Tony Greenstein | 24 August 2019 | Post Views:

The Threat to Freedom of Speech from Brighton Council Leader Nancy Platts – all in the name of ‘anti-Semitism’

 Like Trump Platts Professes Concern About ‘Antisemitism’ when the real concern is to prevent criticsm of Israel 

When Trump told four Black Congresswomen, Rashida Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar and Ayanna S. Pressley to ‘go back home’ (despite 3 of them being born in the USA), he also added for good measure that they ‘hate America and hate Israel.’

Trump’s concerns are understandable because the one country in the world where Trump is more popular than unpopular is the apartheid State of Israel. [See Support for Trump higher in Israel than almost any other nation: poll]

Like the Tories and Labour’s Right, Trump cannot distinguish between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. Which is why, at the very time he was condemning ‘anti-Semitism’ he was also accusing America’s Jews, 80% of whom vote Democrat, of disloyalty to both himself and the State of Israel. Like his former adviser Steve Bann, Trump uses support for Israel as a stick to beat America’s Jews with!

examples of the abuse that Jackie Walker, one of Platt’s targets received – this is the abuse that anti-Zionists regularly receive but which, unlike that of Zionist prima donnas like Ruth Smeeth is never mentioned

According to Trump Israel is the ‘real home’ of America’s Jews. This is a Zionist doctrine, although many Zionists prefer to maintain a state of political schizophrenia. As Peter Beinart, one of the few genuinely thoughtful Zionists around, whose opinion pieces are always worth reading (perhaps because he’s a Professor of Journalism!) remarkedin the past, Trump has repeatedly spoken about American Jews as if they were Israelis.

And this is equally true of Platts and Kyle. It is now part of Labour Party culture (if such a term is not an oxymoron) to equate criticism of Israel with criticism of Jews i.e. anti-Semitism. Israel has become the collective Jew.

That was the purpose and function of the IHRA ‘definition’ of anti-Semitism that Brighton and Hove council adopted last October and for which Nancy Platts voted. So when meetings are held which criticise Israel or Zionism, idiots like Platts (who to be fair has a limited comprehension of such matters) equate such criticism with hostility to Jews). And those of us who are Jewish anti-Zionists are merely the ‘wrong sort of Jew’ or to use the Nazi term beloved of Zionists, ‘self-haters’ (because if you hate your race you hate yourself).

As Beinart noted

‘In an April speech to the Republican Jewish Coalition, he called Benjamin Netanyahu “your prime minister” and warned that a Democratic victory in 2020 “could leave Israel out there all by yourselves.”

At the White House Hanukkah Party last December, he told the mostly Jewish audience that Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen, “love your country. And they love this country.”

When Kyle, Platts and friends conflate anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism what they are doing is saying that the murderous actions of Israel are carried out on behalf of Jews, wherever they live. That is the logic of equating anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. After all Israel is a ‘Jewish state’.

Trump being a white supremacist says out aloud what Kyle and Platts can only whisper, viz. that Jewish allegiance is to Israel. In the meantime these ciphers do their best to introduce Israeli ‘democracy’ into Britain by closing down meetings they disagree with

Merely by talking about ‘resistance’ Israeli Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour was gaoled whereas people who chant ‘Death to the Arabs’ are never even prosecuted

After all Israel is the self-declared‘only democracy in the Middle East’ albeit a democracy which sent to prison an Israel Arab poet, Dareen Tatour, for expressing support for Palestinian resistance. No amount of racist abuse from Jews in Israel has ever resulted in imprisonment, even in the case of the two rabbis who wrote a book in 2011, Torat HaMelech (the King’s Torah) explaining how, according to Jewish law, it was legally possible in war to kill Palestinian children and infants. But this is the type of racism that Platts and her claque ignore

The Israeli prosecutors found there was ‘no basis’ to indict the authors of a book who explain why its lawful to kill Arab children

None of this should be any surprise. At the heart of Zionist theology is the belief that Jews are aliens in the countries they reside in. Israel is the Jewish state and it openly proclaims that it is the state of all Jews. That is why every Jew has the ‘right of return’ to Israel, regardless of whether they have ever been there, whereas Palestinians who were born and lived there for generations have no such right. Racism is inseparable from Zionism and the Kyles and the Platts of Labour’s Right are its defenders.

