The Green Party has a discussion list, open to all members, to discuss international issues. The Boycott of Israel and antisemitism have been at the centre of intense debate on this list in recent months. In the last few days, extraordinary messages have been published and these deserve scrutiny.
The discussion started with an antiracist contribution by XXX reproducing an article in Private Eye which highlighted antisemitic comments made by Redmond O’Neill, Livingstone’s chief of staff. Private Eye’s piece, reproduced in XXX post included the following: “But O’Neill went on and on about the Board of Deputies of British Jews. He said they represented the ‘Zionist lobby’ and ‘we must smash the Zionists’…””
YYY thought this was not antisemitism but perfectly legitimate antizionism. It is fine to use words such as “Zionist lobby” to describe the institution which represent the Jewish community in this country, and it is all right to incite to violence against them because, YYY writes: “we would not agree with organizations which support Zionism. I am open to correction here, but I think that would be a fair assessment of the Board of Deputies. I have never heard them condemn the Zionist project that is the state of Israel.”
Following a query by ZZZ , YYY refines a bit his definition of Zionism .
For YYY, “both [i.e. 1) Jewishness; 2) supporting the existence of a state of Israel] would be a necessary part of such a definition, but not sufficient. Zionism implies certain things _about_ a State of Israel, such as the infamous ‘Law of the Return’. In practice Zionism involves racial discrimination, in favour of Jews and against, for example, Palestinians ”
i) YYY does not have any problem with “smashing the zionist”
ii) YYY thinks that any Jew who does not explicitly condemn the existence of Israel is a Zionist [a new version of the loyalty test , applicable to all Jews]
Incidentally, YYY is also revisionist: their definition of Zionism does not mention the historical cause of Jewish nationalism, also called Zionism, i.e. the widespread persecution of Jews in Europe in the 19th and 20th century, and YYY speaks of Israel, not as a state, but as a “project”.
The views of the Green Party activist YYY quoted below do not represent or engage the Green Party. The Green Party is an antiracist party; it cannot, and hopefully, will not, let open antisemitism, bordering with invitation to racist violence, unanswered. Such discourse has no place in an antiracist Party. The Green Party is antiracist, it is time for the Green Party executive to make sure that its policies are a reality within its own internal discussion lists.
 On March 21, XXX posted a contribution entitled “Antisemitism on the Left ? – or not”. This contribution was inspired by a Private Eye article. Here is XXX contribution:
“I reproduce here part of an article that appears in the current Private Eye, no 1206, p.9, under the heading ‘Mayor Culpa’, It deals with ‘devastating leaks about public money going astray’ under Ken Livingstone’s administration, but also details the ‘strange alliances’ that Livingstone has been pursuing.
Greens in Lonsdon are of course being urged to give their second
preference vote to Labour.
Now I am not Jewish, but the account I read here sounds very much like
antisemitism to me.
Can anyone explain to me why I should see it otherwise?
FROM PRIVATE EYE:
“...The most senior whistleblower is Atma Singh, a member of Socialist Action and Livingstone’s adviser on Asian affairs. In 2003, his comrades urged Livingstone to ally with the Arab Muslim brotherhood and Jamaat-i-Islami…
Singh was stunned. He tried to stop Livingstone embracing Yusuf al-Qadarawi, the Muslim Brotherhood’s chief theologian, who…had said of the civilian victims of suicide bombings in Israel: ‘We cannot say that the casualties are innocent civilians. They are not civilians or
innocent’. Livingstone’s staff arranged for the sheikh to visit London…Singh confronted Redmond O’Neill, Livingstone’s chief of staff.
“I objected to Livingstone saying we must work with al-Qadarawi and
others who were soft on suicide attacks on Israelis’, Singh told the Eye. ‘I
said we had a good relationship with London’s Jews and the Board of Deputies of
British Jews worked with us in the National assembly against racism. But
O’Neill went on and on about the Board of Deputies of British Jews. He said
they represented the ‘Zionist lobby’ and ‘we must smash the Zionists’… ”
 YYY disagrees, when O’Neil rants about the Board of Deputies of British Jews and say they represent the ‘Zionist lobby’ and ‘we must smash the Zionists’, it is not antisemitism, it is just normal and justified anzionism:
“You refer to “anti-semitism”, but actually quote only opposition to Zionism, which is quite different.
I don’t think the Green Party is at all anti-semitic. On the other hand, I am clear that we have long been opposed to Zionism. The latter is entirely incompatible with Green views on human rights and a sustainable future.
The infamous Israeli ‘law of the return’ is just the most obvious example.
It follows that we would not agree with organisations which support Zionism. I am open to correction here, but I think that would be a fair assessment of the Board of Deputies. I have never heard them condemn the Zionist project that is the state of Israel.
Some of Livingstone’s alliances and allies are not to my taste either, but I think one has to recognise that in the second round of the Mayoral election there will only be two choices – Ken Livingstone or Boris Johnson. If one wishes to express a preference, one has to take the rough with the smooth, either way. Are you seriously suggesting that Boris Johnson would be a better Mayor?
That is a choice for our members in the London Federation, but I doubt they would agree with your apparent preference, for all Livingstone’s faults and egoism.
“ I don’t think you read my post very carefully. What I quoted was Redmond O’Neill’s claim that the Board of Deputies of British Jews ‘represented the Zionist lobby’.
Is it enough that someone claims that someone else is a member of the ‘Zionist lobby’ for that claim to be accepted as fact?
Because that seems to be what is happening here.”
Apparently, it is enough: YYY will not reply to this point.
 Then ZZZ stepped in and asked:
“Before we go any further into this bramble patch, can we agree on what is meant by Zionism please? I could find no reference to it in the MfSS, although it would have been there in the preamble to the Palestine & Israel motion was passed, which it was not.
I had a chat with an Israeli at the UNA-UK conference who defined a Zionist as any Jew who wants to see a State of Israel. A quick onliine definition for Zionism is given as “a policy for establishing and developing a national homeland for Jews in Palestine “.
 YYY is keen to provide an answer:
“I think both would be a necessary part of such a definition, but not sufficient. Zionism implies certain things _about_a State of Israel, such as the infamous ‘Law of the Return’. In practice Zionism involves racial discrimination, in favour of Jews and against, for example, Palestinians.
Zionism is an ideology which the Green Party obviously does not share, believing in human rights for all now, rather than ancient theological fantasies. ”