When Green Left were looking for a bona fide ‘Jewish perspective’ on anti-Zionism at their 2008 autumn conference fringe, one of the people they platformed was Tony Greenstein.
This week, Tony Greenstein in conversation with a Palestine Solidarity Campaign chair urged rabbis to support the English Defence League and suggested rigging a poll so that he could then falsely paint Jews as racists.
“The Jewish Chronicle, true to form, has a poll: should rabbis be involved in the EDL? Anti-Zionist Tony Greenstein urges people to vote yes, to show they are as bad as each other. This, it seems to me, is an act of unbelievable and unforgiveable stupidity, because it will fuel the idea that Jews in general hate Muslims in general, and thus feed the kind of venomous politics represented by the [E]DL. As with his earlier dishonesty about the Zionist Federation, Tony is playing a dangerous game here, with very serious consequences which he ought to be mindful of. Update: since I wrote this, HP picked up the story. Lippy [commenting on the HP post at 15 October 2010, 2:03 pm] sums up why this is so wrong: “Rabbis should support EDL – and rabbis are Jewish, not Zionist. So, the opposition to that would be antisemitic, not anti-Zionist. The more Jews join the EDL, the more that justifies Muslim backlash against Jews. (Not Zionists.) The more Jews join the EDL, the easier it is for EDL to say they are not racist, Nazi etc. So, the more other people (be they white, Hindu, whatever) will join the EDL. So, Greenstein’s deceit is a recruiting sergeant for EDL and incites more antisemitism and more Islamophobia. And this from an “anti-racist”???” Later, the JC themselves noticed, and eventually suspended the poll.”
The overwhelming majority of respondents had voted against support for the EDL.
Tony Greenstein’s approach is a dangerous current in pro-Palestine campaigning today, and I continue to wonder what it will take to persuade the Green Party to dissociate from the euphemistically named Palestine Solidarity Campaign.
(I will never understand the power anti-Zionism has to addle the wits of this many people.)
Update: no place on our platforms.