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Saturday, 22 April 2017

Is there a Hebrew nation in Israel and does it have the right to self-determination?

The overthrow of Zionism is incompatible with a Hebrew nation

My article in this week's Weekly Worker, is a reply to the article Palestine and Hebrew self-determination by veteran Israeli socialist and anti-Zionist, the founder of Matzpen, Moshe Machover.

It is a debate about something that people rarely debate any more in the Palestine solidarity movement, strategy.  We are so tied up with day to day solidarity that sometimes we don't have time to think just what it is we are fighting for and the arguments we employ.

This article is a work in the making.  It is not my final word on the subject but is part of a debate in which I to am open to being persuaded that my formulations are wrong.  However I do believe that the idea that what we are seeing in Palestine is a national conflict, between two nations, is wrong.  

The situation in Palestine is one of settler colonialism not national conflict.  The oppression of the Palestinians is not because they are a different nationality but because they are not settlers.  Theirs is the fate of all indigenous peoples.  Ask yourself if the colonisation of North America and the USA was a national conflict between the Amerindian peoples and the white Americans?  Or was it in essence what can be defined as the racial oppression and extermination of the other, the inferior races according to the American settlers who saw the Indians as little better than vermin?

Similarly in Palestine the conflict is, in essence, a conflict between the settlers and the indigenous.  It is not between two different nationalities.  It is accepted that when the Zionists came there was no Palestinian nation.  Most Arabs then considered themselves part of their tribe or clan or maybe as Syrian.  The Palestinian Arab nation was formed by the Zionist settlers.

 The conflict with the Arabs occurred because they were not Jewish.  Arab Jews, in particular from Yemen, were brought in by the European Jewish settlers to do the hardest work.  Being a settler in Israel is to be Jewish.  That was the first battle of Zionism.  To convert the 'Old Yishuv', the Jews who had been in Palestine before the Zionist colonisation began in earnest in 1904, to Zionism.

If we look to South Africa then the Whites, who would at the time of Apartheid resisted it bitterly, are White Africans.  It is the fate of the coloniser to eventually be assimilated to the indigenous population as happened naturally in ancient times with the Romans and the Greeks who assimilated to those they conquered.

What are we fighting for? I argue for a singe, unitary and secular state in Palestine and reject  Moshe's idea of a future Hebrew state as unrealistic.  Such an idea is not merely utopian but ignores the process that would lead to the defeat of Zionism.  Any attempts to resurrect or establish a Hebrew state in such circumstances, on the basis of a separate Hebrew nationality, could only be an attempt to rebuild Zionism.  It is the fate of Israeli Jews or Hebrews to become a non-Arab part of the Palestinian people.

tony greenstein

For a Secular, Democratic and Unitary Palestinian State

The overthrow of Zionism is incompatible with a Hebrew nation, argues Tony Greenstein, in this reply to Moshé Machover

Friday, 21 April 2017

Fighting the Tories – Within and Without

No Overall Control is a likely outcome

A good opening start to the election campaign - 

In Brighton the key dilemma is whether to concentrate on the winnable Kemptown seat or throw them away in Pavilion when the current MP is to the left of most Labour MPs
We had an interesting discussion at Brighton and Hove Momentum’s Steering Committee tonight. 

The first item on the agenda was a political debate over the general election.  I was one of the few to predict an overall Tory majority last time around so I stuck my head out again.  No doubt I will be in the same position as Paddy Ashdown last time around when he offered to eat his hat but....
It is clear that Theresa May must have agonised for a long time over whether or not to go to the polls.  Her lead in the opinion polls must have been tempting.  We can discard her explanation about difficulties over Brexit.  Unfortunately Jeremy Corbyn has made her job in this respect only too easy. 
As I said yesterday her lead can only go down.  It is likely that there will be a number of tendencies.  In Scotland it is doubtful that there will be any major changes to the SNP’s domination, especially given the weak state of Labour under Kezia Dugdale.  It is however likely that UKIP, which scored 4 million votes last time, is going to suffer a hit.  I suspect it may lose at least half its vote.  If its northern vote crumbles this may result in a number of Labour gains.  In the Tories southern strongholds, UKIP’s collapse will not affect the Tories.  What is also likely to happen is that the Lib-Dems will regain a number of their seats in the South-West and possibly elsewhere.  If this happens it is possible that the Tories, who may not be able to control the agenda in the same way as slippery Cameron did, may find things coming apart at the seams.  In particular over their plans for a hard Brexit.  This is my feeling and we will have to see how things pan out over the next 7 weeks.
If he can't support the elected leader of the Labour Party Woodcock shouldn't be a Labour candidate
If both the Tories and the Lib-Dems fail to gain enough seats to form an administration, then Labour is in with a chance of forming an administration.  However, this does of course the Tory cuckoos within the Labour nest, one of whom, John Woodcock I called out last night.  There is no doubt that the Woodcocks and Peter Kyles are politically closer to the Tories than Jeremy Corbyn.  In the event of  hung parliament then we can expect Labour’s Progress MPs to behave accordingly.

One of the main items on the agenda of Momentum’s meeting tonight was the question of what position to take over standing a Labour candidate in Brighton Pavilion.  For those who are not aware, its current MP Caroline Lucas is the Green Party’s only representative in parliament.  In 2015 she had a majority of nearly 8,000 compared to 1,300 in 2010.  The Labour and Tory votes stayed constant at nearly 15,000 and 12,500 respectively whereas the Lib-Dems collapsed from over 7,000 to 1,500 votes.  UKIP went up from under 1,000 to 2,700.
Peter Kyle - Hove's current Progress Labour MP will find it hard to support a Corbyn-led administration
It is therefore blindingly clear not only that Labour is unlikely to win the seat but that Caroline Lucas is far better than the average Labour MP in terms of her stance on things like the NHS.  Many people in the Labour Party are opposed to standing a candidate at all in exchange for the Green Party not standing a candidate in Brighton Kemptown.   There was, not surprisingly, a certain amount of tribalism from those who believe that Labour should stand regardless.

