparing Israeli policies with Nazi Germany is to make Israelis and Zionists think about what they are doing. Jones, the supporter of settler colonialism doesn’t get it.

Jones is simply ignorant about the the Nazi holocaust which took place from 1941 to 1945.  The Nazis were in power for 12 years. Up till 1941 their policy was expulsion i.e. ethnic cleansing, not extermination. What has Israel’s consistent policy towards the Palestinians been from 1948 onwards till today?  Ethnic cleansing.

What Jones’ identity politics do is to essentialise Jews as permanent victims of oppression. Their ‘trauma’ being justification for any atrocity. Jones is employing quack political psychology. It is easier than understanding the specific dynamic of Israeli society, Zionism and the changing nature of Jewish identity. It is not merely racist. It demonstrates how shallow and vacuous Jones’ soundbite politics are.

‘Anti-Semitism has always existed on the left’ [213]

Owen jones fatuous comment

One of the things I like about Owen Jones is his ability to given an opinion about things he knows nothing about. He is certain that ‘Anti-Semitism has always existed on the left.’

The Left, albeit not the soggy reformism which Jones espouses, has always fought anti-Semitism. Jones gives us the names of two 19th century anarchists – Proudhon and Bakunin – and projects forward to today. It’s like saying that because Germans once voted for the Nazis Germans will remain Nazis forever. Jones informs us that

‘Despite his own Jewish heritage, Karl  Marx was not immune from expressing then pervasive anti-Semitic attitudes.’

Jones cites Marx’s essay On the Jewish Question which stated that money is the jealous god of Israel.’ Marx’s essay was, as Jones admits, critiquing the Jewish religion not Jews. In fact Marx was debating with Bruno Bauer, a radical Hegelian, who was arguing that Jews should not be emancipated because of their religion. Marx argued that emancipation was not a religious but a social question.

Marx employed the term Judentum which was then the equivalent of ‘The Spirit of Capitalism’ and that was how Jews were then seen. If Marx’s essay was anti-Semitic then that was because it was largely based on the essay ‘On the essence of money’ in 1843 by Moses Hess, the first Zionist.

What Jones has done is to transplant ‘woke’ society of the 21st century back to the early 19th century. That shows how shallow Jones is not how anti-Semitic Marx was. In 1898 the socialist Zionist Nachman Syrkin wrote that:

The mission of the Jews was to spread the monotheist idea when in reality it has been degraded to the search for financial gain.’

Bernard Lazarre, who would later launch the campaign to free Dreyfus, wrote in 1890 distinguishing between Israelites and Jews, adding ‘the latter being a species of swindlers’. The identification of Jews with money was commonplace at the time.

What marks the Left from the Right is that the Left has always fought anti-Semitism. Lenin’s speech on ‘Anti-Jewish Pogroms’ read

Shame on accursed tsarism which tortured and persecuted the Jews. Shame on those who foment hatred towards the Jews, who foment hatred towards other nations.

Whilst Revisionist Zionist Vladimir Jabotinsky was making a pact with Slavinsky, the representative of Simon Petliura, the Ukrainian nationalist who had the blood of 100,000 Jews under his belt, the Bolsheviks were outlawing anti-Semitism and shooting pogromists.

In Socialism and the Jews,(p.94)Professor Robert Wistrich of Tel Aviv University, an ardent Zionist, wrote that in Germany

 ‘‘opposition to anti-Semitism had become a badge of honor for the workers movement.

Ian Kershaw, in ‘Popular Opinion and Dissent in Nazi Germany’ wrote of his

admiration for the courageous minority – overwhelmingly communist workers – who fought uncompromisingly against the Nazis… is boundlessthe vast proportion of them workers’ were put in ‘protective custody’

Jones, in order to justify his support for Zionism  slanders and defames those who gave their lives opposing fascim & anti-Semitism.

