The Guardian deploys Tony Greenstein ‘as-a-Jew’ to defend the morally indefensible

“…an acronym – or something like an acronym – lay concealed in the name the group had already given itself. Instead of ‘Ashamed Jews’, what about ‘ASHamed Jews’, which might or might not, depending on how others felt, be shortened now or in the future to ASH, the peculiar felicity of which, in any circumstances, he was sure it wasn’t necessary for him to point out. Within a week he received an enthusiastic response on notepaper headed ‘ASHAMED Jews’.  He felt a deep sense of pride, mitigated, of course, by sadness on behalf of those whose suffering had made ASHamed Jews necessary’.” – Page 115, The Finkler Question, Howard Jacobson

Over the last couple of years, Guardian editors have seen fit to publish a letter by a Nazi sympathizer who believes Jews control the world (Gilad Atzmon), one letter by a woman who has promoted the ancient antisemitic blood libel (Alison Weir), and a UK professor who has defended, on moral and ‘humanitarian’ grounds, the Palestinians’ right to engage in suicide bombing against Israeli civilians (Ted Honderich).

So, with such a contrast in mind, Tony Greenstein’s defense, in the letters section of the Guardian on Feb. 7, of the recent Holocaust Day admonition against the Jews by MP David Ward, though deplorable, certainly does not break any new ground in the Guardian’s willingness to legitimize or defend the indefensible.

As a reminder, here are the words Ward used:

“Having visited Auschwitz twice – once with my family and once with local schools – I am saddened that the Jews, who suffered unbelievable levels of persecution during the Holocaust, could within a few years of liberation from the death camps be inflicting atrocities on Palestinians in the new State of Israel and continue to do so on a daily basis in the West Bank and Gaza.”

So, who better to defend Ward than the former ‘Comment is Free’ contributor, and anti-Zionist Jew, who has charged the Zionist leadership of collaborating with the Nazis, argued that Israel has engaged in racial policies and ethnic cleansing reminiscent of Nazi Germany, and applauded those who refer to Israelis committing such ‘crimes’ as “Judaeo-Nazis”?

Greenstein’s Guardian letter is ostensibly in response to a Feb. 6 Guardian piece critical of Ward by , and he immediately frames the MP’s egregious abuse of Holocaust memory as “much ado about nothing”, and, in the spirit of Glenn Greenwald, characterizes the row as one which has cynically been  “generated” by Zionists and “designed to stifle criticism of Israel and suppress free speech”.

After bemoaning the Zionist ‘stranglehold’ on debate about Israel, Greenstein then proceeds to question the wisdom of characterizing as antisemitic the moral reasoning of those who suggest that all Jews should be held responsible for actions of a few, and concludes by addressing the Zionist-Nazi comparison, writing thus: 

“Ward is accused of antisemitism for making comparisons between the Nazi period and what is happening to the Palestinians. Of course Israel has not set up death camps for Arabs. But when Gerald Kaufman spoke in the Commons about his grandmother who had been killed in her bed by a Nazi soldier, he stated that “my grandmother did not die in order to provide cover for Israeli soldiers murdering Palestinian grandmothers in Gaza”. Is Gerald Kaufman also antisemitic?”

As I’ve argued previously, ‘antisemitism’ isn’t something you can test for, nor is it some sort of immutable character trait.  It is, rather, more aptly described as a racist persuasion, a hateful habit of mind – the willful embrace of an intellectual tradition which vilifies Jews to the point of grotesque caricature, and holds them responsible to moral standards which no other group is held.

Having visited the death factory where over a million Jews were systematically murdered, MP Ward couldn’t help but think, on the international day meant to commemorate the liberation of that hideous place, not of the indescribable suffering of the victims, or of the stubborn survival of the antisemitic ideology which inspired the Nazi genocide, but, rather, of the perfidy and malice of living Jews.

Whether you’re a non-Jew named Ward, or a Jew named Kaufman or Greenstein, engaging in such an insidious and atavistic moral inversion, in which slaughtered Jews are likened to their slaughterers, is cruel, hateful and, by definition, antisemitic.

26 replies »

  1. There is the 3D test by Natan Sharansky for antisemitism:

    1) Demonization of Israel or the Jews
    2) Double standards – Holding Jews/ Isral to standards not expected of any other nation in the world
    3) Deligitimization – denying Israel’s right to exist

    I think Tony Greenstein meets all three conditions and can safely be termed an antisemite

    • To sum up: over the last couple of years, Guardian editors have seen fit not to publish anything from blogger Adam Levick. Now he’s so resentful that he started running an anti-Guardian website.