Yet when it comes to the Windrush Scandal, stop and search and other, genuine examples of racism, Kyle and Platts are silent. Only racism against a section of White people concern them.

As the Jewish Democratic Council of America put it, Trump has ‘”weaponise(d) and politicise(d) anti-Semitism” for political gain.’ And that is exactly what Nancy Platts and Peter Kyle, with their allegations of ‘Jew’ hate/baiting also do.

There is virtually no anti-Semitism in Brighton and Hove. Jews are a privileged, white community. I know of no anti-Semitic attacks in Brighton. The statement by Platts that ‘I am concerned to hear that there may be any events in or around Labour Party Conference where Jewish people would not feel welcome.’ is disingenuous. As the meeting with Chris Williamson demonstrated when Jewish people came to stand with him, Jewish people have always been welcome at Palestinian and anti-Zionist meetings.

There are no events where Jews are not welcome. Of course racists, whether they are Jewish or non-Jewish are not welcome at anti-racist events. So members of Sussex Friends of Israel, who did their best to intimidate venues into cancelling the talk by Chris Williamson 2 weeks ago are not welcome. They include people like Simon Cobbs who has demonstrated alongside the English Defence League. But that is because Cobbs is a racist not because he is Jewish

There was a complete and total failure to support a family under attack by racists – no comparable case has ever affected a Jewish family

There is and always has been a problem of anti-Muslim racism in Brighton and about that Kyle and Platts are silent. That was particularly true in the case of the Deghayes family, three of whose sons went to fight for Jihadis in Syria after the Police’s failure to tackle the racism they experienced. As the Guardian noted:

Racist incidents increased in 2007 when the boy’s uncle, Omar Deghayes, was released from Guantánamo Bay after being held for five years after his arrest in Pakistan. His return to Brighton led to an angry backlash locally where far-right groups reportedly whipped up anger. Graffiti reading “Behead all Muslims” was daubed near their home and when it was attacked by a mob, police installed CCTV.

Social workers reported that it became increasingly difficult dealing with the family who felt their complaints were not dealt with adequately.

As the boys’ behaviour deteriorated further, youth and social workers expressed their “helplessness” at having no solutions. They expressed “shock and disbelief” when it was discovered the brothers had gone to Syria. “This possibility had never been identified and there was also no recognition that the siblings were vulnerable to radicalisation, travel or participation in conflict.”

The failure to deal with racist attacks on the family led directly to the alienation (‘radicalisation’) of their three sons. Nancy Platts kept her mouth shut during all of this and other failures, such as the murder of Jay Abatan, which Brighton Police force also failed to deal with. But when it comes to non-existent anti-Semitism she is willing to bare her soul to a Zionist publication which has called Jeremy Corbyn an ‘anti-Semite’.

I therefore wrote Platts a letter last night and sent the letter to every Labour and Green Councillor on Brighton and Hove Council.

We know of course what this is about and it has nothing to do with ‘anti-Semitism’ and everything to do with Chris Williamson, Jackie Walker and Ken Livingstone speaking at the fringe of the Labour Party conference in one month.

We expect that the Zionist movement will object. In Israel the Police would simply ban such meetings. In Brighton the Zionists are expecting their faithful poodles Platts and Kyle to do their dirty work. We have news for them. Chris Williamson and others will speak in Brighton next month regardless of the grandstanding of New Labour’s racists.

Below is a letter I wrote to Nancy Platts. I suspect I won’t be receiving a reply!!Tony Greenstein

Councillor Nancy Platts
Leader Brighton and Hove City Council,

Brighton Town Hall


Email to: [email protected]

Dear Nancy

I have just read your interview with Jewish News, a paper which only a year ago spoke of the existential threat to Jewish life in this country that would be posed by a Jeremy Corbyn-led government.’

An ‘existential threat’ means a threat to one’s very existence. In other words a Corbyn government would represent a mortal danger to Jews. This is the paper which you chose to confide in. You used to work in Corbyn’s office. I don’t know whether or not you still support him or if, in your new role as Leader of the Labour Group, you are seeking to follow in the footsteps of your predecessors, Warren Morgan and Daniel Yates, both of whom are members of the Jewish Labour Movement.

