WeeklyWorker

11.11.2021
Manufactured from the beginning ... and still no end in sight

No saving graces

Tony Greenstein reviews 'Labour’s anti-Semitism crisis: what the left got wrong and how to learn from it' by David Renton (Routledge, 2021, pp230, £19.99)

It is an iron rule which allows few exceptions that those who leave the Socialist Workers Party drift to the right. And Dave Renton is a case in point.

He joined the SWP in 1991, leaving in 2003, only to rejoin in 2008. In 2013 he left again because of the rape scandal, whose details are well known, and he has written movingly of his experiences in the SWP and what happened in 2012-13.1 Together with others, he formed Revolutionary Socialism in the 21st Century (RS21).

But Renton’s book makes it clear that he has abandoned any form of Marxist or class politics in favour of a subjective identity politics, which divorces the politics of race from class. By his own admission, his political sympathies during Labour’s ‘anti-Semitism’ witch-hunt were with Jon Lansman - a figure who more than any other bears responsibility for the defeat of the Corbyn project.

Not once does Renton entertain the idea that Labour’s ‘anti-Semitism’ crisis might have been manufactured and weaponised in order to remove Corbyn. Instead he writes: “Part of the reason why so few people come out well from Labour’s anti-Semitism crisis is that we were dealing with the revival of a form of racism, in relation to which many people had forgotten how to act.”

The weaponisation of ‘anti-Semitism’ had first been tried out against the Sandinistas and then against Hugo Chávez. The advantages of such a tactic are obvious: it gave the racist right wing of the Labour Party and the political establishment the moral high ground. They weren’t attacking Corbyn for his opposition to Nato or austerity - good gracious, no: they were opposing anti-Semitism!

One of the ironies was that even the worst racists could become opponents of ‘anti-Semitism’ by declaring their support for Zionism and Israel. If Renton had any claim to being a socialist, then surely he would have considered the fact that the election of Corbyn as leader of the second major party in the United States’ closest European ally must have set off alarm bells both in Langley, Virginia and Tel Aviv. Was Renton unaware of the US political record in Latin America and Asia? Had he not read Phil Agee’s Inside the company?

According to Renton, Labour ‘anti-Semitism’ spontaneously broke out just as Corbyn was elected leader. It is as though he believes that anti-Semitism is inherent in anti-capitalism. Yet, as the Jewish Chronicle has admitted,2 throughout the ‘anti-Semitism’ affair over two-thirds of Labour members, including Jewish members, rejected the false allegations. Their everyday experience in Labour was of an absence of anti-Semitism in a party where Jews had always made up a disproportionate number of its activists. Renton disregards the views of these members with all the contempt an Old Etonian can muster.

The book itself is error-strewn. Renton says that the “first sustained attempt” to accuse Corbyn’s Labour of anti-Semitism was in April 2016. He omits the affair of Oxford University Labour Club, when the chair, Alex Chalmers, a former intern for Israeli lobby group Bicom,3 accused fellow members of anti-Semitism because they had supported Israel Apartheid week. The first sign that ‘anti-Semitism’ was being weaponised was in August 2015, even before Corbyn was elected, when the Mail accused him of associating with a holocaust denier, Paul Eisen.4

Renton’s book is marred by sloppy research. He describes Ruth Smeeth MP as storming out of the June 2016 Chakrabarti press conference “in tears”, following Marc Wadsworth’s public criticism of her for handing a leaflet to a Tory reporter. This is a repeat of the lies of the yellow press, even though a cursory examination of a widely circulated video of the event shows that there were no tears. “How dare you?” Smeeth cried, as if she had been upbraided by her black slave and was leaving to fetch the whip.

Renton has a whole chapter on the “bullying” of Luciana Berger, the Labour MP for Wavertree, whose members attempted to move no-confidence motions in her for continually speaking out against Corbyn (she eventually quit Labour and joined the Liberal Democrats, of course). He does not mention that she was a former director of Labour Friends of Israel. For him the Israel connection is irrelevant.