However we were told that Labour Party rules stipulate that there must be a candidate in every constituency.  The meeting agreed to a motion proposed by Greg Hadfield, the former Secretary of the Brighton and Hove District Labour Party before he was deposed in a right-wing coup nationally, that we should ask the Greens to stand down their candidate unilaterally in Brighton Kemptown on the understanding that activists in Momentum and the Labour Party will concentrate their efforts on winning Kemptown. 
Mandelson has already said that he spends every day doing something to undermine Corbyn's leadership of the Labour Party

The other major question concerns who is the candidate in Kemptown.  Whereas all other parties have selected their candidates already, Labour’s NEC hasn’t allowed the selection of candidates nationally resulting in it imposing candidates on constituencies like the two Brighton ones without candidates.  Possible candidates include former Momentum supporter Lloyd Russell-Moyle and far-Right Blue Labour supporter, Progress Councillor Caroline Penn as well as another councillor, Daniel Yates, a supporter of greater private involvement in the NHS.  The previous candidate, Nancy Platts, who is a Corbyn supporter is unfortunately not standing again, which is a great pity since she only lost by under 700 votes to Simon Kirby.  If the Greens, who last time got over 3 thousand votes, were to stand down, then a Labour victory would be possible.  

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Labour Can Win if Corbyn is Bold – the Key Issue is Poverty and the Transfer of Wealth

John Woodcock Must Not be Allowed to Stand

There is no reason that this scab should be a Labour candidate

It was Harold Wilson who said that a week is a long time in politics.  Seven weeks is a political eternity.  Theresa May has taken a gamble that her 21% lead will hold.  It is a gamble that she may yet come to regret.

There is only one direction that her lead can go and that is down.  Once her lead falls then a snowball effect can take over.  What is essential is that Labour marks out the key areas on which it is going to base its appeal.  The danger is that Corbyn is going to continue with his ‘strategy’ of appeasing the Right and appealing to all good men and women.  If so that will be a recipe for disaster.
No election is guaranteed to be without its surprises.  Theresa May is a cautious conservative.  She is literally the product of her background, a conservative vicar’s daughter.  Reactionary, parochial and small-minded, she is a bigot for all seasons.  What doesn’t help is that she is both wooden and unoriginal.  The danger is that Corbyn tries to emulate her.
The key question is whether or not Corbyn can rise to the occasion.  Over the past 18 months his performance has been little short of dire.  There is point in pretending otherwise.  The question is whether he will rise to the occasion as he showed glimpses of doing during the leadership election last summer.  There has been a conscious strategy of appeasing the Right in the hope that they will come to accept Corbyn’s leadership.  This has resulted in his passive acceptance of a witch-hunt.  When Labour’s crooked General Secretary, Iain McNicoll was busy digging into members’ twitter feeds last summer in the attempt to suspend enough Corbyn voters to swing the vote, Corbyn said nothing.  After he won he blew his best chance to get rid of this disloyal toad, a man who did his best to keep him off the ballot paper.
Labour's recent policy announcements are still inadequate to motivate Labour's base
Even Jesus, with whom Corbyn shares his initials, didn’t allow the gospel of love to prevent him from driving the money lenders from the temple with whips.  That should be the approach to MPs like John Woodcock.  Woodcock says there are no circumstances in which he will vote for Corbyn as Prime Minister.  Fine, but the Labour Party has elected him leader with just that in mind.  Woodcock should therefore be left to either join the Tory Party or stand as an independent.  On no account should John Woodcock be a Labour candidate at this general election.

Corbyn’s inability to call out the ‘anti-Semitism’ witch-hunt has symbolised the problems with his leadership.  It has always been the traditional response of supporters of Israel to attack supporters of the Palestinians as ‘anti-Semitic’.  There is no mystery about it.  You only need to google ‘anti-Zionism = anti-Semitism’ to understand what the Jewish Labour Movement and Labour Friends of Israel have been playing at for the past 18 months when they alleged that there was a problem with ‘anti-Semitism’ in the Labour Party.
The Guardian's only concern is to attack Labour under Corby
Unfortunately Corbyn forgot where he had come from and everything he once espoused on Palestine under the guidance of  a kitchen cabinet of Seamus Milne, James Schneider, Lansman et al.  Corbyn has done the exact opposite of what was required.  He has compromised with a Right which will accept nothing less than his head.

Corbyn’s only hope lies in outflanking Theresa May and setting the agenda.  For example Corbyn’s recent policy announcements including calling for the building of 200,000 houses including 100,000 council houses.  I can remember when Labour under Harold Wilson in the 1960s called for the building of ½ million houses yet the housing crisis now is far worse than 50 years ago.  Another recent policy announcement is that nationalisation of the railways will be enabled by preventing  renewal of existing franchises.  That will take 15 years.  In other words it will never happen.  Labour needs to pledge an immediate renationalisation.  Within one year the entire railway system in this country will be unified. 

The National Health Service is another major issue but it has never been an election winner since the Tories have always professed that it is safe in their hands.  That means that it is not enough to pledge meaningless figures.  There has to be a pledge that not only will private involvement will be reversed but that contracts will be statutorily cancelled.  As regards PFI (Private Finance Initiative) contracts which are bankrupting the NHS, thanks to New Labour, there should be a pledge that these financial instruments will be cancelled, that the contracts in question will be statutorily reversed saving billions of pounds.

Already the contours of the campaign are becoming clear.  Brexist is going to be a major issue and the Lib-Dems are going to make gains on this issue.  Labour at the moment is in the worst position of all.  It is effectively supporting Theresa May.  In the House of Commons Corbyn laid down a 3 line whip that people should back May’s invocation of Article 50.  I know that Corbyn agreed with Tony Benn’s position of withdrawal from the European Union but it should now be obvious that this has led, not to a socialist revival but the growth of UKIP and narrow and nasty chauvinism and racism.
I somehow doubt that Corbyn is capable of drawing the necessary lessons but Labour should make it clear that it is the anti-Brexit party, but from a position of opposition to a free market Europe.  In other words a position which says that we disagree with Europe’s espousal of free market capitalism but we are also opposed to Theresa May’s ideas of a low tax Britain, some kind of offshore tax dodging island off Europe. It is essential that the Lib-Dems do not corner the anti-Brexit market.
To those who say this will be disregarding the vote against Brexit, I have only one answer – rubbish.  People didn’t vote for leaving the single market, increasing unemployment, higher inflation etc.  They voted against what they perceived was an establishment which has pauperised them in the past 30 years, which has deindustrialised Britain and created a ‘flexible’ Labour market.  They saw, quite falsely, immigration as the cause of that impoverishment.  It is Labour’s job to point to the real causes of poverty.

Which brings me to the major theme that Labour should employ.  Instead of swapping useless and meaningless statistics about the deficit and national debt, Corbyn should simply call their bluff.  If the goal is about reducing the debt then why cut taxes for the rich?  What is really happening is a transfer of wealth from the poorest to the richest.  Austerity is the means by which to do that.  Corbyn should vigorously argue that a society where the top 10% own 50%+ of the wealth is one in which the needs of ordinary working class people are subordinated to the market and the needs of the rich.
Corbyn has a number of advantages.  For a start we can say to Labour voters tempted to vote Lib Dem that the announcement that the Lib Dems won’t support a Labour-led coalition under Corbyn means that they will, in the event of a hung parliament, go into coalition with the Tories, i.e. a vote for the Lib Dems is a vote for the Tories.  Secondly  in those few seats where a Green candidate can make a difference to Labour winning or not, like Brighton Kemptown, we should do a deal.  In Brighton it should be that Labour will stand down in Brighton Pavilion to give Caroline Lucas an easy win in return for the Greens standing down and explicitly backing Labour in Brighton Kemptown.

