WeeklyWorker

30.07.2020
Kate Knight: full of illusions in Corbyn

Destroyed by fake ‘anti-Semitism’

The pro-Starmer right has succeeded in bringing down Brighton and Hove’s Labour administration, writes Tony Greenstein

In barely a week Brighton and Hove council has changed hands. Labour, which previously ran the council as the largest party, with 20 seats to the Greens’ 19, has lost three councillors to the Zionist ‘anti-Semitism’ witch-hunt.

One, Anne Pissaridou, was suspended and assumed to have lost the whip, although it seems she has been kept in the group to sustain Labour’s numbers. As for Kate Knight, she was immediately suspended for a series of social media posts which defended Jeremy Corbyn and poured scorn on the fake anti-Semitism campaign. Quite amazingly, it seems that simply retweeting a statement by the Jewish Socialists Group counts as ‘anti-Semitism’ under Keir Starmer’s Orwellian regime. ‘Anti-Semitism’ now means anything Israel’s supporters want it to mean. Free speech under Sir Keir has become one more casualty of the Zionist lobby. After being suspended, Kate promptly resigned from the Labour Party.

A third councillor, Nikki Brennan, who had been ‘under investigation’ for having taken part in a lobby of the council in October 2018 against its adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Association ‘definition’ of anti-Semitism, also resigned from Labour. She had been subject to considerable bullying by rightwing members of the Labour group. This left the Greens as the largest party, with 19 members, compared to Labour’s 18. As for the IHRA ‘definition’, anti-Semites such as Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orbán, are quite happy with it. It redefines anti-Semitism as criticism of Israel and Zionism, as opposed to hostility to Jews.

What is outrageous is that this McCarthyite witch-hunt is being led by the Jewish Labour Movement - the overseas wing of the almost extinct Israeli Labor Party. The ILP, which for 30 years controlled every Israeli government, now has just three seats in Israel’s Knesset and is tipped to lose them at the next election.

The ILP is the racist party which carried out the expulsion of three quarters of a million Palestinians in 1948 and created the structures of Israeli apartheid that exist today. It is a party which supports the deportation of Israel’s black African refugees, because they are not Jewish, and supports the segregation of Jews and Arabs. Its ‘sister party’, the Jewish Labour Movement, is therefore in an ideal position to judge what is and is not ‘anti-Semitic’, don’t you think?

Kate Knight was suspended for posting that there was no anti-Semitism crisis in the Labour Party. This was actually the view of 77% of Labour’s membership in a poll conducted in 2018.1 However, telling the truth does not make you immune from being called an ‘anti-Semite’. Today, as we have always said, the witch-hunt is about criticism of Israel, not hatred of Jews - the traditional definition of anti-Semitism.

So now mere denial of being anti-Semitic is itself proof of ‘anti-Semitism’. This is the kind of ‘justice’ that now operates under Keir Starmer, a former director of public prosecutions. It is unfortunate that Jeremy Corbyn, being the weak leader that he was, laid the basis for what Starmer is now presiding over. It was Corbyn who introduced the fast-track procedures for expelling people. It was pushed through Labour Party conference with the promise it would only be used for “egregious cases”. In fact it is being used in every ‘anti-Semitism’ case. One can only hope that Sir Keir does not propose that in future, if someone pleads not guilty in a court, then that is considered proof of guilt!

The tragedy is that Jeremy Corbyn thought he could appease the Zionist lobby, who are the outriders for western imperialism, by throwing people like Ken Livingstone and Chris Williamson to the wolves. He appeased and apologised, never seeming to realise that, the more he did so, the more they would come after him. As Mick McGahey, the miners’ leader once said, “They’ll stop chasing you, when you stop running.” Corbyn never stopped running.

Labour’s racist right are quite happy to destroy Labour councils if they think it will destroy the left in the Labour Party - even if that means handing over power to their political opponents, in this case the Greens. Historically there has never been any difference between Labour’s foreign policy, such as support for Nato and imperialist wars, and that of the Tories. It is called bipartisanship. Zionism, which embodies that bipartisanship, is the policy of the Tories and ruling class and this is why Starmer is a self-declared 100% Zionist. As he told the Times of Israel,

I do support Zionism. I absolutely support the right of Israel to exist as a homeland. My only concern is that Zionism can mean slightly different things to different people, and … to some extent it has been weaponised. I wouldn’t read too much into that. I said it loud and clear - and meant it - that I support Zionism without qualification.2

The suggestion that Zionism “means slightly different things to different people” demonstrates why Starmer is a 100% racist. To him the Palestinians are invisible. The idea that Palestinians, who have been expelled from their homes, tortured, tear-gassed, bombed and seen their land and homes demolished, see Zionism in a “slightly different” way is obscene.

It is like saying that Jews saw Nazism in a “slightly different” way from the Nazis. It is an absurd comment from the ruling class dummy who now leads the Labour Party. That Corbyn appointed Starmer as his shadow Brexit secretary, despite his participation in the chicken coup,3 is testimony to his lousy judgement.

