Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Jon Lansman, Tony Greenstein, Ann Black and Christine Shawcroft.

with 10 comments

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Left NEC Success.

In Patrick Cockburn’s Chaos and Caliphate: Jihadis and the West in the struggle for the Middle East (2016) the author compares the effects of the multiple civil wars in the Middle East to the mass murders, ethnic and religious cleanings that followed the fall of the Ottoman Empire, and the history of Eastern Europe in the decade after 1939. Hundreds of thousands have died, murders have culminated in  acts of genocide, whole communities have been uprooted – the fate of the Christians and other non-Muslim minorities is dire,  Shia and Sunni sectarian battles rage, the Kurds are (again, today) menaced by Turkey, and there are millions of refugees. Governments routinely use torture. Daesh, is still around, after having, as Cockburn puts it, tried to create an Islamic ‘Khmer Rouge” state.

Despite this, or perhaps because of this, some people on the left continue to consider that Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians  is the central international issue the Labour Party should be taking up, not only in the region, but  globally.

This has reverberated to damaging effect inside the Labour Party. Apart from a hyper-sensitivity – given the gravity of the some of the language and images ‘Anti-Zionists’ have employed against Israel, an understandable reaction –  there are those who wish to bring alongside Corbyn’s success their own overwhelming interest in promoting the hardline anti-Zionist side on the issue.

Militant anti-Zionism is contentious, it avoids confronting the apocalyptic destruction that is happening right now in Syria and Iraq, not to mention Yemen and elsewhere.

It is divisive, and promoted, no doubt by a minority, as such.

Such a reaction came with the results of Labour’s NEC and particularly with this from one of the dividers, Tony Greenstein,

The witch-hunting of socialists under the bogus pretext of anti-Semitism, i.e. opponents of the world’s only Apartheid state, Israel, is coming to an end in the Labour Party.

Greenstein, considers that the religious and sexual apartheid of states and militias inspired by varieties of Islamism and the mass killings taking place in the region  unworthy of his attention.

He is clear about own thing, and indeed yelps with joy at it, above all the attention he has received in the wake of a result to which he contributed nothing,

A Momentous Day for Democracy as Chief Witch-hunter, Ann Black is sacked

Christine Shawcroft is a good socialist and she has stuck up for her principles in the past, notably over her support for Lutfur Rahman, the Mayor of Tower Hamlets.

No doubt Greenstein, revelling in this “success” forgets this (Jewish Chronicle 2016),

Mr Lansman says there is no reason why Zionist Labour supporters cannot find a place in the Corbyn Labour Party.

“I have Zionist friends in the party. Jeremy supports the existence of Israel, he wants peace and co-existence. Why should Israel supporters not have a place in Labour? Of course they should. I’ve been arguing for two states long before it was acceptable within the Jewish community to argue for two states.

Many will agree with this. A critical stand towards the Israeli government, and backing for – however difficult it may seem at present, a comprise two state solution. This is not the militant anti-Zionist view which is against the existence of  Israel.

In his jouissance Greenstein may have equally forgotten this,  (Jewish Chronicle December 26th 2017), another interview with Jon Lansman,

He described Mr Greenstein – a Jewish anti-Zionist who has been suspended from the party over comments he made about Jewish MP Louise Ellman – as “probably the rudest person I know in politics. He says many offensive things, most of the time”.

On the NEC elections like many people I am happy with the result – not least because the candidates I voted for won.

I am not happy that Ann Black is no longer chair – the details of her politics and decisions are less important than that she is a respected person (I was part of the original Grassroots Alliance that backed her). She has stood up to supporters of Tony Blair in the past. Ann is particularly liked for having kept in close contact with ordinary members during her service on the NEC.

Christine has many good qualities but like many people I have concerns – illustrated not just by her support for the anti-Labour Lutfur Rahman (and the involvement of her close allies with this individual)  but also  her own split as part of the ‘Original’ Labour Briefing with the ‘LRC’ Labour Briefing (Labour Briefing… and now there are two). Her qualifications for the role as the neutral chair of the Disputes Panel do not look promising.