And one other thing.  Corbyn and Labour should tackle head on the major theme of the BBC at the moment – Corbyn’s ‘unpopularity’.  He should admit that as a result of a systematic attack on him by the media and the BBC, that opinion polls are negative.  He should therefore go onto the attack against not only a conservative dominated press, the Guardian included, but a BBC in thrall to Conservative politics, witness the fact that Nigel Farage has a monthly appearance on Question Time.
There is everything to win if Labour has the courage of its convictions.

Tony Greenstein 

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

There is only one slogan that matters now!

Land Apartheid in Israel - Knesset Votes for New Bill to Demolish Arab Homes and Villages

Israeli Arabs are 20% of the population yet they occupy 2½%  of the land

Israeli policemen stand guard as bulldozers demolish homes in the unrecognized Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran in the Negev desert, on January 18, 2017. (AFP Photo/Menahem Kahana)
You might think that a new Bill to prevent building contrary to the planning laws of Israel might be uncontroversial.  After all you can’t have everyone building where they want to.  It is a principle that should be uncontroversial.  However in Israel it represents another attack on Israel’s Palestinians.
As Ha’aretz notes, some 97% of house demolitions in Israel are of Arab houses.  In the occupied territories settlers can build where they want and when they want, whereas unauthorised Palestinian buildings are regularly demolished.

The backdrop to this is the fact that 20% of Israel’s population, its Arab citizens live in just 2.5% of the land.  It is the same percentage as pertained in 1948 after the expulsion of ¾ million Palestinians.  At that time the Arab population was 150,000.  Now it is 1.5 million  Not one new Arab town has been established.  Israeli planners regularly, almost as a matter of course, deny Arabs the right to construct new buildings or even build extensions to their houses.

That is why there is a massive crisis in the Arab housing sector which the State is helping to intensify.  This Bill heralds another racist attack on Israel’s 20% Arab minority under the guise of enforcing the law.
Bedouins cry following the destruction of houses on January 18, 2017 in the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran. (AFP/ MENAHEM KAHANA)
Couple this with racist legislation such as the Access to Communities Act which allows hundreds of existing Jewish villages and settlements to deny access to Arabs on ‘social’ grounds and then you see how Israel reinforces discrimination against its Arab citizens.

In addition half the existing Arab villages are ‘unrecognised’.  Like Umm al Hiran which was recently demolished, they live under the threat that police bulldozers will come in and demolish peoples’ homes and all their possessions.  There isn’t one Jewish village or town in Israel which is ‘unrecognised’.  Being ‘unrecognised’ means having no running water, sewerage facilities or electricity.  Literally may Israel’s Palestinian citizens live in the dark age compared to Israel’s Jews. 
This is what Apartheid in the Israeli state means in practice.

Tony Greenstein

Editorial: Construction, Not Destruction

 While Israeli Arabs constitute 20 percent of the population, Arab communities’ jurisdictions occupy just 2.5 percent of the state’s land area, and the process of approving new construction in Arab towns takes decades.

Haaretz Editorial Apr 04, 2017 3:26 AM

A demolished building in Kalansua, January 10, 2017. Moti Milrod
The Knesset will be convening tomorrow for a special recess session to hold the final votes on a bill that would boost enforcement and penalties for building without a permit. The bill increases the maximum sentence for building violations to three years, does not distinguish between building violations committed for profit and those committed for lack of an alternative, and limits the role that judgment and court intervention can play while enhancing the authority of the Finance Ministry unit that enforces construction laws. This favors the administrative track over a system of checks and balances.

The bill, initiated by the Justice Ministry, doesn’t explicitly say that it’s aimed at the Arab public in Israel, but it’s clear to all that its consequences will primarily affect Arab communities. Between 2012 and 2014, 97 percent of the administrative demolition orders were issued against structures in these communities. Moreover, the bill is being promoted by a government that is pleased to pass discriminatory legislation like the muezzin law, the expropriation law, the impeachment law and the cultural loyalty law.
Arab Joint List leader MK Ayman Odeh was injured during a protest against house demolitions in the Negev town of Umm al-Hiran on January 18, 2017. Here he is holding the sponge-tipped bullet that he said injured him. (Courtesy/Arab Joint List) 
No one disputes that illegal construction must be dealt with, that all Israeli citizens are meant to obey the law and that the bill is worded in a totally professional manner. However, the bill should not be passed at this stage because it deals solely with enforcement, without providing a solution for the essential problem – a housing crisis in Arab communities – and without recognizing plans being put into place.

Moreover, in the past the government has established that the funding for implementation of this law will be taken from the budget designated for the development of Arab communities. This looks suspiciously as if the bill is aimed at intensifying the abuse of the Arab population and continuing the government’s incitement policy against it.

Yaqoub Mousa Abu al-Qia’an - Arab schoolteacher murdered by Israeli police at Umm al Hiran(Courtesy)
If the Justice Ministry was really interested in solving the problem of illegal construction, it would implement those master plans for Arab communities that have already been approved, expedite the approval of those that have yet to be approved, increase the number of planning committees dealing with these communities, and only afterward declare an enforcement crackdown.

While Israeli Arabs constitute 20 percent of the population, Arab communities’ jurisdictions occupy just 2.5 percent of the state’s land area, and the process of approving new construction in Arab towns takes decades. The combination of these things and the lack of any workable alternatives cause a housing crunch and expand the scope of illegal construction. This bill does not seek to solve the problem, but merely to make life more difficult for an already distressed population.

The above article is Haaretz's lead editorial, as published in the Hebrew and English newspapers in Israel.

Israel wants to build a Jewish only town in place of a Bedouin village [Anadolu]

Police Raid Arab-Israeli Neighborhood, Injure Residents

(Jerusalem) - Israel should immediately cease the discriminatory demolition of homes belonging to Palestinian citizens of Israel, Human Rights Watch said today. Israel should ensure equal treatment in planning and zoning procedures for its non-Jewish citizens, and carry out demolitions only as a last resort along with compensation or alternative housing arrangements.

