Latest post on Left Futures

A Sikh perspective on antisemitism and Zionism

star of david memorial antisemitismSpeaking as a Sikh woman and also as an academic who has written, studied, and campaigned for racial equality and social justice, it has been somewhat troubling to hear the Labour Party standing accused of antisemitism. It has been particularly surprising that Jeremy Corbyn has been associated with the alleged rise of antisemitism, this despite his life long campaigns against all forms of oppression. Apparently it appears Corbyn’s leadership has opened the floodgates to closet or out-and-out antisemites.

We know that there is a large rump of the Labour Party that has failed to reconcile itself to Corbyn’s election victory. Not only have we had a daily diet of princes and princesses across the water ready to reclaim the crown of Labour leadership and return it to its ‘rightful’ Blairite heirs, but we have also witnessed constant efforts to undermine both the Corbyn administration, as well as members in the party like myself, who were energised by his message that the party has to stand for something more than a light blue version of the Tories.

We have seen a barrage of allegations, innuendos, and op-eds from the Guardian to the Daily Mail claiming that while Corbyn is himself not an antisemite, his principled stand on some issues encourages antisemitism in the party. According to this narrative Corbyn is not guilty of antisemitism, but his associations are. Any thoughtful Labour supporter would be unnerved by the line being pushed by the right wing press and the increasingly right wing Guardian, as well as from party members who should know a lot better. This unholy alliance is united more in its opposition to Corbyn then antisemitism, after all the Daily Mail was the same newspaper that ran a scurrilous attack questioning the loyalties of Ed Miliband’s father.

The record of many of Corbyn’s recent critics on issues of anti-racism and multiculturalism hardly stands in comparison to his devotion to these causes (even when they were not fashionable or being pushed by neo-con securocrats). I think it is absolutely crucial to realise that opposing Zionism is not antisemitic, and we need to acknowledge that these baseless attacks on Corbyn take place in a very specific context, one that is driven by attempts to solidify a neo-con partnership across many Western nations as the War on Terror continues to deepen.

When Bishop Desmond Tutu, a man who dedicated all his energy into fighting and opposing racial segregation in South Africa, compares Israel to the apartheid state, he is not being antisemitic but rather testifying to the brutal realities of Palestinian life under Israeli rule. Perhaps members whose antipathy towards Corbyn appears to know no bounds should at least temper their criticism and take seriously the comments of Tutu, rather than regurgitating the cheap, crass, and xenophobic statements to be found splashed across the Daily Mail (and alas the Guardian).

In these accounts we have seen various commentators complaining that Anti-Zionists do not seem to challenge violence or cruelties committed by other regimes. I do not think one could accuse Corbyn of being parsimonious in his condemnations of unjust, violent, and cruel regimes- unlike our former Prime Minister, Corbyn has not taken million dollar consultancy fees from some of the biggest violators of human rights, nor is it the case like our current Prime Minister that he has been supportive of the rulers of Riyadh.

As a party member I feel a strong sense of responsibility when my country is involved in aiding and abetting the violation and dispossession of a people for nearly 70 years. This is not simply an emotional (or antisemitic) response, but rather a pragmatic one. I feel I have greater authority to say ‘not in my name’ to my representatives and will continue to condemn Zionism in all its forms, as I do racism, antisemitism, and Islamophobia. I will not engage in a whataboutery and ask how many of those who are able to detect antisemitism in the Labour Party continue to support Islamophobic legislation repeatedly.

Nor will I be cowed by the representatives and fellow travellers of the Likudists in determining what constitutes antisemitism and what constitutes Anti-Zionism. I will however continue to urge members to face down the neo-cons who have bought us on-going wars, neoliberal policies, and broken hopes and promises. Corbyn’s victory signalled a clear rejection of the direction that this great party had been following for a while, therefore vexatious charges of antisemitism should be seen as nothing more than a series of crude diversions to silence both the valid and necessary criticism of Israeli rule, as well as the voice of Palestinians and their ability to demand justice.

My Labour Party has a proud record of fighting for the rights of the oppressed and the dispossessed, as such newspapers that have supported Hitler in the past should perhaps show a greater degree of humility when carrying out garbology and raking through the dustbins of Labour representatives in a futile quest to discover the hidden antisemite. I would encourage party members to display greater conviction and stand up for the values of the Labour Party by continuing to support the leadership, which has mounted a struggle against all forms of injustice. At best, we should at least have the strength not to allow the Daily Mail or the neo-cons to determine our policies and outlooks on matters of justice for the Palestinians. Our party has a long history of welcoming groups who have been marginalized and subject to oppression in various forms and I hope this tradition continues. A party such as ours should be resolute in its opposition to racism, resolute in its opposition to Islamophobia, and resolute in its opposition to antisemitism.

Image copyright: olesia / 123RF Stock Photo

77 Comments

  1. John P Reid says:

    Very ,he said she said, bringing up papers that supported in the past, Jeremy may be a gentleman, but he’s ignored to the point it’s been encouraged, anti white racism over the years
    And if the party ignores anti semeticism, by highlighting rights for Palestinians, the on, we are guilty of what the Tory press through at us.

  2. Ric EUTENEUER says:

    “he’s ignored t[…] anti white racism over the years” – that old chestnut.

    John, please go and join the Tories or UKIP, to whom that kind of drivel is gospel.

  3. Hamid Khan says:

    Thoroughly agree. The majority of the right wing press have jumped on this with absolute delight to deflect the news from the facts of the Hillsborough deaths, which involved a Police cover up, Murdoch’s crony papers blaming fans and the Thatcher Cabinet complicit with this all. Indeed why have the media not focused on the disgraceful comments made by Boris Johnson, the London Mayor? Why has he not been forced to apologise in Parliament?
    The facts are the Zionist control of the Israeli government has lead to Palestinian brutal oppression. UN statistics show that in 2015, 170 Palestinians were killed, 15,377 were injured, 6,800 were imprisoned. In West Bank Area C 539 Palestinian homes were destroyed and a further 11,000 demolition orders were outstanding. Israel also imprisons more children than any other ‘democratic’ country in the world.
    So most people with a shred of humanity would state this is is a regime that is oppressive. Furthermore there are number of Jewish Groups who also believe the State is behaving brutally and in an oppressive way, are they anti-Semitic too? We have to distinguish clearly between state oppression and political Zionist ideology that fuels this oppression and Jewish identity.
    There must be a two state solution and peace and reconciliation is the only way forward. We must all stand against hatred and antisemitism.
    I make no apology for criticising a state for brutally and oppression.

    1. David Pavett says:

      Hamid, is it not enough to criticise the Israeli government for its expansionist and oppressive policies? What do we add by using the word “Zionist”? Did you know that there are Zionists who are opposed to, for example the occupation of the West Bank? The history Benny Morris is a notable example (in his book One State, Two States). The use of the word “Zionist” has become an emotional political label devoid of genuine descriptive or analytical content. It is better to avoid it unless it is to refer to people who self-designate as Zionists, and even then it is necessary to say what they mean by that since that meaning varies considerably.

  4. Keri says:

    To the author: Absent a clear definition of the terms you use it is impossible to understand and evaluate your position. Please: define Zionism and identify the source of the definition.
    Thank you.

  5. David Pavett says:

    The media are engaged in manufacturing a crisis of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party. They are doing so with strikingly few materials. It is clear that this campaign is working to some extent because Labour is getting jumpy about the issue. While, of course it should deal resolutely with any cases of anti-Semitism as with any other form of racism, it should show more confidence in the views of a crushing majority of its members who are clear opposed to racism in all its forms.

    I agree with many of the points that Katy Sian makes but I wonder about the effectiveness of a case made in such generalised terms.

    Imagine someone coming to this article wanting genuinely to learn about the rights and wrongs of the current frenzy of accusations. He or she would see a number of counter opinions which they are asked to accept on the author’s say so. It is fair enough to point out that Corbyn has spent his political life combating oppression and racism but to convince the not already convinced it is necessary to give specifics and provide links where the reader can check for themselves.

    Bishop Tutu is an admirable man in many ways but I would hesitate to take him as a guide to measured political statements. I understand why he and others say that Israel is an apartheid state but it isn’t helpful. When emotions run high on a political issues, any political issue people tend to resort to name calling. This is politics reduced to shorthand in which few people know what the shorthand actually stands for specifically. “Apartheid” is a good example. Yes there is massive discrimination against Arab Israeli citizens and a blockade of Palestinian territories. These and other fact are no doubt alluded to by the word “apartheid” but what comes over is the reference to the South African apartheid regime for which there are as many differences as similarities to Israel.

    Drop the shorthand and talk specifics. Avoid arguments about political labels and refer directly to the realities in question. Thus Majid Al-Haj, and Israeli Arab and Senior Lecturer at the University of Haifa (already a difference with South Africa) published a book, Education, Empowerment and Control (1995), in which he gives a detailed account of the many ways in which the Israeli state discriminates against Arab citizens e.g. by paying much less per head for the education of Arab Children than for Jewish children. I do not recall Majid Al-Haj ever using the word “apartheid”. If people want to argue with his case they have to talk specifics and not argue about words/labels.

    Another example of allowing words to block meaningful debate is statements like “I … will continue to condemn Zionism in all its forms”. Really? ALL its forms. For many people saying “I am a Zionist” means no more than that “I see Israel as an enduring political entity and oppose calls for its destruction”. Does Katy Sian really want to “condemn” such views? I am not, by the way, suggesting that such views are beyond challenge or debate. And while on the subject of Zionism it needs to be said, yet again, that not all issues of anti-Semitism are connected with problems of the Israeli state. To assume that this is the case is itself problematic.

    The problem arguing by labels is that we end up with statements like “vexatious charges of anti-Semitism should be seen as nothing more than a series of crude diversions to silence both the valid and necessary criticism of Israeli rule …”. What about non-vexatious charges of anti-Semitism? Can there be such a thing? If someone uses anti-Semitic caricatures or assumes that Jews are engaged in a world-wide conspiracy is that not a problem in itself?

    A better approach is that of Jamie Stern-Weiner writing in Open Democracy: Jeremy Corbyn hasn’t got an ‘antisemitism problem’. His opponents do. What JS-W does it to drill down to the detailed content of the accusations of Labour anti-semitism. By doing this he makes it clear that the facts to not support the accusations. I strongly recommend the piece and look forward to the appearance of part 2 of the article.