John Hobson – Imperialism, Finance Capital & Jews [214]

Jones refers to another contrived controversy. Corbyn’s Introduction to John Hobson’s 1901 ‘Study of Imperialism’. Hobson wrote a few lines equating finance capital with Jews. Hobson’s analysis was of the role of finance capital in imperialism. His views on Jews were completely irrelevant to his analysis. As Geoffrey Alderman wrote:

 ‘In a text running to almost 400 pages there are merely a dozen or so lines which we would call anti-Semitic. There was absolutely no need for Corbyn to have drawn attention to them in his foreword.’

This affair was created by Times Associate Editor Danny Finkelstein, a far right associate of Douglas Murray and the Gatestone Society? For Jones though this proved that ‘there has never been a real reckoning with the anti-Semitism of Britain’s past’.

Jews as white [216]

Jones was worried that if Jews

‘are judged no longer to suffer systemic racism and to have become defined as ‘white’ then anti-Semitism can come to seem as less problematic than, for example, anti-black racism and Islamaphobia.’

There was a time when Jews were the victims of state racism and police violence in Britain but no longer. There is no offence of driving whilst being Jewish. Jews aren’t deported for being Jewish. Jews suffer very few physical attacks because they are Jewish. Jews are economically more privileged than the average non-Jewish white person. How do they suffer systemic racism?

Anti-Semitism is a marginal prejudice in Britain. What conclusions you draw from that politically is another matter but Jones isn’t able to think logically. He is embedded in the fog of identity politics.

William Rubinstein, former President of the Jewish Historical Society wrote in his book ‘The Left, Right and the Jews’ about

“the rise of Western Jewry to unparalleled affluence and high status  (which) has led to the near-disappearance of a Jewish proletariat of any size; indeed, the Jews may become the first ethnic group in history without a working class of any  size.”

Rubinstein’s conclusion was that the change in Jews’ status

has rendered obsolete… the type of anti-Semitism which has its basis in fears of the swamping of the native population” and it has made “Marxism, and other radical doctrines, irrelevant to the socio-economic bases of Western Jewry, and increasingly unattractive to most Jews.

Alderman, the historian of the Jewish community, wrote in ‘The Jewish Community and British Politics’ that by 1961,

over 40 percent of Anglo-Jewry was located in the upper two social classes, whereas these categories accounted for less than 20 percent of the general population.  

Naz Shah and the Map of Israel [223]

In 2016 at the start of the fake ‘anti-Semitism’ campaign it was ‘discovered’ that in 2014, during Israel’s genocidal bombardment of Gaza, that Naz Shah, not yet an MP, had indulged in political satire, namely a meme that involved transferring Israel to the United States.

Naz Shah was forced to apologise to the ‘Jewish community’ (i.e. the Israel lobby). Ken Livingstone got suspended for defending her and Corbyn went along with all this before he himself was suspended.

Jones describes Naz Shah’s public humiliation as ‘a model in rehabilitation.’  When I was interviewed about this by Vanessa Feltz on BBC London Radio her clinching argument was that Naz Shah had apologised. I pointed out that so too had the victims of Stalin’s purges. Many innocent people have been coerced into apologising.

Ken Livingstone, Hitler and Zionism [223]

For Jones what Livingstone said is another example of ‘anti-Semitism’. In hearing that Livingstone had spoken about Hitler’s support for Zionism Corbyn said ‘What the fuck has he said’ and demanded Livingstone’s suspension. If this is true then it is another example of Corbyn’s unerring ability to stab himself in the back. No more loyal supporter was there of Corbyn than Livingstone.

What Livingstone was referring to was the trade agreement (Ha’avara) between the Nazi state and the Zionist Organisation, in 1933. At the time world Jewry had launched an international Boycott of Nazi Germany. Making an agreement with the Zionists was seen by the Nazis as a way of destroying the Boycott.

