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Norman Geras Falls Foul of Reading University’s ‘Prevent’ anti-Terrorism Strategy.

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Image result for Our Morals: The Ethics of Revolution'.

“Security-sensitive material,” Says Reading University.

Several days ago this story appeared on Twitter,

And then on Facebook.

As a result of PREVENT, an academic was required to send this to third year undergraduates taking an optional module […]. The required piece is Norman Geras’ ‘Our Morals: The Ethics of Revolution’.

Dear students,

As you will probably be aware, the last of the nine substantive topics considered in this module is the permissibility and appropriateness of revolutionary violence. As a result, the material covered in the module falls within the University’s understanding of its legal responsibilities under the UK Government’s PREVENT programme, which is designed to reduce the threat terrorism poses to the UK.

The University understands its responsibility to require it to control access to security-sensitive material, which includes but is not limited to material which might be thought to encourage the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism; material which would be useful in the commission of acts of terrorism; and material which glorifies acts of terrorism. Academic work defending the permissibility or appropriateness of revolutionary violence might well be thought to encourage the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism, and may glorify it, at least where terrorism is understood as the use of violence to encourage the government to do things – as it basically is in this context. As a result, you are now all apparently required to complete the form available through the link on ‘Learning Materials’ tab of the module’s Blackboard page and return it to Dr Firstname Lastname. If you are concerned about completing the form, please let me know. I also advise you to contact [the student union] if you find the University’s interpretation of the requirements of the policy in any way worrying, as I think you may well reasonably do so.

When completing the form, I suggest you fill the section ‘Material’ as follows:

The module includes a discussion of the conditions under which revolutionary violence may be acceptable. Students are required to read a journal article which defends the use of revolutionary violence, including against groups and individuals who are not members of the armed forces, in circumstances of obvious injustice, and several other academic pieces on the reading list cover similar topics and express similar views. These articles are widely available through electronic databases to which the University offers students access without any checks.

You should fill out the section ‘Relevance’ as follows:

It is not possible to discuss the possibility of permissible revolutionary violence without considering defences of the idea that some revolutionary violence is permissible and even justified.

I am very sorry that you have to do this. I was informed of this policy after I had put together the module for this year, and would have thought differently about what I included if I had known of its requirements. Please let me know if you have any questions.’

Martin Thomas, on the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty site flagged the story up.

Now the bizarre decision by reading University is on the Guardian website.

Prevent critics slam Reading for labelling ‘mainstream’ academic text as extremist

An essay by a prominent leftwing academic that examines the ethics of socialist revolution has been targeted by a leading university using the government’s counter-terrorism strategy.

Students at the University of Reading have been told to take care when reading an essay by the late Professor Norman Geras, in order to avoid falling foul of Prevent.

Third-year politics undergraduates have been warned not to access it on personal devices, to read it only in a secure setting, and not to leave it lying around where it might be spotted “inadvertently or otherwise, by those who are not prepared to view it”. The alert came after the text was flagged by the university as “sensitive” under the Prevent programme.

The essay, listed as “essential” reading for the university’s Justice and Injustice politics module last year, is titled Our Morals: The Ethics of Revolution. Geras was professor emeritus of government at the University of Manchester until his death in 2013. He rejected terrorism but argued that violence could be justified in the case of grave social injustices.

The University of Reading said: “Lecturers must inform students in writing if their course includes a text deemed security-sensitive, and then list which students they expect will have to access the material.

“As laid out in the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015, the University of Reading has put policies in place to take steps to prevent students being drawn into terrorism.” One aspect of this is to safeguard staff and students who access security-sensitive materials legitimately and appropriately used for study or research.”

Norman Geras’s writings were and are important to many people on the left.

To give just one example, I re-read his critique of the ‘post-Marxism’ of Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe only a few months ago: Post_Marxism New Left Review. 1/163 1987 and Ex-Marxism Without Substance (a reply to these writers’ response). New Left Review. 1/169. 1988.

They were followed his criticisms of post-modernism and the retreat from Marxism in  Seven Types of Obloquy: Travesties of Marxism (Socialist Register 1990)

Books such The Legacy of Rosa Luxemburg  (1983) and 1983Marx and Human Nature: Refutation of a Legend remain significant essays in democratic Marxist theory.