Berger is portrayed as the victim of vicious anti-Semitism. It is true that four fascists were convicted and jailed for sending her hate mail, but no-one on the left - least of all in the Labour Party - was accused of such offences. Berger had a long record, dating back to her time on the executive of the National Union of Students in 2005, of making false accusations of anti-Semitism. She had been parachuted into the Liverpool Wavertree seat by Tony Blair despite having no connection with Liverpool. Yet what was Renton’s take on all this? “The clash between Wavertree CLP and Luciana Berger weakened the left and diminished our moral standing.”

Sympathies

But it is Renton’s treatment of the most prominent victims of the ‘anti-Semitism’ purge - Ken Livingstone, Jackie Walker, Marc Wadsworth, Chris Williamson, Moshé Machover and myself - that demonstrates his Zionist sympathies. Renton’s treatment of Moshé’s and my case is not to mention them! It is as if the expulsion of Jewish anti-Zionists was too difficult!

Renton’s treatment of Jackie Walker is racist. Not once does he ask why one of the few black Jewish women in the Labour Party should have been targeted by the Jewish Labour Movement. He mentions some of the vile racist abuse she received, but never once considers Jackie a victim - still less why those opposed to ‘anti-Semitism’ should engage in racist abuse.

Not once does Renton describe the circumstances in which a private Facebook conversation was broken into by the Israeli Advocacy Movement, a far-right Zionist group. All of us, in private, informal conversations and online exchanges, are sometimes less than completely accurate. We might, for example, omit a word, as Jackie did. On the basis of that one missing word, that Jews were among the chief slave-owners, she was pilloried for months. Even when she was reinstated, the JLM continued its racist campaign.

When John McDonnell spoke with Jackie at an LRC fringe meeting at the TUC 2016 conference, the JLM removed him as a speaker at their own meeting. Two weeks before the Labour conference it was clear that the JLM was gunning for Jackie.

In another error Renton says that Momentum immediately removed Jackie as vice-chair. Not so. Jackie was suspended from the party in May 2016, but Momentum supported her. It was only after the Labour conference that Lansman and his cronies removed Jackie as vice-chair.

On Marc Wadsworth, Renton has less to say, but he still blames a long-standing black anti-racist, who played a key role in the Stephen Lawrence campaign. Renton sides instead with a supporter of apartheid. Wadsworth did not even know that Smeeth was Jewish, yet Renton quotes uncritically Smeeth’s attack on Marc for “invoking anti-Semitic stereotypes of Jewish conspiracy” and then says that he “should not have used an event intended to prove Labour’s commitment to fighting anti-Semitism to attack a Jewish MP”. The Chakrabarti report was about racism in the Labour Party, not just anti-Semitism. One more error.

But it is over Ken Livingstone and his comment that Hitler supported Zionism that Renton excels himself. Renton asserts that the purpose of Ha’avara - the trade agreement between the Nazis and the Zionists - was to save Germany’s Jews rather than their wealth. Contrary to Renton’s assertion, people who had capital of £1,000 at their disposal (£50,000 today) would have had no difficulty finding refuge. To poor and working class Jews Ha’avara was a disaster, because it relaxed the pressure on Nazi Germany to stop the violence.

In 1933 very few - least of all the Zionists - thought that Nazism would lead to a holocaust. The idea that the Zionists’ main motivation was to rescue Jews is absurd. Even when Jews were in mortal danger, Zionism opposed rescue to any country bar Palestine. The point that Renton misses is that Ha’avara was agreed to by the Nazis as a way of destroying the international Jewish and anti-fascist boycott of Germany, which was aimed at toppling the Hitler regime.

According to Renton, Livingstone was “finding excuses to blame the victims”! He was “suggesting that Jews had contributed to the holocaust and that Jews were in fact among the perpetrators of genocide”! This would only be true if Germany’s Jews were overwhelmingly Zionist. They were not.