    1. Hamid Khan says:

      Are we not in danger of intellectualising this? I agree in principle, but there are at least 9 extremely far right political parties in Israel and Likud itself is a centre right party! Zionism was actually a political movement started in 1897 by Theodore Herzl who were cloaked in nationalism wanting a Jewish homeland, hence my criticism of it based on its political and nationalist beliefs and ideology. My support is for people like the journalist Gideon Levy who openly criticised the Israeli military and government for its brutal oppression and was nearly lynched near his home by extremist Zionists! There are also well linked historical links between Zionism and Nazism.
      The right have cleverly manipulated this and god even the fascist Daily Mail is moaning about anti semitism and somehow the Labour Party are dancing to their tune. Suspending Ken is ridiculous. Yes root out real racism in all its forms, but lets not conduct a witch hunt because the Right say so

      1. David Pavett says:

        “Are we not in danger of intellectualising this?” Are we? You tell me, Hamid. Please try to be specific and not just make this rather vague comment. It gives me nothing to respond to.

        I can only guess what you mean by “hence my criticism of it based on its political and nationalist beliefs and ideology” since you do not explain.

        What do you believe to be the historical links between Zionism and Nazism? It is not enough to state these things as if they were common knowledge. There are nearly always links between the oppressed and the oppressors. Were there not links (at some point) between every national liberation movement and the colonial rulers they opposed? These things clearly have to be spelled out with some care.

        I would also caution against describing the Daily Mail (objectionable though it is) as “fascist”. Our political language should not take the form of an emotive protest at the things we dislike but should express a measured analysis and evaluation of what we are dealing with. Or do you consider that to be just another case of “over intellectualising”?

        And after all that you have not addressed my point about the use of the word “Zionist”.

  6. Mike Phipps says:

    There’s a very good article by Dave Rosenberg, of Jews for Jeremy, here
    http://labourbriefing.squarespace.com/home/2016/4/25/does-labour-have-a-problem-with-jews
    which separates out the very real issue of anti-semitism from the issue of criticising Israel, and what needs to be done about the former

    1. David Pavett says:

      Yes, a useful piece.

  7. Much of this is soon to be irrelevant. Come the rule change the author of the piece and the commenters so far will be out on their ear so far as membership of the LP is concerned.

  8. martin hogan says:

    Yes, people in the Labour Party have been ‘accused’ of anti Jewish views but look where those complaints come from – and as an academic I am sure the author did but didn’t bother to point this out as the article would be much shorter).
    The complainers are the pro Israeli lobby.Even if you can’t be bothered reading a book, just search the internet for ‘Jewish support for Nazis). More recent books ignore Jewish support for Hitler, older studies cover it. They also cover the way Hitler supported the UK policy of moving Jews to Palestine after the 1919 settlement, Britain and France wanted Europeans in the Middle East.
    Israeli apologists blame the Nazis for everything and claim any criticism of Israeli fascism is anti Jewish. Not so. I find it hard to support a state that exists simply because God said it should be there, even harder one that is so racist and violent as Israel,
    When those shouting racism denounce Israel as those being accused denounce Palestinian violence, they will have credibility.
    The question is not if Labour has a problem with Jews but if Jews have a problem admitting their history and denouncing the violence and sectarianism of Israel.

    1. John Penney says:

      What a slippery, post this is Mr ” I’m an academic” Hogan.

      You claim “internet-based evidence” for supposed “Jewish support for Hitler”. Martin, there is huge entirely bogus “internet-evidence” that the twin towers were blown up internally, by the “Jews” , and all Jews working there were told to stay off work the day the planes crashed into them. However, these stories are all complete bollocks – promoted by anti Jewish ideologues . There was actually no credible Jewish support for Hitler of any significance , and the well documented discussions held between Jewish organisations in Palestine and the Nazis in the mid 30’s were discussions between the Nazi oppressors who wanted to forcibly drive all Jews out of Europe (mass murderer hadn’t yet become state policy), and a particular political sub-set of representatives of the Jewish oppressed – ie, political ” Zionists” , who, unlike the Jewish socialist Left, had given up on continuing to live as a regularly pogromed minority in Russia/Europe – in favour of building a Jewish state (not necessarily in Palestine) to provide the support that a state provides its citizens.

      It is of course true that Palestine was not ” the land without people – for a people without land” of Zionist political mythology, and that the European Jews who migrated to Palestine took with them the European racist sense of superiority as regards “Arabs” that was common in wider European culture. Nevertheless, Hitler was NOT a “Zionist” in any shape or form, nor that Zionist organisations “collaborated” with the Nazis.

      It is quite true that part of the , very confused and contradictory, motivations of British imperial policy from the Balfour Declaration onwards for supporting large scale Jewish migration to Palestine was to create a “Loyal little Ulster in the Middle East” for British imperialism. But the other motivation was of course the desire of a British ruling class profoundly imbued with anti-Semitism – to persuade lots of Jews resident in Britain to leave for Palestine.

      Martin Hogan’s post is far too keen on throwing around terms like ” Israeli fascism” and to suggest , along with a major part of the radical Left , a claimed unique “illegitimacy” of Israel as a nation state (or “The Zionist Entity” as the Arab world is wont to describe it), because as a state “it is so violent” . Historically and intellectually this is a complete joke. The USA for instance is entirely situated on land stolen from the native American Peoples, who were also the subject of genocidal pogroms, as was Australia, New Zealand, and Tasmania. Are these “illegitimate States”? Modern Israel is indeed a sectarian, settler state, based largely on land seized from the Palestinians. Why is it uniquely different from other settler states seized from the indigenous inhabitants ? It is intimately allied with US Imperialism, and it has a history of violent expansionism and militarism. Is it different in this from all other nation states ? No. Is it a “fascist State” ? No it isn’t, unless states like the USA, Russia, China, are also “fascist states”.

      This loose , careless usage of abusive terminology, as with the slippery and dodgy misuse of the term “Zionist” and “Zionism” – which , without careful explanation, simply feeds into the crude anti Semitism that pollutes much of the Arab and Muslim world, and unfortunately major sections of the Muslim diaspora in Europe too, is what has left the Left in the Labour Party vulnerable to the shit-stirring machinations of the Labour Right and their mass media allies today, so conveniently close to the May local government and London Mayoral, elections.

      1. Mervyn Hyde (@mjh0421) says:

        On the night of Friday, June 16, 1933, left-wing Zionist leader Haim Arlosoroff was assassinated as he was walking with his wife on the beach in Tel Aviv. Initially believed to be carried out by his right-wing political enemies, the subsequent court case ended in acquittal for the two accused of the crime. A third man was acquitted early on of advising the two to commit the act. This intriguing murder mystery has never been solved.

        At the time of the murder, the two primary opposing Zionist political parties in Palestine were the mainstream Mapai, the left-wing Socialist party, and the opposing Revisionists, the right-wing nationalist party. The rift between the two sects evolved with the end of World War I and the ensuing British colonization of Palestine. Globally represented by the World Zionist Organization and by the Jewish Yishuv within domestic Palestine, Mapai, led by David Ben-Gurion, encouraged mass Jewish immigration and continuous settling of the land. Its leadership found it essential to cooperate with the ruling British Mandate of Palestine. Adhering to a code of practical Zionism, the official position of the Zionist leadership found it vital to develop the physical land in order to stake a claim over it. The Revisionists, led by Vladimir (Ze’ev) Jabotinsky, relied on the principles of political Zionism. They saw it imperative to gain total control over the country before devoting power toward its material improvement. It promoted procurement of independence from the British Mandate as the sole means for reestablishing a Jewish homeland.[1]

        Charging Mapai leaders with prejudices against non-adherents, the dissonance between the two groups sounded louder and more pronounced.[2] The rift reached a climax when Mapai showed interest in negotiations with the Nazi government over German Jews’ expedited immigration to Palestine. These negotiations were spearheaded by Arlosoroff, and he was in Germany regarding this matter the week before his murder. The Revisionists, especially its secret radical branch, Brit Habiryonim, expressed extreme criticism in Mapai’s willingness to confer with the Nazi government over German Jews’ expedited emigration to Palestine.[3]

        Just to put some more perspective on it for you.

        1. John Penney says:

          And your point is, Mervyn ? Please do let us know.

          The early contacts between factions in the pre War Zionist with the Nazis is very well known. Elements in the Nazi hierarchy were exploring the possibilities for forced dumping of German Jews somewhere as far from Germany as possible (the decision to employ mass murder wasn’t reached until 1939 , and to pursue total , systematic, genocide not until 1941). The Zionist factions who had discussions with the Nazis in the mid 1930’s were exploring ways to save masses of Jews whilst progressing their “Jewish Homeland” ambitions in Palestine.

          We Left wingers need to grasp that as far as most Jews today , worldwide, are concerned, what happened next in Europe did emphatically confirm the Zionist viewpoint that getting as many Jews as possible out of pogrom-ridden Europe into their own Jewish state had to be the priority – as against the mainstream Jewish establishment view that “lying low and trying to be invisible” in every country was the route to survival – or the Jewish Socialist and Communist view that Jews needed to fight within the wider Left to transform their various homelands into non-sectarian socialist states.

          One of the very distasteful features of this current statement and restatement by Left wingers of the very well known fact that there were indeed discussions between Zionists and Nazis in the mid 1930’s, is that , as anyone who has any awareness of the various arguments and misrepresentations employed since 1945 by fascists and anti-semites everywhere to downplay the ghastly significance of the Holocaust, and the sole responsibility of fascism and deep historical European anti-Semitism for the murder of over 6 million European Jews, is to outrageously claim that the Holocaust was actually some sort of bizarre “stunt” manipulated into being by ” World Zionism”, as a “blood sacrifice” to justify the establishment of the State of Israel ! Absolutely bonkers stuff – but that is a major theme of Right Wing/fascist “Holocaust Revisionism” since 1945 – and of course is continued as a theme by all that utter internet nonsense claiming that it was “The Jews” that actually destroyed the Twin Towers in New York – to justify attacking Afghanistan and Iraq.

          It is the widespread existence of this “fascist Holocaust revisionist” fairytale seeking to transfer blame for the Holocaust from the fascist perpetrators to the Jewish victims themselves, that makes any accidental or intentional apparent “thematic buy-in” to this lie by the Left, particularly disgraceful. Ken Livingstone is not a political novice, or presumably ignorant of the longstanding anti-Semitic lie that attempts to pin the blame for the Holocaust on “Zionist manipulation”. To imply that Hitler “was sympathetic to Zionism” at one time , feeds directly off and into this widely disseminated great Holocaust denial lie, and is simply inexcusable for any socialist and claimed anti fascist and anti racist.

          1. Mervyn Hyde (@mjh0421) says:

            John for someone who claims to be an academic, you really do get things badly wrong at times, not all the time, but to associate the whole of the left or left of the Labour Party with anti-Semitic tendencies when relating to historical fact.