Like many on the left I had the chance to meet Norman, one of the most approachable of academics.

I had, and have, an interest in ethical theory and asked his opinions on Marxism and morality (see story above). We had some correspondence on the issue, covering what many consider to be the ethical void of Leninism.

In the Essay handled with Kid Gloves he wrote, that sometimes the need for justice trumps the absolute respect for human rights but that,

If there are indeed circumstances to make some moral crimes unavoidable, it is still necessary to have the rules and restraints which define them as crimes and which serve as a barrier against the avoidable ones. Socialists surely have good reason to be on their guard against forms of argument that are used to throw off all ethical constraints from around the conduct of war; and that were used, specifically, to justify opening the latest and potentially the most lethal chapter in the history of human warfare. Where there are established  parliamentary democracies, with a set of basic civil and political rights and freedoms protected under law, there is no right of revolution on account of tyranny. There is a right of social revolution – on account of grave injustice – against the capitalist forms of power, wealth and privilege over which these democracies preside, but the thing is complicated by the claim the latter make to democratic legitimacy.

You can read Our Morals: The Ethics of Revolution (Socialist Register 1989, pictured) through this link.

 

When Norman Geras backed the Euston Manifesto(2006), an initiative which my part of the left, the democratic Marxists, roundly criticised them (including an article I wrote in a left-wing paper)  I could not help but feel that this burning concern with justice continued to inspire him.

 

The Euston Manifesto was much less qualified on human rights,

We hold the fundamental human rights codified in the Universal Declaration to be precisely universal, and binding on all states and political movements, indeed on everyone. Violations of these rights are equally to be condemned whoever is responsible for them and regardless of cultural context. We reject the double standards with which much self-proclaimed progressive opinion now operates, finding lesser (though all too real) violations of human rights which are closer to home, or are the responsibility of certain disfavoured governments, more deplorable than other violations that are flagrantly worse. We reject, also, the cultural relativist view according to which these basic human rights are not appropriate for certain nations or peoples.

The Euston Manifesto  Norman Geras.

Reading University has reminded me, and others, not just that we miss Norman, but that it would be good to hear his views today.

I would enjoy hearing or reading his opinions on the work about human rights which some of us have developed, beginning from a different starting point in Claude Lefort and the more Marxist views of Étienne Balibar  and present days debates about Giorgio Agamben. Not to mention the book I am reading at present (in relation to Jacques Rancière’s theories of Dissensus and ‘post democracy’)   Relire la Révolution (2016) by Jean-Claude Milner which turns again to the “ethics of revolution”.

Reading University has also reminded us that there is no fool like a learned fool.

 

 

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Written by Andrew Coates

November 11, 2018 at 1:25 pm

The Armistice and the Literature of the Great War.

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Image result for the general sassoon

Siegfried Sassoon.

 

Both of my grandfathers fought in the Great War. My English forebear was, like his brothers, a socialist and a Clarion cyclist. Perhaps inspired by Robert Blatchford’s patriotic seizure at the outbreak of hostilities, Alfred, after a few pints with his friends, walking from Bethnal Green to the City, signed up. My Scottish ancestor,  James, was also a socialist. Less taken by the fight against the Boche and a member  of the ILP, which had a strong anti-war sentiments,  he was swept up by conscription.

I properly got know Alfred when, retired from his work in the Print, and very elderly, he and his wife moved to Bounds Green in North London. He talked of Dickens (I have his complete set) and his Labour beliefs, but never spoke about his war. My mother told me that he had been so desperate in the trenches that had tried to nerve himself up to shoot himself in the foot to get out as wounded. He told her that the officers had been brave, helped by spirits. My grandmother’s first husband, of Huguenot descent like her, had been killed. Left with a small child she got no support from his family. Alfred took to her. They married and had two other children.

Neither of my grandparents ever wore a Poppy. The East Ender said once a few words, not complimentary, about the British Legion who produce them. They did not need to display one; my parents never had one: I do not need to wear one.