The German Zionists represented no more than 2% of German Jews. The Nazis singled them out for favourable treatment because they accepted that German Jews were not German nationals. In 1919 Alfred Rosenberg, the Nazi’s main theoretician, had written: “Zionism must be vigorously supported in order to encourage a significant number of German Jews to leave for Palestine or other destinations.”5

Rabbi Joachim Prinz, a leader of the German Zionist Federation (ZVfD), admitted:

It was morally disturbing to seem to be considered as the favoured children of the Nazi government, particularly when it dissolved the anti-Zionist youth groups, and seemed in other ways to prefer the Zionists. The Nazis asked for a ‘more Zionist behaviour’.6

Zionism has always sought an end to the Jewish diaspora. The ZVfD asserted that the Jews were a separate nation, which was exactly what the Nazis said. Jewish non-Zionist youth organisations were banned from 1936, whereas Zionist youth groups were legal up till 1939. Meanwhile, the Zionist leadership actually saw the rise of Hitler as a golden opportunity. Berl Katznelson, David Ben Gurion’s effective deputy in Palestine, saw the rise of Hitler as “an opportunity to build and flourish like none we have ever had or ever will have”.7 Ben Gurion was even more enthusiastic. The Nazis victory, he thought, would become “a fertile force for Zionism”.8

With Chris Williamson Renton excels himself. He alleges: “At its heart were complaints that he had used his social media account to promote the standing of other people who had been accused of anti-Semitism.”

This is mendacious. What led to the suspension of Chris was the deliberate distortion of a speech he made to Sheffield Momentum, portraying it as its exact opposite. In the words of The Independent headline, ‘Chris Williamson: Labour MP filmed telling activists party is too “apologetic” about anti-Semitism’ (February 26 2019). What were Chris’s actual words?

We are not a racist party, are we? We’re not an anti-Semitic party. We are the party that stood up to racism throughout our entire history ... It was Labour that was the backbone of the Anti-Nazi League in the 1970s, when we confronted the anti-Semites, the racists, the Islamophobes on the streets ... And now we - Jeremy, me and others - are being accused of being bigots, of being anti-Semites. And it’s almost as we’re living within the pages of Orwell’s 1984. You know, the party that’s done more to stand up to racism is now being demonised as a racist, bigoted party.

And I’ve got to say I think our party’s response has been partly responsible for that. Because in my opinion ... we’ve backed off far too much, we’ve given too much ground, we’ve been too apologetic. What have we got to apologise for? For being an anti-racist party? And we’ve done more to actually address the scourge of anti-Semitism than any other political party. And yet we are being traduced.

It is quite clear that Chris was saying that the Labour Party had been too apologetic about false accusations of anti-Semitism. The bourgeois media stitched Chris up and Dave Renton, the ex-revolutionary, is happy to go along with it. He does not even mention the Sheffield speech.

Abysmal

The most dishonest part of this book relates to the world-famous jazz musician, Gilad Atzmon - a former Israeli who became a supporter of the Palestinians. But he also became an anti-Semite, who internalised Zionism’s Jewish self-hatred and saw in Israel the actions of a Jewish, not a settler-colonial state.

In 2005 I organised a Jews Against Zionism picket of Bookmarks, the SWP bookshop, in protest at Atzmon speaking there. It took till 2012 for the Palestine Solidarity Campaign to take the issue of anti-Semitism seriously enough to expel, at my behest, an Atzmon supporter and holocaust denier.

For seven years I led the campaign against Atzmon alongside many of those whom Renton criticises in Jewish Voice for Labour. Renton doesn’t mention this, but cites, in a footnote, my article in The Guardian of February 19 2007, ‘The seamy side of solidarity’. Renton omits the fact that from 2004 until 2011, the SWP of which he was a member hosted Atzmon at its events, and defended him in a statement.9

What is curious is that despite the fact that the SWP was promoting Atzmon Renton had no problems joining it! And he kept his mouth shut for three long years about the SWP’s association with an open anti-Semite. This suggests that Renton’s interest in fighting anti-Semitism is of recent origin and has more to do with its redefinition as anti-Zionism.

Renton attacks Chris Williamson for having tweeted support for a petition complaining that Atzmon had been prevented from playing on Islington council premises. This is dishonest. Chris had never heard of Atzmon and immediately deleted the tweet and apologised. In my view his apology was completely unnecessary.

I both signed the petition and attended Atzmon’s gig in Brighton. For the seven years that we campaigned against him we made it crystal-clear that we were not trying to stop Atzmon’s gigs - we had no argument with his music. By contrast Momentum and the JLM behaved like fascists in pressurising venues to cancel Atzmon’s gigs.