            Ken Livingstone made it abundantly clear that he was asked a particular question, I can’t say how that was framed, but the question related to Zionists involved and possibly conspired with the Nazis in 1933, note the date because that is important.

            What is factually known as Ken pointed out, is that Zionists, in this case left wingers, actually went to Germany and negotiated with the Nazis to send all Jews back to Israel…… The Final Solution or the Final Solution to the Jewish Question was a German plan for the … The program evolved during the first 25 months of war leading to the attempt at … Which was more than 7 years after Arlosorof went to Germany.

            To assume that you are the only one to conceive of the idea; that in a situation where Jews in Germany were already being persecuted; that might have good intentions in such negotiations, is the kind of arrogance we see perpetrated against the left in the press on a daily basis.

            You are not unique in coming to that conclusion and should give credit to others for actually being able to think for themselves.

            Ken stated emphatically that when he referred to the meeting in Germany he was not saying it was right or wrong but merely stated a fact; that was later picked up by the media and twisted to suit the inference they wanted to make.

            The transcript of this is available for all to judge for themselves.

            I really do question the naivety of people who readily castigate people on the left, when under attack from the media, and to expect them to be whiter than white; when that same media propagate government propaganda, such as the government is not privatising the NHS for example.

            John Mann’s incoherent rant was a stunt which in time may be found to have been organised, i.e. tipped off by SKY that they would be following Ken into the studios. Looked at closely he talked over Ken and kept looking at the camera behind, I can only guess, to see whether it was being recorded. This man, I believe knew exactly what impression he wanted to make, and that he brought Labour into disrepute, perhaps if you care about the Labour Party you could also vent your Ire on to him.

      2. John Penney says:

        And Yes I do know about the 1933 Haavara Agreement between the Nazis and some German Zionists – to” facilitate German Jewish Emigration to Palestine”. It was hardly an agreement between equals – and actually amounted to very little , as German Jews seeking to emigrate , under conditions of ever growing Nazi harassment and threat in Germany , were to be systematically stripped of their possessions before leaving.

        1. John Penney says:

          Let’s go over that again , Mervyn. You have no idea what the original question was that Ken Livingstone chose to reply to by stating that at one time “before he went mad” Hitler shared the views of Zionists. But you are happy to assume that his answer must have been politically perfectly OK – even though even Jon Lansman believes it was completely unacceptable , and it has brought down an unnecessary shitstorm on Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party – because …. why, Mervyn ? Because he’s Ken Livingstone so it must be OK ?

          I’m afraid your remaining arguments are so badly edited as to be incoherent.

          1. Mervyn Hyde (@mjh0421) says:

            At the time of the murder, the two primary opposing Zionist political parties in Palestine were the mainstream Mapai, the left-wing Socialist party, and the opposing Revisionists, the right-wing nationalist party. The rift between the two sects evolved with the end of World War I and the ensuing British colonization of Palestine. Globally represented by the World Zionist Organization and by the Jewish Yishuv within domestic Palestine, Mapai, led by David Ben-Gurion, encouraged mass Jewish immigration and continuous settling of the land. Its leadership found it essential to cooperate with the ruling British Mandate of Palestine. Adhering to a code of practical Zionism, the official position of the Zionist leadership found it vital to develop the physical land in order to stake a claim over it. The Revisionists, led by Vladimir (Ze’ev) Jabotinsky, relied on the principles of political Zionism. They saw it imperative to gain total control over the country before devoting power toward its material improvement. It promoted procurement of independence from the British Mandate as the sole means for reestablishing a Jewish homeland.[1]

            Charging Mapai leaders with prejudices against non-adherents, the dissonance between the two groups sounded louder and more pronounced.[2] The rift reached a climax when Mapai showed interest in negotiations with the Nazi government over German Jews’ expedited immigration to Palestine. These negotiations were spearheaded by Arlosoroff, and he was in Germany regarding this matter the week before his murder. The Revisionists, especially its secret radical branch, Brit Habiryonim, expressed extreme criticism in Mapai’s willingness to confer with the Nazi government over German Jews’ expedited emigration to Palestine.[3]

            Clearly you agree this meeting of minds did take place, as you refer to the 1933 agreement.

            But are happy to denigrate Ken and infer that he misrepresented the facts, which the media always deliberately choose to misconstrue.

            That is why I take issue with people like you.

  9. Mervyn Hyde (@mjh0421) says:

    In order to get some perspective on the Arab Jewish conflict this report might redress the balance.

    http://www.britishforcesinpalestine.org/events48.html

  10. James Martin says:

    Given the suspension of Ken today and the outrageous behaviour of John Mann, can comrades please circulate this link far and wide, it is a detailed academic article from US historian Mark Webber from 1993 about the relationship between early Nazism and Zionism and the support from those like the SS for the Zionist project – this is essentially what Ken was saying and it is not anti-Semitic – http://www.ihr.org/jhr/v13/v13n4p29_weber.html

    1. David Pavett says:

      I would recommend some caution in using Mark Webber as a source. I don’t know what you mean by referring to his piece as an “academic” article. It is not produced for, or peer-reviewed by, any academic institution.

      According to the Wikipedia article on him Weber has a track record of work with far right groups.

      He is the director of the Institute for Historical Review which the same Wikipedia article describes as a Holocaust denial organisation. I don’t know much about it but flicking through some of its materials I came across lots of offensive stuff.

      For example there is an article by Grace Halsall entitled “What Christians Don’t Know About Israel” in which she makes statements like

      They [Israelis] do not accept the Old Testament as it is written. Rather, religious Jews turn to the Talmud. For them, the Talmudic Jewish laws become “the Bible”. And the Talmud teaches that a Jew can kill a non-Jew with Impunity”.

      The IHR is overwhelmingly concerned with matters relating to Israel and Jews and one of its list of speakers is none other than David Irving.

      Of course, none of this proves that anything in the article you link is right or wrong. For that one would have to go through it carefully. However, this source has no academic credentials and sports some pretty unpleasant right-wing traits. Therefore I advise caution to anyone thinking of using this material. Double check anything that you might be inclined to use. There are much better, and more trustworthy, sources covering the same ground for example The Myths of Zionism by John Rose and Maxime Rodinson’s Cult, Ghetto and State.

      1. Keri says:

        And, surely a far better and respected academic source is Francis R Nicosia, professor of history at the University of Vermont. Google him and read his work to understand how and why Hitler could use the German Zionists who of course were not really so free to refuse, were they?

  11. Chris says:

    Let’s be frank – if you’ve ever been a member of the Labour Party you will know that these accusations are utter lies.

    There are only two groups of liars peddling them -honourless hacks on the Labour right gunning for Corbyn and the groupthinking cretins of the Trot groupuscule the AWL, who are mainly out to attract notoriety among other Trots.

  12. Bazza says:

    By chance late last year I read Ken Livingstone’s book ‘Ken Livingstone – You can’t say that’ and on pages 221-223 there are startling claims drawn from the book by Jewish (self-proclaimed Anti-Zionist Trotskyist) writer Lenni Brenner entitled ‘Zionism in the Age of Dictatorship’ (1983).
    And I would be grateful for people’s perspectives on this source of information.
    Interestingly an historian has just been on Channel 4 TV News (7.00pm, 28/4) saying that whilst the Nazis had some contact with some Zionists in the 1930’s Hitler was to veto the plan to move Jewish people to would be Israel.
    Ken should have said, “According to …….” and put the onus on the source of the information if he was confident in this so everyone could have checked out Lenni Brenner’s book for themselves perhaps including perhaps a certain angry MP too and then people could have made their own minds up.
    Perhaps more historians coming forward could also inform the debate.
    But Ken sadly may have unintentionally blundered in, perhaps giving the dual campaign (by the Right to undermine Jeremy and to try to cower us all from criticising a Right Wing Israeli Government) what it needs and perhaps a certain angry Labour MP has not helped too!
    But I would appeal to all diverse working people including Jewish working people to join the Labour Party – the party of EQUALITY!
    Oh and if anyone is counting (and I don’t know how many members of Oxford University Labour Club are under investigation) but those under investigation for potential racism against Jewish people could be about 30 at the most out of 400,000 members which is 0.000075%!
    Could some researcher out there please perhaps also kindly investigate this issue amongst those champions of the oppressed – The Tories?
    Yours in international solidarity!

  13. Jim Denham says:

    Livingstone’s latest book ‘Being Red’ touches on the accusations of anti-Semitism that have frequently be raised against him, but skates over the notorious incident when an Evening Standard reporter who attempted to interview him after an evening function in 2005. Livingstone responded to some anodyne questioning by asking, “Were you a German war criminal?” Livingstone’s response to the reporter telling Livingstone he was Jewish was “you are just like a concentration camp guard. You’re just doing it ’cause you’re paid to, aren’t you?”[1] While it is understandable that Livingstone takes a combative role against the press that, it is indicative of a deeper-seated issue with Livingstone.

    Take, for example, the section in his memoirs where he defends himself against these accusations (and specifically against the case put together by Hosken regarding Livingstone’s relationship with the WRP). Here Livingstone launches into a peculiar two page defence of an interview that Labour Herald carried with Lenni Brenner at the time the publication of Brenner’s ‘Zionism in the Age of Dictators’. Brenner (who is Jewish) argued that that right-wing Zionists in the 1930s actively collaborated with anti-Semites, particularly the Nazis, in order to achieve a Jewish homeland. While this is not the place to unpick the arguments of Brenner’s book (which I would suggest are so one-sided and distorted as to be plain wrong), what is notable is how Livingstone uses the argument. Livingstone extends the book’s view that some far-right Zionists collaborated with the Nazis first to all Zionists and then Jews in general. Thus, Livingstone inserts into his argument the suggestion that in the 1930s mainstream Jewish leadership in Britain, the Board of Deputies, shared these pro-Nazi views. This led to them, Livingstone suggests, not opposing Mosley’s British Union of Blackshirts, which he the elides with the assertion that there was a Zionist-Nazi link.[2]

    There are three problems with this. The first is that this that there is the classic movement from criticising Zionism to criticising Jewish organisations in general. The motivation of the Board of Deputies was not Zionist, it was not a Zionist organisation in its outlook at that time, but was based on the conservative long-established Jewish elite in Britain.[3] Secondly, Livingstone, it his enthusiasm to pursue Brenner’s theses goes further than Brenner. Brenner’s book is careful and considered in its evidence (before drawing the wrong conclusion from it), so he correctly points out that while both the Board of Deputies and British Zionists (the two were separate) where cautious in opposing British fascism before it became anti-Semitic, by 1936 some Zionists were involved in the community self-defence Jewish People’s Council Against Anti-Semitism and Fascism (JPC).[4] Thirdly, Livingstone’s blanket statement that the Board of Deputies did not oppose fascism is simply not true. This was a moderate, small-c conservative organisation that sought to operate by compromise and accommodation. They did not oppose Mosley early on when before his anti-Semitic turn and thought that seeking assurances from Mussolini that Jewish people could continue their lives unmolested in Italy was the way forward. They were opposed by other in Jewish people in Britain, who sought confrontation with Mosley at Cable St. and established the JPC which was politically opposed to the Board of Deputies. It is not that the Board of Deputies did not oppose the British Union of Fascists after their anti-Semitic turn in 1935, but that they sought to do so by limited legalistic means, particularly state bans on their activities (the Labour Party leadership had the same position).[5] As Brenner recognises this, and that the Board of Deputies, based on the more prosperous elements of the longer established Jewish community had much to lose from the left-wing radicalism of the Jewish working class East End,[6] but as anti-Semitism became more threatening reached an accommodation with the more JPC in 1938.[7]

    In effect what Livingstone is doing is accusing Jewish people of been complicit with anti-Semites for the purposes of furthering Zionism, seeing Zionism as an unmitigated wrong (rather than an understandable reaction to European anti-Semitism) and compounding being Jewish with being a Zionist. These all characteristic of a left-wing version of anti-Semitism (that it, judging people Jewish people by different criteria, and more negatively, than other groups in society).