Some of the books and poems that we read about the Great War stay in our hearts. Sassoon’s lines in Memoirs of a Fox Hunting Man (1928) “And here I was, with my knobkerrie in my hand, staring across at the enemy I’d never seen.” The words of An Irish Airman Foresees his Death (1919) “my country is Kiltartan Cross, My countrymen Kiltartan’s poor, No likely end could bring them loss, Or leave them happier than before.” (W.B. Yeats). And the immortal, “The Old Lie: dulce et decorum est, pro patria mori. (posthumously published in 1920, Wilfred Owen).

The chapters in Robert Graves’ Goodbye to All That (1929) on his harrowing service in the first wave of the Somme offensive, holds a special place in the literature. He captures “feeling “empty and lost” amongst the slaughter, death sentences for “cowardice”, army pettiness and incompetence, alongside the soldiers’ good sense and humour. Wounded in the cemetery at Bazentin-le-petit church on 20 July 1916 These experience is complemented by the memorable pages of Vera Brittain’s Testament of Youth on her work as a nurse  in the Voluntary Aid Detachment, which took her to london, Malta and  France.

The most obvious difference with literature in French and German is that authors from these countries were writing about battles taking place on their own landscape. Barbusse’s, vivid, trench language-filled,  Le Feu: journal d’une escouade, 1916 is blood and fury. Babusse added sonorous appeals against national hatred . With its passion it stands head and soldiers over the to-be-Panthonised, Maurice Genevoix’s Ceux de 14, photographic realism, gutted of politics. Ernst Jünger’s Stahlgewittern (Storm of Steel is technically one of the finest, but politically already full of the nationalism which wroke havoc in Germany.

There is more common decency and humanity in writers such as Graves than anything that a cheap-jack journalist or ‘radical’ has written in the last few days.

Sunday, one hopes, with see these cited amongst the witnesses of the Great War.

French President Macron Backs Down on Plan to Honour Pétain at Commemorative Ceremony.

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No automatic alt text available.

The Man Macron Wished to Honour…

CNN reports,

The French government has backed down over apparent plans to pay tribute to Marshal Philippe Pétain — who collaborated with the Nazis in the deportation of Jews from France during World War II — as part of commemorations to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.

French President Emmanuel Macron came under fire Wednesday after he said it was “legitimate” to honour Pétain’s role as a “great soldier” in World War I.
Hours later, French government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux said in a Facebook post that no tribute would be paid to Pétain in Saturday’s ceremony.
We had announced that we would honour the marshals of the Great War. Some have deduced that Pétain was one of them; this is not the case. If there was confusion, it was because we were not clear enough on that point,” Griveaux said.

 

This follows this in le Monde which gives a different version of the story to that spun by Griveaux.

Macron dénonce une « fausse polémique » sur Pétain, qui ne sera pas honoré le 10 novembre

Le chef de l’Etat a d’abord jugé « légitime » d’honorer le maréchal de 14-18 et dirigeant de Vichy. La présidence a finalement annoncé qu’il n’était pas dans la cérémonie aux Invalides.

The Head of State had at first judged it legitimate to honour the Marshal of the Great War, and the Vichy leader. The Presidency has in the end announced that he will not be commemorated in the official ceremony at the Invalides.

Macron notably stated that one could not rub out the role of Pétain in the Great War.

 Il a été un grand soldat, c’est une réalité. La vie politique comme l’humaine nature sont parfois plus complexes que ce qu’on voudrait croire (…). J’ai toujours regardé l’histoire de notre pays en face. »

He was an important, a great, soldier, that’s the truth. Political life, like human nature, is sometimes more complicated than one would wish to believe. I have always looked history straight in the face.

Many were quick to challenge the role of the Army leadership during that conflict, citing executions of their own soldiers, and the giant causality rates in all the armies.

But the key note was Pétain’s  collaboration with the Nazis.

Clearly earlier attempts to ward off this link failed:

As this did not work they tried to claim that there was never any intention to honour Pétai:

 

Which as I write – nice try Griveaux – is flopping completely.

The response began at lunch-time…..

Background:

French President Emmanuel Macron waded into controversy Wednesday by praising a general who helped win World War I but became a top Nazi collaborator in World War II – comments that triggered outrage among French Jews.

Marshal Philippe Petain’s name appears alongside seven other top military chiefs to be honored this Saturday in a ceremony at the Invalides monument, site of Napoleon’s tomb, to mark the centenary of the end of World War 1.