A daughter of Yaqoub Mousa Abu Al-Qia’an, who police say killed an officer on January 18th in Umm il-Hiran, stands among the rubble of her home. Police had destroyed her home that morning. (Credit: Dov Lieber / Times of Israel)
"Israeli authorities allow buildings that will benefit Jewish citizens while demolishing Arab houses next door," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. "That obviously discriminates against non-Jewish Israelis, but officials haven't given any justification for this clear difference in treatment between citizens."

On December 13, 2010, Israel Land Administration inspectors and Israeli police demolished six homes belonging to Palestinian citizens of Israel in the Abu Tuk neighborhood of Lod, a city near Tel Aviv, displacing 67 members of the extended Abu Eid family, 27 of them children. On March 2, 2011, Israeli police entered the same neighborhood and destroyed the bases for two prefabricated homes the family had planned to erect there; displaced family members are currently staying with neighbors or living in tents. Israeli authorities say the homes lack building permits, but repeatedly refused to grant such permits; they argue that the land is zoned as "agricultural" rather than "residential" but have refused to re-classify the land as residential.

Arab Israelis hold protest banners against the demolition of homes in the unrecognized Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran, January 19, 2016. (Courtesy)
However, Israeli authorities recently rezoned land adjacent to the demolished site from agricultural to residential land, and are planning a housing development there for Israeli security service personnel. Plans for a Jewish religious college have been approved on another nearby site.

Thirty percent of the 70,000 residents of Lod are Palestinian Arabs, according to Israeli government statistics. While official figures are not readily available, more than 70 percent of Palestinian Arab homes in Lod and the nearby city of Ramle have no legal status, according to a project on Israeli cities with mixed populations run by Shatil, an Israeli nongovernmental group.

Hundreds of homes in Lod are under immediate demolition orders, virtually all of them in Palestinian Arab neighborhoods, according to the Shatil project. In addition, approximately 1,600 housing units in Lod are currently designated as "illegal," and thus subject to demolition orders, because they lack proper building permits, according to a government statement.

According to residents who are Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel, however, planning authorities repeatedly rejected their applications for permits. Israeli planning authorities by contrast recently approved plans for a seven-hectare campus for a Jewish religious college immediately beside the demolished area.

Israelis attend a protest against the recent demolition of Bedouin homes in the village of Umm al-Hiran outside the Prime Minister’s office in Jerusalem on January 18, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/FLASH90)
Israeli officials have explained that Arab-Israeli homes have been destroyed on the basis that they lacked permits, but that raises the issue of who is being granted permits. Human Rights Watch is not aware that Israeli officials have justified why Arab-Israelis have a harder time obtaining building permits or access to residential planning solutions in general.

Approximately 500 police officers arrived in the Abu Tuk neighborhood at 8 a.m. on a rainy December 13 and evicted the residents of six buildings before demolishing them. The independent Palestinian Ma'an news agency described one case in which armed police broke down a door and "pointed their rifles" at a brother and sister aged 11 and 12 and told them, "Don't move," before forcing them outside. Other residents told Human Rights Watch that the police did not allow them to save their possessions before demolishing their homes.

The families, after salvaging some belongings from the rubble, pitched five tents that they bought with donations, and placed a sign over their plot that read, "Abu Eid Refugee Camp." For three months, male members of the family, about 30 people, have been living in five tents on the ruins of their former houses, while the women have been staying with neighbors.

The families had been planning to erect two small, prefabricated homes, but on March 2, around 200 police destroyed the homes' bases and clashed with residents, injuring several. Kawser Abu Eid, a 39-year-old mother of five whose home was one of the six demolished in December, told Human Rights Watch that three of her children were home during the March demolitions, and that her 12-year-old son was hospitalized with a leg injury. A female neighbor's arm was broken when she tried to protect the boy, witnesses told Human Rights Watch. A police spokesperson told Human Rights Watch that no police forces were injured.

Police arrested four members of the Abu Eid family and one neighbor for resisting the evictions. They were released the next day under conditions of house arrest. Israeli civil society workers who were following the case told Human Rights Watch that they were not sure how the authorities would enforce the house arrest order, since the residents' homes had already been destroyed.

According to residents, the family complained about the December demolitions to Brigadier General (res.) Ilan Harari, who until February 2011 served as the head of Lod's municipality, and who agreed to write to the Welfare Ministry, the Housing Ministry, and the Israel Land Administration requesting assistance for the families. Human Rights Watch does not know whether the letters were sent. To date, the residents say, they have received no assistance.

"My kids have no home; they can't study under these conditions," Kawser Abu Eid said. "The head of the municipality promised to care for us months ago, but nothing has happened."

Israeli planning authorities have approved residential and educational building projects intended to benefit primarily Jewish Israelis on sites next to the demolished homes. In 2008 Israeli authorities began rezoning agricultural land for residential construction in the next-door Jewish neighborhood of Ganei Aviv, according to the Israel Land Administration. An October 2010 government decision urges other government agencies to complete plans for the neighborhood within six months, and directs that the land be allocated for housing for Israeli military and other security service personnel.
Directly beside the demolished homes, Israeli authorities have approved plans for a 7-hectare yeshiva (religious college) that will, according to the Lod Municipality website, "bring thousands of religious students and families to Lod." Harari said that this college will bring in "high-quality residents." On October 7, Minister of Interior Eli Yishai told Israeli media that "the thing that will help the city of Lod will be bringing another 50,000 Jews there. That's what will save and keep the city, I don't have another solution." The 50-million shekel project will be located on land previously designated as a "public open space." The Lod city council unanimously approved the allocation of the land to the yeshiva, the Lod Municipality stated.

"When it comes to housing rights in Lod, Israeli officials seem to have one rule for Palestinian citizens, another for Jewish citizens," said Whitson. "That kind of discrimination has been rejected the world over."

Members of the Abu Eid family told Human Rights Watch that they had been living in the houses in Lod since the 1950s, after Israeli authorities evicted them from their original homes in the Hula Valley region in northern Israel.

The Abu Eid family had been leasing land in Lod from the state of Israel, which controls 93 percent of the country's land and in most cases does not sell land but leases lots for 49 or 98 years. The land in question was zoned as an agricultural rather than residential area, a designation that restricted the permissible size and density of homes. Human Rights Watch has documented that Jewish towns and neighborhoods in the Lod area were also originally zoned for agricultural use, but authorities rezoned that land to allow residential construction.

Israeli planning authorities denied the Palestinian residents' repeated requests to re-zone the area to permit residential building. As a result, the structures that residents built lacked permits and were deemed "illegal." The Israel Land Administration first issued an eviction order against the homes in 2002. In 2010 the family lost a prolonged legal struggle when the Ramle Magistrate's Court rejected their appeal against the demolition orders, finding that the homes were built illegally on agricultural land.