          • Don’t you spend your time(albeit for cash) trolling blogs, like this one?
            And let’s not forget: this is what got you banned at BBCWatch, and will eventually get you kicked out from here.

            • Dear 101, you’re quite right to remind us that Ms Hadar Sela bans people who disagree with her hard right wing, pro-settler stance. Could it be that she feel intellectually unable to engage in a debate? What do you think?

              • How about you stop trolling for a change?
                And cease doing it for money, while you’re at it…
                Stop met hoereren jezelf.

                • So, you admit to trolling for money!
                  Ah, very good. Another nail in your coffin already.
                  Don’t worry, Mr. Levick has been generous, but you’re so wearisome, he’ll lose all that magnanimity readily.
                  The only trolling you’ll be doing next, is where you belong, in Holland.

      • To sum up, you are an utter waste of DNA. And you’re so resentful that you’re reduced to trolling on this site.

  2. Under normal circumstances Ward’s reference to “the Jews” instead of “Jewish people” might – might – be forgiven on the grounds of ignorance. Although it’s perfectly understandable why it could be deemed offensive.

    The really outrageous thing IMO was the timing, context and content of the entire blogpost, i.e. using and abusing the Holocaust for vote-winning purposes in what is a majority-Muslim constituency.

    Greenstein’s defence of Ward – “The sole purpose of the synthetic outrage Ward’s remarks have generated is designed to stifle criticism of Israel and suppress free speech” – is utterly pathetic.

    • Greenstein usually distinguishes criticism of Israel from criticism of Jews generally. Here he thinks conflation is ‘understandable’. I think he’s the one having his cake and eating it.

  3. Unfortunately Ward just dug his hole even deeper in that interview with Aida Edemariam.

    The inane low-point when revisiting his reference to “the Jews”?
    “We refer to the Liberal democrats, day after day. You Liberal Democrats – what, every Liberal Democrat? Why is that different?”

    What’s that again, John McEnroe?

    And more creepily:
    “There is a huge operation out there, a machine almost, which is designed to protect the state of Israel from criticism. And that comes into play very, very quickly and focuses intensely on anyone who’s seen to criticise the state of Israel. …Because what I want to talk about is the fundamental question of how can they do this, and how can they be allowed to do this.”

    Someone take that spade out of Ward’s hands …

  4. “As I’ve argued previously, ‘antisemitism’ isn’t something you can test for”

    Yes, it is an art, not a science.


  5. When someone tells you that debate on Israel is stifled in the press by Zionists, and then goes on to wax lyrical about it – again, you know they are a self-serving bigoted liar, full of delusions about how heroic they are for talking truth to Jewish power.

  6. Very egalitarian, the fact that the Guardian allows someone with learning difficulties to have a voice.

  7. Greenstein is precisely the person who would be glad to defend the morally indefensible surely. One look at his record (and I mean that in every sense) should make that clear.

    And Guardian is a sewer where a turd like him would be most at home.

    And you have forgotten to mention the Guardian’s fulsome eulogy for Nizar Rayyan, suicide murder trainer (one of his own sons was sent to do the deed – at least this thug lived by what passed for his principles, however crazy he and they were). His death in Gaza during Cast Lead came about as a result of his refusal to heed IDF warnings to vacate his apartment and, even more damning, his refusal to allow his wives and remaining children to leave either. All perished although the Guardian carefully left all that out.

    Greenstein doesn’t have learning difficulties, rather he has personality difficulties of a severe nature. He exhibits all the behavioural hallmarks of malignant narcissism.

    • Some people like to argue and defend srguments for the sake of arguing.
      It’s like a sport for them.

    • He exhibits all the behavioural hallmarks of malignant narcissism.

      And if the Guardian editors really cared about him, they’d stop publishing his inane letters.
      Although if they did, he’d probably put it down to some conspiracy against his voice of reason.