    Left-wing anti-Semitism has a long history. In the late 19th and early 20th century is was took the form of the “socialism of fools” where Jewish people (sometimes just some Jewish people) were identified with the worst elements of capitalism, and while this has not entirely disappeared from the left it has largely been replaced one based on attitudes to the Israel/Palestine conflict[8] (although this sometimes contains elements of the older anti-Semitism when it is linked to supposed networks of powerful Jews). Livingstone is certainly not the worst example of it (the worst examples in Britain may have been his erstwhile supporters in the WRP) and there is no suggestion that that he has any personal antipathy towards Jewish people. But is associated with some carelessness when he comes to deal with anti-Semitism, suggesting that it may be have less important in his concerns than anti-black and anti-Muslim forms of racism.

    This is seen in ‘Being Red’ when Livingstone makes the claim that when Israel invaded Lebanon in 2006 his criticism of Israel as London mayor meant that anti-Semitic incidents went down in London whereas they went up elsewhere in the UK.[9] This is the kind of off-hand comment which abounds in Being Red, and another one which turns out to be inaccurate.[10] The war in Lebanon lasted from July – September 2006. According the figures from the Community Security Trust (CST), the monthly average of anti-Semitic incidents in the UK in the same period the previous year (July to September 2005) had been thirty-three. The average for those three months in 2006 was seventy-nine, so in 2006 during the war there was increase of 140 per cent in attacks nationally. The CST does not publish a monthly breakdown of figures by region, but in 2005 as a whole there were 213 incidents in London (47 per cent of the total); in 2006 there were 300 incidents in London (51 per cent of the total).[11] The indication is thus that there was a slightly greater increase in attacks around the war in London than there was nationally. Thus the claim that the level of anti-Semitic incidents decreased in London is simply untrue. Livingstone’s assumption that the change was caused by his pubic views on the matter is also wrong, the incidents in London increased in line with the national trend. But the comment does show how Livingstone is both careless with the facts (here on anti-Semitism) and that he has an inflated sense of his own importance in determining the course of the events. (It is notable that there continues to be an increasing number of anti-Semitic incidents in London. The figures peaking at well over 1,000 in 2014. The number in London has remained at around 50 per cent of the national total,[12] which is slightly lower than the proportion of British Jewish people who live in London, which is around 60 per cent).

    [1] “Transcript of the taped exchange between Ken Livingstone and Oliver Finegold outside City Hall”, The Guardian (online) 25th February 2016, http://www.theguardian.com/society/2006/feb/25/localgovernment.politicsandthemedia (Accessed 15/4/2016). For some of the criticism after that incident see Jonathan Freedland, “I’ve backed Ken Livingstone for mayor before, but this time I just can’t do it”, The Guardian (on line), 23rd March 2012, http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/mar/23/backed-ken-livingstone-mayor-before; “The letter to Ed Miliband from Jewish Labour supporters”, The Jewish Chronicle 22nd March 2012; http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/65426/the-letter-ed-miliband-jewish-labour-supporters; “Ken Livingstone and anti-Semitism”, Solidarity, 28th March 2012, http://www.workersliberty.org/story/2012/03/28/ken-livingstone-and-anti-semitism

    [2] Livingstone (2012), p222

    [3] Raphael Langham, 250 years of Convention and Convention and Contention: A History of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, 1760-2010 (London, Vallentine Mitchell, 2010), pp122-138

    [4] Lenni Brenner (1983) Zionism in the Age of Dictators, p159-169 [note: references here to a Brenner’s PDF mark-up of the book at http://solargeneral.org/wp-content/uploads/library/Jews/zionism-in-the-age-of-the-dictators-lenni-brenner.pdf (accessed 6/3/2016)]

    [5] Nigel Copsey (2000) Anti-Fascism in Britain (Houndmills: Macmillan Palgrave), pp60-75

    [6] Brenner (1983), p56 (PDF edition)

    [7] Langham (2010), p153.

    [8] William I. Brustein and Louisa Roberts (2015), The Socialism of Fools?: Leftist Origins of Modern Anti-Semitism, (New York, Cambridge University Press), chp 4 and pp190ff.

    [9] Livingstone (2016), p40

    [10] This judgement may be based on Metropolitan Police data on racists incidents (Livingstone (2012), p505)

    [11] Community Safety Trust, Antisemitic Incidents Report 2005 p14, https://cst.org.uk/docs/Incidents_Report_05.pdf (accessed 29/2/2016); Antisemitic Incidents Report 2006m https://cst.org.uk/docs/Incidents_Report_06.pdf (accessed 29/2/2016)

    [12] Community Safety Trust, Antisemitic Incidents Report 2014, https://cst.org.uk/data/file/5/5/Incidents-Report-2014.1425053165.pdf (accessed 29/2/2016); Antisemitic Incidents Report 2015, https://cst.org.uk/data/file/1/9/Incidents_Report_2015.1454417905.pdf (accessed 29/2/2016)

    1. Bazza says:

      Thanks for this.
      As a left wing democratic socialist, I believe in a bottom up, grassroots, participatory, democratic approach and whilst I was given Ken’s book which refers to self proclaimed Trotskyist Brenner’s analysis I am wary of Trotskyist perspectives.
      It may be just me but I just regard them as bourgeois socialists; we only need to to follow their ready made programme, their elite top down central committee, their leadership and we will have socialism FOR not a left wing democratic socialism WITH.
      When Ken later said this all came out in the 80’s “and there wasn’t a peep” I wondered and why not?
      Of course Governments etc. can meet contentious issues with silence until they fade away but from reading (and watching the news) and hearing quite a few historians I can only conclude that Ken was way over the top and like Brenner has drawn the wrong conclusions from some historical contact between some Nazi’s and some (Right Wing) Zionists both of whom had their own agendas.
      I remember reading Alan Bullock’s ‘Hitler: A Study in Tyranny’ how the Nazi’s were famous for going to different groups and telling them different things as they did to German capitalists to reassure them at a time when they feared the Communists (like many in the rural areas where the Nazi’s got much of their support).
      Of course with a million plus angry ex-solders who felt humiliated after WW1, high unemployment, over the top war reparations, the taking of their overseas colonies (which like all imperialists they had originally stolen themselves) by rival capitalist powers (more humiliation) and you had the conditions for a perfect storm; for Germany at that time it was socialism or barbarism, and tragically barbarianism (with some help from capital) for a short while won.
      Concerning Labour discipline perhaps Labour needs a yellow/red card system (with a right to appear to put your case) and perhaps it could be 3 yellow cards and you are out and each CLP etc. would be told of these.
      So Ken I’m afraid has blundered in and has unintentionally given ammunition to the Right in Labour who want to undermine Jeremy Corbyn and to outsiders who want to cower Labour members stopping them from being critical of the current Right Wing Israeli Government (and it is interesting that Israel has recently appointed a former Israeli Government spokesperson as the current Israeli ambassador to the UK).
      And perhaps we need to remind Labour MPs their role is to PROMOTE Labour policy to help Labour to win elections as milliions of working class/working people are really hurting re welfare cuts, proposed tax credit cuts, (with a proposed vicious housing bill in the pipeline) and yet more austerity for mainly non-Tory non-Southern areas
      Labour as its record shows should continue to stand up against Racism, Islamophobia, and Anti-Semitism.
      It was Nelson Mandela who chose to speak to a Labour Conference and say, “We know who are friends are” and just what did the Tories do to fight against apartheid?
      A few years ago those champions of the oppressed – the Tories – sent vile vans around London telling potential illegal immigrants to “Go Home!” and recently to their shame the Tories have voted against allowing 3,000 vulnerable unaccompanied migrant kids trapped in Europe into the UK.
      It’s also the same Tory Govenment which has set neighbour against neighbour re welfare to distract people from tax cuts for millionaires!
      I hope Labour does well in the elections on Thursday but if they don’t I am afraid many may put the blame quite rightly on Right Wing Labour MPs for 7 months of whining and for not accepting the democratic result delivered by the membership.
      Best of luck on Thursday Labour and diverse working people need to stand with them!

  14. mikey mikey says:

    Coming up next?

    A Tweet dating back over 4 years by Yasmin Qureshi MP reads “democratic civilised christian Western European countries committed genocide on Jewish people. Not Muslims and not those in Middle East”

    Right or wrong, anti-Semitic or not (it isn’t), she’s muslim, so it may very well be just an accusation and a tweet to bring about yet another resignation.

    It hasn’t happened yet, but it has just been retweeted today after a period of four years by a regular critic of the current leadership and frequent commenter on here Left Futures.

    (Guess who!)

    I doubt this amateur has the time or inclination to trawl thousands of tweets, so the question is, who has and where did he get it from?

    Are we begining to see the racial-profiling of muslim Labour MP’s?

  15. Jim Denham says:

    Regrettably, the inflammatory comments of Ken Livingstone are being taken seriously by some people, and I notice links to Wikipedia’s entry on the Haavara Agreement about on social media, as though this vindicates Livingstone in some way. I have submitted a comment to this blog, that seems to be caught in ‘moderation’ at the moment of Livingstone’s relationship with the anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists of the WRP and his misuse of Lenny Brenner’s already badly flawed work on the alleged “relationship” between some Zionists and the Nazis.