In addition to the Abu Eid family, another 45 Arab-Israelis with homes in the same area received notices that authorities would bulldoze their houses by the end of 2010. Authorities demolished two Arab homes in the same neighborhood in October.

Israeli law requires the owners of demolished homes to pay the municipality for the cost of the demolition or face a criminal sentence, including imprisonment. Faced with this threat, some Palestinian Arab residents in Lod have demolished their own homes.

In October 2010 the government passed a large "emergency assistance" plan meant to "strengthen and develop the city of Lod," according to the prime minister's office. A quarter of the funds for that plan, 40 million shekels (US$11 million), will be used to create an "eviction authority" for "enforcement regarding illegal construction" for the next two years, with the possibility of an additional 10 million shekels in case of need. By contrast, the decision allocated only 3 million shekels (US $830,000) for projects that "advance" the Palestinian Arab community in the city, and even this part of the plan does not mention new building projects. The plan does indicate that authorities will re-zone an Arab neighborhood of Lod, Pardes Snir, from agricultural to residential, and construct housing units there, but notes that many existing Arab-owned buildings will first have to be demolished.

Throughout Israel, tens of thousands of Palestinian Arab homes lack required permits and are at risk of demolition. Israeli authorities demolished 165 houses belonging to Palestinian citizens of Israel across the country in 2009, according to the Arab Center for Alternative Planning, an Israeli nongovernmental organization. Human Rights Watch has reported on discriminatory planning procedures in the unrecognized Arab-Israeli community of Dahmash, near Lod.

Yitzhak Yosef Advocates a Nazi-solution for the Palestinians

Stephardic Chief Rabbi, ethnic cleanser, Yitzhak Yosef
I realise that I will probably be accused of ‘anti-Semitism’.  However the ‘solution’ to the Jewish Question when the Nazis came to power was also ethnic cleansing i.e. expulsion.  In fact expulsion and genocide are two sides of the same coin.  The Orthodox Rabbis are also at the forefront of advocating genocide of the Palestinians.  Yitzhak Yosef also endorsed a book in 2011 by two rabbis – Yitzhak Shapira and Elitzur – which gave the legal  basis for Jews killing non-Jews, including infants.  

Tony Greenstein

April 15, 2017 By Richard Silverstein 7 Comments

Eli Yishai, a far Right Zionist politician and MK in the last Knesset, kisses the hand of Yitzhak Yosef's father, Chief Rabbi Ovadia Yosef.  With Ovadia and Yitzhak it really is a case of like father, like son
The Israeli chief Sephardic rabbi, Yitzhak Yosef,  told a gathering of followers that non-Jews should be expelled from Israel (Hebrew here). The only exception, he said, would be in the cases of non-Jews who accepted the seven Noahide laws.

The rabbi’s intent is to expel the largest non-Jewish population in Israel, Palestinian Arabs. He also said that those non-Jews who did accept the Noahide laws and remained in the Israel, would primarily serve Jews. Their role would be akin to slaves and servants in colonial regimes.
The chief Rabbi acknowledged that Israel was currently not in a position to execute this plan; primarily because of the resistance to it from the non-Jewish world. However, he said that in the time of the messiah Israel would be in a position to implement this plan. And he looked forward to the Messianic era with great joy and anticipation.

Yosef also reminded his followers that any Palestinian armed with any weapon was worth killing without hesitation (“he who seeks to kill you, rise up before and kill him first”).  He was tacitly criticizing the IDF chief of staff who’d told an audience last week that Orthodox reasoning that killing any Palestinian no matter how small the threat posed was unacceptable.  He did not want, he said, to see his soldiers emptying their bullet chambers on Palestinians wielding scissors.  Rabbi Yosef’s religious reasoning reverts back to the most primitive “eye for an eye” thinking which Jews haven’t used as their operative principle in thousands of years.
Zionist humour - on being issued with new shoot to kill regulations, the soldier says that he's with the Rabbi on this one, in other words he prefers to expel all those under his command
Expulsion of Palestinians accords with those of the former Chief Ashkenazi, Jonah Metzger, who said that non-Jews, meaning Palestinian Muslims, should be expelled from Israel to Egypt. He said that the Sinai would be a perfect place to send them, since it was underpopulated. He suggested that Palestinian genius would make the desert bloom “like Arizona.” He even generously offered Israeli assistance in resettling what would be Israeli Palestinian refugees.

Yosef, is the son of the former Sephardi chief Rabbi Ovadia Yosef. Before he died, the latter said that non-Jews in Israel served only one useful purpose. He likened them to donkeys who served their masters as beasts of burden.

Some may argue that these figures are marginal in Israeli society.  However Rabbi Yosef is not just the chief Sephardic Rabbi, but also a spiritual leader of one of Israel’s major political parties, Shas. As such, he wields considerable power in Israeli society. Israel, which was once a largely secular society, has become increasingly theocratic.

We should also keep in mind that societies which were once liberal and humane one minute, turned into something quite different and uglier the next. As examples, we should look to our own country under Trump and Hungary under Viktor Orban. Civilization and tolerance can disappear in a heartbeat.  It’s especially troubling when religion is the champion of such brutalism.
There may be those encouraged by this to claim that these interpretations represent Judaism in full.  Not so.  They are not arbiters of Judaism for millions of the rest of us who do not ascribe to these views.  But since there are hundreds of thousands, if not millions who do follow them, their views are worth portraying. 

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Ken Livingstone’s Fainthearted Friends at the Morning Star, Socialist Worker & the Jewish Socialists Group

Lansman & Owen Jones Attacks on Livingstone Only Helps Tom Watson
The Right has begun to smell blood.  Corbyn was himself originally accused of anti-Semitism by consorting with holocaust deniers such as Paul Eisen.  He has been under attack by the Zionist lobby since day one.  See for example Jeremy Corbyn's 'long-standing links' with notorious Holocaust denier  ‘Anti-Semitism’ has been the Right’s chosen weapon. 

Letters in Morning Star objecting to their editorial
No one of course could point to anything actually ‘anti-Semitic’ that Corbyn said hence why they have directed their attention on to the one person who best exemplifies the fight against racism in the Labour Party.  Noone did more, at the Greater London Council to support and fund anti-racist initiatives than Ken Livingstone, as David Rosenburg of the JSG admits in his flabby and shallow article for the Morning Star. A Row With Its Roots in the Thatcher Years

Under relentless attack from the Right and the Zionists, Corbyn has abandoned the Palestinian cause and 30 years of support for the Palestinians which included at least 6 visits to Palestine.  At a Jewish Labour Movement debate last summer between Corbyn and Owen Smith when asked what he liked most about Israel, Corbyn could have mentioned child torture, mobs who chant ‘Death to the Arabs’, banning of Arabs from 93% of the land in Israel, a starvation siege of Gaza etc. etc.  He was spoilt for choice.  Instead he said:

I admire the verve and spirit of the towns and cities in Israel – the life and the way people conduct themselves, I admire the separation of legal and political powers and the system of democratic government that is there and I admire many of the technical and industrial achievements that Israel has made and its very advanced technology in so many way that it has developed in medical and telecommunications technology.  