Touring battlefields ahead of a formal commemoration of the Nov. 11, 1918, armistice that ended the war, Macron said Petain was worthy of the honor for his leading role in the World War I victory.

“Marshal Petain was also a great soldier during World War I” even though he made “fatal choices during the Second World War,” Macron said in the northern town of Charleville-Mezieres.

Written by Andrew Coates

November 8, 2018 at 5:57 pm

Roger Scruton Scandal, the “detachment of a Superior Being” faced with the Rabble.

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Fortnight’s Anger, Roger Scruton: “These commissars of political correctness aren’t fit to tie his boots.”

“Roger Scruton claimed sexual harassment “just means sexual advances made by the unattractive” and said date rape victims were “withdrawing consent in retrospect”.

Alex Wickham

BuzzFeed continues,

Conservative pundits leapt to the defence of Scruton in response to BuzzFeed News’ revelations yesterday.

The commentator Toby Young said it was “depressing to see the social media cops trawl through everything Roger Scruton’s ever written in the hope of finding things to be offended by”.

Historian Niall Ferguson praised Scruton as “the greatest living Englishman”, adding: “If only he could be prime minister.” The Guido Fawkes blog tweeted: “He is a moral giant being attacked by midgets.”

Update: Following publication of this article, Roger Scruton said in a statement:

“These highly selective quotes grossly misrepresent an entire lecture. I was in no way suggesting that victims of date rape are not victims of a crime and could have worded my point differently to make this clearer. I’ve spent my life arguing for greater respect between men and women and anyone who takes the time to read my books or listen to my lectures will realise this.”

One of Spiked’s minions writes,

Roger Scruton: thoughtcriminal?

One of his supposedly controversial comments unearthed by Buzzfeedis, ironically, about the marginalisation of conservative viewpoints. ‘In a society devoted to inclusion, the only “phobia” permitted is that of which conservatives are the target’, Scruton wrote, adding that conservatives are ‘frequently marginalised or even demonised as representatives of one of the forbidden “isms” or “phobias” of the day – racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia, etc’.

Those calling for Scruton to be sacked are proving his point. You do not have to agree with a single thing he says to see that the intolerance towards his conservative views has been remarkable and alarming.

Another flunky fumes,

Don’t let the offendotrons take down Scruton

If Twitter offendotrons manage to get Maybot and Co to sack Sir Roger Scruton from his new job advising Building Better, Building Beautiful on housing policy, you can safely stick a fork in British civil society. It’s done.

Poor old Scruton:

Written by Andrew Coates

November 8, 2018 at 12:58 pm

Pakistan: Islamists Win Right to Appeal Asia Bibi ‘Blasphemy’ Case – a “death Warrant”.

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Islamists Have Won Right to Appeal Asia Bibi’s Acquittal. 

Asia Bibi’s lawyer leaves Pakistan citing threats to his life

The lawyer who saved Asia Bibi, a Christian woman convicted of blasphemy, from the gallows left the country on Saturday, saying his life was under threat.

Saiful Mulook’s latest victory saw the freeing of Asia Bibi, who spent nearly a decade on death row, after the Supreme Court overturned her sentence on Wednesday.

The decision sparked protests across the country, with major roads blocked in Lahore and Islamabad as religious hardliners called for the death of the judges and those who helped acquit Bibi.

“In the current scenario, it’s not possible for me to live in Pakistan,” the 62-year-old told AFP before boarding a plane to Europe early Saturday morning.

“I need to stay alive as I still have to fight the legal battle for Asia Bibi,” he said.

This is the crucial point:

On Friday night, the Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan party (TLP), which has largely led the demonstrations, announced an end to mass protestsafter reaching a deal with the government.

A five-point agreement seen by AFP, signed by both parties, said the government would not object to an appeal of the verdict, filed earlier in the Supreme Court.

CNN have published the details of this capitulation to the racist far-right,

The terms of the TLP agreement, reached Friday night, include a pledge by the government not to oppose an application by movement members to add Bibi to a list preventing her from leaving the country.

Bibi was still in jail Saturday at an undisclosed location in Pakistan, her lawyer, Saiful Malook, told CNN. Earlier in the week, he said she would need to move to a Western country for her own safety. At least two Western countries have offered Bibi asylum after her release, CNN understands.

