Tony Greenstein’s Crucible
THE WITCH-HUNTERS are celebrating: they have bagged a trophy quarry. Tony Greenstein has been expelled from the Labour Party. The deed was done on 18th February by the National Constitutional Committee, officiating as judge, jury and prosecution, aided by a barrister, one Thomas Ogg. The complainants were hidden behind a veil of anonymity. No witnesses for the prosecution were available for cross-examination.
This ersatz due process took place almost two years after Tony had been suspended from the party, falsely accused of antisemitism. The entire evidence against Tony, for what it is worth, a voluminous hotchpotch of bits from his blogs and emails, was summarised in a 22-page ‘skeleton’ charge-sheet. Remarkably, all of this material dates from the period after his suspension. So, first they suspended him on trumped-up charges, and then they began digging up other pretexts for expelling him.
Officially, the reason given for Tony’s expulsion was not ‘antisemitism’. Of course not: such a direct accusation - given Tony’s long record as fighter against all forms of racism - would have been too blatantly absurd. But that did not stop them from insinuating that expressions he used, such as ‘Zio’, were used by other people with antisemitic intent. His sarcastic use of the words ‘final solution’ against Iain McNicol’s purges was twisted to imply that he was mocking the Nazi extermination of Jews.
The main pretext used to justify his expulsion was making offensive comments against certain individuals. Tony is indeed not in the habit of using diplomatic language. He is often outspoken in his condemnation of apologists and supporters of injustice. For example, one of the main charges against him was that he accused Louise Ellman MP of “supporting child abuse”.
The context of this accusation was Ellman’s part in the House of Commons debate (6th January 2016) on Israel’s abominable ill-treatment of Palestinianony Greenstein children under its military rule. Ellman intervened several times in the debate and blatantly blamed the child victims and their parents for the abuses inflicted by Israel’s military dictatorship. Readers are invited to read the Hansard report of that debate and decide for themselves whether Tony’s expression was justified.
But of course the real reason for his expulsion was his tireless campaign against Zionist colonisation of Palestine and the ideology that justifies it. We must campaign for the reversal of this injustice.r