Donald Trump is now commander-in-chief in the U.S. and has begun issuing his commands. On Feb. 21, 2017, he issued one of them: "Antisemitism is horrible, and it's going to stop and has to stop." Though more well-intentioned than specific, his pronouncement will hearten all in the U.S. and Europe, except the lunatic political fringe. Trump alluded to the disturbing fact that there had been bomb threats against 48 Jewish community centers in 26 states in January 2017.
Unfortunately, that fringe, psychopathic or not, has raised its ugly head in recent days in Britain, as well as in the U.S. In Britain, bewildering anti-Jewish statements bordering on psychosis have been made by a number of people including a man named Tony Greenstein, a far left member, possibly Communist, of the British Labour Party. He's also a prominent mouthpiece of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, and purportedly the son of a rabbi.
Greenstein was barred from the party in 2015, has since rejoined, and has been suspended pending an investigation into his behavior. What will that investigation make of his utterances that Zionism is a Jewish variant of antisemitism, that Zionism is a movement of the most reactionary section of the Jewish bourgeoisie, that Jews supported the Nazi Nuremberg laws, and that the State of Israel must be destroyed?
Political differences are one thing, but insanity and unremitting hatred and malicious, warped vitriolic behavior is another. For some time, increasing numbers of of British Labour Party members have made nauseating statements such as “Zio idiots,” and “Zionist scum,” and been reprimanded for obnoxious behavior as well as the subject of ridicule. Because of the absurd utterances of members of the party before the 1987 parliamentary election, the mainstream press dubbed it "the looney Left."
Greenstein is almost the perfect personification of the mind-set of the New Left that emerged in Britain in the 1960s and has remained a troublesome factor in the party. Whatever the superficial differences of members of this Leftist group they hold in common two mantras: Zionism is a racist ideology, and Israel is an illegitimate and colonial state.
Leftist politics is topsy-turvy, using hate speech as a dominant form of communication. Zionism, the expression of the Jewish liberation movement.,has been turned by detractors into its exact opposite. The Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) is called a Zionist propaganda organization, a "McCarthyist Zionist organization whose aim is to smear and libel opponents of Israel's apartheid regime." Greenstein, who still considers himself Jewish, believes that Zionism is a Jewish version of antisemitism.
In his valuable book The Left's Jewish Problem, the British sociologist Dave Rich has argued that, irrespective of the many problems with the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, Greenstein is a symbol of the problem that the issue of antisemitism on the left of British politics is unlikely to go away unless drastic action is taken.
Greenstein is only one example of absurdity within the Labour party. He justified the IRA plot to kill Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, arguing she was a military target. He visited Syria with funds supplied by the PLO. He is proud of his activism. In March 2010 he physically disrupted a concert by the Jerusalem Quartet at Wigman Hall in London, arguably the most prestigious setting for chamber music. He revealed not only that the Quartet were cultural ambassadors of “apartheid” Israel, but also that Mozart and Ravel, the main items on the program, had been for a long time agents of the Israeli Mossad.
Greenstein, if perhaps the most absurd in the leftist group, is not a lone voice. One minor but aspiring member of the party is Vicki Kirby who was promoted to be vice-chair of the Woking branch of the party, although she was suspended twice from the party. The first time, in 2014, she was suspended when she suggested in a number of posts on Twitter that Adolf Hitler might be a “Zionist God,” and that Jews had long noses. Her contribution to knowledge and political understanding is that Jews could be identified by long noses, and willingness to slaughter. Jews, she told the world, slaughter the oppressed, though apparently not through their noses. Pity for her theory that the great non-Jewish Jimmy Durante has the greatest snozzle of all.
Other of these biased leftists include two other women. Khadim Hussain, Labour Councillor and former Lord Mayor of Bradford, was suspended for a time from the party for preventing schools in her area teaching Holocaust studies. She denied six million “Zionists “ were killed. She and a Councillor in London's tony Kensington district, Beinazir Lasharie, believe that ISIS is run by Israel, and that Jews and Zionists were behind 9/11.
The most notorious and highest-placed Labour antisemite is Lady Tonge, a member of the House of Lords who was obliged to resign from her post as spokesperson of the Liberal Democratic Party in the House for outrageous behavior.
In February 2010, Tonge was removed as Liberal Democratic spokesperson in the Lords for health issues when she said the Israeli soldiers supporting relief efforts in Haiti had been involved in organ trafficking. Her malice extended beyond Israel. In a debate in the Lords in 2006 on Botswana, Tonge attacked the Bushmen of the Kalahari for trying to “stay in the Stone Age,” and having primitive technology.
But her implicit antisemitism and violent animosity towards Israel is startling. Tonge said she would consider becoming a Palestinian suicide bomber if she were Palestinian. Tonge, who resigned from the Liberal Democratic whip in 2012 now sits in the Lords as an independent peer. She still holds that the Israel lobby has a disproportionate voice in Anglo-American foreign policy.
A particularly troubling part of the antisemitic and anti-Israeli campaign is the accusation, as if a universal phenomenon, that Jews helped the Nazi regime during the war. This charge is a reminder of the contentious affair of Rudolf Kastner who, like all Jews was caught in a tragic situation, was involved in the dilemma of how to act when the Nazis marched into Budapest in 1944. Kastner was accused of sacrificing the lives of Jews in Budapest in 1944 by collaborating. Kastner had saved 1,684 people, taking them on a train in safety to Switzerland, but he was accused of an exchange with Adolf Eichmann at other times. The charge followed him to Israel where the judge at the trial concluded he had sold “his soul to the devil.” Apparently, Kastner had indeed collaborated and helped the Nazis by disseminating their disinformation to Jews. He was assassinated in Israel in March 1957.
Antisemitism is a poison that has been drunk by all too many. Is there a cure for this disease? Dr. Donald Trump and Dr. Theresa May, joined by sane personnel and political forces in all political parties, now have the opportunity to lead the research to find the antidote and act on it immediately.