Dave Rosenberg of the Jewish Socialists Group article in the Morning Star attacking Ken Livingstone whilst purporting to support him
Why has there been this political collapse?  Because in supporting a 2 state solution, Corbyn was also supporting Israel as it is.  Support for Israel is support for the Right of the Labour Party in the UK.  Why?  Because Israel is the United States racist rotweiller in the Middle East.  If your foreign policy is based on the alliance with the US then it must involve uncritical support for Israel.

Given that Corbyn was himself originally attacked as an anti-Semite, not only by the Daily Mail but by The Guardian’s Jonathan Freedland Labour and the left have an antisemitism problem it is sad that he cannot see that bogus allegations of ‘anti-Semitism’ are a weapon of the Right.  The bigger a lie and the more often it is repeated the more it is likely to be believed.

The Right is quite open about what they desire.   A crowd-funding appeal has now been launched under the title ‘Expel Ken #Corbyn Out’.   These are supporters of the only apartheid state in the world, Israel.  When Tom Watson calls for the expulsion of Livingstone that is code for the removal of Corbyn.  

It is therefore to be regretted that the Morning Star, the only Left daily, has equivocated in its support.  In Fresh bid to attack the left it speaks of the ‘real offence’ caused when the Nazis ‘are compared to or associated with their victims’.  Except of course that Livingstone didn’t compare the Nazis to their victims.  What he did was say that the Nazi state and Hitler supported Zionism, a political movement.  Zionism in Germany was a tiny minority of German Jews.  It is a fact that the Nazis saw the Zionists as volkish (racial) Jews.  
The paper of the German Zionist Federation welcomes the Nuremburg Laws
On September 17th 1935, the paper of the German Zionist Federation welcomed the Nuremburg Laws which removed German citizenship from Jews and effectively made them stateless.  Judische Rundschau wrote that:

Germany ... is meeting the demands of the International Zionist Congress when it declares the Jews now living in Germany to be a national minority. Once the Jews have been stamped a national minority it is again possible to establish normal relations between the German Nation and Jewry. The new Laws give the Jewish minority in Germany their own cultural life, their own national life. In future they will be able to shape their own schools, their own theater, their own sports associations; in short, they can create their own future in all aspects of national life.

On the other hand, it is evident that from now on and for the future there can be no interference in questions connected with the Government of the German people... for Jewry in Germany itself, as for the Germans. Germany has given the Jewish minority the opportunity to live for itself and is offering State protection for this separate life of the Jewish minority: Jewry’s process of growth into a nation will thereby be encouraged and a contribution will be made to the establishment of more tolerable relations between the two nations.

Francis Nicosia's Zionism and anti-Semitism in Nazi Germany

The German Zionists, as was the case with the rest of the Zionist movement, believed that Jews were not part of the German people.  They were part of a separate Jewish nation.  It was therefore quite reasonable for the Nazis to say that Jews should play no part in German society.  It was a position rejected by the overwhelming majority of German Jews but it was music to the ears of the Nazis.  Alfred Rosenberg, the principal Nazi theoretician, who was hanged at Nuremburg, was fond of quoting the Zionists to support what the Nazis said.  As Francis Nicosia, Professor of Holocaust Studies at Vermont University noted, Rosenberg

 ‘intended to use Zionism as a legal justification for depriving German Jews of their civil rights.’  He ‘sanctioned the use of the Zionist movement in the future drive to eliminate Jewish rights, Jewish influence and eventually the Jewish presence in Germany.’ [Nicosia, The Third Reich and the Palestine Question, pp. 25-26.  See also Edwin Black p. 173, The Transfer Agreement]

In his book The Final Solution (Pan Macmillan) 2016 (p.96) Professor David Cesarani quotes from a 1934 Gestapo report: “The efforts of the Gestapo are oriented to promoting Zionism as much as possible and lending support to its efforts to further emigration.” 

Having made one blunder, the Morning Star went on to concede the Right’s case when it said that ‘Livingstone should have acknowledged this and apologised’.   Why should anyone apologise because telling the truth has offended them?  It is a fact that the Zionists played a quisling role in the Jewish community in Germany (& elsewhere) during the Holocaust.

Having made this concession to the Right the Morning Star then concluded that It is outrageous that the most consistent and principled anti-racist ever to lead the Labour Party has been constantly harassed by bogus accusations of anti-semitism — which are clearly inspired by fear of the effect a supporter of the rights of the dispossessed Palestinian people could have on British foreign policy if he becomes prime minister.’

That is of course correct – these are bogus accusations which is why it is even more stupid of the Morning Star to give the time of day to their validity.

The real problem for the Morning Star is that it follows in the traditions of Stalinism, which in 1948 supported the establishment of the Israeli state and thus the legitimacy of the Nakba.  The Morning Star might be a supporter of the Palestinians but it refuses to oppose Zionism, the movement and ideology which created a settler-colonial state in the Middle East.

Jewish Socialist Group’s David Rosenberg Damns Livingstone with Feint Praise

It took a long campaign by this blog before the JSG finally came off the fence and in support of Jackie Walker [The Strange Silence of the Jewish Socialists Group] , the Black-Jewish woman who was suspended for ‘anti-Semitism’. [The lynching of Jackie Walker]. 

David Rosenberg has now done a wobble on Ken Livingstone too, in the Morning Star.  Whilst welcoming the fact that Livingstone wasn’t expelled, Rosenberg says that he ‘ought to have avoided a sorry affair which hasn’t helped Corbyn’ thus missing the whole point of the affair which was that Livingstone’s unremarkable opinions were deliberately blown up by the right-wing in the Labour Party.  Whatever he said would have been magnified. 

As Kipling’s poem Dane-geld put it ‘"once you have paid him the Danegeld/ You never get rid of the Dane."  In other words when you pay off a blackmailer you just encourage them to continue.  The more the Zionists and the Labour Right have been appeased over ‘anti-Semitism’ the greater the incentive for them to continue.