Renton also deals abysmally with the long-erased mural by Mear One that was resurrected in 2018 by Luciana Berger. He writes:

The most important step in the re-emergence of the Labour anti-Semitism crisis was the rediscovery that, several years before, Corbyn had supported an artist, Mear One (Kalen Ockerman), after his mural was effaced for its anti-Semitic associations.

This mural was not an innocent find. It had been held in reserve in order to attack Corbyn and the Labour Party at an opportune moment. People have different views as to whether or not it was anti-Semitic. It was not obvious to me and nor was it obvious to The Jewish Chronicle, which referred to the mural as “having anti-Semitic undertones” - a view it ascribed to others.10 When the pro-Zionist Harry’s Place ran an article about the mural, David Toube wrote:

I’ve seen the mural, in person. It is clearly a conspiracist work ... But were the men with beards supposed to be Jews? Well, possibly - but I’ve seen more obvious stereotypes of Jews deployed in anti-Semitic art.11

Despite subsequent emphasis on the noses of the six bankers, only two of whom were Jewish, Toube emphasised their beards. Yet Renton saw the mural as representing the archetypal Jewish financier.

A central fault with Renton’s book is an almost total inability to understand the relationship between race and class. Renton uses the terms ‘prejudice’ and ‘racism’ interchangeably, yet they are not the same. Jews in Britain today do not experience the structural and institutional racism deriving from the state. What they experience, to some degree, is prejudice based on the past. It is blacks and Muslims who experience the full force of state and fascist racism and violence.

Renton treats Jews as if they were same people who launched the Great Taylor’s Strike of 1912 and who stopped Oswald Moseley at the Battle of Cable Street in October 1936. The fact is that British Jews have changed enormously since the 1940s. In 1945, when Phil Piratin was elected as a Communist MP in the Mile End constituency, half his votes came from Jews. In 2015, under Labour’s first Jewish leader, Jews voted by 69% to 22% for the Tories.12

Renton speaks derisorily about those who posit that Jewish support for Zionism is explained by “sociological theories” (“Jews are all rich, or middle class … Such theories say little about Jews and more about their speakers”). He tries to caricature any materialist analysis. Nonetheless it is a fact that Jews have become the most privileged section of the white population. It is this that has led to their move to the right politically. This was symbolised for me by the closure of Blooms restaurant in 1996 in Whitechapel. It closed because the Jews had moved to the suburbs to be replaced by Bengali immigrants.13

William Rubinstein, former president of the Jewish Historical Society, wrote:

the rise of western Jewry to unparalleled affluence and high status has led to the near-disappearance of a Jewish proletariat of any size; indeed, the Jews may become the first ethnic group in history without a working class of any size.14

Rubinstein concluded that British Jews “are arguably more bourgeois now than at any time since the mid-19th century”. Geoffrey Alderman, a historian of the Jewish community, wrote that by 1961 “over 40% of Anglo-Jewry was located in the upper two social classes, whereas these categories accounted for less than 20% of the general population”.15 According to Renton, Alderman and Rubinstein must be anti-Semitic!

Zionism

Renton repeatedly demonstrates his ignorance of Zionism as a political movement and ideology. He questions whether “there is a thing, ‘Zionism’, which is the same in 2016 as it was in August 1933”. Elsewhere he writes: “Undoubtedly, Israel has changed. The country’s politics are different: with the left in every government until 1977, and the right almost as consistently afterwards.”

Renton does not have a clue. The differences between ‘left’ and ‘right’ Zionism have always been tactical. It was the ‘left’ Zionists of Mapai and Mapam who carried out the Naqba, who placed Israel’s Arabs under military rule for the first 18 years and who began the process of settlement in the occupied territories. There is nothing that Likud has done that is different from what the Israeli Labor Party has done. Ariel Sharon, the butcher of Sabra and Chatilla, came from the Labor Zionist movement. Perhaps it has escaped Renton’s notice that today’s far-right Israeli government contains both the ILP and Meretz.