Independent

What the three councillors should do now is work together as an independent socialist group on Brighton and Hove council. Given that she is suspended, Anne Pissaridou would do well to resign from Labour. They have more chance of remaining councillors and being re-elected in 2023 by working together than remaining separate.

Kate Knight has led the campaign in her Moulsecoomb and Bevendean ward against the attempt of the government to turn the local primary school into an academy. There has been fierce resistance by local working class parents against no less than three academy trusts, which have been forced to pull out by determined resistance from parents and the National Education Union. One of them - the New Academy Trust - has complained: “Opposition for New Horizon’s sponsorship of Moulsecoomb from parents, staff and Brighton politicians has been strong, with protests and even a mock funeral being staged.”4

One of the two other Labour councillors in the ward is Daniel Yates - a fanatical non-Jewish Zionist and racist, who as leader forced the council to adopt the Zionist agenda of redefining anti-Semitism as criticism of Israel. Yates has played no part in the anti-academy campaign. Previously he chaired the local Health and Wellbeing Board, which was charged by NHS England with implementing cuts in the health service.

This is the same Daniel Yates who told The Argus that he was “ashamed of being a Labour city councillor” following Anne Pissaridou’s actions in sharing posts deemed to be anti-Semitic - even though she apologised for “any distress I have caused to the Jewish community”. After all, “This happened several years ago, before I was a councillor, and the posts I shared do not reflect my views.”5

But merely forwarding posts was enough for Yates. Note that he was not ashamed that the Labour government supplied weapons to Saudi Arabia. Nor was Yates ashamed that socialists and anti-racists are suspended by Labour at the behest of Israel - the world’s only apartheid state. A state whose own prime minister declares that Israel is not a state of all of its citizens, but only of those who are Jewish.6 But that is, of course, what a ‘Jewish’ state is all about and what the IHRA misdefinition of anti-Semitism is designed to protect.

The real agenda of people like Yates is demonstrated by the reaction of Keir Starmer to the news that Rachel Reeves MP, a member of his shadow cabinet, tweeted in support of a statue to commemorate Lady Nancy Astor, an ardent Hitler supporter, a member of the pro-Nazi Cliveden set, who cheered the Nazi takeover of the Rhineland in 1936.

Astor had once told MP Alan Graham, “Only a Jew like you would dare to be rude to me”, and also commented that it would have to take much more than Hitler giving a “rough time” to “the killers of Christ” before she could support the launch of an “Armageddon to save them”, according to the book The Kennedys at war: 1937-1945. Strangely enough, Starmer refused to even discuss Reeves’ support for Astor and neither the Board of Deputies of British Jews nor the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism were at all bothered by this genuine example of anti-Semitism - after all, Rachel Reeves is a signed-up Zionist.

Like Kate Knight, Nikki Brennan has been a long-time campaigner over housing issues and against homelessness. She too is an active, campaigning councillor. Both have a chance of being re-elected in their own right as part of an independent socialist group that challenges the increasingly ineffective Labour group led by Nancy Platts. Platts is a former Corbyn supporter, who is desperately trying to appease the right wing of the group and the local Zionists.7

It is likely that more Brighton councillors will be subject to the ‘anti-Semitism’ witch-hunt, as the right seeks to eliminate supporters of Corbyn from the Labour group. The right has no qualms in handing over power to the Green Party - despite the fact that when they last ran the council Brighton’s Greens were no different from the Tories or Lib Dems.

The Greens, when they were in office last time around, sought a conflict with refuse workers (which they lost). They also imposed on Brighton, with the support of the Tories, the white elephant called the ‘i360 viewing tower’ - otherwise known as ‘the eyesore’. The i360 is a tall, vertical column with a pod containing people, which goes up and down. It was claimed that it would make Brighton £1 million a year and the Greens were gullible enough to believe it. But the original £36.2 million loan to finance it has now gone up to £38.9 million - some 5% of Brighton council’s overall budget.

All of this is, of course, of no consequence to Daniel Yates. Having the Greens take power is a small price to pay for getting rid of socialists and anti-racists.

My advice to the remaining socialists in the Labour group is to think very carefully about whether or not they should form an arrangement with a new Independent Socialist Group - or indeed whether they should join it.


  1. itv.com/news/2018-03-31/poll-labour-party-anti-semitism.↩︎

  2. timesofisrael.com/keir-starmer-elected-uk-labour-chief-apologizes-to-jews-for-party-anti-semitism.↩︎

  3. See skwawkbox.org/2019/12/21/starmer-resigned-during-chicken-coup-because-others-had.↩︎

  4. brightonandhovenews.org/2019/12/16/moulsecoomb-primary-academy-sponsor-pulls-out-and-says-school-now-faces-closure.↩︎

  5. theargus.co.uk/news/18584130.former-leader-speaks-suspension-fellow-councillor.↩︎

  6. theguardian.com/world/2019/mar/10/benjamin-netanyahu-says-israel-is-not-a-state-of-all-its-citizens.↩︎

  7. See my open letter: tonygreenstein.com/2019/09/open-letter-to-the-leader-of-brighton-and-hove-council-nancy-platts-free-speech-is-not-a-luxury.↩︎