    But, for now, this (from the BBC’s website) should help set the record straight:

    ***

    Ken Livingstone’s comments on Hitler and Zionism have attracted widespread comment and criticism.

    Defending Labour MP Naz Shah from accusations of anti-Semitism during an interview on BBC Radio London, the former mayor of London said: “Let’s remember that when Hitler won the election in 1932, his policy was that Jews should be moved to Israel.”

    But Mr Livingstone’s version of history contained several errors, as Timothy Snyder, Yale University history professor and author of Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning, explains below.

    It is inconceivable that Hitler could have wanted to move Jews to Israel, because there was no such place in 1932.

    Using the word “Israel” when what is meant was “the British mandate of Palestine” has the unfortunate consequence of stripping away the actual historical context and putting the words “Hitler” and “Israel” in the same sentence.

    Hitler was not a supporter of Zionism.

    He believed, on the contrary, that Zionism was one of many deliberately deceptive labels that Jews placed upon what he believed to be their endless striving for global power and the extermination of the human species.

    From Hitler’s point of view, Jews were precisely not normal human beings because they did not care about territory, but cared only about global domination.

    “He was supporting Zionism” is categorically false and reveals a total and fundamental misunderstanding of what Hitler’s anti-Semitism was all about.

    Tens of thousands of German Jews did emigrate to Palestine before British policy made this all but impossible. And some German officials did take an interest in Zionism. But there was never a German policy to support Zionism or a future Israel.

    On the contrary, the German orientation in the Middle East was to support Arab nationalism. The official German policy, enunciated clearly in 1937, was to oppose the creation of a State of Israel.

    Before, during and after 1932, Hitler referred to the Jews as a problem for the entire world, not simply for Germany.

    When the Holocaust took place, the vast majority of Jews killed were people who lived beyond Germany.

    Both in theory and in practice, Hitler’s extermination of Jews was international, applied to millions of people. For this reason as well, it is logically inconceivable that his ideas could ever have been limited to sending German Jews to Palestine.

    Well before 1932, in his book Mein Kampf, Hitler had made clear that the Jews were, in his view, a “spiritual pestilence” that had to be removed from the face of the earth in order to rescue the human species, the natural order of the planet, and God’s creation.

    It was not clear just how this could be carried out; but there is no sense in which the idea of deporting Jews to Palestine is sufficient to this vision.

    1. Mervyn Hyde (@mjh0421) says:

      I’ve simply said what I believe to be true which is that Naz was not antisemitic. She was completely over the top, very rude, but that does not make her an antisemite. “

      On John Mann’s comments:

      “He went completely over the top. I was actually doing a radio interview at the time that he was bellowing that I’m a racist antisemite in my ear. I’ve had that with John Mann before a few weeks ago screaming that I was a bigot down the phone.

      “I’m not an apologist for anyone who makes antisemitic statements. What I’m saying is don’t confuse antisemitism with criticism of the Israeli government policy.

      “These things erupt, they dominate the news for 24, 48 hours, people calm down again when you go back and check what was really said. I’m sure people have had calls from the Daily Mail and the Daily Telegraph saying ‘he’s said this, that and the other’ – they’ll find out that’s not what I’ve said. We’ll leave Naz to be investigated, I believe she’ll be cleared of antisemitism, if she isn’t she’ll be expelled from the party.”

      On calling a Jewish journalist a “concentration camp guard” whilst Mayor of London:

      “I can’t tell if a journalist is Jewish or Catholic or anything. If a journalist is chasing you down the street at nine of clock at night you might be rude to them. Some people might have hit him! He said he was just doing his job. We went all the way to the High Court and the judge opened his judgement by saying ‘I hope no one here is going to suggest that Mr Livingstone is antisemitic’. We won the case.”

      On claims about Hitler and Zionism:

      “He didn’t win the election, he became the largest party in 1932, his policy here wasn’t to kill the Jews it was to deport them all to Israel. The simple truth, if you go back and check, that was Hitler’s policy when he first came to power – to move Germany’s Jews to Israel. I denounce that.

      “I’m being questioned in an interview I answer the question. You’ve never known me not answer a question you’ve put to me. I’m asked a question, I answer it … the simple truth is that was Hitler’s policy in 1932 when he came to power.

      “Things are either historically true or they’re not – that’s one of the reasons I pursue the policies I do because I study history. If you study history you can avoid making the same mistakes again.

      “My objection to the Israeli government is that for nearly 70 years the Palestinians have been kept in appalling conditions. I’m not making any link between the current Israeli policy and Hitler. I was asked the question in the interview and it just so happens to be a historical fact. If you say to me ‘is it true that we were invaded by the Normans in 1066’ I’m going to say yes, because it’s true, and I’m not going to avoid the truth.”

      On John Mann:

      “I’d simply say to John Mann go back and check. Is what I say true, or is it not? The BBC, you’ve got a huge team of researchers, it will take just an hour or two to go back and confirm. I was asked a question, I answered it. I have never in 45 years since I won my first election, I have never lied. I have always answered the question

    2. Mervyn Hyde (@mjh0421) says:

      1. Regrettably, the inflammatory comments of Ken Livingstone are being taken seriously by some people, and I notice links to Wikipedia’s entry on the Haavara Agreement about on social media, as though this vindicates Livingstone in some way

      Are you saying this was not fact?

      2. But Mr Livingstone’s version of history contained several errors, as Timothy Snyder, Yale University history professor and author of Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning, explains below.

      It is inconceivable that Hitler could have wanted to move Jews to Israel, because there was no such place in 1932.

      This really is bending the truth, of course it is not the Israel we know today?

      3. Hitler was not a supporter of Zionism.

      Ken made the statement that he accepted Hitler himself did not necessarily have dealings with the Zionists, but they did meet with Hitler’s representatives.

      4. Tens of thousands of German Jews did emigrate to Palestine before British policy made this all but impossible. And some German officials did take an interest in Zionism. But there was never a German policy to support Zionism or a future Israel.

      Where in the transcripts of what Ken actually said did he infer this, can you point it out for us?

      5. On the contrary, the German orientation in the Middle East was to support Arab nationalism. The official German policy, enunciated clearly in 1937, was to oppose the creation of a State of Israel.

      This was after the negotiations between Zionists, which took place in 1933, note the date.
      In 1941, Haj Amin al-Husseini fled to Germany and met with Adolf Hitler, Heinrich Himmler, Joachim Von Ribbentrop and other Nazi leaders. He wanted to persuade them to extend the Nazis’ anti-Jewish program to the Arab world.

      This is presumed to have brought about the policy of the final solution.

      6. Well before 1932, in his book Mein Kampf, Hitler had made clear that the Jews were, in his view, a “spiritual pestilence” that had to be removed from the face of the earth in order to rescue the human species, the natural order of the planet, and God’s creation.

      It was not clear just how this could be carried out; but there is no sense in which the idea of deporting Jews to Palestine is sufficient to this vision.

      Please note this a presumption on his part not a fact.

      1. Jim Denham says:

        The gleeful alighting upon the Haavara Agreement – which as Sean Matgamna and plenty of others have noted was a desperate attempt at a bargain to save ‘at least some’ Jews from those who would happily kill all of them – demonstrates how disingenuous and plain sadistic a lot of Livingstone’s apologists are.

        1. Mervyn Hyde (@mjh0421) says:

          Sorry Jim but you appear to deliberately misunderstand the nuance between ascertaining facts and deliberately misinterpreting what people say.

          I think you are being disingenuous. Perhaps not even sympathetic of the left.

          1. Jim Denham says:

            No, Mervyn: it’s the wilful and deliberate misuse of history by people like Livingstone that I object to. He knows exactly what the effect of what he says will be – just as he did in 2005 when he accused a jewish reporter of being like a prison camp officer. Or in 2012 when he said (something like) he wasn’t bothered how Jews voted because they were all too rich to vote Labour.

          2. Mervyn Hyde (@mjh0421) says:

            I’m sure you will recognise this piece of writing:

            Mayor Ken Livingstone for comparing Evening Standard reporter Oliver Finegold, who happens to be Jewish, to a Nazi concentration camp guard.

            The Tories and their press had been setting the pace in a vile competition with the Blair government to see which of them could do more to whip up hostility against immigrants and asylum seekers. But they denounced Livingstone for “insensitivity”!

            What happened? Livingstone came out of a party to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Chris Smith, the Labour MP and ex-Minister, publicly coming out as gay. He may have been drunk. Finegold asked him for a comment on the party. Livingstone asked Finegold if he was a German war criminal.

            The reporter then identified himself as Jewish. In response to that Livingstone likened him to a concentration camp guard. Why? On the strange grounds — the reporter recorded the dialogue — that the Evening Standard reporter and the concentration camp guard both do work Livingstone disapproves of for pay.

            Livingstone is normally the smoothest operator and slipperiest of politicians. He once publicly identified his own way in politics as that of “the cynical soft sell”. He has been uncharacteristically “principled” on this issue. He told the London Assembly that he would not apologise because, given what he thinks, that would be a lie. He would not do violence to his sense of his own integrity.

            You clearly don’t like Ken Livingstone.

            Do you seriously believe that you are in control of your emotions and feelings all of the time, and why do you think a so called Journalist would be prowling around late at night, waiting for a lowly politician, (not a cabinet minister or something similar) and after perhaps a jovial drinking session. Do you think he wanted to promote his beliefs and further his aims, or was he looking to exploit his vulnerability at such an hour.

            You clearly go on to infer that possibility, but What I do notice is your defence of Jews, which the left are all willing to agree with you on, but you constantly attack people on the left like George Galloway for being pro-Arab whilst ignoring the fact that he himself attacks the Saudis for arming and supporting terrorists, and how US arms supplied to the Saudis end up in their hands.

            The world from your point of view is very black and white, critics of the Israeli government are anti-Semitic but attacks on Arabs namely Palestinians is not.

            Finally are all these Jews Anti-Semitic as well:

    3. John Penney says:

      Well said, Jim.

      As with a lot of things said and done in politics, it is the context and specific timing of statements that can be as important as what exactly is said. In a neutral academic environment the undoubted contacts and negotiations in the 1930’s between the Nazi hierarchy (seeking ways to rid themselves of their German Jews), and sections of the Jewish Zionist movement (holding to a political view that Jews could only be safe relocated to their own Jewish nation state – and fearing the implications for German Jews of the fast rising tide of vicious anti-semitism in Nazi Germany) would be interesting, contentious , but not necessarily , linkable to any anti Semitic viewpoint,.

