David Rosenberg on How the Board of Deputies of British Jews Tried to Stop Jews from Joining ‘Rock Against Racism’

David Rosenberg is another Jewish Socialist, and a veteran activist against racism and Fascism. He’s also anti-Zionist, which means that he is, according to the standards of the Jewish establishment such as the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the ‘wrong sort of Jew’. Like Jewdas, and the other left-wing Jewish groups, who support Jeremy Corbyn.

Rosenberg has published a fascinating piece attacking Margaret Hodge for the way she effectively capitulated to the BNP by entirely ignoring the genuine fears and anxieties of working class communities. They were so delighted by her complete lack of resistance, that when they got into power in Tower Hamlets they sent her a bouquet of flowers. If you believe the lamestream media now, after her attack on Corbyn, she’s a committed antifascist, who bravely fought against them. In fact she’s nothing of the kind.

Rosenberg has spoken with left-wing Jewish groups, like Jewish Voice for Labour, at a demo on behalf of the Windrush Generation. As this blog and others have extensively described, they are the victims of Tory racism, which decided that they were no longer welcome in this country, despite devoting years of their life to working here and helping to rebuild it after the War. Rosenberg drew parallels between their persecution, and the official discrimination his grandparents faced when they arrived in Britain from the Russian Empire in the first years of the last century. This was after the British Brothers’ League had succeeded in getting the Aliens’ Act passed in 1905, designed to sort the Jewish emigrants fleeing Tsarist persecution into who were ‘desirable’ and ‘undesirable’.

In another article he describes how, as a youngster of 20, he went as one of the protesters and rock/pop enthusiasts to a Rock Against Racism gig, put on the Anti-Nazi League and featuring some of the great Punk bands of the day – The Clash and X-Ray Specs, and Tom Robinson, the composer of the gay anthem, ‘Glad to Be Gay’. He describes the mixed nature of the crowd, Blacks and Whites united against racism and Fascism, and how they marched en masse through the BNP’s heartland in east London.

But one of the most interesting pieces in the post is his description of how the Board of Deputies of British Jews had done their level best to stop Jews joining the protest. Officially this was because the ANL were an anti-Zionist organisation, and didn’t want Jews exposed to this part of their ideology. But other Jews believed it was simply because the Board didn’t want Jews joining the Left. Rosenberg writes

I was there with other Jews… but not without a fight. Our ‘leaders’, the Board of Deputies, had pulled out all the stops to try to prevent Jews from supporting the biggest anti-fascist mobilisation in Britain since the 1930s. Why? They claimed that the ANL’s leading figures were anti-Zionists and therefore the Jewish community should have nothing to do with them. Effectively they were saying that it was more important to keep out of range of comments someone might say about a conflict 2,000 miles away in the Middle-East than to unite here and now with communities that were bearing the brunt of racist attacks, having their homes firebombed, being beaten up on the streets, by the same forces that were daubing swastikas on Jewish gravestones. It seemed a callous and narrow attitude, then, as well as a self-defeating one.

For several weeks the letters pages of the Jewish Chronicle were filled with argument and counter-argument about this issue. When the ANL held a public meeting in the Jewish heartland of Golders Green, and with Jewish speakers on the platform, it was forced to hold it in a Unitarian church because the Board had told synagogues not to let their premises to the ANL. I remember Aubrey Lewis, who cut his political teeth in street battles against fascism and campaigns against poverty in Manchester in the 1930s, and was one of the founders of the Jewish Socialists’ Group, telling us that the Board were not really worried about young Jews becoming enticed by anti-Zionism, they wanted, above all, to keep young Jews away from the Left.

For more information, see his article at:

The Board of Deputies of British Jews is one of the official Jewish organisations now accusing Labour of anti-Semitism, and particularly smearing Jeremy Corbyn, because the party has not adopted all of I.H.R.A.’s definition of anti-Semitism. This contains clauses, which would outlaw any criticism of Israel and its racist persecution of the Palestinians. More than that, the Board is intensely Conservative, and so is part of the general campaign by the right, including the Blairites in the Labour party and the lamestream media, to prevent a truly left-wing government under Corbyn getting into power. The Right are rightly afraid that a Corbyn government would undo nearly forty years of Thatcherism, and actually empower ordinary people, raise them out of poverty, give them better, or at least more secure jobs and renationalise the NHS. And this would threaten the profits and power of the rich and the big corporations.

The Board is part of those forces of the Right. And they’re now trying to present themselves as genuinely concerned about anti-Semitism in the Labour party. This is a grotesque fraud. And if the Board has tried in its past to stop Jews supporting demonstrations against the persecution of other ethnic groups, then they have absolutely no right to try to present themselves as an anti-racism organisation. Rosenberg makes it clear that if you’re an anti-racist, you’re against racism in its entirety, no matter who it’s directed against. The Board’s shabby behaviour 40 years ago trying to prevent genuine anti-racist Jews from joining the ANL shows that the Board doesn’t share this attitude.

They are a sham, whose attacks on Corbyn should be immediately dismissed as the smears of yet another Tory organisation spreading more lies and libels against Labour.

2 Responses to “David Rosenberg on How the Board of Deputies of British Jews Tried to Stop Jews from Joining ‘Rock Against Racism’”

  1. David Rosenberg on How the Board of Deputies of British Jews Tried to Stop Jews from Joining ‘Rock Against Racism’ — Beastrabban’s Weblog | sdbast Says:

    […] via David Rosenberg on How the Board of Deputies of British Jews Tried to Stop Jews from Joining ‘Rock… […]

  2. A6er Says:

    Reblogged this on Britain Isn't Eating.

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