    Tony Greenstein and the Nazi Apologists
    By Paul Bogdanor

    Tony Greenstein is a British communist activist who supports numerous terrorist and totalitarian murderers. He has justified an IRA massacre intended to kill Britain’s Prime Minister and he admits to visiting Baathist Syria with PLO funding.
    Greenstein openly campaigns for the destruction of Israel. He defends communist collaboration with the Nazis but denounces Zionists as joint perpetrators of the Holocaust. A typical Greenstein outburst can be found in the newspaper of the Communist Party of Great Britain:-

    Yes, I deliberately described Israel’s actions as a blitzkrieg. Those who use starvation, thirst and hunger as reprisals against civilians, who destroy water and electricity plants, are, in the words of the late Yehashayu [sic] Leibowitz, a distinguished religious philosopher and winner of the Israel Prize, Judaeo-Nazis…
    Yes, I want the state of Israel to be destroyed…

    [The] attempt to justify Zionist collaboration with the Nazis and assorted fascists by reference to the German Communist Party’s attempt to win over plebeian members of the National Socialists is ludicrous. The KPD’s appeasement of the Nazis flowed from their third position politics – eg, the fact that none of its Reichstag members were Jewish from 1930 onwards or its attacks on ‘Jewish’ capitalists. But Hitler wasn’t fooled for a moment and KPD activists were put in Dachau from the moment the Nazis took power.

    The Zionist emissaries swanned around Nazi-occupied Europe organising kibbutzim and facilitating the emigration of their own cadre and no one else. The KPD, for all its sins, was part of the labour movement. Zionism was a movement of the most reactionary section of the Jewish bourgeoisie.

    Thus Greenstein acknowledges and justifies discrimination and incitement against Jews by his fellow communists who were trying to win Nazi votes. Needless to say, he offers no evidence of the existence of Zionist kibbutzim in Nazi-occupied Europe.

    While Tony Greenstein purports to oppose antisemitism wherever he finds it, his principles seem to be rather flexible. For months he publicly deplored the celebration of Gilad Atzmon by Britain’s Socialist Workers Party. Yet in a private message he offered nothing but praise:

    I shall be more than happy to hear you play the sax…
    Dare I say it, some of your remarks re the holocaust were spot on re the Zionist collaboration with the Nazis. And that is the point anti-Zionists should make rather than flirting with holocaust denial…

    Greenstein’s private encomium to Atzmon should occasion little surprise, since their antisemitic positions have much in common.
    In fact, Greenstein is happy to applaud anti-Zionists who are guilty of “flirting with holocaust denial.” Consider his attitude to Asghar Bukhari of the Muslim Public Affairs Committee UK, who was exposed as an ally of the Nazi propagandist David Irving. According to press reports:

    In one email Bukhari tells Irving: “You may feel like you are on your own but rest assured many people are with you in your fight for the Truth.” Bukhari pledges to make a donation of £60 to Irving’s fighting fund and says that he has asked “a few of my colleagues to send some in too.” He also offers to send Irving a book, They Dare to Speak Out, by Paul Findley, a former US Senator, who has attacked his country’s close relationship with Israel. Bukhari says Findley “has suffered like you in trying to expose certain falsehoods perpetrated by the Jews.”
    In a follow-up letter, Bukhari writes: “Here is the cheque I promised. Good luck, if there is any other way I can help please don’t hestitate to call me. I have also asked many Muslim websites to create links to your own and ask for donations.”
    In a rambling online essay, Bukhari admitted that MPACUK had repeatedly posted images from neo-Nazi websites but nevertheless complained that he was the victim of a Zionist smear campaign:

    The machine plotted and worked it seemed almost day and night to smear us… A picture of a monster with horns on his head under an American flag was deemed “anti-Semitic.” It was obtained after typing words like “Zionist power” into a Google image search. I can’t believe MPACUK pulled the picture due to the pro-Israeli lobby complaining about it. How can a monster with a flag be anti-Semitic? The Zionists are monsters (they kill kids), and they have influence in America (AIPAC), what’s the problem?

    I realise that maybe 60 years ago some German may have used monsters to depict Jews, did that mean we could no longer use monsters to depict Zionists?
    Greenstein then contributed the following comment:

    I write as someone who is Jewish, but not a Zionist.
    This is a very excellent and painfully aware article.

    Asghar Bukhari made a mistake and has been honest about that. The one’s who attack their opponents as anti-Semitic, when their movement is the most guilty of all of working with anti-Semites (hence why they’re once again trying to ban Perdition in Scotland which details what they did) are the ones who have problems with anti-Semtism.

    Zionism is a Jewish variant of anti-Semitism. After all,even today, if someone tells me I don’t belong in England they are either a Zionist or a fascist and anti-Semite.

    The real lesson from this affair is that like the boy who cried wolf, Zionist attacks on people who are not anti-Jewish have one effect, to legitimise anti-Semitism.
    I’m glad that Asghar has been so honest and defied those whose stock in trade is guilt and blackmail.

    Greenstein once wrote: “there is nothing the Zionists love more than ‘proof’ that anti-Zionists really are anti-semites.” Does he now expect his readers to blame the Zionists every time he makes excuses for Nazi apologists?