      However , in the specific context of the current , largely bogus, shitstorm, over “anti-Semitism within the Labour Party”, to voluntarily offer up a inflammatory observation that suggests Hitler and Zionists had identical objectives in the early 1930’s – is to , deliberately, or foolishly, play into a number of widespread holocaust denial memes .

      That too many on the Left think that Ken Livingstone’s ill considered , inflammatory, intervention, can be defended by digging up dodgy historians with dodgy stories about Zionist involvement with the Nazis in the early 1930’s, shows a wider lack of political judgement than that displayed by Ken in his dire interview.

      1. Jim Denham says:

        We agree: and I’d just add this for now:

        If a BNP’er or some other fascist were to say (as they do) “All black people should go back to Africa”, would that make him/her a Garveyite?

        1. John Penney says:

          Exactly correct, Jim.

          The “Garvyyite” , “Return to Africa” Movement in the USA (which led to the founding of the African state of Liberia), was based on a belief that Black Americans could never achieve real equality in a US nation state riddled with racism (and the vile legislative framework of the then “Jim Crow” racist apartheid laws of many Southern US states) It has many ideological and situational parallels to political Zionism amongst oppressed Jewish communities in Europe in the late 19th century onwards .

          It could be claimed, by those willing to entirely ignore the completely different sides of the “oppressor versus oppressed” divide that the brutal racists of the Ku Klux Klan and the “return to Africa “Garveyites” came from, that “the KKK and the Black Garveyites “shared the same objectives” , (ie to secure the relocation of Black Americans to Africa) and that therefore , by a cynical trick of sophistry, imply that the KKK and the Garveyites were “essentially on the same side “.

          Few Leftwingers would fall for this bogus claim (even though in fact the numerous Black Americans who did relocate to the area of Africa now called Liberia, did in fact oppress the indigenous population – in a way analogous to the oppression of Palestinians by the European Jewish settlers to Palestine). However in the case of Palestine/Israel too many Left wingers seem too happy to collude in the historically illiterate ,originally fascist-sourced , proposition that there was a direct collaboration, and shared objective , between the Nazis in the 1930’s
          – and following on (illogically) from this that there is a direct equivalence between “Zionism” and “Nazism”. This is the dodgy “narrative” that Ken’s unnecessary invocation of the 1930’s discussions between Zionists and the Nazis, feeds into, knowingly or unknowingly.

          The radical Left needs to have a long, hard, look at the ways the far Left narrative on Palestine and Israel has been confused and even merged with a poisonous interpretation which feeds off and into the holocaust denial and anti-Semitic ideology propagated assiduously by the most reactionary regimes in the Middle East for generations, and by fascist movements worldwide since 1945.

          1. John Penney says:

            Oops, missed a lineout there in the penultimate paragraph. It should read

            ” too many leftwingers seem too happy to collude in the historically illiterate, originally fascist-sourced, proposition that there was a direct collaboration, and shared objective, between the Nazis in the 1930’s and sections of Jewish Zionism…..”

  16. Bazza says:

    I watched a brilliant documentary on Channel 4 a while ago on Nazism and it showed how the grotesque Nazis were helped tp power by the capitalists and big business.
    By the likes of the equally grotesque anti-semetic Henry Ford from the USA who allowed all the profits from Fords in Germany to be given to the Nazi racist thugs to fund spectacular rallies in Germany to give the poison an impression of dynamism.
    (The Nazis being the most grotesque force in the World in the last 200 years since the arrival today of equally grotesque so called IS).
    Big business in Germany also funded planes to fly the simpleton around Germany which was a new phenomenon at the time.
    But even as the Nazis probably fixed the election to gain power it is notable that the working class in Berlin voted Left to win a majority against the Nazis there.
    Diverse brothers and sisters we need to remember who are friends are.
    Love and international solidarity!

  17. historyintime says:

    Israel/Palestine always seems to bring the worst out on the left. Its all very sad and disappointing.

    1. Jim Denham says:

      “Israel/Palestine always seems to bring the worst out on the left”: indeed, and right on cue someone posts a link to that hot-bed of conspiracy theories and thinly-disguised anti-Semitism, the Electronic Intifada, to claim that all concerns about anti-Semitism within the Labour Party are, y’know, just a conspiracy by Zionists to discredit critics of Israel: obvious, when you think about it, isn’t it?

      1. John Penney says:

        Yes indeed, Jim. The really quite extraordinarily naïve response of too many on the radical Left in defending Ken Livingstone’s incendiary and very damaging to Labour in current circumstances, comment, is simply acting to apparently “prove” to neutral observers the claim of the Labour Right and their allies that “there is a problem in the Labour Party with anti-Semitism”. In fact it’s a profound political interpretation problem we have around the Palestine/Israel issue on the entire radical Left , not specifically the Labour Party.

        Advice to posters on here determined to repeat ad nauseam the well known and undisputed contacts between Nazis and Zionist factions in the early 1930’s, as if this in any way validates Ken’s contextually incendiary and politically highly dubious, comment – STOP DIGGING !

    1. Mervyn Hyde (@mjh0421) says:

      Thank you for the Link Mike, it really does now throw light on how pure obfuscation is appearing on this site, when evidence is put relating to what has actually been stated and the clear understanding that there is a difference between someone complaining about the actions of the government of Israel; are conflated to accuse people of ant-Semitism.

      As Ken Livingstone has repeatedly said, which confers with my own experience of over 35 years, that I know of no one who has expressed anti-Semitic views in the Labour Party.

      We all know that the right wing of the party are doing everything in their power to bring Jeremy’s Labour Party down, this dirty tricks campaign must be exposed for what it is, and those who obfuscate and conflate can be exposed.

      1. John Penney says:

        Unfortunately, Mervyn, sticking ones head in the sand and maintaining a state of utter denial about the long term problem the radical Left has with its approach to Israel and the slippery issue of “Zionism” (and its disastrously naïve relationship with fundamentalist Islamic groups in the past) , just leads to you, and others digging yourselves an ever deeper hole.

        In the Times today the ex-Eurocommunist apparatchnic, now generally neoliberal propagandist journalist , Dave Aaronovitch (who I had the misfortune to be at Manchester University with in the early 1970’s ), adds his contribution to the Times double page spread stoking of the “Labour anti-Semitism crisis ” farrago. In his piece, Aaronovich details the (widely available on the internet) potted history of Ken Livingstone’s lead role in the late 70’s/early 80’s putting out the radical Left “Labour Herald” newspaper – secretly subsidised by the bizarre (dictators of Libya and Syria funded) Trot WRP politico/cult. It is shocking stuff for those not previously aware of this story. And the real tragedy is that IT IS ALL TRUE – a shameful story of radical Left dodgy politics available to the bourgeois press to beat us with.

        My advice to you in particular, Mervyn, with your multiple unhelpful posts here, is wise up and Stop Digging.

          1. John Penney says:

            Try actually reading the actual substance of my posts , Mervyn, and you wouldn’t be forever posting non sequitur “replies”.

  18. C MacMackin says:

    I’ve generally stayed out of these discussions, but Richard Seymour wrote what I thought was quite a thoughtful piece about how to discuss these things.

    http://www.leninology.co.uk/2016/04/where-twain-meet.html

  19. Bazza says:

    Just been on a very good trades council May Day march today and feel I want to march again around the country with banners, placards, stickers etc. on the theme: Labour against Racism, Islamophobia and Anti-Semetism!
    Solidarity!

    1. Bazza says:

      And I read that this year is the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Cable Steet in East London that stopped Moseley’s Fascists.
      Perhaps we should all be there.
      It’s time to go on the anti-racist attack!
      Solidarity!

      1. Bazza says:

        I have just looked up ‘The Battle of Cable Strret’ on Wikipedia.
        Just read it brothers and sisters.

  20. Karl Stewart says:

    I was in a taxi and the driver told me Livingstone had been suspended for, in the driver’s words: “Saying Hitler wasn’t that bad.”

    I hadn’t heard the story, I’ve always liked Livingstone and I found that hard to believe, but when I actually read Livingstone’s comments, he does essentially say Hitler wasn’t that bad really.

    I wouldn’t want to belong to a party that tolerates a high-profile national committee member and a senior national policy advisor saying Hitler wasn’t that bad.

    I hate John Mann and the Blairite right, and of course both they and the Tories will make as much opportunistic political capital as they can out of Livingstone’s scurrilous comments, but that doesn’t take anything away from the fact that Livingstone’s comments were shocking and revolting.

    Corbyn’s absolutely right to suspend Livingstone.

    Livingstone’s a disgrace and he’s got to go.

    1. C MacMackin says:

      While what Ken said was incredibly stupid and tone deaf and absolutely should be apologized for, I really don’t see how it can be interpreted to mean “Hitler wasn’t that bad”. I haven’t read the full transcripts, so I may be wrong here. While I will not defend what Ken said, I’m quite sure that was not what he meant. I don’t think that Ken was deliberately being antisemitic, although his comments do indicated a rather blase attitude about antisemitism which much be challenged.

      1. Karl Stewart says:

        Livingstone’s quoted as saying Hitler wanted to help German Jews emigrate to Palestine “before he went mad and killed six million.”

        He then defended his comments by referring to some apparent emigration “talks” between German Jews and the nazi regime.

        Lots and lots of problems with that, to put it mildly.

        How on earth can these “talks” (assuming they even did take place), be represented as some kind of equally-based negotiation, rather than as a desperate attempt by some terrified people to save their own lives and as many lives of others as possible?

        To represent it in the way Livingstone did (if indeed it did happen), is deeply offensive and plain wrong.

        To present Hitler as an individual who, even after he seized power, didn’t want to wipe out Jews “until he went mad” is quite astonishing. There are reams and reams of evidence that Hitler always had an aim of wiping out Jews. Not only in Germany, but worldwide.

        He wrote a book in the early 1920s clearly setting this out. As I said, quite astonishing that anyone could claim to be unaware of this. Even secondary schoolchildren are aware of this.

        And then to make such a flippant reference to the holocaust at the end of his statement is, once again, quite extraordinary and again, profoundly offensive.

        In my opinion, Jeremy Corbyn was absolutely right to suspend him. And if he is expelled, the Labour Party will, in my opinion, be far healthier for it.