Because Renton refuses to accept that the “anti-Semitism crisis” was confected, he finds it difficult to understand why the same people who were campaigning against ‘Labour anti-Semitism’ were at one and the same time tolerant of genuine anti-Semitism. He writes that when the far-right conservative, Roger Scruton, defended the anti-Semitic attack by Viktor Orbán, Hungary’s prime minister on George Soros, “Scruton was rescued from the taint of anti-Semitism by The Jewish Chronicle’s Stephen Pollard, who accused his critics of having ‘outrageous[ly] distort[ed]’ Scruton’s words.”

Renton should not have been surprised. When in 2009 the Tories were criticised for entering a coalition with fascists and anti-Semites in the European parliament and for the invitation by Conservative Friends of Israel to Michal Kaminski, the fascist leader of Poland’s Law and Justice Party, it was Pollard who defended him on the grounds that he was a strong supporter of Israel.16

Renton mentions that Nigel Farage, who has also indulged in anti-Semitic attacks on Soros, was invited to speak to a JC gathering. Renton observes that a large number of ex-UK Independence Party members joined the BNP, but that Pollard failed to ask Farage why this was. Renton confines himself to the observation that “The question was not asked and could not have been - not when Farage’s talk had been billed as a meeting of friends.” Renton is incapable of asking how it is that Pollard, who helped drive the false ‘anti-Semitism’ campaign, was friends with a virulent racist and anti-Semite.

Another example of this failure to understand that Zionism has never had a problem with genuine anti-Semites was how he treats chief rabbi Ephraim Mirvis and his attitude to Donald Trump. Renton described Mirvis’s intervention just before the 2019 election, when he advocated a vote for the Tories, as “shocking”. Renton writes:

... the chief rabbi was unable to say clearly even what he had acknowledged a year before: that Trump was a racist. He began from a weaker position than he had in 2016, and he went further than he had on that occasion in seeking to excuse and justify the behaviour which he was also criticising.

Mirvis was not the only one. Jonathan Arkush, president of the Board of Deputies, had positively welcomed Trump to power.17 As did the leader of the Israeli Labor Party and now Israel’s president, Isaac Herzog: “Warm congratulations to the president of the most powerful nation in the world: Donald J Trump!”18

Renton states that “Stephen Pollard, the editor of The Jewish Chronicle,” is “a journalist who is cited several times in this book for the care he took to expose leftwing anti-Semitism”. The JC has been the subject of numerous successful complaints to the Independent Press Standards Organisation and has been the subject of four successful libel actions. It is little more than a propaganda rag, yet Renton praises its editor for the “care he took to expose leftwing anti-Semitism”. Unbelievable.

Renton also attacks Jewish Voice for Labour:

The problem in leaning on JVL to provide an objective view of the crisis was that, no matter how bad the allegations were, it always found a way to excuse those who were criticised: each of Walker, Williamson and Livingstone was defended by JVL.

Renton accuses Glynn Secker of JVL of supporting a “conspiracy theory” for tweeting that Israel had purchased oil from Islamic State. Rubbish. Israel’s military intelligence chief, general Herzi Halevi, said exactly that.19 Israel admitted arming al-Nusra (al Qa’eda) in Syria and other jihadi groups,20 since it is Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, who was the main enemy of Israel. Turkey too was heavily involved in IS’s oil trade. Renton has conspiracy theories on the brain.

What he will not face is that there never was a problem of “Labour anti-Semitism”. Of course, in a party of 600,000 there will be a few anti-Semites. Labour no doubt has a few paedophiles, but does that mean there is a ‘paedophile problem’?

It is the Labour right that was previously the wellspring of anti-Semitism. Wartime home secretary Herbert Morrison kept out thousands of Jewish refugees trying to escape from Nazi-occupied Europe and thousands died as a result. But Poale Zion, which became the Jewish Labour Movement in 2004, said nothing because the Zionists too were opposed to letting in Jewish refugees - like the Zionists, Morrison was said to doubt that there was a holocaust.