This was undoubtedly collaboration with the Nazi state. Even the late Elie Wiesel, an ardent Zionist but also a survivor of Auschwitz, said in a review of Tom Segev’s The Seventh Million that

‘Surely, Jewish Palestine… needed money to finance its development, but this brazen pragmatism went against the political philosophy of a majority of world Jewry. There developed a growing perception that instead of supporting and strengthening the boycott, Palestine was, in fact, sabotaging it.’

The suspension of Livingstone for referring to a period of history that the Zionist movement finds embarrassing meant that something can be both true and anti-Semitic! 98% of German Jews in 1933 were not Zionists. Zionists were known as the volkish Jews. Volk being a term used by the nationalist Right as a term for the German race. 

The Zionist leaders in Palestine and Germany welcomed the rise of the Nazis. Berl Katznelson, a founder of Mapai, the Israeli Labour Party and David Ben Gurion’s effective deputy, saw the rise of Hitler as “an opportunity to build and flourish like none we have ever had or ever will have”. [Francis Nicosia, Zionism and Anti-Semitism in Nazi Germany, p.91]. Ben Gurion, the first Prime Minister of Israel was even more optimistic. ‘The Nazis victory would become “a fertile force for Zionism.” [Segev, The 7th Million p.18]

Whenever Israel is criticised the holocaust is brought into play. But during the holocaust it was a different story. The Zionists played it down. They had one objective – to create a Jewish state. The survival of Europe’s 10 million Jews was of no concern. The Zionists fought against any country offering asylum to Jewish refugees.

Although the USA was operating a strict immigration quota Alaska was exempt. It was, you might think, an ideal opportunity to save thousands of European Jews. Not a bit of it.

When US Interior Secretary Harold Ickes raised the idea of admitting 10,000 Jewish refugees a year to Alaska, this was taken up by a group in Poalei Zion in May 1940. They were ‘reprimanded by Berl Locker from the Zionist Executive, who wrote

“How can you, Poalei Zion members, be propagandizing for Jewish settlement in Alaska? As Zionists, you must surely know that this is simply not done!”

Shabtai Beit-Zvi wrote that

Of no avail was the argument that they did not intend to send to Alaska people who could be settled in Eretz-Israel….’ [Post-Ugandan Zionism on Trial, 1991, Zahala, Tel Aviv].

Stephen Wise, the American Zionist leader, rejected the idea that Alaska could admit Jewish refugees. His pretext was that the territory was “too cold” for Europeans.

His real reasons were spelt out in a private letter to Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter (19.10.39). It would ‘make(s) a wrong and hurtful impression to have it appear that Jews are taking over some part of the country for settlement.’ [Rafael Medoff, ‘Conflicts between American Jewish leaders and dissidents responding to news of the holocaust’ p. 445 Journal of Genocide Research, 2003] This was from someone who had no problems with the colonisation of Palestine.

In the official biography of Ben Gurion by Shabtai Teveth [The Burning Ground p.855] Ben-Gurion is quoted as warning that:

‘Zionism… is not primarily engaged in saving individuals. If along the way it saves a few thousand, tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of individuals, so much the better.’ But in the event of a conflict of interest between saving individual Jews and the good of the Zionist enterprise, we shall say the enterprise comes first.’

David ben-gurion saying that the needs of zionism came before the needs of jews

When the British agreed, after Kristalnacht to admitting 10,000 German Jewish children into Britain, the Zionists were outraged. Ben Gurion wrote to the Executive of Mapai, the Israeli Labour Party on 9.12.38. explaining his position:

‘If I knew that it would be possible to save all the children in Germany by bringing them over to England, and only half of them by transporting them to Eretz Yisrael, then I would opt for the second alternative. For we must weigh not only the life of these children, but also the history of the People of Israel.’. [Teveth, p.855].