Written by Andrew Coates

January 18, 2018 at 1:20 pm

10 Responses

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  1. I am concerned that too much internet bandwith is wasted on words by Tony Grenstein or about him. I am not convinced that it is good for the environment.


    January 18, 2018 at 1:57 pm

  2. Hi Andrew, could we republish this no The Clarion, possibly with a reply?

    Sacha Ismail

    Clarion Magazine

    January 18, 2018 at 5:20 pm

  3. Absolutely.

    Andrew Coates

    January 18, 2018 at 5:21 pm

  4. All that has happened is that Labour is now even more unelectable with Lufur Rahman apologist Shawcroft and property speculator Lansman giving the Tories yet more open goals.

    Dave Roberts

    January 19, 2018 at 12:31 am

  5. “she is also known for having voted in favour of referring Jackie Walker’s suspension on trumped-up charges of anti-Semitism to the NCC. Having been a long-standing member of the Labour Representation Committee, she split in 2012 because of the organisation’s “ultra-leftism” and helped to found a second magazine with the name Labour Briefing.18 The one which is now officially published by the LRC was becoming too leftwing for her and her five co-thinkers. Shawcroft has also been on the wrong side during the ‘Lansman coup’ and – in a rather pathetic effort to prove that Lansman does not run Momentum – agreed to become the ‘director’ of the Momentum company on the very day of that coup:


    Andrew Coates

    January 19, 2018 at 12:08 pm

  6. “Christine has many good qualities but like many people I have concerns – illustrated not just by her support for the anti-Labour Lutfur Rahman (and the involvement of her close allies with this individual) but also her own split as part of the ‘Original’ Labour Briefing with the ‘LRC’ Labour Briefing (Labour Briefing… and now there are two).”

    I agree with you about her support for Lufthur Rahman but on reflection she might have been right about Labour Briefing. The LRC has never been any good at intervening into labour. No motions to labour conference came from the LRC no one won a position on a LRC slate. LRC focussed on turning the labour left towards the movements and extra labour left. The old briefing was much more focussed on winning battles within Labour. As a house journal of the LRC Briefing is pretty generic lefty magazine. Not an organising tool for the labour rank and file.

    dave kirk

    January 19, 2018 at 5:01 pm

  7. Yes, a fair balance sheet of the result of the LRC’s activities.

    Have you ever been to their AGMs?

    I recall Gerry Downing making a lengthy speech at one…

    Now even if he and his ilk are marginalised their presence in itself is of- putting.

    Andrew Coates

    January 20, 2018 at 1:03 pm

  8. Greenstein has developed a taste for “witch-hunts” of his own.

    “PSC nationally has suspended Teesside Organiser Mehdi Husaini from membership but it is essential that he is expelled”

    “one person in particular, Mehdi Husaini, who regularly posts virulently anti-Jewish material. I don’t know whether he personally hates or dislikes Jews nor do I much care. I am quite prepared to believe that he welcomes Jewish anti-Zionists but on the other hand he is prepared to post and distribute the most offensive and vicious anti-Semitic material and at the end of the day it is not his subjective intentions but what he does that matters.”


    He reproduces an extensive number of writings from this person, including vile images, as evidence, worth noting for those who claim that anti-Semitism can never cross-over with….anti-Zionism).

    Andrew Coates

    January 20, 2018 at 5:40 pm

  9. I’ll ignore the rest of the comments. If Andrew Coates think my exclusive expose of the antisemitic Mehdi Husein is a ‘witch hunt’ then he is even more bonkers than I thought. Clearly Husein was not antiZionist but anti-Semitic. Of course these days most neo-Nazis and far right parties are pro-Zioniist and why not. What is there not to like about Israeli apartheid?

    Tony Greenstein

    January 22, 2018 at 9:50 am

  10. […] Jon Lansman, Tony Greenstein, Ann Black and Christine Shawcroft. […]

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