Posts Tagged ‘Hugh Tomlinson’

Tony Greenstein on Simon Kelner, Ian Birrell and the ‘I’s’ Anti-Semitism Smears of Corbyn

September 15, 2018

Last month, on the 27th August 2018, Tony Greenstein posted a piece on his blog criticizing the I newspaper for its anti-Semitism smears against Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party. The newspaper had published articles by two of its columnists, Simon Kelner and Ian Birrell. In one of them, Kelner attacked Labour for being anti-Semitic because it hadn’t then adopted the I.H.R.A. definition of anti-Semitism in its entirety. The other article, written by Birrell, declared that Corbyn was ‘unfit for office’ because of his presence at the anti-Zionist meeting where Hajo Meyer made his speech comparing Israel to the Nazis. Which in actual fact, wasn’t anti-Semitic.

Birrell, apart from writing for the Groaniad, Independent and the Heil, used to be a speechwriter for ‘Dodgy’ David Cameron. Greenstein describes his article as just one long ad hominem. As for Kelner, he tried to justify his recommendation of the I.H.R.A. definition of anti-Semitism by claiming that the Jewish community supported it, it was the commonly held definition, and that it seemed to him, a Jew, to be an uncontroversial document.

Greenstein points out in his article that the Jewish community has never spoken with a single, monolithic voice, that it has also been accepted by genuine anti-Semites like Hungary’s Viktor Orban and Michal Kaminski and the anti-Semitic Law and Justice Party of Poland.

He also points out that the definition has also been attacked by the Director of the Sears Institute for the Study of Anti-Semitism, Professor David Feldman, Hugh Tomlinson, QC, and the retired appeals court judge, Sir Stephen Sedley, who is himself Jewish.

Greenstein was so outraged by these articles, that he wrote several messages of protest to the I’s editor, Oliver Duff. But surprise, surprise!, he didn’t get an answer.

See: http://azvsas.blogspot.com/2018/08/duff-by-name-and-duff-by-nature-editor.html

Greenstein states that he has always found Kelner a superficial writer. I seem to remember that way back in the 1990s he regularly used to appear in Private Eye’s ‘Street of Shame’ column under the monicker, Simon ‘Pussy’ Kelner. No explanation was given for this soubriquet, but I do wonder whether it was because of a misogynist remark he may have made. Or perhaps it’s simply because he liked cats.

Regardless of this, his argument for demanding Labour adopts the I.H.R.A. definition simply boiled down to ‘All Jews demand it, and I’m Jewish, so I know what’s anti-Semitic’. It’s an easy argument to refute as not all Jews by any means demanded, being a member of a particular ethnic group does not necessarily give someone a privileged insight into what is or isn’t a racist slur or action against them.

It’s also extremely hypocritical for the Tories to use that argument. I can remember when the McPherson rules were first proposed, that a crime should be categorized as racist if the victim, a member of an ethnic minority, said it, the Tory papers went berserk. The Mail published articles attacking the very notion, fearing that White Brits would be smeared as racists simply on the say-so of Blacks and Asians.

In fact, as Mike has repeatedly pointed out in his article, the McPherson rules actually say no such thing. They state that if the victim believes they were racially abused or assaulted, then that is how it should be registered by the police. But the crime still has to be investigated the usual way, and it still needs to be shown that the crime was racially motivated.

In the case of the Tories’, Blairites’ and lamestream media’s attacks on Corbyn and the Labour party for anti-Semitism, absolutely none of this appears to have been done. And indeed, their is active resistance to it being done. You’re angrily smeared as an anti-Semite by the baying Zionist mob if you even dare ask for proof, as Pete Willetts did.

Although Greenstein published his article about three weeks ago, it’s still very relevant because Kelner was riding the same hobby horse again in his column this week. It’s headline proclaimed that he didn’t know he was a Jew, and was accompanied by a picture of an angry crowd all bearing placards accusing Corbyn of anti-Semitism. I didn’t bother reading on. I don’t think I needed to. The headline and photo said it all. And no doubt Kelner will continue going on saying the same smears and spurious arguments for as long as the Tories believe Labour’s a threat.

Which I hope will be a very long time indeed. I look forward to Corbyn, the most anti-racist politico, getting into No. 10 to the squawking fury of Kelner, Birrell, Duff and their readers. Assuming that they still have any by then.

Lawrence Davidson on Political Definitions of Anti-Semitism Stifling Criticism of Israel

May 6, 2017

Also last week another contributor to Counterpunch, Lawrence Davidson, wrote a piece critiquing and demolishing the highly politicised definitions of anti-Semitism, which have been adopted by the American State Department and our own government here in the UK. This working definition states that it is anti-Semitic to deny the Jewish people their right to self-determination through the criticism that the state of Israel ‘is a racist endeavour’.

He notes that this definition has allowed American and British Zionists to label critics of Israel as anti-Zionists, and for a variety of public organisations to ban various campaigns and events supporting Palestinian rights.

He also states that the British legal expert, Hugh Tomlinson, has concluded that this working definition is seriously flawed and unenforceable.

Davidson’s article goes on to note how other countries make a very sharp distinction between a nation’s government and its people. For example, while the Iranians are bitterly critical of America, they will state that they are friends of the American people. Israel, on the other hand, does the exact opposite. It identifies Jews everywhere with itself.

He also notes that while governments around the world are trying to make their societies more multicultural and pluralistic, a very few are doing the opposite. These include Myanmar (Burma) and Saudi Arabia. And, of course, Israel.

He states very clearly that Israel’s policies in this regard are a calculated insult to liberal, non-racist Jews:

What then has been the response of the Israeli government? It is, essentially, to spit in the face of Jews supportive of human rights. The Israelis seek to force the issue by using their influence and that of Zionist lobby surrogates to push for new laws in key foreign lands, such as the U.S. and the U.K., to make criticism of the Israeli state legally synonymous with anti-Semitism. The U.S. and British adoption of the suspect portion of the “working definition” of anti-Semitism cited here is a step in this direction, and a consequence of Zionist pressure.

He notes that this makes all critics of Israel anti-Semitic, even if they are Jewish. He also says that the American and British politicians, who have adopted this policy, have done so in opposition to their country’s movement to clamp down on racism. They have adopted this resolution through simple political expediency, to gain the support of the Zionists, who will pay very handsomely for it. He concludes

Their doing so seems to be an expression of the electoral marketplace. Politicians need money to survive in their chosen career. As long as it does not cost them an overwhelming number of votes, they will sell their support to high bidders. And, no one bids higher than the Zionists.

This means that democratic politics is most often not a principled activity. It can be idealized, of course, but as long as it is dependent on incessant fund-raising, it will be corrupt in practice. That is why the Zionists can easily arrange for most Western politicians to selectively suppress free speech in their own countries and support racism in Israel.

See http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/05/04/politicizing-anti-semitism/

This is exactly what has been done to vilify the critics of Israel and their legitimate opposition to its barbarous treatment of its indigenous Arab peoples. As I’ve said in very many other blog posts, the people Mike defended against the anti-Semitism smears, and now Mike himself, were libelled despite being genuinely anti-racist and determined opponents of anti-Semitism. These have included secular and Torah-observant Jews, many of whom have suffered anti-Semitic violence and abuse. Many of the gentiles, who have also been so maligned have also, I have no doubt, suffered personal attacks, physical and verbal, for their solidarity with Jewish friends and comrades.

This is an utter disgrace. I wish Mike and them every success in clearing their name, and combating the vile lies and slurs of the Israel lobby and organisations such as the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism and its parent organisation, the Israel Advocacy Movement.