Pakistan’s government also agreed not to oppose a review petition filed against the Supreme Court’s judgment in Bibi’s case, to release everyone detained in connection with the protests and to take legal action regarding deaths that may have occurred during the protests.”

The Dawn article continues,

When asked about the outcry, Mulook said it was “unfortunate but not unexpected”.

“What’s painful is the response of the government. They cannot even implement an order of the country’s highest court,” he said, adding that “the struggle for justice must continue”.

According to the agreement, which came after a failed first round of talks, legal proceedings will follow to impose a travel ban on Bibi and stop her leaving the country.

“Her life would be more or less the same, either inside a prison or in solitary confinement for security fears” until a decision on the appeal, said Mulook.

The TLP, founded in 2015, blockaded the capital Islamabad for several weeks last year calling for stricter enforcement of Pakistan’s controversial blasphemy laws.

That protest forced the resignation of the federal law minister and paved the way for the group to poll more than 2.23 million votes in the July 25 general election, in what analysts called a “surprisingly” rapid rise.

Asia Bibi: Lawyer flees Pakistan in fear of his life

BBC.

The lawyer representing a Christian woman acquitted of blasphemy after eight years on death row has fled Pakistan in fear for his life.

Saif Mulook told news agency AFP he had to leave so he could continue to represent Asia Bibi, whose conviction was overturned by judges on Wednesday.

Officials have since agreed to bar Ms Bibi from leaving Pakistan in order to end violent protests over the ruling.

Campaigners blasted the deal as akin to signing her “death warrant”.

Asia Bibi was convicted in 2010 of insulting the Prophet Muhammad during a row with neighbours, and many are calling for the reinstatement of the death penalty following her acquittal.

Mr Mulook told the BBC earlier this week she would need to move to a Western country for her own safety. A number of attempts have previously been made on her life.

Several countries have offered her asylum.

Many people on the left have, for many years,  ignored the growth in the Islamist far-right.

Al Jazeera however offers some background on the latest addition to these totalitarian movements which place religion, in the form of a racism against all non-Muslims and hatred against all but their own idea of ‘true’ Muslims,  at the heart of their ideology.

Tehreek-e-Labbaik: New far right campaigns against ‘blasphemy’

Hardline party, which formed last year, rallies support by focusing its political messaging on religious ideology.

The narrow streets of Lahore’s Mazang neighbourhood echo with the sounds of dozens of young men, as someone showers them with rose petals.

They wind their way through this congested, working-class quarter in Pakistan’s second city, some on foot, others mounted on motorcycles.

“Labbaik, labbaik, labbaik ya Rasool Allah!” they chant, raising their arms. “We stand, we stand, we stand with you, O Allah’s prophet!”

Waving brightly coloured green flags, they continue, in tune with an election song: “Hang them, hang them!”.

Meet the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), Pakistan’s newest hardline religious party, which calls for blasphemers to be put to death and celebrates those who have murdered the alleged perpetrators.

A year ago, this kind of a political rally, in the heart of the political base of Pakistan’s ruling party, would have been unthinkable.

Formed last year, the TLP has performed credibly in by-elections, first springing to prominence when it challenged the PML-N in this Lahore neighbourhood, securing more than 7,000 votes and finishing third in a poll where its candidate was a virtual unknown.

That vote was for the parliamentary seat vacated by PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif, who was dismissed as prime minister by the Supreme Court over corruption allegations. A final verdict in the corruption cases against him is expected on Friday.

Now, the TLP is set to put up more than 550 candidates for national and provincial assembly seats across the country, and is confident it can mobilise a religiously-motivated vote on the basis of its anti-blasphemy and anti-corruption agenda.

Blasphemy is a central issue for the party, whose leaders follow the Barelvi sect, a South Asian branch of Sunni Islam that places emphasis on the personage of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad.

“When it involves the honour of the Prophet Muhammad, the finality of his prophethood or the dishonouring of his person, then every Muslim will become an extremist,” says Ejaz Ashrafi, a senior TLP leader, in an interview with Al Jazeera.

….