Rosenberg accepts that ‘Under Ken Livingstone’s visionary leadership from 1981, the GLC railed against both discriminatory practices and the mindset supporting them — racist, sexist, homophobic and disablist.’  Despite vociferous opposition from the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the very body that is now campaigning loudest about ‘anti-Semitism’, Livingstone’s Greater London Council funded the Jewish Cultural and Anti-Racist Project, set up by the JSG, of which Rosenberg was the co‑ordinator.

Rosenberg asks ‘How is it possible that, three decades on, the person who played such a pivotal role in these fights for equality is facing demands for expulsion by the Labour Party after making dubious comments about Hitler and zionism, and defending another MP’s comments about Jews, which she herself apologised for?’

Well there is a simple answer.  Unfortunately it is one which escapes Rosenberg.  It is that far from being ‘dubious’ Livingstone’s comment that the Nazis supported Zionism was a simple statement of fact.  He also asks why Livingstone was defending Naz Shah when she herself admitted her comments were anti-Semitic?

Again there is a very simple answer.  Naz Shah, in the middle of the slaughter of 2,200 people in Gaza, including 551 children, remarked by way of a tongue-in-cheek joke how much better things would be if the United State’s racist rotweiller in the Middle East were transplanted to the USA, which helps fund it.  There was nothing anti-Semitic about this joke at all.  The cartoon which Naz Shah used came originally from Yad Vashem’s Jewish Virtual Library

Why did she admit to anti-Semitism?  The same reason that the victims of Stalin’s purges admitted their ‘guilt’.  It is quite possible to intimidate people, who know little about anti-Semitism, into admitting their guilt because they are guilt-tripped.

I have read a number of things by David Rosenberg over the years and this is hardly his finest hour.  He says that he is reticent to come to Livingstone’s defence.  Why?  Because ‘his controversial and completely unnecessary intervention has undermined Corbyn, been detrimental to the Palestinian cause.’  This is what is known as political cowardice.  Anything that Corbyn said would, like Jackie Walker, have been twisted and distorted as ‘anti-Semitism’.  Jackie said that she hadn’t heard a definition of anti-Semitism that she could agree with.  This too is ‘evidence’ of her anti-Semitism.  Apparently Livingstone has ‘handed a free gift’  to the Labour Right and assorted Tories and Zionists. 

These are the politics of timidity and cowardice.  What David should be doing is calling out a politics of denunciation by misquoting people.  Instead of going on the defensive about every word we say, Dave should be calling out those who defend the Israeli state right or wrong.

For example the Jewish Labour Movement, which Rosenberg has become quite sympathetic too, calls itself the ‘sister’ party of the racist Israeli Labour Party.  A party that ethnically cleansed ¾ million Palestinians in 1948 and which has been every bit as racist as its Likud equivalents.  A party whose current leader, Isaac Herzog can say that his nightmare is waking up to a Palestinian Prime Minister and 61 Palestinian MKs.  A man who declares that he doesn’t want the ILP to be seen as an Arab lover’s party.  Yet Rosenberg remains silent about the ILP.

It is the failure of the Left, Rosenberg and Jon Lansman included, to call out the ILP and the witch-hunters, that has led to the situation of people cowering lest they say the wrong word.  One does not need to know any more about the JLM than that it voted by 92-4% in favour of Owen Smith in the summer.  Corbyn was stupid for even having agreed to allow the JLM to host a debate.  What did he think he gained?  He didn’t allow Progress to become a host why the JLM? 

As  an indication of the political collapse of the JSG, Rosenberg says that it was beyond me’ why Tories such as Board of Deputies President Jonathan Arkush or Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis ‘feel entitled to comment on Labour’s internal disciplinary processes’.  The answer is obvious.  They are batting for Israel and attacking the Left in the Labour Party is part of that defence.  As Rosenberg pointed out, Arkush ‘rushed to congratulate Donald Trump on winning the US election’ and Ephraim Mirvis attacked Labour in the Daily Telegraph, a paper that openly supported the Tories’ ‘openly Islamophobic campaign against Sadiq Khan.’  So it should be obvious that the Zionists’ concern is neither racism nor anti-Semitism.

Surely it isn’t beyond the ken of Rosenberg to work out why Jewish racists oppose Livingstone?  Rosenberg  provides the answer to his own question,  He describes how the GLC’s Ethnic Minorities Unit provided a grant to the JSG despite what he calls the Board’s ‘unsolicited “reference” on the JSG which was ‘full of lies and unfounded smears and allegations linking us to organisations described as “terrorist.” Dave was grateful that ‘the GLC disregarded it, but it revealed the BoD’s methods.’  So grateful that he takes to the Morning Star to make what amounts to a thinly veiled attack on Livingstone.

Livingstone is hated by the Zionists because he wasn’t prepared to treat the BOD, which is based on synagogue going Jews only, as Corbyn and McDonnell do, the sole legitimate representative of Jews in Britain. 

Rosenberg harks back to a cartoon in the Daily Herald, which Livingstone was involved in in the early 1980’s, ‘which published crude denunciations of Israel and cartoons of prime minister Menachem Begin dressed in nazi uniform’.  There was nothing that was anti-Semitic in this.  It was making the point that those who claimed they were the heirs of the Holocaust victims were behaving in ways similar to the Nazis.  These cartoons occurred at the same time as Israel’s invasion of the Lebanon, whose purpose was to defeat the PLO and install as President Bashir Gemayel of the fascist Phalange.  When Gemayel was assassinated by the Syrians, the Israelis let loose the Phalange’s militias on the unarmed and defenceless refugee camps of Sabra and Chatilla.  Some 2,000 mainly women and children were massacred.  This and the death of 20,000 Lebanese richly deserves the title of ‘Nazi’. 
Letter from Albert Einstein, Hannah Arendt compares the party of future Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin to that of the Nazis
If Rosenberg is still cowering at the thought of comparing an Israeli Prime Minister as a Nazi he should remember that no less than Albert Einstein and Hannah Arendt amongst other prominent Jews made this comparison on the occasion of Begin’s visit to the USA in 1948. 

 ‘Among the most disturbing political phenomena of our times is the emergence in the newly created state of Israel of the "Freedom Party" (Tnuat Haherut), a political party closely akin in its organization, methods, political philosophy and social appeal to the Nazi and Fascist parties. It was formed out of the membership and following of the former Irgun Zvai Leumi, a terrorist, right-wing, chauvinist organization in Palestine.

David Rosenberg really goes off the edge when he refers to the source of Livingstone’s quote about Hitler ‘supporting zionism’, the  book ‘Zionism in the Age of the Dictators’ by Lenni Brenner.  Rosenberg argues that Brenner makes ‘crude allegations of zionist-nazi collaboration, treats the actions of some zionists as representing all zionists, and utterly distorts the power relations between zionists and nazis.’ 