        1. C MacMackin says:

          I’m not asserting that his comments were historically accurate. As I said, he should absolutely apologize. I think the flippant remark about the Holocaust was profoundly ill-judged, but not actually an attempt to downplay Hitler’s crimes. It seems to me that it was a poorly timed attempt to lighten the atmosphere in a way which was not appropriate. He definitely put his foot in his mouth there, but that does not necessarily make him a racist. I think that he was being troublingly blase about problems of antisemitism, but I’m not convinced that this makes him an antisemite in terms of his own beliefs. I think that the Labour party should follow the usual procedures for such cases and if that involves suspension or expulsion then so be it. All of this strikes me as a case of Ken being unbelievable stupid (both in terms of politics and history), which seems to be a running theme with him (the mental illness remarks of a few months ago come to mind), but not actually intentionally hateful. Given how much of a liability he can be, it may well be best for the party if he is kicked out, but if he is expelled it should be based on the normal rules and have nothing to do with the fact that he was a mayor or is a supporter of Corbyn or is on the NEC.

          1. Karl Stewart says:

            I’d actually agree with a lot of that CMac. I think Livingstone isn’t racist or consciously anti-semitic, but his revolting comments do have a frightening ring of revisionism about them.

        2. Mervyn Hyde (@mjh0421) says:

          Karl: When you said: Livingstone’s quoted as saying Hitler wanted to help German Jews emigrate to Palestine “before he went mad and killed six million.”

          He then defended his comments by referring to some apparent emigration “talks” between German Jews and the nazi regime.

          Lots and lots of problems with that, to put it mildly.

          What you are actually displaying is your lack of knowledge on the matter, but are willing to agree with pro-Israeli commentators who are obfuscating and misrepresenting the facts.

          The facts are that there was an official agreement, which the pro-Israelis say: “And Yes I do know about the 1933 Haavara Agreement between the Nazis and some German Zionists – to” facilitate German Jewish Emigration to Palestine”. It was hardly an agreement between equals – and actually amounted to very little”.

          Clearly when these people can’t deny the fact, they misrepresent it by downplaying it’s significance.

          Furthermore in 1933 one of the Zionist negotiators who had just returned to Israel was murdered whilst walking along the beach with his wife, it was thought at the time that an opposing faction carried out the murder.

          The real argument here is what is Zionism and being Jewish, in fact you don’t even have to be Jewish to be a Zionist.

          There is an attempt which you may not also be aware of as using the trumped up charge of anti-Semitism to ruin Labour’s chances of making big gains in the local elections.

          Misinformation is and personal attacks are a well known practice to undermine political opponents, it should be obvious from the manner and way that John Mann attacked Ken Livingstone on camera, that it was a put up job, did you note the way he kept looking back to see if the camera crew were filming whilst he bellowed at Ken.

          His whole demeanour displayed his intent on doing Labour as much damage as possible to Labour, no right minded politician would have acted this way just before an election, when Labour are climbing in the polls.

          John Mann’s lunatic and incoherent rant was done to damage Labour and for no other reason.

          1. Karl Stewart says:

            The fact that Israel didn’t actually exist until 1948 seems to have been missed by Livingstone.

            And the fact that German jews, in 1933, were not ‘negotiating’ with Hitler, but terrified and desperate to escape seems not worth a mention from him.

            And the fact that the current political context within which Corbyn is under intense attack from the Labour right also seems to have completely passed Livingstone by.

            Corbyn was absolutely right to act promptly – within just a couple of hours – and suspend Livingstone.

            Corbyn has shown excellent leadership on this and followed it up with an excellent speech denouncing all forms of anti-Semitism and racism.

            We need to now focus on defending Corbyn’s leadership against the right – not waste any more time on the idiot and liability Livingstone.

  21. prianikoff says:

    I’ve examined the transcripts and Livingstone said nothing of the sort.

    It’s simply undeniable that from 1933-6, the Nazis tried to use the German Zionist Federation to encourage Jewish emigration.

    It was tolerated in a period when the SDP, KPD and unions were banned and the Catholic Centre party dissolved itself under pressure from the Vatican.
    Prior to this, the Zionists had been politically insignificant in German politics.

    An SS official Leopold Von Mildenstein attended Zionist Congresses and visited Palestine. His trip was extensively reported on in “Der Angriff”, the Nazi newspaper in Berlin controlled by Goebbels.

    Under the “Ha’avara” programme, German Jews were allowed to deposit money in a German bank and emigrate if they purchased German goods when abroad.
    Many Jewish organisations at the time opposed Ha’avara, as it broke the boycott of German goods that anti-Nazis had called for after 1933.

    It was an important source of investment to 1930’s Palestine, although far more money went to the USA and Britain.
    (the Nazi state also took a large cut)

    One should not be too critical of European Jews who wanted to flee from the Nazi onslaught.
    But the point is that the Zionist movement, and in particular its right wing, *never* mounted any effective resistance to fascism.

    Many Jewish organisations, including the Jewish Labour Bund in Poland were opposed to the plans for mass emigration proposed by the Jabotinksy’s Betar movement.

    It was the Bund and the socialist-zionist Hashomer Hatzair which formed the leadership of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising.
    Whereas Jabotinsky’s followers; Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir, left for Palestine when Poland and the USSR were invaded.

    Betar was the ancestor of today’s Likud coalition, which now dominates Israeli politics. The Israeli government don’t speak for the “Jewish Community”. They don’t speak for me. Nor does the bully boy John Mann.

    1. John Penney says:

      Prianakoff, your claim that the Jewish Zionist movement in Poland played no part in the anti Nazi Resistance is quite simply a disgraceful lie.

      even in this week’s online Socialist Worker an article by John Rose says ;

      “In 1989 I had the good fortune to meet Marek Edelman in Poland, then the last remaining leader of the five-person command group that led the Warsaw Ghetto resistance to the Nazi Holocaust. I asked his permission for the Socialist book shop Bookmarks to publish his memoir The Ghetto Fights in Britain for the first time. He agreed.

      During our discussion I asked about his relations with the Zionist fighters in the resistance. Marek was a member of the anti-Zionist Socialist Bund, a Jewish workers’ movement adamantly opposed to Jewish migration to Palestine and the creation of a Jewish state.

      He told me that whatever their differences were over Palestine, the anti-Zionists and the Zionists had to unite to fight the common enemy, the Nazis. The creation of the united Jewish Fighting Organisation (JFO), including the Communists, would have been impossible without them.”

      So your claim is simply untrue. You should be ashamed to assist the spreading of such lies.

      1. prianikoff says:

        re.Penny:
        Your claim that I made such a claim is just silly.

        Learn to read and spell names that aren’t English.

        I’ll deal with your incorrect points after the election.

        Vote Labour on May 5th. No to Isamophobia, racism and anti-semitism!

  22. People get banned from this discussion forum ? Who does the banning ?

  23. John Penney says:

    Prianikoff, you seem to believe , like the walruss in Alice in Wonderland (and too many others on the Far Left) , that words mean whatever you want them to mean !

    I quote from your very own post above:

    “But the point is that the Zionist movement, and in particular its right wing, *never* mounted any effective resistance to fascism.”

    But then your casual laziness with consistency and historical fact is immediately contradicted by :

    “It was the Bund and the socialist-zionist Hashomer Hatzair which formed the leadership of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising.”

    A dire effort at defending your dodgy political position , prianikoff.

    1. John Penney says:

      Oops, make that Humpty Dumpty in “Alice Through the Looking Glass”, with a methodology too many on the Far Left appear to have adopted:

      “When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’

      ’The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’

      ’The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.”

      ― Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass

      1. prianikoff says:

        (Some grammatical errors and typos removed)

        There’s absolutely no inconsistency between those two statements. (Note the word “EFFECTIVE”)

        The armed resistance in the Warsaw ghetto was a heroic, but it was doomed to failure. (even Marek Edelman recognised that)

        Since 350,000 Jews had been herded into a Ghetto, it was inevitable that representatives of the Bund, the Socialist- Zionists and Betar would be behind its walls. They either had to fight or die.

        But the question of how to Fight fascism is much wider one.
        It could have been stopped by a united front of the Workers’ organisations in Germany before 1933.

        This was hardly a key demand of the German Zionist Federation!
        For a history of its role between 1933-6, you don’t have to rely on Lenni Brenner, you can consult the archives of “Der Angriff”, October 1934.
        Or read Jacob Boas, a holocaust survivor, born in a concentration camp, with a PhD in European (“History Today” article vol 30, 1980)

        Any of these sources are more accurate than the ad-lib comments made by Ken Livingstone during a radio show interview.
        But the witch-hunters won’t publish them, for obvious reasons!

        The Bund was the most influential Jewish organisation in pre-war Poland.
        It supported a boycott of the Nazi regime and appreciated of the need for a United Front of workers organisations to stop its rise to power.
        Hence it had pre-war links to the PPS and to the Polish resistance after the Nazi invasion.

        This is not the same thing as the military alliance formed between Jewish organisations in the Ghetto.

        Betar, on the other hand, was an *anti-socialist* organisation, which focused on communal self-defence and emigration to Palestine.
        Its leader Vladimir Jabotinsky had more in common Simon Petliura and Stepan Bandera than he did with the Jewish socialists.

        When Hashomer Hatzair and the Bund formed the Jewish Fighting organisation (ZOB) in the Warsaw ghetto, it had one pistol at its disposal.
        Betar operated through its own military front, ZZW, which was half the size of ZOB. But it included some former Polish army officers in its ranks and controlled a small stockpile of weapons.

        Mordechai Anielewicz, the initial leader of the Warsaw Ghetto rising received military training in Betar, but he subsequently joined Hashomer Hatzair.
        This tried to reconcile socialism and Zionism and contained a mixture of young people who wanted to fight the Nazis, but were struggling to find the right tactics to do so. Some of the ones they adopted were suicidal.

        It’s clear that the Bund’s insistence of coordinating with the Polish resistance was the only possible option in the truly desperate situation in 1943. Afterwards it was necessary to coordinate the actions of the Polish resistance, partisan units and Red Army – something that wasn’t carried out successfully, and which led to many political problems in post war Poland.
        Edelman subsequently joined “Solidarity”.

        Obscuring these important political differences means you end up defending the right-wing in its subterfuges against the Labour leadership just before the May Elections.
        This has been you main public activity over the past week.

    2. prianikoff says:

      What complete rubbish!
      There’s absolutely no inconsistency between those two statements. (Note the word “EFFECTIVE”)

      The armed resistance in the Warsaw ghetto was a heroic, but it was doomed to failure. (even Marek Edelman recognised that)

      Since 350,000 Jews had been herded into a Ghetto, it was inevitable that representatives of the Bund, the Socialist- Zionists and Betar would be behind its walls. They either had to fight or die.

      But question of how to Fight fascism is much wider one.
      It could have been stopped by a united front of the Workers organisations in Germany before 1933.