The all-white parliamentary lynch mob who accompanied Smeeth to Marc Wadsworth’s expulsion hearing

Marc Wadsworth and the lies of Ruth Smeeth [225]

At the Chakrabarti press conference long-standing Black anti-racist activist Marc Wadsworth criticised Ruth Smeeth, a right-wing Jewish MP for her dealings with the Telegraph. The video of the incident is clear. Smeeth got up after being criticised, shouting ‘how dare you’ and stormed off. Jones repeats the lie of Smeeth and the mass media that ‘Smeeth herself left the room in tears.’

Jones simply recycles the media’s lies. Smeeth is a former Director of Bicom, the main Israel Lobby group in Britain. Jones gave full support to the expulsion of a Black anti-racist activist who introduced the Stephen Lawence family to Nelson Mandela.

Jones and Genuine Anti-Semitism

Jones refers to a few anti-Semitic comments by Labour members, such as ‘Jews are shit’ and claims that Jews run the world and are behind every war. No one defends these comments but they are no worse than some of the racist vitriol directed at Jackie Walker, a Black-Jewish woman, whose expulsion Jones supported.

I don’t know what the context of the above comments are but I can imagine. When some people hear of the atrocities committed by Israel in the name of Jews then they react in an anti-Semitic way.

These comments, vile as they are, are insignificant compared to Starmer’s silence over Israel’s refusal to provide vaccines to the Palestinians under occupation.

Jewish Voices for Labour and the Jewish Labour Movement

Jones believes that ‘there needed to be a better strategy to engage with the Jewish Labour Movement’ without explaining why Corbyn should have engaged with a group whose sole objective was to destroy him.

Jewish Zionists in the Labour Party have always been a minority. Most Labour Jews were socialists not Zionists. In the last major study of The Attitudes of British Jewry to Israel in 2015, 59% of Jews declared they were Zionists, 31% said they weren’t.

Dying on the wrong hill – the IHRA  [238/240]

Despite the fact that the IHRA definition of ‘anti-Semitism’ has become the principal weapon of Zionism in its fight against the Palestinian Jones described Corbyn’s opposition to adopting it in whole as dying ‘on the wrong hill.’

He says complying with the Zionist demands would have prevented ‘lots of avoidable outrage.’ What he means is abandoning the Palestinians was preferable to standing up to the Zionist lobby.

My dad was one of thousands of Jews who ignored the Board of Deputies advice to stay at home. He took part in the Battle of Cable Street in 1936. He didn’t need a definition of anti-Semitism in order to understand what anti-Semitism was. As Supreme Court Judge Potter Stewart said of obscenity ‘I recognise it when I see it.’ Jones’ only calculation is what is easiest to do, not what is right to do.

By adopting the IHRA the floodgates were opened to a massive increase in false accusations of anti-Semitism.

Rebuilding trust? [246]

Jones quotes Laura Murray, Corbyn’s Stakehold Manager that the JLM ‘expressed frustration that these cases have taken such a long time to be heard.” with respect to the expulsions of Jackie Walker, Livingstone, Wadsworth and myself. Well we were expelled and what happened? They demanded more expulsions. When Jennie Formby took over from McNicol she increased the expulsions. Did the Board of Deputies express their thanks?  No they had Corbyn on the ropes and set the Chief Rabbi on him at the general election! Every expulsion merely proved that Labour was anti-Semitic. Jones belief that appeasing Zionists was the way out of the crisis is irrational.

Egregious prejudice [248]

Jones mentions the introduction of the fast-track expulsions of ‘egregious cases’. ALL ‘anti-Semitism’ expulsions and suspensions now take place under the fast-track procedures. Even Corbyn was dealt with under the same procedure.

Cranks and Jones [250]

Jones believes that those opposed to Labour adopting the fake ‘anti-Semitism’ allegations, that is supporters of the Palestinians and anti-Zionists were ‘cranks’. By Karie Murphy’s own admission Labour had dropped all anti-racist work with Black and Muslim groups and instead concentrated on appeasing racists. The real cranks were those who believed that the Board’s concerns were about anti-Semitism.