Rosenberg admits that ‘There were attempts by some zionist Jews in Germany in 1933 to make deals with the nazi dictatorship’ but  says that they were criticised by other Jews, including many zionists.
Yes most Jews did criticise the collaboration with the Nazis by the Zionist leadership.  This included individual Zionists but it is a fact that the Zionist movement, including its leadership, were wholly in favour of collaborating with the Nazis over Ha'avara. 

Rosenberg cites a meeting in 1983 when Brenner spoke to a JSG meeting and says that ‘When audience members labelled some of his comments anti-semitic’, he responded that he couldn’t be anti-Semitic because his wife was Black . Apocryphal or not, this is hardly a serious critique of Brenner, with whom I have certain differences in terms of his analysis.  However it is a fact that even Zionist historians such as Lucy Dawidowicz, Francis Nicosia and David Cesarani came to the conclusion that the Nazis had supported Zionism.  There is no need to reference Brenner’s book to reach this conclusion.   As it happens the book is a good one even it is limited in its analysis and on occasions wrong.

Rosenberg references other examples of Zionist collaboration with anti-Semites such as the talks that the founder of Zionism, Theodor Herzl held with von Plehve, the Czarist Interior Minister in August 1903.  Herzl promised that ‘Jewish revolutionaries would cease their struggles against tsarism for 15 years if he would grant a charter for Palestine.’  Dave however misses out the salient point that it was von Plehve who had personally organised, some 4 months earlier, the pogrom at Kishinev when 50 Jews were murdered and hundreds were injured. 

Rosenberg concludes that ‘this whole effort to dig out evidence of zionists behaving badly in the 1930s in order to expose the way zionism behaves today is such a shoddy way of supporting the just demands of Palestinians and rests on crude generalisations.’

It is true that one doesn’t have to reference what Zionism did in the 1930’s to challenge what Israel does today to the Palestinians.  However the refusal of the Zionists to oppose genuine anti-Semitism, whether it was in the 1900’s when they supported the Tory anti-alienists who opposed the immigration of Jewish refugees into this country or the 1930’s, when they sabotaged the boycott of Nazi Germany, is relevant.  The Zionist idea that Jews did not belong in the countries of their birth is the mirror image of the idea that the Palestinians have no right to live in the land of their birth.  It is blood and soil nationalism, a Jewish form of German volkism The racism of Zionism towards Jewish people is mirrored in its treatment of the Palestinians today. 

Because Rosenberg doesn’t understand the racist nature of Zionism he believes that it is sufficient to “use the modern universal language of human rights’.  Citing Shami Chakrabarti, Rosenberg would rather that we talked of ‘dispossession, discrimination, segregation, occupation, persecution and leave Hitler, the nazis and the Holocaust out of it.”

This is the major problem of Rosenberg’s analysis.  If the Palestinian Question and Zionism is merely one of human rights, then there are other places in the world where human rights are far worse – South Sudan, Syria, the Congo, Burma – the list is endless.  In terms of straightforward abuses of human rights Israel is not the worst offender by any measure.

What makes Israel unique though is the fact that it is the world’s only Apartheid state.  Coupled with that, Israel is the central pillar of US foreign policy in the Middle East.  It is the primary agent of counter-revolution in the Arab East.  That is why the United States gives it $4 billion a year, more than every other country put together.  Israel is the bastion of imperialist domination in the Middle East and that is why allegations of ‘anti-Semitism’ are made in this country.  It is Rosenberg’s inability to understand the political nature of Zionism and the ruling class’s attack on anti-Zionists and the Palestinians which explains his reduction of support for the Palestinians to one of human rights.  It is this lack of any class or political analysis which led him and the JSG in 1993 to support the disastrous Oslo Accords. 

Socialist Workers Party Cowardice

Charlie Kimber, their National Secretary wrote that Livingstone ‘has made life easier for the supporters of Israel.’  In what is little more than an echo of what David Rosenberg wrote, he cites the SWP’s Middle East ‘expert’ John Rose as saying that Livingstone walked into a trap set by his opponents.  The argument about Zionist collaboration with the Nazis has been around for a long time. It is rightly ignored by solidarity activists with Palestine.’

This is what they call a lie.  The evidence is overwhelming.  The agreement over Ha'avara for example is extremely well documented by Zionist historians.  There are many other examples of Zionist Nazi collaboration such as the suppression of the Auschwitz Protocols by two Auschwitz escapees Rudolph Vrba and Alfred Wetzler.  The Protocols revealed, for the first time in April 1944, that Auschwitz was an extermination not merely a labour camp.  The subsequent deportation of nearly ½ million Hungarian Jews in May 1944 as Germany was collapsing militarily, occurred because Kasztner reached an agreement with Eichmann for a train out of Hungary for the Zionist elite.  In return he not only suppressed the Protocols but his ‘Rescue Committee’ and the Judenrat actively deceived those boarding the trains as to where they were heading.  This was the subject of a four year long trial in Israel itself.  The findings of the Jerusalem District Court in 1955 that Kasztner was a collaborator have stood the test of time.

Rose suggests that the Ha'avara agreement ‘bitterly divided the Zionist movement.’  No it didn’t.  It was supported by all except the Revisionist (fascist) wing.  His argument that “Many young Zionists, in particular, were outraged” is unsupported by anything in the way of evidence.  This is in contrast to when Tony Cliff, who had experience of Zionism in the second world war was the leader of the SWP.  When in 1977 the Zionists attacked the Anti-Nazi League, which was then a mass movement set up to fight the National Front, Socialist Worker had a double page spread about Nazi-Zionist collaboration in WW2 as an explanation for why they attacked anti-fascists whilst leaving the fascists alone.

Rose considers himself a historian and bowled over by having met and reprinted The Ghetto Fights by the Bundist leader of the Warsaw Ghetto Resistance, Marek Edelman, he is unable to understand that the Zionists who fought in the Jewish Fighting Organisation did so not because of Zionism but in spite of it.  In short the SWP is peddling junk history.

Unfortunately, lacking all internal democracy, these things are not debated in the SWP but handed down from on high by the leadership.  As with the affair of the rape allegations that nearly destroyed the organisation, there is no effective way of people inside the SWP challenging their own leadership.
At a time when Livingstone is under attack for making statements of fact about Zionism, it is incumbent upon us to defend him because if we don’t do so then we actually leave the Corbyn leadership of the Labour Party even more vulnerable to attack.

Unlike the Morning Star, the SWP and the JSG/Dave Rosenberg the Right understands this simple concept.

Tony Greenstein