Tuesday 16 September 2008

Alef List Posting Number 3

Message to Alef List July 16, 2007

So now Tony Greenstein threatens to sue me, a threat I cannot take seriously. The letter I quoted from was typed on the University of Sussex Union headed note paper. It was widely distributed by Mr. Savage who sent copies to Neil Stewart, the President of NUS, P.A. Tear, the Deputy Secretary of the University of Sussex and, amongst others, Dr. G. Lockwood the Registrar and Secretary of the University of Sussex. Surely if it was libelous, Tony Greenstein would have sued at the time?
On October 22, 1982 the Jewish Chronicle, in an article by Jenni Frazer entitled "Students being intimidated," repeated the allegations of Mr. Savage and quoted him as saying that Jewish students were coming to his office "to protest, or confess to being scared." On November 5, 1982 the Jewish Chronicle published a letter from Tony Greenstein that was a direct response to the article by Ms. Frazer. In that letter, which he took the trouble to write, Tony Greenstein denied that the motion was one sided, but in the published letter he did not deny that Jewish students confessed to being scared and nor did he complain about the title of the article that suggested Jewish students were intimidated.

All of this is an aside from my bewilderment as to why a self-confessed Marxist would wish to utilize the bourgeois courts in the first place?

On a separate note, I would be interested to know why Tony Greenstein wrote a letter to the Jewish Chronicle (August 28, 1981) defending an author from the charge of antisemitism? This was despite the fact that the particular author, Alfred Lilienthal, questioned the authenticity of the Diary of Anne Frank. "The Diary of Anne Frank, translated into many languages and printed in multifold editions, may be a fraud … Any informed literary inspection of this book would have shown it could not possibly have been the work of a teenager." (Alfred Lilienthal, The Zionist Connection II: What Price Peace? New Jersey, North American Inc p. 849, fn. 71.) The author that Greenstein defended also signed a petition in support of the Holocaust Denier Faurisson.

Why also was Tony Greenstein heavily involved with an organisation called BAZO that had links to the pro Saddam Hussein National Union of Iraqi Students that had been banned by the NUS for its attacks on students? Why, we should be told, was Tony Greenstein distributing their material at NUS conference in December 1980 especially given the fact that as the Jewish Chronicle reported (January 2, 1981) "the NUS publicly condemned the BAZO leaflet 'Against Zionism' as antisemitic? As a result, conference, which noted that BAZO literature and National Front literature were not dissimilar, called upon the NUS to ban BAZO activities 'from its base in Strathclyde Union and any other campus in the United Kingdom." As was noted in a letter to the Jewish Chronicle (August 14, 1981) "The NUS executive … issued a statement declaring that the actions of Mr. Greenstein's organisation, BAZO, help antisemites 'in their activities.' This is a matter of fact and as such was reported in the national press from the Morning Star to the JC."

I am particularly keen to know why Tony Greenstein was so heavily involved in BAZO after the Chairman of that organisation, George Mitchell, was reported (Jewish Chronicle August 24, 1979) to have "attended a Jewish society meeting at Strathclyde and took photographs of those present, threatening to send the pictures to Beirut"?

Given that Tony Greenstein was seen picketing a meeting called by Engage last week, it seems little has changed in over 25 years.


[NB Subsequent to this post the Nigel Savage letter has been scanned in and published on line]

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