Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Tony Greenstein Goes on the Attack

Cross posted from Harry's Place

Tony Greenstein Goes on the Attack

This is a Guest Post by Mikey

I have previously mentioned that Tony Greenstein can be violent. For those not familiar with this character, some background information is in order.

This is the man who is proud to have admitted that he “worked with supporters of the PFLP.” The PFLP is an organisation that pioneeredaircraft hijacking. Greenstein claimed (RETURN No. 5, December 1990), that it was an “honour” for someone to be the head of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command (PFLP-GC). This is the organisation that is suspected as having involvement in the Lockerbie bombing. On a comment to this blog, he has justified IRA terrorism: “The attack on Thatcher by the IRA was obviously legitimate.” In a letter to the communist newspaper, Weekly Worker, he stated explicitly, “I want the state of Israel to be destroyed.” In an email to an academic mailing list(password required) on April 19, 2007 he stated:

If every staffer in AIPAC were to be vapourised tomorrow, alongside Bush, Blair and Cheney, I wouldn’t lose a minutes sleep.

In an exchange that originally appeared on the Workers’ Liberty website and reproduced here, Greenstein was questioned on this outrageous statement. He took the opportunity to extend the list of those he would not mind being “vapourised”:

I would equally lose no sleep if the inhabitants of the White House were vaporised or the leaders of the Christian Coalition.

He further added as “wishful thinking”:

I would lose no sleep if … the leadership of the Republican Party, New Labour’s cabinet and any other warmongers I can think of, were vaporised.

As he has referred to “the racist warmongers of Harry’s Place,” it is reasonable to assume that he would also would not care if many of the readers and contributors to this blog were also “vaporised.” It may well be a relief to readers that Greeenstein only polled 188 votes when he stood as a candidate in the last General Election. If he ever had the ability to have his hands on a nuclear button, it could lead to the end of civilization as we know it.

Greenstein was a founding member of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), but left it at the time of the Oslo Accords. He believed that the “PSC should not support the Oslo Accords.” The Oslo Accords was an agreement where:

The Government of the State of Israel and the PLO… representing the Palestinian people, agree that it is time to put an end to decades of confrontation and conflict, recognise their mutual legitimate and political rights, and strive to live in peaceful coexistence and mutual dignity and security and achieve a just, lasting and comprehensive peace settlement and historic reconciliation through the agreed political process.

Of course Greenstein did not agree with this: it did not state that the State of Israel must be destroyed. It would appear that Greenstein’s support for the Palestinian people extends only so far as the Palestinian people agree with him.

In any event, he subsequently rejoined the PSC, but that does not mean to say that he agrees with its current leadership. He has gone on the attack. He has previously claimed that the “PSC Executive have successfully managed to insert 3 members of Socialist Action as paid staff of PSC.” He now claims, “when challenged PSC Executive members deny that they are members of Socialist Action.” But he is not satisfied with this response. He quotes from Wikipedia:

Socialist Action is a small Trotskyist group in the United Kingdom. … From the mid-1980s Socialist Action became anentryist organisation, attempting to take over other organisations, with members using code names and not revealing their affiliation. [Emphasis added by Greenstein.]

In a letter that was sent to the PSC Executive last summer, accusations were made of undemocratic methods, of allowing Socialist Action to have a disproportionate influence, of having a high staff turnover and questionable financial management.

The PSC Executive responded in their Annual Report:

the EC and the staff of PSC who have been subject to a campaign of harassment and in some cases personal abuse by widely published emails and a blog. These actions can only detract from the work of PSC and help those who want to see PSC fail in our efforts to build a mass movement. We resisted engaging with the perpetrators, however in August a group of 13 people made unsubstantiated allegations to the EC.

Greenstein is clearly not happy. He believes they have accused him and his co-signers of being “Zionist Agents.” He has accused them of acting in a “Stalinist” fashion and of writing a “big lie.” The PSC Executive has resorted to “desperation,” to McCarthyism and are trying to achieve “some kind of para-Leninist command organisation.” They act in a “hostile manner” and are guilty of both “control freakery” and “libel.”

The PSC AGM is being held on February 6. If Greenstein shows up, assuming he has no vaporising equipment, my advice to the PSC Executive, based on my own experience, is to ensure that he is not wearing steel toe-capped boots.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Greenstein pre-empted on Edelman

Here is Tony Greenstein's post dated October 7, 2009 on Marek Edelman

...Today Zionism praises the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, but in the 1930’s and 1940’s it treated and made deals with the Nazis..... Of course there were many Zionists who, despite their Zionism, fought against the Nazis.

Below is a comment to Harry's Place dated October 3, 2009 - I think the point is made:

Michael Ezra
3 October 2009, 8:54 pm

Marek Edelman should certainly be remembered.

One thing that can be mentioned is that are some anti-Zionists who would like to believe, and this was a theme of the anti-Zionist playPerdition, that the Zionists were not interesting in fighting Hitler. The argument runs along the lines that maybe some Zionists did fight Hitler but this was in spite of their Zionism not because of it. As far as this warped section of the anti-Zionist community are concerned, the Zionists collaborated with Nazism and did not fight against it.

This is of course nonsense and it has been highlighted in this thread with the mention of names such as Mordecai Anielewicz, an activist in Hashomer Hatzair who bravely fought in the Warsaw Ghetto. But it was not just the socialist Zionists amongst the Zionists in the Warsaw Ghetto that fought. As Moshe Arens points out (Israel Affairs, Vol.14, No.1, January 2008):

ZZW (Zydowski Zwiazek, Wojskowy), was led by Pawel Frenkel, a member of the Revisionist Youth Movement, Betar; Leon Rodal, a member of the Revisionist movement, and David Apfelbaum, a former officer in the Polish Army who was an adherent of Ze’ev Jabotinsky. It was built around a core of fighters who were members of Jabotinsky’s Zionist-Revisionist movement and its youth movement, Betar….

The heaviest battles of the uprising took place at Muranowski Square, where ZZW fighters withstood the repeated onslaught of German forces. The ZZW fighters there were better trained and equipped than the other fighters in the ghetto, had prepared defensive positions in anticipation of the impending battle and had dug a tunnel under the ghetto wall that allowed for the bringing in of supplies and the evacuation of the wounded. Muranowski Square was the main battleground of the uprising.

Even in the Yishuv (the Jewish community in Palestine) they were delighted to hear of the resistance in the Warsaw Ghetto. An editorial in Davur in October 1942 headlined “The Zionist Underground” mentioned “There is also quiet bravery…the defense of honour….There is dedication to the people fighting.” In April 1943 an editorial in one paper commented on the Jewish resistance “An eternal symbol of a people which refuses to be destroyed by the Gentile – the symbol of life. The honour and the glory of this heroism, enacted on the front line of the war against Nazism, has perhaps no parallel.” A further note of pride of the Warsaw ghetto uprising was expressed in Hapoel Hatzair in an article entitled “Defence Filled With Glory.” As far as the editor, who wrote the article, was concerned it proved “Jews are not always led like sheep to the slaughter.”

I have taken the above examples of press reports from the following essays

Yechiam Weitz, “The Yishuv’s Response to the Destruction of European Jewry, 1942-1943″ Studies in Zionism, Vol. 8, No. 2 Autumn 1987 and
Yoav Gelber, “Zionist Policy and the Fate of European Jewry, 1943-1944,” Studies in Zionism, Issue 7. Spring 1983.

None of this takes away from the Bundists who were very active in the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. The vast majority of Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto were wiped out. Edelman was one of the few who managed to survive and as a result we have his published account,The Ghetto Fights, a memoir that is well worth reading for anyone interested in this terrible period of history.