Led by firebrand far-right scholar Khadim Hussain Rizvi, the TLP mobilised thousands to block a major highway into the capital, Islamabad, for three weeks in November over a minor change to an electoral oath that Rizvi claimed amounted to “blasphemy”.

….

“If they give me the atom bomb, I’ll immediately bomb Holland, before they are able to hold any caricature competitions on the prophet,” he told reporters.

What have been the reactions of official British Muslim organisations, many of which have strong ties to Pakistan, to this horrific case?

What about campaigns that have opposed the racism of Tommy Robinson and his supporters?

Have any defended Asia Bibi, a victim of religious racism?

Have they condemned the Islamist far-right in Pakistan?

We are still waiting to hear any statements. 

Written by Andrew Coates

November 3, 2018 at 1:23 pm

Coptic Christians Murdered in Attack on Coach in Egypt.

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Image result for coptes tuees en car

Violence against Egyptian Christians is on the rise again (Photo: le Matin)

Gunmen killed at least seven people and wounded 14 others when they opened fire on a bus driving towards a Coptic Christian monastery in Egypt on Friday, the Archbishop in Minya said.

France 24.

A security official confirmed the attack in Minya province, adding that there were “dead and wounded”.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack on people travelling to St. Samuel the Confessor monastery in Minya, 260 km (160 miles) south of Cairo.

Egypt: Deadly attack on bus headed to Coptic Christian monastery

Al Jazeera

Several reported dead and wounded following assault on vehicle headed towards monastery in Minya, south of Cairo.

Al-Azhar, evangelical community condemn ‘despicable’ Minya attack

 

CAIRO – 2 November 2018: Egypt’s top Sunni authority Al-Azhar and the Evangelical community issued statements Friday strongly condemning the ‘despicable’ attack that killed seven Copts who were taking a bus in Minya.

The attack took place near a monastery in Upper Egypt’s Minya. Al-Azhar called the crime “heinous” and affirmed strong will and determination of Egyptians to combat terrorism.

In a statement Friday, Al-Azhar said: “the perpetrators of this cowardly act of terrorism are criminals stripped of humanity. They are far from the teachings of religions that call for coexistence; peace; renunciation of violence, hatred and terrorism, and criminalization of killing innocents.”

The statement added, “Targeting Egyptians will only increase their determination to move forward and united in their war against terrorism.”

Al-Azhar also expressed sincere condolences to all Egyptians and to the families of the innocent victims of Friday’s attack.

At least seven people were announced killed and seven others wounded after the bus was attacked near the monastery of Saint Samuel the Confessor, according to the security source.

Background:  Christians in Egypt face unprecedented persecution, report says.  Harriet Sherwood

Guardian. January 2018.

Christians in Egypt are facing unprecedented levels of persecution, with attacks on churches and the kidnap of girls by Islamist extremists intent on forcing them to marry Muslims, a report says.

In the past year, Egypt has moved up an annual league table of persecution of Christians compiled by the charity Open Doors. According to its World Watch List, North Korea is still the most dangerous country in the world in which to be a Christian, and Nepal has had the biggest increase in persecution.

But Egypt, home to the largest Christian community in the Middle East, is of particular worry. Officially about 10% of the 95 million population are Christian, although many believe the figure is significantly higher.

The overwhelming majority are Orthodox, with up to 1 million evangelical Christians and 250,000 Catholics. Orthodox Christians celebrated Christmas on Sunday amid tight security, days after at least 11 were killed in attacks. The president, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, attended midnight mass at a new cathedral 30 miles (45km) east of the capital as tens of thousands of armed soldiers patrolled streets around churches all over Egypt.

According to Open Doors, 128 Christians were killed in Egypt for their faith and more than 200 were driven out of their homes in 2017. It attributed the rise in persecution to “the overspill of Islamic terrorists driven out of Iraq and Syria”.

Written by Andrew Coates

November 2, 2018 at 6:09 pm

Tony Greenstein – welcome at Jewish Voice for Labour event – Defends Jenny Tongue.

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” fair question” says Greenstein.

At the recent Labour Party Conference this was reported,

Expelled Labour activists welcomed at JVL fringe meeting

Greenstein given platform by Corbynite group, as sources say Labour using Palestine debate to deflect from antisemitism row.