The title of your interview ‘‘I want Jewish people to feel welcome in Brighton’ is highly offensive. It is no different in tone to the remarks of Warren Morgan two years ago which led to his resignation. You clearly imply that Jewish people are not welcome in Brighton. What evidence do you have for this? Perhaps you could explain why you have singled out Jews as opposed to Muslims or Black people?

I have lived in Brighton for over 40 years and have rarely encountered anti-Semitism other than from fascist and neo-Nazi groups. I am the author of the only book detailing the history of the fight against fascism in Brighton and the South Coast. A book which was reviewed by the Argus in 2012. I think I know a little more about anti-Semitism than you.

In 2012 Brighton anti-fascists scored a historic victory against a Police force which was intent on forcing an English Defence League march through the city. I must confess that I don’t remember either you or any of the other exponents of Labour ‘anti-Semitism’ of having played any part in either that or any other anti-fascist activity.

You state in your interview that you are ‘concerned to hear that there may be any events in or around Labour Party Conference where Jewish people would not feel welcome.’ Well we all would be concerned if there was any truth to such a story. However it is a lie peddled by your Zionist friends to drum up sympathy.

Two weeks ago there was an attempt to prevent a meeting by Chris Williamson MP in Brighton. Peter Kyle MP called him a ‘Jew baiter’ a charge that is nothing less than a form of political terrorism. Kyle’s real objection was that Chris had opposed the witchhunt in the Labour Party and called for open selection of Labour MPs. In other words Jews were being used as a stick to beat the Left with.

Instead of speaking up in support of free speech and the rights of peaceful assembly, rights guaranteed under Articles 10 and 11 of the European Convention of Human Rights you have chosen to stand with the McCarthyists and those who would destroy free speech on Israel and Palestine. You have done this at the behest of supporters of Israeli apartheid.

Allegations of anti-Semitism by the Right, and I include you in that, are nothing more than a convenient smokescreen for those who wish to avoid a debate over Israel and Zionism. You can rest assured that just as we ensured that Chris defied the threats of violence from those who tried to prevent him speaking two weeks ago we will do the same again.

We are determined to ensure that Chris Williamson, Ken Livingstone and Jackie Walker are able to speak freely at the Labour Party conference fringe, your McCarthyist friends notwithstanding.Jackie Walker in particular has suffered vile racist abuse from your Zionist friends. I am copying some of them here so that you cannot plead ignorance. In Israel Zionists march to chant of ‘death to the Arabs’. In this country they complain of ‘anti-Semitism’.

Racism against Black people is an integral part of Zionism. In Israel Black Jews are not considered fully Jewish and currently there is an attempt to forcibly deport 40,000 Black African refugees who in the words of Netanyahu ‘threaten Israel’s Jewish identity. The Israeli Labour Party too supports deporting these refugees. The same Israeli Labour Party that the Jewish Labour Movement is affiliated to.

I doubt if there is a single Palestine solidarity activist in this country, including Jewish anti-Zionists, who has not been called an anti-Semite. The fact that people like you have been taken in by this nonsense speaks volumes about your commitment to anti-racism.It was little more than a year ago that you were on the platform speaking alongside Chris Williamson. It seems that having fulfilled your political ambitions you are travelling a well worn path to the right that people before you have taken.

The weaponisation of anti-Semitism is not confined to Britain or the Labour Party. In the United States Donald Trump has combined vociferous support for Israel with praise for neo-Nazis. When telling 4 Black Congresswomen to ‘go home’ he also attacked them because they “hate Israel & all Jewish people.’

I’m sorry to see that you have joined with those who use bogus charges of ‘anti-Semitism’ to deflect support for the Palestinians. You should be ashamed of yourself. If Jews in this country experienced even a tenth of the discrimination that Palestinians endure in Israel then they would indeed have cause to complain about anti-Semitism.

Yours sincerely,

Tony Greenstein

Letter I wrote to Nancy Platts
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Tony Greenstein

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