      This was hardly a key demand of the German Zionist Federation!
      For a history of its role between 1933-6, you don’t have to rely on Lenni Brenner, you can consult the archives of “Der Angriff, October 1934”
      or read Jacob Boas, a holocaust survivor born in a concentration camp, with a PhD in European (“History Today” article vol 30, 1980)

      Any of these sources are more accurate than the ad-lib comments made by Ken Livingstone during a radio show interview, but the witch-hunters won’t publsh them for obvious reasons!

      In Poland, the Bund was not only the most influential Jewish organisation in pre-War Poland, it supported a boycott of the Nazi regime and appreciated of the need for a United Front of workers organisations in Poland. Hence it had pre-war links to the PPS and to the Polish resistance after the Nazi invasion.

      This is not the same thing as the military alliance formed between Jewish organisations in the Ghetto.

      Betar, on the other hand, was an *anti-socialist* organisation, which focused on communal self-defence and emigration to Palestine.
      Its leader Vladimir Jabotinsky had more in common Simon Petliura and Stepan Bandera than he did with the Jewish socialists.

      When Hashomer Hatzair and the Bund formed the Jewish Fighting organisation (ZOB) in the Warsaw ghetto it had one pistol at its disposal.
      Betar operated through its military front ZZW which was half the size but included some former Polish army officers and controlled a small stockpile of weapons.

      Mordechai Anielewicz, the initial leader of the rising received military
      It contained a mixture of young people who wanted to fight the Nazis, but who were struggling to find the right tactics to do so.
      Some of the ones they adopted were suicidal.

      It’s clear that the Bund’s insistence of coordinating with the Polish resistance was the only possible option in a truly desperate situation in 1943. Afterwards it was necessary to coordinate the actions of the Polish resistance, partisan units and Red Army – something that wasn’t carried out successfully, and which led to many political problems in post war Poland.
      Edelman subsequently joined “Solidarity”.

      Obscuring these important political differences means you end up defending the right-wing in its subterfuges against the Labour leadership just before the May Elections.
      This has been you main public activity over the past week.

  24. John Penney says:

    Good try, Prianikoff, but utterly unconvincing. Context is all in political debate. Your piece was determined to show that the Zionist Jewish groups in Nazi Occupied Europe were too busy doing dodgy deals with the Nazis to actually be part of the armed struggle against them. That is the entire context behind your statement :

    “But the point is that the Zionist movement, and in particular its right wing, *never* mounted any effective resistance to fascism.”

    Putting the slippery word “effective” in is actually irrelevant to the contextual meaning of what is both untrue, and a slander against the brave young men and women you then actually ACKNOWLEDGE a few lines further on !

    “It was the Bund and the socialist-zionist Hashomer Hatzair which formed the leadership of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising.”

    Unfortunately your data rich reply simply doesn’t conceal the obvious fact that in your haste to attack Zionist Jewish groups in Nazi Europe for their “dealings” with the Nazis, and their claimed lack of physical resistance (citing selectively that “Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir, left for Palestine when Poland and the USSR were invaded.”) , you simply forgot that you had already given an example of Zionist youth participation in ( utterly hopeless but also utterly courageous) armed resistance in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising). A carelessness with fact and terminology , driven by your ideological agenda to traduce all forms of political Zionism, all too common on the Far Left, and reaching its zenith with Ken Livingstone’s lead footed equating of Hitler as a Zionist.

    Lastly, if you insist on the word “effective” being the vital decider as to whether resistance was “worthy” or not, then I think the majority of all Jewish resistance throughout Europe , no matter how courageous , even the revolt at Treblinka Death Camp, can be summarily dismissed as “ineffective”. Because 6 million men, women and children were still murdered , and the ancient Jewish civilisation of Eastern Europe destroyed forever.

    1. John Penney says:

      Oops, I was of course referring to the desperate Sobibor Death Camp Revolt of 1943, not Treblinka.

    2. prianikoff says:

      Your arguments are completely dishonest.
      Not only do you distort my arguments, you totally misrepresent the political differences between the Bund and the supporters of Jabotinksy – a bizarre position coming from someone who claims to be a socialist.

      It’s hardly being “selective” to mention Begin and Shamir.
      They were both future Israeli Prime Ministers and leading figures in the formation of Likud!

      Their mentor Jabotinsky left Eastern Europe before the war and, from 1936, was proposing the “evacuation” to Palestine of all Eastern European Jews. He based this on the likelihood of Polish pogroms rather than a Nazi invasion. Another section of the revisionist movement led by Achimeir was proposing an alliance with fascist Italy.

      Viktor Alter, the Bund leader criticised the revisionists as “Jewish reactionaries” who wished to “turn the Jewish masses into .. fanatics who are alien to the ideology and struggles of Polish workers.”
      “The Zionists are unable and unwilling to understand that we Bundists cannot accept, even for a moment, the trappings of a capitalist society.
      They, on the other hand, wish to remain within these trappings. Because they adapt themselves to the existing capitalist society, they cannot understand the urgency of our struggle in Poland.
      “We Bundists wish to shatter the existing economic frameworks and show the Jewish masses how a new society can be built not by escape but by struggle. We link the essence of the Jewish masses’ life to that of humankind.”
      After the invasion of Poland, Alter was released by the Soviet authorities and helped form the “Jewish Anti-fascist Committee”, calling on Polish Jews to join the Anders Army, then stationed in the Middle East.

      Menachem Begin was released by the Soviet authorities to join the Anders Army,but soon left to join Irgun.
      With Jabotinsky dead, his followers in Palestine moved away from a policy of relying on the British authorities to open revolt and towards a collision course with the Arab national movement.
      This was something that the followers of Hashomer Hatzair who went to Palestine in MAPAM wanted to avoid. They proposed a bi-national socialist state, rather than an exclusively Jewish State.

      Viktor Alter and other leaders of the Jewish Anti Fascist Committee were betrayed and murdered by the Stalinists. Their sectarian policies in Germany, dissolution of the oppositional Polish Communist Party and repression of former allies all played a part in subsequent events in both Palestine and Poland.

      1. Mervyn Hyde (@mjh0421) says:

        Prianikoff.

        What is clear, is that those who have been doing their best to smear Ken Livingstone and the others for anti-Semitism are not interested in facts and spent their time triangulating in order to establish the left as a whole are anti-Semitic. Whilst really aiming for their real target which is Jeremy.

        These people only get away their campaign of deceit when they go unchallenged, for one of the contributors to outline every aspect of Ken Livingstone’s background over such a long time, only find threadbare arguments purporting that he is anti-Semitic, shows how far they are prepared to go for character assassination, which is what this really is.

        There is no basis for saying there is anti-Semtism on the left in Labour, and these individuals, are just creating that illusion for reasons they should be ashamed of, but then we can only guess what their real allegiances are.

      2. John Penney says:

        Oh, I am very well aware of the very different factions and political philosophies , and radically different actual practices, within the Jewish Zionist movement, prianikoff.

        But nobody is going to be convinced by your wingeing protestations of “misrepresentation” . You are hoisted by your own selective petard by the quite clear overall context and selective substance of your original post. Chucking in lots of extra factoids now doesn’t alter the entire “Zionists repeatedly collaborated with the Nazis, and weren’t interested in fighting the Nazis” argument you proposed. It is only after you have been called out on your undifferentiated, grossly simplistic, traducing of “Zionism” per se that you suddenly remember that “Zionism” was, and is, a political theory and organisation form, and practice with a full Left to Right, political spectrum.

        Dealing with this complexity, and particulary Left Zionism, is quite simply something the ultraleft , with their crude, slogan-based politics, are seldom interested in.

        Now you’ve been called out however, well done, prianikoff, you are starting to move beyond the slogans to the real complex history.

        1. prianikoff says:

          Putting a sentence I never wrote into quotation marks is a perfect example of what a charlatan you are Penney. You’ve added nothing whatsoever to what I wrote in the first place.

          Your problem is that I don’t support a witch-hunt in the Labour Party based on historical debates, or fictional map references.

          Which is why you resort to ad-hominem attacks and lies which a literate 11 year old could see through- Troll.

  25. John Penney says:

    “but then we can only guess what their real allegiances are.” Do let us in on YOUR “guess” as to where the “real” loyalty of the very broad mass of the Labour Left which recognises the existence, and right to exist, of a unique Hebrew Speaking Jewish majority (the large , vociferously pro Israeli, Druze minority intend to go nowhere else) state in the Middle East, alongside a viable Palestinian state, might lie, Mervyn.

    You really are utterly lost in the strange late 1940’s onwards stalin-era originated dodgy politics of a section of the ultraleft on Israel and Zionism – which ends up allying itself repeatedly with open clerico-fascist Islamic anti-Semites, under the shared ambiguously slippery banner of “Anti-Zionism”.

    1. Mervyn Hyde (@mjh0421) says:

      John you really are good at tagging labels on to people in order to discredit their views, sadly too few are willing challenge your distorted views and prefer to remain silent.

      Like the saying: They came for the Jews and we did nothing…. then they came for me.

      For your information, my wife has Jewish ancestry, that doesn’t mean that I’m perfect or above reproach, but does allow me to feel empathy for both sides of the divide.

      Clearly you see just one distorted side of the argument.

      1. John Penney says:

        Please, Please, Mervyn, do please spare us the “my wife has Jewish ancestry” schtic. You have “empathy”, Mervyn ? Since when ? Let’s stick to your crap politics – which repeatedly leaves you and your ultraleft co-thinkers allied with, clerico-fascist Islamic fundamentalists.

        For someone like yourself dedicated to denying the right of the unique Hebrew speaking Jewish state in the Middle East to exist at all, within any boundaries, and for someone who would also therefore deny the simple historical reality that the masses of European Jewish survivors from the WW2 Holocaust simply had nowhere else to go , as the first 20th century dispossessed “Boat People”, in 1945 but Palestine — to have the sheer insensitive temerity to align your totally cosy, unthreatened , personal situation with the context behind the statement ,

        “They came for the Jews and we did nothing…. then they came for me.”

        is truly sick-bag inducing for its sheer self-righteous narcissism and historical ignorance.

        1. Mervyn Hyde (@mjh0421) says:

          “Let’s stick to your crap politics – which repeatedly leaves you and your ultraleft co-thinkers allied with, clerico-fascist Islamic fundamentalists”.

          Here we have it John, Written in your own hand.

          You are the one with the agenda, that is to tar anyone that stands up to Israeli Zionist actions in Israel as anti-Semitic.

          Your nasty assertions would come straight out of Lynton Crosby’s own hand book.

© 2020 Left Futures | Powered by WordPress | theme originated from PrimePress by Ravi Varma