The JVL meeting also saw Tony Greenstein – expelled by Labour  in February over his use of antisemitic  slurs, including the offensive term “Zio” – deliver a speech in which he said: “We need to be quite clear, the purpose of the witch hunt is not to get rid of individuals. Its purpose is to topple Jeremy Corbyn.” He added: “Antisemitism is a stick to beat the left with.”

Jewish Chronicle.

Here is what Greenstein says today,

We Demand that Palestine Solidarity Campaign Rejects the Resignation of Jenny Tonge as Patron.

Cowardice Beyond the Call of Duty – PSC forces Jenny Tonge’s resignation and Briefs Against Her

Greenstein’s latest rant is too tedious to reproduce in full but is summed up in his letter here.

Just to make it clearer:

 Jenny’s observation that Israel’s attacks against Palestinians are stirring up anti-Semitism in the West is a fact.  Zionist bodies go out of their way to say that Jews, all Jews, support Israel’s attacks against the Palestinians. Only recently the Board of Deputies defended Israel’s shooting of unarmed Palestinians in Gaza. Is it surprising that when the self-proclaimed body that represents British Jews supports Israel’s murderous actions in Gaza that some people will then blame and even attack British Jews?

And,

The attacks on Jenny Tonge are wholly hypocritical and for PSC Executive and its Secretary Ben Sofa, to have bowed before the tide of Zionist hypocrisy, beggars belief. If PSC Executive don’t retract and either refuse to accept Jenny’s resignation or alternatively invite her to reconsider then I shall move a motion of censure on PSC Executive at the forthcoming AGM.

Now most people would say the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign acted with commendable speed and resolution.

As in this:

In a statement, the PSC said: “Baroness Tonge has offered to stand down as a patron of PSC. In agreeing with this course of action, PSC wishes to acknowledge the enormous work Baroness Tonge has done over many years to bring attention to the injustices suffered by the Palestinian people and to campaign for them to be brought to an end.”

In full:

Baroness Tonge has offered to stand down as a patron of PSC. In agreeing with this course of action, PSC wishes to acknowledge the enormous work Baroness Tonge has done over many years to bring attention to the injustices suffered by the Palestinian people and to campaign for them to be brought to an end.

In the aftermath of the massacre of 11 Jewish worshipers at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Baroness Tonge posted a comment on Facebook that suggested Israel’s policies and its treatment of the Palestinians could be contributing to a rise in anti Semitism generally. Baroness Tonge subsequently removed the post.

PSC regards the original post to be deeply troubling. Whilst the post acknowledged that the killings were appalling and a criminal act, it risked being read as implying that antisemitism can only be understood in the context of a response to Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. Such a view risks justifying or minimising antisemitism.

PSC understands antisemitism to be prejudice, hostility or hatred towards Jews as Jews. It is never to be condoned or justified. The killings in Pittsburgh were an appalling crime motivated by antisemitism and we stand shoulder to shoulder with Jewish communities in opposition to antisemitism and all other forms of racism.

 

Will Jewish Voice for Labour do the same and break all ties with this apologist for Carol Tongue’s distasteful views?

Further information:

Antisemitism allegations against Tony Greenstein

Statement by Jewish Voice for Labour, 26 November 2017.

We have reviewed the bulky dossier of material presented as evidence against Tony Greenstein by the Governance and Legal Unit of the Labour Party. To those of us who have known him for many years as a Jewish socialist and an implacable opponent of racism and antisemitism in any form, it is no surprise to find that the dossier does not offer any remotely persuasive substantiation of claims of antisemitism.

There is undoubtedly evidence of language which we would not want to be associated with. But as Shami Chakrabarti stated in her report, even offensive language on its own is only antisemitic if it is coupled with antisemitic intent. Such intent cannot be demonstrated in Tony Greenstein’s case because it is absent.

There are many critical comments we could make about this disciplinary process. We will limit ourselves to one, the issue of representation. Party members with sufficient financial resources are entitled to instruct a lawyer to represent them. Those who cannot afford one are only allowed to have a ‘silent friend’. This clearly discriminates against less affluent party members and in particular against less affluent and less articulate party members who are denied the support of a knowledgeable friend or colleague to speak on their behalf.

 

Written by Andrew Coates

October 31, 2018 at 6:03 pm