In fact Morrison was only following Zionist policy, which was that Jewish refugees must go to Palestine or nowhere. And if they could not? Then they could not be helped. The Zionists were fiercely opposed to the Kindertransport, the rescue of 10,000 Jewish children after Kristallnacht, who were brought to Britain. Fortunately, the Board of Deputies was still controlled by anti-Zionists in 1938-39. But Ben Gurion in a speech of December 9 1938 explained the Zionist thinking:

If I knew that it would be possible to save all the children in Germany by bringing them over to England, and only half of them by transporting them to Eretz Yisrael, then I would opt for the second alternative. For we must weigh not only the life of these children, but also the history of the People of Israel.21

The culmination of the fake anti-Semitism campaign was the complaint to the Equality and Human Rights Commission. Renton fails to critique the EHRC and their motives for opening an investigation. How come a body that ignored Islamophobia in the Tory Party, which had done nothing about the Windrush Scandal and whose first chair was Islamophobe Trevor Philips, was so concerned about Labour ‘anti-Semitism’?

This was clearly an intervention in internal Labour Party affairs by the state. The EHRC is not an anti-racist body. Its treatment of its black staff demonstrates that it is riddled with racism.22 Renton’s criticism is entirely different, however. The problem was that “The EHRC report did little to convey the extent of anti-Semitism within the Labour Party.” In other words, its findings should have been more damning!

Disgusting

Particularly disgusting is Renton’s attack on Raed Salah, a Palestinian leader from Israel’s outlawed Northern Islamic movement. Salah has been subject to horrific persecution by Israel, including being framed on charges of racism (in Israel only Arabs ever get charged with racism). Salah was issued with a banning order by Theresa May in 2011. He was nonetheless admitted in error to Britain before being arrested. However, he succeeded at the Upper Immigration Tribunal in overturning his deportation order. The charge of anti-Semitism against him rested on a doctored version of a poem that had been given to the home office.

Renton says that the tribunal “concluded that Salah’s words” at a speech in Jerusalem opposing Israel’s attack on worshippers at the al Aqsa mosque “did invoke the blood libel”. Renton is a barrister and he knows full well that the tribunal’s observations were obiter dicta: in other words, superfluous to the judgement. But that conclusion is itself open to question, as Salah, in an emotive speech after repeated attacks by the Israeli police on worshippers, never even mentioned Jews and Salah himself maintains that they referred to the Spanish Inquisition. However, Renton failed to quote any other aspect of the judgement.

But let us just suppose that Renton is right and that Saleh did make reference to the medieval blood libel, which falsely accused Jews of murdering Christians. Was he leading a Christian mob at Easter seeking to butcher and maim innocent Jewish villagers? No, he was confronting armed Israeli troops who were firing rubber bullets and using stun grenades against unarmed worshippers. His anger would have been understandable. What was worse? Making an anti-Semitic comment or Israeli troops taking out the eyes of three Arab worshippers, as happened last May at al Aqsa mosque?

The Upper Immigration Tribunal was several degrees to the left of Renton in its judgment. In para 54 the tribunal found:

We consider, however, that, as in the poem, the intemperate language in the sermon is addressed towards the Israeli state rather than Jews as such. Further, the appellant refers at the beginning of the sermon to the Islamic acceptance of Moses and Jesus as prophets. He expresses the inclusive concept of Jews, Christians and Muslims all being “People of the Book” who should “come to common terms”.

Hardly the stuff of anti-Semitism. The tribunal also stated: “We agree ... that the purport of the sermon as a whole was against the actions of the state of Israel towards the al-Aqsa mosque and that the focus was not on the blood libel” (para 59). The Tribunal noted: “... the sermon was given on a somewhat turbulent day when the appellant had been refused permission to pray at one of the holy sites of his religion - one that he genuinely fears is under threat from the Israeli authorities.”

The tribunal concluded:

... there is no reliable evidence of the appellant using words carrying a reference to the blood libel, save in the single passage in a sermon delivered five years ago ... The absence of other evidence is striking, for at least two reasons. The appellant is a prominent public figure and a prolific speaker. The first indictment shows that his speeches are of interest to the authorities in Israel. In these circumstances we think it can fairly be said that the evidence before us is not a sample, or ‘the tip of the iceberg’: it is simply all the evidence that there is (para 78).