But when you are a mainstream journalist posing as a socialist then terms like ‘crank’ are a useful substitute for asking simple questions such as why the Right were concerned with ‘anti-Semitism’.

Chris Williamson [251-3]

If the ‘cranks’ had a king according to Jones, it was the socialist Labour MP Chris Williamson. There follows what can only be described as litany of lies. This is ‘journalism’ according to Jones.

Chris’s crimes included meeting Miko Peled, son of an Israeli General and hiring a House of Commons room to show Jackie Walker’ film WitchhuntThe film was an expose of the fake anti-Semitism campaign. The Zionists did not like it and when it was scheduled to be shown at the Labour Conference in 2018 someone phoned a bomb threat to the place where it showing. Jones has nothing to say about these Zionist attacks on free speech.

Derek Hatton [254]

No sooner had he rejoined the Labour Party than Derek Hatton was suspended. During Israel’s attack on Gaza in 2014 2,200 Palestinians were murdered by Israel including 551 children, Hatton said

Jewish people with any sense of humanity need to start speaking out against the ruthless murdering being carried out by Israel.’

Seamus Milne called this ‘classic anti-Semitism’. If this is true then this demonstrates that the rot ran deep in Corbyn’s office.

Israel calls itself the Jewish State. The Board of Deputies organised demonstrations in support of the attack on Gaza in the name of Jews. How can it be anti-Semitic to say that Jews should speak up and dissociate themselves from what was taking place in their name?

Upset to Jewish communities [255]

According to Jones the fake ‘anti-Semitism’ campaign ‘caused genuine upset to a Jewish community whose history left them with every reason to fear bigotry directed at them.’ You see here how Jones interweaves the memory of the holocaust (‘whose history’) into the debate.

The Satanic Verses upset many Muslims. Would Jones therefore have supported the threats against Salman Rushdie? Opposition to what Israel does may upset many Jews. So what? Killing Palestinians also upsets people.

Of course the false ‘anti-Semitism’ campaign caused upset to the Jewish community. The constant bombardment of false news articles in the Jewish Chronicle and the press saying that Corbyn was an ‘existentialist threat’ to British Jewry undoubtedly worried Jews.

The far-Right Campaign Against Anti-Semitism produced a survey showing that over half Britain’s Jews felt the situation in Britain resembled that in the 1930s. It was widely covered in the press yet its findings were junk. The Institute of Jewish Policy Research produced damning criticisms:

Unfortunately, due to quite basic methodological flaws and weaknesses, there is absolutely no way the researchers or any readers of the report can really know.

IJPR described it as verging into ‘irresponsible territory – it is an incendiary finding, and there is simply no way to ascertain whether or not it is accurate.’ They said that the very inclusion of such a question

was a dubious decision in and of itself, and raises issues about the organisers’ pre-existing hypotheses and assumptions…. the CAA survey falls short both in terms of its methodology and its analysis.’

Anshel Pfeffer, a mainstream Zionist columnist for Ha’aretz wrote:

If the majority of British Jews and the authors of the CAA report actually believe that, then it’s hard to take anything they say about contemporary anti-Semitism in their home country seriously. If they honestly think that the situation in Britain today echoes the 1930s when Jews were still banned from a wide variety of clubs and associations, when a popular fascist party, supported by members of the nobility and popular newspapers, were marching in support of Hitler, when large parts of the British establishment were appeasing Nazi Germany and the government was resolutely opposed to allowing Jewish refugees of Nazism in to Britain, finally relenting in 1938 to allow 10,000 children to arrive…. then not only are they woefully ignorant of recent Jewish history but have little concept of what real anti-Semitism is beyond the type they see online….

To compare today’s Britain, for all its faults, with the Jews’ situation in 1930s exhibits a disconnect from reality which borders on hysteria.

A ‘disconnect from reality which borders on hysteria’ is probably the best description of Owen Jones book.

Tony Greenstein

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Tony Greenstein

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