Renton did not refer to any of the above. He was only interested in backing up the Islamophobes of the Community Security Trust - “a charity that protects British Jews from anti-Semitism”.23

Renton ends with warm words for Jon Lansman and Momentum, “who had managed to consistently maintain their support for Palestinian rights”, whilst opposing ‘anti-Semitism’. But this is also untrue. In May 2016, Lansman explained in an article in Left Futures ‘Why the left must stop talking about “Zionism”’.24 He prioritised opposition to ‘anti-Semitism’ without so much as a cursory glance at the racism of the JLM. Lansman supported the International Holocaust Remembrance Association ‘definition’ of anti-Semitism, whose only purpose was to conflate it with anti-Zionism.

Usually when reviewing a book I try to bring out the best in what the author has written. In this case, however, there is literally nothing in it worthy of praise. It is dishonest, selective in its facts and racist against black and Muslim people, who were the main victims of the witch-hunt.

Renton has become just another in the long line of figures who started off on the left and ended up on the right. Like the prime minister he was educated at Eton, so perhaps it is really a question of returning to his aristocratic roots. Of course, that is not an inevitable process: Tam Dalyell was also an old Etonian, but he was an anti-imperialist and one of the finest Labour MPs to have sat in the Commons.

David Renton, however, has decided to take the road to Tel Aviv rather than, as Tam did, the road to Baghdad.

Tony Greenstein


  1. shirazsocialist.wordpress.com/2013/12/19/dave-renton-ex-swp-to-my-comrades-of-any-party-or-none.↩︎

  2. www.thejc.com/news/uk/true-views-of-labour-membership-revealed-in-new-poll-1.513656.↩︎

  3. The Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre.↩︎

  4. www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3187428/Jeremy-Corbyn-s-links-notorious-Holocaust-denier-revealed.html.↩︎

  5. F Nicosia The Third Reich and the Palestine question p25.↩︎

  6. J Prinz Zionism under the Nazi government London 1937, cited in Lenni Brenner.↩︎

  7. F Nicosia Zionism and anti-Semitism in Nazi Germany Cambridge 2008.↩︎

  8. T Segev The seventh million London 2000.↩︎

  9. drive.google.com/file/d/1v_WFZPZVfYecDMrg2EZ3lzPwcIoQOqXQ/view. This has now been removed from the SWP website.↩︎

  10. thejc.com/news/uk/did-jeremy-corbyn-back-artist-whose-mural-was-condemned-as-antisemitic-1.62106.↩︎

  11. hurryupharry.net/2012/10/05/i-was-wrong-about-the-mural.↩︎

  12. See The Jewish Chronicle: www.thejc.com/news/uk/huge-majority-of-british-jews-will-vote-tory-jc-poll-reveals-1.66001.↩︎

  13. A fact once again reported by The Jewish Chronicle: thejc.com/lifestyle/features/blooms-the-kosher-icon-that-got-marooned-in-the-past-1.16195.↩︎

  14. W Rubinstein The left, right and the Jews New York 1982, p51.↩︎

  15. G Alderman The Jewish community and British politics Oxford 1983, p137.↩︎

  16. ‘Poland’s Kaminski is not an anti-Semite: he’s a friend to Jews’ The Guardian October 9 2009.↩︎

  17. thejc.com/news/uk/board-of-deputies-president-jonathan-arkush-under-fire-after-message-congratulating-trump-1.54660.↩︎

  18. www.timesofisrael.com/liveblog_entry/herzog-to-trump-your-win-shows-elites-are-thing-of-past.↩︎

  19. en.globes.co.il/en/article.aspx?did=1001084873.↩︎

  20. www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-israel-just-admitted-arming-anti-assad-syrian-rebels-big-mistake-1.6894850.↩︎

  21. Y Gelber, ‘Zionist policy and the Fate of European Jewry 1943-44’ Studies in Zionism No7, spring 1983.↩︎

  22. See ‘Equalities body accused of targeting BAME staff for redundancies’ The Guardian March 5 2017.↩︎

  23. cst.org.uk/about-cst.↩︎

  24. www.leftfutures.org/2016/05/why-the-left-must-stop-talking-about-zionism.↩︎